Exorcising a '78 ( and '78 and now '76")

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LILCBRA

I wish I didn't have all of these balls in the air
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Hey, you don't need a special tool for driveline angle checking. It can be done with a smartphone and the tremec driveline checker:
I have used for such things a digital level. It is not expensive and works great (not only on cars).
I always try to get 3° nose up on engine/transmission.
That would've been useful 10+ years ago! lol
Now, if you're looking to do this the old school way OR just want another tool (if you don't already have it....) you can pick up the angle finder for around $10 or so the last I checked. That's really the only special tool you'll need. You can pick up a fancier tool for more money, but this one will suffice. The cell phone app would be awesome though!!

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IICrew

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I will get the app and check tomorrow. I will then deny being able to trust the app. Then I have an excuse to buy the tool as well. Win -Win!! Thats how it works right?

My eye tells me there is no way the trans is nose down. It's probably perspective but I am fairly sure it's slightly up not down. I am using oem motor mounts I bought new back in 1987. They have about 30,000 very hard miles then decades in the engine bay of my other car with the engine sitting on them. They look good but they have to be compressed by now. Coupled with a brand new trans mount. I wonder if that is contributing.

The shorter mount will be here in a couple days. I will try it and recheck angles then. I know I may have to but I just don't think I should have to adjust the one part I did not remove. The axle housing. If the angle is whats important the length of the DS or transmission shouldn't matter. Any adjustments should bring the new parts back to the original spec when possible. My steering shaft just rubs the header so lowering the trans may help there too. It's worth a shot for $12 and 20 minutes vs hours breaking bolts and discovering a broken leaf.

Distributor is moving!! 3 days of PB blaster and getting the engine up to temp coupled with moderate tapping freed it.

Has anyone added rear defrost? Over the years I have been able to collect the parts and my new rear glass has the grid. I will need to add tabs or wires to the glass, they are broken off. I have installed the heater controls with defrost switch. I just found the correct relay timer on ebay. I know the yellow wire at the firewall is for defrost. Other then wiring is there anything else to consider? Any tricks to the soldering to glass anyone can share?
 

IICrew

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The phone app is a nice idea but I could not get a consistent reading for the life of me. Step 2 is the driveshaft angle which is laying on the floor at that point. I'm still waiting on the proper gauge that was ordered last week. In the mean time I shoved the tail shaft to the passenger side and that vibration was better on jack stands. I think the crossmember is fine. Its something in the lateral angle on my build. Haven't driven it yet but I had it up to 60mph in 5th on jack stands with just a little driveline vibration.

I have been chasing a miss. It's consistently variable is the best description I have. Pretty bad at higher rpm's. Lot's of popping. Carb and entire ignition have been changed with no improvement. Actually seemed to be getting worse. Pulled valve covers and found 2 broken valve springs on each side. They appeared okay when I re-fired it after sitting for years but that has proven wrong. Heads only have about 35k miles on them but were redone back in 1987. They are D8OE and more of a boat anchor then engine component. Bad valve springs imply in my mind the entire valve train is suspect. I just don't see the point of piece by piece replacing items. Springs today means I find a burnt valve tomorrow. Put it all back together and now a collapsed lifter. Even if I machine the heads I still have boat anchors over my front axle.

When I started this project the the goal was to get her running around town. Reinforce weak points, redo suspension then address engine in a year or two. I am hurting it running it as is though. A friend of mine just finished his Cutlass so what am I to do? Luckily it's tax time and my better half wants to go cruising too. Well, when this pandemic subsides that is.

I am not going to race this thing other then maybe a track day sometime. I will throw it around corners though. Handling is priority one. Eventually I want the bigger front sway bar, a rear sway bar, tubular control arms and maybe coil overs. The v8 is about 150lbs heavier in front vs the v6. I've relocated the battery for weight as well as the battery tray being rusted out. So the new plan should include a diet.

I checked into ebay heads. Couldn't get an answer about piston to valve clearance. Couldn't get over the lack of lineage on the no name stuff. It may be fine but I cannot afford to redo this repeatedly. Looking around I was going to get the twisted wedge heads but then I read I would need the bigger combustion chambers for piston clearance. I ran across a deal on a set of Edelbrock RPM SCCA heads. I picked them up for just a few dollars more then the Chinese heads. My understanding is they are basically performer rpm non emissions with 1.94 intake valves and little/no bowl work. The 2.02 valves have interference issues with factory pistons from what I have read. Hoping these are okay as they are slightly bigger then the small valve rpm heads.

