See you all on the flip side. This website isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
The fenders, doors and the hull are painted. Unbelievable right?? Hats off to my buddy Joe Cheek who worked off hours to get this thing done. Part of the reason it took so long is that Joe has a full time as a painter at a high volume body shop. So when he worked on my car it was taking time away from family, friends, and his personal life. His job is demanding of his time so it was a VERY big deal for him to commit to painting my car. The good thing about black is that we don't have to paint every panel at the same time. We had an opportunity to use a very big and very efficient downdraft booth and it was a mad scramble through 72 hours to get it done. I think Joe got 6 hours of sleep total over three days and three nights. Thanks Joe. I greatly appreciate your attention to detail on this. Now to the fun part. Getting the dust out of all the nooks and crannies and detailing the K member and engine bay.
When I started this project and built the website this web medium was very prominent. At that time I had a Blackberry. The camera was awful, navigation through apps was really challenging and all it really could do was send emails and make phone calls. The 2nd generation iPhone had come out a year or so before I built this website which we all know was a game changer. The iPhone moved web access into everyones pocket with ease. Facebook was taking off and the mobile access helped it grow exponentially. These days social media is a huge driving force in everything. This website has become antiquated and clunky to put content on in a timely fashion. I'm literally transferring info from my phone to the cloud so I can dump it to posts here. That being said the process is broken. It takes too long to post here and make things happen. And at this point in time there's a lot of little tidbits that will happen fast. Facebook is the main medium followed by Instagram. All that being said I'm going to move over to a page on Facebook because it offers so many more features than this website. Ultimately the build will move over to another web domain in due time but in the meantime I'll transition using the Facebook page called Purist Motorsports <--- click link and tap "follow" to get timely easy to navigate updates. I will be able to post in real time and it will be formatted for your device. This website has done well but on some platforms it's clunky to navigate. Also you can follow me on Instagram under @puristmotorsports
The logo above is what you'll look for or a version thereof. Follow the Facebook page and Instagram to see the rest of this build and more. There's a lot of other options for live video... say for the first startup of the motor? Or the first test drive? Oh yeah... the potential is huge.
See you all on the flip side. This website isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
The original dash in 04 is pretty banged up. It's got sticker residue on it and in one of my earlier posts the speaker supports by the A pillar have all been cut up because a previous owner tried to make some little 3x2 speakers fit. I was able to score a dash in trade with a buddy for some parts I had years ago. I took it upon myself to get on to cleaning it up and getting it into shape. All 90-93 dashes are molded black. The red and grey dashes are all dyed to match the door panels and interior. So I dyed this one back to black. If this process is followed properly you'll end up with a factory looking dash that no one will know. I'm going to document this process and write an article for The FoxCast as a technical writeup/how to.
Take a look at the pics and you'll see where this dash was dyed grey. Easy to spot the overspray.
if you're HUGE into Fox Mustangs like me, then you have to subscribe to The FoxCast. It is the best content when it comes to 79-93 FoxChassis Fords. They offer discount codes through major manufacturers of parts for our cars and articles on some of the coolest Fox cars on the planet.
In my last post I commented about "doing your homework" and "researching" before you buy something. This will seem planned... as this post follows the last thematically. And... it is. :)
I've been a part of the online Mustang community for right at 20 years. I can think of the days in the late 90's when The Corral was literally a hodge podge of posts that were difficult to search because it was mini blogging. Ironic because Facebook is literally the same thing in theory it just connected everyone together in a different format that is easy to navigate on a smartphone. But I digress.. Those message boards have evolved and now seem somewhat dated.
So once you join the online message board community you'll find that it is littered with good and bad info. These days it is fairly easy to join and search but in their infancy there was a lot of trial and error amongst the members. The ones with good info were the guys that stayed true to the facts and applied them to the physics that is part of building a motor or setting up a chassis. Very few rose above the fray. Those that did usually started down the path of starting their own business OR they started offering their findings as services in their spare time.
One such person that started offering his services is Tom Moss. I was drawn into Tom's findings because he set out in the early days of trying to see how you could make the most amount of power with a stock cam, stock heads, and a stock intake. You can see all of his findings on his website. It's a wealth of tried and true, black and white, data results that can't be challenged because the results follows the laws of physics. That's because it was all done with great detail and knowledge.
