Spring in New England

Anyone in this part of the country can tell you — this has been a brutal winter. The last snow in my yard stuck around until late yesterday. You still see piles of snow in shady places around the neighborhood. For almost two months I had more than four feet of snow in the yard, and snow banks north of seven feet fall along my driveway.

So the spring thaw we’ve finally had the last week or two has been a very welcome respite from the storm after storm of the winter. It was in the low 60’s yesterday, and nearly 70 today. It was definitely time to get the Factory Five out of the garage and put some miles on it. I want to do a fluid change in the next few weeks, but there’s not even a thousand miles on the car yet, so its not really pressing.

I had gotten my other car out of the garage a few weeks ago, and had moved the FFR back in front of the garage door. Yesterday I got it down from the wheel dollies and decided to take it for a ride. Having the car plugged into the battery tender all winter, it fired up immediately and Aimee and I took it for a spin.

The engine ran great, but during the drive I was getting some weird screeching noises when making right turns. We did about a 25 mile loop and it was really bad by the time we got home. I wasn’t sure what it could be — it seemed unlikely to be a wheel bearing, as it was only happening turning one direction, and sounded like it was coming from the rear of the car. The car also seemed squirrely.

Continue reading “Spring in New England”

Nothing New to Report

As anyone who has been following this blog knows, the car still isn’t completely done. I drove it all year, and put nearly 1000 miles on it. I’ve garaged it for the winter, which doesn’t mean I definitely won’t drive it again until spring, but won’t very often. It was a great year of drives, and the car ran beautifully (other than the nagging oil leaks).

I have a few winter projects I may, or may not, get to this year. After three and a half years of working on the car there are a lot of other projects that need some attention other than car projects. That said,  I need to fabricate the carpet set for the car, and need to deal with either recovering or replacing the seats (and getting the seat heaters in). The car needs a careful alignment again. I’ve debated replacing the manual steering with power steering. The center console’s panel needs to be remade — it worked well for the last year or so, but I can do a better job on it. I have some trim pieces that need to be fabricated, such as the door for the rear panel glove box. I need to get a few parts I missed the first time powdercoated. And I need to find a place to paint the car, probably in the spring. I’ve also debated doing a tilt-nose modification on the body (bonding the hood to the body and cutting the nose so it tilts up in its entirety).

If I get to any of the projects, I’ll be documenting them on here, of course. If not, expect the site to be quiet until the spring.

Yes, I’m Still Alive

I know its been a month and a half since I updated anything on here, so I wanted to give a real quick update as to what’s been going on. For the most part, this month has been a total write-off. Not just car-wise, but in general. My job has changed to some extent, and between a vacation and work travel, I’ve been gone 3 out of 4 weeks this month on travel. I spent this last week sick. It’s been a long month … I had debated trying to find a shop this month to get it painted, knowing I wouldn’t be driving it, but that plan just didn’t come together.

Continue reading “Yes, I’m Still Alive”

On Research and Development

I haven’t done much work on the car since I added the storage bag last week. There’s some stuff I need to do — Mike Forte tells me he thinks the transmission leak wasn’t fixed by what I did, although I haven’t pulled anything to look for more leaks. I think I have a header leak, and my passenger valve cover is leaking oil still. That said, the car is driving just fine. I’ve got almost 400 miles on it now.

A couple times, while out driving, I’ve gotten “the question”: Is that a kit? In none of those cases was the question asked with any sort of negative connotation, and certainly I didn’t take anything negative from it (although, from reading some of the forums online, a lot of people do…).  It does beg the question, though, of what is a Factory Five car, and what is the right answer to that question.

Continue reading “On Research and Development”

The First Fifty

I just crossed fifty miles on the car tonight. I got the car drivable late enough in the season that there is no way I’m going to get a few hundred on it before getting it painted, as my original planning was. Its still got the oil leak, and trying to communicate via e-mail, I’ve just not had enough time lately to deal with arranging to get it back to Fortes to get the leak taken care of. That said, the leak (while awfully messy under the car) isn’t bad, the oil level isn’t dropping noticeably, so I’ve still be driving it.

