New Front Brakes

Well, the same day that we tackled the horns, we decided it was time to tackle the brakes.  Already, a couple weeks back, Macrina had helped me inspect the brakes:

Brake Inspection

We did this over at Living Hope Baptist Church.  The run a “car care clinic” every third Saturday of the month, so if you show up, you can get a stall in their garage and free use of their tools–very cool ministry!  It’s made me think our own church should do some kind of an oil change ministry but there’s probably only a few of us who would feel confident enough to do that, so maybe I’m getting ahead of myself.  Anyhow, Brett was there, as was Brian, and they both worked on another vehicle and were there to answer any questions and help if needed.

They were so helpful, in fact, that Brett agreed to meet Micah and I there this past Sunday afternoon so that Micah and I could put on all new hoses, wheel cylinders, shoes, and hardware.  The drums had some life in them, so their replacement will come later.  Here’s Micah removing the cotter pin and wheel cylinder on the driver’s side:

Removing Cotter PinRemoving Wheel Cylinder

Special thanks to Brett for all his help!  There were a couple of tricky spots we ran into but he’d seen enough different ways of skinning the cat that he was able to help us through.  Boy, was there corrosion in places.  Here’s a shot of the driver’s side cylinder and the new one we bought:

Old Wheel CylinderNew Wheel Cylinder

As you can see, the old bleeder screw had really disintegrated.  We ran out of time to finish the adjustments.  We had put them on very loose.  So, we finished the adjusting on Monday.  Mechanic Micah did a great job!


Horns and Relay

The horn hadn’t worked the entire time we had it.  So, it was time to tackle that too.  This past weekend, we replaced the horns with a universal horn kit.  We knew the horns themselves were bad because we had run a wire directly from the battery to them and they remained silent.  We suspected the relay might also be bad because when a person tried to honk the horn, a rather loud click could be heard from the relay.  Well, it turned out we were right.  We put the new horns in and still it didn’t work.  We replaced the relay (which was badly corroded) with a new one and it honks very loudly.  The reason for using two horns is that one is high pitch and one is low pitch.  Here’s what we replaced and how it looks:

Old Horns and RelayNew HornHorn 2

As you can see, the new ones are much smaller than the old ones, but that’s actually nicer, as they stay out of the way better of the coolant and oil filter (though I suppose someone with an old classic and an inline six should never be caught complaining about room in the engine compartment).

Battery Tray Repair

Warning!  What we are about to show you is not “concours” correct.  It works.  It solves the problem.  It’s great for modern batteries.  It’s not “how it was done in 1963.”  When we got the car, the battery clamp was missing.  Whether this was because it had been lost or simply misplaced because it wouldn’t work with the newer style batteries, I don’t know.  Anyhow, back in the day, batteries typically had a lip around the bottom edge and our battery tray was designed to fit a battery of that style.  You can still find them, but they’re not as easy to find or track down and so we wanted a set up that would work with any 12 volt car batter that would sit nicely on the tray.  Additionally, the tray was pretty rusty (though thankfully not rotted through).  So here’s what we did.  We bought a universal kit, removed the tray, cleaned it up a bit, and drilled two holes for the long hold down bolts:


Once it went all back together it looked just fine and will easily serve the car’s future for a long time:


The angle of the pic makes it look like the bolts are at an angle and aren’t plumb, but that’s not the case.  Once tightened down, they’re just fine and everything is snug in place.

The 43k Original Mile F100

Well, a couple weekends back, Macrina and I siphoned all the old gas out of the F100’s tank tank and put new gas in.  We then started it up, just to make sure everything turned over fine and still ran.  The carburetor leaked, but we expected that, as that was the reason I had parked it 3-4 years ago anyhow.  So, it was time to pull it off for a rebuild.  Micah pitched in for that part, so all three of us were under that hood, taking that thing off.  I didn’t have a chance to take very good pictures, but here are a few.  As you can hopefully tell, there’s hardly any rust on this thing at all.  It is a 1974 F100, Ranger edition, with 43k original miles.  It was never driven in the winter, and it shows.  Macrina’s proud of her truck.  With the 360 V8 and rwd, it is a fun truck to drive.  I think it’ll be a good one for her as well, with the power steering and power brakes.  The automatic transmission will likely be something she’ll like as well, though personally I’d prefer a manual in this.  Won’t be making that change, though.  The whole goal here is to keep this thing as original as possible.  Here are some pics of the truck and one of the engine with the carburetor removed.

