Cables, Timing Woes, and Exhaust Fumes

   Posted by: kdavis

Another good build weekend, but not without it’s complications.

Throttle Cable

The kit came with an efi-based throttle cable, which wasn’t really designed for my application. In doing my research on how to solve this, lots of very expensive and detailed solutions exist, including turning the carb around, adding a high end Holley bracket (like the one shown below), and mechanical linkages. One of the issues is that the cable has to make a bit of an S in order to exit the footbox at a point in front of the carb, and then make it’s way up and back to meet up with the carb linkage. All things considered, this wasn’t a huge deal for me, so I went with it, and left the curve in there. I still had to make myself a way to secure the cable though on both ends, which meant fabricating some brackets as well as cable attachment points.

I’m using the Russ Thompson throttle pedal that I got from Breeze and it included the ball joint linkage on the carb end. The linkage there is adjustable, so all you have to do it snip the end off of the FFR supplied cable, insert the cable and tightening it down. Makes for a nice install on that side.

On the pedal side, though, I had to get a little more creative. The connections to the pedal had a hole that was way to big for the linkage insert so I had to remove it and fabricate one. I’ve found that L brackets can be used in so many different ways, and this was no exception. I took one that I had, which had the perfect size holes in it already, cut both ends off to length to match the pedal one, and cut a slot in it so I could run the cable through. Easy peasy, and it works great.

To secure the cable on the manifold, I used a peice of an old bracket I had, cut it to size, bent it, drilled the right hole and painted it, and it works perfectly. I secured it to the manufacturer supplied bracket support and attached my return spring. It works really well.

A note about throttle position. I had seen several threads showing how the pedals lined up, and it was different than the OEM setup on most cars. I discovered thanks to the forum guys that you want to set your throttle pedal position at the bottom of the brake stroke so you can heel-toe them if you need to either for racing or for on-hill starts. This meant mine sits forward by about 2″ or so in front, and when I’m at WOT, it just hits the backstop, which is perfect.

Bracket:

Pics:

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Clutch Cable

I ordered my clutch cable with an aluminum quadrant and an adjustable quadrant from Mike Forte. It’s great stuff, but because it was originally designed to fit in a Mustang, the angle that it sits on the front of the footbox is wrong, which causes it to sit in a downward position slightly and thus, the cable rubs on the upper edge. This will eventually cause the cable to fray and brake, leaving me stranded. Not good. So, the best solution I found was to simple bend the footbox front upwards so it eliminated it. The bend required is pretty slight, only about 1/4″ probably. I accomplished this by taking a large socket in my breaker bar and bending UP from the footbox side and DOWN from the engine bay side (the pic is faked, I just included it so it shows what it looked like). A couple of tries and test fits and problem solved. I currently have the clutch cable adjusted so that I get about an inch of free play before it engages, which should be good.

The cable routing is something you need to consider as the cable needs to be routed in a fairly straight path and away from the heat of the headers. For my setup, this path came out of the footbox, down between the mechanical fuel pump and the oil filter, through the motor mount, and straight back to the clutch fork. This took care of the routing, but then I had to figure out how to secure it in order to keep it from rubbing on anything, and making sure I could get the oil filter out. The cable comes with it’s own bracket, but I modified it by cutting part of it off, drilling a hole in it and bending it to fit. I used a bolt to attach it to the inside head accessory bolt location (probably used for AC in the mustang). That got me pretty close, but I still didn’t like how it was rubbing on my brake fluid reservoirs, so I took another bracket I had and bent and drilled it so I could use the other accessory hole right next to it. This didn’t really move it much, but just enough to get it where I want. The bracket was pretty sharp, so to keep it from cutting over time, I took a large-diameter shrink tube I had and put it over the bracket, then heated to to shrink. That should keep it from messing up the outer skin of the cable.

Pics:

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Timing with the E-Curve 8503 Distributor by MSD

If I had never done any timing work at all with a distributor, perhaps it would have been easier to wrap my brain around the way this e-curve works. The reason for this is that the setup of this dizzy is pretty much the exact opposite that you would normally use. Typically, you decide what you want your advance to look like, set up the dizzy with the appropriate weights, figure out the vacuum, and set the initial timing. With this distributor, though, it’s pretty much the opposite. You decide what you want the total advance to be, then you set your timing (with a timing light) to that first, lock the thing down, and use the electronics to retard the timing to get your curve.

