Sunday, November 20, 2011

This Old Carb

 This car started out as C code with a two-barrel carburetor.   However, when I rebuilt the engine, I had installed a four-barrel intake manifold which, without something to put on it, leaves a rather evident empty spot right there on the top of the engine where everybody can see it.  I had to find a way to remedy this problem... a way to breathe new life into this old engine.   There are many many options out there but very few fit my particular... shall we say... frugal... requirements.   There are also more opinions than.. well, lot's of opinions on which carbs are the "best".  In 1968 the four barrel carb came on the "J" code engine.  A Ford 302 with an Autolite 4300 on top.  As far as I know, all Mustangs that came with a 289 in 1968 were 2-barrel Autolite 2100 "C" code cars like mine and even then, the 289 only lasted to about mid year.  So, if I wanted to simulate a J code, I'd have to A) get a different engine, and B) get a 4300 carb, neither of which appeal to me for this car.  Why not the 4300 on a 289?  Honestly, I have no idea other than it doesn't seem to be a popular carb and I wanted one with a lot of end-user support and the winner of the "end-user support" award appears to go to the Autolite 4100 based on forum responses regarding "which carb is best?" type of posts (not to mention at least one recommendation on a prior post in this blog).

So, I'd made up my mind and how much can a beat-up old 40+ year old carb cost anyway?  Can't be more than... what?  60 bucks?  Well, like everything else I get into, it seems, the prices skyrocket for one reason or another.  In this case, I think one or more of the Mustang rags wrote a glowing article regarding the 4100 and how to adjust it a few years ago and now you'd think these things were cast out of gold instead of aluminum and brass.  One company even restores them to better than new for just under 800 clams.  Well, I have to admit, they ARE beautiful.  They even go to the trouble of re-plating the carb  and updating it for modern fuels and such.  However, for me, this is not a show car.  I just need the carb to atomize gas and feed it into the intake manifold.  I don't need a work of art.

So, I watched eBay for awhile to get a feel for how the market is for these cores and it looks like I could get a "this was working when I pulled it" carb for around $250-$300 or a core for around $100.  My research shows that if the most popular carb is the 4100, then the most popular year for the 4100 is the last year that it was put on a 289 Mustang, 1966.  Hi-Po versions of the carb beat out the competition due to their rarity and the price of a core reflected that.  For me the, best flavor of 4100 would be a 1966, 1:08 venturi.  Since I'm not in "concours" mode, I'm more concerned with functionality (and price!) than correctness.  So, I pulled the trigger on this C6PF-H that I found on eBay for $125.  It looked complete from the pics, had the desired "short snout" pump, and met the 1966 1.08 venturi requirement.  Although the actual number C6PF-H stands for 1966 Ford Service Replacement (not original to a particular Mustang), it's 480 CFM rating would still probably be good for my mild 289 engine.

The pic that was on eBay

There were a couple of 4100 rebuild kits on eBay and various Mustang vendors that cost $50.  The vendor excuse for charging $50 was that THEIR kit included the secondary diaphragm that is rumored to be missing from the everybody elses kits.  I decided to search some more and found THIS kit from Mustangs Unlimited for $27 that plainly shows the secondary diaphragm and otherwise looks complete so I bought that one instead. Well, I got it and the contents are complete but not exactly like  the picture on the MU web site.  For instance, there was only 1 horn-to-body gasket instead of the two shown and completely different needle valve assemblies than shown.  The kit is good though so don't let those details deter your decision.  I laid out some paper on the bench and starting disassembling the carb marking the paper where I laid the parts with their sequence in disassembly so I could just reassemble in the opposite sequence.  Also, I took many reference pictures.

Completely disassembled

Not the kind of dirty body I like to see.
I poured my can of carb cleaner into a small plastic trash basket and put the carb body in. Since I only had one gallon, I had to soak one end for an hour and then turn it over and soak the other side.  I then rinsed and dried the body, shot compressed air through all of the tiny jets and orifices and then took steel wool to it.  Despite all of my efforts, I could not clean up the secondary bowl any better than that.  I think they call that "carb cancer".  Basically, the coating is gone and oxidation has taken over.  I'm hoping it's not fatal in the short term and that this carb still has some years left.

Dunking the carb in cleaner.

As clean as I could get it.  Nasty oxidation in the secondary bowl.
While I was cleaning the venturi clusters, I noticed that one of the emulsion tubes of the primary cluster was cracked.  I read up on this a bit and found it to be a fairly common problem.  Some guys leave it alone, others solder the crack.  I decided to try to remake the tube.  The tubes are .2175" inches outside diameter with a flare on the end of .279".  I found that 7/32" brass tube from the hobby shop is only 125 thousandths too large and 9/32" tube is 225 thousandths too large.  After a few failures, I figured out how to accurately solder the large tube over the small tube to kind of simulate a properly expanded flare.  The emulsion holes in the tubes are right at .040" and I had some .040 drill bits handy (1mm) so I laid a piece of transparent tape over the holes of a good tube and transferred them to the fabricated tube.  Finally, I chucked up the tube into my drill press and sanded the "flared" end down to .279".  I then pressed the tube into the venturi cluster making sure to aim the holes in the same direction as the originals were.  By the way, I did try to find an old carb, venturi cluster, or even replacement tubes but came up empty (for less than $25).  Otherwise, I wouldn't have bothered.


Newly fabricated tube next to original that took some damage being removed.

Flared end comparison.

New emulsion tube installed.
Now came time to assemble the carb:

Venturi cluster gaskets on primary with ball and weight (center hole).

The secondary diaphragm assembled compared to the original.

Secondary diaphragm and lever in position.

Secondary pump cover with lever and pin in place.

The "economizer valve" installed with gasket.

Economizer valve cover.

Primary pump sitting on it's spring.

Primary pump lever and cover ready for business.
The new kit came with some slightly different needle valve assemblies.  The new "needle" valves aren't needle valves at all but still function like a needle valve.  I didn't ask questions, I just followed the instructions and installed them followed by the primary and secondary jets which just screw back into their seats.

Funky new needle valve compared to original valve seat.

Float assembly for the new valve.

Float mounted in the bowl on the new valve.
The float levels had to be adjusted for the new valves.  Basically the same procedure as with the old style valves,  Hold the valve end of the float against the valve and measure from the end of the float to the top of the bowl.  The specification is 1/2".

Adjusting the float. Just bend the tang up or down.

Floats, venturies, and pumps installed.
Time to turn it over and work on the other side installing the primary and secondary throttle levers and plates which consisted of just sliding the shafts into the holes and aligning and fastening the plates into the bores.  After doing this, I had to screw "legs" onto the carb so I could set it level on the bench without the levers getting in the way.

Bottoms up!

Throttle levers installed.

Getting a leg up.
The lever linkages were installed next along with the choke housing.  I hooked all this stuff up so I wouldn't have to work around the bowl cover later.  The bowl cover gasket was then installed which just kind of lays over the body.  Note the two holes in the gasket positioned over the secondary bowl.  The screws WILL install with the gasket in the wrong position.

Choke, linkages, and bowl cover gasket in place.

Bowl cover bolted down.
Finally, the choke plate was installed and it's levers were hooked up.
There are quite a few steps in the adjustment of the 4100.  All of these adjustments are listed and described in the instructions that came with the kit.  One of the weird adjustments was the "choke valve pull-down adjustment".  This involved sticking an 1/8 gauge in the choke piston hole, clamping the lever in that position (gently), and then measuring the gap between the choke plate and "air horn wall".  In this case, it had to 1/8".  The choke plate adjust nut was turned to get the correct gap.

Gauge inserted into the choke piston.

Checking and adjusting the choke plate gap.
I performed several of the required adjustments but have decided that I will wait until the day that I'm about to install the carb on the engine (after the engine is back in the car) to make sure that all adjustments are double-checked and correct.

Done! Choke side.  There's still a heat shield that goes over the choke but I'll put that back on later.

