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  1. #26


    Stoked, paint is happening! I know there is still much to do before it'll be done but I am looking forward to getting the car back in the garage and getting on with the build. we've been busy with subassemblies but the engine, tranny, and rear are all ready to drop right in and allow me to clean up the garage.

  2. #27


    Sydney has been tied up with AP exams but work has continued on the front suspension. We're building the front arms just like hte SCCA cars we've done so they will have adjustable perches for corner weighting, ride height adjustment, and they'll use the springs we have lying around thus putting those to good use.

    Step one, make yourself a pair of shims by cutting a 22 degree section from a piece of properly sized pipe.

    Buy yourself two weight jack plates with 1"-8 thread, cut them down to about 3" width, and weld each one to the shim making this:

    Get your front crossmember and arms out on a table so you can mock up the alignment. Hand the arm, put at the point where they will be for proper ride height, and sit the piece you made on the arm. Clock the piece so that it points to the upper spring perch. Using the weight jack bolt will help. Onc clocked weld it in place.

    Then go make the arms pretty with some chassis paint.

    And this is the end result. Two arms with weight jackers and spring cups. Why put these in this car? I dunno, cause we can I suppose. Eventually I think the car will end up being my toy and it'll go to a track day or two and AutoX, so, it might as well be setup to handle well. However I plan to use isolaters on the springs here where as we do not on the race cars. Cut back on some chassis noise.

    Meanwhile the engine assembly is progressing and Syd and I have clayed up some parts for compression ratio calculations. Without taking into account the area from the top of the piston to the first ring we're coming up with around 10.6:1, so that'll drop a little bit in reality. Next up will be getting the pushrod length straightened out and looking at the wipe patterns on the valve tips.

    And I stopped by the paint shop yesterday to get some better pictures of the car in color. I think it's looking sharp. Color looked much better out of the booth than in.

  3. #28


    Busy weekend at the Earp garage with getting the race car out and prepped for the first time this year and still making some progress on the five point oh. The gauge cluster will be rebuilt with the uber rare 140mph speedo.

    Engine assembly continued. Before the heads were bolted on Syd and I checked some piston to valve clearance. After she got past the "yay playdoh" phase that everyone has when they encounter it as an adult, we got down to business.

    Predictably the exhaust is fine with something like 0.145" of clearance. The exhaust valve is smaller than the intake and the exhaust lobe has less lift. The intake on the other hand is a bit tight. With 0.555" of lift at the valve we only come up with around 0.095". That's a bare minimum when you count in piston rock, expansion, bearing clearance, and, well, just that **** happens. But it was checked with a solid lifter that we made from a hydraulic roller so we'll pickup some clearance in reality. Anyhow, I think it is okay for a street driven ride but I would have rather seen something around 0.110 or so.

    Once we sorted that out the heads were bolted on and we used our adjustable pushrod to figure out what length pushrods we needed. We have adjustable roller rockers but you've got to watch the wipe pattern too. After checking a bunch of them 6.150" was decided upon as best fit.

    And Sunday morning I spent 2.5 hours with the hodge podge of mess on the front of the engine. I hate Ford's accessory bolt on schemes. They seem horrible. GM has got to do it better but I'm not sure since I'm a Ford guy. Anyhow, after a lot of puzzle solving I got it together. I need a new belt tensioner but we're good to go. New alternator, new power steering pump, new AC, new billet impeller water pump, and a smog pump eliminator bracket.

    Fred says the car will be finished with paint on Sunday so I'll leave the race car on the trailer coming back from VIR and bring the five oh home on Monday. Perfect timing.
    Last edited by Ron Earp; 05-02-2017 at 02:47 PM.

  4. #29


    I've been off racing but the paint was finished up over the weekend. Picking the car up today and bringing home to the shop. Pretty excited!

    I think it is comparing pretty good to the original. And it's more bigger so better.

