March 30, 2012

Cougar Stripping.....

Spent some time getting the rest of the parts off the Cougar, including the side mouldings, door hardware, rear end trim andthe valance.

When I removed the quarter panel extensions I could see how filler was used to make the panels fit flush. After a little digging I found it was nearly 3/8 of an inch thick in spots.

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March 29, 2012

I see spark - but no flame!

Here are all the things installed over the past week: Left of the dial gauge is a toggle switch for the electric fan system - which will allow me to over-ride the auto-on feature, thus saving battery power. Last year, I found that when it turned on due to heat-soak (when the engine was switched off) it would kill the battery in short order.The only time I really need the fan to come on on is when waiting in a line-up on hot days. In those situations the temperature can climb to over 250F, but with the fan on it will stay at 180F.

The A/F gauge has both an LED sweep and a digital readout, which shows both instantaneous information as well as real-time data.

The black button to the right is for the Flame Thrower system. It's a momentary switch that lights up the spark plugs in the tailpipes. But even though the plugs have plenty of power arcing across them, no flamage! I guess I'll have to do some tuning to see if I can richen it up enough to produce some flames.... shows just how efficent (and environmentally freindly?) the old 390FE is!

As the Cougar will be here a while and I need to get other cars on and off the lift, I did a little re-organizing. I put the lift on it's casters and rolled its in front of the main door.

The Cougar is now tucked into it's own area with lots of space around it for my
brake, metal bench and welders.

This also left enough room for a dedicated engine area,
which can be draped off when they are back from the machine shop.

March 26, 2012

What's in the mail today? A flame thrower?!

For years I've had some notes scribbled on a piece of paper on how to make an exhaust flame-thrower. Although I knew it could be done it was when Stacey David showed how on Gearz that I knew I would put it on one of my cars. It's easy enough to set up, only costing a couple used coils, some long thread spark plugs, a push button and some wires. This being 2012 though, someone has made up a really nice kit, with digital controllers and everything included - so I ordered up a HotLicks flame-throwing kit and it showed up today:

I thought, for $140, it wasn't bad. If you sourced a everything new, you'd be out at least that much. Of course like anything, I could have cobbled it together from parts I had laying around the shop - but the older I get, the more I like to use new, quality components in the things I do. It may be 180 degrees from a Porsche, but at least it can be made up of decent parts!

Stay tuned - later this week I'll get at and we'll see if I can get it installed without burning the shop down...

Don't forget to check out the website at ! Special thanks to and !

March 25, 2012

Tools for this operation.
Here all the chrome pieces are wrapped and labelled for storage. These pieces will likely be some of the last pieces to be replaced on the restored Cougar.
As with any restoration, I carefully bag and label every part and store fasteners, clips and seals with the parts they came from.
The roof still shows the markings used to align the seams of the vinyl top.

While I was cruising the net tonight I noticed a photo of my shop on the BendPak lift website:


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March 24, 2012

Getting back to the Cougar

With the Galaxie more or less done (stay tuned for the final tuning), I turned my attention back to the 1967 Cougar that is undergoing a complete resto. While my part in this build is only partial teardown and the metalwork, it'll still be enough to keep me busy for 6 to 8 months (68 months??! No - 6 TO 8 months...haha...don't tell me you haven't seen Madagascar? I love those penguins)

Today I needed to strip the vinyl roof and although much of the pre-work was done when my buddy Chase from Showtime Glass removed the front and rear glass, I still needed to remove the window opening/drip rail trim, which is made up of three separate pieces, plus the rubber seal.

After removing the rubber seal that inserts into the window opening area, you'll find flat headed screws all long the molding. Remove these, then slowly pry the wide channel-moulding down and out, be careful not to pry to much on any one spot which will bend it easily.

Here a shot showing the tools I used - a pair of channel lock pliers with the jaws well-taped to avoid marring the trim and a putty knife (or two). You'll also use a razor knife and a small pry bar, preferably plastic to avoid marring the chrome. The key to this operation is to SLOWLY work the drip rail moulding off a little at a time, working back and forth along the rail until it loosens, then putting the putty knives in between the moulding and body to hold it apart.

Once the outer drip moulding is off, you can gently pry up the the piece that keep the vinyl tight into the drip edge. It'll pop out, allowing access to the vinyl roof material.

Once all these trim pieces are off, it's just a matter of pulling the vinyl back over itself and maybe using a putty knife to release any well-stuck parts, and maybe cutting around the tight corners with a razor.

As they say: "Wala"!

(M wife hates when I write it like that, instead of "Viola".....)

Don't forget to check out the website at! Special thanks to and!

March 23, 2012

Wiring, tuning and detailing....

Now that the old Gal (the plate actually says OUR GAL) is of the lift I was able to do a bunch of wiring, fix a broken tach pedestal detial the engine bay. I left the tune-up until tomorrow when it's supposed to be warmer and I won't have to use the exhuast hoses out the door.

On saturday I went out to put another couple of coats of "trim black" (a semi-gloss color that looks very factory on various trim, engine and suspension parts). My youngest son, Colton came with me to inspect the changes in our favrouite summer ride. He got in, got re-aquainted with the stuffed toy who resides on the dash of the Galaxie and proceded to go through all the functions on the new stereo's remote unit. Of course now that he's developed a sense of music and has his own specific tastes (LMFAO...) he informed me the Beatles sucked. Anywas, it was nice to have him out for a while and soon his brother Colby joined him. It almost seemed like summer...

