A day in the life..

Friday Follow Up, High School Shop

413 Engine Mounts
413 Engine Mounts

Students spent 8th period Friday tacking motor mounts, preparing the parking brake, and rewelding the front leaf spring mounts.  Above are the motor mounts attached to the frame plates.  The students will remove the rubber blocks, weld solid, then install to the engine.  When all parts are lined up satisfactorily, the students will tack the mounts to the frame and remove the engine one last time in order to weld them solid.  This will also be the last opportunity to clean / derust / paint any portion of the frame involved as well as freshen up the appearance of the engine.  We do not plan on removing the engine again as previous tests show it to be a reliable unit fit for service.

Parking Brake Location
Parking Brake Location

Parking (emergency) brake duties will be applied with the factory handle from a ’72 Winnebago.  The parking brake drum is mounted to the rear of the 727, allowing us to remove the brake shoes and cables Ford used on the 8.8 we are installing.  The handle will be mounted to the left of the driver’s left foot as shown.  This is the applied position; 90 degrees up is the release position, well out of the driver’s way in both positions.  Below, the spring mount configuration on the left will be cut from the 1/4″ plate and attached to the frame.  The setup on the right is a mock up.  The student needs to remove the mill scale from the plate and remove any dross from the cuts he made.  7018 electrode is being used to weld these uprights to the plate.

8.8 Spring Mounts getting finished.
8.8 Spring Mounts getting finished.

Project F250 had its new clutch and pressure plate installed.  Below the student is torquing the 5/16″ bolts to spec (15 to 20 lb/ft) as per Ford chassis manual.  If you squint you can see the white marks on the heads of the bolts.  I instruct the students to mark each bolt as it is torqued to prevent untorqued fasteners.

Torquing Pressure Plate Assembly
Torquing Pressure Plate Assembly
Pressure Plate Installed
Pressure Plate Installed

I brought a rattle can of Ford engine blue to spray on the bellhousing but, having absent mindedly failed to check for a spray nozzle, wound up painting it silver instead.  Original condition was natural cast iron with a bit of overspray from the engine, so this isn’t really that far of a departure.

Bellhousing Painted
Bellhousing Painted

Final shot of the 727 bench mount jig, student built of course.  This will enable us to mount the extra 727 to a bench or engine stand allowing free rotation to access the different sides.  It turned out well, and as with most projects, it was built entirely of scrap.  Permaculture principle 6: Produce no waste.

727 Transmission Fixture
727 Transmission Fixture
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F250 and MeadowBrook Updates, High School Shop

Resurfaced Flywheel FE390 / T18 combo
Resurfaced Flywheel FE390 / T18 combo

47 minute class periods are just not enough time to get much accomplished.  Above you’ll notice the flywheel for the F250 has been installed and torqued to 80 lb/ft .  The pilot bushing was soaked in engine oil and installed as per Ford truck manual.  Prior to installation, the bolt and bolt hole threads where chased with a thread chase and brake clean as noted below.  The students were sure to install the starter mount plate BEFORE flywheel installation!

Thread chasing on T18 Bellhousing
Thread chasing on T18 Bellhousing

This is the T18 bellhousing.  The threads are being cleaned with Brakleen, a thread chase, and compressed air to ensure proper fastener torque upon reassembly.  Clean threads also makes reassembly easier as most fasteners can be installed with the fingers instead of necessitating a driving tool.

Thread Cleaner
Thread Cleaner
FE390 Head
FE390 Head

Here is one of the F250 heads being prepared for valve lapping.  Before we complete that job, we want to be sure they are worth the effort.  A few exhaust manifold bolts had broken of over the years so the students are learning how to remove them.  If they cannot be removed the holes will be re-drilled and tapped to size.  In the first photo below, the center of the seized bolt has been removed and the edge of the remaining thread pounded toward the center of the hole.  In the second pic a student is using a needle nose pliers to pull the threads from the head.  He is using a twisting motion with the center of the hole being the pivot.  The threads came out nicely until a second student hurriedly pulled on the threads instead of pivoting, breaking it off.  Now we get the enjoyable (not) task of restarting the thread pull over.  Oh, and none of the techniques in the video below work for rust locked bolts such as these.