  5. #30


    And brought the tub home yesterday. The paint looks great in the sun and the color seems to be properly matched with what I remember the car looking like. The paint on the car now is much better than the paint it had from the factory. No doubt there. The car has been painted on the bottom with a hardening undercoat that gives is a uniform color. I like that for the bottoms of cars. Ditto the trunk area on the inside.

    Next up is brake and fuel lines, booster, master, subrframe, lower control arms, struts, engine, tranny, and rear end install. All that stuff is sitting here waiting to go or ordered in so I imagine progress will be fairly rapid when I get some shop time.

  6. #31


    I forgot a couple of pics. Putting it up on the lift today. Next time it comes down it'll be rolling on its own power and driving out of the garage. True story.

    More work progress. The daughter unit joined me in the garage for some debriefing and project orientation before her bedtime. I'm sure this went on Snapchat or some sort of place.

    We got the car off the dolly, on the lift, and the goal is to turn it into a roller pretty quickly. Or relatively quickly. There are many subprojects happening so a number of things occurring in parallel. Like this one, early morning before school subframe cleaning with Cayman. Never underestimate how far 8 mins here or 10 mins there, goes toward getting a project done.

    Painted and installed subframe.

    Prepping up for axle insertion.

    All in

    Meanwhile, over on the wiring ranch....Jeff G got a bunch of Deutsch connectors, I got a wiring kit, and we're off to the races. I figure about three weeks of work on this part of the project.

  7. #32
    FEP Supporter Saturn V's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
    Houston, TX


    Cool car and backstory. I've never seen the weight jackers for the front. Which springs do you plan to use? It looks like even adjusted all the way down, the springs don't sit as low as stock. btw, is that a cat or a raccoon?
    Present: '84.5 Mustang GT T-top, '06 Mazdaspeed6
    Past: '79 5.0 Capri, '86 Buick GN, '90 Mustang GT, '92 SHO, '95 SHO
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  8. #33



    The weight jackers are something we devised for our SCCA race cars. No reason they won't work for the street either. They allow you to precisely set corner weights and ride height. In addition, they use common 5.25" flat ground springs about 8" in height of which we have many, so it is an easy thing for me to adapt to this build. It's a bit overkill for this car but is an easy button for me.

    That's Cayman, one of our three cats. Cayman is a former NCSU Vet School blood donor. A lot of folks don't know, but there cat colonies at most large vet schools that are used for blood donation when needed. After three years the cats are retired and they are wonderful cats because they are used to being handled on a regular basis. As a bonus, most blood donor cars are robust and a bit on the larger side.


    Alrightly, had a bit of a break for a motorcycle trip to WVA but we're back on the case. We meaning Jeff and I, not Sydney this time around as she has the flu pretty bad. I hope she'll be in shape to work this weekend.

    Spent an hour or so trying to figure out how to put the fuel tank in the car. We've a ton of SN95 parts from the race cars and I wanted to use a 1998 Mustang tank for this car. The 1998 tank has a nice sump, integrated sender and pump, and based on our experiences with the SN95 chassis the 1998 tank doesn't experience starvation issues like the earlier models. What I didn't know though is the 1998 tank has a very different shape than the <1998 tanks. The differences are subtle if you just glance at one but the bottom line is that a 1998 tank isn't going into the 1985 Fox chassis without significant work. So the fuel tank situation was a bust and I ended up ordering a new <1997 tank, 255L/hr fuel pump, and sender for the car. A bit pricey at $325 for the kit but so be it. Time is ticking.

    On to other matters then. The front arms were prepped some weeks ago with Global West bushings and those were installed. The weight jacking modifications worked out really well and are better aligned than the race cars we've done. A new steering rack was installed on the car too. I got one of the SVO units for a Fox that is 2.25 turns lock to lock.

    The rear jackers worked out fine as well. Pins align and so on. Yes, still quite stock in the back but if there is time I'll work that out of the car and a suspension that will actually work well.

    The radiator and condenser came in so I to trial fit them. The radiator is a three core aluminum so a bit thicker than stock. I'll hold up on the fan situation until the motor is in place so I can see what sort of room we have for a fan. I won't be using the stock fluid coupled clutch mechanical fan though. I like those for nostalgic purposes but they've no place on a restomod car.

