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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Mo' progress, Mo' problems. Really the only problem is that I don't have enough time to do this LOL. At this point I had about everything buttoned up and ready to go sans steering and the starter. For the starter, I went with a power-max clockable mini-starter with the solenoid local to it. I don't have any pictures of it but I used some light-gauge AL to create a heat-shield for it just in case. The battery was also relocated to the rear-passenger side of the trunk. I used some grommets where it goes through a firewall, and a 250A bussman fuse back at the battery. The kill-switch itself will be on the panel next to the driver and that should prevent any live-wire concerns when the car is "off" but the battery is still hooked up. I struggled with how to do this for a while, using another solenoid or a few other options but this was the best compromise of complexity and safety i could come up with.

Secondly, steering. So this one I had been saving up for a while for. I got a Woodward SCA700 + quick release for the car AND I FREAKING LOVE IT. Primary concern was size (ie smaller diameter) and something that was also safe, and performed well. Performed well in terms of no slop, consistent quick release, and durable. For the time being I have just a no-frills NRG wheel mated to it but I might treat myself to something nicer someday (although this NRG is quite nice). For now I have a tab that uses the collar-ring on the woodward to mount it to the stock location but that will change once I get a cage in and the crossbar in place. Also I went to a local shop and they were nice enough to let me use their finger-break (brake?) to bend a dash panel. You can see in one of these pictures too where the "real" driver panel is going to be. The AT-AT looking thing is just a temporary panel for killswitch and starter toggle until I get some other things done (more on the electrics in a bit....its really rad and a lot of work but I'm getting there).

One last thing I havne't mentioned yet is the addition of a shifter you can see in the last picture. Using some stock I had laying around and leftover tubes, I made a "remote shifter". The front tabs bolt to either side of the stock shifter on the T5 and then there is a linkage back to the actual shift handle. The shift handle has a 3/8" heim on the end that's held in place by a plate. Riv-nuts to the trans tunel and some safety wire keep that in place. I used some generic "spacers" when I made this and while they work, they're not ideal. I need to find/make something with a little more wall thickness and after that I'll be able to use some delarin washers to really tighten things up. Its not too sloppy now but i could be better.

PXL_20201002_234347451.jpg PXL_20201003_165011960.jpg PXL_20201029_140102319.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
At this point the car is running and driving. The longest "stall" I had (thus far) was what to do with wheels and tires, which was next. I think the cars look better with 15s or 16s on them but gooooooood luck finding something that's not a goodyear bluestreak or similar $$$ in that rim diameter WIDER than a 225 section width. Yeah there are some out there like the BFGs i ran for a long time but they're a 500 TW or something silly like that tire. It was near impooooooooooosible to find a wheel that I liked to fit on the car in an offset that worked. I ended up going with some Kansei KNP and boy to they look great. There are some caveats however.
PXL_20201224_210315354.jpg PXL_20210123_210720537.jpg

So final setup on these is 245/45r17 17x9 +25ET (and a 10mm spacer) up front and a 275/45r17 17x9.5 +12ET in the rear. The rears I don't think I'll have a problem with, they clear already and I'm also putting in a panhard bar (next post) so I'm not too worried. The fronts were a different story. Without the spacer, no way jose; the tie-rod and UBJ contact the inner wheel. Additionally, even WITH the spacer, the UCA "tip" still impacts the wheel. I'm not quite done with these yet but the UCA requires a fair amount of trimming and then subsequent plating/boxing to get this to work. I didn't want to go through this much trouble but here we are. I think given everything this is probably the absolute MAX wheel you could put on the front without some serious modification after. After trimming the "flare" off the UCA and then narrowing the area around the UBJ and subsequent plating and boxing, I can go full lock to lock. The real ticket will be getting all of those pickup points inside the wheel and I've got a solution for that I'm working on right now which I'll detail later. Those changes will make this ALL a moot point but the car drives like it is for now.