Loosened Threads
Loosened Threads
Removing Thread with Needle Nose Pliers
Removing Thread with Needle Nose Pliers
Front Motor Mount Plates
Front Motor Mount Plates

Above two of the four 413 engine mount plates (Project 52) have been completed, ready for installation.  They will be tacked into place, engine removed, then welded solid.  Below is the brake lever that came out of the Winnebago chassis along with the engine / transmission combo.  It will be mounted to the floor and a downward press will engage the brake.

Parking Brake Lever
Parking Brake Lever

Project Update, High School Shop

413 1952 MeadowBrook
413 1952 Dodge MeadowBrook

As you may recall from a long time ago the students installed a 413 into our 1952 Dodge MeadowBrook project.  Well, the time has FINALLY arrived to fabricate engine mounts and get the powerplant up off the frame.  We are using paperboard templates to transfer the shapes of the design onto steel.  Once the shape is outlined in soap stone, they use our plasma cutter to cut the rough shape.  A grinder is then used to remove any dross present around the edges in order to create a clean welding surface.

Fabricating motor mounts 1952 MeadowBrook.
Fabricating motor mounts 1952 MeadowBrook.

Lots of trial and error here.  Reading, Writing, & ‘Rithmatic evidently aren’t taught well enough that the students can calculate, design, and fabricate the motor mount shapes.  Leave it to shop and art classes to teach the real skills.  Below is one of the side plates for the mount which will be welded to the frame.  The frame will be ground clean, mounts tacked into place, and the engine removed before the mounts are welded solid.

Front Left Motor Mount.
Front Left Motor Mount.

Oops, looks like someone drilled the bolt hole on these spring perches 1/4″ too high (frameward) so now the springs don’t fit.  The students cut the ears of the mounts and will be welding them to 1/4″ plate.  If you look closely, the student will need to turn each upright inside out in order for the spring to clear the plate, or they will have the same fitment issue.  Permaculture basics: the problem is the solution.

Re-designing front spring perch.
Re-designing front spring perch.

The mount in the photo above will tie the front of the leaf spring to the frame.  The students found the discrepancy when attempting to mount the spring to the frame but could not install the bolt through both the perch and spring.  Let the work do the teaching…

8.8 Under 1952 MeadowBrook
8.8 Under 1952 MeadowBrook

Late Start, Slow Day, High School Shop

Cleaning Bellhousing for Paint.
Cleaning Bellhousing for Paint.

School called a late start today which resulted in 36 minute class periods.  Hardly enough time to eat much less teach a lesson or accomplish any real lab work.  The students worked diligently all day, though nothing major got done but hey, we need catch up time sometimes.  Above a student is preparing the bellhousing from the 1972 F250.  It will be solvent cleaned and painted, then installed after the clutch is replaced.  I picked up the parts tonight from our local NAPA so the students can begin installation tomorrow.  Below another student in welding class re-configrued the 727 mount I (incorrectly) had him fabricate.  The finished product will function well and, as always, look great.

727 Mount reconfigured.
727 Mount reconfigured.
8.8 Front Spring Bushing
8.8 Front Spring Bushing

Here the students have installed the front leaf spring bushings for the 8.8″ Ford rear axle we will be installing.  These units were purchased from truckspring.com (part no. RB237 and RB131) and I bought the bolts at our local CASE/IH dealer.  They are 9/16″ x 5″, kind of an oddball when looking for bolts.  Below the students have rolled the 8.8 into a mock up position.  It’s not centered, but it does represent the basic location of where it will be mounted.  Front spring mounts will be installed then rear shackle mounts will be fabricated and installed.  I may use these as they contain all the pertinent pieces needed.

