How it works.

I cannot promise this will always be the latest information , but when things are slack in the garage Ill post up what I can.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas..

Well another year draws to an end and despite everything thats been going, and against my previous expectations, I have managed to make some progress this year.

Granted its nowhere near where Id hoped to be if you had asked me in the middle of 2008, but all things considered Im happy to have made progress and to be honest even happier that I still have the Cobra.

So I wish everyone whos been reading my antics a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous new year for 2010.

You never know maybe there will be a few updates soon!

Bye for now.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Moly applied.

With a little time available I pressed on and applied the Molybdenum Disulphide spray.

Everything was cleaned thoroughly to remove traces of oil / grease etc and makes off the make sure areas which didn't want to be sprayed were not.

In the bellhousing I sprayed the input shaft outer tube, input shaft and pilot bearing shaft. Also I gave the top of the fork pivot a coat to help things there.

Other parts coated were the reverse side of the release bearing, rotating section of the release bearing where it touches the diaphragm springs and the inner bore of the release bearing.

The clutch fork in the pivot area and the tips were it bears on the release bearing.

Hopefully this will keep things moving well for sometime.

All that remains to be done now is to wait for the coating to cure, 3 + hours, and burnish lightly with a lint free cloth to improve the surface finish.

One final job I did tonight was to fill the diff with oil, been meaning to do this for a while so now its done. I jacked the rear up and spun the wheels round to get the oil moving in the diff, its been sat for quite a while now.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Clutch build up

With the bell housing dialled in and the gearbox assembled I moved onto finally assembling the clutch to the engine.

First off I modified the block plate lower starter mounting hole to account for the alignment adjustment made by the offset dowels, Oh and painted the block plate red to match the engine! You can just see here how the heat of running the engine has changed the paint colour, they are both painted from the same can!

Next I pressed the flywheel dowel pins into place (glad I got that press!) and cleaned the flywheel, paying particular attention to the clutch surface. Oh and also the flywheel bolts and holes in the crank to ensure a good seal.

After a bit of wrestling with the flywheel I got it onto its register on the crank with all the bolt holes lined up. It appears it only fits on in two locations as although the holes look evenly spaced, they are not! Given the weight of the flywheel it wasnt fun battling with it to get it lined up and on!

Now its important to use thread sealer on the flywheel bolts as the crank drillings are open to the sump, as I found out on the dyno oil will work its way past the threads. So Loctite 577 was used as I know it fuel safe so I figured it would also be oil safe!

With the flywheel on the clutch plate was installed on its locating tool and inserted into the pilot bearing.

Finally the clutch cover was cleaned again to remove a traces of grease/oil and snapped over its dowel pins on the flywheel. The bolts thread locked with loctite and installed finger tight at first then 2-3 turns at a time wound in to bring the cover tight to the clutch plate.

Final thing tonight was to mount the bell housing to the engine with he clutch fork in place. I just wanted to see how the release bearing was going to sit against the clutch cover.

Luckily it all looks OK, also with the rubber boot on the clutch fork is naturally drawing the release bearing away from the cover so I that's stopped me worrying that the boot would cause the bearing to ride the cover.

So thats it, all I need now is the moly spray to treat the input shaft and I think the gearbox assembly can be mounted to the engine!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Gearbox adapter plate

Now that the gearbox was home and the bell housing alignment sorted I could get on and mount the adpter kit to the bellhousing. Now this is where I should have a picture of the kit parts laid out on the floor, but in my haste to get on and install it, I forgot - sorry!
Kit of parts as supplied by AK sportscars. - Thanks for your help with this.

Roller pilot bearing set in a machined extension.
Machined adapter plate.
Nylon centralising disc
Sleeve welded into my own release bearing (had to send it to AK before the kit was supplied)

1 - fit pilot bearing into the crank

2 - fit disc into bell housing, the odd yellow stuff round the disc is actually double sided tape! The disc was slightly too small for the hole so on AK's advice I wrapped it round once only with tape. (note I also drilled and tapped mine in two places so I could remove it, something Ive decided not to do at this stage)

The nylon disc fits tightly to the gearbox output shaft, this then also fits tightly inside the bellhousing opening and centres the gearbox to the bell housing.
Before mounting the bellhousing I applied a layer of RTV silicone to the gearbox face to stick the disc in place.

3 - bolt it all together!

The machined adapter plate bolts to the gearbox and then to the bell housing and thats it!

I could then assembly the release bearing and clutch fork to the fork pivot.

Ive decided to add some form of lubrication to the input shaft where the release bearing will slide, this needs to be dry and the concensus of opinion is to use molybdenum disulphide air dry filmspray.

