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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all. I have been working on a 1963 Falcon project for some time now and decided to start posting it on a forum. The details of the build up until this point are here:

https://skylersfalcon.wordpress.com/

This is a pretty extreme restomod; there is very little Falcon left. Here are some of the highlights of the build:

- 4.9L fuel injected I-6
- M5OD 5 speed manual transmission
- 8.8" rear axle from late 90s Explorer
- Front suspension, A-arms out are from late model Crown Vic
- Rear suspension, Satchel link 4-link
- Much lower ride height with roughly 10" of usable wheel travel
- Manual steering rack from fox body Mustang

I'll probably start posting the same content here that I put on my wordpress blog. I might start a separate thread when I get into the engine stuff as I will be making my own custom ECU and doing other crazy stuff. Basically the goal of this project is to have a fun reliable car that can be daily driven, and with tire changes can go between autocross, rallycross, and drag racing. I hope you all enjoy and stay tuned.
 

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Wow. You like to bite-off a good chew. :D Drop-by Speeduino.com and perhaps you can give some ideas (or get some for yourself) with the open-source ECM (fuel and ignition), GPIO (similar to your "master controller") with CAN communications, and other projects going on there. Although based on cheap and common Arduino and Teensy controller boards, they have a lot of features up through full sequential, odd-fire, individual cylinder fuel trim, etc. and lots more. Would love a visit!

David
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Wow. You like to bite-off a good chew. :D Drop-by Speeduino.com and perhaps you can give some ideas (or get some for yourself) with the open-source ECM (fuel and ignition), GPIO (similar to your "master controller") with CAN communications, and other projects going on there. Although based on cheap and common Arduino and Teensy controller boards, they have a lot of features up through full sequential, odd-fire, individual cylinder fuel trim, etc. and lots more. Would love a visit!

David

Awesome! Thanks for the link. I will definitely be giving that site a closer look. A few more details on my ECU plan.. I was thinking of using the Atmel AT32UC3C2512C-A2ZR processor and trying to get it to work with Arduino IDE. I want to use Arduino probably for many of the same reasons it's used in Speeduino, large community, easy to use, etc. etc. I am still in the preliminary design phase. I pretty much have all the individual components figured out, ie mosfets, op amps, etc. I will be adding on-board wideband using the Bosch CJ125 IC. I am also planning something a little crazy (shocking I know), I want to modify the distributor for a 12 bit capacitive rotary encoder. Luckily the processor I have spec'd has a built in quadrature decoder, so programming the timing events should be a piece of cake.. I digress.. I could nerd out on electronics all day. Anyway, I will probably be posting a forum on the Speeduino site with all the juicy details when I get to that point.
 

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Sounds great. :cool: WBO2 has become super cheap, to the point that it's not worth the hassle to brew your own, such as 14point7.com's $35 controller you assemble yourself. Add $50 for the sensor to have a complete working package. There is also a Bosch-based fully assembled WBO2 module out there for $25. But, it sounds like you're the type to bake from scratch. ;) See you soon!

David
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yeah, it's kinda a learning experience I want to go through. Yes, it would be much easier and probably even cheaper to buy off-the-shelf electronics, but I would be missing out on all the fun. Also, I have a vision for how the wiring will go (very simple and clean), and extra modules for stuff like wideband mess up that vision.
 

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Well I'm impressed. That ought to be a real torque monster. Interested in your drag times when you finally get it finished.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Today I spent quite a bit of time pondering how I am going to do the clutch and brake pedals. I decided to sleep on it, but as of this point, I am leaning towards modifying the F150 pedal assembly to fit. The cool thing about the F150 assembly is that it moves the clutch master cylinder on the other side of the brake booster. This is good for me as this means I can access it without removing the fender. It also makes the hydraulic line shorter.

I will probably be using a brake booster and definitely the master cylinder from a Crown Vic, so I will need to adapt that to fit as well. The bolt pattern on the booster has a wider spread and the actuator rod doesn't stick out as far as the F150 booster. I haven't checked yet if the Crown Vic master cylinder will bolt up to the F150 booster. If it does, and if the larger diameter of the F150 booster fits, then I will probably go that route.

The pedal assembly also has a feature that I am not sure how I feel about it. There is a spring on the clutch that is basically a return spring when the clutch is out and then is an assist spring when the clutch is in. I remember it giving the clutch a weird clunky loose feeling when driving the parts truck. I don't think it will lend well to shifting rapidly. I am not sure what I am going to do about it (probably delete/replace with normal return spring), but it is on the back of my mind.


