Well, I've been off the forums for a few weeks now and there's a good reason for it. This is about to be the LONGEST post I've ever written, and you all know I'm not stingy with words in the first place
So here goes - what I've been up to from late July to early August:
I drove Jane home to NC from CO, arriving July 13th. I went up to Chas's to formulate a plan - Jane was in dire need of a clutch (it was older than I am), was seriously down on power (has been since the beginning of this year), and was having some weird cooling issues (running warmer on the freeway and at idle). We figured we would tackle the clutch first, then mess with the engine and cooling. I ordered parts and then went to Mustang Week because, well, I didn't want to miss out on the fun
I needed to drive to Texas on August 13th but I had plenty of time to do the clutch and figure out what little issue was plaguing Jane... or so I thought. From here on out I'll list everything by date.
Put Jane up on the lift (yes, I am fortunate enough to have access to Chas's lift) and pulled the transmission. This puppy has been leaking for quite some time so I thought that it would be a good opportunity to reseal everything. We took the transmission's top cover off and found that it was PERFECT inside - absolutely pristine. Must have been rebuilt. So we just resealed everything to ensure it wouldn't leak and left it alone.
The clutch was old and pretty worn but the flywheel looked perfect with no wear on it whatsoever. Awesome.
Installed the new clutch - a new 10" RAM diaphragm clutch. Reinstalled the transmission with no issues.
On to the loss of power problem! Chas agreed that Jane sounded very flat, almost like she wasn't running on all 8 cylinders. We checked spark and it was good. Changed the plugs just in case and then went for a test drive. No improvement.
Double-checked the timing (10 initial, 36 all in) and the adjustment of the valves (dead on). Went for a test drive again, still no improvement.
Oh yeah, and that brand new clutch? Bad right out of the box.
Heaviest pedal you could ever imagine and it was either all-on or all-off with no ability to feather it at all. Yes, it was installed right. And no, it wasn't supposed to be like that. So now we know that we need a new clutch - thus invoking the vicious "Jane's Law of Threes", which states that any part that is changed on the car must be changed three times. The original clutch makes one, the replacement (bad) clutch makes two, and the new clutch... well, hopefully it'd be three.
This is where it starts to get hairy. If you've got good spark, good fuel, good timing, and everything is properly adjusted... well, the dang thing should run well. So we rigged a dial indicator up to roughly measure the lift of the cam from the pushrods, just to check if anything had obviously gone flat. Well, the good news is that the cam wasn't wiped. But the readings were kind of all over the place so we concluded that it was pretty worn. This is interesting because this engine is a fairly fresh rebuild (~40,000 miles on it since the rebuild by the PO in the 80's). We started getting curious. Too curious.
So I took everything off of the front end of the engine (no small feat when you've got A/C, power steering, a mechanical fan with fan clutch, and a shroud all wrangled in there) and pulled the timing cover. We found that the timing chain was stupid stretched. There was so much slack in it that I could almost pull it off of the sprocket. Hello, problem one.
Well, a bad case of the "while I'm at it"s struck. I figured that if I had the front end of the engine off already and knew that the cam was worn, I might as well replace the cam. Thus...
I removed all of the extraneous stuff in preparation for removing the engine from the bay. While it's possible to change the cam out in the engine bay, I figured I would properly repaint the bay while I was at it... so the engine had to come out.
The whole time I was looking at that engine hoist I was thinking about the old saying - that an engine hoist is a tool used to test the tensile strength of all objects you've forgotten to disconnect from the engine
I made sure that wouldn't happen to me.
Pulled the engine! It came out easily and I didn't have to test the tensile strength of anything. Suspiciously successful. We took it out with the transmission attached so that we could swap out the offending clutch at the same time.
We pulled the cam out and surprise, surprise, no part numbers or any identifier on it. It was worn but not flat and not damaged, so that was good at least. The wear indicated that the cam had been in the car a whole lot longer than the other newer parts and we suspected that it had been pulled out of a different car.
I didn't have a degree wheel so we stuck it back in the engine and used the dial indicator to measure lift and duration as precisely as possible so that I could use the specs to buy a new cam with similar specs. I would have gotten a degree wheel but there were none available in my area and I didn't want to wait 2 days for one to ship, then another 2 days for a new cam based on my old cam, so I did the best I could.
