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KentF New Reader
4/20/17 5:44 p.m.

In reply to Sky_Render: I might do that someday! It is a case of "But First Syndrome".

I can add all that power but first I should put in a rebuilt stroker block with reinforced rods and pistons. The existing lower half is a little tired at 170k miles.

But first I should upgrade the rear end and torque converter.

But first I should see where the power goes when the current mods are complete.

But first I should probably put in a new K member and get the front geometry sorted out so the car corners harder...

KentF New Reader
4/22/17 8:12 p.m.

EGR Tube Tool (and why Mistress still sports an EGR system)

One of my goals has been to keep the pollution controls on this car mostly intact. I’m no tree hugger but I don’t have problems with some of the more modern controls if they don’t cause any other issues. Many of them actually help your car to run better.

This goes back to college when I had a class called “Pollution 101” (or something like that). This was the late 1970s and I had my first Mustang. It was a 1968 blue fastback with a 289 and automatic in it. Cute car, fairly impractical in many ways and it got 16 MPG on the highway. The school was 600 miles from home so that’s 37 gallons of gas each way on a starving college student budget.

About a week before heading home on Christmas break I learned in class that in the mid 1960s the EPA had lowered NOX limits to reduce smog in congested cities. NOX is formed by chemical reactions that happen at high temperatures. Car makers had no technology to deal with this so they detuned the engines by retarding the timing. Timing too far retarded = poor combustion = lower flame temperatures in the cylinders = lower NOX. Of course, poor combustion also means lower efficiency and lower MPG.

Back then you had to re-set the points & dwell in the distributor every 20,000 miles or so to keep your engine running properly. When doing this you typically had to check/set the timing also. For years I had been dutifully setting the timing to spec at 6 degrees before Top Dead Center (TDC). That is what the sticker under the hood said to do.

That evening before it got dark I waded through the snow to student parking & dug out the front of the Mustang . I used a ½ box wrench (one of the few tools I had) to loosen the distributor bolt and tuned the engine by ear. That was the first time I had ever done that. I had no timing light to see where it was but it idled much better now. I locked the bolt down and the next weekend we drove it through the great white north down to home.

24 MPG! Holy Crap! 1.5 times better mileage! Holy #$%&@# Crap! Tuned by ear the car was left at 12 degrees before TDC. Think of the tens of millions of gallons of fuel those cars wasted. All of the cars from that era; Fords, Chryslers, Chevys, VW Beetles… all of them. Think of millions of tons of hydrocarbons, tons of CO2, lead and other chemicals spewed into the air so Los Angeles could have a little less smog.

EGR systems came out not long after that Mustang and caused problems of their own but not as bad as a 50% reduction in mileage. When my 2002 Mustang was made the EGR systems had few detriments and helped increase efficiency, reduce knocking and actually improve mileage (or at least, not hurt it). So why remove it?

Well because it is right in the way that’s why! The damn EGR tube runs up over the passenger side of the engine where things are already tight (why didn’t they put that on the other side where there is more room?). It blocks access to the spark plugs, wires, headers etc. It would not be a problem if you could remove the thing in a couple of minutes but the tube nut down at the header gets very tight and is in a space too small to swing a wrench in.

Enter my stupid simple EGR tube remover tool: Sawed off 8” adjustable wrench from Harbor Freight, Threaded rod, chain link closer, nut, and a block of wood for a handle. It works a lot better than it should for such a crude tool.

The problem is you can’t get enough leverage down there by the fire wall to get that nut loose. This allows you to get the wench on the nut (it will stay there if it is adjusted properly) and then pull with both hands to break the thing free.

Now if I want to work on the wires or plugs on that side I can get that %$#& tube out of the way in about 5 minutes. The tape on the wrench is to keep it adjusted properly. You could use a fixed wrench if you want and put some tape on it to get a tight fit on the nut (to hold it in place). It is 1” on my car.

KentF New Reader
5/4/17 10:03 p.m.

More Power Phase 2

After running last season with ½ a modification to the engine this spring Mistress is getting new heads and intakes. Splitting up the cost over two years worked well (cam and roller rockers, headers last year) but now it is time to finish the job. As I mentioned earlier last years mods increased power noticeably above 2000 RPM but lowered torque at the low end. This was expected.

