A week ago I was driving to a small car show a few miles away when I adjusted my shoulder belt as I was driving. I gave the belt a quick tug and noticed that it didn’t stop. So I gave it a faster tug and still it kept coming with no lock coming from the retractor. I reached over and pulled the passenger belt and again, no lock. This whole time I hadn’t thought to question the belts and their effectiveness. But now it seems that they aren’t much more than loose belts.

Because this is a safety issue, especially when my son is with me I stopped driving the car and ordered replacement belts. They came in along with some door sill plaques that I remember having on old 83 Mustang.

I was a bit annoyed because I had the car disassembled months ago and it would have been super easy to replace the belts then but nope, I had to pull the rear interior panels to expose the retractors and while it wasn’t too bad, still I wish I would have done this then.

I also checked the rear seat belts and they seemed to lock just fine. So now, I feel a bit safer knowing that the new belts are installed.

Heater Core Hell

I had suspicions that my core was going bad but nothing that was too regular to pull the trigger on replacing it. Well, shortly after driving the car to work, a co-worker asked if that was my car leaking. Sure it was. Coolant from the drainage hole under the AC unit. Also, that same day and on a few occasions my windshield would fog up just a little. Well after the drainage hole wouldn’t dry I figured that I would have to face the core sooner or later. Or I could just bypass the problem and wait until I needed heat. But as I take pride in my car’s condition, I figured f’ it. Just do it. Well, after working on this for the past 10 days, an hour here an hour there and a whole weekend, I tackled it. I don’t ever want to do this again. I also added the flow restrictor to the heater hose as it didn’t have that when I replaced those hoses.

Fabulous Fords Forever 2015

The goal of entering my car into this show painted has been achieved. I am proud of the accomplishment and although there are a few things to address, the car at this point is pretty much complete. I will probably start winding down any more progress reports unless there is something crazy like a new Coyote engine falls from the sky and into my engine bay. Here are some pictures from the show.

Special thanks to my best friend T for going with me. He was there when I picked up the car and there when I presented a finished project.

Bumps in the road

After completing the reassembly of the car, I drove it down to my parent’s home and picked up my son from school. I noticed a sound that I was instantly dreading. There was a knocking that happened as the engine ran. At first I thought it might be my catalytic converters but thought that can’t be since they are relatively new. Then I thought, ope!, I think my engine is a goner. Then, I realized it was more of a rattle so I went under and could hear vibrations when I banged on the cats with my fist. Oh God. The cats.

After some investigating I came to the conclusion that indeed my cats may be bad. After calling Magnaflow and asking for warranty information, they told me to contact a dealer and buy a new system and send the old one back and if they find that it was defective they would credit me. This was after I had asked if I could take my car down to them to inspect. They declined. So, the going rate right now is nearly $1000 for a new cat system. I went up to Speedway Muffler in Upland. After talking to one of the guys, he said that it may take a while to get the warranty going with Magnaflow and in the end, 99% of the time, they say it is the consumer’s car’s fault. Now I know that they are in business, so I just figured, I should just fix it and be done with it. So they removed the rear cats and indeed they were shot.

Unfortunately, I don’t know how this happened as I don’t remember hitting any debris or speed bumps that might have damaged the units. One of the units had a broken brick and the other brick had detached from the housing.

The shop replaced them with new Magnaflow cats and at this point, we’ll see how long they last. I feel rather blah about it since I had a feeling that Magnaflow would not replace the set easily and I figured that I’d be screwed.

Exterior Assembly Complete

I picked up my car from Mario’s Auto Works after they cut and buffed the paint. What a difference. The paint is super smooth with a mirror like finish. I am so impressed by the paint job that I almost wish I went with a different color but in the end the color I chose was just what I was looking for. I am so glad that I was able to send my car to these guys. They are true pros at what they do and I am proud to say they are part of my extended family. All that is left to do is to reassemble the interior. I successfully reused the old headliner that came out and although it isn’t perfect, it looks way better than it was and I wasn’t even sure I was going to replace it.

Here are some pics of the car but be warned there are a lot of smudge marks and hand prints from the assembly.

Reassembly continues

Continued with partial reassembly after paint. Here’s what I’ve tackled:

  • New door and hatch weatherstrip
  • New Door handles
  • Reinstalled lights including new LX tailllights
  • Reinstalled my regular wheels
  • Installed insulation on the roof
  • Installed grill
  • Installed mirrors
  • Installed door window belt weatherstrip
  • Dynamatted the front doors, cleaned and reinstalled the door panels
  • Installed Pioneer speakers in the doors.

Images of said work: