11/14/07 Update – Kit Coming/Motor Leaving

The last few weeks have seen the shed completed, the motor coming apart, shipping arrangements made for the kit, the kit completed and picked up, and the motor now on it’s way to the machine shop.

The Shed

It’d be logical to wonder how the shed might possibly be related to the Cobra, but trust me, it is.  The car and it’s associated parts and pieces is going to take up a lot of space in the garage.  When you think about it, a man should have storage solutions for at least four kinds of stuff:

  • Dirty Stuff – Your lawn and garden gear.  Mowers, rakes, shovels all belong together and away from your primary working space.
  • Dusty Stuff – In a word, woodworking.  I’ve got my table saw and various other devices that generally turn big pieces of wood into smaller pieces of wood.  May also include other materials like fiberglass work.  This might be your primary working space but it should well separated from your…
  • Greasy Stuff – Anything that is oiled, lubed, greased or metal.  Includes bicycles, motorcycles, and cars.  Also includes the lawnmower when it’s getting worked on, but not for storage.  Dusty & Dirty Stuff does not mix well with greasy stuff.
  • Clean Stuff – Optional, but nice to have is a dust free area for painting and varnishing.

Anyway, during my pre-shed days I was mixing dirty, dusty, and greasy stuff.  Now (post-shed), my dirty stuff has it’s own building:

The Shed

The Motor

Once the shed was more or less complete and I was able to move the dirty stuff out of the garage, I was able to clean and assess my motor more thoroughly than I had before.

The Motor - Mostly Complete Still...

I started by pulling off the intake plenum and manifold.  Once this was off I was able to pull the heads and check their casting codes.  It turns out the entire motor, including the heads, was built in 1986 (casting code: E6XX).  I did some research, secretly hoping that this was the best year for Windsor heads ever in the history of the engine.  So much for hoping.

The 1986 heads were built using a "swirl-flow" technology that ultimately did more harm than good for the airflow (although, in all fairness, one school of thought thinks these heads are good for producing low-end torque, making them good for street use).  I posted a question to the FFR Forum seeking opinions – most of which suggested upgrading to the GT40 heads, or just living with it for a while.

Although the engine is a high-output (HO), with roller cam, and many other goodies, I’m baffled about the less-than-optimum heads…

Engine - Sans Heads

As I dig deeper into the engine there were few surprises.  Perhaps the biggest concern was the number of broken bolts I found that had been covered over (alarm bells going off…).  There was one on the right side valve cover covered by a screw RTV-ed in place, and one on the water pump held in by a Helicoil, not inserted in the block (the bolt was broken flush with the block), but in the water pump itself(!).

To my untrained eye, the engine bearings all looked okay, with no scoring or uneven wear.  Mostly everything looked stock, with Ford casting numbers visible on the piston tops, rods, and other assorted parts.

After talking it over with my brother Chris, I decided that it really makes sense to take the block, crank, cam, and pistons to a machine shop.  First I don’t have an arbor press to remove the wrist pins and second, I want them to inspect and measure everything (it’s an unknown block, after all), bore and hone as necessary, and finally, clean it all up using chemicals that only they posses.

How to get the block to the machine shop.  Well, Step 1 is to back the Pilot into the garage, pop the rear hatch and clean out the wife’s crap, er, stuff.  Step 2 is to remove the Wiemaraner that jumps in:

Dog in Car

Step 3 includes moving the engine stand to the rear of the Pilot, extending the block into the back (there’s about 1/4" of clearance), and sliding the block out of the engine stand and into the car.  Block it in place so it doesn’t shift around and you’re done:

Sliding Block into Car

DSC04949

The Kit

My completion date as communicated a long time ago from FFR was November 10th, 2007.  This means all of the components are gathered, packaged, boxed and ready for pickup. 

I’m using Stewart Transport out of Phoenix to pick the car up in Massachusetts and ship it to me here in Seattle.  Collin at Stewart said they’d be picking the kit up on Wednesday, November 14th (today!) and making a swing through Colorado and California, before finishing up here. 

As a side note, I gotta think that it’s a blast being a driver for Stewart – you travel the country making deliveries to people who are really, really, really happy to see you.

Collin said that it would take about 10 days to make the trip here which puts it right at…er, Thanksgiving.  I’m hoping that it gets here before Thanksgiving so I can use the entire 4-day weekend unpacking and sitting in the chassis going, vrroooomm,  VRRooomm!!

That’s it for now, I’ll probably post a quick update once I have a delivery date.

-Joe