And here we have the final post about the engine swap experience. I only wish I could’ve done an mp3 of starting up the car. 1) I didn’t even think of it. 2) If I had, it would’ve prolonged turning the key. I was so jazzed that my car was finally back together that I simply couldn’t wait a moment longer than necessary.
That final day, Jason and I were putting the last bits on the engine and buttoning everything up. As you can see in the following pic, I was glad that yoga is such a big part of my life now. Not only am I even more impossibly flexible, I’m also a lot stronger and both of those qualities come in handy while working on cars… Well at least they do for me!
The following is Jason’s favorite pic of the adventure. The car is together and we’re just about to start it. Right after this shot, we opened the garage door and I turned the key…and gas promptly leaked out of the fuel rail. Arrrrrrrrrgh! We didn’t get to officially start the car until the next day after I made a parts run. And wouldn’t ya know it? The darn thing started as though I’d just parked the car an hour ago. What an awesome sound that is, too–a new engine starting up. Yeah, there’s smoke and weirdness, but there’s also nothing like the satisfaction of a job well done.
Actually, I think that previous pic might’ve been just after I’d put in the starter. With headers on the car, it’s impossible to get the starter in without cranking the steering wheel. Jason had taken the starter out but then couldn’t figure out how to get it back in. He cranked the wheel while I went under while the car was still jacked up…And discovered that because starters are so heavy and my arms are so wimpy, the only way I’ve been able to wrestle with and install them is because my forearm happens to be the perfect length to tilt my hand back, cradling the starter while shoving it into place. We had to set the car back onto the ground because my arm got too tired holding up the damn starter! I’ve learned the funniest things about myself and how I work on cars…
Anyhow, this last shot (sorry it’s dark, my flash didn’t go off when I needed it), is after the test drive. My valve covers didn’t have baffles in them and too much oil was coming out of the breathers. We used Eddie’s method of tying red shop rags around the bases. Worked brilliantly! (And it’d be months before I solved this problem more permanently!)
There you have it!!!!! I’m a chick who works on cars and you’ve seen the photographic proof!
This post is a little weak on pictures. I have no idea why, but I only snapped a shot before I started working and then one later when I was done…but of myself, not the engine. Whatever.
Everything needed to be put on the front, everything needed to be hooked up. Everything, everything, everything except installing the headers…because Jason promised he’d help with that. I dunno why, but I wasn’t gonna turn down free help, either!
The following picture is an example of what I was always hated for. I used to work in a theatrical scene shop. I own grubby clothes and even coveralls, but rarely wear them unless I know without a doubt there’s a significant chance of getting dirty. Back in the day, I’d paint set pieces, backdrops, build stuff and somehow by the time I left the shop, my clothes would still be clean. Maybe a little dusty, but nothing I couldn’t brush off. I’ve done the same while working on cars, too. Yeah, it’s messy business, but a lot can be done without having to get dirty. Jason marvels at how my clothes remain clean even when there’s motor oil and grease gooping about.
And here I am, displaying my filthy hands and white shirt with only to two tiny dots of dirt after spending several hours getting the car back together. Granted, I stayed topside–anything on my back would’ve required either getting dirty or laying down on a towel, so I refrained–but there you have it… Only two little spots–one of which, the camera didn’t even pick up.
This post reminds me of one of my very first automotive expeditions. I was in my first year of college and had owned this car for about two months when I embarked on my first real project. I’d diagnosed the problem (car was overheating despite being full of coolant. Upon further inspection, I noticed that the coolant wasn’t circulating. Diagnosis=stuck/bad thermostat), opened my still-white-paged Chilton manual and read up on what to do while cross-referencing with my autoshop textbooks. (Good golly, that was sooooooo long ago!) At the time, my car was still as I’d gotten it from the previous owner…never been cleaned under the hood. It didn’t have any leaks, but it certainly had 20 years+ of road grime under there.
I sighed…I didn’t have coveralls yet, so I was going to have to make a few decisions. I went into my room and ever-so-carefully chose a t-shirt and jeans that I could get dirty–maybe even ruin–and be okay with that. This was very difficult for me. I loved my clothes very much and would never intentionally ruin them.
A few hours, a lot of new knowledge, and some impressive cussing later, I not only had a car that didn’t overheat, I had an absolutely filthy set of grubbies–properly seasoned as working-on-the-car clothes. Obviously, my mom wasn’t going to let me put those in with the regular laundry for fear of ruining other clothes, so they were set aside.
To this day, I have no idea how, but my mom got those filthy clothes completely free of stains! And suddenly, I was so pissed! I’d spent so long agonizing over which clothes to ruin and she’d gone and cleaned away my medals of honor. I laughed and thanked her, but darnit! all my proof of being a chick who worked on cars was gone. Oh, the horror!
