Exorcising a '78

New front wheels will be ordered in the next few days. She is in limbo until they are painted and new tires mounted.

Installed a noise suppressor on the ignition feed. Radio still has the whine. It may have improved slightly but there was not much if any improvement. I think I will add one to the amp and see if that helps.

I had some free time I painted the dash bezels with a Krylon silver leaf paint pen. It looks pretty good. Cleaned with glass cleaner then painted it on. It is very close if not an exact match to the factory lines



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The paint pen was easy and looks pretty good. Although now I want the chromed gauge cluster bezels.

I tried to hook up the factory tach. Melted the ground wire back to the splice. Looked and smelled way worse then what it wound up being though. The aftermarket tach was originally installed using the factory wiring. That worked just fine. I unplugged it and plugged in the factory tach. All was well with key on engine off. Engine fired right up but the tach never moved. After about 15 seconds I could see smoke coming from the tach harness. I shut off the ignition and yanked the hot side from the tach. It was certainly hot in more ways then one. After tracing the melted ground back to the splice I hooked up the aftermarket tach to the same wires and it still works. I then tried the v8 adapter piece alone and the car would no longer fire with it in place. The ground wire was getting warm just from cranking. I assume it's shorted to ground internally. I then tried the tach from my old Cobra and the car runs but the tach is inop. So back to the ugly column mounted tach again for now.

After all that my new stereo would not shut off consistently. After removing the key the radio would continue to play for anywhere from 5 seconds to 20 minutes. Sometimes it shut off as it was supposed to. Most times it shut off between 1 and 2 minutes after the ignition was off. A few times it took almost 20 minutes. The kicker was it would always work correctly with a test light on the ignition wire to radio. As soon as I tested for power it would shut off. I cut the ignition wire to the noise suppressor and used a power probe to provide power on the output side of the suppressor. Same thing. It would not shut off. I went through and redid the ground wire just in case it was damaged. No change. I cut the noise suppressor wire supplying the radio and now it works correctly.

During the ground wire repair phase of this I also changed the ground at the alternator to a 6 gauge wire from a 16 gauge. I was using a common ground for the alternator , gauges and stereo. I separated them all by a foot or more. The alternator whine was maybe halved but still very prominent with this change. Once I fully cut the suppressor out it's now almost gone.

After 2 days of fiddling, melting wire the harness, and my dash now half apart I accidently on purpose sorda kinda fixed the alternator whine. :oops:
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Persistence pays off!!!

Well that and a couple of parts cars. The tach works. Had to steal the v8 adapter from a 76 cobra and used it on my tach which is from a 75. Seems a little off but I get rid of the el cheapo column tach!
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New dash bezel. Was originally chrome trim but in really bad shape. I used the paint pen to go over the old chrome. It looks okay. Not great but better then it was.

Notice the tach!!!!! Column mounted one is gone and factory working as intended!

Ignore the Shelby America logo. It will be gone when I either paint or more likely replace the "stainless steel applique"

After front wheels are ordered and on the next step is pulling the ac/heater box from parts car and get it rebuilt then installed.



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New front wheels were put on a month ago. They did not help vibrations much if at all. I guess I have to get used to them but they look out of proportion currently. Too much front wheel for a small car. Minor rubbing on right front but an alignment should help. That wheel sits a little too far back in the wheel well.

I am going to add ac but figured it would be nicer to maintain it's own thread making future searches easier. I will keep this thread updated with progress but want to keep technical stuff in the ac thred. If mods prefer everything here I can certainly do that but was trying to avoid making others read a novel when they want to add ac. I know I tend to ramble here.

I will be taking time/funding away from the cars to address my newly acquired skylight feature of the workshop. Our pool and chicken coupe need repairs as well. The only damage to cars were this one was being soaked as it was parked under the missing roof when the suddenly acquired skylight was obtained. Being a t top and dried out seals the interior was wet but I got her covered before the carpet got soaked. As well as a slightly damaged hood from my sons car. It was not bolted on and flew about 40 feet. It has a gouge near the scoop but looks straight.
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If there's a bright side here it's that the treehouse looks to still be intact. ;)
Looks to be a lot of clean up and a LOT of work to be done. I'd offer some help if you weren't literally halfway across the country.

I agree with you about the AC thread. If anything, you can always post links to updates here.
Back from the angiogram. Stents and bypass are flowing fine. I have what he called Microvascular disease. The tiny vessels around my heart are clogging up. He said they now have blood tests to check for lipids and proteins which cause it. If caught early they can prevent it but cannot stop or reverse once it's this far along. Talk to your doc about being tested for it. You don't want to be where I am if you can avoid it.