If you do much reading on the "Fuelie 5.0" from 86-95 in the Mustang you'll gather that the bottle neck for the intake side is the lower intake. That is the most restrictive part of the stock upper and lower. The Saleen intake is no different as it uses the F150 5.0 truck lower. The ports that connect the upper to the lower on the truck lower are more of a straight shot to the ports on the head but they neck down as they approach the head. This is a restrictive bottle neck in design.
With engine design you want max flow AND velocity. Engines are just a big air pump. More air into the cylinder = bigger bang = more pressure = more power. Combine that with the right amount of atomized fuel and you have a perfect combo for seat of the pants fun in a car. Porting about removing material in the right places (and sometimes adding material in other places) to increase flow and velocity. You can actually decrease the velocity through the port of the intake by removing material in the wrong place. The flow of the air is like water. Sharp turns create turbulence which is what you don't want. Tom and Matt have a lot of experience in porting a number of intakes over the years AND they will match the port to the gasket number you're using or the head you are using.
Tom and Matt Moss offer a quick turnaround service at a very nominal price for porting the lower intake. Depending on the work load, they can typically turn it around in 10-12 business days. i've gotten mine back in less than 10 business days from the time I shipped mine to them. But, I'm pretty close to where they live. They offer other services too like cleaning and powder-coating. Email them through the link above for pricing and services. Scroll to the bottom of their webpage. This is the third intake they have done for me. My last car, Saleen 1993 #57 had a stock ported lower on it. This is the perfect modification for those wanting a stock look and massive improvements in performance. The Saleen crowd needs to take note of these services. It's a modification that you can't see but you can feel when you mash the loud pedal.
It is worth mentioning that Saleen did figure out that the lower intake was restrictive and as a part of the SSC engine package in 1989 they ported the upper and lower intakes and the MAF sensors. While this may not be 100% accurate for an SA10, this is a modification I'd be crazy not to do because the Saleen intake used on these cars was one of the best, if not the best, flowing EFI intake of the day. It's design is still used by Holley today and the Holley EFI Systemax II lower intake actually bolts right to the Saleen upper without any modifications. Some people have done this with great success. It's a good option for big power with a Saleen factory look.
This is something that I highly recommend to any Fox Mustang owner. Tom and Matt Moss are stand up guys with a massively good reputation in the pushrod 5.0 fuelie world. Thanks guys. I'm sure this isn't the last intake I'll send to you.
I advise people all the time to do their homework when buying parts or when they're modifying their car. Both reasons are valid. 1. you want to make sure the parts you're buying are GOOD QUALITY parts and 2. you want to make sure the parts you're buying are the RIGHT parts. I've been a victim of both of those. And I'm sure you could add several more statements to this.
Recently I found a set of polished valve covers. I want this item on my car as it was standard on the 90-91 SC Saleen cars and they match the polished Vortech. It was simple. I was going to pay someone reputable to polish mine OR find a good set already done. I found a set that was near another fellow Saleen owner. I contacted the seller, who wasn't willing to ship but they provided some decent pics and struck a deal. My buddy went over to get them and really didn't notice any issues. He took them and had them wrapped up to ship for me and when they arrived there was a bunch of excitement... until I unwrapped them. They look good at first glance.
Once I looked them over and got in the right light you can see a couple of spots. I flipped over the valve covers and noticed they had been welded in a couple of spots.
You have to realize that these castings are very porous. Add in the metallurgy technology 25 years ago and there will be voids in the castings. This is challenging when you polish aluminum like this because you'll end up with small voids and sometimes larger voids in the finish that end up looking like black dots or worse. It seems these had a couple of spots that needed to be touched up and you really have to know what you're doing when you weld cast aluminum or you'll just end up making it worse. These were done ok, but potentially could have been done better.
The other possibility is that these were corroded in these two spots from coolant leaks, gas leaks, or oil leaks. I'm going to guess this is the possible issue with these because the repairs are near places where things like that could happen.
They are decent but I'm a picky buyer. What may please others sometimes bothers me because of a small detail that was not right but "acceptable" by another person. So now I'm either going to have these touched up OR I just bite the bullet and have the ones I have done and run a risk of the castings being an issue when mine are polished. I'll probably have these worked over again. Not really worth the risk on the others. As the title states caveat-emtpor. Buyer beware.