I still chuckle whenever I think about it. Obviously, Mom and I are from two different worlds when it comes to dirt and it’s a damn good thing because otherwise, I doubt I would’ve learned how to stay so miraculously clean while I work!
Here it is. That crucial moment requiring a little bit of dancing. Jason and Jay are getting the new engine lined up with the tranny.
Eddie’s steering the picker.
It’s really, really close to being ready to bolt up.
And at long last, the boys are watching the topside while I crawl underneath to mate the flexplate with the torque converter. It’s a damn good thing I’m skinny! Between the floor jack under the tranny, the legs of the hoist and the car itself, I barely had enough room to do anything under there.
And here it is…with Eddie pointing to it. I have no idea why.
I’d like to say that the hard part is done, but really, nothing about any of this is truly hard. It’s just time consuming, tedious, and messy. In fact, whenever another woman asks me if it’s hard to work on cars, I usually say, “C’mon. Think about it. If a *guy* can do it…” And she usually replies with a knowing chuckle, “Good point. Probably pretty easy, then, huh?”
It can be.
But then again… I’m just a dumb girl. I dunno anything about cars.
Up next will be reassembly. Y’know, making the car actually run and drive. I sometimes think that’s the fun part.
It’s also the least fun sometimes because this is when you discover how many parts/nuts/bolts/etc. you forgot to pick up before you started the project. I swear, one of the worst things about working on cars is forgetting that damn $2 part. Y’know, like oil, a new battery cable, a few feet of fuel line or vacuum line. You can’t run the car without ’em and it’s amazing how easy they are to forget until that very moment when you can’t hook something up or get something together. And then the car gets stuck sitting until you can make that parts run. Ugh.
You’ve seen some of my favorite pics from this odyssey. Here’s a shot of my favorite surprise… Ever since I picked out the parts to build my first engine, I’d wanted full roller rockers, but always had to settle on roller tips because to have both roller tip and roller fulcrum was always too expensive. Jason got this engine from T&L and I don’t believe we specified which rocker arms we wanted. So, when we had to swap the old valve covers for the new, I was beyond the valley of elated to discover a tiny little dream of mine had come true without any effort on my part. Notice the immense glee…
Once again, I have no idea what Eddie was doing, but my neighbor, Jay, and I were putting on the valve covers, getting ready to get the show on the road.
Here’s a bonus shot. I don’t know why I was so thrilled with the Dart heads at this point. I mean, it was their fault I had to do all the grinding on the headers.
Although, those heads are probably responsible for a lot of the new power I’m driving. My car gets a lot of attention (well more than it used to, at least) when I pull up to stoplights or cruise through parking lots. It’s not only louder, it’s got the old Ford firing order and sounds meeeeeeeeeeeeeean. One of these days, I’m gonna get Jason into the Viper or the Corvette and see how my dinky 347 measures up. My guess is that there’s still no replacement for displacement, but holy-gas-mileage, Batman, I’m driving one hot little go-cart.
Here’s where I need the most help, so I called in reinforcements. Obviously, Jason was on my team, but between the two of us, not only did we need an engine hoist, it’s always better to have another car guy helping.
And for us, that car guy is Eddie… He’s been Jason’s best friend since junior high and he was the Best Man at our wedding…plus he’s pulled and dropped more engines than both Jason and I combined.
While I’m dinking with the new engine, Eddie’s dinking with the old one. (Notice the Viper doubling as a Mustang hood holder in the background. We’re obviously not the kind of people who get freaky about stuff like that. I’ve known too many guys who actually keep a cloth diaper on their person just to stroke down the car if it gets a speck of dust on it. I will NEVER be that kind of car chick. And you can even watch this blog through the years to see if I end up eating those words. I sincerely doubt it. I’ve yet to eat the fact I swore my car would remain an automatic…and never have a big block…and that I’d never sell it.)
For the following to make sense, you just gotta know Eddie… Okay, so it doesn’t make sense to me either, but still, I think everybody needs to know and have a friend like Eddie.
Jason handed off the camera and got into the fray…I love his shirt. I found it at a thrift store for 99 cents….
“I think. I can.” …And doesn’t he look as happy as I did a few posts ago?!
In an earlier post, I mentioned that I had to get new headers and being the girl that I am… If I gotta grind on a set of headers, I wanna grind on the pretty ones. As you can see…these are the pretty ones and good golly, they were worth all the metal shavings embedded in my skin after this adventure.
This next pic is self-explanatory. It’s from the day after all the grinding when we finally did the swap:
The old engine coming out and the new engine still resting on the stand, waiting to go in.
Pulling an engine out is easy. Putting one back in…well…You’ll see in the next post or two…
The adventure continues…
And good golly, look how happy I am!
