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Decided to start a thread on my 6 speed tranny swap in my 68 Fairlane.

Some history about the car... The car has been in the family for 31 years now. It was originally a 289, 2 barrel and C4 tranny. It was a plain jane car, rubber/vinyl floors, bench seats, does have A/C, power steering, vinyl hardtop and that dark blue color. 15 years ago, I dropped the tranny, at the age of 16 and talked my father into rebuilding a 390 to put in its place with a C6. We adapted what we could find and gave the ole 68 a new heartbeat. We put a Comp Cam 268H, which gave it a noticeable idle, and ran it with a 500 cfm 2-barrel and airplane gears for the rear-end, 2.75:1. It served its purpose through high school, but when college came around, the ole girl was parked in the garage for the next 12 years.

Fast forward abit...

Finally out of college, and now time to resume my hobby. I had always wanted a manual transmission but never had the means or finances to afford the swap. I looked at several options, traditional 4-speed, T5, TKO, T-56, and T-56 magnum transmissions. I opted for the T-56 Magnum due to its variable shifter locations. Hopefully, this might allow me to retain my bench seat, if possible. I kinda knew what I was getting myself into with this endeavor, but not the exacts of what all it would entail. I wasn't for sure if and how much the transmission tunnel would need to be raised. So before buying the transmission, I opted to see how well I could weld and make a decision based upon the results of trying to replace the floor pans. So thats where I started. Bought a Miller Mig Welder and went to work, already had a plasma cutter so that made light work or what bit of floor pans still existed as can be seen here.




Now, I could have just cut what I needed out of the replacement pans, but with the forsight that I may need the extra height of the pans for the tunnel, I decided to use the entire floor pans. Once I got my confidence up that I could descently weld, I purchased the T-56 Magnum. Once I got the pans partially installed, I mocked up the location/height of the tranny with a bare block to see what I had to look forward to. Here is a side picture of what the consequences for the tunnel were to be.

Now this looks over dramatic, when looking at the pic ya must remember that something on the tranny is hitting the tunnel. And that something was the shifter itself. The black line is for reference of where the tunnel use to be with respect to the the replacement floor pans. The bad thing about Fairlanes/Torinos is that the tunnel necks really quick and really bad so the shifter was actually hitting on the sides of the tunnel at the neck and not the top. Don't get me wrong, there is a slight height issue also.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Now if this had been a small block, this tunnel issue may have not been as severe. Could have lowered the engine. But with a FE block, lowering the engine really isn't an option. But now its time to cut modify the tunnel. I cut the middle section of where the tunnel would need to be modified out and started re-working the contours. He is tranny with the tunnel out.


Once I go the driveline angles down, time to re-install the tunnel and finish installing the remaining floor pans.




I found an outstanding find in a local junk yard, manual tranny steering column, 4 speed pedals and mounting bracket, power booster brackets and 4-speed hump all for 85 bucks. Since I had to tear the dash out to install the pedals, nows the time to clean, paint the interior firewall and modify the pedal bracket with ball bearing instead of those plastic sleeves. I removed the existing pedal bushing and what looked to be pot metal pieces from the bracket and started hunting around the garage for something that had a bearing I.D. the same O.D. has the brake pedal rod. As luck would have it, an old dolly wheel was the exact match. I cut the hub off the rim and there was my new ball bearing pedal assembly.

 

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Once I was content with the welding job I thought to myself.... Since I've got bare metal that needs covering, why not do it good. Sooo, a somewhat tranny only swap turned into stripping the complete underside of the car.


