Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Pony Car Project- It Is Always Something!

Today I drove to Harbor Freight in Tacoma. I elected to take the Mustang. It was a nice drive to Tacoma until I exited the freeway and could not shift out of gear and after a complete stop could not shift into any gear. It was then that I noticed the clutch pedal was loose and mushy. I got under the hood and tightened the clutch cable with the manual adjuster. Did it just loosen on the drive over? No, by the time I drove the short distance to Harbor Freight, the clutch was loose again. It seemed like the cable casing was pulling through the end stop.

I completed my shopping and went back to work on the car. I could tighten the adjuster, but a few cycles of the clutch pedal and it would be loose again. I finally ran out of adjustment. So I placed a couple of spring clamps that I had just bought at Harbor Freight in the space between the adjuster and the normal end of the cable. Now the cable housing was tight. It worked and I managed to drive home. I did try to take the route home with the fewest stops and the least traffic and kept my shifting to a minimum.

So I drove the Bronco to the auto parts store and got a new cable. The old cable came out easy and the new one started going in easy, but it seemed to come up short. After some messing around, I found that I had to brace the pedal hard all the way out in order to get the automatic clutch adjuster(it doesn't work anyway) to release so that I could pull enough slack in the clutch end of the cable to connect it to the clutch release arm. Seems to work smoother now too!

It is always something!
The new cable. It is covered with a heat shield which is a nice touch since it runs right by the headers. 
 Old and new cables.
The failure. The inner casing and wire reinforcement pulled out of the end connection. I wonder if heat contributed to this.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Mustangs On The Bay and MOPAR Madnes

Sunday there was two car shows in the area. I knew about the "Mustangs on the Bay" show, but a friend at church told me about the MOPAR show in the Lowe's parking lot. So after church I went to both. MOPAR stand for Motor and Parts of the Parts, Service and Customer Care organization within Chrysler Group. Among car enthusiasts it refers to any car manufactured by the Chrysler Group (Chrysler, Plymouth, Dodge and others) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mopar).
I went to the MOPAR  show at Lowe's first. I attended this show last year too. This year there did not appear to be as many cars as last year. But there was still a good spread of cars from old to new and stock to modified. They did a good job of segregating the cars into types and eras.
After the MOPAR show, I drove to Port Orchard for the Mustangs on the Bay show. I have never been to this show before, but I understand that it is always the weekend two weeks before the other car show, The Cruz. As the name implies, this show was all Mustangs. It filled up almost the entire parking area on the waterfront around the marina. Almost as much as the complete Cruz show. Like the MOPAR show, the cars were parked in order of style, generation and model. That worked well until I thought I had looked at a generation of Mustang only to find there was another section that had sub models(like Cobra or Shelby). Still, it was fun to see all the iterations of the Mustang design and how people have worked hard to keep these cars alive.
I spent quite a bit of time looking at the Generation 3(1979-1993) Foxbodies like mine. There was probably about 20 of them scattered through the various sections with about a dozen parked in a row. Some of them were pristine and some not so much. I smugly thought, "mine doesn't look so bad"! I was able to see how some of my missing parts are supposed to be installed and also get idea for future mods. When I got home, I started searching Ebay and located some of my missing interior parts.
 Lots of MOPAR's lined up in front of Lowe's.
Lots of MOPAR's lined up in front of Lowe's 
 I believe that this is an early 60's Savoy. But with a big V8 and 4 speed, it was an early muscle car.
The Savoy had a 413 CI V8. It had big cable straps holding it down against the torque. Check out the high rise, cast iron headers. 
 I always like this Dart body style from the early 70's. This was a nicely restored example with a 340 V8 and an aftermarket 5 speed.
 A whole row of Generation 3 Foxbody Mustangs like mine.
I wished mine looked like this! This is a 92 that is heavily modified. 
The 92 had a 5.0 liter V8 with a lot of performance mods: aftermarket heads, manifolds, supercharger and even nitrous oxide. 
This is the "modified" section. Most of the cars here had heavy aftermarket mods done to them. 
 Generation 4 and 5 Mustangs lined up.
 Retired 1991 Police pursuit car. Ford made these for some states for special purpose cars. California ordered 400 at one time. Very similar to mine with the 5.0 V8 and 5 speed, but this is a notchback coupe with beefed up frame, extra alternator for the radios and a 160 MPH speedo!
The MACH 1 section.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pulling Out The Sliver

We have all had a sliver embedded in our flesh. And we all know how good it feels to have it removed. Well, this post is not about that. The Sliver I am referring to is a boat. This boat is a 62foot sailboat designed by Robert Perry. From it's beginnings, it has been referred as the Sliver class daysailer, it's actual name will be different. It is very narrow and is double ended with a minimalistic interior. Much has been written about it on this forum: Perry Sliver Class Day Sailor. The Sliver has been under construction at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding for the past two years. Today it will be pulled from the shed, loaded on a trailer and taken to a boat yard in Seattle for finishing.

