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solfly
solfly Dork
7/8/21 7:50 p.m.

"Done" > perfect

Dear God do I relate with that rabbit hole snowballing a project. Good call on getting it done enough to enjoy and sort out what you've already done

Shavarsh
Shavarsh Reader
7/19/21 11:16 a.m.

Next up, lots of smaller accomplishments. First tacking all of the bolts into the fuel fill stud plate:

Then creating some clearance for the fuel fill and lines to exit the top of the cell:

The rear seat area also got welded in. The rear seat mounts were removed and will be done again.

After that, I whipped up a couple of bumper supports to get welded inside the car. Then I drilled and welded some nuts into the bar running around the trunk to receive the 2nd set of bumper mounting bolts. All of this allowed me to mock up the bumper and rear panel.

I believe the fuel cell now has more ground clearance than the stock tank did, very satisfied with that.

TheWraith
TheWraith New Reader
7/20/21 10:29 a.m.

Just made it through all your work, so much awesomeness. 

Shavarsh
Shavarsh Reader
7/20/21 12:27 p.m.

In reply to TheWraith :

Thanks Wraith! much appreciated, will be following your malibu thread

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
7/20/21 1:02 p.m.

I like the new cell solution WAY BETTER than the last. Awesome work.

Shavarsh
Shavarsh Reader
7/20/21 11:46 p.m.

Thanks Duster! 

Next up, the battery box was welded in and the tie down strap was made:

Shavarsh
Shavarsh Reader
8/4/21 10:33 a.m.

I needed to attach the bladder to the top plate of the fuel cell. I decided using the stock mounting scheme was the best idea and got to work. After brazing the provided bolts to the provided ring it was clearly not an ideal solution. To replace it I mad an aluminum ring that is threaded and will have the stainless bolts threaded through with red loctite to retain them. After the first and second version shown I made a third a bit thicker to increase the thread engagement.

 

Next I headed to the junkyard to pickup a driveshaft, rear miata caliper, seatbelts, and just a little more scope creep...

Shavarsh
Shavarsh Reader
8/4/21 2:51 p.m.

I really enjoyed figuring out and building the "y pipe in the bay" single exhaust for this car. However there are some shortcomings including extra heat in the bay, hard to seal ball and socket connections, proximity to fuel lines/pump, and limited flow. I had previously decided that headers were out of scope for the current round of modifications... buuut

 

I had read somewhere that 1990 Lincoln towncars had special steel exhaust manifolds. So while I was in the yard I checked to see if any were still there. All three cars I checked still had them so I took a set home. 

 

Without looking too closely the drivers side fit pretty well. After cutting off the flange they might not even collide with the steering shaft. For the passenger side I went with a v6 style mod to fit the manifold.

 

Disclaimer: I don't think these manifolds will flow particularly well. In fact the cross section in the ports is likely even smaller than the explorer manifolds. However these have a better flow path without sharing runners, and allow the exhaust to exit off the back of the heads.

 

Shavarsh
Shavarsh Reader
8/4/21 3:03 p.m.

Next up the manifolds needed to be put back together. The passenger side needed more modification than the drivers side to clear the fenderwell, however the drivers side needed to miss the bellhousing, steering shaft, and clutch fork. Did I mention I don't have time to be messing with the exhaust? This was a grinder and mig welder type job to get it done quickly! It was actually really enjoyable to worry less about the finer details and accomplish something rapidly.

Shavarsh
Shavarsh Reader
8/4/21 3:19 p.m.

So now we have rear exit headers, we need a y pipe. I am using band clamps to connect the headers to the y pipe, which is 2" to 2.5".

 

At this point I remembered that I saved the merge from the thunderbird (differential donor) 

 

Tacked up in the car:

 

Welded on the bench:

 

Back in the car to confirm the fit:

Shavarsh
Shavarsh Reader
8/19/21 10:26 p.m.

After having the towncar driveshaft shortened, new universals, and new small pattern 8.8 flange installed, it got a coat of paint.

 

 

The old driveshaft was a tight fit lengthwise, too large in diameter, and I am fairly certain it was to blame for a vibration above 70mph. I am very happy with the new driveshaft, hopefully it works well.

Shavarsh
Shavarsh Reader
8/31/21 2:08 p.m.

As discussed here: Link I did not get the driveshaft measurement right and ended up with too much exposed yoke at the transmission (about 2"). After whipping up this ~1 1/8" spacer the driveshaft fits much better. However I did not check the lathe chuck runout before making the spacer, and succeeded in making the pilot diameters about .007" out of concentric from each other. After aligning the chuck I got that measurement down below .002" however the pilots are now over/undersize. I will eventually remake this spacer to fix the issue but I need to move on to other areas for now.

 

After installing the spacer, the exposed yoke is now much more reasonable however there is still excessive play in the transmission yoke. Its looking like I will need to replace the tail shaft bushing. At this point I am hoping to avoid buying a new yoke. 

 

Shavarsh
Shavarsh Reader
9/1/21 10:07 a.m.