Since original is out the window, I was looking for longevity in preservation. I originally wanted to do Rhino Lining the underside, but decided not too. I did some research and saw this product called Lizardskin. It is a water based paint/mixture which made me think of latex paint/ house paint which made me skeptical. I called the manufacturer asking questions about their product and they said they would send me a sample to feel/touch/ experiment with. They market their product as being interior/exterior applications but... water based really made me wonder. Few days later I recieved their sample and proceeded to perform a few experiments to see how stout their stuff is. First was a simple salt water test. Soak their product in salt water for 24 hrs and see if it rubs off... It didn't. Next was Dawn dish washing liquid and water for 24 hrs... Didn't rub off. Ok.... so, what to test it with. Throw it in the dish washer and see if hot water, soap, steam would have an effect on it... It didn't. It wouldn't rub off. So, reasonably soaking it does not effect it. What about water hitting it at 60 mphs from being on the underside of the vehicle.. Huh, I'll use the high pressure washer on it.. I know what its capable of on a vinyl roof... don't ask.. So I held the sample with my boots, held the end of the wand about an inch away from the sample and held it to the sample for roughly 30 secs. It withstood that test. So I figured, normal wear and tear shouldn't effect it too much. So thats what I went with.
Lizardskin is a thermal and acoustical barrier. It can be a single part application, or 2 part. Whichever you want. I went with the 2 part option since the car will never leave the family. Each part is to be applied about 40 mils thick. Here is what the finished product looks like. I did the undercarriage and the inside of the car. Hopefully this will keep some of the noise and heat out of the car.


 

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Then I moved onto the engine compartment. Nows the time to do it right. So I used the Lizardskin on the firewall and painted the engine compartment.



As for clutch actuation, hydraulic is what I used. The option I went with was instead of triangulating pedal geometry with a flush mount master cylinder, just angle the master cylinder with respect to the firewall. This little setup is available from American Powertrain, but one could fabricate their own.



Now, this will maintain the original pedal articulation and it mounts in the same location that the original push rod would have passed through the firewall at. I did reinforce the firewall from the inside. This mounting bracket puts too many holes in to small an area for one not to reinforce the firewall. While I had the steering column out, I used the steering column flange that mounts to the firewall as a template and made another flange that uses the existing column flange bolt pattern. This reinforcement flange is nothing more than a giant washer sandwiched between the firewall and the steering column flange. And should disburse the force that is exerted onto the firewall from actuating the clutch.
 

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Onto the engine. The engine only had 30k on it after the rebuild 15 years ago and I had intended on just freshening it up and being done with it. But, about 12 years ago a fellow car enthusiast was getting out of the FE business and I bought all his FE parts, I got a 428 crank, 390 block (to make a 410), a 9" rearend that was a direct swap into the Fairlane, a set of C3AE-C heads and a tri-power set up all for 750. And I thought to myself,.. 6 speed and a 6 pack.

Now that would be definitely a one of a kind car. I know it would be easier to go with a 4 barrel and probably make more power, but to me, uniqueness is just as important. Soo, what would I need to do reasonably optimize this setup. The Comp Cams 268H cam was a good cam when I drove the car to high school and to work, but the tripower setup could use a little more duration. And I never had the correct exhaust manifolds for the Fairlane, always had 8 bolt exhaust flange heads and the way the exhaust ports are angled with the FE causes the 2 front ports to fight with the 2 back ports for scavaging. So, I went with the FPA tri-y headers that will work with either 8 bolt or 16 bolt heads.


Its going to be fun stuffing all this back in the engine compartment.

I also went with the Comp Cams XE274H for cam choice. Which leads us to where we are now. The block and heads are at the machine shop being gone through and the engine will then be reassembled. I have yet to fabricate the transmission cross member and those posts are yet to come.
 

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Looks great fabri, got any pics of the exterior? its funny how your 68s under side, floor pans and engine bay are still exactly like my 67s dispite all the exterior changes they made.

you did good on all the welding and fabrication work. i love fabricating, ive never had all the tools to do it right but its fuuun. things like you digging into that engine and swopping parts out and all scares the heck out of me lol ive done my fair share of mechanical work but never been wild enough to dig into and engine lol

keep it up and keep posting those pics, more the better :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Heres what it looks like, its both rear quarters need replacing but thats later on down the road.


Its going back to blue when once I get the underside and drivetrain done.
 

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yaha! it looks nice. i can still see some 66/67 in it lol i do like that year a lot.
hey those wheels in the picture, what are those called? do they still make em? ive been looking into wheels for my fairlane when its time to buy. ive narrowed it down to those and torque thrust IIs. but i cant find those anywhere.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
They were made by Progressive and bought about 14 yrs ago, other than that i couldnt tell you.
 