PXL_20201206_162614337.jpg PXL_20201206_162716388.jpg PXL_20201206_162728635.jpg

As you can see, there was room in the back but it was a liiiiiiitle close to that inner bumpstop. after trimming and re-welding the "Tab" that sticks out, I've got plenty of room given I'll have a panhard bar. Without it, I'm not sure I'd trust this close of a fitment given leaf spring's tendencies to twist/deform laterally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
So this is where I really jumped into the PAN....and i wasn't quite sure WAT...i was doing yet :poop: Alright alright...enough puns about watts links and panhard bars. As you can guess, I had a few options here, well 3 namely:

1) Use a kit to install a 3-link or 4-link style rear suspension. These are well known, proven, and generally for a solid axle about as good as you can get.
2) Use a kit or fab a watts link. This is the second most ideal. Because of how it works, there is no side-to-side deflection but it is more complicated to make.
3) Use a kit or fab a panhard bar. This was the "oldest" (chronologically) solution out of all of them and had its ups and downs. Ultimately what I chose.

If you're unfamiliar with how a panhard bar works or why it's needed, here's a real rough rundown. So very generally, leaf springs do a poor job with laterally locating the car which isn't a big deal in straight lines but it can be while cornering. The panhard bar or rod or whatever you want to call it is one solution to that problem. Typically there is one point of the panhard bar fastened to the frame, and the other to the rear axle. This then provides a solid link laterally that can still move in compression/rebound without binding the suspension***much.
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I say "much" because unlike the watts link there's still ultimately an arc this bar travels in, so there is some side to side deflection. So as this bar travels in an arc the "end point" of that bar (when viewed as projected on the ground) actually goes left/right a bit. As the picture shows above, at ride-height generally the bar is parallel with the ground so it will get "shorter" in compression or rebound, effectively (in the above case) sliding the rear end to the right out from under the car (when viewed from behdind). I forget the exact number but I think over 8" of suspension travel (4" comrpession, 4" rebound) it was like, a max of 1/8" deflection left or right. Very typically the tire sidewall will deflect more than that (sometimes up to 3/8 of an inch or more depending on the tire!) so I felt comfortable with this. I have about 1" of room from the tire to the leaf springs, or from the tire to the fender lip, so I can live with the tire deflection and the movement from the panhard bar. Also I won't get into it here but the above drawing does show the car's rolll center (RC) in the rear. Generally changing the relation of the panhard rod to the RC can also "stiffen up" or "loosen up" the rear-end feel. Once I get on track maybe I can write up some more info on that.

At this point off I go with my friend (plumb) Bob and a grease pen. I assumed the axle of the car was perpendicular with the car, so that gave a great fore/aft reference. Finding the centerline was easy enough, simply measuring between the two spring perches and splitting the difference. Now I had a central axis to measure against. Then using the plumb-bob I marked up about every 3-4" of the frame so I could measure the X and Y coordinates, and then also measured from that point I marked on the garage floor up to where I held the string on the plumb-bob to get the height. This all gave me the measurements to start making a model.
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And make a model I did. Using this new-found knowledge I was able to transfer all of the points into CAD and get a general location of the axle, frame, etc., where everything sat at ride height. ***GENERAL DISCLAIMER: It is a plumb-bob and a grease pen. This was also before I lowered the car so your measurements may be different. This was all to get the best approximation I could and the rest can be adjusted when fabricating (within reason) or adjusted later via the typical means like changing the holes they're in, etc.
design_screenshot.png design_screenshot2.png design_screenshot3.png

After getting the frame rails into CAD i was able to draw up the various brackets, tubes, and anything else I needed to put a panhard bar setup together. This was all well and good in practice but I did want to test a few things before committing to the design, so i used my 3D printer to make the brackets and test where they fit to ensure my measurements were at least close. Surprisingly they were lolol. A couple angles, etc had to be changed but that could have easily been done when fabricating but may as well do it now. The actual frame side of the panhard mount looks great as did the spring plates (not shown). These are all going out to the laser cutter this week to get cut and bent, hopefully I'll have them soon!
PXL_20210327_213620394.jpg PXL_20210327_213654470.jpg
 

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67 Fastback T5 331 TCI Frt End, Canted 4 link rear susp
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Wow, what an awesome project! I don't mean to knit pick, but I couldn't help but notice the photo of the firewall plate for your master cylinders was tacked in place, but the mating surfaces weren't prep to be free of paint and other surface material. It stood out when compared to all your meticulous work.
 

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So what brand and model of tire did you go with in 17"?