Done! Throttle side.
Think it'll run?  I guess I'll just have to wait to find out.  By the way, I took the liberty of scanning the instructions.  Keep in mind that these are the kit manufacturer instructions, not the factory instructions.  They will assist in making basic adjustments though I think.  Enjoy:

Autolite 4100 Adjustment Instructions

Update 8/7/2012:  I found an interesting thread on Ed's Carburetor Forum that mentions "6P-H" type carbs and labels them as the most generic and thus least matched of all of the 4100 carbs.  Read up and decide for yourself if you're thinking of getting one.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Engine Odds n Ends

At the end of my last blog entry I had just completed the major part of the rebuild of the engine.  However, a few parts were still missing, including the exhaust manifolds, the fuel pump, and a couple of other bits.  So my first problem was what to do with the manifolds.   I could just put them on the engine but man, I just put all this work into the engine and I just couldn't do it.  The next option was to paint them with high temperature paint.  This is a very realistic option.  I read quite a bit on the subject and found a paint called VHT that many people seemed to like.  However, in order to apply it correctly, you need to heat it in an oven up to around 600 degrees.  My wife was NOT agreeable to this option at all and I don't have room for a garage oven nor do I yet have a 220 outlet.  The second option is to pay for a high temp powder-coat.  From what I've read, this would have probably worked fine for cast iron manifolds (but supposedly not so great for headers).  I found a guy that would do both for $100 but his shop is an hour away, one way.  I called around some more and found a guy that agreed to do option #3, ceramic coat, for $50 more who's shop is only 30 minutes away so that's what I chose to do.  He agreed to cut some of the cost down by me cleaning up the manifolds myself first and then he'd just give them a quick going-over in his blaster cabinet.  I cleaned them up with wire wheel first and then a run through my cabinet.  After they were cleaned up a bit, I noticed that some of the bolt flanges were cracked and/or broken.  I tossed around the idea of buying a new pair of repro manifolds but then I'd be out about $150 for the manifolds and then another $150 for the ceramic coat that I'd have to do anyway.  I decided to attempt to weld the cracks in the cast iron.  Now cast iron is bit of a hassle to weld correctly and I did a fairly mediocre job but I think I managed to improve it a bit.  I guess time will tell if an exhaust leak shows up and I wind up buying a new set of manifolds in the future.   I took them to the powder-coater and while awaiting their return, I ordered a new set of exhaust manifold bolts and spent my time cleaning up the other parts such as fuel pump, thermostat housing, etc.

When we last left off...

The left side is "before" and the right side is "after" cleanup.

Ouch. Quite the crack there.

Welded up

About a week later, the manifolds were returned and they looked great.  I knew I had missed a step before taking the manifolds to the coater in that the exhaust studs were in really bad, rusty shape.  As in, the threads toward the ends of the studs were rusted away to nothing.  I skipped this step because new studs were on order from NPD and the coater had cut some of my cost because he was already doing a job for a large client and I had to get the manifolds to him before I had a chance to put on new studs.  The bottom line is that I had to replace the studs AFTER the coating was already done and I was seriously stressing about damaging the coating.  I wrapped the manifolds in a clean rag and clamped it in my bench vice with some jaw covers.  Now, how to get the old studs out without cracking the manifold?  I read up on the subject and found that if the studs are in good shape, you can just thread two nuts against each other and unscrew them like a regular bolt with a socket wrench.  These studs though... they didn't have much for nuts to grab onto.  I opted for a pipe wrench and it worked great.  The first manifold that had the most rusted studs, I soaked with penetrating oil and worked them out slowly.  The other side didn't require that much finesse.  I then coated the ends of the new studs with anti-seize and used the two-bolts-torqued-against-each-other trick to torque the studs to spec.

Worn out old studs (like Ron Jeremy)

New studs with a coat of anti-seize.

Not too shabby.  Ready for service.

Finally, the manifolds could be bolted to the heads.   These engines have a pair of studs that stick out on each side so I referenced my old pre-disassembly pics to see which holes these stud-bolts went into and duplicated it.  You don't want to torque these bolts past spec because they may crack from heat expansion while being run.

All bolted on.

After I cleaned up the thermostat housing and installed it with the vacuum switch that sits on top and installed it with the thermostat, I cleaned up and painted the engine mounts, fuel pump, oil pressure sender, main pulley, and oil cap.  The bolts were given the usual phosphate and oil treatment.

The miscellaneous parts were then bolted onto the engine with their specified torques.