I turned the engine over on the stand just to see what the bottom end looked like. All of the pistons were tight with no play in them and the bores still had really prominent crosshatching - a good sign! But as I looked closer at the bottoms of the pistons, I noticed something... several somethings. Yes, the previous owner had assembled the engine with not one, not two, but THREE
different brands of pistons. How in the hell they all worked together happily is beyond me. The engine was officially upgraded to "built by a rocket scientist" status at that point.
Now, some of you may be thinking that a reasonable person would mediate this problem! But I, being a rational but unreasonable person, concluded that they were happy that way (after all, the engine had been running fine for many, many miles) and thus that they would not want to be touched. So I turned a blind eye. And no, they didn't end up being the source of any future problems in this post
Didn't really do anything - just researched parts. I had been working on the car 12 hours a day and then going home and researching parts til 2 in the morning for the past week. There's a lot to learn when it comes to refreshing an engine so I had my hands full.
Ultimately I ordered a Lunati 10350700 (a cam that a lot of people seem to like as a nice mild performance cam), Lunati lifters, a new FlowKooler water pump, a Cloyes standard timing set (double rollers won't fit behind a '64 timing cover and I have a '64 block), a RAM 10.5" 3-finger clutch, new valve springs to match the cam (in case one of my old ones had lost its "springiness" somehow, leading to a loss in power), a Felpro full engine gasket set, aluminum header gaskets (Jane blows out header gaskets way too frequently), a new harmonic balancer (the original was losing its rubber), a bunch of Comp Cams break-in oil, and a degree wheel to double-check my old cam.
No work on the car - had a million things to do in preparation for travel.
Began cleaning up the engine bay in preparation for paint. At first I was just going to rattle can it, but I couldn't find a good solid engine bay semigloss or eggshell rattle can that I liked. So Chas offered use of his paint gun, opening up the holy BC/CC door. We decided we'd go with eggshell black.
I figured if we were going to go BC/CC I'd have to really do it right. So I spent the day sanding down all of the imperfections of the engine bay.
More sanding! I alternated sanding the engine bay with degreasing and cleaning up the engine. Because, you know, if we're going to paint the engine bay... well, the engine should look good too. Painted the engine Duplicolor Ford Blue. It's beautiful!
Brief interlude during which I had to fly to Denver, see Motley Crue / Alice Cooper in concert, and then drive my secondary vehicle to Austin, Texas (my new home).
Arrived back in NC from TX via plane. Went straight back to work. Had just a little more sanding to do to get it perfect! Masked off everything.
Painted the engine bay! I forget what brand of clear coat / flattening agent that we used, but they included a recipe with the flattening agent that said to mix 92% flattening agent to 8% clear coat to achieve an eggshell gloss. So we measured it out exactly, sprayed it out, and... yeah, way too glossy, even with only 8% clear in the mixture. Bummer.
Avoided the problem with the assumption that it would dull up as it dried and instead moved on to parts installation! First, we put the old cam back in the engine and bolted up the degree wheel to check out the specs.
It turned out that the specs on the cam using the very precise degree wheel were a lot... stronger?... than they had read out when only using the dial indicator. Lift measured at a hefty and simultaneously puzzling 0.418"intake/0.500"exhaust. Duration measured at 266/279 at 0.006" lift and 217/238 at 0.050" lift. Surprise, surprise. What I thought was a mild cam turns out to have been a pretty nasty bugger. I began to worry about the Lunati cam, which looked quite weeny in comparison. But it was too late to think about that!
We put in the new cam and lifters with a ton of assembly lube. I then swapped out the valve springs and put on the timing set.
[New springs on the right, old on the left]
[Old springs had little rings under them - I left them there as supposedly they are for improved oiling?]
All the new shiny parts were exciting but Jane's Law of Threes lurked in the back of my mind ominously.
We started the day with a survey of the engine bay, which was still far too glossy for either of our tastes. I prefer semigloss, Chas prefers eggshell, and neither of us prefer glossy. So I sprayed out some more flattening agent - just straight with no clear coat added in this time - and it came out PERFECT. Just gorgeous! This picture does it no justice.
While that dried, I continued engine assembly. Put in the rockers, adjusted them correctly, put on the oil pan, put on the intake, etc. Put on the timing cover, forgot that a bolt needed a spacer on it, and.... broke the timing cover. Just an ear off the top, but I figured that if I was going to go to all the trouble of painting the engine bay and the engine perfectly, it would be pretty stupid to then saddle it with a broken part. So off I went to NPD 2.5 hours away in a terrible thunderstorm to deflate my wallet a little more.
