wrenching

Mustang on the QuickJack, Miata and Morgan on ramps and jack stands, and the Fiesta ST on a jack for a tire change. I am, as it is said, “going full Tipple.” Half a day is gone and I’m barely scratching the list of what I hope to do this weekend…

Today’s all about tires, tires, tires. Taking six wheels and two old Corvette tires off to the tire shop. I’ve got a new pair of whitewalls for the Mustang to replace the tires I burned up on the front axle going up and down the Pacific Coast Highway two years ago, and a new set of street tires for the Miata. I’ll burn off the old Rivals on one set of Miata wheels and replace those with 245s for the SCCA Time Trials at Gingerman. The past week was the first time that my old tire shop saw my face around for over a year — but we’re back to business as usual now.

Finally got the clutch pedal linkage figured out. That’s one benefit of having a vendor like Modern Driveline make your swap kit and provide technical support — I spent a half an hour on the phone with a very patient man learning that I can’t read directions or understand pictures good. But the pedal works now and has the travel one would expect. Something that would take a good mechanic less than an hour to do took me eight hours. Well, on to the rest of the clutch hydraulics, once it gets warm enough again inside the garage to work on the car some more…

I spent almost my entire evening, once again, on my back underneath the dashboard of the Mustang. Wiring has been cleaned up, and finally, the clutch pedal is connected to the hydraulic clutch master. However, according to the instructions, the linkage needs to be adjusted such that the pedal hits the carpet when the clutch rod bottoms out, and I can’t for the life of me get that to happen. The best I could do is bottom out the clutch master with the pedal sitting about three inches above the carpet. I’m so tired of messing with all of this clutch shit, and I’m flustered as hell. Maybe I should have stuck with the mechanical z-bar clutch linkage…

It’s a nice, warm evening tonight. What better way to spend it than… on my back underneath the dash of the Mustang untangling wires. Stereo wiring? Kludged together by a previous owner. Kill switch wiring? Kludged together by a previous owner. Rally Pac tachometer wiring? Kludged together by a previous owner. Wiring for the cruise control? Well, that’s my fault. Lesson learned: trim the fucking wires to a reasonable length, lest you have yards and yards of wiring ensnared in a massive ball by the pedal box, impeding the space where you want to put your new clutch pedal linkage to actuate your new clutch hydraulic master cylinder.

Whelp, I spoke too soon. There was no way to install the elbow when the clutch master was installed, so off it came again. See, this is why it takes me one and a half years to swap a transmission in Mustang. Hopefully this is the last time the clutch master comes off, but it will probably have to come off again today at this rate…

If the weather is going to be too warm to drive on the lakes, I might as well do some work on the Mustang. I finally have the clutch master installed on the firewall. I hope I never have to take it or the spacer it’s attached to off the car. I’ll have to figure out how to route the brake lines now, since the brake lines and distribution block sat where the clutch master now resides. I don’t know if I have the mental capacity to figure all of this out…

I have, sitting on top of and around the car, a whole bunch of stuff that I plan on installing in the spring to make the Miata look perhaps just a little less beat up. I have front and rear bumper covers, another pair of rocker mouldings, trunk plastics to replace the stuff that got scratched up after years of tools and jacks bouncing around in the back, and a rear tail light to replace the cracked one. I still have to buy the plastic undertray panels; that’ll eventually arrive from Mazdaspeed Motorsports, where I have a requisition list saved because that stuff gets replaced more or less every other year…

Gumption trap: the clutch master spacer

Progress on the Mustang is slow. The car that I had driven to the tune of 20k miles over the course of three years — more mileage than most non-air conditioned classic Mustangs would see in decades in retirement as classic cars — has added zero miles to the odometer for the past year.

The car doesn’t need much work in order to be able to move under its own power. Essentially, it just needs clutch hydraulics, new brake lines, and finally the transmission, driveshaft, and exhaust installed. Any competent mechanic could probably knock this out in a single weekend day. But I’m not a competent mechanic. (more…)