Parts is parts

Motor mounts mounted.

Side view of newly installed parts

Front view of newly installed parts.

So then I noticed that huge empty space on top of the intake manifold so I figured I should find something to go there.  I found a 4100 carb in need of some love on eBay for $125.  I also bought a carb rebuilt kit from Mustangs Unlimited for an additional $26 that seemed to be as complete as the eBay kits that are selling for $50.

C6PF-H.  A 1966 service replacement 1.08.

Check back in a couple of weeks for the 4100 rebuild.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Seeking Motorvation Part 5

I left off with the heads shipped off to the machine shop for inspection.  The base fee for both heads was $115.  It included cleaning, inspection, grinding the seats and valves, replacement of the seals, and paint.  However, the machinist said that if the valves were recessed much, bent, etc., the tasks for correction would increase the price incrementally.  He called me back the day after I dropped them off and informed me that several of the exhaust valves were slightly recessed into their seats.  For you see, the valve seats in these old heads are soft.  They relied on lead in the ancient fossil fuels of yesteryear to keep them lubricated and prevented recession (squishing the valve into the seat).  Well, as Frankenstein once said, "Lead Baaaaaad"... I don't know maybe I'm thinking of Woodsy Owl or something but the point is that "they" took it out of our gas around 1996 so these old engines started beating themselves to death.  Modern engines have hardened valve seats to deal with unleaded gas.  Long story short, I had them go ahead and install hardened exhaust valve seats.  Three days and $250 later I had my heads back all spick-n-span.

OMG, they're beautiful.
And thus came my first experience installing cylinder heads on a V8.   So, I cracked open my favorite, aforementioned  "How to Rebuild Small Block Ford Engines" by Tom Monroe, and sought the page on installing the cylinder heads.  Well, to paraphrase, it said something like, "put the gaskets on and then put the heads on and then bolt them suckers down".  I looked at the page and looked at the heads, and looked at the engine block and noted several things not mentioned in this tome of higher knowledge which I'm going to share with you so that you can avoid making an ass of yourself on a public Mustang forum like yours truly.   The basic premise is this; both heads are identical and don't have "sides".  If they don't have "thermactor" holes, just put them on.  Don't ask me what a "thermactor" is, I have no idea.  Now here's the second gem of head-installation-lore; the edge of the gasket with the water jacket holes in the middle go to the back of the engine.  The gaskets are identical and are usually marked with "Front" somewhere on them and can be flipped either way to fit their respective side.  If the head gaskets are not made of metal, you don't need any kind of sealer on them.  Finally, the head bolts ARE reusable.  These are not "torque to yield" head bolts which are the type that aren't reusable.  However, they do need to be cleaned to prevent binding and ensure a consistent torque.  So, I cleaned my bolts with a wire wheel on my bench grinder making sure to get the threads cleared.  I also chased the threads in the bolt holes in the block.  Each bolt's threads were coated with Permatex Teflon Thread Sealer.  I chose this because it not only seals the threads, it lubricates them to allow for consistent and accurate bolt torque.  Of course, the bolts had to be torqued in a particular order and in stages.

The heads are identical castings.

Head bolts all cleaned up with wire wheel.

Head gasket installed.  Note the water passage holes at the back of the block.

Threads sealed before insertion.

Both heads are on and torqued!

After the heads were on, it came time to insert the hydraulic valve lifters in their holes to contact the cam lobes.  Before they can be tossed in a hole, they need to be primed by squiring oil into the side hole until it bubbles out the top hole.  I just used a squeeze bottle with a red WD40 straw tucked into it's nozzle.  The WD40 straw fit nearly perfect into the side hole but you really have to use a bit of constant force to inject oil into the passages of the lifter.  Eventually, a little pool of oil will form in the top indention and you'll know the job is done.  The lifter can then be lubed with oil (I used cam lube) and inserted in its hole.

A box of 16 new lifters.

Primed with a fresh pool of oil on the top indention.

All lifters primed, lubed, and inserted.
Next, the push rods need to be inserted into the top of the head and down onto the lifters.  I dug my set of rods out of the plastic tote and inspected them to ensure they were straight.   Four of them were bent and needed to be replaced ($3.99 each at Baxters).  The other twelve I cleaned up with lacquer thinner and then soaked them in a can of carb cleaner for about 30 minutes.  When I removed them and wiped them down, and blew them out with my air compressor, they looked good as new.  Better than the repros from Baxters even.  Each rod was inserted into its hole and the cast rocker arms were placed on their pivots with a nut on top.  I lubed each rod lobe and the tops of the valve stems at the contact points of the rocker arms first.  "The book" has a great diagram and procedure for adjusting the rockers using 3 timing points on the harmonic balancer.  I followed the procedure a couple of times checking and double-checking the rockers to make sure they were set right.  The last thing I wanted to do was damage a valve or bend a rod the first time the engine is turned over.  During about the 3rd time around, I noticed that the nuts on a few of the rockers were several threads lower on the stud than the others.  I also noted that the plunger in the lifters of those were recessed further than the others so I pulled the respective lifters and re-primed them.  Sure enough, bubbles came up through the holes in the top as though they were only half-full.  After re-priming and reinstalling them, the rockers tightened to a more consistent position as the others so it's something to watch for I guess.  I then squirted some lube around each of the lifter holes (can't hurt right?) and turned my attention to the intake manifold.

12 old push rods all cleaned up.. the other 4 were bent.

Push rods all snug in their lifters.

The rocker nut on the right is much further down the stud?

The plunger is depressed further on that one.  I re-primed it.

I used Permatex Ultra-Black RTV around the water jacket holes on the gaskets and across the front and back of the block instead of using the factory style cork gaskets that are notorious for leaking.  I also cleaned up the bolts and gave them the phosphate and oil treatment.  Although the original engine came with a 2 barrel carburetor, I did some math and was shocked to discover that 4 is greater than 2 so I bought a 68 4 barrel manifold from a guy off Craigslist for $50.  The new manifold had some rust but looked like the underside had been blasted.  However I was boggled as to why the heat shield on the bottom of the manifold seemed askew.  There was a large gap to one side that wasn't present on my old (dirty) manifold.  Somebody had actually gone to the trouble of removing the spiral rivets to take off the heat shield and then put it back on backwards.  !??  I was boggled by this.  What type of mental state would one have to be in to know how to remove and reinstall spiral rivets but not notice that the shield was backwards?  So, I removed said shield, cleaned the rivets and their holes, used some loctite on them, replaced the shield (correctly), and carefully hammered the rivets back into place.  I cleaned up the top of the manifold with wire wheels and some ospho, repainted it, cleaned the mating surfaces thoroughly, and mounted it on the engine.  Somehow, I positioned it perfectly over the bolt holes the first time, sealed the bolt threads, and torqued them down in stages and in torque sequence.

Intake gaskets and RTV in place.

Old manifold compared to the "new" $50 4-barrel.

Bottom side comparison.  Notice that gap in the heat shield of the top one?

Heat shield removed

Turned it around correctly and re-riveted.

Starting cleanup.

Cleaned, painted, and torqued.
After that minor victory, I stood back to admire my shiny new engine.  Except for one problem.  My valves were showing and we can't have that in polite society.  My valve covers though, let's just say that they've done a LOT of covering during their lives.  Filled with sludge and topped with rust, I actually considered buying new ones.  The little accountant that sits on my shoulder calculating stuff all day took his stogy out of his goblin-like scowl, and screamed in my ear, "NO WAY!" so I grudgingly  went to my tool cabinet, retrieved my scraper, and set to work.  After literally hours with a scraper, wire wheel, degreaser, ospho, and lacquer thinner, I cleaned them up enough to repaint.

Finally, with much pomp and ceremony, I set them down upon the heads like royal blue crowns, bolted them down with shiny new valve cover bolts, and deemed the lions share of the rebuild, "Complete".

Inside "before"

Outside "before"

New valve cover gaskets "after"

Dun Dun DONE!  Now just little stuff.
Remember me?

This all literally would not have been possible if not for This little blue book.  I highly recommend it to anybody that's never seen the inside of a 289 before.

So, that pretty much sums up the "Seeking Motorvation" series.   Now all that's left are the little engine bits.  I'll probably update this entry with a couple more pics later.