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Made some headway in the last little bit. Got the block back, everything checked out alright. The heads ended up needing 13 valves replaced so just went ahead and replaced them all. Got the engine assembled and degree'd. Decided to leave the heads and headers off and drop the engine and tranny in at once, that way I could check clearances for the headers later. Glad I decided to put the engine and tranny in as one, found out a critical interference with the tranny and pilot bearing. The Quicktime bellhousing is approximately 1/4" too shallow, the splined part of the input shaft was bottoming out on the pilot bearing before the bellhousing and tranny was completely bolted together. This only took about 10 hours of scratching my head and numerous checks, rechecks, putting it together and taking it apart to figure that out. Finally made a shim out of 1/4" aluminum plate I had laying around and everything then bolted together seamlessly.


Decided to try the Explorer rear end swap, So went to local Pull-A-Part and got a 98 Explorer with disc brakes, 3.73 gears and limited slip. Since the rear end has the pinion offset about 2.25" towards the passenger's side I decided to swap axle sides


The drivers side is the long axle. By cutting the housing and swapping sides, i.e., putting the long axle on the passenger's side, I was able to relocate the pinion roughly 15/16" from the centerline of the housing towards the drivers side. Something a little more managable and hopefully the tunnel won't produce ay interferences. Since I had the rear-end torn down for welding and fabbing, thought it would be a good idea to re-build the TruTrac and replace all the bearings. I have to admit, without some imaginative engineering for anchoring the pinion, crushing the crush sleeve would have been impossible. I used the front end loader on our tractor to help anchor the pinion in place, and using a 5 ft long 1.25 x 1.25" tubing. It made light work of crushing the sleeve. I felt like a mule at a grist mill.

This past weekend got the rear end and some various odds and ends sand blasted and ready for painting. Also, got the engine in place and checked all around for interferences with the headers in which I had a few. I found out that a Mastertorque Starter will not work with the FPA headers. Have to use OEM sytle starter. The passengers side collector was touching the frame, right where the brake line that shoots to the rear end is coupled to the front portion. I trimmed about a 1/16" off the frame and that aleviated that problem. The driver's side had 2 places of interferences. One was the block bottom corner, right below the last bolt hole is for the bellhousing, so I shaved the block back about 1/8" or so. It was also rubbing on the corner of the bellhousing, right next to what would be the inspection plate would be. Shaved that a little and that seems to have taken care of all the interferences.

Two things I do not look forward to ever is having to replace the starter and exhaust leaks at the heads. Put a new Powermaster starter on it and used some Percy multilayered aluminum header gaskets. Well see how they both hold up. With the engine in the car, its a royal pain bolting the headers on. But its done, and thats one step closer to firing it off. Here is what she looks like now.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Been busy the last little bit with the car. Got the Explorer rear end under the car, doesn't look like I'll have any issues with the 15/16" offset.


Got the transmission crossmember made and installed.

It may be overkill, but made it out of 1.5" x 1.5" square tubing, 1/4" thick.
Also got in all the pieces for the exhaust puzzle in (combination of 304 and 409 SS), X-pipe and Magnaflow mufflers along with the consumables for welding.


Started at the crossover and worked forwards towards the collectors and the from the crossover rearwards. So far got both sides plumbed from the collectors, up and over the rearend, upto the gas tank.



For the time being, everything is just tacked in place, then I'll remove the exhaust, finish the welding and reinstall the exhaust. It's not a bad experience making your own exhaust system, kind of tedious, but I know I wouldn't have been happy with someone elses work. Hopefully next weekend I'll finish the routing and start final welding. The one last time sink is rebuilding the carburetors, got the rebuild kits, just haven't done them yet.
 

