PT Cruiser up in the air

Faye deans' PT 2

Faye deans’ PT 2

Getting the PT on a lift to get a closer look at things

Today I was fortunate enough to catch a friend at his shop and he was gracious enough to let me use his hoist to get a better view of the under carriage of the PT. And it was enlightening.

What I found or didn’t find

On the initial glance around I was aware that whoever had worked on it just kinda didn’t bother to put any of the splash shields back on! Both inner liner pieces were missing along with the driver side lower shield. An most of the pinning had been left out. Asshats!

The first discovery was that the muffler had literally broken off at the mid pipe and was simply dangling by its’ mounts. And the mid pipe had issues at the seam to the head pipe. Duly noted. And the side bar issue was that it was bouncing and hitting the track bar so it was the source of the wicked clunking at the back.

And since I was there I turned my attention to the panhard assembly.  I gave the pivot assembly a pry and it was totally gonzo. Another common failure creating another annoying clunk in the rear. Noted!

Moving further forward there was no apparent damage to the power steering cooler attached to the K-member. But the glaring problem of the lower motor mount being gonzo was easily seen. Duly noted.

Then we came to the plumbing at the base of the radiator. It was drippy and wet and on further inspection it appears that the cause may actually be the seal on the servo mech immediately above it. Gravity 101. The car needs a trans service so once that is done I will see if the leak is still precisest. Meaning it is not coming from a pan leak. And then attack it as needed.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

With the inspection done it appears that a big bag of parts is in order. If I am lucky enough maybe Santa will get me what I need! Oh! Wait! I AM Santa Clause! So I guess a quick run at the web should give me a good idea of what this is going to cost “Santa”. I have already done some preliminary parts scouting and what was newly discovered I can rummage around some more.

I can do all of it myself but with winter finally settling in it may be off til spring. We will see. Well, consider yourself updated! More to come!


The PT is back!

Front view of PT with blacked out emblem

Front view of PT with blacked out emblem

The PT Cruiser is back at Bob’s Garage!

Just like with any of the other vehicles it was time to take a closer look at just what condition it was in now.And it didn’t take long to see some not-so-good issues.

In it’s time away there had been some front end damage and it appears to have had a wheel hub replaced and some brake work. No biggie. Just normal wear and tear. Kinda sorta.So now it was on to the basics.

Basic Inspection

On pulling the oil dipstick I was kind of confused when it came up dry. So I said “OK, let’s try this again”. And on the second check it was identical. Not good. Then I moved on to the trans dipstick. No way! It was also not showing any thing! Way not good! A quick look under the vehicle showed some obvious evidence of a trans fluid leak. And with the documented front end damage there is a good chance one of the soft lines is gonzo. That explains the low trans fluid level. But 3 quarts down? Not good.

And the power steering felt way tight and it looks like there may be some damaged lines there too. A bit of detective work produced a couple of bottles of PS fluid in the vehicle. he noteworthy part of this was that it was generic PS fluid. Unfortunately the PT actually used a ATF+4 synthetic trans fluid in it’s system. And sadly it is a Chrysler documented fact that if this is not used it will take out the pump. I believe this to be the case. So another project in the making.

Getting it back right

A quick run to the parts store and I picked up an oil change and some trans fluid. No biggie once again. And for good measure I threw in a bottle of Lucas oil stabilizer. Then it was back to the house to make it all good. The trans fluid was not a problem . Fill, start, run through the gears and check!  Sweet!  One down. One to go!.

After getting the car up in the air because these PT’s are way low, I went after the oil drain plug. What is normally a quick twist of the wrench turned into a very aggressive attack with a long bar to get the little bugger loose!  WTF! It took 80 ft pounds to break it loose! Way bad! I was actually fearing the worst of a stripped plug before it released. But the car gods were with me and it came out intact with no damaged threads.

And with that fiasco over I went after the filter. You guessed it! This bugger was frickin jammed tight. It actually spun my cup type remover. So in desperation I  resorted to the stab and turn scenario. It worked but it took two full turns to get this SOB loose! With that out of the way I put the new filter on correctly, touch plus1/2 a turn, and added the oil. Totally uneventful.