I agree there's slim pickins in 15" but 16" has a few good ones 225 and up in good summer tires 300 TW - 400 TS and track tires from 60 - 200 TW. There are wheels in 16" with the correct offset w/o need for spacers, which is why I plan to go 16".
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Wow, what an awesome project! I don't mean to knit pick, but I couldn't help but notice the photo of the firewall plate for your master cylinders was tacked in place, but the mating surfaces weren't prep to be free of paint and other surface material. It stood out when compared to all your meticulous work.
Lol thank you for the compliment, and no worries! If you go back in like, post #5 there's actually a snuck-in shot of it when its been all welded in and it looks MUCH better there. That whole area got cleaned on both sides of the firewall before it was tackled in earnest. Primary concern at the time was just to burn something in quick (as evident by the picture), use some cardboard to mock a few other things up and keep it held in place so I could check out seating, steering, and a few other things. Shortly after that picture the whole thing got cut out, I actually made a new plate, then re-checked that, THEN made more templates, etc. etc. lolol.

If I would have posted these chronologically and in full detail, it would have been like the star-wars movies; we would have started in the middle, it would have been too long, and none of it would make sense 🤣
 

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If I would have posted these chronologically and in full detail, it would have been like the star-wars movies; we would have started in the middle, it would have been too long, and none of it would make sense 🤣
LOL...

Looking very nice but I have to ask. The paint scheme in the engine bay would seem to make it really hard to distinguish leaks. Picking your brain as to why that color scheme (not that I don't like the looks).

I went with a white engine bay so I could see everything. Not saying ones right or ones wrong...

I'll be following the build.

Allen
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
So what brand and model of tire did you go with in 17"?

I agree there's slim pickins in 15" but 16" has a few good ones 225 and up in good summer tires 300 TW - 400 TS and track tires from 60 - 200 TW. There are wheels in 16" with the correct offset w/o need for spacers, which is why I plan to go 16".
The ones on there now are Federal Evoluzion ST-1. They're a 300TW tire, seem to be a decent performer from everyone I've talked to. Nothing thats outstanding in a category but an all around OK tire. They'll be good enough for me to shake down and also develop more as a driver before getting something sticky.

For 16" about the best I could come across was 2-3 different brands and 4-5 models; The R888, the A052, the Re71, RT615k and maybe a couple more. The widest i could find in ANY of those in 16" diameter wheel was 245 though and I was hoping to be able to go wider in the rear, if not right now but maybe in the future. The big killer for me was that while all of those are extremely prolific tire choices (look at any performance SCCA or similar car and they're everywhere) they're also just as expensive. Out of those I listed the falken is by far the cheapest and that's a ~$165 or so a tire yet.

Now now, everyone put their pitchforks down. I know you become a millionaire racing by starting as a billionaire. Jokes aside, for me that was the deciding factor. For "burner" tires that are somewhat grippy, these ST-1 are about $100 a tire and that's much easier when you're looking at consumables. Also all of the aforementioned (i think, its been a while) are available in 17" and also with wider section widths, up to about 275. My biggest compromise with 17" wheels is that a majority of the fun takeoffs now (like cup-car used seconds) are usually in 18" dia and I was having a hard time finding a wheel that looked good, with the offset, in that size. 🤷‍♀️ what can ya do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
LOL...

Looking very nice but I have to ask. The paint scheme in the engine bay would seem to make it really hard to distinguish leaks. Picking your brain as to why that color scheme (not that I don't like the looks).

I went with a white engine bay so I could see everything. Not saying ones right or ones wrong...

I'll be following the build.

Allen
That's the point actually, is that it DOES hide the sins a bit better. Yours is a valid concern and I wrestled with it too. I didn't touch on it much in the post but I did make a reaaaaaaaaaally concerted effort to clean up (and/or paint) things that might be "leakers". That's not just the engine but also wheel cylinders, brake backing pads, rear diff covers, etc. That's one of the biggest pains about it, I have to do this much work to clean and prep everything but it's totally worth it for spotting any irregularities. The join on my gas line needed just an extra ::rrrt:: on the wrench, nothing manifested for a solid week but then one day when i was down there doing spanner checks i noticed a leak. tightened it, wiped everything down, re-paint-striped the fitting and it's been good since. To answer your question, I'm going to rely more on the parts IN the bay to tell the story.