Driver Side


Carb Removed

The Little Things in Life

Sometimes, it’s the little things in life that can make all the difference.  The brake lights were working intermittently, so after using a screw driver to jump the terminals, we determined the pressure switch was out.  So, we put a new one in:

New Brake Switch

We then decided it was time to replace what had been used as the radiator overflow tank–a windshield wiper fluid reservoir.  We had not actually been using it as such, as it was filled with the gunk from coolant of bygone years when we got the Comet:

Old Overflow Tank

Here’s the aftermarket tank we installed:

New Overflow Tank

So, for good measure, we drove to the store and bought some root beers.  You know, just to make sure Micah had tightened the clamp down on the hose correctly.

Summit Starter Woes and Fixes

As noted in a post below, when we had Exhaust Pros install the headers and exhaust system (the stock system had been cut away by the previous owner but not replaced), we had to install a Summit mini-starter.  Specifically, we had Exhaust Pros install the Powermaster 9406.  Last fall, it worked fine.  This spring, I went to start the car and had grinding.  Well, we used a multimeter to test voltage at the battery and to the starter and it seemed fine, but that seemed puzzling because a starter only a few months old shouldn’t be causing such problems.  Well, we pulled the access cover off to see the ring gear, and here’s what we found:

Ring Gear

If you look at the edge of the teeth, you’ll see some shiny metal and that they’re a little worn.  That’s not a good sign.  So, we put the cover back on to back off the ramps and call it a night and come back to the problem later, only to find the starter only clicked!  So, we backed it off, pushed it in the garage, and came back the next day.  We then jacked it up and pulled the starter and here’s what we saw:

Drive Gear Damage

Obviously, that isn’t good.  Those are worn on the front end.  We suspected the gear wasn’t throwing out far enough.  When we first got the starter, it had turned over the engine, so this was not a good sign.  Since this is not the original engine and tranny set up, we decided to count the teeth on the ring gear for good measure.  Here’s Micah counting the teeth:

Counting Teeth

Sure enough, it was right:  132 teeth.  That’s what you expect and want on a Ford 200.  The starter for an FE block (e.g. 360 or 390) fits both.  This is because the diameter accounts for different teeth numbers (184 on the big block V8s). Micah took one color of nail polish from his sisters and marked the “first” tooth.  He then marked every ten teeth thereafter with a different color until we were all the way around.  See, nail polish is useful after all!

Well, as it turned out, a call to Summit with the paperwork from Exhaust Pros netted a warrantied starter.  I’m glad for that!  Kudos to Summit and Powermaster for honoring that.  Our good friend Tom got the new starter for me while I was out of town and then brought it over last week, and came with his calipers.  We measured the flywheel and it was turning over quite evenly.  We then double checked the tolerance and found that as is, the starter should engage but by removing the shim that was in place between the flange and starter motor body, we were able to “guarantee” that the throw out would be right in the middle of the range.  So, kudos to Tom L. for his help on this!

BTW, to the reviewer who claimed this starter wouldn’t fit a 200 with headers–it fits just fine.  This starter “clocks,” or rotates its flange around.  So, make sure you clock it correctly.  The bolt that can go into one of three holes should go into the middle one.  If you do that, you’ll find the starter fits fine.  We may want to try to add a heat shield nonetheless, but it does fit.

We installed the starter and so far, I’ve driven it during the last several days and it turns over and starts fine.  I hope this continues.  I should also give a shout out to our friend Brett who brought his timing light over the week before.  I need to get one but his help was greatly appreciated!  Our timing had been off by quite a bit (way too advanced, which doesn’t help starting either).  With the headers and Pertronix ignition and now the tune-up, this car is running nicely.  Someday, we’ll get a weber 2 barrel carb on it to open it up and match the header, but one step at a time.