Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dyeing To Get a New Pad

Besides installing the windows, the other job I had been procrastinating is the dash pad.  Tucked away on a box on a top shelf of my garage, it sat there, mocking me and hating me for ignoring it for so long.  Carefully, I removed it from its airy perch and laid it upon the table for inspection.  Now, I could see the source of my foreboding... my sense of dread.  My pad has been heinously... bent.

I needed to knead the fabric back into shape so I wielded my trusty heat gun and heated the pad trying to apply a good, deep, soaking kind of heat into the thick foam base of the pad without burning or melting it.  I worked it again and again until the creases became less and less obtrusive.  I took it as far as I felt I could and then decided to let the sun and years do the rest.

I wish I could say that's all there was to it but I've gone and painted my dash light parchment and a red dash would just look kind of, bad. Traditionally, if a car had a parchment interior, the dash pad installed by Ford would be black with black carpet so that's the way this car is going to go.  I could buy a reproduction pad instead but A) my pad is still in serviceable condition and B) reproduction pads have a different grain so if I have a pad with original grain that's serviceable, I must use it by law.  Well, okay, it's not a law that written or enforced anywhere but maybe it ought'a be?  This pad's fate was a date with dye.  Yes, it had a dye date.

Before the pad could be dyed, though, it had to have the 40 years of crud, that's built up on the vinyl surface and worked itself into the grain, removed. But how to best clean a pad without damaging it or its precious, precious grain?  VMF to the rescue, specifically, a procedure championed by user "Yelostang" (thanks for the insight Pete).  He describes his method in this THREAD, 6 posts down.

The only difference is that I had to get through the layers of Armor All and lacquer thinner did the job like a champ.  After I cut through the crud, I followed through Yelostang's procedure to the letter in preparation for dye.  One additional step I followed the procedure with, however, was the use of CJ Pony Part's vinyl prep just prior to spraying the dye.  This may have been an unnecessary step in the grand scheme of it all but since I already had it on my shelf, I figured it couldn't hurt.

I clamped an old piece of 1/4" hardwood flooring I had laying around to a saw horse and used it to support the dash pad during the dye process.  The dye I used was from NAPA, Martin Senour (TecNique) Semi Gloss Black Vinyl Dye (#7268).   There wasn't much to it other than spraying in several light, even coats making sure to coat the inside edges of the vent holes on each pass.  When I was finished I had a very nice, new-looking dash pad.

Awww.... man. Top side creases.

Back side

Cleaning the crud off the bottom side.  The "before" on the right with "after" on the left.

40 years of Armor All.  "Before" on left, "After" on right.
It still looks dirty but no more is coming off onto a clean rag.  A light coating of Vinyl Prep applied.

The first light coat of vinyl dye applied.

After several light, even coats.

Edge-on view.

There's a bit of controversy over on the VMF about whether to install the dash pad before or after the windshield.  THIS boy is doing it before.  I'll mask it off when the windshield is installed to prevent getting sealer goop all over it.  The pad has to go on before any kind of dash trim is on the car.  I had gotten a bit ahead of myself when I popped the the dash trim on a couple weeks ago but that just meant I had to pop it off again because the dash pad has edges that tuck under the trim.  On this car, there were four half inch wide head sheet metal screws that were driven down into the pad before the windshield-to-dash trim was installed so I chose to continue this as it was original to this car.  The pad just slides over the "brows" of the dash and tucks up to the windshield.  I made sure the sides seated well and that the lips that tuck behind the dash trim was in contact with the dash face.  The four short screws were then driven down into the top of the dash.

The dash trim could then be installed and had to be pressed while tightening the fasteners to compress the dash pad's foam.  The instrument cluster could finally be installed making sure not to forget any connection or the speedo cable.   Finally, the top trim could be screwed on albeit temporarily because it's really installed against the windshield rubber seal but for now, it's fun to put on for the looks of it.

Seated onto the dash "brows".  Dash trim shouldn't be there yet.. duh.

Tucked up against the cowl edge.  Note the light paint seen through the vent holes.  Some guys spray black paint on the dash beneath so this doesn't show.  I might mask off around the holes and shoot some black in there later.

