July 1, 2008

Each week we'll update our Web visitors on our progress right here with photos, video, and diary entries. Check back weekly as we share our progress, tips, anecdotes, and more while we assemble our Factory Five Racing roadster right before your eyes. And don't forget to get the full story in an upcoming issue of Mustang & Fords.

Sunday, December 3rd, 2006
Total Build Time: 292 hours

Moving into December we're about three or four weeks behind schedule right now. Unfortunately I don't think we're going to have the Roadster finished for the Silver Springs Mustang & Ford Roundup in January. I might take the "go-kart" up there for display, but not sure yet. I've got another solid two or three days of wiring to do, then I can drop the body on and start test fitting the body components such as the windscreen, lights, wipers, etc. I want to have all holes drilled, cut, etc. before the body goes to paint. Today, after much debate I figured out a way to mount all of the Mass-Flo EFI (www.mass-floefi.com) electronics without drilling a single hole in the firewall, yet still have relatively easy access to the ECM, relays, and fuses if any problems creep up down the road.

In a nutshell I mounted the rear of the ECM bracket to the dash hoop support and then fabricated a small aluminum bracket to secure the ECM bracket to the main dash 2x2 brace at the bottom. Finally, I mounted the relays to the ECM bracket at the top with two 1/4-20 stainless bolts, and the fuse block to the side of the dash hoop support with 1-inch long stainless tapping screws. The fuse box for the American Autowire harness was mounted to the kit's aluminum fuse panel bracket with a little modification, and then mounted under the dash by the clutch pedal. I might go back and add a piano hinge to this panel for easy servicing of fuses later.

Saturday, December 9th, 2006
Total Build Time: 297 hours

With holiday parties, trade shows, and family all vying for my time it's amazing I can get out to the garage at all this time of year to work on the Roadster. As many of you that read my diary entries know I usually set aside Sunday afternoons to work on the project. I couldn't do that this week however since my Mustang club's Christmas party was at 3pm Sunday, so instead I tried to get a few hours of work under my belt Saturday.

While the rear body wiring is complete, I still needed to attach the MSD (www.msdignition.com) Weathertight connectors onto the taillight assemblies themselves. The lights have three wires, one for brake/turn, one for running light, and one for ground. I've read that the brake/turn wire and the running light wire are sometimes wired with the wrong color wire. I simply tested each light assembly with a battery and whatever wire was for brake/turn I put a small knot in it until I could add the Weathertight connector.

I also wasn't too keen on the ground terminal, which is simply crimped to the housing. With just a little force I could pull the wire right out. An easy solution is to simply add some solder to the connection to make it nice and tight. I did this for all four rear lights and the parking light assemblies in the front.

Finally, the small brass screw retainers for the rear light lenses prevent the housing from sitting flush on the body (in my testing) so again, another easy fix is to simply trim the rubber gasket to allow the lights to sit flush. Even though I'm not anywhere near ready to install the lights, when I am ready the lights will be too.

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Sunday, December 17th, 2006
Total Build Time: 303 hours

This weekend I was able to get a few more hours in on our Roadster's wiring. I've been working on the wiring for some time now, mostly because there's so much of it to do and I've not been able to put my typical 6-8 hour days in on the project. I am nearing the finish line on the wiring though, with just some dash area wiring and the nose wiring (headlights, horn, fans, etc.) left to do before I start on body placement and other parts of the project.

I showed you where I installed the headlight switch a few weeks ago and now that the fuse box is in place I've been terminating all of the fuse box wiring connections. The first thing I did was assemble the headlight connector and install it on the headlight switch that was already mounted. I also wired the brake light switch and clutch interlock switch as well. There are a few wires that I'm not using from the wiring harness, either because they are circuits we're not using (like radio and heater) or because the same circuits are covered through the EFI harness or some other wiring. For these I simply cut the wiring clean and then added some adhesive lined shrink wrap from RJM Injection Technologies (www.fordfuelinjection.com). While the shrink wrap was still warm a quick squeeze of the open end with a pair of pliers seals the extra wiring and prevents shorts.

Another cool item I picked up from RJM is their oval wiring harness grommet for the firewall where the EFI wiring passes through. Since we're not using any donor wiring (the stock harness comes with a molded grommet to use in this location) our Mass-Flo EFI harness was not sealing at all in this spot until we added the RJM grommet, which fits perfectly. Hopefully with a few days off after Christmas I can finish all of the Roadster's wiring and move on to fitting the body and other subsections.

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Saturday, December 23rd-Sunday, December 31st, 2006
Total Build Time: 331 hours

Having a few days off between paid holidays meant I could potentially have up to 10 days straight of working on our FFR Roadster to ready it for paint. It was a nice thought, but between last minute holiday shopping, family time, and a couple of days of rain that just wouldn't leave the area, I only got in about four or five solid days of work. This was still enough time to wrap up the wiring (all but the electronic fan controller that is en route as I write this), test fit the body, and assemble our roll bar and windscreen for their own body fit testing. I should just need another weekend or two and she'll be ready to head off for painting.

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I finished up our dash by adding a rotary windshield wiper switch and a stainless steel LED lighted momentary button to be used as our horn button on the dash. The blue LED lighting matches the blue LED illumination of our Auto Meter Cobalt gauges. I had one unused warning lamp on the dash (a red bulb that comes with the kit) that is supposed to be used as a charging system warning, but instead I wired it to the original brake light warning switch on our parking brake to remind the driver that the parking brake is still set (since the parking brake handle is out of the driver's vision on the side of the transmission tunnel).

With the wiring complete (minus the aforementioned electric fan controller) the headlights, parking lights, and tail lights were plugged in and all circuits were checked for proper operation. While I plan to use a column mounted turn signal unit, I do not have possession of it yet, so I simply used jumper wires to test turn signals, headlight high beam switching, and the hazard circuits. All checked out 100 percent with zero problems.

I thought the aluminum foot box panels, though covered with sound absorbing G-Muff from Mr. Gasket on the inside, would need a little more heat protection on the outside. To that effect I used an adhesive backed thermal barrier product called Reflect-A-Cool from DEI (www.designengineering.com). The Reflect-A-Cool is simply cut to the size/shape needed and applied by hand (a roller can be used to make the product smoother). I think the Reflect-A-Cool will help with the close proximity of the headers, though time will tell once we get the body on and drive it.

Speaking of getting the body on I had my neighbor's help me install the body for test fitting of the aluminum panels, roll bar, and windscreen as well. This is the first time the body has been back on the frame since last February when I first took delivery of the project. After some measurements were taken the body came back off for roll bar fitment and drilling (the trick is to center punch the chrome tube and then drill a pilot hole all the way through, upsizing the drill bit a little until you get to the 5/16-inch size required). Now the Roadster sits waiting a dry weekend for some final panel fitment and the installation of our fan controller and then it will be off for paint and body work. I think the end is in sight!

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