Bearing Down

Last week report on a pretty epic engine fail which has now been addressed and the car is back on the road again. To soften that shock to the system we have given pride of place for our Park & Pic series this week. In fact it’s a double Park & Pic so it’s a first there for us too. We have a pretty big post for you to cover yet another busy week at Mustang Maniac.

Park & Pic

This ’69 convertible is a rare original colour of “Black Jade”. There are now two options for the pic, the front of house shots.

Or, the Yard shot with Adam’s stainless steel laser cut MM logo.

We can’t make our mind up for the best set of pics, but we thing the steel horse shots are pretty cool.

This is the car that had the engine failure and the engine was swapped out with one of our in stock 302ci engines. How many other suppliers can say that? Adam has a good supply of engines he keeps and are not on the WebShop, some of the “secret stash” of engines are the “stroker” versions for plenty of power, but be prepared to get your money of those little beauties. That’s providing that Adam will sell you one in the first place!  Anyway, the engine was primed with oil before it’s started up and here we have the video of that process. You can just about make out the oil being pumped to the top of the heads. Hang on – should we be giving away our little secrets??

Once the oil is pumped around the system it can be fired up without fear of metal on metal wear for few seconds.

Customer Cars:

From the heading you probably guessed that we had another failure, but this is much more common and in some ways more dangerous. The front wheel bearing was grinding and was about to self destruct in a pretty big way. Paul had taken a video of the bearing and how bad it actually was. The first part of the video you can hear the damaged bearing and then Paul shows the movement.

Once the wheel was off we always inspect for collateral damage as well maybe on the spindles etc. the bearings was in a bad way.

The new bearings packed and ready to fit.

The shocks were not helping the matter very much so it was decided to replace them at the same time.

Like all these things they should be replaced in pairs and then the wheel alignment was to be done after a quick road test to bed down. We are pleased to say all is wheel and we now have another safe Mustang back on the road.

Ford Technical Article

We haven’t had a technical article for a while but we have been asked the question about a concours replacement cylinder heads so we can help out a little, well a lot actually here.

One of our loyal long-standing customers owns a rare and very early Mustang – one of the 8000 built by Ford as ‘launch stock’ before April 17 1964. They had planned to build one per dealer to support the launch at the New York World Fair.

We have given this precious car a lot of love and attention over the years while trying to preserve as much originality as possible. One of the first issues we found some time ago was a mysterious intermittent ‘poor running’ which seemed to come and go at will. With our best investigative heads put to full deployment we went through the normal checks – timing, leads, valve clearances and compression checks.  As an early and rare ‘D code’ car we first thought it must be the troublesome Autolite 4 barrel carb – but we had worked our magic on that earlier and it was spot on. Our compression checks proved to highlight a strange issue.  As it pays to be thorough and check… then check again, we found that on one cylinder the results from a series of compression tests resulted in wildly differing readings. We have seen this situation on a few rare occasions and it pointed to ‘valve seat trouble’. We suspected that the valve seats were worn or damaged and, as the valve turns slightly when running, it was leaking gas randomly.

“Off with the heads!” was response the from the Mustang Oracle – Adam.

Once the heads were removed and disassembled our diagnosis was proved to be pretty much spot on.  The car was needed back on the road as it was booked in for some show work so we took heads that we had ‘in stock’ and got the car rebuilt and running sweetly.  In the meantime, as this car is a really early example and after chatting to the owner, we decided to fully restore the cylinder heads to keep the original engine intact. This also allowed us to dig into the history of the Ford V8 298 – a true iconic piece of engineering;

Ford introduced the 289, a development of the 260 during 1963 with the plan for it to be fitted to certain full-sized Fords and the new Mustang. It was produced in Fords Cleveland and Windsor factories and was to become the mainstay of Fords car and performance car programme for decades.

When we looked at the markings on the heads Adam felt that they were unusual and that he had not seen the specific markings before – most of the Mustangs he had come across had 1964/5/6 date markings but these heads were different.

Both heads had casting marks of C3AE:

C: being the decade of manufacture – in this case 1960s.

3: being the year in the decade – in this case 1963.

A: being the vehicle type – in this case ‘generic’ Ford meaning they could be fitted to a number of models.

E: denoting the component type – in this case and engine part.

So these were very early cylinder head castings of the new 289 engine and produced in the earliest batch of production. The next question was when?

The date code cast into each head was different – but this was normal as the components were cast at one of two factories in batches and then machined/assembled as required later – up to 3 months later.

Head one was date stamped 3L27 and with a W so it was cast on November 27 1963 and was the 4260th to be machined.

Head two was date stamped 3G25 and with a C so it was cast on July 25 1963 and was the 5150th to be machined.

To some this might seem odd as you would expect that they would both have very similar date stamps but this is not at all unusual when you consider the manufacturing and engine building process.  Both heads were cast and machined in the first run of 289 components but at different factories – due to capacity and manpower availability. Both would then have been put into a stock pile of raw castings prior to machining as and when required.

Typically Ford would cast components in large batches – blocks, cylinder heads for various engine lines etc. in addition Ford was building components and engines for the new Mustang launch early the following year so would have been stockpiling ready for engine production early in 1964. While lengthy storage of raw cast iron does not create any real problems, the completed engines were only typically stored ready for up to three months – often it was much sooner.

Both heads appear to have been machined in the same production run ready for engine assembly.  So these cylinder heads were fitted to an engine in early 1964 and that engine was fitted to the car in our workshop on April 16 1964. It all fits nicely!

Now we knew that these heads were part of the early history of the 289 it was important to restore them carefully and sympathetically.  First the heads were completely stripped, crack tested  and then given a thorough clean and degrease – it was then that we could really see the wear and tear created over the years.  All the exhaust valve seats were damaged and recessed and the valve guides also needed replacing.  Some companies replace worn valve guides with a bronze/brass guide which works well enough, but is not as durable as the original material.  We bored out the cylinder heads to accept a specially made steel sleeve type guide which looks better (I know only a few will see them but we know it’s been done properly) and the new guides were pressed into the head.

The heads were then planned and all mating faces were machined. Once all was correct, new valves and stem seals were fitted and the heads were given a coat of factory finish black paint.

The owner is extremely pleased with the loving care and attention we have given to these important parts and they are now wrapped up in storage for fitting to the car at some later point.

We are pleased with the result for a number of reasons:

It’s nice to be able to keep very early Mustangs on the road and still running sweetly.

It’s great to be able to add to our knowledge of these cars and have a better understanding of how they were made.

It’s always good to confirm that Adam can call on his enormous knowledge to quickly spot rare and unusual Mustangs when they appear.

We have found a document about Ford Engineering numbers:

A special Thanks to Gary W, for the photo’s and the technical detail write-up for us.  

Other News:

Next week starting on the Saturday to the Monday will be the Enfield Pageant of Motoring, our local large show that we support.

We look forward to seeing you there, pop along and say hello and look at the selection of cars we will have on show, maybe even talk to the owners who will be with us. for the weekend.

Enjoy the sun while it lasts looking at great cars.

9 thoughts on “Bearing Down

  1. Great blog! I guess most people would expect that it would be easier to ditch the old engine and replace it with a crate 302 motor so it’s great to see that the you guys respect the history of these old cars and that the ‘repair fits the circumstances’ – I like the fact that this lovely old 289 has been given a quality but sensitive freshen up.

    Liked by 3 people

    • We appreciate Gary doing that great piece of work for us. It’s rumoured that Gary had his anorak on when he researched that article. Seriously though we love his car as well as being part of the elusive MM inner circle.

      Like

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