All of that is a really long-winded way to say I didn't want to clean any more chrome or have anything that showed "general use" grime easily. All because I'm lazy-ish when it comes to cleaning sometimes 🤣 Also even though it wasn't mentioned (or asked) but I did choose grey as a primary color to hopefully identify any stress-related fractures easier. It should be a relatively easy to distinguish "blots" from "tears"....in theory...
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Now we start to get into some more fun bits too. So, for my welder I've got a millermatic 211. That thing really is the cats-arese when it comes to a "better than entry" mig machine. I was able to run it on 120V until I got my 240V plug wired in and its been a real great machine the whole time. I did however happen to eye-spy a (not even kidding) $160 DC tig welder. This thing comes across on the boat and I was sure it would get wet along the way. Well I'm currently on my 3rd bottle of gas and shut the front door if it doesn't actually do a pretty decent job. I thought I've spent more on dummer things in the past and I'm fortunate enough that the $160 was "disposable income" enough that i thought i could make an experiment out of it. The lil machine comes with a WP9 torch and actually has high frequency (HF) start. That was enough to get me interested and it's been "good enough for the gal i go with" sofar.

With that in mind, after a bunch of cupons to get at least SOME semblance of familiarity back under my belt, I set off to make some radiator provisions.
PXL_20200912_183808614.jpg PXL_20200912_204220020.jpg PXL_20200912_204234503.jpg

The upper hose is 2.5" OD and the lower is 2.75" OD if i remember right. First time I went to go put that extra 2.5" coupler on the bottom to start putting pieces together and fabricating a lower hose I got quite the surprise! lololol. Its a little hard to see the lower, but it's there. Getting around that alternator was a major PITA but I did. Still some doo-doo in the welds (and the upcoming exhaust pictures will show it, with some improvement) but they don't leak lolol. Also, downside to not having a proper bead roller is that none of the clamps have anything to hold to. Easy trick around that is to lay a "cold" bead so it stands a little proud along the end of the tube.

EDIT: Also! on the topic of clamps. I hate hate HAAAAAATE worm gear clamps. If I do have to use them (or if you do) make sure to get the "shielded" variety. Those have a nice inner layer that prevents the serrations of the strap that engage the worm-gear from biting into your elbows and making a mess of everything. If i have a choice though, Oetiker style clamps ALL THE WAY!

kind of like this:
image_2021-04-06_191835.png
**disclaimer is that my heat was WAAAAAAY too hot as evident by how nasty and grey that 301 stainless is. This was probably mid-way through bottle #1 so I was still pretty rough on the uptake yet. Mild steel you can get away with quite a bit but stainless not so much. All of this got wire-wheeled with a stainless brush before getting on the car to take the oxide off, that'll make it last for as long as I need it too. I've gotten better but just proves there's no way I'd make it as a pipe layer. (as another deviation from this story) My job takes me into some pretty neat places like....nuclear power plants. Yeah. They're pretty awesome. The work those tradesmen do is just outstanding and I have to keep myself from getting distracted by all the weld-porn literally scattered throughout the plant.
 

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Nice build, and well thought out! I would have loved to have done a 67-68 autocross car but thats not how it panned out.
 
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Your car is the same shade of blue that mine is. Basically you are giving me a glimpse of what my car could have been with more skill.

It rocks.

And I now know I can stuff 9.5” wide rims in the back ;)

Also, I like that you painted your trim and bumpers black. Looks sharp.


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Awesome work indeed! started with similar car ( 68 sedan) long ago.. and charted a slightly different course (restomod) to switch from 289/C4 to 390/C6, now pushing closer to 390/TKO-3550 and Fitech ..How did you pass brake lines under drivers feet? Drill holes in back of Torque box? Battery cable along Trans hump.. like that a lot... Using Frame for Ground? Are you running a return for fuel or a single feed up to engine? Suffering the Versailles rear end (200 pounds of brakes - albeit discs!) at the moment. Then... the brandy new fuel tank ( TanksInc) 70 Mustang 22 Gal has a 3" diameter hole for the Bosch 044 which is 3.5"Dia Ugg.. do i have to cut a big hole in my brand new tank? Really do want PWM though, and Bosch is my choice.. Hope it fits! Great work! Not sure about the Red bulkhead ... where do you pass power thru the firewall? Great series of pics. nice work!
789840
789842
 