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Well, ran into an unexpected snag, or at least one I hadn't thought of. Started going through the carbs and came to the conclusion that they weren't going to be simple rebuilds, or at least out of my capabilities. All 3 carbs main body metering plate surfaces are concaved warped, only about 10 to 15 thousandths, but enough that I am hesitant to leave them like they are. They may have been good as is, but don't want to take a chance of the gasket leaking and then the vacuum of the engine drawing raw fuel into the combustion chamber and damaging the rings and bearings. One of the carbs accelerator pump arms is either bent, or the stud that it swivels on is warn out, and one of the bowls has a stripped thread in the accelerator pumps cover. In soaking the carbs in carb cleaner, the dichromatic plating also came off. Not that I really care, nor is it important, but the choke is missing off the center carb and someone had used what looks like JB Weld in the mouting holes for the choke assembly. Called Holley's Custom Shop and set up for them to restore the carbs. And depending on what else the carbs might require, it may take somewhere between 4 - 10 weeks. Luckily, this wont be a set back in terms of firing the engine off. Wasn't planning on using them for the break-in anyway. Probably just block off the secondary carbs on the intake plenum and run a spare Holley 500 on the center during break-in. Once the break-in is done, still have to tear back into the heads and put the inner springs back in. So the Tri-Power isn't going to be needed for sometime.
But in good news, got my Heater Control Valve in this week. When I called AutoKrafters about 2 weeks ago, they said they didn't know when they would have any in, could be 2 days, could be 2 months, so when it showed up at the door step, I was quite surprised.
Almost got the exhaust finished too, lacks 3 welds for the hangers and 2 welds on the muffler, I ran out of stainless wire this past weekend or it would have been done.
I'm starting to get to the point where I'm getting antsy about gettig this car running again. Really interested to see how it idles, how the Magnaflow sound and what vacuum it pulls. It's still next spring at least before the first road trials, but at least I can move her under her own power.
 

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Nice. Glad to see another '68 around here! Following this project closely!
 

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Got the exhaust complete. Ended up making my own hangers, ended up being cheaper to buy the pieces and fab myself rather than spend $20-30 bucks a piece for the stainless hanger. Bought some 3/8" x 6' stainless rod from Grainger for right at $30 and 4 rubber isolaters from summit totalling $15 bucks and bent the rod into J bends. Shouldn't be minimal galvanic corrosion at the hanger locations. Exhaust may not be an A+ for quality, but in my opinion should be an A-. Now that the exhaust is on, can barely shimmy between the ground and the pipes.

The carbs should tentatively be done August 15th, and nothing surprizing came up from Holley about other pieces needing replaced for additional cost.

I could never find a set of aluminum finned valve covers to my liking, eveything that I found had "Cobra", "428/427" or a logo stamped on them. Hard to find just a plain Jane set of aluminum finned valve covers so decided to just go with the original "Power by Ford" valve covers. Its getting closer to break-in, just odds and ends left along with fuel line fabrication/installation.

Getting ready to get the driveshaft worked on, ends up the old driveshaft is 1/4" too long going from the C-6 to 9" to the T-56 to 8.8". Just enough to ring out the weld and re-weld it, pretty much.

A nice coincidence is the tri-power intake that I'm using is from a Galaxie, so the carb plates are stair-stepped, which in a normal scenario could put the carbs off plane. But just soo happens that with getting the driveline angles correct, the carb plates are now in plane so the carbs will sit level. However, since apparently the the angle of the engine has changed from what it use to be, the fan now rubs the fan shroud. I didn't want to cut into the original fan shroud, so for now I'll go without a shroud and see how the temp is, or have the trusty cardboard sitting handy to improvise during break in. One modification I was going to do anyway, was an electric fan conversion, so no since in cutting into a completely good fan shroud.
Can't wait to breathe life back in this ol' girl.
 

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Your doing some fanatastic work here, really impressed with your progress, going to be a really unique F;lane!
following with much interest
 

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Finally got around to taking some pictures of the progress. Here is the exhaust hangers that I made.


As you can see, its simple enough to make, and alot cheaper than buying stainless hangers.

Couldn't really take a good picture from under the car, could only get a descent picture of the rear-portion.



Can barely tell its a pieced together exhaust that been cut, welded, and blended. 3" mandrel bent would easily go up and over the rear end with some imagination. What your seeing is 2.5" mandrel. I have managed to get the fuel line fabbed and installed. 3/8" galvanized tubing is a pain to bend. After talking with my driveshaft guy, we both agreed to try the length of the driveshaft as is and go from there. I did have to put the Explorer flange on, but ends up the driveshaft will work without shortening. And, the complex angle of the driveshaft is below 3 degrees. The vertical angle is only 2 degrees, and the offset angle is right at 1 degree. So I have enough angles such that the u-joints will perform their intended function, and enough margin so that I shouldn't wear out u-joints or get driveline vibrations.