 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Today I made some major progress on the pedal assembly. I checked the brake master cylinder compatibility, and the Crown Vic master cylinder bolts right up to the F150 booster. The bore size is 1" vs 1.0625 of the F150. I am actually a bit torn which master cylinder I want to use. I have to do some more research on the F150 one to see what I need to do regarding the residual pressure valve (truck had rear drums) and where it is in the system. I would probably prefer to use the F150 cylinder as I have the brake lines to hook to it. I'll figure all that out later. The important thing at this point is that I decided to use the F150 booster. It fits pretty nice, made my life tons easier getting the pedal assembly mounted, and it's already adjusted.

First I notched out the assembly where it hits the vertical member at the firewall:


Then after a trial fit with a cardboard template, I made the real thing out of 18 gauge steel:


To give it a little more rigidity, I doubled it up right next to the brake booster and added a lip. I then sandwiched them and added some spot welds:


Then tacked it in place and notched the frame to clear the brake booster:


Then I made a mount for where the top of the pedal assembly bolts to:



Here is where I left off at the end of the day:


I have to trim a little more off the pedal assembly to give me better access to the clutch master cylinder actuator arm thingy. I also have to build the firewall mount for the clutch MC. I will need to modify the pedal lengths a bit, but it won't change my pedal ratios too much. It should actually improve the pedal feel and make it more car-like.. at least that is what I am telling myself. So far I am pretty happy how it is coming together though.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It's taking a while but I just about have the pedal assembly whipped. I shortened/adjusted the pedals to fit the Falcon floorboard better. I took roughly 3" from the total length. The pedal ratios are a little tighter, but well within the range of sanity. They might be kinda stiff, but this is a man's car goddammit. I am already going to be working out the guns with the manual steering.. I can't be skipping legs... let's get those quads firing!


I spaced the clutch/brake pedals so they are centered-ish in the usable floor area. This way I will have plenty of unimpeded room for my right foot to operate the gas pedal during cruising and for my left foot to just hang out when not doing the clutch. I think it will work out quite well.


I also build the firewall piece for the clutch slave cylinder and trimmed the pedal assembly a bit:


A little off topic, but here is the gauge cluster I will be using. It’s from a 2005 Toyota Tundra (same as my daily driver). I am using this gauge cluster because a) I like it, b) I have a detailed wiring diagram of it, c) it is compact and fits well, and d) it standardizes my driving experience to a degree. Don’t worry, I will black out the automatic transmission BS to the right of the speedo.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Today I spent a little time working on mounting the fenders. I added rivnuts to some 1″x1/8″ flat stock and bolted it to the fender lip.. Right now it is just tacked to the frame and I will adjust as needed once I get the other side done and set the hood in place.



 

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Discussion Starter #11
Over the weekend I got quite a bit done on the front clip. First I straightened out the hood a little bit to help align the fenders. The car was hit pretty hard on the passenger side at least once, so I have been dealing with that quite a bit.





When cutting the factory front end off, I had the foreskin to save the headlight buckets and surrounding sheet metal.



After several iterations of measuring and trimming, I tacked them in.





I also mounted the radiator. For that, I used the factor lower mounts from the F150 and some fabricated tabs.









Right now the hood is just sitting on top of the fenders, but fortunately, it looks like I will be able to use factory hinges and latches. I was going to use hood pins, but this will be much easier and free. I was also thinking of getting a fiberglass cowl scoop hood. Now I am leaning towards trying my luck at converting the factory hood into a cowl hood. It’s not like I got much to lose. The beauty of fixing up a beater is that there is very little pressure to not screw things up. It’s a low stress project car.. which is nice. The cowl will be a little tricky as the main structure of the hood is a giant X in the middle, of which will need to be removed to make way for a giant hole.

Another pleasant surprise is that there is more room/clearance than expected above the radiator fill cap. Vertical clearance between the fenders is always deceptive. Hopefully it is so deceptive that I will find out that a cowl hood is not needed to clear the absolutely ginormous EFI intake manifold of the inline six.

And even another pleasant surprise is that it looks like I will be able to use the factory gauge cluster housing to hold all the Tundra gauge cluster guts. I was thinking that I had to hack up the dash and make some elaborate bezel, but I think I stumbled upon a simpler more elegant solution. It looks a hair on the short side vertically, but I think it will blend with some careful dremel work.