8.8 Under 1952 MeadowBrook
8.8 Under 1952 MeadowBrook
8.8 Under 1952 MeadowBrook
8.8 Under 1952 MeadowBrook

Testing an Alternator and its Systems: Part 1

Alternator as mounted.
Alternator as mounted. 334-1659

Yesterday’s drive to work netted an unexpected teaching opportunity: a low battery voltage condition as identified by warning lights in the instrument cluster and low voltage reading on my power port meter.  To conserve energy I shut off all electrical accessories including radio, heater (not easy at -1 F), and headlights when other vehicles were not approaching as the morning was still dark.  I experienced this condition in 2016 resulting in an alternator change.  Naturally I assumed the same fault but led the students through some basic diagnostic procedures to identify the issue correctly.  Above is a photo of the alternator in our 1988 Camry, an AC Delco unit I purchased that October through Amazon.

T pin Installed in alternator connector.
T pin Installed in alternator connector.

The photo above depicts a basic back-probing procedure used when testing electrical circuits.  We first disconnected the connector, as shown in the last photo, to test for voltage at the three pins.  Then we tested each pin while connected and under load as shown below.  A technician wants to test circuits in operational condition with all associated loads as resistance through a running circuit may offer different readings from one at idle.  This connector has a battery voltage sense (S) terminal, alternator on (IG) terminal, and warning lamp terminal (L).  The blurry connector under the white cap in the upper left of the photo is the battery charge post (B), or the main charge wire to the battery.

Clamp attached to T pin.
Clamp attached to T pin.

All circuits had power when connected and running, but the S terminal seemed a bit low.  This may have led the alternator to produce too much charge shortening it life.  A theory at present, one which we will test more today.  The S terminal is fed by an 80 amp fuse and a fusible link fl (am1 0.5g) which, when converted to wire gauge, is simply a length of 20 gauge wire.  My first goal when the students get to class (late start due to cold) is to check the voltage drop from battery positive (+) to the sense terminal to see how much voltage is lost through the circuit.  We will then test from + to both sides of the fusible link and see if a corroded connection may be the culprit.  Again, this is just a theory.

Female and male connectors for alternator.
Female and male connectors for alternator.

Here is the shot of the connector disconnected.  The connector (above) has electrical grease in the terminals, not corrosion as it appears.  I haven’t shown the back of the connector, but the wires entering the housing are darkened from excess heat.  This may be from a hot alternator or poor connection in the connector itself.  Either way I’ve ordered a new connector with pigtails to solder in place to correct this issue in the future.  This post will be updated with Part 2 as the procedure continues.

Starting Seedlings in January

Marly's creation - Lamb & veggies
Marly’s creation – Lamb & veggies

Cloudy but warm today.  Not much to do outside today but Marly prepared an excellent meal of lamb, a side of eggplant with squash, and cheese tray.  Delicious!

Setting up soil making
Setting up soil making

Did spend a few hours preparing an planting seedlings.  Above I’m preparing soil for the soil press.  We plant mostly what can’t be purchase locally or costs an arm and a leg if it can.  The little flags simply identify what is planted in each row.  The lettuce seedlings from last weekend have emerged and look well.

Soil Blocks Prepared and Planted
Soil Blocks Prepared and Planted

Permaculture design principle 1: Observe and interact.  Below I photographed the flow of water from the roof down the back yard.  It’s important to notice details like this to fully utilize them in the future.  I’m either going to A: Collect the runoff in a container, B: Plant water loving plants at the bottom of the flow, C: Redirect the runoff to other parts of the landscape.  The water below is flowing under the snow but above the frozen soil.

