Build Thread 1978 Fairmont Futura Build. Walking The Path Out Of Darkness

Discussion in '1979 - 1995 (Fox, SN95.0, & 2.3L) -General/Talk-' started by madmike1157, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. Bouncing around again.
    For some time now I've been wrenching my hands together, worried about the prospect of having to run a flat tappet camshaft. Having an untested megasquirt as my ECU, w/o a decent start-up base map would be just begging for that flat tappet camshaft to fail during break-in if I wasn't able to start the car, and immediately run it for 20-30 minutes at 2-2500 rpm. That nightmare, coupled to the diminished zinc ratio in motor oil also has been responsible for premature cam failure even if I get past the break-in.
    So for me,....I was willing to pay for a custom built roller so I could sleep at night.

    Fortunately though, I found what I was looking for. Tigue is a cam grinder in Australia that actually has an application to fit my engine. So it looks like I'll be running a mechanical roller in this engine after all. The cam will be small though, w/ it being a street driver only. From what I read, I should be able to use a Comp Cams BBF roller lifter. I guess we'll see soon enough, I ordered a guinea pig set from Summit last night. Since I was so excited that I won't have to worry about killing a flat tappet cam, I went down last night and started the mods to the block to make the whole head swap work.
    This is what the deck looks like on my ugly little banger before you have to hog the lifter galley. Since a crossflow head has canted valves, the pushrods need additional room to operate those valves, you gotta get out a jig saw, and a die grinder. You can see the Sharpie lines on the bottom two holes of the cutout I was supposed to make.
    1 hour later I do this:
    Even as big as they are now, they are still not big enough. The mod requires that I bolt a piece of 1/4"x1-1/4" flat bar along side, and fill the top gap w/ epoxy, and then grind even more to what will amount to actually grinding through the top side of the block into the epoxy. Since the only thing that happens on that side of the block is oil drain back, the plated epoxy solution will be fine.

    This is where I stopped grinding. I actually used a 1/4" shank router instead of a die grinder (my poor man's Bridgeport) to get the opening smoothed out after I rough cut it w/ a jig saw. When the grindings' done, even the small remaining margin you see will be gone. The flat bar acts as a trap to hold the JB weld in the bevel. I'll be able to bolt the plate to the factory bosses you see that are obvious in the pic.

    I'm not the only guy doing this, so I can't take credit for it. There are numerous guys in AUS running a roller in their engines. This guy is one of them. The link shows his engine, and has a sound clip down the page. While his cam is bigger than the one I will have, the sound of the engine is worth a million bucks:
    #281 CarMichael Angelo, Jan 17, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014
  2. That guy's engine sounds pretty sweet, and looks unique as hell. You get anything more done since posting that?
  3. Well,...I did actually. Now that the roller is a reality, my attention turned to trying to get the lifters (roller lifters) to fit. The 6 cylinder forums detail techniques on how this guy got this lifter to fit, or how that guy managed to get that lifter to fit.
    No matter what I did w/a set of comp Xtreme 460 lifters trying to get them to fit however, it turned out to be frugal, and a complete waste of time.
    So,..given that the entire project falls into the "one off" old school hotrodding category, I have had to adopt another approach to making that work.
    Today, ( actually a couple of days now,..) I've been prepping the block for the reinforcement plate that gets "glued" to the top side to reinforce the butchery that has to happen to accommodate the intake pushrods on my Xflow head swap.

    There are things about the swap that bother me, particularly having to block off so many water passages to the head,..but that is another hurdle I'll jump later in this build. For now, getting the cam and it's respective lifters to fit become the priority. I've already started modifying the lifter galley to allow for this, but I'm at the limits of the block, so now from there, I have to add material to bolster the necessary hogging that has to happen to allow this crazy s hit to work.

    For now,...I will deal w/ the bar stock that has to go along side:

    Previous pioneers that have done this before fit a .250 thick, 1-1/4" bar between the two end standoffs on the block, I decided to make mine run the length of the block, starting at the front stand-off mounting surface for the front accessories. Since I plan to epoxy, and bolt my plate onto the block, I went a bit further and drilled all these additional holes to give the epoxy more to bite into.


    This is where I plan to cut through to allow a set of linked lifters to pass through. the intake, and exhaust lifters are on both sides of this obstruction.
    It has been detailed before that I plan to use a roller cam in this combo. Getting the roller lifter down into the galley, and re-linking the pair actually proved too much of a PITA for me, so I chose to cut slots for the linked lifters to get past the deck. I'm not at that stage yet though as I had to do the plate first before I could cut anything else. But I did drill and tap the six holes in the side of the block for the bolts to go through into the water risers where I will eventually cut a slot out of:


    This picture is blurry, but it is supposed to show the surface finish of the block side of the match up. I used a grinding stone to further aggravate the surface so my glue will hold better. The bar that goes against the block is obviously the piece that is sitting on the deck.

    I bought the large size JB weld you can get at AutoZone, and It's good that I did. The process uses about 2/3rds of those large tubes to butter the back of the bar, and then fill the remaining gap. It was at about this point in the process that I had to deal w/ how I was gonna glue the plate using bolts that would have to be removed later, but be immersed in epoxy at the same time.