A view of the cowl edge with cut-outs for upper trim.  You can see the heads of a couple of the short screws
Pad with dash trim and cluster.   The cluster was a job in itself.  I might do a blog post about it later.  (Notice the clock in the top-center?)
Installed the upper dash pad trim.

The final product.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Kicking Glass

Okay, I've put it off for long enough but couldn't justify putting it off for any longer; The assembly of the doors.

The breaking down of the doors was a big enough hassle that I could foresee what a pain putting them back together would be and I wasn't disappointed.  Before I begin, I'd like to apologize for the absolute mess the interiors of my doors are.  I didn't really notice all the white residue it before I took the pictures and downloaded them to my PC but by then it was too late to do anything about it.

The first thing I did to the doors before starting assembly was to line the widest part of the panels with RAAMaudio sound deadener.  I used one sheet per door.   The doors still have their factory sound deadener applied to the outer skin so this is just another layer in addition to that.

The first part to go in was the door latch.  It just inserts from the inside and is secured to the back panel of the door with 3 large Philips screws.  While seating it, it helps to have the door lock rod already in position and feed it up through the inside door lock hole at the top of the door.  The exterior door lock was next installed which required that it be inserted into it's hole and a spring-stop inserted into a notch from the inside of the door.  The door latch lock rod could then be locked into it's retainer.

I had purchased some external door handles at the latest Portland Swap Meet.  As far as I know, they're not Scott Drake and are made in China.  The relatively poor quality attests to this as the exterior latch button has a lot of play in it.  They look great and fit the door well though, so I'm letting the questionable quality slide for now.  The door handles were bolted on via a screw inserted at an angle through the back panel of the door and a stud affixes the narrow end of the handle to the door skin.  The exterior latch rod was then inserted into it's rod retainer.  The door latch rods are adjustable so I adjusted it to where all slack was taken out of the latch lever such that the rod's "L" end was aligned with the hole in the handle retainer and then the rod was tightened one more turn.  This put just a little pressure on the latch spring and ensured that a push of the button would completely unlatch the door.  This completed the install of the latch... for now.  The internal door lever will be installed later in the build.

Sound deadener.  Sorry about the white crud at the bottoms of the doors.

Latch installed

Exterior door lock clipped in with rod inserted into it's retainer.

A close up of the internal door latch mechanism.  The top-right rod is the adjustable door latch rod.  The lower two rods are the internal (left) and external (right) door locks.

New door handles.

Door handles and lock installed.

The two mounting points of the door handle.

The completed door latch mechanism and where the rods go.
Next came the window guides.  The rear guide also contains an upper door stop.  Loosen this but do NOT remove it.  You'll have hell to pay if you wait to put it in until after the window is installed.  The guide rail lube was an interesting compromise.  The Ford factory manual called for a "Polyethylene Grease".  I read all of the cans of grease at NAPA and found nothing that even remotely resembled "Polyethylene".  I finally decided that it was an obsolete form of lube, probably made from the blubber of some extinct species of whale or such, and settled for "Multi-Purpose Marine Grease".  It seemed to have properties that I felt were beneficial to this task in that it is water and temperature resistant as well as being of a fairly tacky consistency which means that it would stick where it's placed and not melt and run down into the doors on hot days nor freeze up on cold days.  I've also learned that the generally accepted grease that people use for guide channels is white lithium grease.  One other option is Valvoline Multi-Purpose Grease for Ford.  Whatever you choose, you don't need to fill the channel with grease.  Rather just coat the edges of the rails inside and out where the rollers will have the most contact.

The rail was snaked into the large access hole on the inside door panel and the bracket was aligned with it's mounting holes at the top rear panel of the door while aligning the adjustable stud at the bottom of the rail with it's mounting hole.  The two small mounting bolts were loosely threaded into the top of the door and the stud nut was loosely threaded onto the adjustable stud.  The rail was initially adjusted toward the inside door panel.  This gave room for the window guides to drop onto the rail later.

This was also a good time to install the short regulator guide rail at the middle-back of the inner door panel.  The rail was lubed and it's studs aligned with it's slotted mounting holes and their nuts tightened on.  I aligned it straight across with the studs centered in the mounting slots.

Lubed up rear guide rail.  Leave the window stop on it!

Rear door components installed.

Mounting points for the rear window guide.  The center bolt is the window stop, don't forget to adjust it.