Roof Runoff North Side
Roof Runoff North Side

T18, 11.5″ Clutch R&R, High School Shop

T18 Casting Info
T18 Casting Info

Another class is completing a clutch install in parallel with the FE390 head work.  As of this posting, the students have inspected and removed the two piece driveshaft.  All three u joints are still serviceable and will not be replaced as part of this service.  They then removed the T18 above to get at the chattering clutch.  If you look closely at the top of the photo you’ll notice an aluminum transmission ID tag.  Below is a clean, close up of said tag.  I have been unable to decode the Ford number, but as we aren’t planning on rebuilding this unit, it’s not an issue.  The third photo show the speedometer cable opening taped up to keep debris out.  Yes, the intake manifold was leaking profusely, soaking the clutch and coating the transmission.  The grease was so thick we didn’t even know there was a rib under the casting numbers!

T18 ID TAG C3T3-HA1
T18 ID TAG C3T3-HA1
T180 SPeedometer opening taped up
T180 SPeedometer opening taped up
Cleaning the FE390 to T18 Bellhousing
Cleaning the FE390 to T18 Bellhousing

The bellhousing is getting a thorough cleaning and will receive paint.  I try to have the students complete a good looking job, hopefully building a little pride in their activity.  It too was coated with a thick layer of grease from the manifold.  We placed it on top of a trash can and scraped most of the gunk off before placing in the solvent tank.

Pressure plate and clutch still installed to flywheel.
Pressure plate and clutch still installed to flywheel.

Above is a shot of the three lever pressure plate still installed to the flywheel.  Look closely at the center and you can see the 1-1/16″ 10 spline hole.  This was one hard unit to find as 11-1/2″ clutches were an anomaly.  Most trucks had the 11″ or 12″ units.  Also, ford used this three lever setup to actuate the clutch but later models transitioned to a Chevy style diaphragm.   The three lever models apply more clamping power to the clutch, preferred in high power applications.  I hope the rebuilt unit ordered comes with three levers instead of a diaphragm but I guess I’ll live with what’s delivered as they are so difficult to locate.

Bare flywheel FE390.
Bare flywheel FE390.

Finally, the mess we had after cleaning out the springs in the pressure plate assembly.  Mice.  Lots of nesting material, seeds, and poo but no mice.  This is the reason for the rust you see on the flywheel above.   The pick is pointing to the worst worn area worn on the clutch plate.  The rivets are not hitting either side yet.

Cleaning the mouse home from the pressure plate springs.
Cleaning the mouse home from the pressure plate springs.
Clutch worn thin.
Clutch worn thin.

FE390 Continuing Head Work, High School Shop

FE390 Vacuum Tree
FE390 Vacuum Tree

If you’ll recall from the first post in this series, you’ll often see tape with information written on it.  Above you’ll notice the students have labeled (and photographed) the heat riser tube which connects the exhaust manifold to the choke mechanism.  Although this photo was taken to document the vacuum hose routing, it could prove helpful in the event that tube were to be misplaced.  The EGR vacuum has been blocked of by a PO (NO NO for engine health) and the brake booster is attached to the rear.  The lower hose has a screw in lieu of a cap.  Be careful when using this old trick as the threads often allow air to leak past.  You can check your application by connecting the hose to a hand operated vacuum pump and testing for leakage.  ANY vacuum leak will affect performance though the effect will be felt to a lesser extent on higher cubic inch applications.

FE390 Valley Pan
FE390 Valley Pan

Under the intake manifold on an FE engine you’ll find the valley pan.  It prevents oil from contacting the exhaust crossover and runners in the intake manifold and directs splash at the lifters.  Below is a photo of it removed.  The engine can be operated without this pan if you block the exhaust crossover so the oil doesn’t bake to the bottom of the intake, but the hot oil may heat the intake charge.

FE390 Lifter Valley
FE390 Lifter Valley
FE390 Right Cylinder Deck
FE390 Right Cylinder Deck

These are the cylinder decks, both right and left.  Cylinder ridges are present, but we are not planning bottom end repair.  Vale sealing is quick and easy compared to cylinder boring and block work.  Oil pressure will be checked at the end of the process to determine if an oil pump is necessary.  Oil pan removal is not a difficult proposition and a new oil pump will keep this engine running a long life.

FE390 Left Cylinder Deck
FE390 Left Cylinder Deck