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At this point the car is running and driving. The longest "stall" I had (thus far) was what to do with wheels and tires, which was next. I think the cars look better with 15s or 16s on them but gooooooood luck finding something that's not a goodyear bluestreak or similar $$$ in that rim diameter WIDER than a 225 section width. Yeah there are some out there like the BFGs i ran for a long time but they're a 500 TW or something silly like that tire. It was near impooooooooooosible to find a wheel that I liked to fit on the car in an offset that worked. I ended up going with some Kansei KNP and boy to they look great. There are some caveats however.
View attachment 789788 View attachment 789789

So final setup on these is 245/45r17 17x9 +25ET (and a 10mm spacer) up front and a 275/45r17 17x9.5 +12ET in the rear. The rears I don't think I'll have a problem with, they clear already and I'm also putting in a panhard bar (next post) so I'm not too worried. The fronts were a different story. Without the spacer, no way jose; the tie-rod and UBJ contact the inner wheel. Additionally, even WITH the spacer, the UCA "tip" still impacts the wheel. I'm not quite done with these yet but the UCA requires a fair amount of trimming and then subsequent plating/boxing to get this to work. I didn't want to go through this much trouble but here we are. I think given everything this is probably the absolute MAX wheel you could put on the front without some serious modification after. After trimming the "flare" off the UCA and then narrowing the area around the UBJ and subsequent plating and boxing, I can go full lock to lock. The real ticket will be getting all of those pickup points inside the wheel and I've got a solution for that I'm working on right now which I'll detail later. Those changes will make this ALL a moot point but the car drives like it is for now.

View attachment 789791 View attachment 789792 View attachment 789793

As you can see, there was room in the back but it was a liiiiiiitle close to that inner bumpstop. after trimming and re-welding the "Tab" that sticks out, I've got plenty of room given I'll have a panhard bar. Without it, I'm not sure I'd trust this close of a fitment given leaf spring's tendencies to twist/deform laterally.
Also, curious what the your front suspension clearance looks like. Didnt think you could fit 17x9s on the front. Impressive.


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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Awesome work indeed! started with similar car ( 68 sedan) long ago.. and charted a slightly different course (restomod) to switch from 289/C4 to 390/C6, now pushing closer to 390/TKO-3550 and Fitech ..How did you pass brake lines under drivers feet? Drill holes in back of Torque box? Battery cable along Trans hump.. like that a lot... Using Frame for Ground? Are you running a return for fuel or a single feed up to engine? Suffering the Versailles rear end (200 pounds of brakes - albeit discs!) at the moment. Then... the brandy new fuel tank ( TanksInc) 70 Mustang 22 Gal has a 3" diameter hole for the Bosch 044 which is 3.5"Dia Ugg.. do i have to cut a big hole in my brand new tank? Really do want PWM though, and Bosch is my choice.. Hope it fits! Great work! Not sure about the Red bulkhead ... where do you pass power thru the firewall? Great series of pics. nice work!
Thanks! I'm thinking someday after this gets going I'll use a fitech. Its also really tempting to weld some injector bosses into a manifold and do port injection with something like a haltech. Also yes, currently using frame for ground ***for battery to block. I'm going to get the multimeter out and do a battery to block test, as well as some noise testing with the oscilloscope. When I get going on the wiring everything is going to be referenced to the block on my harness. Very typically any delta then between the batter and the block is moot. Worst case though I can always run another ground cable parallel up along the hot line without much worry.

Also everything's currently carbureted so no return line. I may do EFI in the future but there's a lot I'll need to do before I get there. If I do then I'll obviously have to work out what to do with the return line. At that point i'd probably run both along the passenger side. To run the brake and fuel along the driver side wasn't too much extra work really. I think its the '71-73 models did that already so i could use the gromets from those. The exit hole on the torque box needed to be opened up a little bit but that was easy enough with a die grinder.

The hole where the stock blower motor goes is going to be replaced with rivnuts and a 12ga AL plate. That's where my bulkhead Deutsch connector (or connectors, haven't quite decided yet) is going to go. Immediately below or in vicinity to that will be the power management, data logger connections, etc.

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Discussion Starter · #37 · (Edited)
Your car is the same shade of blue that mine is. Basically you are giving me a glimpse of what my car could have been with more skill.

It rocks.