Loud Exhaust

A quick trip at the back pretty much confirmed what I already suspected that the big muffler had seen it’s better days so it needs to go. It’s easy to get to and is not that big a project


But the tattle tale here is that it was a Valvoline filter. That means that the goomba’s at the local quick oil change are nothing but paid gorillas when it comes to oil changing.This is why I have had a long standing distrust about oil change places. Low buck mechanic wanna-bes working on your high dollar car. And, No, my oil plug didn’t just “strip out” and/or fall out after all this time! End of rant!


All being done it actually turned out OK. I will have to chase down the trans line leak but that won’t be that hard just time consuming. And I will probably end up replacing the soft lines of that system. The oil thing may be an issue but I don’t really have a line on that yet. And the PS pump will be a R&R project. And I will replace the lines too if I go to that trouble. Things to do Things to do.

Another day and more 70 progress

70 Mustang Coupe

70 Mustang Coupe

Not a lot but something none the less

Mirror … Mirror

I spent some time today putting the rear view mirror back on. Well… I managed to knock it off the other day while I was mucking around with the steering wheel swap. Let’s just leave it at that. It was an accident. A bit of cleanup, some mirror adhesive and we are good as new. But I did notice that after a closer look the silver on the mirror section has started to show it’s age.I may replace itt but don’t see a need right now. Maybe later.

Go ahead and vent

I did some rummaging around and since I have an open air cleaner venting the valve cover to the air cleaner is kind of a moot point . So I found a 67 HIPO valve cover breather that twists in and gets the job done and looks right. So a bit of scuff and color and the new black breather twists right in place.

We need more stuff!

I have my laundry list of miscellaneous pieces parts to get from NPD. I will make a trip tomorrow and get the missing pieces and attempt to get this project a bit closer to completion. Most of the pieces are odd and end hardware [ nuts, bolts and screws ] but there are some light housing gaskets in there too. And there is one part that seems to be a bit elusive but they have the vacuum control valve in stock. So I will make a run in the AM tomorrow. And I will be back at it tomorrow.

Truly Electrifying

I will attempt to complete the proofing of the front wiring for the ignition system and some of the switches.  Kind of a warm fuzzy that all my work doesn’t go snap POOF! when I hook up the battery! All the lighting system is checked out and working correctly. Only a few more circuits to go.

Stay tuned! I may do some pics of the whole thing if I remember!



Getting some work done on the 70


Another productive day on the 70

More progress on a nice day.

Taking the wheel

I got my new steering wheel in so I swapped out the one I was using a 4 1/2″ dish wheel for my new Grant 654 1″ version. It is a great add and moves the wheel to a better arm length. Lots more comfy with the racing seats. It was an easy to swap and feels good.


That sucks!

I got all the new vacuum lines run for the dual advance distributor and the timing valve. As you can see it is not that complicated but is a bit of a plumbing job. But all is in and hooked up.

Vacuum plumbing

Vacuum plumbing


Oooooo! Shiney!


Buffing and polishing the music box

Gotta be all spiffy for the Woodward Dream Cruise!

Case with head installed and speakers

Case with head installed and speakers

Since it was built I have always wanted to buff out the aluminum case on my music box. I just never got around to taking the time to do it. Well, this morning I made the time.

I spent a few minutes stripping down the music box. It was built modular so it came apart relatively easily. once it was stripped down then came the icky part of polishing the whole thing. It is not that hard just a bit messy with an 8 inch buff and the polishing compound flying everywhere. But after an hour of making a grey mess it started to come around and once it got clear it was all nice and shiny, Once that was done I wiped down the box and put a nice coat of aluminum polish on. That was almost as messy as the buffing part but at least it was on a rag. But once that was buffed of it was great.

Now came the fun part of putting all the pieces parts together. Not quite as fast as taking it apart but still quick. I even made a pass  on the plexi  speaker guard, And it came out way better looking. All in all it was worth the work IMHO. So now it is ready to crank out the jams on Woodward.

So that was today’s project. I will probably have another tomorrow. Stay Tuned!



Simply dashing!


The new 70 dash panel is completed and installed!