New Stage 3 heads and intakes from Super Six. Actually the intakes are my old ones sent down to be cleaned and ported (they sent me loaners for the duration (I paid the extra shipping)). We did this because the upper intake is polished, sealed and painted to match the car. Also, I wanted to keep the Intake Manifold Runner Control (IMRC) valves in the lower intake. Why keep the IMRC when so many have them removed?

Data review from my data logger and a little math indicates that on a typical Midwest autocross course this car spends most of its time in second gear between 30 and 50 MPH. The IMRC system increases torque below 3500 RPM by perhaps 20 Ft-Lbs in some situations. In second gear the IMRC does not close until around 50 MPH. In autocross the 30 to 60 mph times are pretty important. Why remove something that would limit the car in that range.

Yes – the car peak HP will be slightly limited at WOT when speeds are high but I only spend a few seconds there on a typical run. If I ever put a blower on this engine I can remove the valves and re-port the lower intake at that time. In the meantime I would miss that extra grunt on every single run. That is the plan at least.

Everything came off pretty easily since most of it was all apart a year ago. The heads were pretty easy to remove also. Taking it this far apart brings up feelings along the lines of: "Oh my God what have I done..."

As with any work keeping organized is important. An eight dollar small storage bin from Harbor Freight and some baggies and post-its went a long way to keeping everything sorted.

You should have the Ford engine manual to do this work. I got one on CD several years ago for $11. Invaluable. I print out the sections I need and keep them in a binder in the garage. I mark special notes in it, bolt lengths, etc. By the way, the manual says you need to vent and completely remove the AC compressor. No need, just support it with a piece of wood or a bar (that is an old curtain rod in the photo).

Engine is almost back together now. Still have to put the intakes on. The ported throttle body has not come back yet. Also I am installing a PCV catch can. Then, finally, it will be time to put a CAI on the car. Only now will it do some good.

Geeze I hope this works...

KentF New Reader
5/6/17 9:36 p.m.

Mistress is re-assembled and back on the road! Initial impressions are that she is more powerful across board but significantly more powerful above 2000 RPM. She blips and hesitates if you drop the throttle from a standing start. That should be solved with a revised tune. When everything is finished I will have to get her on a dyno and see what this all really did.

I had a high cylinder temp code at first but it has not come back. I expect there was air in the cylinder before the thermostat came on. Also, several times the engine skipped a beat like the ignition or a key sensor lost an electrical connection. That has not come back. Only short trips for now...

In spite of my efforts to keep track of all the bolts I had to make two trips to the hardware to get 6mm bolts. And then I had some 6mm bolts left over... go figure!

Messing around in second gear for a few minutes on a country road I think I will be glad I left the IRMC valves in place. It should be a good season!

KentF New Reader
5/8/17 10:07 p.m.

Some lessons learned on putting new heads on the car:

After watching some videos on cleaning the top deck on blocks I got a good feel for how to clean them. I tried the 3M brush disks on a drill but my local stores only had the more aggressive variety. Too scratchy. I settled in on a Harbor Freight orange plastic abrasive brush at 80 grit. It cost only a few dollars and worked perfectly. A little more clean up with a maroon scotch bright and the decks were ready to go.

I had rags in the cylinders but the grit and dust gets everywhere. I vacuumed everything out, sprayed in WD40 and then vacuumed that out a couple of times. I slowly rotated the engine several degrees bringing each piston up to top and then down again. This helped bring debris up to the top where they could be wiped out again. Rinse/repeat. After words I uncovered the cam & poured some oil over it and the lifters to try and wash everything down to the sump. I also put some assembly lube on the cam, rods and rockers at final assembly.

Torque to turn bolts are just a little scary. If you screw it up you have to buy another set of bolts. In the photo below is an old (stretched) bolt next to a new one with a small piece of flat stock on top.

They do this because setting bolts by torque is an inexact science, at best. Bringing all the bolts up just beyond their yield point flattens out the stress – strain curve and makes it much more likely that they will all be at the same tension.