And I now know I can stuff 9.5” wide rims in the back ;)

Also, I like that you painted your trim and bumpers black. Looks sharp.
Also, curious what the your front suspension clearance looks like. Didnt think you could fit 17x9s on the front. Impressive.
Thanks! The funny part about the trim and bumper painting was that it kind of came out of a "why the heck not" decision and turned out better than expected 🤣 The trim on my drip rails is in pretty rough shape and would be a colooooosal pain to get off without mutilating the paint. Now, its not a show and shine paintjob by any means and has plenty of rock chips and blemishes from the guy who painted it but it's a good 50-footer. If you or anyone else is interested the color is actually a '93 cobra color, sonic blue. I've always been kind of a blue-guy and it worked out great it's another ford color. If it ever gets re-sprayed it'll be that same color.

For the tire fitment, I won't be able to say "for sure" until I take a few turns in anger but I think everything will work. Since our classic cars aren't exactly the first choice for performance driving (and holy crap do i know why, more on that in a future post) its really hit and miss on what does or doesn't fit. Wheel and tire fitment was one of the things I've spent the most time researching on this project and I'm still not sure I got it right. As previously mentioned I think the rears will be ok, but the fronts need/needed a loooooooot of work.
PXL_20210407_123441104.jpg PXL_20210407_123450723.jpg PXL_20210407_123457780.jpg

This is with a 10mm wheel spacer, post-shave on the UCA nose, but pre-shave on the sides of the arm. Without the spacer, the UCA has no way of clearing, not even close. The outer TIE also hits but, only a little. These are 17x9 ET25 just as a reminder. With a 5mm spacer the TIE clears but the UCA was still way too close for comfort, so that's why i went with the 10mm. I've got the fenders rolled and with the springs out I tried cycling everything up/down/around/turn/younameit and everything looks ok. The real test is what happens once bushing compliance, body roll, and 18 other factors happen on-track lolol.

I'm honestly not entirely sure I'd recommend going this route, if someone chooses to, just be ready to do a lot of work. In the sketches below, the red lines are parts of the UCA i had to trim off, the blue lines I cut and then re-plated the arm with some 10GA. Additionally then I also boxed in the bottom to try and bring back some rigidity, mainly at the end where I did a fair bit of surgery. My biggest concern with modified arms like this would be that less material out on the end RIGHT where the forces act is less than ideal. We'll see I guess. If i had to take a guess (again, wild-hare guess since i don't have one to check) I think probably the newer global west style or the street or track style tubular UCA would likely have more clearance and might work without modification.

789894
789895


I'm actually in-progress of wrapping these up. I chopped everything up and checked for fitment before committing to finishing them. These are all but temporary, I've got something in the works that actually makes this a non-issue but before I say anything I need to get some machine quotes and other things lined up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
So at this point in the project log, the car was actually running and driving. I did a bunch of spanner checks, finished some odds and ends, put a new tank in, got my draveshaft shortened and i could move it. On the note of the driveshaft, the stock 1968 length was too long. Everywhere I could find online said the "t5" conversion shafts were 1" shorter but looking at mine after getting it 1" shorter, either the guy needs to learn how to read a tape measure or 1" shorter is too much. I need to go and actually measure what mine is eye-to-eye but it currently works. I just think the yoke is a little tooo far out, but at full droop everything still functions ok so I think it's ok.

Moving my car like this may have been fun for the novelty of the open headers for a bit but I'm sure the neighbors 4 counties over would get tired of it after a while, so it was on to exhaust next. Ideally, a guy would have a lift to do this, or at least something that gave more room that jackstands on a floor but, here we are. The biggest challenge with this was how the heck i was going to fit everything up. Not having ample room for my orge self to get under the car and tack things in place and/or test fit things was going to be difficult. To help aide with this, I fired up the CAD machine and my 3d printer and made some "modeling blocks" for the exhaust. The bends I bough were all 2.5" and a 3.5 CLR bend, so I just needed a way to measure and mark out everything.

Step 1 was "modeling" or visually seeing what I could do. In the end I had a couple different pieces that could all snap together:
  • 15* pie cut
  • 30* pie cut
  • veeband flange
  • 2.5" exhaust pipe to modeling clips
  • modeling clips to 1.5" PVC
The whole idea with these was to make a way I could clamp/clip everything together and get my needed lengths and cuts before trying to mock it all together. Here you can see the different pieces, as well as the "jig" i made to mark out the cuts i needed to make. Unfortunately I don't have a bandsaw so it was all done with a cutoff wheel and grinder (and some metal sanding belts on a belt sander), hence the need for the cutoff template. The last picture you can see the x-pipe and then the parts in action. Each modeling block uses fingers to snap together and then they can freely rotate between the two parts. Each mating surface has 15* radial marks, so I can get a rough idea how much the part is "clocked" when tacking together. The joins to the PVC pipe made it real easy then to connect the dots and figure out how much straight pipe i needed.

