Saturday, December 6, 2014

Fitting the Mendeola Transaxle

Here's an interesting idea I've pursued lately.  I'm looking into putting a Mendeola SDR5 into the Pantera.  It's a transaxle developed specifically for the kit car world, and it is similar in size to the ZF but slightly longer.  It weighs 14 lbs more than the ZF in full dress at 168 lbs with bellhousing, but that includes slave cylinder, etc. In all, it might be 10 lbs heavier.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

September 2014 Utah Pantera Meet at Station Park Cruise-in

We had four Panteras at the Cruise-in Night, September 11, 2014.   Panteras pictured below, from left to right belong to Rex Marshall, Doug Reynolds, Rich Papworth, and Ron Mitchell.

Rebuilding Clutch Slave/Master Cylinders

I've been working on rebuilding the clutch and slave cylinder.  Most people don't bother rebuilding for a number of reasons:
1.  Rebuild kit availability isn't great.  There used to be a greater supply of seals but not lately.
2.  Pitting in the bores from corrosion is a major cause of seal destruction.  The cylinders are cast iron and rust easily when brake fluid is left for a long time and moisture is present.  It doesn't help that the master cylinder is vented to the atmosphere, allowing moisture to get into the fluid.
3.  There are cheap replica master cylinders and slave cylinders on the market.  I wouldn't call the master cylinders reproduction since the "Benditalia" raised lettering is replaced with "DeTomaso" and the pistons differ significantly.  Unfortunately, these units are notorious for failing prematurely.
4.  Actual replacement master cylinders are available from Italy, at a price that isn't too bad.
5.  Stainless steel versions of the slave cylinder are available but are expensive.

Monday, August 25, 2014


I have been working on the Pantera but failed to post.  I finished the half-shafts, finally.  I'm going to wait to grease them to keep them nice and pretty looking.  I love the natural cadmium plated finish.

I also bought a fuel tank fitting from Pantera Performance Center.  Dennis and Adam have been around a while and figured out how to do things.  I searched for a fuel tank fitting suitable for the Pantera and found a few, but Dennis and Adam have a fitting that they use. It has an integral sealing washer and the nut & sealing washer spin differently than the body, making assembly and positioning a snap.

I've also finished rebuilding the seat tracks with cad-plated tracks and new plastic roller wheels.  The tracks are awesome but don't slide as well as I thought they would.  I think once I put the seats on and put them in the car, they should slide just fine.  I've started rebuilding a clutch slave cylinder and will post pictures and seal part numbers once I get it finished.  The slave cylinder bore was pitted and rusty so I honed the inside of it with a brake cylinder hone.  If the rebuild doesn't work well, I'm only out $20. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Nancy's Pantera

I ran into Nancy in Idaho while on vacation over the weekend.  Nancy's husband passed away some time ago but Nancy is still driving their Pantera!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Shift Knob and Clutch Master Bracket

Here's an interesting shift knob I was able to pick up for not a lot of money.  I hope my hand doesn't burn from touching it when the sun is shining.  I tried out a similar knob in a friend's car and liked it.

I also found a used Hall Pantera black anodized clutch slave mount through the POCA email forum.  I bought it for a reasonable amount, but I wasn't satisfied with the spring return bracket.  The bracket was made of mild steel and powder coated, but the coating was worn off in places and the steel underneath was rusting.  I knew that Mark Johnson with IPSCO sells a similar bracket in stainless steel, so I gave Mark a call.  It turns out that the bracket dimensions were really close, and Mark was willing to sell me just the bracket.  I re-tapped the threads for the screws provided.

Monday, March 31, 2014

ZF Transaxle Finishing Touches

I was able to work on the ZF and finish up several tasks on Saturday.  The tranny was finally filled with gear lube and put back in protective storage.  I'll check for leaks when I turn the mainshaft each month. 

The small brass vent tube nipple was not very attractive, so I decided to replace it with something better.  I found a company that makes a AN-3 fitting with a 1/16" NPT end and purchased two (they come in pairs).

Here's the fittings.

Up close, showing the size.  I also ordered a corresponding 1/16" NPT tap.

 Here it is installed on the transaxle.  I dipped the tap in grease and laid the transaxle on its side to tap the hole, also watching the inner shield piece in case it rotated.  It didn't rotate, which is good since any rotation might cause some interference with the ring gear.


I also replaced the front seal.  It wasn't easy to remove, so I used a small bit on my Dremel and ground out the steel seal ring.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Fuel Tank Restoration

A local radiator shop restored my gas tank but it turned out just "okay".  I'm sure they will stand behind their work so I'll just go on with it.  The nice thing is it's pretty well hidden behind a heat shield and the wheelhouse.

Inside the tank.  

Outside, showing the area that was brazed.  It looks like it was heavily brazed to me.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Half-shafts Part V (almost done)

I finally had some time to start assembly of the half-shafts.  The process seems easy but getting the caps to go in straight was a challenge.  I used the press to help straighten when needed but it still took some time.  Once the caps were straight, they seemed to be very easy to press on.  One u-joint in an outer yoke ended up very tight which means some extra work on my part to free it up.  I hope I don't have to pull it apart as that could ruin the caps.  I was told that the u-joint crosses fit badly and that the joints weren't long enough to avoid excessive play in the cross.  I have to say that for the most part, that wasn't the issue in my case.  If anything, they are a little too tight in two instances.

My efforts to index each one to their respective piece paid off in that assembly was easy.  Each male or female half was indexed to its respective mate and also to the side as a whole as seen here.  I did this by grinding small indentations in the outer ends and also at corresponding locations on the male or female splined ends.  

 Here's the first cross caps being pressed into the outer yoke.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

License Plate Light Restoration Part I

I've started restoration on the license plate light.  It's a brass outside housing with two small plastic clear light windows.  The actual frame is a pot metal lamp holder with two small lamps.

There are a ton of unfinished project pieces that will start to wrap up in the next few months so stay tuned.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Gas Tank Update and Fuel Pickup

I found a radiator shop that was willing to braze up the holes in the gas tank, clean out the rust, and seal it up for about $125.  I think the price is a good deal and I wonder if they're just slow.  Hopefully everything turns out good.  I'll pick it up soon.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Shifter Box Cleaning

I took the shifter housing, lever, plunger, etc. from the storage shelf and cleaned it up.

Here are all the parts, degreased and ready for reassembly.  I'll assemble everything after the shift rod is replaced or modified.  A new one is about $100.

Here's the plunger location that is redundant with the shifter detents within the ZF transaxle.  I haven't decided what to put back in the hole, but I'm tempted to not put anything in it.