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Monday, September 12, 2016

Updated contact info. Cell # 203 470-8010

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

1948 Ford F1 Pickup 6-12 Volt Rewire

The Ford F1 Pickup has an iconic look- the fenders kinda hug the headlamps and give it a friendly face. You've seen them in TV shows and movies, and probably on the street as well.

 Like many post-war vehicles, the Ford F1 is a sturdy, utilitarian vehicle, and it's really not surprising to see the mechanical bits working well over 60 years later. But time will take it's toll on the electrics, and that's where we come in-

This truck belongs to a friend and experienced Ford Guy here in Dutchess County. I can only say that he was very fortunate to "pickup" this barn find at a great price- all original and un-restored. After a few mechanical updates for safety reasons, the owner asked about a 12 volt conversion. Most of the original cloth covered wiring was very brittle and frayed, and a 12 volt system makes for easier servicing and driveabilty.



Really nice original quality harnesses are still available from some fine vendors, but practicality prevailed on this one. A simple new harness from Ron Francis was brought in with a 12 to 6 volt converter for the gauges, along with an alternator kit  from Mac's to improve reliability. It was kind of sad to remove the remnants of the lovely original harness, but most of it literally crumbled on the way out. This little bit was all that looked OK.


 This truck had the original Motorola radio and a heater as well, so the only thing to be added was the second tail lamp for safety and DMV regs. There was even a nice old-school Signal Stat 900 turn signal switch in there that was save-able.The complete installation took about 16 hours with all soldered connections and wire loom where applicable. The owner did the alternator and even converted the front markers to allow a two filament bulb for signals as well.



The plan was to keep as much of an original look as possible, so I used a bit of friction tape in places-






we'll just have to wait for some dirt to accumulate to get the right patina.





Under the dash, I left things exposed so that anyone could troubleshoot or add accessories as needed. A quick and easy update to an American Classic- the first of the F Series trucks.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

2012 Rally New York USA April 21st and 22nd.

A two day Tarmac Rally event held in the Monticello, NY area. Easily accessible from US route 17, and a short drive from the Greater New York City area. Rally New York is a very well organized event featuring some of the East Coast best teams and rising stars alike. The Rally is run at a fast pace over public roads (closed for the event) and includes a special stage at the Monticello Motor Club. Rally New York has presented exciting tarmac and gravel rallies for over ten years in this area, and notable entries have included Ken Block.

Spectators should take a look at the Itinerary and Spectator guide available at http://www.rallynewyork.net/rnyusa2012.html . Bring plenty of snacks and warm clothing (it has snowed at the Spring events in the past). Fuel up if needed when you reach the area, as time will be tight during the event. Be prepared to drive briskly between the spectator points while respecting local traffic regulations. Cell phone coverage is OK in the area.

Expect to see the drivers at speed on some very nice sections of road, as well as in the Parc Ferme and service areas. If you haven't been to a Rally before, I think you will find the fast pace and spectator involvement to be quite a change from the typical track day that you may be used to ! Be a part of the event- come to Rally New York 2012.




As usual, Rally New York ran a very tight schedule and had a few unusual entries. Here's a picture of one of the early Ford Escorts that showed up for the event. There was a good field of almost 30 very well prepared cars on hand, and the teams really stepped up their game on service vehicles as well. John Buffum was on hand to support one team- John is a true rally legend and it's a treat to see him still attending the smaller events. 


A nicely done Ford Escort Cosworth was on hand as well, not something you see every day. This was among the faster cars on hand for the tarmac rally held around the Rock Hill, NY area. It was nice that there was no snow this time, as the teams were well prepared for fast speeds on the longer stages and did not disappoint. Even the heavy rain on Sunday didn't slow things down very much.

I will hand over the photography reins to Pete at On a Limb Racing. Pete is a very nice Guy and always takes the BEST photographs- check out his other galleries as well. Streaming video was provided by Marcel at UStream- you can watch the recorded video for some great commentary. And of course Chris Meegan did a fine job as always, waiting for the rest of the video Chris.

Hats off to Black Box Rally team- this Guy can really drive. Also can't forget Rob for the Loudest Evo award- he has got to be the most improved driver at this event- super well prepared car.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

ATL Fuel Cell, Wires and Pumps- SAE 30 R10?

Did you ever wonder what's inside those fuel cells made by companies like ATL that you see in almost all racing cars? I know that I just assumed it is "full of some foam or something" and left it at that. Well, if you don't happen to have a fuel cell handy, let me tell you what's really living inside of that shiny metal box.

My friend Ed over at Perfex Manufacturing  has a pretty cool Porsche 928 race car that needed a new fuel cell to be ready for the 2012 season. I spoke with the very helpful staff at ATL and decided to order the direct replacement for the old unit. You can also have it made up with all of the fittings, pumps and wiring, but that kinda takes the fun out of the whole project. I ordered our unit from my friends at Stable Energies and had it in a few days.

Here's the foam that we removed from the new cell. Once the top plate is off, these blocks can be carefully removed from the bladder. Oh yeah- the box is really just a container for a heavy duty rubber lining that contains the foam that absorbs the fuel. So in this application, there will be three fuel pumps and their associated wiring and piping inside of the foam and connected to the top plate. 
Yes-wiring inside of the fuel tank sounds a bit odd, but hey- everybody is doing it. I was careful to cut out pockets in the foam for the fuel pumps and channels for the wiring and high pressure hose. You can buy special submersible fuel hose, but it's super expensive, and it turns out that 300PSI  hydraulic hose is OK too- that's what comes in the cell from the factory. Once everything was arranged and wired, I placed the foam blocks and components back in reverse order, triple checking all connections and fittings. Once this thing has fuel in it, it would not be fun to do any adjustments later.

