Friday, December 30, 2011

Block Updates

When Ford cast the 351 Cleveland, they cast all of the blocks the same.  The Australian XE race blocks intended for drag and road race cars are the only exception.  Even the Austrailian blocks are essentially the same casting, and I was told that when stateside production halted, the molds were shipped to Australia.  All blocks have 4-bolt main provisions, even if they have 2-bolt mains.  This means if you have a set of 4-bolt main caps, you can drill the block and have a 4-bolt main block.  I think it's overkill to seek out a 4-bolt main capped block and many people would agree for a street-driven car, but I want to be able to really get on this engine.

My block has 2-bolt main caps.  I had 4-bolt main caps from the previous owner's engine, so I took them in to have them looked at when the block was being cleaned up.  Roger from the machine shop said that he put the torqued block and caps into his line hone today and confirmed that the 4-bolt main caps are usable with this block.  So, I can use the 4-bolt main caps I have, effectively making my block a 4-bolt main block.  I'm also going for ARP main studs.  I already have ARP head bolts.

After the align hone and rough bore, I'll probably stop everything on the engine and concentrate on body issues, of which I have several.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Machine Shop Blues

I took my 351 Cleveland block and 4V quench heads to the machinist two weeks ago this past Wednesday.  Roger at RB Machine will be looking at the block & heads.  The task at hand is to clean both block & heads up and then check them over.  Immediately upon seeing the block and heads, Roger said that it didn't look bad at all.  He checked the bores with his finger and said "it'll need 20 thousandths over".  He agreed to disassemble the heads and clean them at the same time as the block.

I got word on Wednesday about what I was in for.  It seems that the block is in excellent condition and should be a great foundation for the engine.

The 351 Cleveland 4V quench heads (casting D1AE-GA) are a different story.  Roger said that the heads have pitted valves and valve seats, need new valves, and doesn't trust the double springs with dampers.  What I thought were stainless steel exhaust valves are actually two-piece stock, burnt valves.  He said the keepers are in poor condition and will require replacement.  The bronze valve guides are actually cheap bronze guide inserts and Roger didn't recommend keeping them, even though the valves are tight in them.  So, in a nutshell, the good heads I thought I had aren't very good at all.

I called the guy who sold me the heads on Thursday.  I explained what we found and tried to be as understanding and calm as possible.  He said "send me the pictures and let me dig back into my emails to see what I said I was selling you".  Sure enough, he emailed me on Friday and offered new valves or a discount on another item I need for my project or even a refund if I shipped the heads back.  I haven't decided which to do, but I'm leaning toward the discount on the other item.  I really appreciate his acceptance that the heads weren't what I thought they were.  I am also glad that he didn't say "I can't help you since I didn't know about that".  +1 for him in my opinion.  I never thought he tried to pull a fast one and this confirmed it.  He told me that he would stand behind what he did, even if it was painful or costly for him, and he has done just that in my opinion.

Obligatory pictures:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pulling the engine down

I tore apart the 351 Cleveland that came with the car over the last few nights, after my children went to bed.  It was messy and stinky, but really fun for a gearhead like me.  I've taken many engines apart, but never taken a V8 apart.  I was actually surprised at the amount of force required to loosen the main cap bolts.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tasks Prior to Paint

I have many tasks to complete prior to the car going in for paint.  The official date is coming quickly, which is December 26th.  I hope to get most of these done. 

1.  I bought a new decklid latch assembly and upper sheetmetal latch bar from Panteras by Wilkinson when they had a special on the pair ($40 for both!).  I need to buy some nuts and hardware to test how the new decklid latch fits since my car is essentially a basket-case other than the rolling chassis, brakes, suspension, wheels, etc.

2.  The stainless window trim has a few small dents that I'd like to pound out before paint.  They will be painted black like the rest of the trim.

3.  The aluminum gills are attached to the car using studs and nuts from the inside.  Several studs are missing and it appears that the previous owner drilled them out.  I plan to get some stainless heli-coil kits to repair the missing studs and threads.  One gill has a corner taken off, but I'm probably not going to fix it.  I'll let Todd look at it.

4.  Remove right door window mechanism and vertical front door glass rails. 

5.  Purchase appropriate chassis braces.  I'll explain this one in a future post.

6.  Cut headlight buckets according to the instructions for Amerisport headlights.  I like Kirk's headlight conversion. I haven't purchased the conversion kit just yet, and I have a really good reason, direct from Kirk.

