11/28/07 Cobra Update – It’s Here!

Despite a number of delays, the Cobra finally made it to the Caropepe house this afternoon!  My man Martin had a couple of delays on his way here from Fircrest, WA, but showed up just before 4:00 PM. Actually, it was good that he was delayed because we had to have the garage-door guy fix a broken spring.  The garage-door guy left about 3:15 and the car showed up a short time later.

Once here, we had to figure out how to turn the truck around before it got dark (about 4:40 PM these days). 


Probably the best thing to do is show some before & after pics and shut up.  There are a bunch online, check them out here:


If you want to see them as a slideshow, click here:


I’ll be posting more later – enjoy!


11/27/07 – Last Minute Update

Just a quick update:  The driver (Martin) called to say he would be running a little late and should be here around 2:00 PM.

I just received a package from The Yard (http://www.yardstore.com) aviation store.  I picked up several dozen cleckos, some clecko pliers, and some #30 cobalt drill bits.  It’s a cool store – check it out!

Finally, I managed to buy some jackstands.  I’ve been looking for some SUV (high-lift) stands so I won’t have to bend over so far (hey, I’m going to be 43 in March…).  Key shopping tip – for Craftsman tools, check out your local K-Mart.  Since they merged with Sears, they carry Craftsman tools and nobody realizes it – so they’re always fully stocked (unlike my local Sears…).

I’m working form home tomorrow.  The garage door spring broke (I’m hoping it’s not rejecting the idea of the Cobra) and I need to get it fixed so it will open with the electric opener.

That’s it for now – look for pictures galore tomorrow night!


11/26/07 – The Call!

Quick update: This evening I got The Call from my man, Martin, of Stewart Transport.  He’s in Nevada and will be heading to the Seattle area tomorrow.  His first delivery Wednesday is in Fircrest, WA and he should be here before noon.

I was hoping to get some spy photos from MustangerPVG over on the FFR Forums but, despite his best efforts, he wasn’t able to see the Caropepe Cobra:

"Tried to get the photo, but yours is way in the back. There were 8 left after mine came off. I can’t believe the truck holds that many. The truck started out with 11 at the factory."

If you’re in the area on Wednesday, c’mon by!


11/21/07 – Call From Stewart Transport

Last Friday, the 16th of November I got a call from Stewart Transport driver, Martin.  He was at Factory Five in Massachusetts and had loaded the car — a couple of days later than I originally expected.  Which means (after dropping off some cars in California) he’ll be here around the 28th of November.  (SIDE NOTE: Karen’s [and my mom’s] birthday is the 27th of November…).

Although I was hoping to work on the car over the 4-day holiday weekend, the extra days will provide me some more time to clean and paint parts.


When I dropped off my motor at Action Machine last week, they mentioned that they needed the harmonic balancer and flywheel in order to balance the crank.  This is because the Ford Windsor small block engine is externally balanced and uses these pieces to help balance the engine (as opposed to an internally balanced engine).

So, yesterday I dropped off the pieces.  My guy Bob and I talked about cylinder heads for a while.  It seems that before they can provide pistons, we need to decide on what heads we’re using.  This is so we can make sure we have enough relief for the values – too much relief and we lose compression, not enough relief and, well it would be a Bad Thing.

Then, trying to be proactive, I stopped by Sears thinking I’d pick up some SUV (high lift) jack stand that were on sale.  I should have known better — I don’t know about you guys, but as much as I appreciate the Craftsman brand, I’m perpetually disappointed with my ability to buy anything useful from them.  It seem they’re always out of stock on whatever I’m looking for. 

So Karen & I went to dinner at the Austin Cantina and I still have to find some jack stands before next week.


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


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.