Next up, a bit of progress on the emergency brake. The old setup I had in the car was less than ideal. A mix of pinto and ford explorer parts with some questionable crimps led to low confidence in the brake, and dragging on the driveshaft while not engaged. When I stripped the miata I grabbed the cables to adapt to the pinto. I am quite pleased with how it has come out so far. The cable brackets on the calipers needed to be trimmed down to clear the frame kick ups:

Then the old cable adjuster from the miata was welded onto the lever from the pinto handle:

Assembled front cable:

 

The brake locks the rears tight and stays up out of the way when disengaged.

Shavarsh
Shavarsh Reader
9/6/21 10:54 p.m.

Made a bit more progress after plenty of analysis paralysis.

Trunk floor supports in over the fuel cell and some more floor around the battery box:

 

Then finally picking a mounting location for the fuel filter. The routing of the fuel line had to be decided first. It will go inside the rear wheel well, then along the rocker heading forward.

Shavarsh
Shavarsh Reader
9/13/21 9:52 p.m.

Before running the brake and fuel lines I need to close in the passenger compartment floors. Here are a couple of pictures of the progress:

 

I've always thought a build thread gets tough to follow with too much minutia/without enough pictures of the full car sprinkled in. So here is a shot of the current state:

Shavarsh
Shavarsh Reader
9/20/21 10:08 p.m.

I had to back off of my aggressive timeline for getting the car roadworthy, it was sucking the fun out of it. Letting go of the hard deadline also lets me do some of the less essential, but still necessary tasks on the list that I was going to put off. Today that included a workbench cleanup and new tailshaft housing bushing install.

Tailshaft housing out:

The old bushing looking pretty toasted:

The new bushing was listed for an automatic transmission and is a bit longer. However the part number does cross reference to the T5 part. I don't expect it to be an issue.

New bushing and seal and it went back in the car.

Shavarsh
Shavarsh Reader
9/21/21 5:11 p.m.
Shavarsh
Shavarsh Reader
9/24/21 2:47 p.m.

To continue sealing up the floors front to back, the area behind the drivers seats needed to be addressed. There was originally drainage hole here, and the sections around them turned to dust. A couple new panels really strengthened things up.

In order to run the ebrake cables in a way that they won't kink or run against the exhaust they need to run under the rear seat area. The issue with this is that the new frame is contacting the bottom of the seat, leaving no clearance to slide the cables through. The solution is to build a channel through the seat area for the cables to pass above the frame.

The area under the rear seat looked like Swiss cheese. It is a fairly complex shape, and has new panels welded into it already. It also does not have much stress on it. I have been going back and forth about using seam sealer to patch these types of areas. While at the store looking for a tube I started reading up on flex seal glue. I like the fact it can be applied without a gun, and the tube can be resealed. After giving it a 24hr cure I am pleased with the results. We will see how it holds up.

Shavarsh
Shavarsh Reader
10/3/21 1:26 p.m.

The motor in the car has always collected a lot of oil in the catch can. The old system shown on Page 2 relied on baffled grommets in the valve covers and push in plastic fittings. The oil leaked from the valve cover gaskets, the grommets, the plastic fittings, and the catch can. The goals with the new setup: collect less oil, leak less oil, and make it easier to drain the catch can. I have welded aluminum scraps together once before with good results so I started in on the valve covers as my first functional project.

First some hose barbs:

Then some extensions:

The drivers side with fill:

The passengers side:

Then some baffles:

 

And finally how they look on the engine:

 

I'm looking forward to building the catch can next. I think the valve cover modifications and fresh silicon gaskets will reduce the oil leakage and catch can filling rate, however the catch can will not be any easier to empty with the design I have in mind. The welds are far from perfect but I am stoked with how they came out.

 

...One of these days I'll actually get around to the fuel and brake lines

Shavarsh
Shavarsh Reader
10/7/21 11:28 a.m.

Next up is the catch can. I designed this to fit where the old one was located and to attach the same way.

Old vs new:

Halfway through:

Current state:

 

It's not quite finished. I need to add some mounting tabs and a retainer for the piece of scotchbrite that will act as a filter for the middle section. The mounting strategy I had envisioned may not be as simple as I thought, so there may be revisions coming soon. Unfortunately I am out of argon, so that will have to wait.

Shavarsh
Shavarsh Reader
10/13/21 3:06 p.m.

Finally had the chance to weld out the fuel filler plate. It warped slightly while welding however there is a thick gasket in there and I think it should seal up fine.

GasTungstenArc
GasTungstenArc New Reader
10/14/21 11:45 a.m.

This is an awesome project.  This car will be so much more pleasurable and predictable to drive after the conversion is complete.  

Shavarsh
Shavarsh Reader
10/20/21 2:25 p.m.

Thanks GTA, always encouraging to receive a positive comment. 

 

The catch can and passenger valve cover needed a bit of rework to improve mounting and serviceability. 

 

Here they are mounted up in the bay:

 

Finally, I bought myself a 14" air cleaner. I've always thought these are a bit played out (aesthetically), and didn't think I had hood clearance to fit one anyway. However with a 1" drop base and 2" element it does clear under the hood and really cleans up the appearance over the triangular filter I was using before. There is still some minor clearancing to be done as it hits in a couple places however its close enough that it will work. I am stoked on the cleaned up appearance and the improved serviceability.

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
10/20/21 2:27 p.m.

Tose valve covers and catch can are slick! Nice work!

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