July 1, 2008

August Entries

Thursday, August 3rd, 2006
Total Build Time: 187 hours

After a weekend of travel there's always plenty of catching up to do at the office and at home, and that includes our project car as well. It wasn't until Thursday that I got caught up enough on my desk work to be able to slip away for a few hours into the shop and once again put wrench to bolt to try and get our 427 stroked Windsor detailed. I ran into our first little problem setting up the two-stud reproduction air cleaner housing with the Mass-Flo EFI. The central mounted mass air meter usually works better with a single stud air cleaner housing, so I might have to go to plan B on this one.

The new timing cover supplied on the Smeding 427 requires a fuel pump block off plate since I wanted to run the Mass-Flo EFI system. I was all set to buy a fancy billet aluminum one when a friend said he had an extra from an old engine. Free trumps fancy any day in my book, and you'll barely see it once the power steering pump is mounted. Note also in the photo the modern oil pressure sending unit for the Auto Meter Cobalt electric gauges.

The last thing I was able to get started on today was swapping out the stock valve covers for replica Cobra open letter big-block FE valve covers. Yes, you heard me, FE. I found through the FFR forums at www.ffcobra.com a gentleman by the name of Rupert Hartman that makes these trick billet valve cover adapters. With his adapters, which bolt to the small-block head, you can easily mount any big-block FE valve cover. If you're interested in a set you can reach him at superhart@aol.com or by phone at (856) 829-4007. Hopefully I'll have the valve covers on and the air cleaner figured out for more photos next week.

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Saturday, August 5th, 2006
Total Build Time: 189 hours

The popular tire and wheel combination for the Factory Five Roadster with SN-95 style front brakes and a Fox-width rear axle is 17x9-inch front wheels and 17x10.5-inch rear wheels. Those 10.5-inch wide rears take a meaty tire, a 315/35R17 to be exact. The same rear tires found on the rear of a Ferrari F40 I might add! Up front I went with a more common P255/40ZR17. Both tire sizes are from Nitto (www.nittotire.com) with the fronts coming from their NT555 series and the rears from their NT555R series (street legal "drag" radial).

After getting the new tires mounted and balanced Greg Clark, our Online Editor, graciously carted them to the house for me and I bolted them up first thing this morning. After coming off of our Alltrade jack stands for the first time since February when I took delivery of the Roadster I just had to roll the chassis outside for a photo (and to sweep the garage floor). So now she's officially a "roller". Man I have to get that engine finished and installed.

Thursday, August 10th, 2006
Total Build Time: 193 hours

Right now there's not a whole lot I can do to the chassis until the drivetrain gets installed. I've been working after hours at the office getting the engine ready to take home for a weekend installation party. Things are coming along smoothly with that for the most part. I got the valve covers finished that I mentioned in last week's diary entry and man they look so cool on there don't they? I still have some figuring to do with the air filter housing and I may just wait until the engine is in the chassis to mount the body and measure how much room we have for an air filter before going further with the Cobra oval unit we have now.

Earlier in the week the high output 3G alternator and hi-flow water pump showed up at the office from Tuff Stuff Performance Accessories (www.tuffstuffperformance.com). Ordering the alternator and water pump in black powder coat kept our black/silver/polished engine them in check. March Performance (www.marchperformance.com) has sweet billet CNC pulley and bracket kits to adapt a serpentine belt system to any Ford engine. Using the March Performance kit allowed me to keep the front engine dress simple, functional, and of course, stylish, all in one. Hopefully next week I can get the engine off the stand and bolt up the clutch, bellhousing, and transmission in order to take the whole shooting match home for installation. Keep your fingers crossed!

