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My Husband's Mad Max Interceptor Project

Did Go Wrong!!!

Can you imagine dropping something and it misses the floor? Can you imagine two things the same size that are made to go together not fitting? How about professionals that do something everyday not getting it right? Ever buy something and there is a part missing but you can't tell because you don't even know it's supposed to be there?
You would not believe the things that went wrong in this build! No two things would "just go together" as they should. Nothing was as it should have been. It was the single most frustrating series of impossibilities that has ever plagued my husband. I think he even added a few new words to the list of profanity.
In this section I will be telling you about the trials and tribulations that my husband went through while working on this project. The series of impossibilities is endless and the exasperation is sure to be felt by all those whom read it. So begins the long list of "I can't believe this...." experiences.

1. OK, so it's NOT a 302

Trouble started from square one. According to the previous owner and the casting numbers on the intake manifold and the engine block the engine that was in the car was a 1968 302. However while my husband was disassembling the engine he encountered a "289" cast into the cylinder heads under the valve cover, but 302 cast in the lifter valley. Upon further research into the block casting number (C8A-6015-B) he discovered that the "B" meant that the block was cast in Windsor, Canada and that no 302's were ever produced there. All of the 302 blocks that were cast in Windsor were instead shipped to the Ford Cleveland plant where some were used to finish out production of the 289 and some were used for 302's. The only way to know which the engine was built into was by checking the casting number on the crankshaft. As it turned out the engine was a 289!

2. It's in the details, or lack thereof.
After the machine shop did all the machining on the engine (one cylinder also needed sleeving due to pitting on the cylinder wall) my husband took it home to deburr it himself as well as notch clearance for the stroker crank. He took it back for one more tank cleaning and then cam bearings and freeze plugs were to be installed. 5 days later we were told the engine was ready. He picked it up, wrapped in plastic, and then went to settle the bill. When the clerk seemed apprehensive about collecting more money my husband asked "If I go out there to the truck will I find freeze plugs and cam bearings in the block?" The clerk said "We better go check." You guessed it, there wasn't any.

3. What you buy isn't always what you get.
The pistons that my husband selected were Keith Black forged aluminum pistons that, according to the KB (United Engine & Machine) website should have provided 10:1 compression or a couple points higher. They stated all the piston's specifications with a stock deck clearance height of 8.206" and that compression with 58cc chambered heads, as would be used, would be 9.6:1. After machining my deck clearance on my block was 8.198" so naturally the compression should be hitting right at about 10:1. Later we learned that the specifications are with a "0" deck height! This meant that there was a .008" fudge in the specifications and now we did not have the compression that we were purchasing. We ended up with 9.6:1 in the end, even with a lower deck clearance than specified!

4. Engine parts suppliers don't always pay attention.
The shop that did the machining on the block ordered the stroker kit for my husband. All the details about the kit were specified by my husband and were correctly ordered by the shop. After we got the kit and my husband had all the pistons on the connecting rods and all the file-fit pistons rings sized he began assembling the engine. After the first piston and rod assembly was installed (he already had the crank installed and end play set) it was apparent that the crank journal on the rods was too big. The stroker crank had a smallbock chevy crank journal diameter and the kit supplier did not select the correct rods. This meant pulling the crank back out of the block, removing all the pistons from the rods, and taking the reciprocating assembly back to the shop for balancing with the correct rods when they came in!

