Archive for the ‘Tech’ Category


Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

There can be only Shed.

An exercise in maximizing space usage and making the most of a small area, Shed began life as an 8×8 kit. Its floors and walls were reinforced and some shelves were added in the rafters.  The core components that make Shed a successful workspace in which to carry out all my projects despite the limited space are the solid wood-topped bench and pegboard compliments of my employer, my toolbox, and a heavy duty wire shelf for parts storage. Organization is key or it will quickly fill with junk and become unusable. Some more Shed features of interest are its 12v lighting system which was created from a spare tail light bulb, some wire, and an old battery … and its modified electric space heater (where I took apart and threw away the fake fireplace part.)

Nitrous jets DIY

Friday, November 16th, 2012

I drew this up from some existing jets I have and put together a drill chart of standard sizes to give an idea of what diameter to make the jet holes. It could be handy if you want something other than the standard sizes, want to do some tuning of a system, or have access to the tools and don’t feel like spending money on jets. I think there are different types of jets used in various kits, so you should double check these will work, but I believe they are the most common type. I marked and bolted in some blanks I had made and then some commercial aftermarket jets to see if they seated the same, and they did; but that’s as far as I’ve gotten testing so far. Click on the icon to the right to download the drill diameter to fuel and nitrous jet size chart, but remember it’s only a guideline. There are various formulas out there, and every application is different. Also the fuel column is currently for a 45psi EFI system, I didn’t include carbed yet. I may update that at some point.

nitrous jet blank print

nitrous jet blank print

Sunbird 2.0L OHC camshaft tool v2

Saturday, November 10th, 2012


I decided to design this 2.0L valvetrain and cam tool as a lightweight, easy-to-build but slower-to-function alternative to my first version (link below) or for when you just want to swap rockers or lifters and aren’t worried about compressing everything at once.

For reference, an earlier post here shows some details of my first 2.0L camshaft removal tool. It’s rather elaborate, but is quick if you’re just looking to swap the cam.

Instructions and function:

Start by rotating the engine so that the lobe of the cam at the rocker you want to remove is facing straight up and the valve is fully seated. The tool works by setting it on top of the valvespring you want to compress, then bolting it into the corresponding cam housing bolt hole (after the cover is removed) and turning the bolt until the spring is compressed enough so that you can remove the rocker/follower (magnet from the back works well.) Once the rocker is out of the way, you can also remove the lifter. To remove the cam, repeat until you’ve removed all rockers.

There are a few things to note about using the tool.
* First off, just compress enough to get the rocker out and be careful of cranking down too hard into the cam cover. It’s not a very large bolt, and you wouldn’t want to end up stripping out a cover hole.
* The hole through the tool and bolt help keep it straight along with the round shape at the valve end, which seats on the rocker tip guide inserts. These have to be in place or the tool will probably want to bend and break something or slip off the valve.
* There are two holes in the cover at either end which are spaced differently from the valve than the rest. These are where you need to switch the bolt from the central hole of the tool, to the offset one.
* On these offset valves, I had some clearance problems where I had to rotate the rocker off the valve and remove the lifter before the rocker would come out completely.
* There is an eccentric toward the front of the cam that seemingly serves no purpose but to get in the way. When this happens, you may find that you have to point the lobes a little differently than straight up to avoid the eccentric from hitting the removal tool. As long as the valve isn’t open, it will work fine.
* Another thing to be aware of is that the tool may slip without the lash caps on the valves, so use them when reinstalling the rockers.


2.0L OHC : all versions including TBI, PFI, turbo (LT3, C20GET)
– found in Pontiac 82-94 Sunbird, 88-91 LeMans, 87-89 Grand Am SE, 87-88 Olds Firenza, 87-89 Buick Skyhawk
1.8L OHC : probably, since it is very similar to the 2.0
– found in same as above
20NE, 20SE, 20SEH, C20NE, C20GET : European same basic engine as 2.0
– found in various Vauxhalls and Opels
18NE etc : probably, Euro equivalent to 1.8L above, not sure what all their engine codes are
– found in various Vauxhalls and Opels
Others? – If you know more engines that share this layout like maybe the sub-1.8L European engines, let me know.


Anyone with basic machining skills should be able to build this tool from the print below, and if not, any machine shop should be able to for you easily. You may be able to get away with using a drill press if you have a decent setup. I used some scrap 6061 aluminum, which works just fine, but you can also use steel or whatever else is available. Also, this is a guide for one way to do it. There is extra material on the top of the part behind the two holes that could be removed if you want. As you’ll be able to see when I put up a picture of mine, I cut down that side some and chamfered the edges. The important parts are the height used for compressing the spring, that there’s enough material in the holes to guide the bolt somewhat and keep it straight, and the relationship of the holes to the compressing shape. Anyway, if you stick to the print it will work fine. Another thing you can do alternately to using the bolt is an M6 stud or threaded rod, and then use a nut to compress the spring instead of turning the bolt. This may be a little easier on the holes.
Disclaimer: Build and use at your own risk, and enjoy.

cam tool 2

cam tool 2

2.0L valvetrain tool.