It's like Christmas when you get parts back from the machine shop. it's also a reality check on how good the parts are that you have. The timing cover has some corrosion from being on the car for so long and it looks like someone got aggressive with it when removing it. There are some things I'll still need to take over to the machine shop again. I'll take this back and see what options there are to build those areas back up and machine them. I'm confident they can be fixed easily. It would be my preference to keep that OE part on the motor. More to come soon.
Someone posted a comment asking a question about the camshaft I've chosen. The cam is a custom grind cam from Buddy Rawls. I do have the specifications for the "Saleen Blower Cam" but with today's technology in cam profiling I've chosen to go the custom route. The cam is designed more for low end power and a big flat torque curve that is also supercharger or "boost" friendly.
Back in February, the time of my last post, we were moving pretty swift. Things were coming together and I was working diligently towards a deadline. Then shortly after the last post things started to go awry. Don't worry, it wasn't anything to do with the build of this car. It was more about the facts of life. Those are the things that tend to take priority over the things you want to do. And the best kind, (read sarcasm there) is the kind that is unexpected. The unexpected for me was the head gasket blowing on my daily driver. Everything halted when that happened. Then the next time I look up after the repair, two weeks had gone by. A lot of time was missed working on Almost 4. I continued to push through a little on it but then decided to back off and switch gears. The show I had registered for needed one of my cars. So I switched over to getting 1993-57 up to par for the show. I installed a Vortech on it and got it on the road. I also had the wheels restored. This made the car so attractive to someone that they bought it. As of now, it resides in someone else's garage. Like the title says, the best laid plans... I had no plan to sell it or pause working on Almost 4. But, the new owner really wanted it and is already putting some hours into it.
As I backed off the pedal of Almost 4 it occured to me that there is a perfect venue to reveal the car. Stay tuned to this blog for the announcement of where the car will be revealed completed.
The car is a rolling chassis sans any of the panels and it is being sanded for its final coats of black primer. Yes, black primer. I plan to drive this and the black primer is the best undercoat in case of any rock chips. This will keep them from showing up. it is also a very difficult thing to do on a black car. If you're any kind of a motorhead you know that black is one of the most difficult colors to paint. Black paint will show every flaw under the paint.
There is quite a bit of road ahead. But the goal for now is to get the rolling chassis painted and back in my garage so I can start getting it cleaned up and the new or restored parts on it. That's when the car will start looking like it was intended.
A recent blog comment/question was posted. The wide headrests for the Recaro seats are tough to find. You'll just have to keep scouring the classifieds and Ebay for them. The ones in that particular blog post were from a friend of mine who lived in Italy. He was very helpful to many here stateside with his parts resources because he was close to Germany. He passed away recently leaving a void in the Saleen world. Yesterday was his birthday, same as my daughters. Rest in peace Sergio. Salude! My Friend.
It's like Christmas all over again opening boxes of parts. This past week I was able to get the short block painted back to the cast iron grey and then assemble the long block. In that process a few boxes left the shelves they've been sitting on for years. So the heads are on and the cam and timing set are installed. The oil pump is in. There are some fasteners on the way to get the timing cover and oil pan on.
I often have grand plans. Doesn't anyone??! That idea you have all planned out and ready to go. You've saved your money or you have bought your parts and you're awaiting that moment in time where you have time. I've had the following parts in the box for at least a couple of years now. Possibly longer. I would have to go dig up the post about the lower control arms. That's when I bought these. In that time the box has been shuffled around in not one, but two garages. I got lucky that all the parts to be used for this were in the box when I went to install them. So last weekend I decided to embark on this journey. A journey of removing the front control arm bushings for the Saleen spec Aluminum Delrin bushings.
I'm sure the next thought is that the car is going to ride rough. Yep, this will increase NVH from the road. But the Fox Mustang really isn't all that great of a cushy ride anyways. As a buddy of mine calls them "They ride like a covered wagon" which is very true. So it will ride even more like a "covered wagon" with these. BUT, there will be precise turn in and this kit moves the control arm forward about 1/2" which will increase positive caster. This is something that most aftermarket K members and control arms do today. Only they move them forward even more. Any more than 1/2" and the wheel opening has to be modified to clear the tire. These were enough work installing them. Also, i didn't want to get into modding the fender opening and this is something that only the trained eye would spot with it only being 1/2". Well.. that and everyone who reads this.
