MustangSteve's Law
Of Automotive Repair Or Restoration

Any automotive repair or restoration project will cost twice as much and take twice
as long as originally planned, even after careful prior consideration of
MustangSteve
's Law.

Frequently Asked Questions
Taken From
MustangSteve's FYI FORD Message Board


ENGINE


Adjusting Valves With ADJUSTABLE Rocker Arms
I like to set them with the engine off,to avoid that smoke and oil stains on the driveway.  Start by removing all the spark plugs.  Get a 15/16"
socket and ratchet to turn the crank with.  Start from the front and work towards the rear, one bank at a time (Yes, I know you can go set
some by the numbers in the book, but it is simpler and quicker to just rotate the crank and get it over with and not wonder which ones you
skipped)  Loosen ALL the rocker nuts a few turns. Start with #1 cylinder, rotate the engine until the balancer reads TDC on the compression
stroke (that is the next TDC rotation AFTER the intake valve opens) Grab the pushrod between your thumb and first finger and rotate it as
you tighten the adjusting nut until you feel the rotating pushrod get tight.  You want to achieve zero lash and stop turning the nut as soon as
the pushrod just gets a bit tight.  Do not tighten it so it compresses the piston in the lifter.  Then add 1/2 to 3/4 of a turn (use the 3/4 if you
don't want to ever have to open up the engine and do this again) Then do the same on the next valve in line on the same cylinder.  Then
rotate the engine until the next cylinder is at TDC on the compression stroke.  repeat the above procedure for the rest of the engine, just
going down the rows one at a time.  The entire job takes about 15 minutes.  Then throw the valve cover gaskets in the trash can, smear
some RTV UltraBlack on the squeaky clean valve cover flanges and tighten them down tight.


Adjusting Valves With Non-Adjustable Rocker Arms
You need to follow the normal procedure of adjusting the valves, even with your non-adjustable valve-train. Just as a check to see if you are
getting the correct lifter pre-load. Place the cam rotation so the lifter to be adjusted is on the base circle of the cam. this usually occurs at or
near TDC, so put the piston at TDC on the firing stroke and then do this: tighten the nut until the pushrod reaches zero lash. Rotate it
between middle finger and thumb as you tighten. When it ceases to rotate, you will feel it tighten. Then turn the adjusting nut 3/4 turn more.
Now, tighten the nut to torque spec and note the number of rotations the nut makes. If it has to go more than 1/2 turn more to correct
torque, then the lifter will be depressed too much. It most likely will come out just right, if all is well with the engine. Once zero lash is
attained, the nut should be turned between 1/2 turn and 1-1/4 turns. If it turns less than 1/2 turn to torque, the lifter will not have enough pre-
load. If it has too much, or not enough, you can buy a Crane adjusting washer and self-locking nut kit that works quite well with the
bottleneck studs.


Rail Or Non-Rail Rocker Arms - What's The Difference?
Early 289 heads had valves with short tips (about 1/16 to 1/8" above the keepers) that used non-rail type rocker arms. They had the shorter
289 style pushrods and rocker arms without the rails that capture the stem of the valve keeping the rocker arm from sliding off the side.  The
pushrods went through holes in the heads that fit up close to the pushrods, keeping the rocker from sliding off by holding the pushrod in
line.  Those type heads had adjustable, press-in studs.  Later heads used rail type rockers.  The hole in the heads that the pushrods
(longer 302 pushrods) go through is round, the valve stems protrude about 1/4" above the keepers and they were non-adjustable.  The
problem is that if you do not match the pushrods, rockers and valve stems and head holes, you get one or both of the following problems:  
1.  The geometry is wrong due to using too short a pushrod and the rocker does not properly mate up to the the valve stem tip.  2. (and this
is MUCH WORSE) The rail type rockers installed on valves designed for non-rail rockers will start working on releasing the keepers and will
eventually drop a valve (*FUN!) Just be sure you get the right combo.


Changing Valve Seals In The Car
To use the rope, remove all the spark plugs.  Start with the number 1 cylinder at TDC.  Back up the crank with a 15/16" socket on the
harmonic balancer nut so the piston is towards the bottom of it's stroke.  Push about 18" of 3/8" cotton rope into the cylinder through the
plug hole.  Tie a knot in one end of the rope before starting.  Leave the knotted end sticking out of the hole so you can retrieve the rope
later.  With the came socket, rotate the crank towards TDC until the rope is all compressed against the valves.  Now you can remove the
rocker arms for that cylinder.  You will need a lever type valve spring compressor for removal of the springs.  The pivot point of the
compressor goes onto the rocker stud.  Put the nut on the stud, but not tight.  Now force the lever up and the valve spring will be
compressed.  Remove the keepers and the retainer.  Then remove the old seal, if it is still there.  The new seals should come with  a clear
plastic sleeve that you can press over the end of the valve stem to make the seal easier to get past the keeper grooves.  After the seal is
installed, remove the sleeve and replace the retainers.  Move on to the next valve, replacing the seal on it the same way.  Then, lower the
piston back down the bore and retrieve the rope.  Go to the next one, etc.  Now, go take the oil pan off and retrieve the rock hard bits of the
old valve seals out of your oil pump pickup screen to complete the job.