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Jumping backwards just a little bit, I had to also figure out how the heck without a bandsaw I was going to make this x-pipe without a bandsaw. You probably guessed it, 3d printer to the rescue. Using the power of technology I made a clamp/jig that I could put the 60* elbows in and mark where the cut should be. Since I put these tubes in CAD as well (just to make the darn jig), it was easy to figure out how far from the end to clamp the jig and then just kind of eyeball it from there.
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The straightedge helped guide the permanent marker and then I just kind of went "well its now or never" and went for it. Overall, I'm actually really chuffed with how well these 3d printer jigs and fixtures turned out and how much they helped. The x-pipe also turned out pretty well. Still some crappy welds in there but my heat management was getting better. I'll say it again, if you've not welded stainless before it doesn't hide your sins lolol.
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Still some grey and pink in the middle there but it's starting to be more blondes and blues. I mean, if i was doing anything nuke or food grade this would still be unacceptable but for a car exhaust I think it'll be just fine. You can see from the heat affected zone (HAZ) marking too that my torch angle was a little wack in a few spots but it wasn't too bad (see the like, wisps of discoloration that fly off? that's a decent sign your angle isn't right). As a reminder, this is still that lil "$160 chineese tig with a smal wp9 torch" that could lolol. For all of the stainless I've been using a #8 cup with a diffusion screen which for a good welder is a little overkill. I don't need a BFC like furick style cup (although gatdamn they do look nice) but the larger cup and more flow gives me some more cushion. As of time of this post, my local airgas will fill a 150cuft tank for $40, gas is cheap yo so don't be afraid to use it.

Getting the x-pipe done let me start to match everything up though and get the rest of this exhaust done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
After using the modeling blocks I was confident that I could stuff the veeband, plus flex joint up on the header before having to take a turn, so I started to weld those up first. At the same time I made some pie-cuts based on my PCV and modeling blocks and after putting in the veebands would start tacking those in as well.
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Again, some progress but not perfect. I'm finally getting some non-discolored areas so its getting better at least. For anyone who's tig welded before you'll know dissimilar diameters are difficult. The transition from the 3" to 2.5" reducer to the flex join was tough. If i had to do it over, I would have fuse-welded the ends of the flex joints first. They have a flange, the inner flex, and the woven outer, so all that together plus fitting up a joint was just more difficult than it needed to be.

After that it was onto tacking in pipe back to the x-pipe. The modeling blocks really did make this a breeze (or at least breezy LOL). Here's a few shots of first the passenger side tacked in, then both sides tacked in. What I ended up doing to get fitment correct was tacking on the bench based on what my modeling blocks said and then checking under the car. Ultimately they weren't perfect since there was some compliance there in the modeling blocks, so sometimes i needed to tweak things just a bit to get them "just right". If that was needed once i was under the car, i could make the difference with a sharpie, cut the tack weld, then rinse and repeat. Lots of up and down during this part from under car to the bench. I just used the ole eyeballs and lots of measuring with a tape to try and get it as centered as i could between the rocker pinch seams and also relatively "flat" with respect to the car and the ground. I just used distance from floor pan to ground front and rear as a good reference and then tried to make sure it "looked ok".
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After I was happy with where everything was tacked up, I wanted just a little bit better tacks before proceeding on. These were usually just 180* out of phase tacks which made it GREAT for changing things if i needed to but they were kinda floppy and that wasn't going to work for the rest of mock-up. Before doing all of that though, I was worried about warping and twisting everything I had just spent a weekend on getting lined up right. I have some of these kobalt adjustable sawhorses that will accept standard stud 2x4s on the side. I has made a top out of 2x4s and some 3/4" ply previously as a "movable" work surface. Great for pop-up workspace (relatively...the things fekkin heavy but I made it that way so...eh). Using some more cut up 2x4s i was able to make a poor-mans version of a jig table. Basically since I knew the shape of everything already, i could fixture things in place to get the shape and then since it's all referenced to the top (sitting on cut 2x4s) the exhaust bottom should all be level/flat (ish). I made care to take any warp out of the table top and adjust the legs using a "winding stick" technique. Its a woodworking thing, go look it up.

