1966 Ford Mustang - Engine Bay Overhaul - PHR Project Car
We Get The Engine Bay Ready For Our Smeding-Built 427 Windsor With Some Metal Work And Paint.
From the August, 2009 issue of Popular Hot Rodding
By Liz Miles
Photography by Liz Miles
The straight-six toy power plant that came in our '66 Mustang wasn't going to cut it. So far, project Street Fighter has undergone major surgery, replacing all of the stock suspension components with top-of-the-line tubular ones from Total Control Products. These pieces will give the car the adjustability and strength to really compete in the autocross and road racing arenas. We have big plans for this Trans Am-inspired pony that can't be executed without major changes to the current drivetrain. We're covered out back with the Currie-built Ford 9-inch using Chassiswork's Fab9 housing. Now the front needs some attention. We've got a Smeding-built 427 Windsor with over 550 hp ready to drop in, but not before the engine bay gets some attention.
Aesthetics aren't the most important thing when you're building a car intended for the track. Here at PHR, we're interested in both aspects of cars: their purpose and their presentation. With that in mind, we realized that it will never be easier to clean up the engine bay then when we're between engines, so we wanted to take advantage of that.
Over the last 40 years, the inner sheetmetal has seen battery acid, mud, sand, and most recently, rusty coolant. It was looking pretty shabby, and a beautiful new engine would look out of place unless we did something about it. The first step was to yank the original 200-inch six-cylinder and the attached C-4 automatic transmission. With that junk out of the way, we could get into thenooks and crannies of the engine bay. We're not looking for an acid-dipped show-car finish, but something a lot cleaner than what we started with.
Step one is to remove the...
Step one is to remove the hood and get the hinges out of the way. We needed to clear the engine bay of anything that could be easily removed, including the radiator, overflow, wiring, and Monte Carlo bars. Also, we removed everything attaching the engine to the car, such as fuel line, shifter, wiring, speedo cable, and engine mount bolts.
To start, we needed to get all of the heavy grime off. We spent a couple hours scrubbing and de-greasing the inner fenders, firewall, and framerails. It's a laborious job, so be prepared to spend some time on this step. Without a clean surface, nothing else you do will turn out nice. The inner fenders looked as if they had been shot at with a machine gun. There were at least a dozen unnecessary holes drilled on each side. Instead of leaving them how it was, we wanted to weld them up to give the panel a cleaner look. Our apartment-friendly 110-volt Lincoln MIG welder did that job beautifully. With the holes welded and ground down, we could start the painting process.
Rather than just spray bomb everything, it's important to mask off what you don't want painted. A little extra time in this step can save you work during cleanup. We used three different paints made by Dupli-Color and VHT to give the inner sheetmetal a new, clean look in preparation to swap the big, bad Windsor
The steps we took to clean up the engine bay can be applied to almost any part of the car. The truck, floor, and wheelwells can benefit from a good clean and re-spray. The supplies are cheap, and your labor is free, so spend a day on cleanup-you'll be glad you did.
Then we yanked the six-cylinder...
Then we yanked the six-cylinder and automatic. If you don't have an engine leveler, you may have to go through some trial and error to see where to place the hook of the cherry picker on the chain.
Some place close to the middle...
Some place close to the middle of the engine will give it enough angle to pull out of the car. You don't want the engine and trans level; it will never come out that way.
This is the official "before"...
This is the official "before" photo. The engine was out, but all the grime was still there. Now it's time to start the cleaning process
We doused the engine bay with...
We doused the engine bay with Gunk's Engine Brite, and let it sit the recommended 10 minutes. When that time was up we went in with the sanding pads to help loosen the dirt and to prep the paint.
After three rounds of de-greaser,...
After three rounds of de-greaser, scrubbing, and rinsing, we came up with this. We let the car sit out in the sun for about an hour before revisiting it for the next step.
