Toward the end of last summer I noticed that the starter was starting to skip and grind, by October the car would not start at all. I prayed that it was the starter and not the ring gear, the starter is so much easier to replace. As you can see from the photo I was lucky this time.
Power Steering Upgrade
When I was talking to my best friend the car expert about a power steering upgrade for this car. He said "Bob it will be EASY, and it will not cost very much". Little did I know this was going to be a the start of a three month horrific adventure, no I mean a nightmare from which it seemed I could not wake up from.
The first problem I had was, I could not use any of the current belts to drive the new power steering pump, that meant the two belt crank pulley had to be changed out and replaced with a three belt crank pulley for the power steering pump. Now in most older cars this is no big deal, however as I discovered there is no room to get a socket into the pulley, so it can be replaced. This now means the hood, grill, grill mount, alternator, air conditioner compressor, condenser, and fan shroud all had to be removed, so then I could finally remove the radiator. After all that, I was finally able to replace the crank pulley.
Now its kind of an unwritten rule of mine that if I remove anything from my cars, I have to repaint and or restore the part or parts, before they are put back on the car. So here we go, I polished the alternator, air conditioner compressor, then I decided to get fancy with the cooling fan belt pulley and I painted the inside of the tear drop holes to match the car color. Then I repainted the radiator, condenser, steering rack, and steering column. While I had the air conditioner hoses and tubes disconnected, I replaced all the seals. OH MY GOD what a job!
As the reassembling started the first problem was the cooling fan blades were hitting the new wider three belt crank pulley, so we needed to add a spacer in front of the fan blades to get the additional clearance needed for the fan blades to spin properly. Then the new power steering pump pulley would not line up with the new crank pulley. I had to make spacers for the power steering pump mount to properly position the pump pulley for the new belts operation. Mounting the Mustang II power steering rack was straight forward, until I went to connect it to the existing steering column which was one and a half inches to long now, and it also had the wrong spine connection size. After both of those problems were rectified. I had to find a location for the power steering fluid reservoir, this was no easy task because of the way it had to be mounted. We decided to go with steel braded hose, and when I went to connect it all up I discovered the Ford Mustang II front rack has different connectors then the Chevy power steering pump connectors. Now I had to get the Chevy power steering pump connectors drilled out and refitted to fit the Ford connectors.
Then after all that, the radiator, fan shroud, condenser, air conditioner compressor, alternator, grill mounts, grill, and the hood could be re attached to the car. Wait not so fast, the hood has been removed from the car for months now , and it has kind of grown on me. Ya the hood stays off.
Rear End Upgrade
I have had some real issues with the rear end on this car, and I thought that it was just the over sized tires causing these problems. First the car would do burnouts with out trying too, and I could not safely drive this car on wet roads the tires would just spin and the car would hardly move. Next there seemed to be an excessive amount of noise coming from the rear suspension. I also noticed that at about 35 miles per hour, the car would be hard to control, and start drifting from one side of the road to the other side at times. So I scheduled a appointment with Jim at Boffo Motors to have him take a look at it.
It seems that nothing with this car is easy, we had to drop the whole rear suspension just to get the rear wheels off, and what started out as a just bring it down and we will check it out visit, turned in to real eye opener.
Jim determined the front tires were Radials, and the rear tires were Bias ply, he said "that's why you have a control problem." He suggested replacing the rear tiers with Radials for safety, and he also said lets get a softer slick for better grip on the road. That should help with the traction issues.
Both of the coil over shocks rubber bushings were shot, and one of the shocks was broken. We went to replace the shocks with new QA1s, and discovered the bolts mounting the old shocks were 3/4 inch diameter and most shocks today are 1/2 inch diameter, Jim had metal spacers custom made to allow the smaller mounting bolts to fit properly in the larger holes. Problem solved right? Wait not so fast, the new spacers lowered the shocks just enough that their bases were now are hitting the shocks mounting brackets. So now my mounting brackets must also be modified to fit the new shocks.
After all that we noticed a upper rear hind bolt was sheered off leaving the rear end casing un-attached to the suspension, that was a little scary but an easy fix.
Jim also suggested adding a 31 spline Detroit no spin locker to my rear end. I wanted a low RPM highway cruiser, I am not in to racing or doing burnouts, so a 2.7857142 differential was added to improve highway performance, and finely I had some minor break work done.
When every thing was done, this car drove like a completely different car, my traction was %100 better, very little suspension noise, no control problems at all, and a much much smoother and quieter ride.
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