Partly to stay out of the way and also to get a ride in, I elected to ride one of the bicycles from the Hood Canal Floating Bridge to the schools facility in Hadlock. When I arrived at 0845, there were already a lot of people around but no truck. The truck arrival time was 0900. I met Kim, the owner, Robert Perry, the boats designer, Neil Rabinowitz, a renown marine photographer and many of the folks that have been following and commenting on this build on Cruising Anarchy.

The loading of the boat seemed to go smoothly and by 1045, it was on the road heading for Seattle. I headed for home and had a nice ride back to the truck.

And tweezers were not required for pulling out this Sliver!

 Kim looks pretty excited!
 Lifting the hull to clear the truck trailer.
 There was a lot of interest in the loading process.
 The chain falls and straps removed from the overhead, the last attachment to the schools shop.
 Associated Boat Hauling did a great job of maneuvering the rig around.
 Out of the shed and everyone got their first views of the shape out in the open.
Ready to roll.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Whidbey Island Race Week 2013-aka Adult Summer Camp

Whidbey Island Race Week(WIRW) is the third week of July and is five days of sailboat racing, partying, pranks and silliness. It has also been referred to as "Adult Summer Camp".  With a history of 30 years, it is one of the last race "weeks" that still exists in the country. Many "race weeks" have been shortened to a long weekend.

I was invited aboard a J105 named "Dulcinea" owned by Matthew. This boat is from my yacht club and is one of my primary competitors in the West Sound. My WIRW started on Sunday. The boat was already in Oak Harbor and I made my way there for a day of practice and to set up my camp in "tent city". We sailed out into Penn Cove and sailed through some maneuvers. I was a bit unfamiliar with the J105 so this was a good time to learn the timing needed for jibes and tacks. My job was mainsail trimming.

The first day of racing was Monday with the first warning to occur at 1200. The committee boat anchored near the entrance of Penn Cove instead of the normal position inside Penn Cove. Winds were up with velocity in the 10-16 knot range. The race committee(RC) managed to get off three races. The wind was oscillating wildly along the courses. We struggled some and had placings of 4, 5 and 4th. Not a great showing, but not last either. The weather was great with the sun out and the day warm.

Tuesday we had a guest aboard. Dan Kaesler from the Seattle Quantum loft came with us. He provided some input into how we trimmed the sails, but more important he helped the skipper with tactics at the start and up the course. The RC moved the start line up into the normal position in Penn Cove.  The winds were lighter this day at 8-12 knots. We raced two races and placed 2nd and 3rd. These were great placings and we were very happy. Of course the other J105's said "sure, you had the sailmaker onboard".

Wednesday had some unsettled weather. The wind was blowing out of the south and the sky was overcast. The RC moved the line out into Saratoga pass where it was blowing 14-18 knots with lumpy seas. The sailmaker was not onboard, so we needed to show what we had. We had good starts, but our upwind speed seemed to suffer some. Even though, all six J105's usually rounded the weather mark nose to tail with little distance between them. Our downwind speed was great and we seemed to be able to soak lower than some of the other boats and gain on them. Our crew work was great and our bow people, Melissa and Tessa pulled off flawless jibes. We gave them a bit of a workout when we overcooked a leeward mark rounding and ended up going to weather with the spinnaker plastered in the rigging and over the bow. One race had a very exciting finish where we caught "Allegro Vivace" and nearly finishing ahead of them for third. The official results said that we were five seconds behind them, but it seemed to be more like five inches! And the second place boat "Last Tango" finished only 19 seconds ahead. After two races, the wind shifted suddenly to the west and the RC called it a day. Our showing for the day was a 4th and a 5th which still left us in a tie for 3rd overall.

Thursday we were back in Penn Cove. The winds were down some and we saw 8-12 knots through the day. The RC managed to get off three races during a longer day of racing. This day we dispelled the "sailmaker on board" rumor. We showed great starts, speed and tactics and several times found ourselves ahead of the eventual winner "Delerium".  Racing was extremely close with only a few seconds between us and other boats at the finish. Our placings for the day was 2nd, 2nd and 3rd. We were "over the moon" with excitement and proved that as a team we could make the boat perform well. These results put us in a solid position for 3rd overall for the week.

Friday was the last day. Again, we were in Penn Cove. The wind was back up to 12 to 16 knots and had a bit of a right hand shift as we beat up the cove. The RC intended to run two races so that boats could pack up and head home early. We had good starts and squeezed "Last Tango" over the line early in one start. The current was pushing boats toward the line making the starts critical to not being early. Our pace was a bit off going to weather, but we showed good tactics and were usually in the hunt at the weather mark. Again, our downwind speed was good and we could soak down nicely in the puffs and pass boats. Our final placings for the day were two 4th's and we placed ahead of "Allegro Vivace" to firmly secure our 3rd place overall.

