Monday, 19 June 2017

Revised Exhaust, Fuel Supply, and yes..... First Test Run.

It's been too long since an update, with delays cause by work and family commitments, but over the Xmas break I got a reasonable block of time to do some needed "grunt work" that I'd been dreading for a while now.
In order to pass registration tests, I needed "adequate" room between the whole drive-train and the body of the car. This means not only clearance within the engine bay, but also for exhaust pipes under the floor pans, then for exhausts to clear the rear coil-overs, clear around the custom fuel tank, etc.  Most importantly the fuel supply lines need to be protected from exhaust heat, blown universal joints (eg, via tail-shaft loops), and so on. This all gets tricky with a 3-Link rear suspension setup and full (twin) 3" exhaust tubing.
Basically I needed to remove any possibility I could think of that an inspector could use to defect the car.

The single biggest change was to build up a new set of headers in stainless steel. My original set in mandrel bent mild steel "should" pass inspection - but I was right on the limit of the minimum 10mm gap required. And this must include when the engine rocks each way on its mounts under full acceleration/deceleration..
The trouble is, it is subjective as to how much deflection there may be in a set of engine mounts.....
So by making a new set of headers that have heaps more room, there should not be a problem (and I always wanted a stainless set anyway).
Even better is that if you simply buy a bunch of stainless mandrel bends, it ends up about half the price of a similar "build your own set of headers" kit. In my case $220 (AUD) got all the bends I needed (which was a mixed bag 4 x 45 degree, 4 x 90 degree, and 2 x 180 degree bends - all at the tightest radius offered). So $220, plus a day and a half of my own labour on top, got me the custom set I needed. here are the results:
This first photo kind of shows how I crossed pipes over to try and get them similar lengths.

And now the almost finished set. I was still yet to weld on flanges for a V-clamp connection to the rest of the exhaust system and weld in the O2 bungs.

As for my fuel rails, when I last had the motor at the dyno, I had run lots of braided hose and AN-8 "T" fittings to firstly divide my 1/2" high pressure fuels supply from the tank as it reach the middle of the engine valley, and then each of these ends divided again to supply fuel to the rails from each end. My thinking being that this would minimise any pressure drop to the "far" injector if I only supplied the rails from one end. Well my (way more experienced than me) dyno man said I'd over-thought it and over-complicated it. The rails themselves have heaps of volume each to counteract this risk. My "complicated" setup worked fine of course, but just wasn't needed and took up room. So I simplified things and now just split the 1/2" supply line once (via a single "T" junction at the firewall) and these two free ends now run straight into the back of each fuel rail.
This photo (and the next one with the engine back in the car) shows the rails have been cleaned up. This first one is also a good photo of the engine rocker stud girdle setup, dry sump reserve tank, etc too.

Then it came time to give it a test run on the street in prep' for its final inspection. It gets a rigorous cornering and braking test I'm told, so I do need to bed the brakes in, make sure all the undercarriage/suspension bolts are torqued up, no leaks appear, etc, etc. I went over everything several times and still found a loose dry sump pressure inlet line after its first outing! Doing this build solo risks such things.........
So how did it go?
OMG, "awesome and scary fast" is how my dad and son describe it. Not unsafe at all, I only jabbed it to just over half throttle for a moment. It was nicely predictable and didn't throw itself radically sideways (just a slight rear drift out to the left as it launched  - easily corrected by a small steering tweak).
But saying traction is marginal with the power on tap - would be an understatement. Some suspension tuning would help a bit with this no doubt, but the power/torque available right off idle is amazing. Well we are talking serious cubes here but I'm pleasantly satisfied for now. Putting some decent timing into it since the dyno run seems have made it heaps more responsive.
And the music from the motor? That was indeed special as I had left the windshield off for the test drive (it stays off until my dash gets trimmed/covered). So the unblocked induction roar from 8.5 litres of the 8-Stack injection trumpets up front, plus the exhaust note out back was the best thing I'd heard in a while.
Here are a few photos of how it looks right now after this first run.

I can see from the picture above that my front valence is yet to be finished too.
This will include an integrated air inlet/scoop for cooling. It will be an all steel unit.

The photo above is another shot of how far back the big block is. There is plenty of engine bay daylight from the radiator to the heads.

So what's next?.... Well, dare I say it - "minor stuff"! I only need to get the interior trimmed (at least the dash) so I can put the windscreen in. Then for a roadworthy I need side and rear-view mirrors, plus run the cabling to hook up the handbrake to the rear disks. Oh, and probably the last thing is to put a windscreen washer bottle somewhere (accessible).

I will be putting in a cold-air box with integrated filters as well. This will draw cool air in though the hood scoops. This and other finishing pieces can wait for the next post.

Goodness me, light at the end of the tunnel 😊

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

More Inerior, Engine Clearances and Modified Intake

This is another short update seeing it's been a long time since my last post - and I've received a few prods to create another post. There has been progress, but slowed due to work commitments, family commitments, and of course Winter here in southern Australia.

So the updates are.................
I am very close to competing my interior (dash, gauge cluster, console) and just need to build up some door trim panels. Here are the photos for this:

I formed the sides of the console first out of cardboard from a reasonably solid box and ran this between the front seats, handbrake, and up to the front face of the dash. Each side was unique based on all the mod's done to the transmission tunnel and I could then cut the template a perfect fit to the dash and get the right length I wanted at the rear.

Shown above is a test fit (one of many!). I ended up cutting a bigger hole for the gear stick of course and also included a small raised plate for the shifter boot to stretch around and snap snugly into place.

So above you can see a bit more detail of the instrumentation and console layout. Things to note are:
  • I have warning lights for "high and low' readings on all gauges.
  • Just under the Tacho you may notice an oil pressure and handbrake warning light.
  • The oil pressure warning light cuts the ignition to save the motor.
  • While I have a "Car Alarm/Central Locking system - I don't use a key to start the engine.
  • I have a finger print reader as my key so my teenage kids (or anyone else) cannot start the car.
  • You cannot bypass the finger print reader without re-wiring just about the whole vehicle :-)
  • My fuses are all mounted to the underside of the lid of the console storage box for easy access.
  • There are more stealth secrets I won't reveal. No surprises there.
  • I am trimming the front-face and underside of the dash in matching leather from the seats, while the top of the dash, the cover over the gauges, and the top panels of the console will all be in black leather (stops glare).
This means the beige/camel leather colouring of the seats sweeps around you at seat level (including the door trims), while the top third of the door trim, the dash top and gauge cluster are in black. The black leather also connects to and sweeps down in an uninterrupted manner along the top of the console. I'm imagining it will look ok. I have the leather already - so it better!

The above photo shows the car as it was a few months back. It is starting to come together nicely. You can see i'm part way thru fabricating my custom front valence and integrated scoop. I have a fair bit of the interior trim installed as well. The seat headrests will be one of the last items going in and the one-piece roof-liner is nearly ready after I installed a 12" LED light bar at the top the rear window as my 3rd brake light. It works a treat.
My door glass is actually in now, but the front wind-screen must wait for my dash to be trimmed in leather before it is installed.
Now for the interesting stuff. My vehicle engineer suggested that I get a bit of extra clearance around the back edge of one valve cover - as I was right on the 10mm minimum limit. See below.....

Yep that is close and could be a problem when the engine shifts when torqued up under load. I could bring the motor forward a bit, but that then takes room I have underneath between the extractors and power steering. I was in a corner and needed to modify things. Now to get at that support to make more room, it would have been a pain to work around the motor... so out the engine came again to do the job right. I get it out of the car on my own in half a day. And scalloping for the extra room required was the easy bit in the end, as I also took the opportunity to adjust the induction seeing I always felt each trumpet could rob air from another. The photo above give you the idea. I therefore did the following:

The above "construction" is a jig I made up so I could fabricate a set of short length, 45 degree bends as induction runners that would bring my trumpets into an upright position. These bends can't be too long otherwise I will run out of room under the hood - and I don't want to break the smooth lines of the current hood by having some great scoop cut into, and sticking out of it. 
What I did was use my CAD/CAM drawing from my intakes and simply used the flat face of the intake that mounts the trumpets as my template. I then had 5mm flat strips of stainless plate laser cut to specification. I only needed 4 plates - 2 each side to sandwich the 45 degree mandrel bends (2.25" stainless tube) I got from the local exhaust shop. The materials were cheap, but it took longer for me to build that dam jig and cut the bends to length, than to weld up (and clean up) the actual runners! 
But the results were worth it - see below.
Will look sweet in the engine bay now (not that looked bad before).

The longer runner will probably help engine performance, and as you can see everything lines up nicely in this last photo. I also have a great foundation now for my cold-air induction box that will use the hood scoops to draw in outside air, then pass that air thru a set of flat filters, which then enters the plenum that houses all the trumpets.

Ok then - until next post. See ya.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Interior Build (and some crazy problems)

Firstly - photos are at the end if that's all you want to see.
Rebuilding an entire car is a big job.....
I blindly started down this road not really understanding how much work I was in for - as once you complete one component to a high standard, the rest needs to follow suit. I'm sure this is not unusual and many others have had the same issue, but if I could cut out "re work" I would be done by now.

You see, we are all good at certain aspects of a rebuild, but not everything. So the things that don't come naturally take extra time/effort or a heap of "rework" to get right.

For example: my nice new Electric Life window actuators. I purchased them as well as the matching wiring looms and chrome switches to make things easier. No such luck. I spent 2 days or more (that means more than 2 weekends) ferreting out a bug that had me truly baffled for a while.
The wiring diagram is nice and simple, you splice the left-hand and right-hand looms together by splicing together just two (same coloured) wires. Easy right? You then run the two pairs of already bundled (blue and black) wires to each motor. Lastly, you connect the red power wire to a fused battery + source and ground the (very obvious) single black earth lead. Wrong! If anyone gets the following symptoms - this may be your problem.
My gremlin was that the passenger side worked fine from either the drivers side or passenger switch, and the drivers side would wind down ok but would blow the power fuse when I try and switch the window "up". If I reversed the wires to the motor the window wound up ok - so the motor is fine. Bad switch I think (even though the switch pins out ok when testing via an Ohm-meter) so I get another, but still the same problem! After much cursing and 20+ blown fuses later, it turns out the earth in the loom went to the wrong terminal that plugs into the drivers side switch. There are 3 black wires in the loom you see (1 earth and 1 for each motor), and somehow at manufacture the black earth wire got swapped with a black motor wire. Easily fixed of course (once diagnosed) by pulling the loom end apart and swapping the two offending black wires at the terminal - but what a complete waste of time. And this is just one example along this journey, it was never going to be easy.

A major recent advance was that I managed to book a visit from my vehicle engineer to do an inspection. It was all good and he found a few items to fix or otherwise look out for. Nothing major thankfully. What I do have to do is relocate my brake biasing valve to "outside" the cabin. This is a compliance rule apparently. Not a hard fix, but fiddly none the less.
Other than that, I just need to ensure I have the mandatory minimum 10mm clearance all around the motor and ancillaries. This includes the headers to steering linkages, dry-sump pump to engine bay, rear of the heads to firewall, exhaust pipes to fuel tank and diff', etc, etc.
I have complete control over this so all good there.

My next inspection will be to have the car go over the pits for its final "exam". This is where all those clearances are checked, the brakes are put thru their paces (they run the car quite hard apparently), noise is checked to be 96Db or below at 3500 RPM, and so on.

Apart from the specific engineering items mentioned above that I need to manage, I've also been able to complete the rear seat area such that I could re-install the rear glass and stainless trim. You really do need to get the complete rear interior finished before putting that window back in - as access is so much easier when it is out. The trickiest bit? Positioning the inner fastback panelling such that any holes drilled into them would line up correctly with my lap/sash seatbelt fastening bolts. The obvious tip is to drill any initial hole very small and gradually expand it as you test fit several times.

Righto - here are some photos that help describe all of the above..........
Starting on re-trimming the rear seats in matching leather.

Test fitting the completed rear seats. You can also see the sound & heat shielding I've installed.

Below are the mounting plates for the shoulder pivot of the rear passenger lap/sash belts.
These babies aren't going anywhere.

And here is how it all looks with the seats, seat belts, and interior panels installed.
I will tighten up the lower seat leather trimming to remove those small wrinkles that you can see in the middle.

And this is how the rear parcel area looks now. Despite the slightly tubbed wheel wells, all the standard seats, trap-door and interior panels remain in place and functional.

In regards to making sure I have all my clearances implemented correctly, this photo gives some idea as to what needs to be done to get a 3" exhaust around a coil-over rear axle setup and make it around the petrol tank in order to exit out thru the standard rear valence. Heaps of work required in all areas! 

The newly re-installed original rear window. This make a big difference to the look of the car.

And a photo of the car outside of the car-port. Starting to get there.

Current activity is to finish off the console, dash, and gauge cluster. This photo gives an idea of where things are at.
All the gauges have been in and tested. I have only removed them to finish the aluminium metal-work needed around the cluster itself. I am also fabricating a glove-box and mounting the heater core.
All this will be in the next post.


Thursday, 17 September 2015

Wiring, Lighting (and some "Miscellaneous".....)

In the last month I've managed to get a reasonable block of time devoted to moving this project ahead - thankfully.
Prior to this, work has been ridiculously busy (the hours spent in the office), so this project moves way down the list as a result. However, I took some time off and have now managed to get a bulk of the wiring/electrical work done.
In summary, I've managed to complete:
  • Installing the Electric-Life window actuators.
  • Install electric door locks and associated vehicle alarm and keyless remote entry systems.
  • Run all door wiring neatly into the cabin.
  • Locate and mount the engine ECU, CDI Ignition, Alarm, Electric Water Pump controller modules.
  • Locate and mount the master power Circuit-Breaker, Fuses, Relays, Kill-Switches.
  • Run all blinker wiring to the steering column.
  • Graft a late model falcon windscreen wiper switch into the skinny 1966 Mustang steering column.
  • Route wiring for all of the above (including Dome Light control via doors and Car Alarm).
  • Run brake light switch from the brake-biasing valve.
Put into a list like that, it does show I got quite a bit done (and all mandatory items too). As usual though, it's the pictures that I know most folk are interest in - so here they are.
There is probably no point just taking a photo of the electric window and door lock actuators - as they are a simple "bolt-in", it is at the console where it all comes together. So here are some shots of the wiring being bundled/organised in that area.

The electric door lock actuators had me puzzled for a few hours..... They need a full +12v to lock and a full -12 volts to unlock. Theoretically that's a 24volt difference from a 0 to 12v battery. The car alarm system did output this voltage, but it didn't have the grunt to supply the wattage required. If directly connected to the vehicle remote entry control module, the actuators just "oscillated" slightly in either the lock or unlock direction and wouldn't travel the full distance needed. As usual, Mr Google helped me to find a "reverse polarity relay" wiring diagram and this did the trick. The two relays that perform this function are at the upper right of the group of relays shown. They work a treat too. Something else that may be of interest is the solid-state relay at the lower left. This powers my electric water pumps by varying the voltage given to them. It means the pumps don't thrash at 100% power when the engine is cold. Instead, they speed up to 100% gradually as coolant temp rises. I do the same thing for my electric fuel pumps - but based on a PWM signal from the ECU (the PWM is an output that I can elect to track in sync with engine load).  
Blinkers. I have not yet had a problem with my early blinker/brake switch combo unit myself, but I read lots of articles about interesting problems that these units cause as they age. I've hopefully avoided such issues by only using the blinker switch for the blinkers and horn, and by activating the brake lights via the pressure switch on the biasing valve. It all seems to work well for now. I could then cut back the brake wiring from the blinker/brake/horn switch by removing the brake wires and then I added the wiring from the newly grafted wiper switch. Just as these photos show.

The wiper stalk is relatively subtle. So I'm quite happy with what I've done here as it seems to be nice and neat and unobtrusive. For those of you who haven't seen an earlier post on this, the late model Falcon wiper switch and motor gives me intermittent, low and high speed wipers (and washer pump) all controlled from the left side of the steering column. I've also moved the wiper motor from inside the cabin to be "inside the cavity formed within the upper and lower cowl panels". Not a small job, but this approach frees up room under the dash and removes all that wiper motor noise from inside the cabin. My upper cowl panel is also now removable so I can service the wiper motor if ever required and properly protect the inside of the cowl from rust.
 Now for the miscellaneous.....
I had a weeping head gasket - dam it! The tiniest of occasional drips occurred at the rear corner of one head after I switched the engine off after a run (when it had maximum heat soak). It must have been from the "water jacket to the outside of the engine", as there was no water in the oil or combustion chamber. This forced me rip out the motor again to fix, so while the engine was out, I did the following - which I had always wanted to do but never had the block of time available:
  • Change the head gaskets, after cleaning up the block and head faces, but this time using Permatex copper head gasket sealant on both sides of the (Felpro 1028) head gaskets.
  • Re-contour the bracing at the top of the firewall to give me another inch of room in the engine bay at the back of the motor (to free up more space for induction).
  • Re-contour the inside-top-edge of the shock towers to give me more room where the rocker covers get closest to them.
  • Bite the "financial" bullet and replace the (probably ok) 351C Falcon clutch with a (definitely ok) Centerforce DYAD clutch.
  • Adjust the external dry-sump reservoir to separate the single oil outlet fitting that supplies both the oil level sight tube and the pre-start oil pressure priming pump.
The reason I need to separate the these oil supplies is that the oil priming pump would draw down oil from the site tube and suck air - if the priming pump was run for too long. An annoying issue more than anything drastic to fix.
Here are the relevant photos for all these various tasks........

First the head gasket fix. All I have done is make sure everything is hospital clean again - but this time add the coating of Permatex.

Now for the engine bay mod's. I didn't have to do these changes, but it give me more room.

And now the DYAD clutch addition (dummy fitting stage). I must say, it's an impressive piece and well put together.

The DYAD flywheel is interesting as it has removed a heap of mass from the outside edge of the flywheel. Just look at those CNC machined cut-outs towards the outer edge. This should let the engine spin up much faster (accelerate faster) seeing the original flywheel was a heavy piece with the bulk of its weight on the outer edge. That was a lot of mass "out wide" to rev' up.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Installation of "Front End" panels and lights.

It's finally starting to look like a real car........With the engine bay now all but complete, I've been able to mount most of the front panels. This includes the upper cowl (that readers of this blog will know is a removable piece on my car now), front guards, hood, headlight buckets and associated wiring/lights, plus the front grill and trim components.
The only things missing are the front bumper, valence (with turn signals) and stone-guard.
This photo shows the current state of assembly.

What is obvious in the above photo is the wider radiator opening and external oil cooler.
But now with the panels painted, refitting them was always going to be the real acid-test in regards to how well the final "fit" would end up. I worked hard in the preparation stage to have constant (neat) panel gaps. But while you do what you can in this area (via mocks ups and adjustments) before paint on the bare body shell, you just never really know how it will turn out with the engine/driveline installed and the suspension loaded up - and this engine is no lightweight! The body and chassis naturally does flex, splay, move around, etc..... Thankfully, by working forwards from the doors, I could still adjust things to a nice neat finish - but it was definitely different from when the car was just a shell.
Here are some photos of the engine bay.

You can see that I've gone with contrasting (Cadmium plated) fender bolts for the front guards and hood latch mechanism. I've also gone with a '65 grille as I prefer that style grille more than the '66 horizontal grille. The headlights are newer H4 halogen units and I've gone the extra mile and used "Halo" headlamps from Redline with the white LED's in the ring around the lamp itself. These LED's within the headlamps will be my "parking lights" rather than using the amber running lights located in the front valence. The amber units in the valence will be dedicated as turn signals. All my lights apart from the low and high-beam headlights are LED's (this includes tail-lights, dash, interior).

Keen eyes may notice that I've modified my front shock-tower supports inside the engine bay so that they can unbolt at the top of the shock-tower load-plate, and pivot upwards from where they mount on the firewall (to fold up against the underside of the hood and be "out of the way"). Space is at a premium around this motor and this adjustment lets me get to rocker-covers, spark-plugs, coils and leads with some sort of dignity.
Now for the front valence. Have a look at this photo of what I have to work with...

With my customised radiator support having such a wide opening, a standard 65/66 Shelby valance/scoop just doesn't work. It would bolt up and fit ok, but with such a narrow inlet, it would block half the airflow I am trying to achieve. So - I'm in the process of combining the standard valence and stone-guard into a single unit, and then I'll graft a custom air scoop into it. I need to be careful here though as changing the front facia of a car can ruin the look very easily. All I can say is that this custom scoop opening needs to be subtle - so it wont poke out forward like a race car, wont be "super low", etc. It will be the width I need though and all metal. Stay tuned.

Other tricks?
I've routed my front wiring from inside the cabin on the passenger side (for Australia remember) and out through the firewall, but up inside the front right fender. As it runs forward in under the front wheel-arches, up as high as possible, all wiring is inside a length of 1" o.d. PVC electrical conduit. This custom "loom" carries wiring for the front turn signals, running lights, high/low beam, auxiliary oil pump power, thermatic fan control, and even a length of CAT-5 (for future IP based camera, security, and functionality options that I have in mind). All this wiring is completely hidden when looking into the engine bay of course to give it a nice neat finish. About the only thing missing within the engine bay now is a final thermo-fan setup. But I've made sure I have plenty of room for it and that can wait for when the car sees some traffic.