 

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Discussion Starter #12
Today I continued working on the front clip. First I made some supports for the fender mounts and headlight panels. Then I mocked up the engine to see how things are sitting. I had to move the cross member that’s below the oil pan a couple inches forward to fit the engine back in. Luckily, it was still only tacked in, so removal was not a problem. I also checked to see if the factory F150 radiator hoses would fit, and they do. One thing that I wasn’t quite expecting was that the hood clears the oil filler neck and upper radiator hose. So now I am kicking around the idea to make a custom upper intake manifold (or ITBs) and not do a cowl hood. Another thing that I noticed is that I have tons of room between the fan and radiator. I’ll definitely have to do a custom fan shroud, but having the extra room is a good problem to have. Maybe I’ll have to consider adding a different sort of heat exchanger.











 

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Discussion Starter #13
Lately there's been a decent amount of progress behind the scenes. I basically got the front clip figured out and the fenders/hood mostly in place. Now is time to switch gears so to speak and move on to something else. I think it is now time to finish the chassis and mechanical systems. To aid in this, I stripped down the body as much as possible, including removing the doors. I will eventually be doing some sort of hillbilly rotisserie for better welding access, so the less weight the better.


I currently still have the engine/trans in place, but that will be removed as soon as I get a buddy to help me out with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So lately I decided it would be more fun to get the engine running. To do this, I started on my custom ECU. I am not using the factory ECU because it is not known for playing nice with engine mods/simplifications. Plus I like electronics projects and this seems like a fun learning experience. I basically want to make something that is clean, has everything I need and nothing I don’t. Here’s the setup:

  • Engine position from 12 bit capacitive rotary encoder (adapts directly on distributor shaft). This gives 4096 steps per engine cycle which could be further refined with extrapolation between steps.
  • 6 spark outputs set up for LS coil packs
  • 6 injector outputs for high impedance injectors.
  • 1 knock sensor interface
  • 1 on-board wideband O2 interface set up for Bosch LSU4.9 sensor
  • MAP sensor input (0-5V style)
  • MAF/IAT sensor input
  • Coolant temperature input
  • Oil pressure input
  • PWM output for IAC
  • PWM output for boost controller
  • CAN bus interface
At this point, the circuit board design is complete and I placed an order for 10 bare PCBs, which should arrive early next week. Here’s what the boards will look like:







It’s hard to tell from the pictures, but the overall size of the board is 3″x2.25″, so smaller in area than a credit card. My plan is to mill a two part aluminum housing. One part will be dished out with a hole for the connector. The board will mount in this and will be potted in epoxy leaving only the programming header exposed. The second part of the housing will close up the back of the first part and will have the mounting holes. This unit will mount on the engine block where a mechanical fuel pump would be if there was a mechanical fuel pump.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
It’s been a while since my last post, so I figured I would give a little update. While I have been busy with other things, I have spent quite a bit of time on the ECU portion of the Falcon project. Since my last update, I have populated the board and have started validating the hardware and figuring out the software. I am not a software guy per se, so the learning curve is taking some time, but I am making good progress.


So far I have the quadrature decoder for the engine timing working, the digital outputs for the injector/coil drivers, ADC inputs for sensors and PWM outputs for the other outputs (IAC, boost, wideband heater). I basically just have the individual modules figured out and still need to figure out all the interrupts, DMAs, timers, etc. in order to make everything work together quickly/efficiently. I also have write all the code that makes the car run.. So needless to say, I have a lot of work ahead of me.


Here’s my board/test setup. I have LEDs on the outputs to help with the debugging process.


Here is what we affectionately call the “distribucoder”. I basically just yanked the trigger wheel/sensor from the stock distributor and made a custom cap that holds the encoder of which installs right on the stock distributor shaft with supplied hardware. There’s a really sad story about the missing bolt tab. We were on our very last milling operation and didn’t see that the CAM software didn’t select one of the tabs during the cleanup pass.. so it buzzed the whole thing off. It works for now, but eventually I’ll have to make another one.

 

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Really nice! Geek question — are you using incremental or absolute positioning with the encoder? Absolute would reduce accuracy to greater than 1/3° at the sensor (pre-processing, plus existing mechanical errors), but should be more than fine for a street I6, so just curious. Any Gray code anticipated or less than 3 sensor channels?

David
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Really nice! Geek question — are you using incremental or absolute positioning with the encoder? Absolute would reduce accuracy to greater than 1/3° at the sensor (pre-processing, plus existing mechanical errors), but should be more than fine for a street I6, so just curious. Any Gray code anticipated or less than 3 sensor channels?

David
Thanks!

