First Lift of a Car

I’ve been spending a lot of time over the last week continuing to unpack and organize the shop (nothing worth posting about). Today’s goal was to get everything out from under the lift, clean off the lift and try lifting a car for the first time.

It took nearly the entire day, but at 11pm, we were finally able to lift a car for the first time. I still need to do some adjustment of the ramps (you can see the right side of the lift is a little lower than the left), but the lift works great. I shook the car fairly hard when it was up on the lift to make sure everything seems solid.

Ordered Brakes, Clutch and Transmission

We’ve been wrestling with which brake package to order for quite awhile. We already deleted the Mustang brakes from the kit and had decided not to go with the Wilwood package that Factory Five offers. We narrowed down the options to the Wilwood Big Brake package that Levy Racing sells or a package from Baer. For a number of reasons, we decided to go with Levy Racing. We ordered 13″ brakes front and back with a 6 piston front and 4 piston rear calipers as well as a rear spot caliper parking brake. Although Jenn was seriously considering hot pink calipers, we ultimately decided on silver calipers with black lettering. This is a custom color so it will be a couple of weeks before it ships.

I also ordered the Tremec TKO600 transmission (TCET5008), RAM HDX clutch and hydraulic clutch kit from Forte’s Parts Connection. I had been considering a hydraulic throwout bearing along with Factory Five’s hydraulic clutch kit, but after talking with Mike Forte, I decided to use his kit with an external slave cylinder. If the cylinder ever needs replacing, it won’t require pulling the transmission to get to the hydraulic throwout bearing.

Miscellaneous Shop Setup

Our garage has always been drafty. This causes it to cool off pretty rapidly in the winter and heat up pretty fast in the summer. Despite the fact that it’s not insulated, stopping the drafts should help stabilize the temperature somewhat. We have two side doors at each end of the garage. I added new aluminum thresholds and bottom door sweeps as well as weatherstripping around the perimeter.

I installed a shelf above my primary air compressor for my portable unit and added some hooks underneath to keep air hoses and extension cords organized.

We have several windows in the garage; two in the side doors and this one adjacent to our front walk. They originally had blinds, but they were pretty beat up so we tossed them. We didn’t like leaving them clear though, so I added some frosted film to the windows so we have some privacy.

Engine Stand Stabilizers and Air Cleaner

Harbor Freight carries three engine stands. The cheapest only has a single caster under the front leg, but I was really concerned about how easily it could tip over, especially since we live in earthquake country. Their top of the line engine stand has really wide legs and even folds up, but it turns out that the legs of the engine stand will interfere with the legs of the shop crane. This is the middle of the line engine stand. There won’t be any interference with the shop crane, but I was still a little concerned about how stable it would be in an earthquake.

To make it more stable, I fabricated some extensions for the front legs using some scrap steel tubing and plate. These can easily be unbolted when I need to use the shop crane to pull the engine off the stand.

I also picked up a ceiling mounted air filtration system and installed it in the center garage bay. This should help keep the dust down in the garage while working on the project and hopefully keep dust off the cars down the road when the project is done.

Installed TV and Speakers

No shop is complete without a TV and stereo. Jenn didn’t want to spend the money on a TV for the garage, but my dad and stepmom gave us an old TV they weren’t using. I hooked it up to a pair of Bose powered speakers that I’ve had since I was in college and a Polk Audio powered subwoofer that I inherited. Behind the TV is an AppleTV so that the garage speakers are another AirPlay zone in our house.

The other speaker is at the opposite end of the garage. Despite the small size, these speakers (plus the sub) really fill the garage with sound.

Received Tires

There are very few tires that fit the 17″ wheels that Factory Five sells; one of the few are Toyo Proxes R888. We decided on these awhile ago, but I wanted to order them now because we need to get the wheels on the car with the chassis at ride height in order to measure for the shocks we’re ordering.

When I tried to order the tires, almost every place was out of stock (at least for the front tires). showed only one of them in stock, but a quick chat with one of their salesmen showed they actually had two in stock. It turns out that Toyo just discontinued the R888s and I purchased the very last two 255/40ZR17 they had in stock. They only had a handful of the 315/35ZR17 (rear) tires as well.

Received Engine Short Block

Our engine short block showed up yesterday directly from Ford Racing. This is a 351W based aluminum block bored and stroked to 427cid. This thing is beautiful; it’s a shame so much of it will be covered up once the engine is assembled.

My buddy John was in town for business and is staying with us for the weekend. He helped me assemble the engine stand and hang the engine from it. We turned it over a couple of times to check clearances and ensure everything was moving smoothly then wrapped it back up tight until we’re ready to work on it.

Repaired Tool Chest

Apparently I exceeded the weight limit of my tool chest which caused the bottom panel to bend. The casters just bolt into the sheet metal with a thin reinforcement piece riveted internally. I pounded them out once before, but the weakened sheet metal just bent again. To repair it, I picked up some scrap 3/8″ steel plate and match drilled it to the base. I then bolted the casters through the plate to the case. I don’t think I’ll have any issues with this anymore.

I moved the tool chest into the corner. The floor here isn’t close to level, so I put some pieces of scrap 1/2″ thick steel plate under the front wheels and reinstalled all of the drawers.

Engine/Drivetrain/Suspension Components

We received the bulk of our order from Don Wood Ford. We’re still waiting on the block which is being shipped directly from Ford Performance.

We’re running a 3.55 gear ratio, 8.8” Ford rear end with a standard differential. You can purchase this with either an aluminum or a cast iron housing, but the aluminum has been known to crack with high horsepower, so we went with the cast iron.

Since we’re going with an independent rear suspension, we ordered the knuckle and hub assemblies that mate with it.

We also picked up a cast iron timing set, polished stainless damper and timing cover.

Since we’re building a 427, we purchased valve covers to match…

…as well as a matching air cleaner.

We bought a 157 tooth, zero imbalance flywheel as well.

Finally, we bought Ford Racing’s brand new Z2 cylinder heads. These use entirely stock geometry, so we don’t have to mess around with custom exhaust headers or having to port the intake manifold to match the heads.