    Hopefully, this'll be the solution to the problem. That, my friends is automotive paste wax. ( Meguires paste wax w/ "carnuba" to be exact View attachment 120200 ). I liberally coated these six dudes w/ that wax, hoping that when I go down there and try to turn those bolts counter-clockwise they come back out. If they don't,....I'm screwed. View attachment 120201

    Because that junk is on there.

    After gooping the plate, and carefully bolting it in place, I tightened the bolts, and added these three clamps to be sure the plate is tight on the bottom as well. Then I took a heat gun to warm the stuff up (it's 50 degrees here today) and tapped all down the side of the block to aid in the leveling process of the epoxy. Almost immediately after my heat/tap regimen began,..air bubbles started to make their way to the top, so I heartily mandate doing the same, ( yeah,..... like any of you guys are gonna butcher an I-6 anytime soon:rolleyes:) because clearly,..the thing would've had quite a few trapped bubbles had I not. It doesn't self level very well compared to the more expensive epoxies I've used in the past either,...but I think I'll be ok.

    I'll give it till tommorrow before I go down there and attempt to back those bolts back out. If any of you hear any screaming about 6-7AM tommorrow, know it didn't go very well.;)

    Work has been going well, and I'm getting ready to come into some "stupid money". I plan to buy several big ticket items that are typically obstacles to getting the car done.
    Right now, those items are the cam and lifters, torque converter, pistons and the machine work. That should be about 3000.00 if my math is right. That'll leave another 3-4k to get the car done.

    I tell my skeptical wife that this car is my "Sistine Chapel", and like it was for the other Michael, will be my last, greatest project. I was diagnosed w/ a completely garbage left knee last week, so, I'll see if I can get this one done before I have to have it replaced.
    Davedacarpainter likes this.
  4. Mike, I think your trying to justify your plight through "Old School Hot Rodding", but if that were the case, you would have taken whatever you can find ( and put it in whatever you had) in an attempt for speed. That would look something like a 5.0, 351, 460 or in old-school circles, just about anything stronger than what came in it. No my friend, you went all the way to Australia for parts and information. That Sir, equals a problem. As part of your STANGNET support group, I am willing to standby, drink a cold beverage, watch the progress and schedule an intervention upon completion.

    Sorry to hear about the knee. Is it a full or just a ligament? Hate to tell you brother, if it's either, you'll be out of the garage for awhile.
    stangboy and Noobz347 like this.
  5. Arthritis...... Bad enough for the written assessment to call it "end of usage". Bone on bone practically. Some days are better than others.
    Davedacarpainter likes this.
  6. I will pull up a chair and.....

    stangboy likes this.
  7. "I recall Rex Harrison playing Pope Julius II, shouting up to Charlton Heston as Michelangelo, something like, “When will it be finished?” To which Michelangelo-Heston replied enigmatically, “When I’m done!” Michelangelo spent most of the years from1477 to 1480 on his back painting the Sistine Chapel. "
    Quote from

    Tell your wife to be patient... marvelous things are yet to come...
  8. I do tell her that......Every time we go to bed.:rlaugh:
    Davedacarpainter and stangboy like this.
  9. Just as a follow up.

    Six bolts, covered in paste wax go in to a project where at least three of them have their main sections completely surrounded in JB weld and allowed to set up hard around them.

    I was worried at least those three would be permanent additions to my monster.

    Not anymore.

    Not only did they come out, but they came out so easy I backed them out w/ my fingers after breaking them loose w/ the wrench.

    Lesson for today then. If you DONT want JB weld to stick to something,...

    Davedacarpainter and stangboy like this.
  10. Nice man, glad to see that worked. You do the most odd ball s hit, but it ends up working. Very cool. About the knee, thats why God made beer, so get back to work.
  11. *setting up my chair right next to Noobz* help. BTW my chair has cupholders and a cooler on the side for beer. :rlaugh::cool:

    Sorry to hear about your knee. My step-dad had one of his replaced a couple years ago. Recovery is a LONG process.
  12. I used to work in orthopaedics. They've come a long way with knee replacements. I honestly wouldn't worry about it. Surgery and rehab will suck, but you'll be plenty mobile afterwords, assuming you have a good surgeon.
  13. I could only read this in bubba gump's voice
  14. Mike, buy yourself one of the rolling stools. It will allow you to work out in the garage vice going out of your head. I bought mine and it helped immensely. I even had it suggested by the physical therapist. Nothing better than telling the wife that the thing your going to put in the garage is actually for your health.:nice:
  15. and you can wheel over to the beer fridge
    88LX5.Oh and stangboy like this.
  16. This is such an emotional thread for me, do I cry? beat my head on my desk? walk into traffic? applaud? grin from ear to ear? I'm just so conflicted!! Takes some balls I will say to do what you did to that engine block. This is actually turning into a real nail bitter for me and I can't wait to see it keep going!
  17. LOL! Half of the time, orthopAedics is spelled with an "A", the other half not. Just depends on what company you worked for. ;)
  18. Well,...since we're on the subject of my knee,...let me tell you about Tuesday.