The next post will probably be about wiring the dash, installing the instrument cluster, and maybe the beginning of the interior trim fit. Now some additional photos.......

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Engine Bay Completion - Part 2

I jumped the gun with the title of my last post.... To really complete the engine bay, I have some more important tasks to complete such as:
  • Welding up a custom fabricated aluminium external dry-sump reservoir.
  • Install an oil priming pump.
  • Wrap up the starter motor and coil packs in heat shielding.
  • Re-install my shock tower bracing.
For the external dry-sump tank, I am using the space previously used by the battery (which is now in the trunk) as its new location. And seeing that this engine-bay panel had the typical rust associated with a battery leak in a previous life, I have cut out the rust to create a large hole in the spot where the battery tray used to bolt up to. This lets me extend the height of my external oil tank (downwards thru this hole) which gives me advantages in building a tank that efficiently removes air from my scavenged dry-sump oil. Here are some "in progress" photos.

I used a cardboard template to get the outside dimensions done and then added baffles from there. One of which I took a photo of.

Here is a trial fit to make sure the hoses all worked together.

And here you can see how I've cut out the bottom of the battery tray to give the tonk some extra height. Plus include a convenient drain plug.

Never having built one of these things before I did so based on the following thoughts.....
  • Ensure the oil tank outlet is at the lower-rear of the tank (so oil naturally moves towards this outlet under acceleration rather than away from it - and then risk sucking air).
  • Baffle the tank (horizontally) so that oil can't slosh up the back face of the tank and expose the outlet to air.
  • Make the tank itself as high as possible (compared to diameter) so there is a nice column of oil sitting above the outlet.
  • For the scavenge inlet, make this (foamy) scavenged oil-air mix flow over a smooth surface and thru a meshed sieve (similar to a funnel with a sieve filter in the bottom) - to promote air bubbles to come to the surface and "pop" (disappear).
  • Include an oil-level "sight" column, an oil filler neck, drain hole and tank breather.
This tank holds 8 litres when full, but when the engine is running it will  have about 4 litres in it, while the rest of the dry sum plumbing (oil pump, hoses, oil cooler, filter, etc) holds another 4 litres. These next couple of shots show the results of my first prototype. You will see a couple of  blocked off ports that I had to weld over after finding out the radiator hoses got in the way.....

This next bit may be seen as overkill by some, but I've also included a remote (electric) oil pump that allows me to press a "momentary" switch to pressurise the oil system before I hit the start button. In fact, once complete, i'll wire it all up such that the engine wont fire unless there is some oil pressure. I'm thinking that I can use an oil pressure warning light (warning of low pressure) as the trigger to allow the ignition the fire. A benefit is that if I get low oil pressure for any reason while racing and I'm distracted and don't see the warning light - it will automatically cut ignition to protect the motor. A bit of a fail-safe really. This little electric oil pump is just a diff/transmission remote oil cooler pump and wont need to run for any long duration - just long enough to pressurised things until the dry-sump pump takes over. Too easy I say.

One design flaw I've found (that I should have thought of while building the external tank), is that the oil priming pump sucks air through the joint "T" fitting it has with the oil level sigh column. Bummer. I have a couple of options to fix this: either have dedicated separate fittings for both the priming pump and sight level, or, I can insert a small plastic ball into the clear sight tube. For this second option I need a ball that's light enough to float on oil, but small enough so it can just slide up/down within the clear sight-tube, as well as being too big to fit through the lower AN-6 hose-spike fitting. This way, when the priming pump sucks oil (and oil in the sight level drops), this ball drops down to jam against the open end of the hose spike fitting and blocks this passage off. If I can find a "high viz" ball, then this will aid in reading the oil level too.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Coil Pack Setup, Engine Bay Completion

To finish the engine bay, I I've had to bundle up my "coil on plug" packs, complete the engine wiring loom, run the throttle cable and run the final radiator and heater hoses.

Regarding the heater, I've decided to go with a VintageAir heater/demister unit as they are so compact and come with their own control panel. I still have the heater box I pulled out of a local 90's Falcon that has all the vacuum flaps to control venting to windscreen/console/floor, etc. I may end up using parts of that as well. When my dash and console are complete, I will have hidden as many controls as possible, as I prefer the "stealth" look personally.