The e-curve was recommended by Mike Forte, and I think it’ll be good because we’re at 4500′ altitude, and we’ll likely run the car at different places around the US. So, instead of resetting the timing every time to make sure it runs right, I can pop the distributor off and switch the curve instead as conditions change. Thanks to the guys over on the ffcars.com forum, I was able to figure this out. Here’s the link to the thread over there if you’re interested.

For the Ford 302/5.0L, most guys recommend an initial timing of about 12-14 degrees, with a total advance of about 34-36 degrees at 3000 RPM. I am still tweaking my setup, but after much frustration and trial and error, finally got it setup. I’m not happy with my curve yet, or the idle speed, so I need to work on it a bit more. It was suggested that I pull and plug the vacuum hose for now to pull out the vac advance, so I’ll give that a shot next.

Here are the steps for setting the E-Curve 8503. The manual is a little crappy, so this might help (you’ll need the manual still.)

1) Figure out how much vacuum advance you have, which will give you what part of the table to use.
2) Decide which curve you want overall, such as 25 degrees, and when you want it to come in (based on RPM’s).
3) Find top dead center TDC on your engine. I’m running GT40p’s on mine, and found that you can actually shine a light into the #1 plug (passenger front) hole and see the stroke. For me, this matched perfectly to the original harmonic balancer marks. If you can’t do the light trick, you can also put your finger over the hole (cool engine) and feel the pressure increase as you move the engine with a pry bar (I found it easier to do this from the alternator bolt than on the crank). TDC will come when the pressure builds and pops your finger out/off of the hole.
4) At TDC, figure out which post on the dizzy that the rotor is pointing to. This is your #1 spark plug wire post. Use the appropriate firing order to put the plug wires on.
5) Set the dials inside the e-curve to 1-0 and 1-0 (both at 0).
6) Set your timing with a timing light and the degree tape to your desired TOTAL advance. In my case, I set it to 35.
7) Kill the engine and set the dials to the right settings for the curves you decided on with 1 and 2 above. In my case, I started with 1-4 and 1-5. I think that this is too much advance, or possibly too much initial retard. I’m currently seeing an initial timing of about 13 degrees and full advance at 3000 rpm of about 42 degrees. The reason I think it’s too much initial is that it runs very rough at the recommended 800-900 rpm, and seems to ease up a bit at about 1025. I’d like to run it a little slower, so I think I’ll change the curve and see what happens.

I’m running the 302, with E303 cam, GT40P heads, and a Holley Street Avenger 570cfm carb. I’m running the msd blaster 2 coil. A separate ignition like the 6AL isn’t required. If you look at pricing on some of the aftermarket setups, because the e-curve is self contained, it’s not that much more than a full setup.

NOTE!! – If you are running headers and you like the way they look, make sure that you set your carb so that it’s not lean when setting timing, AND make sure you let your headers cool off periodically. A lean and badly timed engine will run way hot, and will fry your headers. At $500+ a pair, this would suck. I noticed even running for a few minutes, I got some smoke off of mine, so I didn’t mess around and made sure my primaries were set right and the float levels were too.

Curve Chart from the MSD Manual:

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Links:

More Talk about Color

I manged to waste a good bit of my buddy Mike’s Friday talking about paint colors. As I get closer to finishing the initial build steps, my thoughts are turning towards actually pulling the body off the ceiling and getting the many many hours of body work started, which will then include shooting some test paint. My paint color saga has been an ever dynamic one, and I have found it quite difficult to settle on a color. I originally wanted orange, but since Mike’s car is orange, I don’t want really to copy him since it’ll spend a lot of time with his car. Then I was looking at silver, which I think is just really cool. But then I was looking at more super-car type colors like yellow and green. I couldn’t find any green ones I liked so I did a mockup. I actually really like the green and I was pretty sure I wanted to go that direction, but the more I looked at it, the more I realized that it’s such an obnoxious color, I’m not sure my ego can deal with the mocking and snears from spectators.

So, I think at this point, I’m leaning back towards silver. This will really look good with my 2 tone black and gray/silver interior. I’m still not settled on the shade yet or the strip color. I’m leaning either towards a darker charcoal type gray with black strips or the titanium silver with white stripes. The contrast of the black stripes seems to be a little nicer. I’d love to hear comments on it if you have any.

Pics:

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Misc

I managed to get my transmission refilled (I drained it to keep it from leaking all over the floor when I installed the engine) this weekend as well. My upper drain plug is totally locked in, so I discovered that the mustang guys simply use the shifter hole to refill theirs. All you have to do is take the 4 bolts off and pour the fluid down there. I used mercon/dexron III, and it holds 3 quarts.