I would like to get a gasketless windshield from Panteras by Wilkinson, so I need to call Steve to talk about what I need to do.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

TK Customs

I went and finally talked through "the deal" with my chosen body guy yesterday.  Todd Kerby with TK Customs will be repairing some cracks, installing chassis braces, and painting the car.  I've been to his shop before, but this time we sat down and looked at some of the amazing work he's done and also discussed logistics, schedule, costs, and visits by me.  I would call him an artist more than a body shop guy.  He airbrushes some amazing stuff.

We discussed chassis reinforcement and chassis braces, but that's a post for another day.  I'll post again with some info on what I see instinctively among what is being marketed for the Pantera (being a structural engineer) and what I like personally.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Areas with Cracks Already?

I haven't even painted the car and I've already got cracking!  What gives?  Well, I don't know completely, but I'm going to dig in and find out.  Here are some pictures of the offenders:

Passenger side rear corner where the body necks down by the gill.  You can see more by clicking 

Comparison of Two Cars

A recent post on the Pantera International forum showed the difference in size of the Pantera and modern cars.  Here's a couple of my Pantera versus my 2000 Nissan Maxima.

The Pantera doesn't have an engine, transmission, or much else, so it sits about 4" too high already.  

It mat not look it, but the Maxima really dwarfs the Pantera

I aligned the front of the car, and here's the back ends

The front end, in case you didn't believe me.  

Friday, September 9, 2011

Hood trade

After a short discussion on the Pantera International Forum, I was contacted by a fellow Pantera owner about the possibility of a trade.  The fellow said that he would be willing to trade straight across if we could work out shipping.  We let it simmer for several weeks while I talked to the body guy who would be painting my car and I found that the steel stock hood would be a better fit for the car.  I arranged to have the hood shipped for free through my brother's company, and the steel hood picked up at a specific location.  I don't know who got the better deal, but the hood I picked up is in decent shape.  There is a depression near the driver's side upper corner, but it isn't bad and should be easy to remove.

The good thing is that I sent all of the pictures I took to the fellow, and he decided to still go through with the arrangement, knowing that the finish and fit of the carbon fiber/fiberglass hood wasn't the best.  I sometimes wonder if he realizes that he only lightened his car by 5 or 10 lbs since the fiberglass hood doesn't save that much weight.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Front hood

After a month of craziness at work, I got a break.  I should be able to post more frequently now.

I bought the car with a carbon fiber overlaid fiberglass hood. When I went to see the car, the one thing I hated with the car it was the ill-fitting hood.  Who in the world made these so crappy?

You can see the obvious finish issues.  Notice the wavy appearance, but pardon the dust.

The hood doesn't conform to the fender very well either.  

The main reason I hated it is for the front fit.  Actually, it turns out that the body was the issue and not the hood, but at first, I was convinced that it was the hood.

You can see the bow in the hood.  I think this is intentional to compensate for eventual stress relaxation, creep, and sag.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Wiring Harness Genie

I let the genie out of the bottle today by pulling the wiring harness from #6650 out of the box it was curled up in.  It looked like a black, wire snake.

Click "read more" to read more about this and see more pictures...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Current Engine Condition

I picked up the 351 Cleveland with the car.  The previous owner stated that it had been rebuilt, but not by him and he picked it up from someone in New Mexico who claimed it had been rebuilt.  The previous owner hadn't pulled off the heads, but did look at the bottom end and found ARP main studs, APR rod bolts & nuts, fresh assembly lube, and what appeared to be new bearings.  I pulled the heads and found that the bores were stock with a carbon ridge at the top.  The engine had not been machined, but I guess someone might consider it "rebuilt".

Here are the "rebuilt" pistons.  Looks kinda stock to me.  Notice the ARP head studs.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I bought all four bumpers that I was missing from Kirk Evans, all done in fiberglass.  I'm going to do something like this, either in black or silver like he has:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

What's Still Missing?

There are dozens of missing parts.  It was funny that I could list a lot of them when I bought the car, but I can list a whole bunch more.  Luckily, I was able to get most of the really important parts, including the glass and the suspension.  However, little parts like the dash vents are missing.  For example, when I bought the car, I thought that the following parts were missing:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fast forward to when I bought it

I purchased #1998 around the first part of February 2011.  The previous owner rebuilt the suspension between 2007 and 2011, but didn't include many pictures.