Anyway, here are some photos of the coil-packs. I had to hand-fabricate the coil mounts seeing these are indeed "coil-on-plug" coils which are tricky to securely hold in place as they are meant to sit in their own individual recess in the rocker cover of a 3-valve modular V8. They are approximately rounded, but have a series of tabs and protrusions you need to account for. Ideally, I would CNC machine something up to look the best, but as these items will be almost completely hidden (under the shock tower braces that are temporarily removed just now), I've formed their mounts from sheet aluminium.
At least these two coil packs (one pack of 4 coils on each side of the engine bay) remove the awful looking temporary wooden blocks I've sat on top of each rocker cover for about a year now (and this included the engine dyno session - so they did their job ok). For leads, I've gone with Taylor 9mm "Firepower" items. The 45 degree boots are a very neat fit for my custom extractor setup. Something to note is that with the coil packs being mounted on each side of the engine bay (between the shock-towers and firewall), the spark-plug leads themselves are extremely short, just 6 inches or so for the rear 2 cylinders on each bank. Hopefully I don't need to shift these coils at all later - only to find my cut-back leads need to be replaced.....

I have used the AN-16 ORB outlets at the rear of each cylinder head to source hot water for my new heater unit. With only limited room in the valley at the back of the engine (because of the oil pressure sender, engine wiring loom, fuel lines, throttle cable hardware, etc - all passing through this area), I have screwed AN-16 ORB block-off plugs into the rear coolant outlets, but I have tapped these plugs to accept brass 5/8th inch right-angle hose fittings. The ORB plugs in conjunction with Teflon tape on the brass fittings - allows me enough "wiggle room" to be able to spin these fittings such they both (1 on each cylinder head) face the firewall and wont leak. It is then pretty simple to drill holes in the firewall to run heater hose from these fittings to the new heater unit. But what I found when I tried to run the heater hose thru the firewall was that my fuel lines got in the way. So I had the re-design my existing "Tri-Y" setup where my 1/2" stainless hard line first split into two 1/2" lines (one for each fuel rail), and then each of these split into two AN-6 lines that feed each end of each fuel rail. All this "splitting" was done at the rear of the valley next to the oil pressure sender and simply cluttered things up too much. My solution was to run the 1/2" hard line right into the middle of the valley and split things up from there. Much neater! Safer too as the stainless hard line is much more resistant to scuffing as the engine vibrates. This photo should explain it better....

A final complication I need to account for is that I can't take advantage of any natural "flow" in my heater hose as I am sourcing heated coolant from the rear of each head (there is no natural "flow" between them). So I need to incorporate an extra heater "circulation pump" - to force coolant through the heater core. I've not built this setup yet, but I will incorporate a "rising rate" switch (using a solid-state relay) on this extra pump so it's not running 100% flat out when only a small amount of flow is needed. I included this kind of setup on my EFI fuel delivery system as it uses twin electric fuel pumps (and there is no point just churning up and heating fuel when idling away while stopped in traffic) - so it's easy enough to do, but is a luxury that can wait for later.

Something else I had to change is the original setup I built for returning hot engine coolant to the radiator. Initially, I had plumbed coolant lines up against the face of the right head (when looking into the engine bay from the front) to line up with the inlet port on the radiator. But the new power-steering and oil filter setup means I have to divert these coolant lines further forward to clear them. You will notice that I've built a new stainless steel "manifold" to join these two coolant outlets from each cylinder head and I've hidden the 3 temp senders (one each for the ECU, water pumps and temp gauge) I require by threading them in from the underside of this manifold.

This next trick has proved very useful for me. I've installed a "momentary" push-button switch in the engine bay, so I can conveniently crank the engine over when working under the hood, adjusting tappets, etc. Also I've mounted a spare oil-pressure gauge I had off the oil filter housing so I can see the actual oil pressure if I'm working on the motor with the engine running. This gauge provides more peace-of-mind than I expected!
And lastly, I have drilled a 1/2" hole into one of the upper, front engine mounts and welded a I/2" UNF nut on top of it - and into this nut I've threaded a long I/2" UNF bolt. As this bolt faces "for/aft" in the engine bay, when I "tighten up" this bolt and it passes thru the hole, it pushed into the mating lower engine mount and slides the whole engine forward 2 inches or so. This seemed the simplest and easiest way to give me heaps more room to do things like lift the rocker covers, get to spark-plugs, plus access wiring and fuel lines at the rear of the engine. I have to loosen off the front and rear engine mounts for this to occur of course, while the whole exhaust system just rocks forward. Nice.