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Fuel Tank

As John documented in his roadtrip story, there was a problem with the fuel tank. Put succinctly, it leaked when you tried filling it over about 3/4 full.

The problem with fixing the tank is clearly stated in the Pantera tech manual, step 1 for removing the tank: "Remove the motor as described in section...". Yeah, right. Remove the motor. When was I ever going to do that?

Well, kind reader, if you have been following the story so far, you might be aware that my old motor toasted itself and currently the new motor was conviently absent of the rest of the car. Seemed like a good time to fix the tank. :)


I always knew the tank had a problem, but I didn't know how bad it was. We thought that it was just the crack in the filler neck, which we could see while the tank was still installed in the car. But, turned out that there was another hole -- you can see how much water shoots out of the tank when we filled it to check for leaks!

We tried using this stuff called alumalloy to fix the problem, but using the blowtorch we could never get the tank hot enough to get a good bond with the alumalloy on this hole.

What about blowtorch and fuel tank in the same sentence doesn't sound good? Oh, yes, because a fuel tank contains fuel, an explosive chemical. We weren't totally stupid; we did flush the tank with water before using the torch on the tank. No problems with fuel igniting or anything. It took another chemical mixing with the blowtorch to reshape the tank.

We weren't getting a good seal with the alumalloy, and at first we thought that it was because the torch wasn't getting hot enough. We changed fuels on the torch, and tried again. Same luck - the seal around the filler neck still leaked. Our next thought was that they metal around the filler neck wasn't clean enough, so we used some laquer thinner to clean it off before trying again.

My advice would be: find some other (preferably non-explosive) chemical to clean stuff that you are going to follow with a blowtorch. We succeeded in reshaping the fuel tank in one big FWOOOMMP as soon as Bill put the torch to the alumalloy that I was holding. A 24 gallon tank became about 30 gallons, and two humans had some singed hair.

The lacquer thinner still on the surface of the tank had caught on fire, which ordinarily wouldn't do much damage. However, there were lacquer thinner fumes in the inside of the tank, and when the lacquer vapor caught, it went quickly. It could have been baaad, though, so after making sure that we were both OK, we laughed hysterically for about an hour.


Many mallet-blows later, after returing the tank to approximately 24 gallons, we decided that we didn't want to do that again. JB Weld, a non-flammable, no-torch-required cold weld compound has become my new favorite tool.

We decided to deal with non-explosive stuff next: the clutch and flywheel.

Clutch and Flywheel


One of the last steps to perform while the motor was out of the car was to assemble the flywheel, clutch, and pressure plate to the back of the motor. The pilot bearing is this small bearing that sits in the crank, and the input shaft of the transmission rides inside it. I tried to find a bronze bushing, but all I could find was this standard bronze/iron bushing.

The flywheel bolts to the crank with 6 bolts at about a thousand foot-pounds of torque. The flywheels have some imbalance in them, but fortunately it is designed that it will only bolt to crank in the proper orientation. You just have to keep turning the flywheel until the bolt holes line up.


Here you can see the clutch/flywheel assembly as completed on the motor. The only difficult thing about this part is aligning the clutch with the pressure plate; you need a special tool \includegraphics{motor/clutch-tool} to keep the clutch centered while you bolt the pressure plate down to the flywheel. It looks sort of like the roller in a toilet-paper dispenser -- one end fits into the pilot bearing and the diameter of the tool matches up with the diameter of the splines on the clutch plate. This keeps the clutch centered while the pressure plate is attached.

Assembling the ZF to the motor takes a bit of creativity on the part of the chain hoist in order to get the bolt holes of both parts to line up. Some mega stregth loctite in the boltholes, and we were ready to bring the car back to the shop.

Back to the Shop


Happy day! Finally, the motorless Pantera was moved from my garage back to Bill's place for the eventual reunion with its powerplant. John, Bill, and Rick came over to help out, and with four of us there, we were able to easily push the car up on the trailer.


John followed along behind us, discouraging people from getting to close when it was necessary to change lanes.

The car still drew attention when it is being towed!

Then, it was on to the work to get the motor to fit.

Emergency Brake Relocation

Before: None

After: None

During a test fit, we found that the emergency brake cable bracket interfered with my big ol' oil pan, so we had to move the bracket.


Before starting this project, the idea of moving a bracket like this would have been unthinkable. (Now, it is just un-doable for me, but plenty thinkable. :) I now have friends for which it is very doable.

I used the angle grinder to cut off the old bracket and get the new location down to bare metal. Bruce then took over and welded the new bracket in the new location. It didn't have to move very far forward; only about an inch and a half. Any further forward that that, and the bracket would have interfered with the water hoses from the radiator.


It also had to move down about a half an inch as well, because the new oil pan extends lower than the old 5 quart job. The cabling seemed to have enough adjustment ability that it could still reach the bracket in the new location.

I went on to paint the engine bay while all the stuff was out of there.

Painting the Engine Bay


There were a few more things to finish up before installing the motor. The first was to get rid of the rest of the undercoating goop from the frame. What a hassle cleaning that stuff is.

This nice shiny paint was was the result of about 4 hours of quality time with an angle grinder. Bits of undercoating went everywhere! Most of the undercoating on my car had been removed by a previous owner, but they left the stuff on the frame that was under the motor. You couldn't see it unless the motor was out, but I'd never have a better time to clean up this stuff.

In stock Panteras, this undercoating is typically everywhere in the engine bay. If you are in the market for a Pantera and don't like the undercoating, it would be worth something to find a car that already had the stuff removed.

I went with a gloss black to complete the engine bay. I like the look much better than the undercoating.

The last thing before installing the motor was the wiring



This is the part that I understand the least: electricity. Fortunately for me, Bill had wired stuff up before, and in fact has a degree in electrical engineering. It would have taken me many burned-out compontents to figure out what I was doing.

New to the Windsor are several ignition components. The biggest is the ignition module/rev limiter combo, which is that big red box bolted to the firewall. It is adjustable through dip switches in increments of 100 RPM -- very cool. We set it to around 3500 for the cam breakin period that was coming up.


Also included in the wiring adventure was a new coil, bolted below the ignition module. A ballast resistor was necessary in this setup. (Don't ask me why.)

Getting close! Time to install the motor.

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