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After the initial "building" of the fixtures i could also use witness-marks on the tubes to make sure they didn't rotate and/or make sure they lined up in the same spot each time. As mentioned, I cut apart all those tack welds so I could massage/grind/twist/turn things slightly to get better fit-up with these. Something I learned later from one of the youtubers I follow that I wish i knew here, use kapton tape to hold your pie cuts or pipes together. I use the stuff all the time on PCBs and its EXTREMELY heat resistant and doesn't leave much (if any) residue when you pull it off so its perfect for this. Its strong enough to hold things together without making a mess.
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
After this, it was "second verse, same as the first" with the mufflers. So up to this point, I had been looking at what to use for mufflers. I've done enough tuning with high-strung N/A cars as well as turbo cars to know that while yes, there can be performance gains in changing your exhaust....is it that much? Spoiler alert, the answer is not really. Numerically, yes you can see a tangible HP/TQ difference. Am I a good enough driver to utilize the gain that the 5hp difference that a "louder" car will make? HEEEEEEECK NO! If you are though (or think you are) more power to ya, I won't get in the way of anyone living their best life.

That hornets nest aside, the whole point is I just wanted something to fit and make sure that I passed sound tech at a track. Decibels, they're bad (at least the marshals get grumpy if you trip the sound meters) so that was my primary concern. The plan is to use some oval tubing and dump it in front of the rear tires. If that wasn't possible then I wasn't opposed to going over the rear axle or doing a dump but I wanted to see what i could make fit. I had picked out the Flow-FX and the HP-2 by flowmaster as two of the better "size vs sound" candidates. Primarily the overall case size and length. Both of these seemed to do (based on reviews and flowmasters "loudness scale") a decent job bringing volume down. I chose the Flow FX. I heard some in person and liked them, plus they were SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper than the HP-2s. I won't get into the differences in brands here, if I wanted to argue about the tonality difference between a borla or a flowmaster I'd go to my audio forums and talk with the mustache club about which cables sound better (no really, its a thing, i know it silly).

I wasn't quite sure if I would be able to fit these up in the trans tunnel or if I would have to use them as part of the "angle out" or maybe neither and I would have to just do a dump in front of the axles. Turns out after some wiggling around, i thought I could tuck them up in the trans tunnel. Success. These i fit up a bit differently from the front half of the exhaust. Since i had an established base, some quick measurements of "how far back" and general "side to side" gave me everything I needed to at least test-mock up the mufflers. I don't have any pictures on hand of the mufflers tacked on the table, but this is what it looked like (still tacked) checking fitment under the car:

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After checking things out, there was a little wiggling and massaging to do but they worked. I took the car into full droop and everything looked to clear and play nice. As you can maybe see in the first picture, the exhaust tube actually turns up a bit before getting to the muffler, that was so the bottom of the mufflers were colinear (level/equal to) the bottom of the exhaust tube. I really wanted these tucked up there. After finalizing fitment on the ******* jig table, I re-fixtured everything using more metal strap and worm clamps and started welding. I wrapped all the joints in tinfoil to try and minimize argon loss during the purge and just kind of worked my way around. I did go from side to side and front to back a bit to help minimize warping. Up till now i had been using a pedal for the tig but for this i switched back to the finger-switch. Dialing the heat back just a scosh and being more patient was a lot easier than contorting my body around trying to run a pedal.

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After getting as much welded fixtured to the table, I felt comfortable popping it off the fixture and finish-welding the bottom. That's how we did all of our tube chassis in FSAE on a proper acorn table and that always worked well. I mean we could literally GD&T (geometric dimension and tolerance, basically fancy engineering measuring) how much we warped after the fact. Once again, I'm honestly pretty happy how these turned out. A couple spots I still got a little hot but overall very minimal and I'm happy to see with more time under the hood I'm improving more. Unfortunately with the exhaust, that's where it sits. I got the mounts welded on and at least i can move the car now and its not a racket. There's one supplier i was able to find with 2.5" round to oval transitions and they're out of stock for another 6 weeks or so. I've got the oval tube i need on hand, so once I can get some transitions I'll finish the exhaust and get it pointing out the side proper like.

Oh, since i know someone would ask (the phone doesn't quite do it justice):
 
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