I ordered the Comp Cams XE268H kit as well. Anyone here have experience with this cam? My harmonic balancer is from 1978 and the rubber isn't really rubbery anymore. I bought a new one for a 302. I know the II was unique so hopefully this one pans out. Has anyone replaced theirs and was there fitment issues?

When I test ran up to 60mph I noticed a large puddle under the rear pumpkin. I just resealed it and was pissed at myself. I cleaned it and re ran it and puddle again after moments. I found a hole on the back side near the top. There is a dimple with a hole. The shaft of a 16p nail fits in it. No clue what caused it, other then rust. I cleaned it up and put jb weld on it. If it doesn't hold I can yank the housing from the other Cobra when I strip it's sway bar. Has anyone heard of this?
 
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LILCBRA

I wish I didn't have all of these balls in the air
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Your miss sounds like you might still be running lean. What carburetors have you tried? If it's a Holley you might want to try taking the jets up 2 sizes at a time until the popping goes away.

I'm not sure what you mean by needing bigger combustion chambers than the Twisted Wedge heads provide. I run flat tops with standard 4 valve reliefs and a set of Twisted Wedges with no problem. The problems come with piston to valve clearance if you run a large cam. My cam with the 1.7 rockers are just below the threshold of Trick Flow's recommended max lift, your cam is smaller assuming you're sticking with 1.6 rockers, so they wouldn't have been a problem. The Edelbrock heads will serve you well and be a substantial improvement over the D8 heads, I think you'll be happy with them overall. I don't have any first hand experience with that cam, but I'd venture a guess that with the rest of what you've listed you'll be happy with it as well.

As for the damper a replacement should be just fine as long as it's the correct 28oz balance and not the later 50oz. And it'd probably be a lot safer than the old damper you have that sounds like is dry rotted.

Your rear end housing sounds like it needs replaced, so if you have another it wouldn't be a bad idea to do so. It probably could be welded to seal the leak, but a replacement would probably be a better option.
 

IICrew

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I started with a 1965 era fomoco carb from a 289. I've had it since 1985 or so and got it from the original owner who added it to their 1964 1/2. Being that old it kinda worked but leaked. That carb was on this engine for a time 20 years ago. I picked up a new 600cfm eddy. It didn't change the miss. The old distributor was original to my 1978 II and was fried. It took a lot of effort to turn it by hand. I also wanted higher voltage and went the 2 piece hei route. So both were needed anyway.

When she first fired up 2 months ago it ran better then vs today. It's been driven maybe 20 miles and idled for an hour all told. I think the valves springs are breaking. I've found what looks like 3 with the top loop broken and one looks bent. The top coils look like a bent slinky. The coils aren't in a straight line. I'm assuming the ones compressed for years while it sat are failing first? I'm also assuming the miss being much worse at higher rpm {2500 and up) implies valve float. I wouldn't be surprised if my lifters are weak too. With my health battles she sat for 15+ years without being touched.

I'm also justifying going aluminum heads. So far the wife is buying it. lol

I am by no means an expert and am relying on various forums. I spent years as a service advisor but that was for dealerships and I never ran into these questions there. I originally settled on the trick flows but then I read their 58cc require fly cutting or their pistons. To avoid that I would need the 63cc heads. Since I have an emissions block and heads I am at 8:1 compression and need at least 9:1 for this cam. Higher is better. I've read 10cc chamber is about 1 point improvement in compression on these engines. My current heads are 69cc so I need as close to 59cc as possible or lower if piston clearance is addressed. The edyy heads are 60cc and the 1.90 valves fit. Hopefully the 1.94 valves will too.

I realize I only know enough to be dangerous. Not in a leading man kinda way though. More like the bumbling idiot who sometimes gets it right kinda way. So in my dumbass mind the eddys were the best choice but if that's wrong please let me know. They do look oh so pretty on my kitchen table though.

I have the heads off and found a bunch of scratches in the cylinder bores. They aren't very deep but my fingernail catches on them. It didn't smoke and I am beyond my budget so I'm gonna cross my fingers and hope.

One thing I am puzzled over is the oil filter was empty when I removed it. It's heavy and has oil in the filter material but nothing ran out as I loosened it. Dumping it out got maybe an ounce. It's been 2 decades since changing a 302 oil filter but they always dumped about a quart of oil out if I remember correctly. Could my oil pump bypass be bad or am I looking for a problem where none exists?
 