2.0L valvetrain tool.

J Body ABS Delete

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

Below is the information I’ve compiled on deleting the ABS system and converting to non-ABS brakes on a second generation J body, in my case the 93 Sunbird two door. It never worked, added weight, complication, and I just didn’t see the need for keeping it around. It cleans up the engine bay a little too.

Depending on what you think is easier, you can either take apart the ABS master cylinder and reuse it, or you can swap in a pre 92 one and use it. If you use the ABS one, you’ll have to drill and tap the lower two ports, but you can then reuse all but one of your original lines with a little bending. When drilling for tapping, don’t drill into the sealing surfaces/taper of the master cylinder or you may create sealing problems. If you use the non-ABS one, you’ll have to cut 3 of 4 lines, bubble flare them, get some new fittings, and then bend them into position.

The info below should get you started, but it can be done many different ways. You could probably find adapters to prevent doing any cutting and flaring, some people like to convert to AN lines, and so on.

I went the non-ABS master cylinder route just because I wasn’t sure what would be involved until I pulled the ABS stuff apart later on to check it out, and I already had all of the extra fittings required.

Master Cylinder Info

All fittings are metric iso bubble flares, and all lines are 3/16″.

brake locations refer to L(eft) as driver side, R(ight) as passenger, F(ront), and R(ear) brakes
mcyl locations refer to F(ront of car), R(ear of car), U(pper port), and L(ower port)

ABS mcyl sizes from left(front of car) to right(rear of car) factory:
brake location – fitting size

LF – M10 x 1.0
RR – M11 x 1.5
LR – M10 x 1.0
RF – M11 x 1.5

ABS mcyl port sizes with abs equipment removed:
brake location – fitting size – location on mcyl
LF – M10 x 1.0 – UF
RF – M10 x 1.0 – UR
RR – .314 dia. untapped – LF   (tap to M11 x 1.5, drill size 9.5 mm [.374 in] to reuse stock line)
LR – .314 dia. untapped – LR   (tap to M10 x 1.0, drill size 9 mm [.354 in] to reuse stock line)

Non-ABS mcyl sizes:
brake location – fitting size – location on mcyl
RR – M10 x 1.0 – LF
RF – M11 x 1.5 – UR
LF – M12 x 1.0 – UF
LR – M13 x 1.5 – LR

Brake line fittings for conversion:
brake line – if using ABS mcyl – if using non-ABS mcyl
LF – as is – to M12
RR – as is if abs mcyl tapped to M11 – to M10
LR – as is if abs mcyl tapped to M10 – to M13
RF – to M10 – as is

J Body Control Arm Refresh.

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Since I’ve done this a few times now, I thought I’d share my experiences with freshening up the Sunbird’s control arms this time around.

Ball joint removal:
If they’ve never been replaced, you unfortunately are going to have to get the factory ball joint rivets out first. You can either attempt to drill them out, or grind the heads and press or pound them out. Each method has its difficulties.

For drilling, one side of the rivets has a center indentation to start the drill. At this age, they may no longer provide a good center to drill anymore due to rust etc. The other tricky part will be setting the control arm up to get a straight hole, since they are not exactly flat on the opposite side. One more thing about this method is, I wouldn’t advise using a .500(1/2)” drill as others do – the hole is actually closer to .453(29/64)” and you want to minimize material loss which may weaken the mounting points. If your hole is not dead center, you’ll want to go smaller still. Only drill out enough just to get it out, and make sure your hole is as centered and as straight as possible and you will be ok. The bolts that replace the rivets are 12mm in the kit I got, so you may have to drill out the hole a bit to fit them, but that is better than blowing the hole out too large and probably also changing its location when trying to get out the rivets.

To be able to press out the rivets, you’re going to have to use a cutoff or grinding wheel to get the head off at least one side of the rivets. The heads on the lower side are shallower than the top side, so to make it a little easier, grind them off. You may want to try to grind the head a little below the surface of the arm if you can, while trying to avoid grinding the arm. Any lip remaining will make it hard to press out, especially if you are going to try to hammer it out. With a hydraulic press, it is not quite as big a deal, it will just fold the small amount of lip over as it goes.  Pressing them out can mushroom the mounting holes in the control arm a bit on the far side. I would suggest you put in some ball joints (new, old, or .281(9/32)” thick material) and vice, C clamp, or hammer them carefully back to flat before putting things back together.

