August 24, 2009

Seat Lowering

I seem to recall seeing an article in the past with detailed instructions about lowering the front bucket seats in a first generation Mustang. I have a '66 convertible that I love but would enjoy more if the seats were lower. I am 6 ft., 2 inches tall and unless I really slouch down in the seat, the top of my head is generally above the windshield when cruising. Your thoughts and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Ed Kirby
Covington, LA

Lowering the seats in an early Mustang is best accomplished by removing and reshaping the seat platform that the seat attaches to. It's a labor intensive job that requires sheetmetal and welding skills. However, the modification is quite straight-forward and well worth the effort.

The carpeting and interior must be removed to allow access to the seat platform, which is spot-welded to the floorpan. The welds must be drilled out so the platform can be chiseled out. Once removed, the platform can be cut and reshaped to yield up to 2-inches more head room. It can also be installed further back than the original position to gain more leg room as well.

The June 2001 issue of Mustang Monthly contains an article about shortening the seat pan and can serve as an excellent illustration for the process.

Gear Choice

What is the proper rearend gear ratio with 265/50R15 tires? I have a 3.55 ratio now but I want more zip. My Mustang is a '65 with a transplanted 302 and a 4-speed. I had a 4.10 but that was too much. Am I right by thinking that a 3.73 gear will do the trick?
Tom Corace
Via the Internet

You have already experienced the large change in vehicle performance by changing the gear ratio. There are few other modifications that affect the way a car performs as much as a gear ratio swap.

Personal preference has a lot to do with axle ratio choice. Some people will trade comfort and fuel economy for the performance improvements with a higher numerical ratio, while others prefer the quieter, more economical ride provided by a lower numerical ratio. You are fortunate to have found your limits at both ends of the scale to narrow your choice to a set of 3.73s. I agree with your selection for a good compromise between performance and comfort. I would avoid anything higher than 3.73s for street use.

Right Fan?

I recently completed a two-year restoration on my '68 J-code fastback with factory air-conditioning. During the restoration, I purchased a new radiator, water pump, 180-degree thermostat, and hoses but the stock-bore 302 still runs hot. The temperature keeps climbing while driving or idling, reaching in excess of 210 degrees. The new radiator had fins that were spaced far apart so I suspected this was the cause. I recently replaced that radiator with another new one with 14 fins per inch and now the car seems to run cooler, although I haven't experienced a really hot day yet. The fan is marked C8SE-B. Is this the correct fan or should it have a clutch fan?
Carl Grein
Via the Internet

I agree with your choice of a 14-fin-per-inch radiator. I believe your problem can be traced to inadequate air-flow through the radiator.

Your stock fan should be a 5-blade flex fan with 2 1/2-inch blades. According to the factory shop manual, clutch fans were for big-block cars only. However, '68 Shelby GT350s utilized a clutch fan so it was actually used in a small-block application as well.

I suggest you try another fan and be certain it fits the shroud opening. Use spacers to get the correct position.

Also, double-check the thermostat because new ones don't always operate the way they should. A 180-degree thermostat should open fully at 180 degrees; it should begin opening at 150 to 160 degrees. Dropping a thermostat into a pot of water on an oven and raising the water temperature to gauge the opening with a thermometer is still the best way to test and observe thermostat operation.