70 Mustang Coupe

It is now Ready for some wiring

I finally got around to fabricating the dash insert for the 70. I have had the the sheet stock and pattern done for a bit. I just had other stuff, like this goofy thing called the WOODWARD DREAM CRUISE, going on. So yesterday I grabbed all the pieces parts and had at it. Most of it was tracing and cutting. Then it was time for the hole cutting. Not earthshaking but tedious. Getting a snug fit for the gauges is daunting but doable. Then it was time to mount it to the previously fabbed drops on the dash.

A bit of creative tracery and all the baselines were marked. Then it was figuring out the fastening. Since I have a whole pile of 1/4-20 screws that was the selected weapon of choice. Drilling the panel then progressed to drilling the dash braces to match. Then I decided to drill and thread the risers rather than through-bolt and nut. The panel is not heavy, only 3 gauges,  but with 3 supports it’s way solid. Once it was all fleshed out and all the edges finished I went ahead and gave it a nice scuff with 240 and followed with red ScotchBrite for a brushed look finish.

I have already cut the trim panels for finishing out the dash so I can now attack the wiring. All of the primary wiring is all laid out and tagged so it will be just a bit of standing on my head under the dash to complete most of the final connections. Hopefully I can start on that this week.

I do have some other stuff to do like installing the new retro hairpin style hood and trunk pins and lanyards. And some refitting the rear seat delete panels. And a fire extinguisher mount. And there may be a steering wheel change to gain some extra room. Butt just more things to do. Stay tuned!

Taming the bag of snakes! 70 Mustang wiring


Lots of progress! That’s a good thing!

A bit of backtracking was needed but it was for the better

This last week has been a productive one on the 70 wiring. I have attacked it in earnest and it is coming around quickly. And the tie-wraps are flying! And the crimpers are getting a workout. As are my hands. I did have to do some layout backtracking basically to simplify the wiring. since I am not using any of the multi-function factory switches that wiring can all go away.

I am feeding my new panel constant and switched hot directly. The master shut-off is in the trunk with the battery. Right now I am getting all the wiring logistically set in place and clamped down. Like I said earlier I was able to eliminate a bunch of previously wired segments because they are no longer needed. so getting it all directed and snugged up is really not that big a chore. Just a bit of standing on your head under the dash.

One recent decision was to not install a 130 amp alternator. Way too much overkill. So I tested and with a successful check-up I re-purposed the original 45 amp Autolite unit. A new solid state voltage regulator and a newly fabbed harness got it all plumbed in and we are good to go. The last segment redo is the  front light harness with all the lights tied in together. A small departure from being wired into a full featured headlight switch.  And the turn signals are really pretty straight forward. The tail harness is also done. And with the new 3 light taillight units the separate brake and turn wiring is a snap. The new fuel sender line is in that bundle also.

My switch panel

Switch Panel

Switch Panel

The basics are there but the primary functions are now simply ON or OFF. My control panel has just 5 switches and one start button.The start button has it’s own toggle switch [WHITE] to enable it. The ignition switch [RED] provides power to the ignition system only. The headlight switch [GREEN] triggers not just headlights but also all the markers and the sport lights all at once. There is no high beam feature. How often do you actually use your high beans? Really! The heater switch [YELLOW] fires the fan at medium speed. The wipers [PURPLE] are also set for medium speed with no park feature. Where they land is where they land! Simple but functional!

The Dash Panel

Now that the dash unit is fabbed and assembled it is a bit easier to deal with, The dash is only a tach, a speedo and a gas gauge. It does have a single ON/OFF/ON switch for the turn signals.and a 12 volt power port. As a side note I did go a bit thin on the base aluminum material so it is not as stable as I would like it to be but I will upgrade it to some thicker gauge stock when it is all up and running. An easy fix.

The Gauge Cluster

The oil / water / voltage gauge cluster that sits in the bottom of the dash in the center has its own harness. and I will tie it in as soon as I get the rest of the harness set. It just needs a gauge power feed, a lamp feed and the two sensor wires that go to the oil and water senders on the motor.

In conclusion

A lot of progress but some more work to do! But I am hanging with it till I get it all done! Stay tuned!