Welding Up Excess Holes
Our engine bay, especially the inner fenders, had a ton of unnecessary holes drilled from the factory. Since we're trying to give the engine bay a clean look, we opted to weld them all up, only leaving the ones we knew we'd use again.
The last step in the clean-up...
The last step in the clean-up process is to take the grinder and clean off any extra material, whether it's seam sealer, paint runs, chipping paint, or metal from welding the unnecessary holes. We then used compressed air to clear off the grinder debris.
Before you bring the welder...
Before you bring the welder out, prep each hole you wish to fill by grinding the paint away around it. This allows the fill rod from the MIG welder to ground and create an uncontaminated weld. It also makes it more obvious which holes you chose to fill when you come back around with the welder.
We used a Lincoln Electric...
We used a Lincoln Electric SP-135 Plus, a welder that we've used in a couple stories in the past, that is really great for when you don't have access to a 220-volt power outlet. The best way to fill the larger holes is to build a ring of weld around the existing hole to form a wall, and build off into the middle. Too much heat into the sheetmetal, and it will burn away.
Before the black paint goes...
Before the black paint goes on, put a layer of primer over the places that have been brought to bare metal. We used Dupli-Color's Self-Etching Primer. It's great for adhesion, and gives the next coat of paint a consistent finish.
Here you can see how many...
Here you can see how many holes we welded up. We left the ones that we'd use again. The lack of extra holes should give the sheetmetal a cleaner look.
When you're done with the...
When you're done with the welding, go back around with a grinder and sanding pad to level the weld with the substrate metal. When you're done, it should look as though nothing was ever there.
We're sure you're curious...
We're sure you're curious about what's going into our Mustang project. Weturned to Smeding Performance, a well-known crate engine builder, to put our 427ci Windsor together. Each Smeding engine is broken in and dyno tuned, and no engine leaves their shop with an oil leak. We needed a small block with at least 500 hp that was streetable and ran on pump gas. With 10.2:1 compression, Smeding-branded AFR heads, and a hydraulic roller cam, we got a 560hp crate motor that will idle 'til it runs out of gas. Stay tuned for the full story next month.
Now it's masking time. We...
Now it's masking time. We used 3M blue painter's tape and some masking paper to hide what we didn't want sprayed. You can also see in this photo where the light green self-etch primer was used.
The first coat of paint was...
The first coat of paint was VHT's Epoxy Satin Black. It's got some high-build properties to smooth out imperfections. The final coat was of Dupli-Color's Truck Bed Coating. This stuff is extremely durable and sprays on really smooth. Though not perfect, our final product is much nicer than when we started.
|THE COST SO FAR |
|The Car ||$3,800.00 |
|Battery replace and relocation (11/08) ||$299.00 |
|Radiator and fans (12/08) ||$1,398.12 |
|Spindles, front brakes, wheels, tires (1/09) ||$3,067.04 |
|Trunk rehab and tool box (2/09) ||$40.48 |
|Rack-and-pinion steering, column, and wheel (4/09) ||$3,012.00 |
|9-inch rear and brakes (5/09) ||$4,631.02 |
|Rear suspension (6/09) ||$2,918.00 |
|Front suspension (7/09) ||$3,034.00 |
| Engine bay cleanup w/engine sale (current) ||-$394.75 |
|Total: ||$21,804.94 |
|WHERE THE MONEY WENT |
|Carborundum sanding pads ||Summit ||$14.95 |
|Degreaser ||Summit ||$3.49 |
|3M sanding discs ||AutoZone ||$4.47 |
|Masking supplies (tape, paper) ||AutoZone ||$6.49 |
|Dupli-Color Self-Etchinh Primer ||Summit ||$6.95 |
|VHT Epoxy ||Summit ||$8.95 |
|Dupli-Color Truck Bed Coating ||Summit ||$9.95 |
|Subtotal || ||$55.25 |
|Sold the old engine and transmission || ||-$450 |
|Total: || ||-$394.75 |