I bought a cheap torque angle tool ($12) and it worked OK but would not fit everywhere. Also it is easy to bump the dial and loose the setting. I realized a few bolts in that I could just center punch the flange on the head and get a good reading without the tool. You turn these 180 degrees on this engine so that was easy to keep track of. I would recommend using both. The tool is more accurate but if something happens to lose the setting the center punch is a good back up.

Another thought is that this is a two person job. One to do the work and the other to keep track (no- really, not kidding). There are 48 steps on each side to tightening these bolts. You can’t get into a rhythm because the long bolts get different torques than the short ones and you have to follow the pattern. You get one shot at this or you get to go buy another set of bolts. Two torque wrenches is a nice to have thing also.

If I put a stroker under these heads someday I will go with ARP studs but for the moment they are an unnecessary expense. What am I missing. Any words of wisdom on this procedure?

KentF New Reader
5/14/17 7:15 p.m.

Spring Compressor - I did not like the spring compressor I rented from the local car parts place last year so this year I made one. The rental seemed to crush the springs in a cockeyed manner. I was also afraid the thing would come loose and I would loose an eye or something (sproing --> Owe!).

This is a simple piece of flat stock 3/16 thick with some ribs welded on each side for reinforcement. It is made to go over the rocker stud.

To protect the threads on the stud I used the flaring from a piece of copper tube that you connect a toilet with.

It worked well enough. What I would do differently is mount the side ribs centered on the edge instead of off setting them to one side. They get in the way a little. If you use this style of tool on the bench you have to clamp the head down with a rubber jawed clamp.

Mistress is running fine but I am waiting on my new tune from VMP. That should arrive in the next day or three. My new RBATS arrived (Really Bad Ass Tires). The Potenza RE71R tires are mounted and ready to be broken in.

First event is this coming weekend with Wisconsin Autocrossers, Inc. at Miller Park in Milwaukee. Final checklist this week.

Maniac0301 Reader
5/17/17 12:55 p.m.

Thank you very much for this thread. I just got my dad an '02 Mustang V6 manual for rallycross duties. Its great to see from your experience what works and what does not. I directed him to this thread for education and entertainment. We are hoping to see his Mustang at the June FIRM and SCCA events wish us luck. Hopefully he's not faster than my MR2. : )

drdisque HalfDork
5/17/17 7:15 p.m.

Hi Kent.

I saw the feature and said "Hey, I know that car!"

I took the CCSCC Evo School with you in 2014. I had the Silver BMW 1-series. I'm glad to see your car has come so far.

I saw you start showing up in Milwaukee Region and WAI event results and had wondered if you moved. I guess you did.

Spinout007 UberDork
5/17/17 8:11 p.m.

Keep it up man!

Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
5/18/17 10:08 a.m.

What an excellent well written thread. Great job and some really nice work. Will you be dynoing after this round of mods to see where you are?

KentF New Reader
5/19/17 5:51 p.m.

Well that was cool! GRM featured my car & this log on their Facebook Page. Cool, cool, cool. Interesting comments there. Mostly positive (like you guys) with a few trolls. A few folks don't get it - "Put an LS6 in it!" Ha! If I put an LS6 in anything it would be an Exocet or something from Factory Five! That would be a fun ride! I can't afford it anyway. Still the underdog.

Maniac0301 --> Thank you for your kind words above. I have been having some fun writing this and I hope it is provides some useful information and some entertainment.

drdisque --> Yes I believe I remember you from the EVO school in 2014 (or your car at least). That was a blast. Yes I moved from Michigan to Green Bay, Wisconsin. Good autocrossing in these parts between Milwaukee and Lake Superior SCCA, WAI, FVSCC and so on. Green Bay is a damn nice town also.

Spinout007 --> Thanks. Looking forward to a new season after seven months of hibernation.

Adrian_Thompson --> I LOVE your avatar! I am a big Danger Mouse Fan. I have a grainy version of the first season on DVD (oh ick). Yes I will be putting it on a dyno, hopefully later this season. It turns out that the new heads I put on this spring do not require a new tune. However, I can plug a lap top in through the SCT tuner and take logs to send to VMP. Then they will tweak it out for a little more power & smoothness, etc. I have not done that before and will document it here to see what I learn. Then - dyno.