IICrew

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Well, I am puzzled no more. The pic below is the front cam bearing looking up. I think the filter clogged from gunk that came loose using Marvel Mystery Oil. All the cam bearings were dry but it was running just a couple days ago. Oil pressure was fine. I had good flow in the heads then. I should have gone through it during the swap but trying to save a buck again bites me in the ass. She needs a complete rebuild.
IMG_20200420_124201995.jpg
 
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LILCBRA

I wish I didn't have all of these balls in the air
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That sucks, but it also gives you options. You could try to find an Explorer 5.0 and swap that in using the heads you have. That would give you the benefit of a roller cam, but the cam you just ordered would be better off being returned and replaced with another. If you're not looking to get maximum power or anything you could hunt around for a 5.0 HO cam and use it, you can probably pick one up pretty cheap if someone out there is building a Fox 5.0. I'd venture a guess that an Explorer engine will cost less than machine work and any accompanying purchases like pistons. It would also solve the problem of the dry rotted damper since it should come with one installed. The only thing to watch out for is the balance issue, I'm pretty sure the Explorer engine is a 50oz imbalance whereas your original is a 28oz, so you'd need to have the flywheel/flexplate rebalanced. But I think even with that you'd come out cheaper than a full rebuild. :shrug: Just something to chew on.....
 

IICrew

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I found a local shop who is going to work with me. With the low miles, knowing it ran, and it wasn't smoking he thinks it will be reasonable to dip, hone, re ring it and new bearings. I see 040 stamped on the pistons so its already bored out. He ballparked, sight unseen it's about the price of what I am seeing 5.0 motors with the computer and wiring. He will then use my parts and make it a long block for me to dress out myself. That way if valve clearance is an issue he can address if necessary. This saves me from machining the II flywheel for 50oz.

I should have gone 5.0 from the start but wanted to keep this engine for sentimental reasons. I don't regret it although I would have done it differently in hindsight. Now I will have more into it but at least it's going to be new. A used engine that I bought would have ended up a paperweight with my luck anyway.

Whats the current thoughts on reusing the factory pistons? I'm thinking with compression being so low on them I should plan on new ones but I may be looking at divorce papers if I keep spending money.
 

74stang2togo

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I found a local shop who is going to work with me. With the low miles, knowing it ran, and it wasn't smoking he thinks it will be reasonable to dip, hone, re ring it and new bearings. I see 040 stamped on the pistons so its already bored out. He ballparked, sight unseen it's about the price of what I am seeing 5.0 motors with the computer and wiring. He will then use my parts and make it a long block for me to dress out myself. That way if valve clearance is an issue he can address if necessary. This saves me from machining the II flywheel for 50oz.

I should have gone 5.0 from the start but wanted to keep this engine for sentimental reasons. I don't regret it although I would have done it differently in hindsight. Now I will have more into it but at least it's going to be new. A used engine that I bought would have ended up a paperweight with my luck anyway.

Whats the current thoughts on reusing the factory pistons? I'm thinking with compression being so low on them I should plan on new ones but I may be looking at divorce papers if I keep spending money.
If those pistons are .040, they're not factory.
 

IICrew

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Correct they are not factory. I purchased a Ford Crate motor from A local ford dealer back in 1986 or 87. Before they called them crate motors. I ordered it at their parts counter flipping through the Ford Motorsports catalog. It was supposed to have a hotter cam but still emissions compliant. I don't remember if it was supposed to be bored out. Explains why my friend back then could never keep up with me in his II. I had a whole 5 or 6 cubic inches more then his car. haha.
 
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74stang2togo

I need something stupid to play with
Mod Dude
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Correct they are not factory. I purchased a Ford Crate motor from A local ford dealer back in 1986 or 87. Before they called them crate motors. I ordered it at their parts counter flipping through the Ford Motorsports catalog. It was supposed to have a hotter cam but still emissions compliant. I don't remember if it was supposed to be bored out. Explains why my friend back then could never keep up with me in his II. I had a whole 5 or 6 cubic inches more then his car. haha.
If they're flat tops with big enough valve reliefs for your heads and cam, keep 'em. That's what's in both ElSuperPinto and LaSuperCortina.
 
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LILCBRA

I wish I didn't have all of these balls in the air
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I found a local shop who is going to work with me. With the low miles, knowing it ran, and it wasn't smoking he thinks it will be reasonable to dip, hone, re ring it and new bearings. I see 040 stamped on the pistons so its already bored out. He ballparked, sight unseen it's about the price of what I am seeing 5.0 motors with the computer and wiring. He will then use my parts and make it a long block for me to dress out myself. That way if valve clearance is an issue he can address if necessary. This saves me from machining the II flywheel for 50oz.

You wouldn't need the computer or wiring unless you plan on doing a fuel injection setup.
 