Getting the two out of the one control arm was a challenge. The press wasn't wide enough to get the control arm bushing under the center of the press. In the process the arms got pretty scratched up which was just creating more work for me later. I'll clean them up and repaint them. Make note of the scars on the end of the bushing. Like I said it was an excellent plan but wasn't easy to execute. Typical of any modification you're doing trying to merge a factory part with aftermarket parts. So it took three hours to get two stock bushings removed and then put that one aluminum sleeve in. I am glad this part is over. Now, let's hope they fit into the K member without a lot of fuss.
Got the heads back from the machine shop yesterday. Although they looked perfectly fine the old Edelbrock heads had some known issues. Weak springs, valve guides, valve seals... all of those could present issues. The machinist commented how weak the springs were and that the base of the spring had started cutting into the head from them moving. So he advised putting in a hardened keeper and put in new seals. Lots of seat pressure now to keep those valves closed between timing events. Along with the typical valve job and cutting of the mounting surface the heads were in great shape.
Time to get moving on assembly.... quick!! I have a custom grind cam from Buddy Rawls and indexed timing chain ready to go into this motor. I plan to clean up the block and paint it cast iron grey to make it look better. it's currently painted blue. Don't worry, I'll keep the original motor to the car. And to that, it is rumored that the cars that got the balanced/blue printed motors don't have the original blocks. I haven't been able to confirm that but it came from a pretty reliable source. This is when I really wish Joe was still around to ask questions. He could debunk all those myths about these cars because he built them.
Let's be real here. I want this thing to be done and often get asked these questions. Really often. "When will it be done??" "Can you have it ready for (insert show name here)??" "Any updates on the project?" These are the most recent questions but have been said to me in other ways over the course of the last few years. Looking back, i didn't think it would take this long. But, I also didn't give myself any kind of marker to complete it.
I will say this, I swore from day 1 of owning this car and walking this path that it would NOT be done by borrowing money. By that I mean that I wouldn't be using credit cards, bank loans, or any means of paying for things by using some form of credit. I dug myself into a hole with a previous car and I swore never to do that again. I was paying on it long after it was gone. So this car will be done and at the end I will be debt free from anyone or any thing. So this has stretched the process out and add in that I have changed jobs twice and have taken a deduction in pay both times. Those things have made this process long. But, it is at a pace that I can financially handle.
This is no pity party. This is me being real and presenting something else I'm passionate about since finding peace with it. Finances. This was a stand that my wife and I took many years ago thanks to a wedding gift from a very close friend. We were given a paid class to Financial Peace Dave Ramsey offers so many resources and taking the class set my wife and I on the same page financially. So it will get done when it gets done. Hopefully sooner than later. :) On to the parts.
I sent off the Koni shocks to have them checked and rebuilt. I bought a set of shocks from Performance Parts Inc and they were the last iteration of the Koni "reds". Upon further investigation these were not the same as what Koni offered when these cars were built. So now the Koni's I originally had for the car weren't dead on accurate. So they were sold to a fellow Saleen owner in need of a good set for his wife's Fox Saleen. In the process I came across a set that had the correct part numbers and were manufactured within the era of what Saleen sold when they had them in the catalog in the 90's. They had seen a few miles on them and were used on a race car. So I packed them up and sent them off to Koni for a rebuild/recondition.
Once they arrived at Koni I received a call. Apparently I was 3 months too late. Koni no longer rebuilds/restores their shocks in house. GREAT! That wasn't what I wanted to hear. But, with that Koni advised they would ship them to Performance Shock in California for me. Excellent! With that, they shipped them off that day and they arrived at Performance Shock a week or so later. The service was excellent. I was called when the shocks arrived and notes were made on what I wanted. You can deviate from stock valving and opt to just have the mechanicals fixed with no cosmetic resto. With the Saleen spring rates for their street cars there was no need to deviate from the stock valving. Once the shocks were disassembled they called me to give me the details on what they found. Once armed with that information we were able to come up with an amount for the restoration. They turned out great and are the old original Koni "orange" that is correct for these shocks. I was told my set was used as reference for someone having their shocks rebuilt for their 86 Saleen. The placement of the decals was important.
I'll close this post with this. If you're stuck in a rut with debt. Hit the pause button and take inventory. It's a tough road out because the path to debt is an easy one these days. The first step is recognizing the issue. Go to Dave Ramsey's website by clicking the hyperlink there for great resources. Make the sacrifice and get debt free.
Oh, and the short block has landed into my garage. Heads come back from the machine shop next week which means assembly on the heart of the beast will be soon!
A little blog about the build process of a car that almost got away.