    Brake lines need to be run and in order to do that we need a booster and master in place. I'm using the 94/95 Cobra brakes and 14" rotors up front, stock SN95 rotors in the rear, so I ordered a 1993 Cobra booster and master to put into place. Why not a 1994/1995 Cobra booster? The bolt pattern for the booster doesn't match a Fox so the easy solution is use one that does match a Fox.

    However I found that the 93 Cobra booster fouls on the strut tower wall and that needed a bit of massaging with a hammer to allow it to slide into place.

    There it is in place, easy peasy. I won't be using that stock brake proportioning valve after all. I'm just going to straight plumb all the lines with a rear proportioning valve. There isn't any ABS on the car and I've always liked the brake feel of the track cars so that's the way it'll be.

    Meanwhile on the other side of the garage taillight restoration is going on. Both of the lights looked a bit rough, especially considering the repaint, so I bought a lens kit and went to work. Pretty simple, clean the lights up, remove all the sealer, re-spray the silvering on the inside, and sandwich back together with the spring clips. They look good.

    Next installment is running brake and fuel lines, then the engine and tranny are going in.

  9. #34


    We got things moving along now. Sydney is back on the case now that school is winding down. We were able to get the front suspension bolted on with brakes and the steering rack. She did this work with me giving a few pointers and I think she has some understanding for how struts, brakes, and steering works. I hope.

    Lot of turning wrenches for these operations but something she did pretty well. Unfortunately I forgot to direct her to install the dust cap on the right hand assembly so I had to go back and correct that for her since she was out of work time. Proud brake owner. I think this machine will stop pretty well, certainly much better than it did back in 1985!

    We also got the rear buttoned up with caliper install and springs in place.

    Jeff G and I got the brake lines installed at least for the front so that we can continue with engine bay activities. Camber plates visible in this photo too. Not a fan of the camber plates but for the moment they are an easy button (came with the car) since I don't have any stock Fox plates. I would have preferred to use some stock plates and set camber around -1 neg with crash bolts and called it a day. It ain't a race car.

    Sydney's calc exam is today and tomorrow's activity is a milestone, installing the engine. It's ready to go in. It's wearing original polished aluminum valve covers that were stock for the 1984/1985 5L model years. Shorty equal length headers and the Holley Sniper rounds out of the package.

  10. #35


    You guys are cruising! This project is coming along nicely.
    1984 Mustang LX Convertible 3.8L V-6/Auto (SOLD)
    1984 Mustang GT Hatchback 5.0 V-8/5 Speed

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  11. #36


    Thanks we are trying to make progress.

    The time arrived for the motor insertion. Sydney and I trussed the engine up, several times actually before we got the balance right, and hoisted it off the engine stand where it has lived for the last couple of months.

    Notice the Fox Mustang shirt.

    Really not a lot of tell about this operation. Just your standard pick and stick deal with no real drama the first time around. Even mom came out to assist a bit.

    And there it is.

    Drama still occurred however. Sydney had to run off to her jazz band so Jeff and I planned on buttoning things up, including the transmission install. I looked at the motor for a few minutes when I suddenly realized it was sitting really damn high. Further inspection revealed there was no way the tranny bellhousing would bolt up because the engine was being held in the wrong position. Further research revealed that I had gotten the wrong motor mounts from the parts store, so, out came the motor and on when the correct mounts after a quick visit to Advance Auto.

    Later in the afternoon we went for the tranny install but that didn't work out either. We have lots of tranny parts around from the race car campaign and after scratching our heads for an hour about why the tranny wouldn't insert properly we discovered we had the wrong front bearing retainer on the tranny. We had one of our long nose units from the race car SN95 style while we needed one of our short units for this application. Swapped that out, checked bearing preload, and all is good.

    So, a good day of work. The engine and tranny are in, with the addition of a few more accessories and parts I believe we can start the wiring which will be a pretty long job.

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