Monday, March 31, 2008

Weekend progress

Good weekend for working on the coupe. First, I changed the oil, which had been contaminated with coolant during the intake manifold excitement. It came out looking creamy. I guess the oil has enough detergents to keep the water in suspension rather than letting it settle out.

Next, I installed the battery in my new battery frame. The battery is still located in the same location under the trunk and just behind the differential. After all the trouble I went through building my aluminum battery box, I just wasn't happy with it. I didn't like the fact that it was held in by aluminum rivets loaded in shear. The new frame is welded steel, and it is very strong. A little gloss black spray paint to match the power coating and hide my ugly welds and it looks great too. I should have some pictures, but I don't.

I got it to idle by adjusting the throttle stop screw. Seems to be OK now. The timing was dead on at 10 BTDC. So I guess I did it right when I set the distributor.

Then the big task was an access panel for the driver side footbox. I have mounted some terminal strips, a fuse, etc. up there, so I needed access. I really liked Detroit Kim's access panel on the ffcobra forum. So I attempted to emulate. Mine isn't as good, but it isn't too bad, either:

The rivets hold a clip on the back side that secures the rear part. I'll put a few rivnuts top, bottom, and front to secure it. But the back will actually slide under the body a little bit, so the clip will avoid some inaccessible fasteners.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

First start!

I started the coupe today. Here's the unedited video of the first time I pushed the starter button. For the full experience, be sure to view this with good speakers and the volume loud enough to make small children cry. (Luke cried.)


It didn't want to idle, probably because the timing was way off.

It almost didn't happen. When I filled the motor with coolant, it just poured out the back, coming from between the intake manifold and the head. So on Saturday, we pulled the intake manifold and it became obvious what the problem was. The heads are 289 heads, but the intake is from a 302. The 289 heads are actually a little bit shorter than the 302, with narrower water passages. The result is that the water passage at the rear of the drivers side actually overhangs the rear of the head!

So I used some J B Weld to narrow the water passages in the intake, new gaskets, and plenty of silicone to make the seal. But when we got it all buttoned back up, it still leaked like crazy. I had managed to get a wire pinched under the rear of the intake. Doh! Pulled the intake again (intact) and replaced the gaskets again.

In between, I also wired the dash, tightened up the wiring under the car, attempted to set the timing, and did a million other things.

I have several issues to resolve. There's a tiny fuel leak. The timing is way off, or perhaps there's some other reason why it would barely idle. And the battery is junk. (It's the donor Mustang battery. I didn't want to buy a new battery until I was ready to use it.)

Monday, March 03, 2008

Wiring coming together

I continued working on the wiring this weekend.

The I-Squared was having some trouble with my fan. Seems that the initial current draw for the electric fan was too high for the I-Squared. One option would be to dedicate two separate circuits to the fan. Another would be to build some kind of inrush limiter circuit, either a fancy active circuit or an inrush limiting thermistor. But in the end, the simplest thing was to just buy a $35 fan control module from AutoZone and skip the I-Squared on this circuit. I got it mostly wired up. The fan operates thermostatically with a probe in the radiator. I also have an override switch to turn it on, and there's one more wire I need to connect so that the A/C also turns it on.

Then I turned my attention to the EFI harness. I spent a long time tracing and labeling the wires on the three connectors that go to the Mustang body harness. Those have things like the gauge wires and power inputs on them. I nearly drove myself nuts with a light green/purple wire that came off one of these and just seemed to go nowhere. Finally traced it to a plug labeled "To Heater". I still don't know what it is, but I know where it goes.

I removed the EEC power relay from the harness. I'm running my power from the I-Squared, so there was no need for this relay. But I decided I do still want a fuel pump relay so that the computer can control the fuel pump. I also decided to put the inertia switch directly on the fuel pump circuit instead of on the I-Squared control circuit. If I crash and that switch opens, I want the fuel pump off no matter what. So I found a spot near the fuel filler to mount the relay and switch, and I'll make an access panel from the trunk area.

I'd have finished up the EFI wiring yesterday, but I took most of the day off from the car because it was Stephanie's birthday. So I still have a few connections to make and wires to run, but it should all come together soon.

[This post should have been published 3/3, but Blogger was crashing on me.]