My motor-building saga begins...
The car wasn't driving well, but I had just fixed an electrical problem and was itching to have it on the road. It sounded like needed a tune-up, and I was talking about bringing it in to my friend Bill's garage to fix it the very next weekend.
But, this evening in April 1998, I decided that since I hadn't had the car out in a while, I'd show a friend who had never seen it. I drove over to her house with the usual amount of stares from other people on the road. Gotta love that!
After picking her up, we went for a short drive. The car felt sluggish, so I lamely explained that it needed a tune-up and that's why we couldn't pull away from that POS ch*vy. :) I actually wasn't driving it hard because it wasn't feeling right, so it suprised me when shifting from 2nd to 3rd that the revs went to zero. I completed the shift to 3rd and let out the clutch, restarting the motor. Immediately, I started hearing a noise from the motor -- a banging that obviously didn't feel right.
The banging would get really loud over 2500 rpms, so I limped back to her house and left the car there. I called Bill and asked that fateful question: "Can I borrow your trailer?"
We trailered it to his garage, and started the process of pulling the motor to find out what was wrong.
Quite a way to break in Bill's new garage. However, the garage floor wouldn't be quite so pristine when we got through with all of this...
Once in Bill's garage, we set about removing the motor to see if we could figure out what was wrong. My Cobra-owning friend John Winkler said that he'd enjoy helping, so the three of us embarked on this project.
There are quite a few things to disconnect when you go to pull the motor. Nothing is difficult about it, and the procedure in the Tech Manual is right on --- no surprises. Just make sure to label all the wires coming off the motor! You can reach most of the wires from up here, but you will have to reach a few things on the front of the motor.
Just in case you wondered why that bulkhead intruded into the passenger compartment... There isn't much to do up front on the motor, apart from unbolting the A/C compressor from the alternator bracket. The A/C stays with the frame when the motor is removed.
A good view of the motor and the ZF out of the car, with John and Bill in the background. We attached the chains to the heads using special brackets that Bill had sitting around. (Man, it pays to have friends with well-stocked garages! The brackets may have been leftovers from his brother Bruce's old 460 project...) We then looped a chain around the back of the ZF (just behind the axles) and were able to center it enough that we could pull the motor without tilting it too much.
Some interesting issues awaited us.
The 351 Cleveland motor that was installed in the car was apparently the victim of a poor rebuild. The standard oiling problems of the 351C (and probably the driving habits of the previous owner) caused me to shred a rod bearing and send metal everywhere through my motor.
I rarely had the motor over 5 grand (I was still learning to drive it), so I find it unlikely that my problems could have been caused by my driving habits. It must have been a pre-existing condition.
The 351C had been previously bored to .030, above which is not recommended to bore a Cleveland. I didn't think that I could get away with a new hone of the block, and all that metal that went through the motor made be think twice about using the block again. Coupled with the typical oiling problems of the Cleveland block, I decided to go with a new Windsor motor.