I am not causing more damage that is preventable. Just have to go slower and stay out of heat or cold weather. Luckily I am horrible about following docs orders so once yard is cleaned and barn fixed I will get back to one of the cars.

Treehouse was being held up by 1 board and 2 lag bolts. It was drooping down about a foot on the one side. We had to pull it down as it was barely holding itself up. I was afraid it would come down on us while working under it. It's a pile of ashes now.

We have most of the branches cleaned up. Just waiting on callbacks from contractors not affiliated with our insurance company. All in all we are lucky. The house only has minor damage. Some of our neighboring homes were destroyed. We have a few outbuildings damaged. Very minor compared to what could have been.
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That's all good news for you about your property in light of things. Sucks about the blood flow problems, I'm sorry. Like I said, if you weren't half way across the country I'd come give you a hand. It doesn't seem that you have a shortage of things that need done - kinda like me..... lol
Slow and steady wins the race. Found out my diaphragm is paralyzed on my right side. Hence the breathing and fatigue issues. Explains why I have a hard time getting over any respiratory infections. It is stuck in the exhale position. Other docs mentioned it but then dismissed it. Pulmonologist did some sniff test and confirmed it. He suspects its from damaged nerves in my neck. Could be from open heart surgery back in 2014 but he thinks it's related to my degenerative disc disease in the cervical area. Eventually I need to see my back surgeon again. Problem with that is I am not easy to get along with anymore. I ran out of f**ks to give and had words with his nurse practitioner last time I was there years ago. When doc says one thing and his assistant tells me another I am going to question it. Some people in medical field don't like that. He was one of them. I spent 20 years as an LPN and some new grad was telling me bull:poo:. I called him out. Unfortunelty it spilled over into the hallway. Yelling over me just makes me yell louder so....I may not be welcome back. lol

Not much progress. But.... The barn is slowly coming along. We have one more day of work and it will have the roof finished. Probably another day for trim and miscellaneous. Then I can get back to cars. I did manage to order new seat covers. They should be here in a few days. I went with the horizontal pattern in black. I wanted more modern seats but was coming up empty. These seats only have 45k miles on them so the cushions are in decent shape. The covers are dry rotted. Stitching just keeps tearing the vinyl and the seams are falling apart.

I have the heater /ac box repaired and ready for reassembly. May be able to install it this winter. I am having seconds thought about adding ac to this car. I went out of my way to lighten the car and am now adding weight....

Went to a car show this past weekend and ran across an artist who does car drawings. He had a II in his portfolio and I had to get it.

Well I was going to share pics but cannot get them to load. Maybe next time.
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Barn is almost finished!!!!! Some trim and it's done. Doing it ourselves we built it better then it was. I added a moisture barrier and used 26 gauge metal vs the 29ga that's usually used. We spaced the purlins at 2' instead of the original 4' on center. It is much stronger. You can walk anywhere on the roof without fear of falling through. I still saved enough that I am contemplating getting a concrete floor and maybe a lift. HUGE maybe on the lift. Concrete is 95% decided. Currently only the front half of the barn is concrete and it is thin. Looks like it was poured by hand one section at a time. Surface is really rough. Great for a steep driveway or horse barn but horrible to roll a jack or creeper across. My snapon Tool box made it settle on one end. The other half is dirt floor with thin a layer of gravel. If I find a concrete company who will work with me and let me do most of the prep work I am going to get the back half done.

Rear seats are mostly recovered. After doing the rears I am debating on paying someone to do the fronts. Do not try on a cooler day. It was about 60 degrees and the material had no stretch. I did the bottoms inside and they were pliable. I needed air for the stapler on the rears and worked outside in the sun to try and get it more pliable. It needs warmer temps to stretch at all. The plastic clip sewn onto the back seat cover is in the wrong place. Makes that part about an inch too long and doesn't pull the material tight. You can see a wrinkle up high but that will be fixed by coming up with a solution for the plastic clip. I had to buy a 20ga air stapler. Hand stapler will not penetrate the seat backing. Get short staples. I used 3/8 staples and they came through the back side. It's hidden when installed but there are alot of sharp points back there now. The seats come with a cheap hog ring pliers. A nicer pair is recommended. It worked but wasn't as easy a nice set of pliers would have been.

Next on the list is making this car ride better. With half tank of fuel it sits about half inch lower on drivers side front and rear. That's without a driver in the car. It's just over an inch with just me in the car. Looking at pictures my car sits considerably lower then most others. Tires rub on aprons. I scrape going in/out some driveways. Currently I have stock springs front and rear. The v6 springs are too light. I am considering going to coil overs for the front. The lower control arms are already tubular. I can cut the spring mount off them and use the mustang II coil overs. That way I can adjust the ride height. The v8 springs for an ac car were 364 lbs. Looking at coil overs they recommend 500lb springs. Anyone have spring recommendations specific to us? I want it to ride better first. And handle better a close second.