5. Even those that know the most.....don't know.
We all know Summit Racing as one of the most popular and largest mail order performance parts suppliers in the U.S. They are well known for being on the cusp of performance knowledge and their race car is known by all. This was what went through my husband's mind when, after placing an order of parts that he selected numbers for, was asked "Will there be anything else?"
He wanted to get a set of Harland Sharp roller rockers for the Ford Racing GT-40 X305 cylinder heads that were on order but he had not had a chance yet to look up the correct part number because he needed to know if the heads took bolt on pedestal rockers or studded ones. After the experience with the connecting rods he was waiting until he had the numbers for the rockers before ordering them. But this is Summit Racing! Surely he could rely on their expertise. He stated what he wanted but didn't know which rockers were correct. The salesman offered to look up the info to see if studded or bolt on ones were required and then get the correct number. My husband said "That would be wonderful." So we received a set of studded rocker arms. My husband, wanting to be sure he was receiving the correct application, verified at the Ford Racing website himself that "All GT-40 aluminum cylinder heads utilize bolt on pedestal mounted rocker arms."
Once again parts were sent back and after an additional $200 the correct rocker arms were received. My husband will NEVER rely on anyone to select the correct part for him ever again.

6. Don't apply common sense to a fuel pump.
The new fuel pump didn't come with instructions of where to hook-up each fuel line, nor was it marked with "In" or "out". Ok, so now what? Hhmm, well, the fitting towards the back of the pump, as mounted on the engine, should be for the line from the tank to the pump and the fitting towards the front of the engine should go to the carb. Wouldn't that make sense? Yes, it would, but that is not how the pump was designed. The fitting closest to the fuel tank goes to the carb and the fitting towards the front of the engine, farthest from the fuel tank, goes to the fuel tank.

7. It's a brand new fuel line!
After cranking the engine with the fuel pump hooked up backwards, then switching the lines around and cranking some more the car started. However the fuel line leaked at the carb. Gas was leaking onto the intake manifold from the new chrome dual fuel line assembly.
After removing the fuel line and re-attaching it again, taking great care to assure everything was perfect, it still leaked. A close inspection of the flared ends revealed that the ends were flared off center and could never seal properly! Time for ANOTHER new fuel line.

8. Now it cranks, now it doesn't.
During all this piddling around with things that are not as they should be now the engine decided it doesn't want to crank anymore. Playing around with the shifter location on the transmission hump we found that it would crank in reverse! How wonderful!
My husband crawled underneath and attempted to re-adjust the linkage and the neutral safety switch. However it would seem that the neutral safety switch has gone on permanent strike and may need replacing.

9. It's just a distributor!
The other engines my husband built had been Chrysler engines. When building these the shaft for the oil pump is installed down the hole that the distributor is mounted into then the distributor is put in place. The Ford smallblock is designed the same way......kinda.
The shaft for the oil pump and the distributor are in the same orientation, but the shaft needs to be installed in place when the oil pump is put in place, which is inside the oil pan. This was discovered when the distributor gear would not rest all the way in place on top of this shaft. He attempted to put the shaft down the distributor hole but there was a small retainer on the shaft that was to keep it from being pulled up through this hole, so it would not go down through the hole. He removed this retainer but getting the shaft to land in the correct location within the oil pump was unsuccessful.
The oil pan was dropped and the shaft was placed into it's proper location. The distributor, after a lot of coaxing, finally dropped into place on the top of the shaft and the pan was replaced.

10. So what are these holes for? 
The GT-40 x305 cylinder heads have a large 5/8" hole at each end, oddly enough right where a 7/16ths screw goes. A bushing was going to have to be machined for this (this is an automatic thought for my husband as he is a Toolmaker for a living). He made it and got everything together. The engine was started and it was loud as heck! He felt in front of the open hole at the front of the head on the otherside of the engine and felt exhaust coming out these holes! What was this about?
Doing research on the heads he found that these holes were for a pollution control system on newer cars. He also found that the heads were supposed to be shipped with plugs for use on cars that do not have this pollution control system. Needless to say these were not included with the heads and therefore it was not known that they were even missing.
My husband went to a dealership to attempt to buy a set of plugs but he was told by the salesman that they could not be sold to him and that they had to stop talking about defeating an emission control! My husband made the arguement that the car was not a pollution controlled motor vehicle! It was a 1966 Mustang. This proved to be in vane.
My husband machined his own plugs for the heads and installed them. Recently he found a source where he can buy "replacement" plugs.
More to Come!!