After a bit of net searching I settled on Rocol 10025, not cheap but I know Mocol products are good and it was the only one listed as not being just for the break in period.

So on to the clutch - really I will this time!!

Friday, 11 September 2009

Gearbox fixed

CTS found the cause of the problem. Apparently a hub spring had "jumped". Not totally sure what that means, but following another 6 hour round trip to Markyate the box is back and now working!

The shift is now much smoother and all gears select fine.

While the box was away I located new reverse and 1st/2nd gear lock out switches. Turns out that although Jaguar have different part numbers for each switch they are actually the same. So after SNG Barrett found that Jaguar had no stock of the lock out switch I just ordered up another reverse switch!

Job done.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Finishing off the bell housing.

With the offset dowels to hand it was time to finish off the bell housing. Having figured out where the offset was by rolling the dowels on a flat surface (picture of someones 0.021" dowel)

I could then install them into the block. Luckily the original Ford dowels just tapped out with no fuss.

1st attempt didnt go well and I figured out that Id put the dowels in 180deg out!!

2nd attempt looked better with the measurements getting closer to spec.

3rd got closer still.

Finally on the 4th attempt we hit the jackpot and all the measurements fell into spec with a total missaligment of 0.0025"

It might appear like this was a quick and easy process but it wasnt! Each time an adjustment was made the bell had to be torqued up to spec and remeasured. If you take into account the couple of times I knocked the DTI out of position and had to set it all up again and remeasure to confirm correct setting it took about 5 hours in total to get to here. Still, its worth it!

So thats it bell housing correctly aligned to the crank centreline and flywheel face.

Clutch assembly next!

Friday, 14 August 2009

Bellhousing alignment.

The next major part of the drivetrain to sort out is the alignment of the bellhousing.
As the engine is putting out a bit more power than when it left Ford 37 years ago and Im using a selection of bits not really intended to be put together, it is necessary to make sure the gearbox input shaft is in line with the pilot bearing.
The way to do this is to align the bellhousing to the back of the engine and to the crank centreline.
Step 1
Check that the bellhousing rear face is parrallel to the flywheel. To do this on the Ford you need to mount the block plate first, then the flywheel finally the bellhousing.
With sufficient flywheel bolts removed the DTI was mounted and aligned on the rear face of the bellhousing.
The engine was rotated and the misalignment read from the dial gauge, the miss alignment was less than 0.0015" and therefore I judged acceptable.

Step 2

The next step is to check the alignment of the bellhousing to the crank centreline. To do this the DTI is again mounted to the flywheel but this time the tip is located on the inner register of the flywheel bore.

This time I was looking for a a total miss alignment of no more than 0.005"

With ths standard Ford dowels it was obvious that the alignment was not good enough.

With the missalignment measured I need a set of 0.07" offset dowels to shift the whole housing to the right and up a bit.
A quick call to Real Steel and its just a case of waiting for the post.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Gearbox off for rebuild.

Took the gearbox over to CTS today (gearboxman) so hopefully should get that back next week all ready to fit. My next decision is wether to paint it silver or just a clear coat of POR15. Once its back and I can see what its like after its uber clean I can make my mind up.

Ordered all the clutch bits from Real Steel today and will get the adapter kit from AK once the release bearing has arrived. I need to send the bearing to AK for adaptation.

No I need to figure out how you dial in a bell housing.....

So some small progress made.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Updated video

What I have managed to do in the last few months is update my engine build video. The last one upset Bjorks record label and got pulled for containing about 15 seconds of one of her tracks. Lets see if this one survives a bit longer!!

Oh, you need to turn your speakers on, and up a little bit ;)

Thursday, 28 May 2009


The lack of progress is really starting to get to me. That's life I suppose, just might be nice to have a year where something bad doesn't happen. Maybe next year.....

Thursday, 19 March 2009


Well although the closed sign remains up I'm still working on things.

Deciding how to connect the gearbox to the engine was something I had figured out before I purchased the gearbox. BAE's new kit was going to do the job and all would be fine. When I spoke to BAE the first Ford kit was due in March with others to follow, forward wind to March and as yet no Ford kit. They still intend to make the kit but as insurance I started to work out the other way of doing it before committing to the gearbox rebuild.

The other way is the AK adpater plate to go between the Ford bellhousing and Getrag box. You need an original Ford bellhousing with the 4 bolt toploader pattern and associated clutch fork. Small problem, I don't have one and no one sells them in the UK!

Luckily the CRC came to my rescue (again) and through another member I was put in touch with Dave who just happened to have a bellhousing he did not need. A quick call was made and the deal done for a blockplate, bellhousing, clutch fork and clutch fork rubber boot.