I also got started on cleaning up the wiring, and did the over-the-footbox area with zip ties, paying close attention to keeping things out of the way of the pedal movement and just cleaning things up. I’m glad I have plenty of zip ties. I also cleaned up the engine bay a bit so that things will look cleaner and stay in place and away from the headers.

So, my next steps here are to clean up the rest of the wiring behind the dash, get the dash installed fully with the holy crap bar in place and ducting for the heater, plus get my choke cable routed (I did manual choke as the electrics seem to be problematic), and I might even start the seams on the body, we’ll see.

First Start – Part II – A Year Later

   Posted by: kdavis

This was an awesome weekend, and made some pretty monumental progress, all things considered. Not that I really accomplished that much, but the actual things that did get done were pretty huge in the life of the project.

The weekend was spent preparing for, and executing the first start of the engine…the second time around. I actually did a test fire in the frame about a year ago, with temporary wiring and setup, etc. This time around, though, the engine is in and should stay in now. I managed to get the whole drive train in, engine, transmission, drive shaft (with safety loop), and all of the wiring connected from the chassis to the engine.

First “Real” Start

Most of the weekend work went towards the first start of the engine from it’s permanently installed position. I managed to get the engine dropped in, by myself with the help of my engine hoist, lift, ratcheting tie downs, and a lot of patience.

The length of the engine with transmission on it, combined with the relatively small engine bay made dropping the engine in by myself a bit of a challenge, but after a few hours, I managed to get it in place and mounted down. I was also able to get the transmission mount secured. After it was in place, then came hooking up the miscellaneous wiring (tach, coil, alternator, starter, etc.), and then getting all of the various tubing and lines hooked up (heater hoses, vacuum lines, etc.)

I was so excited to get the headers installed again and then the newly coated side pipes mated up to them. I was amazed at how well the ceramic from NitroPlate matched up, it looks like they were coated at the same time, and they look awesome! I elected to not get all of the high temp rtv on the header to side pipes for now, just in case I need to take things back apart to get everything aligned.

A bit of a surprise to me actually, not only did the motor fire on the first try after the fuel got pulled in, but the tach works, gauges all work right, and it worked pretty nicely.

Still a bit of work to be done with the engine, including the throttle cable, cleaning up the wire and hose routing, and then getting the timing set and carb adjusted to maximize power and throttle response.

Video:

Dropping in the Engine – as you can see in the video, I had forgotten that you can’t get the engine in from the front, it’s better on the side. I also needed to take the right front tire off so I could get closer to the chassis. The one issue I had was that I never adjusted my engine hoist so that I could maximize the angle of insertion. I ended up needing to use some ratcheting tie downs to get things where they needed to be. It worked out just fine, a couple of paint nicks in the firewall aluminum, but nothing a little touch up paint can’t handle. This is about 45 minutes worth of video condensed to 3 minutes. As you can see, lots and lots of fine tuning. I love the parts where I’m standing on the lift and using my foot to lower it. ;->

First Start Video:

Throttle isn’t hooked up, so I’m doing that by hand, and the clutch safety switch as well.

Pics:

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Forte’s Drive Shaft Safety Loop:

This doesn’t seem to be a hugely popular option for these cars, but given that you’re right arm is resting directly above the drive shaft, and having seen pictures of the drive shaft coming up through that area, probably not a bad idea.

I had planned on drilling and tapping the holes for mounting the loop, but as I was looking a bit at my hardware drawers, I remembered that I had some self-drilling metal screws. I figured with 8 of them, considering that the loop is fairly light, these should be great.

I ended up drilling out 1/8″ holes on both sides (4 holes each side), then used the screw gun to get the screws drilled and screwed all the way in. I was impressed with how secure it all feels, and the process took about a 10th of the time drilling, tapping, and bolting them down would have.

The screws are normally aluminum colored, as you see in the pics, but I shot them with some black spray paint so they are less obvious.

This is the type of screw I used, but I’m not sure where they came from, probably Lowes.

Pics:

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Clutch Pedal and Cable:

The routing and securing of the clutch cable is a bit of a challenge on these cars. I still haven’t addressed all of the issues (the cable is rubbing the adjustable quadrant), but I did manage to get the cable installed and also fabbed up some brackets.

One of the issues with the cable is keeping it away from the headers, and making it work smoothly. There are lots of options on where to mount the bracket in the engine bay. Many people simply mount it to the driver’s side F panel, which seems to work. Because where I mounted my brake fluid reservoirs, this wasn’t an option. I decided to use one of the accessory mounting holes in the driver’s side head instead. This worked well, and allowed for a nice and straight cable, between the fuel pump and oil filter, then straight under the motor mounts to the clutch fork. A little massaging was necessary to get it all lined out and not rubbing, as well as keeping it off of the oil filter itself. I’m still not 100% satisfied with how it’s riding against the fuel line, so I’ll probably fabricate an additional bracket to use the 2nd accessory hole in that head.

