July 1, 2008

May Entries

Thursday, May 4th, 2006
I got a call from our Technical Editor Wayne Cook today. He's spent the last few days at Smeding Performance photographing our engine build. Ben Smeding is screwing together a super-stout 427 cubic inch stroker based on a Dart Windsor block. The engine made killer power on the Smeding Performance dyno. We're using Mass-Flo EFI to give us great performance and drivability along with ability to use a 4V style oval air cleaner for retro looks. Here's a sneak peak at our engine and look for the full build details in an upcoming issue.

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Saturday, May 6th, 2006
Total Build Time: 87 hours

The powder coater is almost done with all of our panels so I'll be ready to start installing a few key parts like the firewall and foot boxes later this week. More than likely though I won't get to it until the weekend (I know, Sunday is Mother's Day, don't spend the day in the garage or I'll spend the night on the couch, got it!) Since the rearend nor the gas tank have shown up yet I spent this afternoon installing those cool Seals-It washers on the rear 3-Link rod-ends and fitting up the rest of the rear suspension. Everything is in place and ready for the rearend when it gets here. I also did some trial fitting of other parts like the parking brake handle and gas pedal. I'd rather make sure a part fits right or take the time to tweak it now so when I grab it off the shelf at a later date I can keep on working.

Sunday, May 7th, 2006
Total Build Time: 91 hours

It's hard to believe we're closing in on almost 100 hours of construction time on our Factory Five Roadster already. Sure we've read about guys building their Roadsters to driving go-cart status in eight weeks, but frankly we don't have the luxury of that kind of time. Hopefully we won't be spending three years on it either like others, but everyone has to work at their own pace. We're still on schedule to finish the Roadster by the end of 2006, hopefully in time for the Silver Springs, FL Mustang & Ford show in January 2007. If we don't make that event our "back up" completion date is early April when my Mustang club hosts their own event here in FL.

While I'm waiting on some of the bigger parts to arrive I decided to work indoors today. I grabbed the dash panel, which we opted for the pre-cut version from Factory Five, and the box of Auto Meter Cobalt gauges and started laying out the dash design. Stealing a few ideas from the ffcobra.com forum I've decided to minimize the amount of switches on the dash to prevent confusing the Mrs. if she decides to get behind the wheel. Having toggles for fuel pump, ignition, so on and so forth will only amount to frustration behind the wheel and in my personal opinion, clutter up the dash. I'm planning to use a classic Mustang ignition switch, a few indicator lights, a billet knob or two for the heater and wiper, and have the actual headlight switch hidden under the dash. We'll see how it works out, but for now I'm really impressed with the look of the Auto Meter Cobalts and I also opted to install their angled mounting bezels to put the gauges in a better line of sight to the driver. More soon.

Saturday, May 13th, 2006
Total Build Time: 97 hours

I picked up a pair of '95 Mustang spindles from a local salvage yard earlier in the week. I wanted to use '94-'95 Mustang spindles in order to have a five lug bolt pattern and the option to use larger brakes, while maintaining the Fox Mustang ('87-'93) front track. It was a bit of a wait, but worth it. After some quick cleaning I hit them with several light coats of black chassis paint so that they were ready for installation when I came out to the garage today.

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The brake kit I ordered from Stainless Steel Brakes Corp. (www.ssbrakes.com) was designed as an upgrade for the '94-'95 Mustang, meaning it would bolt right onto the spindles/hubs I got from All Mustang Salvage. The Tri-Power kit consists of a three-piston replacement caliper and a 13-inch rotor. Nice stuff! These later model brakes are so easy to work with too. Since the hub has a sealed bearing there are no bearing races to install, no bearings to pack, etc. I just slipped a rotor over the hub, bolted the caliper to the spindle ears, and that was it. With some time for photos and to test fit our FR500 look wheels from Mustang Tuning (www.mustangtuning.com) I barely spent six hours in the garage today. Of course I still have my share of all day work sessions coming to me, but today was a nice change of pace. With the front brakes installed I can't wait for the rear axle to show up so I can get the rear brakes mounted up. Then I can start running the brake hard lines. More soon.

