Spring has come to BangShift Mid-West. The trees have buds on them, the early flowers have started to bloom all over the place, the roses in the backyard are starting to leaf out and for the love of all that is good, the rains have ceased to be a constant deluge, the sun has appeared, and the lawn has dried out enough that weight can actually be applied to a certain area. That means that not only do I not sink into the lawn, but neither did the lawnmower. That means that the weather is good enough, and I’m feeling good enough after the unholy flu strain of this year, to get down to work on this year’s project cars. One is a returning champion with a 5-2 record of kicking my ass and the other is a newcomer that promises to make me pay for automotive sins from the past, I’m sure.
The Imperial has been in limbo for the last couple of months, more because of my health than any other reason. The car actually runs and drives, but no matter what we’ve done there is simply no third gear, so it’s time to yank the A-999 out of the car for a rebuild. And I’ve been dreading it. I’ve got hands like Hellboy for that kind of job, but yesterday I buckled down and got to work. Aside from having the kickdown linkage drop directly onto the bridge of my nose, it has actually gone pretty well. The two topmost bolts were removed with relative ease and the worst bolt on the bellhousing is only a pain in the ass because I have to remove the oil filter to remove the bolt. That’s not bad, just annoying. I got halfway through the task before the weather started to turn (the car is outside on the concrete pad…where cars normally get stripped) and once the forecasted showers pass by, it’ll simply be about an hour’s worth of work to drop the trans out of the car. Too easy.
The Mustang should go just as easy…at least, I’m hoping it is. If the 1994 Mustang that I stripped clean was any indication, the worst part of performing the five-lug swap on Haley’s car will be pressing ball joints in and and out. And I’m not too worried about that, since the air compressor and the impact gun are well within reach of the front of the car. I’m planning on truly tearing into the Mustang after the Imperial’s transmission is sent off and I’m hoping to get it done in a reasonable amount of time. The front parts, the new rear axle with disc brakes, the entire brake system being traded for the 1994 kit…I’m looking forward to giving the orange Fox some better manners on the road.
Of course, both cars have phantom issues that need to be sorted out too. The Imperial’s fuel pump kicked the bucket and needs to be replaced. The standard Chrysler fuel pump is a handle driven off of the camshaft…what possibly failed in that system is beyond me. The engine runs if you fill the bowls of the carb up, and I can use my electric system to bring fuel up from the tank to the pump, so…yep, it’s the pump. The Mustang will be a bit more difficult: after something in the underhood starting system packed up and left in a cloud of electronics-tinged smoke, I’m going to have to go and trace the entire starting circuit from the positive battery terminal to the starter itself. I’ve gotten as far as the starter solenoid, which tested good, so I’m hoping the starter itself just packed up and headed out. While I’d love to get the 4.2 out of the engine bay permanently, I’m not rushed to do an engine swap on the Mustang just yet. Both the Explorer 5.0 and the mystery Ford small-block from the 1994 Mustang need a quick once-over before I dump them into the engine bay and more than likely, we’ll send her C4 off for a quick once-over as well just to freshen it up.
Spring has sprung and all is well. Just ignore the swearing coming out of the garage!