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Friday, August 18th, 2006
Total Build Time: 196 hours

A Tremec TKO-600 five-speed manual transmission (www.tremec.com) is going into the Roadster. The transmission is an easy fit with just a minor modification to the tailshaft housing. The TKO series case has several mounting points to accommodate aftermarket installations in various cars and to fit in the FFR chassis the rear most ear has to be trimmed from the tailshaft housing. Trimming it away with a cutoff wheel took about a half hour or so since I was being very careful not to cut too deep and also trying to keep the cut straight. Once I removed the ear and hand filed the cut to deburr the edges I bolted up the transmission mount, a urethane model from Dallas Mustang (www.dallasmustang.com), and set the bellhousing into place (also from Dallas Mustang). I checked the fit of the Centerforce clutch disc (www.centerforce.com) and the PMGR starter from Tuff Stuff Performance Accessories (www.tuffstuffperformance.com) and everything fit perfectly. The transmission and associated parts are ready for mating with our Smeding 427 Windsor now using our mounting hardware from Totally Stainless (www.totallystainless.com). Fingers crossed the engine will be going in this weekend.

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Sunday, August 20th, 2006
Total Build Time: 198 hours

After bolting up the MustangTuning.com FR500 replica wheels for the Roadster project a few weeks back I felt something was missing. That something was a knock off center for the wheels to replicate the original true knock off wheels the Cobra had. I did a bit of digging and found BRS Parts (www.brsparts.com) that manufacturers and machines custom replica knock off centers for late model Mustang wheels. BRS Parts was the only company I found that made a kit that fit the deep center dish of the FR500 style wheel. My only problem was the center cap hole in the FR500 wheels I'm using is a little smaller than the ones BRS normally machines for, but BRS offered to look at the center caps and machine a custom size if need be. I got the knock off kit late last week and couldn't wait to fit them to the FR500 wheels. Not only do the "spinners" look great, the trick BRS slip-clutch design allows them to be carefully rotated for lug access or to position the tri-bar for display purposes. How cool is that!

Then I got to thinking for all those readers with Bullitt wheels or Cobra R wheels on their classic Mustangs and Fords that the BRS kit would be a nice addition and give your ride a classy look. BRS sells their spinner knock off kits in straight or swept style tri-bar designs to fit the original center cap from your late model Ford rims, but they might even do something custom for your aftermarket rims too.

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Saturday, August 26th, 2006
Total Build Time: 201 hours

Well the big day has finally come. Today marked the pivotal spot in the Roadster build where the drivetrain was installed. With the help of a coworker I brought the fully dressed engine home Friday night and carefully placed it in the garage right in front of the Roadster. I let them get "acquainted" before the formal marriage the next day. Knowing the Florida rains come in the afternoon I took a gamble and scheduled the drivetrain install for late afternoon. My reasoning was that the driveway at my house is in the shade the latter part of the day and we'd be better off from a photography and temperature standpoint. So, to kill the morning and try to fend off some anxiety I fired up the lawn mower and cut the grass, front and back. That got me through until about 12:30. I then killed a little more time by helping a friend put a stereo in his new truck, but midway through the stereo install the rain came. Would I have to cancel my drivetrain installation? I guess luck was on my side because by the time I finished the stereo install the rain had stopped and the driveway was bone dry. Bring on the engine hoist!

3pm rolled around and our Web Editor, Greg Clark, showed up to lend a hand. I rolled the Powerbuilt Tools (www.powerbuilttools.com) engine hoist into place and picked up the Smeding 427 Windsor and mated Tremec TKO-600 and rolled the pair half way down the driveway. Then I grabbed the front of our FFR Roadster and rolled it out into the driveway as well. The Powerbuilt engine hoist worked great in that it was narrow enough and low enough to roll right under the Roadster's frame. The engine leveler also was time saver, allowing us to carefully adjust the drivetrain's angle of attack with the turn of a screw handle. I enlisted a few curious neighbors to be extra eyes, hands, and ears as the engine was lowered, and all went well.

Now that the engine is I've got plenty of work to do again, including finishing up the fuel lines, EFI wiring, main body wiring, exhaust, and more. As soon as I get back from the MCA 30th Anniversary show in Alabama later this week I'll be back on the project in full force!

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