The lower rear guide rail adjustable stud nut (left) and the rear regulator guide nuts (middle)

The wing window was a bit more complicated as it has four mounting/adjust points.  Two bolts at the top and an adjustable studs at the bottom of the window run and an adjustable stud at the bottom of the frame.  The fun part here is that all adjustable studs had to be removed to get the frame to fit into the top of the door.  Then the frame had to be tilted forward slightly to grant access to the holes where the studs screw in.  The studs were then screwed all the way in and the window could then be fitted loosely into the top of the door.  Finally, the 4 bolts were aligned with their respective mounting holes in the inner door panel and the two top bolts were loosely threaded in.  The long one goes all the way through from the front door panel, through the big chrome hole in the frame, and into a captive nut in the outer door panel.  The front bolt just bolts right into the top-front thread of the frame.  The two adjustable studs were turned CCW (using a hex wrench) out until their flat washers butted loosely against their door panel holes and then their nuts were  installed to hold them in place while I futzed with the window.

Wing window mounting points.

Aligning the window frame to install adjustable studs.

Wing window assembly loosely installed.

The window has two captive rollers at the back edge that were inserted into the rear guide rail.  I cleaned these up and re-lubed them before inserting the window into the top of the door.  To get the window into the door, I first tilted the front of the window into the vent window run and worked the rear rollers into the rear guide while trying to keep the front edge of the window in it's run.  I held the window in the up position with a clamp while I installed the window upper stops.  With the window still locked up, I assembled the window regulator by lubing up the regulator rollers and the window channel and placing the channel on it's rollers on the regulator.  I snaked the whole she-bang into the door's access port and inserted it's guide roller into the short guide rail at the rear of the door installed earlier.  I then worked the regulator crank shaft into it's hole between the door panel and the wing window run.  Finally, the four regulator mounting bolts were inserted and tightened.

Side window with rollers lubed up.

Side window inserted and held up with a clamp.

Front window stop inserted.

Rear window stop access hole.

Window guide rail

Guide rail mounted on the regulator.

Inserting the regulator into the door.

Crank has been aligned and regulator bolted in with 4 star bolts.

A view of the short rear regulator guide rail.

I placed the window crank on the shaft and cranked the window regulator up and positioned the window a little down until the window rail holes aligned with the window frame captive nuts and inserted each of the three window guide screws waiting to tighten them until after all three were in position.  The window was then deemed "crankable".

Aligning the middle rail hole with the middle window mounting point.

Aligning the front rail hole with the front window mounting point.

The inside door handle shaft was then bolted into its place in the inner door panel and the long rod from the door latch was inserted into it's retainer.  I discovered that the long rod can be installed wrong.  You have to make sure you install it with the bends aligned so the rod is closer to the door panel.  My first instinct was to install the rod away from the panel but soon discovered the little clamp that holds the rod against the door panel that's impossible to install unless the rod is correctly oriented.

Inside door handle shaft installed.

Inside door handle shaft from the inside.

Front door components installed.

This is the clamp screw that holds the inner door latch rod against the door panel.

Now the actual alignment procedure is a little fuzzy because it was about an hour or two of adjusting, testing, moving, adjusting, testing, etc. until the window seemed to roll up and down smoothly, aligned with the vent window run, and the vent window run aligned with the A pillar.  Also, the top of the window had to ultimately be centered in the door when all the way down and the rear of the window has to align with the quarter window (which also needed adjusting to pull it all together).  Generally, the rear window adjustments that affect alignment against the quarter window and centering of the window when down, is the rear guide rail.  The adjustable stud at the bottom tilts the top of the window in and out and the two small bolts at the top of the rear window guide do a lot to center the window within the door.  The vent window adjustments are similar but the two fixed bolts at the top of the vent frame really just serve to tilt the vent window fore and aft while the run and upper frame adjustable studs tilt the vent window (and thus the main window front guide run) in and out.  A balance of all of these adjustments plus the rear quarter window all work together to align the windows with each other and the top seal of the car and A pillar.

Finally, the window was cranked all the way down and the door window seals were snapped in.  Then the window was rolled all the way up and the bottom stop block was inserted into its slot at the bottom of the door.  It helped to lube the slot up a bit first.  If you install this block too soon, you won't be able to install the top window seals in the door.  The height of the window at the back was adjusted to align with the top of the quarter window by adjusting the upper stop in the top of the rear guide rail bracket.