Changing Valve Springs With The Heads On The Engine / In The Car
It is not necessary to remove the heads to change the valve springs. With the spark plug removed, rotate the crank until the piston is at the
bottom. Take a cotton 3/8" rope about 3 ft. long (with a knot in one end) and push as much of it as you can into the spark plug opening,
filling the cylinder with rope leaving the knot outside. Rotate the engine with a 1/2" drive breaker bar until the rope is bunched up at the top.
It doesn't have to be real tight. Use a lever type spring compressor that pivots on the rocker stud and remove the keepers, then the spring.
Install some new valve seals while in there (real cheap), then the new springs, then the keepers. Rotate the engine backwards and remove
rope. VOILA!


Installing An Intake Manifold Using RTV End Seals  (My WEB PAGE on Installing a manifold)
Here is my method. Cleanliness is absolutely required. Remove all traces of any former gaskets or sealer.  I clean the manifold surfaces and
the block with lacquer thinner and dry it real good. (NOT paint thinner as it leaves a residue the stuff won't stick to)   I glue the intake
gaskets to the heads with some contact cement, spreading it paper thin on one side of the gasket and on the head. Let it dry, then put the
gasket in place. Run a bead of the RTV on the top of the block ridges. (You might want to set the intake in the valley DRY to see about how
much RTV to place on the ends of the block – remember it will compress that space as you torque it down).  Coat very lightly the mating
surface on the bottom of the intake - that insures a good, wet surface for the RTV on the block to mate up to. Smear RTV paper thin on the
top side of the intake gaskets. Put a little extra RTV in the 4 corners where the block meets the heads. Take 4 threaded rods (5/16, coarse
threads about 3" long) and screw two on each side into the holes where the intake manifold bolts to the head. Those will give you a vertical
guide to exactly position the intake. (that step obviously only works on engines where the bolts go straight up, not on Clevelands or other
engines where the bolts go in at an angle)  If the manifold slides front to rear, it can wipe the RTV off the block. The rods prevent it. Fit the
intake on the engine by letting it slide straight down the 4 studs. Put in the other bolts snug, then remove the rods. Then torque the bolts in
the proper sequence. Do it three times, then once again the next day. DO NOT fire up the engine until the RTV has cured at least overnight
or about 12 hours – heat helps speed the curing process, but you don’t want hot oil on it.
I have found RTV Ultra Black, Ultra Gray or Ultra Blue works best.


Replacing the Rear Main Seal
If your car had the rope type seal, replace it with the newer neoprene seal. Note that if the car had a rope type seal in it before, it will have a
small pin (like a nail) sticking into the seal cavity in the main cap.  It must be driven or ground out before the new seal can be installed.   
Seals really aren't that hard to install, especially on a 289 Mustang.  Unbolt the idler arm and push steering linkage away.  Remove the
starter.  Drain and unbolt pan and remove it.  Loosen all the main cap bolts a couple of turns.  Remove rear cap. The old seal will usually
slide around so you can grab it and pull it out if you rotate the crank by hand in the direction you pull the seal.  If it won't come, there are
inexpensive tools that thread into the old seal to pull it out.  BE CAREFUL NOT TO NICK THE CRANK.  Install the new seal by carefully
pushing it in place while rotating the crank in the same direction as the push.  Lube the seal with oil and go easy as the sharp edges of the
block will try to shave off pieces of the seal.  Leave one end sticking out of the block 3/8" and match the one in the cap to it.  Lube the lower
seal and install the cap with a small bit of RTV near the rear of the parting surface of the cap.  Torque all the mains and reinstall the pan.  
Don't use a gasket, just RTV Ultra Black, thick where the end seals went and thin on the flange.  Everything must be cleaned with lacquer
thinner first to get a good bond.  Torque the pan tight to the block while the RTV is wet and it will never leak again.