Here is a pic of two pics. The top one I found at the pumpkin run car show. The bottom is from my oldest who digitally painted it last year and I finally got it on canvass.


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I love the rear seats! very well done.
Regarding springs I have this link in my link collection about suspension:
If I remember right, I read that spring rate is independent from installed engine.
I have stock V6 springs and the same problem as you. Around 1/2 inch drop on the driver side compared to co-driver side.
I like the spring rate of the stock springs...
There is a roadkill garage episode, where they have a similar problem. The swapped original front springs with different aftermarket ones and had with new front springs always a lower driver side. Changing rear springs didn't have an effect on that. They swapped everything several times,even with the old front spring it was not sitting level. They noticed, that the original front springs have different free length or spring rate. They put the original ones again into the car but vice versa and the car was level again.
So I'm thinking of doing the same with my car: just swapping front springs side to side. But currently I don't have the motivation.
What I miss most with handling is a stiffer front sway bar. Poly bushings, stock springs, KYB dampers and good alignment are very good upgrade to me. But the front sway bar is limiting the rest, at least that is my feeling.
I remember seeing somewhere - I think it was the .net site? - that you can swap in a set from a later model T-Bird or something. From what I remember, they were the same diameter but had a higher rate. The caveat there was that you'd need to cut them to the desired height/length. I did a real quick Google search and come up empty, but I'm sure someone has the old writeup somewhere.....
I couldn't find it when looking recently but I am pretty sure the rates were different left and right depending on options and ac. Back in '87 I got new leaf springs for that II and was thinking of getting new fronts. That has been many moons ago but I think Ford listed around 10 different front springs. The local dealer was not helpful so I just replaced the rears instead of picking the wrong front ones. I think they fine tuned them from factory but aftermarket only gives us a couple choices.

I didn't realize that car had the competition suspension and how much better it handled. A friend of mine with a Ghia was always trying to beat that car and he just could not. He even put a 4 speed in it to try and keep up. His rode a little better than mine but mine always took a corner better. I bought a new larger sway bar for this car but still need a rear one. My old car was on rails. Flat in corners and rode reasonably well. I took many long trips and other than the high rpms needed for 75mph and the seats sucking it was a great highway car. This one not so much.

My goal is to make it ride smoother. It still has some vibrations but it's just freaking feral. With the t tops you get cowl shake pretty bad over bumps / corrugated roads. I live in the rust belt so local roads are rarely in great shape. They are always patching them. The front end hops around when hitting bumps. Especially in corners. Every bump or crack in the road is felt. Everything is new up front except the coils and spindles. Control arms, rack, bigger brakes, shocks, spring isolators, sway bar. Everything. But it's just..... Feral. You cannot just relax when driving it. You have to be ready for it to go in an unpredictable direction.

I do not want to spend $600 on coil overs but I also do not want to pull the front end apart a few times to get the springs right. Every time I tried the cheaper way on this build it has back fired on me.

The choices I have are 350 lbs or 500 lbs. Considering a v8 with a/c came with 360 lb I am leaning to the 500lb for handling. I just don't want it to ride like a go cart with no suspension. Considering I plan on adding ac but have used a lot of aluminum and relocated the battery would the 350 be better for me?
Not II specific but read some posts on fox bodies where they attribute the KYB shocks as the culprit. They have no give and ride like :poo:. Doing springs and decent shocks brings us up to $250 to $300. Then reassembling several times to get the ride height correct. Coil Overs are looking better and better.

As a side not. My god concrete is expensive now days. 8 years ago I had a quote of 5k to redo our back patio. The slab is sinking near the house and water is pooling against the block foundation causing leaks. Today I got a quote of 20K. With 6k going to barn floor. So it went from 5k to 14k in 8 years for the patio. The 6k is for 20x30 and I do the excavation. I live in a rural midwest area. Not a major metropolis. That is just insane.
If you have the time and you're able-bodied enough - which might be the limiting factor in your case :shrug: - you could do that stuff yourself and save a ton of money. Rent a large mixer from somewhere, buy bagged crete, mix it and pour it in smaller sections. It'd require you to build forms a bunch and probably buy the expansion joint material for each section, but I'll bet you could get away with getting the stuff done at a fraction of the price.

It's situations like this that generally drive me to do all my own work. Well, that and I've started having a real hard time trusting contractors with anything anymore.....