Bout time to put the heater box back in, so I took the opportunity to clean and straighten out the fins on the A/C evaporator. Here is what it looked like before


Not too bad for 40+ years. After a few hours of straightening the fins with 2 small knives, made it look like


More to come.
 

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Looking good, what are you plans for the interior?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The bench seats were re-upholstered back when I was in high school (bout 15 yrs ago), 2-tone blue vinyl and something like velour, so they're already done. Or at least I hope I can keep the bench seats. I've got a short legged boss, that has to be able to drive it, so the seats will have to be able to go all the way up. From preliminarily looking at the 4-speed bench Cobra I've got, the shifter is at the same location, but I'll confirm it once I get the engine running again. If the bench wont work, then I'll be looking for some buckets, maybe out of a Lexus or something. Will try and find something that has wide buckets, not the little narrow buckets that the small cars now have.
I'll have to get new carpet, to accommodate the hump. As for the package tray (or whatever you call it), I'll throw a sheet vinyl over it and call it done. I'll replace the headliner. Thinking of getting an aftermarket tach and seeing if I can put it in one of the spare holes of the dash, try and make it look semi-factory at least. The door panels, I doubt if I will do anything with them. The drivers side window needs to be fixed, the glue broke loose years ago, so the window slides in the channel at will. I'll probably just make my own shifter, I'll get something like 5/8" solid round stainless stock, bend as needed, drill a hole in one end, stick some threaded rod down it, tack in place for the shifter knob to bolt to and drill some holes in it to mount to the tranny. Or course the interior will be the last thing I do.
The next step once the engine is done is to tear apart the front end and start replacing bushings, strip it, paint it, etc. I've got a set of disc spindles and hardware to convert the front from drum to disc. Or at least I think the spindles and hardware will work, there from a late 60's Mustang. If not, I'll sell them and go another route and get disc on the front. At this point, I will have taken the front half of the car off, fenders, grill, etc. Which will allow me to patch 1 little hole in the cowl area.
I think I have figured out a way of getting the hydroboost on the car. Unfortunately the hydroboost and MC will be GM products. Mainly due to the fact, GM parts are cheaper than their Ford counterparts. The hydroboost will be from a 96 Astro and the MC will be from a 99 GMC Jimmy. The Jimmy's brake lines exit on the passengers side of the MC, so that will get it away from the shock towers. I'm going to take some measurements to see if what I've got drawn on paper will actually work. If I do have a slight interference with the shock tower, rather than cut the shock tower, I'll make a shim that will kick the assembly towards the passengers side away from the shock tower.
Then there is the A/C to fix. I'll need to find a switch, compressor, drier, etc. I may be able to reuse the old condensor coil. But the drier I'll probably replace.
Once I go through the front end and A/C, then its onto the body. Both rear quarters need the cancer cut out of them and new patch panels installed. I'll take the vinyl top off, and survey the damage that might be hidden. The car originally was a dark blue color, but I'm more of a red person, so I had the car painted a 92 Chrysler Rasberry Red Metallic back in high school. Now, I'm tired of the red, so back to blue she goes. Still not too fond of the original color. Unless I find something I like more, think it will be repainted the 2011 Dodge Deep Water Blue that you see on the new Ram trucks. But, new paint won't be till late next year at the earliest, I forsee. Then comes the interior.

There is a little rhyme to my madness. Don't won't to completely tear the car apart as my line of work may cause me to move every few years, and I don't want to lose the little pieces, thus the reason I am doing this in stages.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Got the engine fired off this weekend. Not running the Tri-Power yet, easier to break-in the engine only using 1 carb. Still have some work that needs to be done before setting thse carbs on. It was a successful break-in, those Magnaflows with the cross-over piping are alot quieter than I was expecting. Which is a good thing, imo. Here's a clip of engine while we were breaking it in



Now, time to add the inner valve springs back in, and we can move on to Carburation and MSD.
 
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