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IICrew

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Engine is at the rebuilders. I will find out on Monday if its salvageable. That will determine new to me 5.0 or this motor. I think I hear a 347 calling me. Oh wait. Nevermind. It's the wife yelling something about the $347 I spent on car parts.

He is doubtful after seeing the cylinders and it being .040 over already. He said it looks like 135,000 miles with the ridge build up and scoring. I personally opened the crate after picking this engine up at Northgate Ford way back when. I know it only has 35k but obviously they were a hard 35k. Sitting for decades didn't help either. So we shall see.

Flat tops it is! I currently have the emission era dished pistons. One of the first things he said was they gotta go. I don't think I need forged so they are relatively inexpensive. Should bring my compression closer to 10:1 as well. If its rebuildable.

He also said he has seen a lot of sbf front cam bearings look like mine. I was worried I did something wrong but he assured me he has seen it many times. Have you guys noticed cam bearings looking burnt like the pic above?

If I would have torn it down this far before purchasing the heads and cam I probably would have gone a different route.

Holy crap bolts are expensive. I bought new arp head, crank and cam bolts. I cheaped out on the header and axle bolts. I wanted new front cover bolts but they are 68 bucks. Never mind the oil pan and intake. I cleaned the old ones up and will use anti-seeze as well as liberal amounts of finger crossing.

Since the drivetrain is missing again I started rustproofing the chassis so I could install the traction bars and frame ties. Just order new U bolts before you even start. Dorman #35602. I hoped to save mine but they are beat up. Not rusted away, the threads are smashed down. Now its halfway apart and in limbo untill I get new bolts.

Not thrilled with corroseal for the bottom of the car. I scoured the chassis with a red pad, used air to blow away the dust. Cleaned with alcohol and multiple paper towels. Painted it on, 2 coats. Kept it wet for about 4 hours yesterday. Any greyish spots were reapplied before closing up shop yesterday. Inspection shows a lot of grey areas this am and several areas where it looks like it pulled back. Some I missed. but it didn't get into crevices much at all. They looked wet yesterday but not today. It has worked well on parts but didn't creep well. I ordered por15 today and will try that next. Hoping I can apply it directly to the forehead, err umm over the corroseal since it's an etching primer.

I used jb weld on the hole in the axle housing last week. Today I took a screw driver to it attempting to pry it off. Its not budging. I imagine it will pop out on a road trip and ruin the rear end stranding me far from home one day. Today though...It's all good!

What is the preferred cooling options these days? I have an oem radiator. I bought an electric fan but it's too thick to place in front of the radiator. Is anyone running electric puller fan only? I don't have the shroud and know it's going to overheat with the factory fan alone. Shrouds are $180. Even with a shroud my old II had issues staying cool. It was always too hot after a hard run. I'm wondering if I should delete the oem fan and use the electric fan as a puller. Or do I need to get a thinner electric fan and the fan shroud?
 

74stang2togo

I need something stupid to play with
Mod Dude
Mar 7, 2002
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Engine is at the rebuilders. I will find out on Monday if its salvageable. That will determine new to me 5.0 or this motor. I think I hear a 347 calling me. Oh wait. Nevermind. It's the wife yelling something about the $347 I spent on car parts.

He is doubtful after seeing the cylinders and it being .040 over already. He said it looks like 135,000 miles with the ridge build up and scoring. I personally opened the crate after picking this engine up at Northgate Ford way back when. I know it only has 35k but obviously they were a hard 35k. Sitting for decades didn't help either. So we shall see.

Flat tops it is! I currently have the emission era dished pistons. One of the first things he said was they gotta go. I don't think I need forged so they are relatively inexpensive. Should bring my compression closer to 10:1 as well. If its rebuildable.

He also said he has seen a lot of sbf front cam bearings look like mine. I was worried I did something wrong but he assured me he has seen it many times. Have you guys noticed cam bearings looking burnt like the pic above?

If I would have torn it down this far before purchasing the heads and cam I probably would have gone a different route.

Holy crap bolts are expensive. I bought new arp head, crank and cam bolts. I cheaped out on the header and axle bolts. I wanted new front cover bolts but they are 68 bucks. Never mind the oil pan and intake. I cleaned the old ones up and will use anti-seeze as well as liberal amounts of finger crossing.

Since the drivetrain is missing again I started rustproofing the chassis so I could install the traction bars and frame ties. Just order new U bolts before you even start. Dorman #35602. I hoped to save mine but they are beat up. Not rusted away, the threads are smashed down. Now its halfway apart and in limbo untill I get new bolts.