Another issue with the clutch cable is getting the clutch pedal aligned correctly when the clutch cable is in it’s “rest” position. With most adjustable quadrants, the clutch pedal will sit 3-4″ in front of the brake pedal (towards the driver), which would not only look funny, but would be annoying and potentially dangerous as you switch between the pedals.

The solution for this issue is to fabricate a “stop” so that when the clutch cable is adjusted, the pedal won’t go all the way forward. On the fox body pedal box, there are 2 holes (at least in mine) that sit under part of the pedal assembly near where the quadrant goes. I took a fairly low-tech approach, and made a “stop” out of 1/2 of an L bracket I had. I drilled 2 holes to attach the bracket, positioned the pedal where I wanted it to stop, and measured and cut the bracket to length to hold it in that position. My clutch pedal cover and the brake pedal cover aren’t quite aligned, so need to still fix that angle, but that’s pretty easy.

Pics:

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Next steps in getting the car moving under it’s own power is getting the transmission filled back with fluid. Unfortunately, the upper fill “bolt” is frozen, and rather than risk breaking it off, I found out you can fill the transmission through the shifter hole, so I’ll give that a shot.

Attaching the throttle cable from the pedal to the carb is a bit of a challenge on these cars as well, so I’ll need to come up with a solution for that. I’m trying to avoid dropping $100 on a Holley throttle cable bracket. It’s possible to turn the carb around backwards as well, but I’m also trying to avoid that.

I’d love to get the wiring all buttoned up, zip tied, and taped, but I need to shake the car down a little bit first, just in case something shows up with the wiring. That way I can access everything without having to cut zip ties.

Moving right along!

Welcome to the New Blog!

   Posted by: kdavis

We’ve been doing a bunch of new blogs and application development, and we’ve moved everything over to self-hosted WordPress blog sites instead of blogger, so I decided to move my Roadster blog over as well, and update the design.

Hope you like it. To follow the blog and get updates on the build, use the subscribe button on the bottom left menu under “site information.”

Thanks!

Rough In Wiring Complete

   Posted by: kdavis

A bit of a milestone here, I’m finally done with my rough in electrical for the car. I’m calling it a “rough in” since it’s pretty much the same as what you’d do on a house. All of the major components are there, and I can’t really do much more until some other stuff starts to come together like the aluminum, engine in, body on (lights), etc.

This weekend I was able to finish up pre-wiring for my linear actuators both front and back, pre-wiring for the trunk latch popper, and adding the LA switches. From there, I was able to get the dash all hooked up and clamped into place. The wires are a complete mess, but I’m not going to get into too much of a hurry cleaning it all up until the engine is back in, and I verify all of the related circuits.

The minor miracle of the day? Everything actually worked. ;-> My headlight reminder chime, my manual rear backup lights, foot activated hi beams, the linear actuator switches, foot box lights, door switches, and the extra complicated headlight and interior light setup, etc. Heck, even the indicator lights for the tangent running lamps, hi beams, and turn signals (with reminder buzzer) worked. Frankly, I was surprised.

So, the next step is even more exciting for me than this one…dropping the engine back in, and actually hooking up the driveshaft, etc. I’m currently on the cusp of having it actually move under it’s own power (still lots to do before that.)

I shot a video for wiring the linear actuators, and once I get it edited, I’ll post it here. Probably not that important for these builds since very few people would do them, but hopefully useful for someone.

Pics:

Side Pipes, Turn Signal Buzzers, Audio, and Wiring

   Posted by: kdavis

Christmas came a 2nd time last week, and brought me my freshly coated Side Pipes, thanks to NitroPlate. Return shipping was a bit higher than getting it down there, but the guys put them in a nice sturdy box, so they made it back home safely. All in all, under $260 for shipping and coating. The other options I found were almost twice that price, and they look great.

As you can see by the pics, the hours I spent grinding the welds was time well spent, the connections are nice and smooth.

Pics:

Hidden Stereo Progress:

Part of finishing up the wiring includes figuring out the plan of attack for the stereo. I had already settled on doing a hidden stereo setup, utilizing my ipod touch, a main amp and sub amp to drive 4 full range speakers and 2 10″ subs.