Results can be found here: WIRW 2013 Results

WIRW was a lot of fun for me. The racing was some of the most intense racing I have ever done. We seemed to do better in the lighter winds and not quite as good when the wind was stronger. Our foredeck crew of Tessa and Melissa were awesome. The cockpit crew of Mike and I did everything we needed to do to keep up with the Matthew. The shoreside activities were interesting and just like the expression "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas", some things are best left in Oak Harbor. Matthew runs a great program and arranged good logistics. Mike had his cruising boat moored alongside "Dulcinea" and made us breakfast each day and provided a place for evening meals. My camp in "tent city" was a comfortable and free place to stay. Maybe I will go back next year....

 Resting on they way to the starting area on Monday.
 Tessa trimming the spinnaker. 
 Spinnakers in Saratoga Passage.
 After the winds shifted to the west in Saratoga Passage. No more spinnakers.
 Chasing down "Last Tango". I don't know how Jim can sail while looking back at us.
 Tent city.
 "Dulcinea" renamed "Awesome".
 Boats moored at Oak Harbor.
 The crew of "Dulcinea".
Inside the part area after the days races. 
 "Dulcinea" hot on the tail of "Delirium".
 "Dulcinea" hot on the tail of "Delirium".
One of Wednesdays races where we finished overlapped with "Allegro Vivace"(ITA 89). Not in the picture was "Last Tango" who was in second and only 19 seconds ahead.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Pony Car Project-Sharing The Wealth

The Pony Car Project has involved a lot of parts purchases. I find parts and services in a lot of places and spread a lot of money around.
Last week I was looking through Ebay and found a console armrest with a nice "buy me now" price as well as a "or best offer" option. I had been looking at these for some time. It may have been an option for the Mustangs or the one for my car was just removed and replaced with a fitted plastic "armrest delete" piece. Most of the armrests seemed like they were a lot of money and the last one I found was about half the price and appeared to be in good shape. But the seller would not negotiate much. So I gave up for a week and tried again. He finally moved $10 so I bought it. It arrived today and I installed it. It will need to be painted black. More about that later.
While negotiating on the armrest, I noticed that the seller also had a set of dash speakers. But again he would not move much on the "best offer" price. So, I gave up and took a trip to Best Buy where I found a set of 4" automotive speakers for only a couple of dollars more(with tax) than his "best offer" price plus shipping. I bought them and within a few hours had them fitted into the dash to replace the missing and damaged speakers. I have good tunes now♫ ♫.
One of my primary sources for Mustang parts is Late Model Restoration (LMR). They are a Texas company that specializes in 1979 and newer Mustangs. They have many interior parts, carpets, exterior trim pieces as well as engine and drivetrain parts. Many parts are reproductions, but they also stock a lot of Ford Racing parts. Their prices are usually cheaper than other places and they also offer free shipping! I currently have an order for console parts on it's way this week. The shift lever lower rubber boot is gone and the upper shift boot bezel is broken. Additionally they have a replacement seal for the emergency brake lever. Another useful product that LMR stocks is black vinyl paint that matches the interior components for the year of Mustang that I have. It will coat plastic and soft parts like the armrest that I bought(it is grey) and a passenger door armrest that is also grey. Some of the interior was previously painted but the original color can be seen through the paint. I plan on repainting some of those parts.
And finally last week, Les Schwab got some of my money. I always wanted to rule out tire imbalance as part of the vibration of the Mustang. I also recently noticed the left rear tire was losing air. And finally I could tell that the front end alignment was out of spec. One wheel had excessive camber and the front wheels were noticeably toed out. So on Friday I took the Mustang to Les Schwab. They fixed the flat for FREE since it was one of their tires, balanced all four tires and aligned the front end to the proper specs. The Mustang drives much better now and I really do think a lot of the vibration is gone. Money well spent!

 The console armrest unit I found on Ebay.
 The armrest bolts onto the back of the console and is quite solid when bolted in. Obviously the color does not match, but when the next order comes in from LMR it contains black vinyl paint that matches the Mustang interior.
 The armrest fits nicely between the seats and is available for both the driver and passenger. In addition to being an armrest, it is also a storage unit and has racks to hold audio media. Unfortunately the racks fit cassette tapes and not CD's! I was a bit concerned that I would hit it with my elbow when I shifted gears, but it has just enough clearance. It will also tilt up out of the way.
 I bought some smoked fog lamps from LMR. They were made to spec for the Mustang and nicely fill the holes in the spoiler.
Now that Les Schwab aligned the front end, the steering wheel is level when I am driving down the road. Now I can see the windshield wiper switch on the end of the turn signal stalk and know when it is off. That was something that was hard to determine before.