For the encoder, I guess it is sorta both absolute and incremental. It is a 12 bit encoder, so 4096 steps per revolution, plus there is an index pulse every rev. The microcontroller I am using has a built in quadrature decoder, so all I have to do is feed it the a,b and i pulses from the encoder and it increments the appropriate registers. during the index pulse, it resets the counter and does error checking to see if any pulses were missed. It can interrupt on the index pulse, error at index, a value change, or to a compared value. I'll probably use the compare interrupt to do all the time critical engine events. There may be Gray code somewhere in the system, possibly in the encoder itself, but it would be at a lower level than I am dealing with.

The encoder will give me roughly 0.18 engine degrees (720 / 4096) of resolution per step, which should be more than adequate. This is after two gear sets (crank to cam, cam to distributor), so there will be plenty of backlash to deal with. I am still not too worried. I'll consider it a win if the thing actually works and moves the car down the road.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Lately I decided to get to work on preparing the engine for testing the ECU. I figured I would do this in parallel with programming to make things a bit more time efficient. The programming side can be done while I am waiting for ordered parts to arrive. I was originally going to just clean the engine and chuck it in the car, but I decided that I might as well go through it and check the condition. It had at least one major fluid leak (originally assumed to be power steering) and after tearing into it more, it appears to have a few sources. So now I am at the point where I might as well at least do a basic overhaul. After tearing it apart and getting a good look at everything, I am quite surprised how good of condition the engine is in. Most of the rod/main bearings were still silver colored with only a few showing the copper color. The cylinder walls don’t have any ridging where the rings stop traveling. Most of the cross hatching is still visible. The #2 cylinder is the worst, but I still think it can be honed while maintaining a clear conscience. I was pleasantly surprised to find steel timing gears; I thought they would be the phenolic ones. It was a very pleasurable engine to disassemble. It’s so simple and easy.. almost too easy.


Since I am already deep into half retard on this engine, it may be time to kick things into full retard. So, I ordered up a set of used 5.3l LS heads to hack apart. High flowing aluminum crossflow heads seem like they would be a welcome addition. It will also solve my hood scoop dilemma as I won’t have the giant factory intake looming over the valve cover. Of course, this will require me to fabricate my own intake/exhaust manifolds… oh darn.. It could all turn out to be a giant waste of time, in which case I’ll still have the factory parts to use. The worst case is I learn a bunch and end up with some expensive foundry fodder.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
After receiving the LS heads and looking things over, I decided that the Frankenstein head swap was a bad idea. It is just not worth it at this point. It would just add way too much time to the project which is already out of hand. Instead, I will focus my efforts on a turbo setup for the additional power. With that out of the way, the time has come to get the engine clean. I called a local machine shop, and they quoted me at $350-$450 for just running my parts through their washer. In the interest of following the 80/20 principle and getting the most bang for my buck and being a cheap bastard, I decided to clean the parts myself.



First I started by disassembling the head further, since it was the last part that needed prepped. I made a little tool to help compress the valve springs with a pickle fork, which worked awesome.



Next I jammed all the offending engine parts into a giant plastic tank:


With a concoction of various cleaners/detergents and some sump pumps for agitation, I set it to wash overnight

 

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Discussion Starter #20
The home-brew parts washer actually worked a treat. It wasn’t perfect, but what it didn’t remove was loosened to the point where it was easily removable with some light brushing action. After brushing and rinsing, I sprayed some of the machined surfaces with a light coat of oil to prevent rusting while it sits. Here are some of the results:



Another thing I took care of was ordering parts. I basically got a standard rings/bearings/gaskets kit and added cam bearings and freeze plugs. I also ordered the parts to convert the accessories to v-belt. The reason is because the serpentine system is too obtrusive and I would have to modify it extensively to get it to work with only an alternator.. which is all that I will be running initially. To make this all work cleanly, I ordered a balancer and water pump pulley for an early 80s 300 and a GM one wire alternator with v-groove pulley. I’ll just fabricate an alternator bracket. I could use the factory 80s 300 alternator bracket, but based on pictures I have seen, it appears to not have provisions for rotating the alternator to tension the belt. I could be wrong on that though.
On top of all those parts, I ordered up a set of fuel injectors. They are OEM Ford injectors for 2011-2015 6.2L V-8. They are rated at 32 lb./hr. @ 39 psi. I’ve read where people have tested them at 44 lb./hr. @ 60 psi. They are a huge increase from the factory 14 lb. injectors, but should cover me for when I turbocharge the engine. I think it is pretty much on the edge of what the factory fuel pump can handle. I can upgrade that if needed though.
 
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