Not thrilled with corroseal for the bottom of the car. I scoured the chassis with a red pad, used air to blow away the dust. Cleaned with alcohol and multiple paper towels. Painted it on, 2 coats. Kept it wet for about 4 hours yesterday. Any greyish spots were reapplied before closing up shop yesterday. Inspection shows a lot of grey areas this am and several areas where it looks like it pulled back. Some I missed. but it didn't get into crevices much at all. They looked wet yesterday but not today. It has worked well on parts but didn't creep well. I ordered por15 today and will try that next. Hoping I can apply it directly to the forehead, err umm over the corroseal since it's an etching primer.

I used jb weld on the hole in the axle housing last week. Today I took a screw driver to it attempting to pry it off. Its not budging. I imagine it will pop out on a road trip and ruin the rear end stranding me far from home one day. Today though...It's all good!

What is the preferred cooling options these days? I have an oem radiator. I bought an electric fan but it's too thick to place in front of the radiator. Is anyone running electric puller fan only? I don't have the shroud and know it's going to overheat with the factory fan alone. Shrouds are $180. Even with a shroud my old II had issues staying cool. It was always too hot after a hard run. I'm wondering if I should delete the oem fan and use the electric fan as a puller. Or do I need to get a thinner electric fan and the fan shroud?
http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5335821607&icep_item=174050610324 Nice intake stud kit (I've used this one myself.)
http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5335821607&icep_item=133032308986 (I've used something similar from a local bolt-and-supply shop for both my oil pan and valve covers, its hard to beat the look of some stainless bolts for the price, just make sure what you use is Grade 5.)

As far as cooling, I'm running a Flex-A-Lite electric puller fan on a Summit Racing 3-row aluminum radiator on my .040 302, it cools it fine, but it's also using an external transmission cooler and not running A/C.
 

LILCBRA

I wish I didn't have all of these balls in the air
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I have an electric puller fan as well, but it's on a stock replacement radiator. I also have an oil cooler, aluminum heads and intake, and an aluminum high flow water pump. I also run a 180* thermostat. The fan relay kicks on at 190* iirc. Haven't seen it go over around 200-210 in Atlanta, but it's also never really been stuck in traffic either.
 

IICrew

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Electric puller it is! That brings me to my next question. The alternator is new but is still a factory charging system. I believe 60amp. I also have 1000w old school amplifier. Have you guys running electric fans upgraded the charging system? Is it something I should do now? plan to do as I can? Or leave it alone and not worry?

Engine guy is surprised how good the crank and internals look. With the cam bearings, cylinder ridge buildup and scoring he expected the lower half to be trash. A polishing and new bearings will take care of the crank which he described as almost new looking. Honing the cylinders with new piston and rings should do the trick. He will take my collection of new parts and give me back a long block for less then what a short block costs online. I could have gotten by with just cam bearings but while we are this far in I want the new pistons. As well as the peace of mind knowing the bearings and oil pump are new.

This brings my next problem to the front. I installed a 1990 T5 from a 5.0. At the time I was using the stock block and planned on maybe 250hp. The t5 can handle 300 ft lbs. The estimate for tq now is 300+ using my performer intake and 350+ using the air gap manifold I want down the road. Should I plan on rebuilding the T5 to stronger internals before anything else? Is there anything I can do to help it last longer before replacing all the internals? I used the II bell and clutch. Can it handle the new found hp?
 

74stang2togo

I need something stupid to play with
Mod Dude
Mar 7, 2002
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Electric puller it is! That brings me to my next question. The alternator is new but is still a factory charging system. I believe 60amp. I also have 1000w old school amplifier. Have you guys running electric fans upgraded the charging system? Is it something I should do now? plan to do as I can? Or leave it alone and not worry?

Engine guy is surprised how good the crank and internals look. With the cam bearings, cylinder ridge buildup and scoring he expected the lower half to be trash. A polishing and new bearings will take care of the crank which he described as almost new looking. Honing the cylinders with new piston and rings should do the trick. He will take my collection of new parts and give me back a long block for less then what a short block costs online. I could have gotten by with just cam bearings but while we are this far in I want the new pistons. As well as the peace of mind knowing the bearings and oil pump are new.

This brings my next problem to the front. I installed a 1990 T5 from a 5.0. At the time I was using the stock block and planned on maybe 250hp. The t5 can handle 300 ft lbs. The estimate for tq now is 300+ using my performer intake and 350+ using the air gap manifold I want down the road. Should I plan on rebuilding the T5 to stronger internals before anything else? Is there anything I can do to help it last longer before replacing all the internals? I used the II bell and clutch. Can it handle the new found hp?
I'm running a GM 1-wire alternator (100amp I think).