So happy, I’m ready to dive in and remove the carburetor… I love working on my car!!!!!
So happy to dive in and even get a little dirty!
This was Jason’s view when I asked him for a 9/16″ socket. (He got to be Toolwench’s tool wench for a little while!) It’s also one of my favorite pics of the entire adventure:
He was marvelling that I fit so easily under the car without having to jack it up.
I really, really, really, really, really love working on my car. Really. I do. Ain’t it obvious yet?
It was nothing but fun… Okay, so there was some hard work involved… and a few broken nails…
In this next pic, there’s a few things to notice. You can’t really tell what I’m doing, but I’m installing the water pump bolts on the new engine. Of note, there’s my hubby’s Corvette. (Well, it’s mine, too. I just don’t drive it as often as he does. Hell, half the time I want to take it for a spin, I discover that he’d already left with it!) Also, notice the box that clearly reads “Hooker”? I had a bit of an oddyssey with those headers.
‘Cause y’know… I’m just a dumb girl. I dunno anything about cars.
According to the catalog, they’d work on my new engine. (I’ve got Dart heads.) But when Jason and I pulled them out of the box, he noticed that they didn’t match up too well. The ports on the heads were wide while the ports of the headers were tall. I ended up taking the headers back and bringing a template of the head ports. The guy behind the counter pulled out three sets and none of them fit right. Some were coated, some were painted, but no matter what I chose, I’d have to do some grinding in order to make them fit.
And…well…the girl in me told me to get the pretty ones. They happened to be Hedmans. You’ll see them later…and me grinding on them.
Look at how dainty and pretty my hands are… I use a special mixture of lotions… called antifreeze, oil, grease and dirt!
And I hadn’t even gotten underneath the car yet!
This was only the first day, but I’d made a lot of progress for only having worked an hour or so.
ot that I’m new to the whole engine swapping experience, but this was the first time I’ve ever taken pictures during the process.
So, without further ado, here’s the “Before” shot of the engine compartment of my 1968 Mustang (which I’ve had for about 13 years and plan to keep forever–maybe even be buried in it!)…
There’s not much to say about it other than when I’m done, it’ll look almost the same–only much faster!!!!
Remember, my car is not a show car. She’s a plain Jane daily driver and therefore, I need not wear a lab coat and sterlize everything. Hell, I can accidentally scratch paint, leave wires out of looms and use bolts that don’t match if I want to.
Of special hinky driver note, yes, there’s a rag plugging one of the holes in the firewall on the right hand side. It’d be plugging both holes, but it has fallen. No, this is not stock and yes I prefer the rag…otherwise, I’d have to get off my lazy ass, measure the holes and hunt down grommets–waaaaay too much work for a driver! I’ll bet there are several car enthusiasts fuming right now. Sorry guys, I’m just a dumb girl. I dunno anything about cars.
This was day one and my hands were still clean:
I dunno why I put the bandana over my hair. It seemed like a good idea at the time even though I had yet to be in a position to need my hair covered. Whatever. I was working on my car, for goodness sake, not going to a gala.
It was my job to get everything off of the engine so that it’d be ready to pull over the weekend. I started easy: Disconnect the battery, the ignition, pull the alternator and set it aside, empty the radiator, pull the heater hoses, pull the radiator hoses…and most importantly, try not to make too much of a mess because I was going to end up crawling around under the car at some point and there are few things worse than automotive fluids to get in your hair…thus perhaps why I put the bandana on my head prematurely.
It’s looking like I might have the necessary spare time to get my new engine into my old Mustang…
Ain’t it purrrty?! And the real beauty of it is that the car it’s going into doesn’t have power steering or power brakes, the fuel pump is electric and therefore doesn’t bolt to the motor and the fan is electric thereby keeping further drag from the motor…and making for lots less work when swapping! Yay!
I won’t even have to swap carburetors. I did, however, get new headers which’ll go in when the engine does–this’ll be the first time I’ve put headers in with a motor. Last time, the engine was already in and me and a buddy had to muscle the darn things in and around…good golly that sucked, but I gained noticeable horsepower by going from stock manifolds directly to full length headers.
This is gonna be tons of fun…
And my convertible Mustang will get the hand-me-down so that it’ll no longer get smoked by 6-cylinder TransAms from the mid-80s. Granted, the convertible is all about cruising, but come on, right now that poor car can’t even break its peg-leg loose when I stomp on the gas…unless I’m in a puddle. Sad. Really sad.
Here’s me and my two ‘Stangs…
Funny, how just a few posts down, I was talking about sewing and now I’m talking about cars. Makes me think I should round out by mentioning antique doll restoration just so I can have all of my hobbies covered!