The clutch fork and boot are new. (and L bracket to the left)

Im probably going to buy a Mcleod T bracket which is already slotted to take the fork spring, its stronger and saves weakening the L bracket by slotting it.

The block plate is in bare steel, but new and the bell housing looks new!
The bellhousing part number C5DA-6394-A signifies it is for a 289 from 1965 -1967. Source: David Klee Toploader Transmissions inc.

So thats the major stumbling block sorted. Now I need:

AK Adpater kit
Mopar clutch plate (Real Steel)
Mcleod clutch cover (Real Steel)
Mcleod Release bearing (Real Steel)
Hydraulic pull cylinder (TBC)
Mounting bracket (TBC)

I think thats about it, well chuffed thats sorted!

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Safety thoughts...

I've always had a mind to occupant safety whilst building this car, in particular fire safety. Sitting just in front of a fuel tank, surround by fibreglass that likes to burn and strapped in by a decent harness I feel that something that can give any extra time to get out is vital. If it manages to stop the car destroying itself then even better!

So I started looking around at various extinguisher systems that ranged from a small hand held mounted in the passenger compartment to a full blown plumbed in system with multiple nozzles and electric triggering.

Well me being me I think the full blown system has to be the way to go!

There are various systems on the market and after looking around I think that the lifeline systems look to be the way I will go.

They offer two options in my book.

1. Zero 2000 foam based system.

2. Zero 360 gas based system.

(Click links to see the systems)

Both systems offer boot mounted cylinder with the 360 either stored pressure or remote charge piston option.

Price in my book is irrelevant, yes some may say well what are the chances of you being involved in a fire and why bother with that expense. All I say is that's not something I want to have to justify in future, either to my passengers family or at the pearly gates.

Next big question is which system to go for, the foam or gas? I've seen representation from knowledgeable quarters who say foam, as it has good capability at putting the fire out and keeping it out as it coats the area.

But I've also been advised by Lifeline that the gas system is definitely the best option as it has greater capability at knocking the fire down and putting it out.

I'm told the foam system needs to "see" the fire as the foam is directional so the nozzles need careful positioning, whereas the gas is not directional and floods the area ensuring good coverage.

So further investigation is required I think to make sure the gas system can cope with the open nature of the cob engine bay and how good is it at keeping the fire out.

Whichever system I go for it will be electrically operated and I want to have two dash mounted trigger switches, one easily reachable from each seat position. I'm thinking the flip top covered switch style.

Maybe also a key arm switch to select which switch is live, one for driver only, 2 for passenger and driver. I know the system comes with an off switch but I want to be able to add in a double check to make sure the system does not get accidentally triggered.

I may even add in some additional logic to make sure that the system cannot be armed if either of the two fire switches are in circuit and in the fire position, again more thought needed.

One final though was running the hard line up the chassis now before the body goes on, the gas system uses 8mm coated pipe and the foam 6mm. Either way its not something Id like to try and feed through the body at a later date, looking at Simons build pics (one attached below - hope he wont mind!) I think there will be enough room to feed the tube to a point above the roll bar mount and then couple in the final line from the boot once the body is on.

If you imagine the above picture from the other side without the fuel hose in place then I think the pipe should run through there OK, clipped in place over the mount and on to an inline joint level with the rear shock mount. A small protective cover can then be fashioned to keep the joint safe from road debris.

I think that's about it on this for now, more investigation is required into system suitability.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Gearbox cleaning

Pretty much the final thing to do before the gearbox goes off to be reconditioned was to clean it up.

Having borrowed a pressure washer (thanks Malc) I set to with my trusted Marine Clean in the air powered sprayer.

The before pic...

With a fair bit of work the grime was removed and the box came up well.

I then refitted the shift mechanism as I have decided to leave the painting of the bracket until after the box has been rebuilt.

So that's as far as we go for the moment.

Hope to get the box off to gearboxman (see the next month.

Update: of course what I didnt realise is that the gearbox will be totally stripped and cleaned inside and out as part of the rebuild! Ah well al least it gave me something to do!

What I do need to do is confirm that POR15 metalready will not effect the sealant used to stick the cases back together. I need to do this as I want to use POR15 to paint the box when it comes back from being rebuilt. So I need to conduct a trial on the box as its stands and on some automotive sealant to see if it is effected by the sealant.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Shift Mechanism removal.

One thing I can do to the box before its rebuilt is rebuild the shift mechanism. Its removal will also help with cleaning the box once the snow has melted outside!

So this is the offending piece.

First step was remove the bolt holding the lever to the actual selector rod.

At this point I made sure to take a picture to remind me where the special washer and insert went!

Next it was a case of undo all the bolts holding the bracket in place and remove the shift mechanism in one go. In the picture below I have replaced the bolts which double up in holding the gearbox together!