First event of the season for me is this Sunday! WAI event at Miller Stadium in Milwaukee. Nice venue, nice club; good times should be had by all.

Spinout007 UberDork
5/19/17 5:55 p.m.

We're expecting a full report! Go get em!

WarShrike New Reader
5/20/17 1:57 p.m.

Hey Kent, just got a chance to sit down at the computer. A new connection of mine (Luke at Tire Rack) tagged me in the GRM post about your car. I'm looking at campaigning a Sixxer as well, but in an F-body.

Maybe I'll see you around once I get to stretch my legs some more and visit other events!

My project thread

KentF New Reader
5/20/17 9:24 p.m.

In reply to WarShrike: Wow. That car is awsome! So are your fab and mod skills. People please check out his thread if you haven't already. Lots of good stuff there. He has dug deep and upgraded everything - very high quality.

Does that engine trace back to the 3.8 engines GM was running back in the early '80 or is it a newer design? If so then our engines are distant cousins since Ford copied it.

Sky_Render SuperDork
5/23/17 8:13 a.m.

You get the new tune yet?

Spinout007 UberDork
5/23/17 10:07 a.m.

Results from this weekend?

KentF New Reader
5/23/17 7:17 p.m.

In reply to Sky_Render:

It turns out I did not need a new tune for the ported heads and intake. However, I plan to hook up the lap top through the SCT tuner, take some logs and send it to VMP so they can tweak things out. I don't expect there would be much gains in that but then I will know it is in top shape.

KentF New Reader
5/23/17 7:50 p.m.

Shake Out Autocross Event Report – WAI at Miller, Milwaukee

Overall Results – Mixed. The car was pretty damn good. I was not so much.

I arrived just as the clouds were parting and the course was starting to dry out. Miller is a large parking lot with light poles & 15 year old blacktop. It is a good venue (it has rest rooms). The geometry causes some restrictions on the layouts and this time about 20% of the race surface was unavailable because Ford had rented the adjacent lot. We had to grid on the course. This made for a very tight course with about 4 curves at 120 degrees or more and two would be considered hair pins. One hair pin was so tight one of the B-Mod cars did not have the turning radius to make it properly (cones flying everywhere all morning – quite entertaining). The data logger says my max speed was about 49 mph with most of the time on course spent between 25 mph and 40 mph. Not a fast course in cold slightly wet conditions. One area never dryed out because of water seeping up through cracks in the pavement (a river runs through it). -- Open the image below in a new tab and you should be able to read it. It shows % time spent at speed.

I have to power brake on launch to significantly break the back free (not that wheel spin makes for a good launch. I have been taught that you really want only about ½ turn. Static friction is higher than dynamic friction.) However, once the engine is at 2000 RPM Mistress appears to be friction limited through the much of first gear (on this surface and in a straight line). Redline in first is about 43 mph on these tires at 5700 RPM.

That is a pretty good improvement. In stock mode this car was first gear friction limited up to about 10 mph with the Tru-Trac differential and sticky tires. After the cam/roller rocker mod last year that went up to about 20 mph (when the torque converter speed caught up with the engine).

Prior longitudinal Gs on acceleration in First Gear historically were about 0.5G to 0.7G. On this cold damp surface they ranged from 0.9G to 1.1G in several spots. Pretty damn good improvement!

Second gear still has things lugging down a bit. It is better, yes, but not where I want it to be. I can still see the tenths of a second ticking away whenever I am on the gas in second.

Prior longitudinal Gs on acceleration in Second Gear historically were about 0.3G to 0.45G. Now they were just over 0.7G. Also a very good improvement but it is not enough. It needs to get to 0.9 or more to use all of the tires.

Analysis – Power is up significantly. The car is a kick to drive. First gear has all it really needs for this sport and these tires. Second gear is improved but not where I want to be yet. Unlike this course, much more time is spent in second than first on most courses (2nd redlines just above 80 mph so I really don’t care about 3rd). I need to consider finally changing the rear gearing. This was not allowed in Street Touring but CAM is a free for all. This diff has a 3.27 ratio. I need to look into going with a 3.55 or 3.73. It is a fairly inexpensive modification. More analysis required – That might turn into another article.