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The Final Stretch … Hopefully

The last week has been pretty productive. Three nights out of the week I did at least an hour’s worth of work on the car. On Thursday night I riveted in the lower trunk floor and the trunk boxes to the car. I haven’t taken any photos of that work yet, but I will today. While doing it, I discovered that the small triangular pieces of sheet metal couldn’t be mounted because I put the panels on in the wrong order. The large side panels I put on last weekend kept me from being able to rivet the bottom edge of the triangular panels in the trunk. Last night I drilled out the rivets on both, cleaned up the mess from the silicone caulk and riveted the rest of those panels back in, in the right order this time.

I’m surprised thats the first time I’ve done that on the car. Not a big deal, no harm done except for pride and wasting an hour or two.

Continue reading “The Final Stretch … Hopefully”

100th Post and a Milestone

This is officially my 100th post on ReplicaBuilding.com — and I decided to post the 100th post today. Two years ago today I drove down with my parents, my girlfriend and her father to Factory Five and picked up the car.

Two years of blood, sweat and tears captured in a hundred posts and over a thousand photos.

Its been a long time, and the next big milestone — street legal — is finally in sight.

Its been a great two years and I appreciate all the nice comments from everyone who is following the built on here.

Here’s to hoping the car is totally done well before I hit 200!

Heater Outlet Plumbing

I spent an hour or so today working on the car again. I wanted to do a bunch more, but I tweaked my neck during the week and its really been bothering me today. Bending over the car to work on wiring just wasn’t going to happen, but I didn’t want to lose a weekend.

While poking around the car for something simple I could work on, I decided to figure out a solution to the heater outlet on the intake manifold once and for all. A lot of wiring is done, and this is one part of getting ready to start the engine that just has taken a ridiculously long time to work out. Continue reading “Heater Outlet Plumbing”

A Midwinter Update

Once again its been inexcusably long since I posted an update on here… mostly because its been inexcusably long since I got any work done on the car. Between a winter of every-few-days storms that seem to have me doing shoveling and snowblowing every time I want to be working on the car, the holidays and the fact that it costs me five bucks in oil every time I heat my garage up to work on the car, I just haven’t gotten a lot done.

So where do things stand? Pretty much where they did back in November. I’ve not finished wiring the dash yet and haven’t really made any progress with the wiring on the car at all. There’s a lot of moving parts, a lot of stuff that isn’t standard and a lot of difficult-to-redo decisions to be made. One example: how do I power the fuel pump? The Ron Francis harness has wiring for it, but so does the Boss-EFI harness. Do I wire a power line to it, or power and ground? If I do power and ground, in theory I don’t need to use a fuel pressure regulator in the engine bay because the ECU will control it. I also don’t need a return line for the fuel, but if I go down that route and discover it doesn’t work or work well its going to be a ton of work to backtrack.

This is my plight right now. I’m also largely unmotivated by the relative tedium of the wiring, particularly because I made the mistake of not just building my own harness, which I’m positive at this point would’ve cost me at least five or six hundred dollars less (when I include the cost of the i-Squared setup), and have taken me a lot less time.

So in an effort to get back into the swing of things, I’m cleaning the garage today. I’m getting the tools picked up and organized. If I make good progress with that, I’ll go out and pick up a battery and a tender today and start the wiring in a more progressive manner from the battery out rather than the dash in.

I’m also going to try to make a concerted effort to get a full days worth of work every weekend on the car, and I hope to try to get some of the local Cobra guys out here to give me a hand in exchange for beer, meat or other such temptations. I can’t go through another winter of not having a usable garage so I want the Cobra done and on the road this summer. Thats the goal and one way or another I’m going to ensure that happens, even if I have to pay someone to finish it. Given how customized that is, I doubt that’ll be cheap or effective so I’m doubly motivated to just git ‘er dun.