As an interlude, here's a few photo's of my past projects to look at:

Don't forget to check out the website at ! Special thanks to and !

March 22, 2012

Finishing Touches

After 3 years of working on other peoples projects I took a short break to work on my own summer ride, our 67 Ford Galaxie. Over 10 years of ownership I had been making a list of repairs and upgrades and it's nice to finally have them all done!

The torque boxes and custom exhaust was a lot of work, but well worth the effort. The suspension bushings, KYB shocks and Addco sway bars will make a HUGE difference in the way she rides and handles and the stereo and Air/Fuel meter will go a long way to improving drivability. Tomorrow I'll warm it up outside and post up initial A/F readings, then make some carb adjustments to see how close to optimum it can get.

Like a lot of gear-heads, I watch all the car shows on TV, including Two-Guys Garage, Powerblock and Gears and it's always amazing at how talented those guys are and how quickly they get stuff done. Seems every time I do something similar - like custom exhaust - it takes me days or even weeks to do what they do in 30 minutes! Couldn't just be the editing now - could it? ;)

Of course a true custom exhaust system - where the pieces are all cut to length, the splices butt welded and the welds finished takes a ton more time that does sliding pre-made pieces over each other and bolting them in with U-bolt clamps. For example, on the hangar in the photo on the right I tack-welded it from behind -  to do away with the U-bolt clamp and so you can't see the weld from the rear of the car. 

Once it was all completed and tucked up close to the floor without a U-bolt in sight, it's all worth the effort involved. Even more so, when you light it up and hear the growl a 2.5 inch free-flow system gives up at idle, you know you did the right thing!

The rear sway-bar setup was not as elegant as ones I'd seen in a magazine as of late, whereby the bars bolted directly to the trailing arms, but they sure do look like they locate the rear end solidly. This bar bolts to a plate, whcih then bolts to the trailing arms. I can't wait until Mrs E-tek tried to get away from me and the Galaxie in the corners in her Mini-Cooper this year!!

Lastly, I made up a bracket to hang the A/F meter under the dash and wired it in such a way that it was easily removable should I want to move it to another car. I'm not sure if I've seen one, but they really should be available as a hand-held tuning tool.

This preliminary reading of 14.9 was taken before the Gal was warmed up today. An optimal reading is supposed to be 12.5, and over 14.7 is said to be lean....which doesn't make much sense right now, as with the car not warmed up the choke would be on resulting in a rich mixture. Oh well, tomorrow we'll figure it out!

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March 20, 2012

I was worshipping at the shrine today ( Princess Auto!) 
when I caught a glimpse of this sweet-looking ride:

Plenty of travel for sure, but, a  major drawback here is the tire size and position of rear sway bar. Looks like there's only about 8-10" of clearance back there, which mean it'd hang up on any decent sized rock or log.

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March 19, 2012

Aftermarket support

We get a lot of aftermarket support here at E-tek. This month there's been a veritable deluge of promotional material making it's way in to the shop. A couple of the cooler things where some huge SUMMIT Racing banners and this MOROSO/Competition Engineering banner:

Of course good PR is easy - build great products, send out some of that product andsome PR materials to the right places and get your company name in as many places as possible!

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March 15, 2012

Sometimes customizing means doing it twice - or more

I didn't really love the way the exhaust system ended upon the Galaxie, so today I cut it apart and tweaked the rear half again to get the muffler closer to the floor and extend the pipes right out to the bumper.

After all that cutting, grinding and welding, I turned my attention to my pre 47 Flathead block. i have been searching for one for a few ears now after the original block powering my 46 Mercury truck developed a massive crack. Here's the link to that tear-down on and here's the link to a thread I put up on FTE - Ford Truck Enthusiasts.

Early Flatheads have part of the bell housing cast into the block, so it doesn't really fit on a standard engine stand. Below is a method of attaching a FH blcok from the exhaust manifold bolt holes:

As is fairly obvious, this engine stand was made completely from scrap. The base was made from the parts that held my BendPak lift together during shipping and the engine cradle bits where just procured this week from my local steel recycler. The entire cost? About $35 including the casters.

I've actually been through several blocks to find one that MIGHT be salvageable. A lot of the blocks you find now-a-days have either been tossed for a good reason, or have been sitting in out in the elements exposed to water for years. This one has some light rust in one cylinder, but I'm hoping that can be repaired during boring. When I take it in for a hot tanking, I'll have them magnuflux and sonar the block to look for cracks and casting irregularities.

Lastly for today, lets talk tools.
Today I finally replaced my drill bit set.  I had long been relying on High Speed Steel (HSS) sets and sharpening them - either by hand on the grinder which is a difficult skill to master, or with a specific sharpening tool like the Drill Doctor. However this time I promised myself I'd by some quality bits so when I saw this Titanium Coated set from Canadian Tire, on sale for $40, I jumped!

Regardless of what you buy - quality or not - using tools other than for what they where intended will often lead to failure. Case in point was me using the hammer below to pry a rubber bushing from one of the lower control arms.....D'oh!

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