Handling – Braking is still a little weak. My Hawk HPS pads are getting a bit worn. I believe I will try the new Hawk Street-Race pads when they wear out a little more. Looking at the friction curves on Tire-Rack they have about the same cold friction as the HPS but peak higher and hotter. The new cam last year lowered vacuum pressure making the power assist less effective. I have been looking at a vacuum pump and/or bigger brakes but more/better pads may serve just as well at this point until I go with fatter tires. I have to think about that though – in 2013 I bent both front caliper brackets. I discovered this when I took the brakes apart and found the pads wearing at a cockeyed angle. The calipers were no longer aligned with the rotors. Sticker pads on the same stock brakes might easily do it again. More analysis required – That might turn into another article.

On this cold surface peak cornering was about 0.8G to 0.9+G. When conditions are right it can range into the 1.2 to 1.3 range. Fatter tires would help. A new “K” member would help (see article above about the front geometry and lifting tires). One or both are on the docket for next year if the $$ holds out.

In autocross mode I run this car with about -2.5 degrees camber. The Bridgestones on front typically have about 42 psi (more or less depending on conditions) and the backs at about 30 to 32 psi. I started with 40 psi in the front because of the cold and damp but by the third run temperature readings (infrared) indicated more psi needed. I ended up at 44 psi to get temperatures to even out which surprised me a little. The back tires were happy (within a few degrees) at 32 psi. It is hard to get any heat into the rear tires when it is cold. No one was spraying tires out there that I saw.

Analysis – As expected with no significant difference from last season. Left front tire was running a little hot on the outside. Also the steering wheel is not perfectly straight for some reason. Note to self - I need to check the camber and toe in. (That might turn into another article?) -- Open the image below in a new tab and hopefully you can read it.

Driver – Egad what a mess. This was a slow, technical course. The event was named “Shake Out the Cobwebs” (or something like that). I think it served its purpose and we all had a blast with it (except, perhaps, that B-Mod car).

My first three runs showed steady improvement cutting 4 seconds from my first run. However, I spoiled all of them by wobbling a cone over somewhere. Looking at the videos I thinking I was cutting in too tight on one or more of the hairpins and hitting them with the back tires. We had eight runs total and I could never get things lined up well. Dumb mistakes, shift timing poor, off line, late braking, too much braking, DNF. About all I can say is at least I did not get lost. Best run was the last run by only a tenth or two over the third run.

Analysis – Out of 84 cars I finished in PAX at 66. That is about 80th percentile. Usually finish at 50% to 70% so this was not a good day. Last in Cam and there was a Fox Body GT I should have beat. First in Cam was just over 5 seconds faster (Black GMC Sonoma truck with a LS6, great suspension and a driver that knew how to use them). Thinking about the EVO School down in Illinois in July… Fix the slow analog thing in the car.

Link to video of last run is below for your pleasure. How many mistakes can you pick out?

Run 8 - WAI at Miller Stadium May 2017

KentF New Reader
5/26/17 10:05 a.m.

One other thought - By the "Master Rule" if a master driver were piloting my car and took two seconds off of my time (as experience has shown) I would have finished at 50% in PAX. Still thinking about EVO school.

WarShrike New Reader
5/27/17 11:49 a.m.
KentF wrote: In reply to WarShrike: Wow. That car is awsome! So are your fab and mod skills. People please check out his thread if you haven't already. Lots of good stuff there. He has dug deep and upgraded everything - very high quality. Does that engine trace back to the 3.8 engines GM was running back in the early '80 or is it a newer design? If so then our engines are distant cousins since Ford copied it.

Thanks :)

It hearkens back to the 3.8 in the 80s, with some fundamental design changes, deck and skirt differences, cylinder head flow isn't all that great though.

KentF New Reader
5/27/17 7:37 p.m.