Thursday, May 18th, 2006
Total Build Time: 100 hours

I ordered this cool late model Mustang fuel tank kit from Texas Mustang Parts (www.texasmustang.com) for the project. The kit includes a new fuel tank, fuel level sending unit, filler neck seal, tank mounting straps, and more under one part number. While I'm using a few donor items (either because they're not available new or their just crazy expensive new through Ford) I wasn't about to put a 15 year old rusty fuel tank in a freshly built project. I'm sure you wouldn't either, and I found the Texas Mustang Parts kit to be the best deal. Securing the tank to the frame is a matter of attaching the tank straps with the hardware provided by Factory Five. I'm going to leave the trunk floor panels off for now to allow access for wiring and routing of the fuel lines, which I plan to do in the next week or two in preparation for the engine's arrival. I've also hit 100 hours of labor on the project too tonight, how about that!

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006
Total Build Time: 103 hours

The Factory Five donor theme uses the factory late model Mustang ignition switch, but if you're going the non-donor route the options are wide open for whatever you like and can afford. Several wiring companies offer ignition switches, but talking it over with the wife (who is going to be driving the Roadster as well) the dash configuration came down to ease of use and simple graphics. While maybe more original looking, the wife and I decided against a row of non-descript black toggles. I pulled the car cover back on my '66 Mustang, pointed at the ignition switch and asked the wife "you like that?" With her approval I ordered a '65-'66 Mustang ignition switch, bezel, and key tumbler from Virginia Classic Mustang (www.virginiaclassicmustang.com). It took a few minutes with a Dremel to make the dash hole bigger and cut two indexing notches and the switch fit perfectly. The dash will have a nice OE look to it and the ignition is easily identified. Additional work tonight included mounting the fuel filter assembly and making some rough brake and fuel line routings (there's not a single wire hanger left in our house right now).

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Friday, May 26th, 2006
Total Build Time: 109 hours

I finally got around to stopping by the powder coater this week. Bill Gise at Competition Coatings, (863) 968-0700, did an excellent job. The wife decided on a color called Silver Sparkle. When the sun hits it you better be wearing sun glasses! I found the whole powder coating process so interesting I took enough photos and notes to write a whole story on the process, which will be in the magazine in a few months.

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The panels, powder coated or not, are attached with rivets (supplied in the kit) and silicone sealer of your choice. I used GE Silicone II from the local hardware store in silver. It's meant to match aluminum frame windows and does a great job of blending in with the aluminum here. A simple bead is run around the rivet holes, or applied directly to the frame first, which ever you prefer. I invested in a cheap air-riveter to keep carpel tunnel at bay (we are talking about over 500 rivets here) but I found the good old fashioned hand riveter was also needed for some of the tight spots and corners.

Saturday, May 27th, 2006
Total Build Time: 115 hours

My daughter just graduated from grade school and will be starting middle school next year, and to celebrate my wife wanted to throw her a party. My daughter ended up inviting five of her friends over for a sleep over. So I had six screaming pre-teens in the house with junk food, soda, and a karaoke machine. Guess where I spent my afternoon and most of the evening? All I can say is the air compressor and mp3s playing on my garage computer kept the off-key Lindsay Lohan renditions out of ear shot.

I was able to rivet both the left and right floor pan sections into place today and I also covered the foot box panels (before installation) with Mr. Gasket's G-Muff adhesive backed sound deadener. I also installed the spindle adapters (which had been at the powder coaters) and finalized the steering shaft installation.

Sunday, May 28th, 2006
Total Build Time: 122 hours

After not getting to bed until well past 3am (don't you love young kids with tons of energy?) I slept in today. The yard was looking a bit rough so I had to race across the grass with the mower first before the wife would let me into the garage, which meant I didn't get working on the Roadster until almost 2 pm. I installed the passenger foot box panels that I had covered in the sound deadener yesterday, and I also started mocking up some of the fuel line routing and the location of the fuel pressure regulator. I'm not quite at the point where I can drop a seat in and make "vroom-vroom" sounds yet but the Roadster is definitely taking shape with the addition of some of its aluminum panels and the front brakes and suspension.