July 1, 2008

September Entries

Sunday, September 10th, 2006
Total Build Time: 207 hours

After enduring a few weeknights of bad weather and a trip to Birmingham, AL that took up most of my Labor Day weekend, it was nice to finally have some decent working weather to roll the Roadster out of the garage and get some work done. It's been exactly two weeks since I've put wrench to project, the longest I've gone without doing something, anything, on our build up. So I was looking forward to getting out in the garage today and making some real progress. Alas, real progress would escape me right now.

Earlier in the build when I was installing the suspension or brakes, or even drilling all of the holes for the aluminum panels the work involved was straight forward. There's only one place that coil over shock bolts to. You assemble the shock, grab the attaching hardware, bolt it on, and then check it off your To Do List. But now that I have a rolling chassis I'm getting down to the little things, and frankly, it's the little things that drive you nuts. For instance, I spent a good hour or more trying to figure out where to mount the Mallory (www.mrgasket.com) fuel pressure regulator. When I found just the right spot I realized I couldn't get a drill into the location so I had to borrow a right angle drill adapter.

The same goes for the clutch cable installation. The clutch cable that I got from Dallas Mustang (www.dallasmustang.com), which is designed for a late model Mustang, has a retaining bracket crimped on it. The problem is the bracket mounts to the frame rail on the Mustang and there's nothing to mount it to on the Roadster. I finally figured out if I remove the bracket, flip it over, and then crimp it back on to the cable it would mount to the timing cover with only having to drill the mounting hole in the bracket a bit bigger. So while I did make some progress today, I feel I'm going to be in baby step mode for the next month or so as I tackle these little things and begin the wiring phase of the project. Hopefully I can keep my wits about me through this part of the build!

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Sunday, September 17th, 2006
Total Build Time: 211 hours

I had the FFR 4-into-4 headers loosely installed with two bolts right after we installed the engine a few weeks ago, but I couldn't install them for good until I had the threaded fittings for the Mass-Flo EFI's (www.mass-floefi.com) two oxygen sensors installed (one in each side of the engine). While most fuel injected cars have the oxygen sensor located at the merge of the individual exhaust tubes, this isn't practical on the 4-into-4 setup since the primary tubes do not merge until outside the body right at the side pipe muffler. The best alternative is to mount them in a primary tube between 9-18 inches from the cylinder head. Once the fittings were welded in I could mount the headers for good using stainless header bolts from Totally Stainless (www.totallystainless.com).

I also started on the Mass-Flo EFI wiring today. There are basically two main harnesses for the Roadster we're building. The wiring harness The EFI harness, and the body harness. I wanted to start with the EFI harness since there are less connections to make to finish the installation, and quite frankly, I want to hear this baby come to life and bark a serious exhaust note. Who needs headlights when you've got 500 horsepower and side pipes! Wiring is one of my strong points, but I've never wired a complete car before. This step of the project will surely be more time consuming than what we've done so far.

During some late night brain storming I thought the driveshaft safety loop offered by Total Control Products for their classic Mustang subframe connector system might work for the Roadster as a nice, clean, bolt-in solution. I ordered one for this project and after taking their 90-degree mounting bracket and bending it back to a 45-degree angle to match the 45-degree angle of the square tube welded right over the driveshaft location it looks like it will work perfectly with only having to drill two holes to mount it. I'll know for sure if it works once we get our driveshaft in place, which should be here any day.

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Saturday, September 23rd, 2006
Total Build Time: 216 hours

While I'm still working on the EFI wiring (mostly trying to determine clean and sensible routing so I can then wrap the harness permanently) I'm also trying to check off small items on my "first start" checklist, like the throttle setup. I'm going to need the throttle figured out for when I start the engine for the first time. For the pedal assembly I skipped on using the donor gas pedal arm and bracket, since I heard that it can be sensitive on higher horsepower engines. Plus I simply didn't like the angle of the pedal when it was bolted in. I ended up using a custom aluminum pedal arm with a trick adjustable bracket marketed by Russ Thompson (www.norcal-cobras.com/store/russ_garage/russ_garage.htm). Russ makes several upgrade parts for the Factory Five Roadster, and his throttle assembly gets high marks from all who use it. Once the throttle arm was installed it was a simple job to attach the throttle cable.

I've run engines without coolant, or even a radiator and water pump, but only for a minute or two to make sure the engine was in proper running order with good oil pressure before purchasing it. I wasn't planning on taking any chances with our Smeding 427 though, so I'm making a point to have the radiator and all hoses hooked up and the cooling system filled for our first start. I ordered FFR's optional aluminum radiator along with the kit for a direct fit installation. I used a small floor jack to hold the radiator in place while I marked the holes in the frame for drilling mounting holes (I used riv-nuts here instead of the supplied tapping screws). The two aluminum panels were clamped in place to determine radiator angle only and will be installed later when the body goes on. Hoses and a degas tank will be installed shortly. I also had just enough light to get the ignition coil mounted and the coil wire terminated, and then it was time to pack things in for the night. Hopefully I can get everything wrapped up over the next couple of weekends and have an engine start sometime in October.

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Saturday, September 30th, 2006
Total Build Time: 219 hours

My apologies for this late entry, I didn't get a chance to write it before leaving for a business trip to California the first week of October.-Mark

Once I installed the Russ Thompson gas pedal assembly last week with the throttle cable I was able to measure and test out the pedal spacing. Wearing regular cross-training type sneakers put the edge of my foot on the brake pedal when trying to apply throttle. A popular fix is to carefully bend the pedals for more foot room. You can do this a number of ways, including simply placing the pedal in a vice and bending with an adjustable wrench. Since I didn't have a suitable vice in the home garage I put my name on the loaner tool list at www.ffcobra.com for a pedal bender. This nifty little tool simply slides up the pedal arm (even in place on the car if you wanted) and with the turn of a bolt it bends the pedal effortlessly for you. The tool works great and when you are done with it simply mail it to the next user on the list. There's no charge for the use, just the shipping to the next person. As you can see in the photos the brake pedal was moved to the left about two inches and the clutch pedal around one inch. Pedal placement is great now and it took just about 20 minutes to use the tool and check the pedal placement.

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