In reply to WarShrike: Well in spite of all the improvements both manufacturers made to both engines that was still a common denominator when our cars were made. Poor flowing heads. Both engines were only in production a few years longer. Did GM go with split port intakes the way Ford finally did? I wonder if the Grand National Corvette killer had standard heads or if they just let that big turbo do all the work?

WarShrike New Reader
5/27/17 9:51 p.m.

In reply to KentF:

Kept the single port per cylinder, and kept the iron heads to the bitter end (though they did have aluminum prototypes). I actually have run into the limitation of the stock plenum/TB, we were seeing the kpa drop as rpm increased so there's more power to be had out of my combo.

KentF New Reader
5/27/17 10:11 p.m.

In reply to WarShrike: If you can't get a new larger TB for it check out Maxbore.com. He ported my TB from 60 to 63 mm for about 1/2 the cost of a new one. How much kpa drop were you seeing?

WarShrike New Reader
5/27/17 10:34 p.m.

It was sufficient enough that we stopped the pull before 6000rpm. I have an aussie intake manifold that has a bread box plenum that is getting modified right now. Instead of a side inlet, it will be straight forward ramjet style and a large throttle design.

KentF New Reader
6/10/17 5:20 p.m.

PCV Catch Can

Piston engines have to vent the combustion gasses that blow by the piston rings into the crank case. Long ago they just put a vent with a baffle or screen on top of the engine. This vented the gasses, sort of, but those gasses would quickly contaminate the oil shortening its life. Later they ran a tube down below the engine into the air stream so this would provide a tiny bit of positive venting and let oil drip out on the road way.

In the 1960s the EPA stepped in and said this was not good for the environment (probably right about that). This is one of those situations with EPA regulations where the end result was a win all around for engines, environment and car owners (unlike the NOX regulations noted in an article above which, in the short run, probably did more harm than good).

Engineers routed the vent tube back into the air intake so the engine could re-burn the oil mist in the vented air and run everything back into exhaust system. This provided Positive Crankcase Ventilation doing a much better job of purging the gasses from the crank case dramatically increasing oil life and therefore engine life. This little change had significant impact.

There are two small downsides: There is a small amount of exhaust gas sent back into the engine and the oil mist gunks everything up. The amount of exhaust gas is very small and really does not affect much in all but a Full On top performance engine. The oil mist is a problem and contributes to carbon and gunk build up on valves, passages, etc.

There are two solutions that I know of – Go very old school and put vents on your rocker covers or put in a PVC catch can. The vents keep the small amount of exhaust gas & gunk out of the intake (and they look cool). However they also do not positively vent the crank case so oil life is shorter.

The catch can keeps the same PCV geometry but catches the oil. You have to manually drain it about once an oil change or so (Dixie cups work well for this). I went with the catch can.

I looked at these things on line: You can pay $20 up to $300. The cheaper ones are just a metal can with fittings. The expensive ones are just a metal can with fittings and magic baffles & mist eliminators inside (I mean really- do they expect us to believe they did a finite element analysis of the fluid dynamics inside the $300 unit?). I bought a cheap one and fabricated the magic innards. I spent under $30 and it works like a $300 unit. Better yet, just about anyone could make this.

The inner components need to do three things: 1 - Slow the flow down so the big oil drops fall out. 2 - Change direction of the flow so more oil drops out. 3- Give the mist a lot of surface area to collect (coalesce) onto. The basic empty can does about 1 ½ of these things.

I cut a baffle from some galvanized sheet stock. Carefully drilled into the top of the can and used pop rivets to hold it in place. It is crude but, with the volume of the can takes care of items #1 & #2.

A stainless steel kitchen scrub pad from the grocery store ($2.50) will provide for item #3 and will not restrict the air flow.

I fabricated a small bracket to hold the can nestled in behind the alternator. This was probably the hardest part of the job. It is held down with three screws drilled and tapped into the aluminum alternator mounting bracket.

And by the way, remember the chrome plated copper toilet water supply tube that I cut the head off of to make the spring compressor in the article above? With a few bends in it from a tubing bender that makes a very nice looking return tube to the manifold (yes my engine has toilet parts on it and you would not know from looking at it if I did not tell you). And I even like the color.

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