This is what the car looked like when I bought it.  The carbon fiber hood isn't my favorite part of the car, but at least it had a hood.  Notice that the wheels are on the car.  The suspension was rebuilt and installed on the car.  The Koni adjustable shocks were rebuilt and painted.  To see more, click "read more" below.

Friday, July 15, 2011

October 2007 Pictures

The steering rack was completely rebuilt, with a new bronze bushing and new end boots.  I found out just recently that the right side boot is now leaking.  I have a lovely slick of gear oil all over below the A-arm.  Fabulous.  I called the previous owner, and he said that it was probably just a bad boot. 

Here's a fuzzy picture of the rack disassembled and awaiting reassembly.  The previous owner said that there wasn't any wear on the parts.  He just wanted to replace the nylon bushing with a better oilite bronze bushing.

The front spindle shaft looks okay, but I can't really tell if it's pitted.  The bearings are installed on this axle and can mess up the axle if they get damaged, lock up, and spin on the axle.  Rust and corrosion can also be an issue.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

June and July 2007 Pictures

Interior shot awaiting paint.

Undercarriage, painted.

Painted interior with just the shifter bucket.  It's very bare, but it looks like this today.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

April and May 2007 Pictures

I've combined two sets of pictures since the first set was a whopping 3 pictures long, mostly pictures of the same thing.

The front A-arm being relieved of a bushing in April, 2007.

Finished passenger side wheelhouse, May 2007. 

View under the car showing a painted undercarriage.

Finished driver side wheelhouse.

Overall rear shot.  The decklid is still the '74 ribbed decklid.

View of engine compartment with filled and smoothed wheelhouses.

Driver side overall picture.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

March 2007 Pictures

I've been on vacation and away from this blog, so it's been a while.  No shortage of stuff to show or talk about, just a lack of time, honestly.

Undercarriage being sealed

Coolant tube areas sealed.

Front suspension, unrebuilt and looking tired & old.

The previous owner was a machinist, and there's not much doubt that he fabricated the bushing removal tools seen here.

Friday, July 1, 2011

February 2007 Pictures

The previous owner replaced a lot of the underbody frame rails, as seen here.  There are also pictures in the June 2004 Pictures post showing the construction of the rails.

Another picture showing the new frame rails and coolant tube tunnel progress.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June 2006 Pictures

Passenger side work, showing some filler at the door and no front fender.

Rear quarter panel.  The decklid from #6650 is shown on the car.  I don't have any sheetmetal parts from #6650, and I have a flat decklid.  Both #6650 and #1998 were yellow from the factory. 

The previous owner painted the inside of the door as well as the frame.

Passenger side view of completed door skin.  The front fender hasn't been installed yet.

Rear view.  I think the previous owner wanted to see it with a red taillight mockup or something. 

Drivers side view, nicely finished.

Naked front end, but the passenger side fender is back on the car.

View showing passengers side fender on the car.

Drivers side fender is now on the car.

Removal and replacement of the valance.  I know that the valance and radiator support were both repaired or replaced.  Johnny Woods supplied the valance according to receipts and emails that the previous owner provided.

First trial of the headlight bucket.  Apparently the 1974 fender opening for the headlight bucket is different than the 1971 fender opening.  The car has the original fender on the passengers side but has the fender from #6650 on the drivers side.

The original bucket opening didn't fit, so a new opening was fabricated.

The bucket fits better now.  I didn't realize this, but the bucket openings are not perfectly fitted to the buckets themselves in the first place, so if this is slightly off, I'm the only one that will notice it. 

Fenders complete and painted.  The previous owner even installed the gills, probably in an effort to mock up the car look.  Luckily he saved the right gills.

Notice in this picture that the hood is a carbon fiber unit from Precision Proformance (according to receipts).  The hood doesn't fit at the lower lip, and could have been fixed.  I don't understand why he didn't fix this, as I now have to fix it.  The hood curve at the bottom lip and the body curve don't work together, and the better Panteras out there have flawlessly curved hood and body transitions.  By no means am I critical of the previous owner; he probably did what he could here.

Notice the body filler on the passengers side indentation as the hood and fender meet, righ near the headlight bucket.  The hood doesn't fit here either, and I can't figure out why there's so much filler.  Well, this is part of the major hood fitup issues I have.