Started the morning by painting the new timing cover and vowing to not break this one. Installed it, the new FlowKooler water pump, the intake, and all kinds of brackets and dampers and what have you in preparation to stick the engine in. Also bolted up the new-new clutch.
Got there bright and early and put the engine back where it belongs. Bolted everything back onto the front end (A/C, power steering, alternator, fan, etc.), at which point I found that I had left the oil slinger off of the crank. Though the internet consensus appears to be that it's unnecessary, I didn't want to leave anything off that could possibly cause something to go horribly wrong. So everything came back off the front end of the engine... the oil slinger went on.... and everything went back on. This took quite a bit of time but I figured I was wrenching at a pretty good rate so it would be okay, even though it was now 5 days til I needed to drive to Texas.
With everything back on the engine, hooked up, and ready to go, I filled her up with coolant! At this point I found that the water pump leaked horribly (and who knows why). I had an extra gasket laying around so I drained all the coolant, took everything back off the front end of the engine AGAIN, and resealed the water pump.
After ensuring that the water pump didn't leak the second time around, we cranked the engine up for the first time! We spent twenty minutes breaking the cam in - all was well. However, Jane's idle was quite a bit smoother than it had been before and I was really apprehensive about driving for the first time. Fortunately, the sun went down so I was able to put off driving her for another day.
Instead, I went home in a state of total rage. I was totally burnt out from the car continually throwing wrenches into my plans so I threw rocks into the woods for a while and then went to bed.
I arrived fresh in the morning with a clearer head, just as intended. The moment of truth had arrived! I started Jane up and went to take her for a drive. And... well... I hated it. The new cam might have been "mild performance" compared to stock cams, but it wasn't anything compared to the grunt of my old cam. It was smooth, it was reliable, it made better vacuum, it didn't stumble right off throttle like the old cam did, and I hated it. Low end torque was fine but the mid range suffered a lot and there was no "holy cow I am about to die" seat of the pants feeling like she used to have. But that was all irrelevant because I didn't have time for another cam swap anyways - I had only 3 days before I had to go to Texas!
I put seven miles on her, at which point she had developed a pretty substantial oil leak. Surprise, the front seal had gone bad. I was looking at pulling the front end of the engine off... again... for the THIRD time in as many days.
To add insult to injury, as I was sitting there in the driveway contemplating the misery of my life, oil pressure started fluctuating like crazy and the engine then developed a very ominous WHUM WHUM WHUM
sound. You know, the sound that a bearing makes when it's spun.
I went home before I burned the car to the ground.
I was not at all interested in messing with the car again at this point, but something just kept pulling me back. So this is where it gets kind of insane.
We pulled the engine early in the morning to figure out where the problem was. It was definitely a bottom end problem, which was odd because we hadn't touched that part of the engine at all. I guess all we did was make fun of the pistons and that was enough to make it angry.
Interestingly, the oil showed no traces of metals at all - no chunks, no silvery sheen, nothing. We remained suspicious and tore the bottom end apart.
We started by pulling the oil pump. Now, I had tested this thing back this past spring when I was rebuilding the distributor, and it seemed to turn fine. And so it did this time as well - going FORWARDS. Going backwards was another story. The dang thing wouldn't turn at all going backwards, and going forwards it had a tendency to occasionally get stuck.
Some may remember that I've been having weird oil pressure issues this year where oil pressure would randomly drop a little (not frequently, and never to dangerous levels below 25psi). Because the oil pressure never dropped completely or reached dangerous levels, I pretty much lived with it. This was a big mistake, it turns out.
We dissected the pump and found that the insides were heavily scored. Chas commented that it was the worst he'd ever seen and he had no idea how it was still working even a little. Because of the scoring, the pump would get hung up intermittently. Hello, source of oil pressure problems.
We moved on to checking out the bearings. All of the rod bearings were happy - somewhat worn, but all okay. But two of the central main caps were a different story. None of them were spun but two had seen a lot of heat and were heavily scored down into the copper. Hello, source of noise.
So here I am with an engine that needs a crank kit and an oil pump. Pretty simple, really. But somehow no parts store within a 3 hour radius of me could get a crank kit in that day, and I really needed to get this thing back on the road!
This is the part where it goes from a frustrating story to an epic struggle of heroic proportions.
We were determined to not let the car beat us.
To be continued in the next post....