Window seals installed.

Lower door bumper installed.

The rear door and  B pillar seals were then screwed in and the doors were done.  Well, at least until I put on the convertible top and have to realign everything.

Door seal installed
B pillar seal installed.


Friday, May 18, 2012


With the majority of driver-side under-dash gadgetry installed, I could now bolt in the pedal bracket which would have been in the way had I attempted to install it before now.  With the pedal bracket comes the brake pedal and with the brake pedal, the master cylinder.

I had converted this car to disk brakes several months ago.  Since disc calipers consume more fluid than drum cylinders, an upgrade to the master cylinder is recommended as part of the update.  I chose to use the '74 Maverick master cylinder.  I picked one up from Chockostang, a VMF regular.  The Maverick M/C is a direct bolt-in 15/16" bore dual master cylinder with a larger front brake reservoir and a smaller rear brake reservoir.  I simply use my old push rod and bolt it in place of my original M/C.   I needed to plumb new M/C-to-dist block lines as well as an after market proportioning valve in the rear brake line.

The new M/C needed to be bench bled first though.  I clamped it in my bench vice and leveled it front to back and side to side.  I then created two return loop lines that fed from the output port on the M/C back into the bowl.  The M/C is then filled with fluid and first lightly pumped about 1" to work the air out of the smaller bowl and then pumped full strokes to work the air out of the larger bowl.  This is continued until air bubbles stop propagating out of the input and output ports on the bowl.  The pumping was done with a push rod without a clip because once the clip locks into the M/C piston, it's a b**ch to get back out without breaking the clip (this didn't happen with this M/C because I learned this on another project awhile ago). 

The loop lines are then removed one at a time and the plastic plugs that come with the M/C are threaded into the ports to keep the fluid from leaking.  Once the lid is clamped back on, the fluid will not leak so much due to to the lid's seal and the M/C can then be transferred to the firewall of the car and bolted into place through the two captive nuts on the pedal bracket.  I next removed the rear plug (going to the front brakes) first and tightened it's dist. block line followed by the front port.  All of the brake line connectors were then tightened and/or double-checked to ensure that all brake lines were fully seated and sealed.

The pedal was then placed up in the pedal bracket and the push rod was placed over the pedal push rod post along with a bush, spacers, and brake light switch.  This diagram from allfordmustangs.com might help you with assembly but you can see the picture below for reference as well.  The installation order is spacer, push rod, push rod bushing, switch, spacer, clip.  The push rod goes between the meal tabs of the switch.  One of the switch metal tabs is a slot and the other side is a hole.  The hole goes over the end of the pedal bracket post while the slot is inserted between the push rod and the spacer. The final spacer then goes on the end of the post followed by the hairpin clip.  I then aligned the pedal pivot with it's mounting hole (making sure the bushings were in place, inserted the pivot pin, and finally the pivot pin clip.   Finally, the brake light connector was plugged into the switch.  The brake light switch operates based on the angle difference between the flat spot on the end of the push rod and the pedal.  If you find that the brake lights aren't working correctly, you can adjust the switch as this Mustang Forums thread instructs.

With the peal in place, and all brake line connections tightened up, I could then remove the lid of the M/C and top it off with brake fluid and begin the brake bleeding process.  There are a lot of instructions on the web on how to bleed brakes but basically, you start at the right rear wheel, then the left rear, then the right front, and finally the left front.  The concept being that you're working furthest from the M/C to the closest.  I had my wife pump the pedal while I held the end of the bleed line in a cup of brake fluid and pinched the line while she let the pedal up and released when she pushed down until I stopped seeing bubbles and repeated that process on all wheels while keeping the fluid level in the M/C in check.  The end result was brakes!  I haven't adjusted the rear brakes very well yet but will do that before I drive.  Oh, also the prop valve was opened all the way for bleeding and is another thing I'll have to adjust when I get the car moving.

Leveling the M/C front to rear.

Leveling M/C side to side.

The loop-back lines.

The proper assembly of the pedal post.

A side view of the installed brake pedal.

Rejoicing because this car hasn't had brakes in years!

The installed brake system.