With the mechanism removed I figured out how to remove the spring retainer clip, tricky as it had no little lugs to use the normal c clip removal tool.

But it came out in the end, allowing removal of the shift lever assy.

With the assy removed the lower plastic cup could be inspected and later removed, I had hoped to replace these but as cant find part numbers for them I guess Ill just clean these up and reuse.

So thats all the bits laid out.

Assy housing CS lever, lower cup, spring coil, spring retainer, spring ring and Assy change speed lever with upper cup attached. (to quote correct Jag terms (apart from the cups!)

Next step will be to get the Nitro mors out again on the housing and paint it up, red VHT again!

Finally I looked closer at the lever to determine where I can cut it to mount an adapter block to allow me to mimic the Tremec mounting options and give me flexibility once the box is in the car.

I'm not going to be able to tell where the shifter will appear in the driving position until the box is in and the body is on, therefore with a more universal style fitting I can do what I need later on without having to remove the body to adjust the lever. So I've decided to get it modified now, possible even before the box goes fro rebuild. I may need to copy Simons copper pipe lever if that's the case!

Slip yoke.

With the main gearbox rebuild still to be finalised I had some garage time available to me, so one of the jobs that I needed to do was to separate the slip yoke from the prop shaft.

The slip yoke is attached to the prop by a standard hardy spicer universal joint.

This is removed in the same manner as the rear driveshaft joints except this time round I have a press to make things easier, end result 5 minutes work and the slip yoke was free.

Next was to make it look a bit better, so a quick soak in my favourite "Marine Clean" to degrease followed by a healthy coating of nitro mors to remove the paint. A bit of work with some fine paper to remove the surface rust and the part is now ready to take a fresh coat of paint.

I'm not sure but I think its going to be VHT red engine enamel 1) to match the engine and 2) I've still got some left so I don't have to buy anything!!

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Reverse update..

Well it turns out the reverse gear selects with no problem at all, if you look in the right gate position!! I was trying to select it in right and back behind 5th when in fact its left and forward next to first!! Hey ho, you live an learn.

I did however find something which may be more concerning, upon removal of the magnetic drain plug there were a couple of teeth tips or bits of synchro clung on. I'm not sure what exactly they are, if they are left from a previous failure or what implications this could have.

So I have taken the decision to get the box rebuilt, I think its worth the extra cash. I'm hoping they wont find anything terribly amiss inside leading to an expensive bill!

I just need to sort out the logistics of getting the box over to the re builders (once I've sorted out just who is getting the job) and whether to paint all the bits first or wait until it comes back.

Moving forwards....and backwards....

Literally! I took a step closer to getting this thing moving last week.

Following a discussion on the CRC I became aware that there were more options open to me with regards to a gearbox. I had always thought that the only way to go was with a new Tremec TKO 600 box, I always dismissed using a 2nd hand box as too fiddly to get working and too risky for reliability. However I have been enlightened as to the benefits of fitting a used Getrag box.

The first concern was ease of fitting. Well BAE are developing a bespoke bell housing for the 302 to mate with the Getrag box so thats that issue sorted.

My next issue was reliability. Well I am now informed that many people are driving around with more powerful engines than mine and are quite happy with a Getrag fitted. Most with only the front and rear seals having been replaced before fitting so that looks like not being an issue.

With this in mind I set out to find a suitable Getrag box from either a BMW or JAG, the JAG being the preferred box due to the gear ratios.

I had been advised via the CRC website that the ratios are as follows:

More on ratios later.

I was contacted by Pete in Bristol (fellow CRC member) who offered a box for sale and after an interesting morning discussing all things, and checking the gearbox apperaed OK, I drove aware with said box acquired.

All forward gears select OK but it currently wont lock into reverse, now some of that might be down to it having no oil in it and also that I don't fully know where reverse should be!

Before doing anything to the box I decided to re-visit ratios to make sure I was happy. I managed to find a copy of the Jag service manual for the 3.6 XJS from which I was informed the gearbox had originally been taken

I found that the ratios were slightly different to those I had been advised previously, ratios and speeds in red are for the Getrag 270 box which I believe this to be, unfortunately Getrag helpfully do not appear to mark this on the box anywhere!

(double click on image to see readable version!)

So plotting the various box options together I can see very little difference and hopefully little difference to driveability.

The box is in need of some work so my first job was to remove the bell housing. Four nuts undone and off it came.

Next up I will remove the metal work for stripping and painting, clean the box fully and then consider if I need to paint the gearbox casing.

First job though is to get some oil in it to soak things a bit. Then I need to replace the front and rear seals but Ill only do that once its soaked and I've managed to get reverse operational otherwise its a pro rebuild at £250 plus!