Converting a 6 Cylinder 65-66 Mustang To V-8 Engine
There are a lot of variables involved in that swap.  DO you already own an engine and tranny for it?  What level of buildup do you want for
the engine, as-is, stock rebuilt or performance rebuilt, or full boogie.  at any rate, figure a minimum of 200 to buy a worn out 289, 1,000 to
rebuild the engine, 200 for a junkyard c-4 automatic transmission 200 for exhaust work, 100 for motor mounts, 250 for front end steering
parts, 100 for a used 8" rear axle, 150 for a drive shaft and u-joints, 100 for used front brakes with 5 lugs, 200 for brake rebuild, 100 for
some used 5 lug wheels, and new tires are extra if you don't have 14" wheels now.  Add about 30 for a used v-8 accelerator rod/auto
transmission kickdown, 150 for hoses, filters and oil and coolant, 300 for all the little miscellaneous stuff you will want/need to change "while
you are in there", and another 200 for a new radiator.  THIS ASSUMES YOU WILL DO ALL THE LABOR YOURSELF AND THAT YOU DON'T
INSTALL/BUY ANY HIGH PERFORMANCE STUFF.  You do the math.  I would sell it and buy a v-8 car, unless it was your grandmother's car
and has sentimental value, in which case you should probably just leave it alone and put your money into a nice stereo.
Bottom line. It would be much cheaper and you would have a car with matching numbers if you sold yours and bought a v-8 car. 6 cylinder
cars are known as "T" codes, which refers to the fifth digit in the serial number. 289's with 2 barell carbs were "C" codes and 289's with 4
barrells were "A" codes. High performance 289's were "K" codes. Look at the fifth digit in the number on your driver side engine
compartment panel under the hood. You will find something like 5F05T_____ or 5R05T____ where the "T" denotes the engine the car was
originally equipped with.
Case in point: My 65 coupe, a very straight "T" code car that the previous owner took immaculate care of. He paid me to change it to all V-8
drivetrain. I installed a 289, a C-4 automatic tranny and a v-8 rear axle and a set of 5 lug, 10" front v-8 drum brakes. When he got through
with it, he could not sell it for near what he had in it because the 'T" did not match the v-8 under the hood. ("T" code cars typically do not
bring much money to begin with as demand for them is not high) He wound up selling the car to me for $3,000.
If the car had been a "C" or an "A" code, it would have easily sold for $6,000. If it were a "K"code, it would have brought probably $15,000.
(No, you can't change the lettering on your inner fender - it is illegal.)
Here is what I would do, in order to NOT throw away a bunch of money on a car that you will NEVER get the money back out of. Enjoy the
car as it is (and the cheaper insurance rates you will appreciate) for a year or so until you get your driving skills honed.  Imagine that you
are spending money to hop up the car, but instead stick it in the bank, letting it earn interest. When you have saved enough to buy a 289
and a new tranny and new brakes and rear axle and etc, etc, etc, THEN sell the "T" code and buy a REAL NICE "C" code with the money
you saved plus whatever you can sell your car for.  A big advantage to that is that you can actually have fun DRIVING your "T" code rather
than laying under it trying to convert it to something it is not. You can then enjoy having a nice "C" code (maybe even get lucky and find an
"A" code car) that will likely have power steering and some other niceties. From then on, whatever money you decide to put into the car will
very nicely return to you if you sell the car.
Check Back Regularly
More to COME!
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351 Windsor Engine
MustangSteve's 351W Powered 66 Fastback
Convert 65-66 Mustang from a 289 V-8 to a 351 Windsor V-8
“Everything bolts right up.â€�  No cutting or bending whatsoever is required. Existing motor mounts fit. Only bracket you will
need to buy (or fabricate) is the alternator mounting bracket that bolts to the passenger side head. The only car this bracket came
on was 1969 Fords with 351W.   I saw an ad in Mustangs and Fast Fords where someone is reproducing it now.  I have built some
from 1/2" aluminum plate that look great with aluminum heads. All the other brackets will fit. If you have factory air, you will need to
get a new compressor bracket (the one that mounts to the driver side head) from a 351W car for the compressor to fit properly. All
other stuff is the same (depending on the year of windsor you get)  If a/c equipped and you reuse the old 289 bracket, the
compressor will fit but it will be up about 2â€� too high and looks real weird in that position.  The p/s bracket you already have will fit
if you redrill the holes that bolt to the head.
The harmonic balancer might have the timing marks on the wrong side, but this can easily be corrected by using a 69 balancer or
just putting some timing tape on the existing one to properly align the TDC marks. I like to use the 289 Hipo balancer, but you must
have the engine balanced to make it work perfectly.
Headers are readily available. There are Heddman headers in long or short versions (I have used both). The long ones tend to hit
the pitman arm at full lock, but this is easily corrected by bolting the header to the head and bending the bottom collector away from
the arm with a big lever (like your feet). Install the gasket after doing this, so you don't crush it. The short tube headers are more
practical on a daily driver, especially if you have power steering. These headers sell for less than $100 from Summit Racing. The
long tube ones require a power steering ram mounting arm extension, which replaces the existing one on the frame.
The balance on the 351w is the same as a 289 or 302, so the existing flywheel/flexplate/bellhousing can be reused.
Intake manifolds of any size will fit.  (but must be 351W specific)   I personally run a Weiand Stealth, but air cleaner clearance is
tight. A Hi-Po air cleaner or a Cobra version will fit, but on the Cobra, the entire riser must be removed and only a 1/8" flat plate for a
bottom can be used. This gives about 3/8" clearance. Edelbrock manifolds fit with room to spare, but they do not flow as well.
A 351w distributor will be required since the
shaft is larger.
Enjoy your extra 100 HP!