    Most of you are aware that we got snow here Tuesday. 1" of accumulated snow, with the ground cold enough to make it stick equals armageddon down here.
    I was working at a client house Tuesday morning when it started falling, and ignored it. The weather men had all predicted that we'd miss any accumulation, targeting all the bad stuff for points to the south of Birmingham. ( I know, more snow even farther south than where I was).
    By 10:30 AM, it became apparent that the weathermen were wrong, and we were indeed getting way more than the dusting they had told us to expect.
    1.5"s had fallen, and it still was coming down. Work and schools closed, and people were trying to make their ways home. I spoke with the client, and discussed whether or not I should stay, or leave and come back to finish another day.
    (I chose to stay,.....I was from the Midwest, and wasn't unaccustomed to driving in snow so I figured I'd be ok.)
    At 1:30, I was done. So was any chance of me driving out.
    The client house was on top of Double oak mountain. The road to it was steep, and narrow, with most of the edges of the steep, narrow road offering no barrier to keep you on the road should conditions be treacherous.
    The local news was now making it obvious that if you weren't home by now, you were in for a long hard time of it as all major intersections were now gridlocked,jugphucks. I turned to the client, and said looks like I may be stuck here.

    This is a 2 million dollar home, and she had plenty of room. She was making white chicken chili, and I resigned myself to staying the night.
    Between that mental decision, and 3 PM, I started thinking that because of where we were it wouldn't be just one night, and based on the weather forecast looked like it coul be 2, maybe three days there instead.

    One night was one thing, three days in the same underwear, w/ no toothbrush...
    Not happenin'
    I started contemplating the " walk".

    At the time, I didn't know how far it really was between my house, and where I was, but I estimated it to be 10-12 miles. It was actually 18.

    I told the customer thanks for the offer, but because of the potential for a prolonged stay, was gonna attempt the walk home. She objected mildly, but didn't pitch a big fit. I asked her for a set of gloves, and a hat, and set out bound for home bad knee and all, at 3:45 PM.

    I should mention that it was 19 degrees, I had no phone, I didn't tell my wife I was attempting the walk, ( so as not to worry her) and it would be dark in less than two hours.

    It was like a thermonuclear device had EMP'd the place.
    I walked past at least 1000 stranded, wrecked cars during my little "walkabout". That doesn't include the thousands of cars that were still stopped on the roads, all attempting climbing this hill, or that hill on glare ice, with no snow tires, studs, or chains to help them move.

    About 5 miles in, and after 5 slip and falls ( one that was a slow motion twisting agonizing deal that left me wondering if I was gonna be able to get back up ) I started to regret the decision. What I originally estimated to be 10-12 miles, now became a much more realistic 15+, as I went over the remaining distance in my head. I wasn't really cold, I was more than adequately dressed. I had a drink bottle in my outside coat pocket in case I got thirsty, but it had frozen solid. I was just starting to get tired.

    I thought about trying to hitch a ride, but that would be a short ride to nowhere as no cars were moving past any of the hilly intersections in Birmingham. No sooner would I consider sticking my thumb out to particular vehicle that was slowly moving along, I'd end up walking past it at the next intersection. I thought what's the point?

    At double that, I noticed that I was no longer walking a straight line. I blamed that on exhaustion. I thought about stopping, but worried about cold, and the possible knee swelling that may be waiting to happen as soon as I allowed it to rest. I kept moving.

    It was now 7:45 PM, I had been walking non stop for four hours straight. I knew now that I had at least three, or four more hours left to go. I resorted to survival mode. I did what I'd never consider doing in any other circumstance when faced with having to walk this far..............I stuck my thumb out.

    No sooner had I did that, when a slow moving 4wd came to a stop beside me. "Which direction you heading" they asked?
    "aww man, I got a really long way to go,..S.Shades crest at 150" I replied.
    " That's where we're going! Hop in" I almost fell over,.....they had to be angels.
    I dragged myself in instead.

    They got me to w/I 1.5 miles of the house, but now I could see the end of the road. I started down the last leg when another pickup stopped and gave me a ride to the top of my street. I walked in my front door at 8:30. My wife walked over gave me a hug, the beat on me for what I did.

    How's my knee after my walk? Actually it feels better than it has in a long time. My truck is still inaccessible, the mountain access road still impassible as of 3 pm yesterday. It's supposed to get to almost 60 today, so I'm sure I'll have it back by this afternoon. Would I do that again? Never in a million years.

    Well,..... Never in a million years unless I'm gonna face being stranded somewhere more than a day.
    Davedacarpainter likes this.
  19. Wow Mike! You're definately blessed. That could have turned out ALOT worse. Glad you're ok and it's also good to hear that nice long walk might have been good for the knee...maybe....but probably not. :shrug::)
  20. Get the hell out of here... Man your crazy! Crazy mad I might add Mike! Looks like everyone underestimated that storm down there. Glad everything worked out, just don't do that again! But may be a lifetime before that even happens again!