Here's the new unit sitting in it's frame in the rear floor- Ed fabricated some nice hold down brackets not shown here, and we added a new filler neck to clean the installation up. I used Weatherpack 2 and 3 pin sealed connectors to make the electrical connections reliable and robust enough to carry the current draw of the three pumps.They're also easy to disconnect for service later.
So there's a lot more than fuel and foam inside a fuel cell- it's a very important part of the fuel delivery system and requires careful handling, assembly and attention to detail. The next question is, can I really just splice in to the existing wiring in this car ?

Porsche 928 Engine Harness Rebuild with AMP Connectors

If you've ever admired a Porsche 928, you understand what a solid, capable Grand Touring automobile this is. The car was certainly a technical marvel in it's time, and can now be found at very reasonable prices in the secondary market. But there are some technical issues that can make proper repairs a bit difficult.

The first thing a prospective Porsche 928 owner might want to do is check out the supportive and knowledgeable community over at Rennlist. This group has solved many repair and part sourcing problems that would put the average auto enthusiast to shame. One particularly ingenious solution is the The Engine Guardian Water Pump Drive System (EGDS) ™ developed by Perfex Manufacturing. Water pump failure in the Porsche 928 can be a very big deal with camshaft and valve train damage resulting from a broken timing belt. Many thanks to Ed at Perfex and the 928 community as a whole for addressing the quirks of this fabulous car.


One very common problem is the electrical wiring harness, particularly the engine section. The connectors seem to hold up well, but the wire and sheathing become very brittle and crack, open or short out, many times out of sight, causing poor running and outright no start conditions. Again thanks to Ed at Perfex, I decided to look into possible solutions.


The best answer for owners who want to keep their cars running correctly seems to be a complete harness replacement. Of course, the harness for earlier cars is NLA (Porsche term for "you're out of luck") and would probably break the bank if you could find one. I see this as a four part project- remove the old harness, source the needed wiring and connectors, copy the harness and reinstall it in the car. 



Wednesday, November 9, 2011

AND the internet-

I missed that part in my last post. The technician working on your car is VERY important, but the fact is that he or she really will not be able to install a remote start without the Internet. While it is possible for a good technician to open up your dash and locate most of the needed connections the old fashioned way, you'd probably have a $500 bill just for the research! And there are plenty of installers who may have done an similar model and will have most of the information needed on hand.

So- on to the research first. Assuming that your technician has not done your particular vehicle before, they could make a few phone calls and get most of the tech tips needed, probably a day spent waiting for call backs, etc. And there are many good subscription services that provide good technical information- your installer will want to verify and compare even the trusted sources, though. There's even a really good free message board that has lots of knowledgeable installers on line every day, but again, it takes time to do the search or post a query and wait for responses. Already you needed the Internet-

On to the installation- with the proper product and information in hand, your installer will still probably need some form of data interface to make your vehicle "speak to" the remote start for many important functions. My favorite supplier is Idatalink, amazing things these folks do! To keep cost under control, most shops will carry a programmable unit like the ADS-AL CA. The smart installer will carefully check your vehicle for factory features and options, and then, via the Internet, program a module specifically for your application. Now it's up to the installer to integrate the remote start, programmable module and your vehicle into a harmonious blend of wiring and technology.

That should cover about 95% of the cars normal folks own and drive- but on to the next level! If you happen to drive and Audi Q7 or Range Rover, you will want to locate a shop that has (successfully) installed such a system before- NOT a DIY project at all. And if the technician says "we need to send the $500 key cylinder to Canada, eh- for modification", they probably aren't kidding. It's rough to be wealthy!

And of course there's Mercedes Benz- only place to trust with this brand is Mid City Engineering. I have no idea how they do it- something about the pizza out there in Chicago, but these Guys have cracked it. An excellent product that works- and is sold by Mercedes Benz directly! Take a minute to check out all the cool stuff they do on their main page. But hey, no Internet, no information, eh?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Remote Start Season and the Internet

It should be getting colder here in the Northeast any day now, and that can mean only one thing- Remote Start Season begins! (straight from the Dune Buggy post- sorry) Folks will be thinking about toasty warm cars while the reality is that most installers will be overwhelmed with appointments very shortly- so please plan ahead if you'd like this valuable feature installed in your vehicle.

This product really is NOT a DIY project for most vehicles- It doesn't matter that you're the engineer in a nuclear power plant- have you ever looked under the dash at the wiring of a modern car? OK- you can't see anything because of all the plastic covers and impact protection systems in place- we'd better start with a mechanical engineer just to expose the wiring! And- unless you drive a 1995 Honda Civic, you may be very surprised by the mass of wiring that lurks within.

Like everything else in our lives, modern cars are controlled by a network of computers, from engine management to "body personality"- not kidding. Your window switches and heater controls probably pass through a highly sophisticated controller before the desired action takes place. So the old days of wiring a lead directly to the ignition key for example are long gone. Enter DATA and the CANBUS.

The end user will still get a new "clicker" to start and stop the vehicle remotely, and maybe opt for the smart phone app that lets them control the car from anywhere in the world (not so new-Alpine had this in the 80's) but think about the installer. The technician will have to work around layers of factory installed security systems, interface with various controllers and adjust the timing of signals to integrate smoothly with the vehicles data bus system. It may take over an hour of research to prepare for the installation in a new vehicle, not including time spent programming the needed interface modules via a computer. And you'll want a top notch installer, since data signals are much more susceptible to errors due to poor wiring practices. PLEASE be sure that you're chosen installer is prepared to solder all connections in your vehicle!