Over the summer, I discovered this cool little docking station with an RF remote for my Ipod, and it occurred to me that since it’s RF, I can setup the ipod in the trunk, and run it from a little gum-sized remote, with everything hidden. I had already planned on having an inverter back there for utility, and I actually found one that has a 5V USB port on it. That will allow me to connect the docking station right to the inverter for power, and it’ll charge the Ipod while it’s running. I did a test hook up yesterday, and it worked great. I also have a 12v power port (3 of them actually), and a 3.5mm hidden jack that I can use up front, in case it ultimately proves to be a pain having the ipod in the back. Interestingly, the dock will wake up your ipod when needed, so you don’t have to get back into the trunk to turn it on.

If your interested in what I’m using (amps and Speakers are of lower quality, in a roadster with side pipes, sound quality is hardly an issue,) here is a list and links to amazon.


Dock Station Ipod with rf Remote

The Dock: Dock Station Ipod with rf Remote

Legacy LA160 4 Channel 300 Watt Amplifier4 Channel Amp: Legacy LA160 4 Channel 300 Watt Amplifier

Legacy LA120 240 Watts 2 Channel Amplifier

2 Channel Amp: Legacy LA120 2 Channel 240 Watt Amplifier

Pyle PL53BL 5.25-Inch 200 Watt Three-Way Speakers

Pyle 5.25″ Speakers for Under the Doors: PYLE-PRO PMDK102 – Heavy-Duty Aluminum Anodizing Dual Speaker Stand & 1/4” Cable Kit

Pyle PL63BL 6.5-Inch 360-Watt 3-Way Speakers

Pyle 6.5″ Speakers for the Rear Deck: Pyle PL63BL 6.5-Inch 360-Watt 3-Way Speakers

PYLE PLW10BL 10-Inch 600 Watt Subwoofer

Pyle 10″ Subs: PYLE PLW10BL 10-Inch 600 Watt Subwoofer

Pics: – The rest of these have quality that is pretty bad, my normal camera bit it, so time to find another one.

Electrical Progress:

Since it’s been several months since I’ve actually worked on the electrical system, it took me a little while to actually figure out what was what. I had made some pretty good drawings of my relay setups, but had neglected to label all of the wires, so I did end up having to do some tracing to figure out which wire went which component.

After getting everything mapped and labeled, I was able to make some more progress, and I’m nearing the completion of the electrical system. I still need to pre-wire for the linear actuators in the trunk and hood areas, and wire for the trunk popper, plus get the dash all wired in and tested, but fairly soon, the rough in will be completed and the engine can go back in.

Turn Signal Buzzer:

Since these cars were built prior to the days when all cars have self-canceling turn signals, and because mine will have a simple ON-OFF-ON (left, off, right) turn signal switch, there’s an inherent tendency towards that “little old lady” syndrome where you end up driving for miles with your turn signal on. You not only look like a moron, but if someone sees you coming with your blinker on, they may accidentally turn in front of you when you’re actually not turning, which is bad.

So, one solution, which has been done many times, is to put in a simple buzzer that will be activated when you put the turn signal on. The annoying “buzz, buzz, buzz” will serve as a reminder that the signal is on. Chances are, at speed, I’ll never hear it over the pipes, but when I make my way to the next stop, I will.

Here’s how I wired it:

Parts:

1) Piezo Buzzer – Radio Shack VersionAlternative Version

2) Wire to the Turn Signal Circuits
3) Diodes
4) Misc Connectors

Setup:

Basically, the buzzer is just wired into turn signal circuit. There are several ways to accomplish this, but since my harness already has a separate line for both Left and Right signals AND a separate wire for the indicators on both sides, I decided to just wire the HOT side of the buzzer into the left and right indicator circuits.

This meant splitting the incoming line for the indicator lights into 2 feeds, one FROM the harness, and one TO the buzzer. Since the buzzer only has one hot feed, that also meant that I had to connect both the left and right leads to it. This would normally lead to back feeding across that wire, so I added a diode to each side with the flow towards the buzzer. That means that power can go down one leg into the buzzer, but when it comes back up to the other side, the diode will prevent it from getting to the rest of the circuit and back feeding to the other indicator light or signal.

I tested everything and found that my indicator lights weren’t fully blinking. I could see the voltage drop, but not a full off and on. Thanks to the guys on the forum, I realized later that it is because the turn signal lights themselves are an integral part of the circuit, and without them, the voltage won’t drop like it should. I’ll test again with all bulbs in place, but I’m confident it’ll be fine.

Pics:

So…the next step is pre-wiring my leads for the LA’s and also getting the dash all wired up again. Until next time.