Bushing removal:
You can burn bushings out with a torch, but I don’t find it necessary due to their design in this case. They are somewhat hourglass shaped, so they don’t contact the entire inside of the arm, making them a little easier to get out because they fuse to the arm in fewer places. If you do want to torch them though, I’d keep the heat toward the center of the bushing or the steel bolt tube; these aren’t the most rugged of control arms, and you could probably distort or melt the stamped metal pretty easily. Another word of caution when doing this, and I have a feeling this is pretty rare, but somehow I had one of them build up pressure once and shoot the center tube right out of the bushing. (It wasn’t a J control arm.)

I found on my factory 128k mile control arms that all that had to be done for 3 out of 4 was hacksaw one side of the rubber bushing flange around the outside edge to weaken it enough so it would fold up when I pounded them out the other side of the housing. You also can hack the whole “rubber flange” part off if you like. On the fourth, I had to resort to drilling some holes in the rubber to weaken it and loosen the rubber’s hold.  Just be careful of chewing up the inside of the control arm housing when doing this, the drill wants to walk. Also, when this happens, it may leave some rubber behind in the bore which you will have to find a way to scrape out before installing the new bushings.

Installing the new bushings and ball joints is pretty straight forward. The ball joints simply bolt in with three new bolts (usually supplied with the ball joints,) and the bushings you should be able to push or tap in easily after you’ve greased them, assuming you’re upgrading to polyurethane while you’re in there – which you should, and you won’t have to do this again for a long time, and will also improve handling while you’re at it.

The only other thing of note when going to install the control arm and spindle, is just as you may have already found if you’ve taken them out, it may be easier to install them as a unit. Once the driveshaft enters the picture, there is no room to install the castellated nut on the ball joint, or any way to torque it either.

5.0 EGR delete plate dimensions.

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

When I decided to make an EGR delete plate for the Mustang’s 306 build (more on that to follow,) I didn’t have my EGR valve handy, so I did some searching online for dimensions, figuring it had been done a hundred times before and probably documented somewhere with some useful numbers. Not so much. So here they are for anyone else who would rather make than purchase a block off plate.

A few notes: The original has an elongated hole on the bottom, not sure why, but it’s easier to just put a regular hole in. The only really important thing is the spacing between the two holes and their size, it doesn’t matter too much if you just get the outside shape to a rough approximation depending on what tools you may have available. I used a piece of 1/4″ thick aluminum, but you can use whatever you want as long as it is rigid and flat enough to seal. I added in rough countersink sizes if you want a nice clean look using flathead screws, but it’s quick and easy to use the existing studs and nuts and skip that step (this is what I have done temporarily until I get around to getting some flatheads.) Also, when deleting the EGR, you can either buy or build a simulator (diagram is below and can be found with some searching, however I have not yet tested it) to prevent ECU codes.

5.0 EGR delete plate

EGR simulator

EGR simulator

Escort CCRM ac fix.

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

When my friend’s 98 Escort lost AC, he found this and asked me to do the soldering. Great info on a really cheap alternative to replacing the whole expensive circuit board. All you really need to do is drill out the rivets to open the case, desolder the old relay, solder in the new one, and then close the case back up with (if I remember correctly) some 1/2″ 8-32 screws & nuts fitting perfectly. The only other thing we had to do is remove the intake tubing to get at the ccrm I believe. This was done at the beginning of summer 09 and I think lasted until he got rid of the car.

Radio Shack relay 275-005
approx $5.00

More info from Ford Forums.

the relay

5.0 Throttle Body Disassembly / Powdercoating.

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

How to take apart your 5.0 throttle body (and possibly other Ford throttle bodies of this era) for rebuilding, replacing bearings, powdercoating, etc. without destroying anything or buying a puller.

Required for powdercoating a throttle body, as the throttle shaft bearings would be ruined if not removed.

General Disassembly:
Obviously, the throttle body has to be removed from the car first. Consult a Haynes or Chiltons if this is a problem for you…
Remove the TPS (throttle position sensor) from the housing by removing the two bolts. Pull the TPS away from the housing.
Remove the two (phillips head) screws from the throttle blade, apply pressure and be careful to not strip the heads.
Once they are removed the blade will come out, as will the shaft from the linkage end.
If powdercoating or painting, you may want to remove the throttle stop screw and spring – but first measure the distance from the flange to the end of the bolt so you can replace it in the same position.
You are now left with the bearings.

Building the Tool:
You will need:
* a piece of 3/8 (.375) aluminum rod, maybe about an inch long – the length is not especially important
* approximately 4 inches of 3/8 rod, or anything of that length to fit through a .390 hole rigid enough to withstand a little pounding
* under .750 (3/4) rod, socket, etc.
* 8-32 flat head screw 1/2 or 5/8 – length not critical
* 82 degree countersink tool
* 8-32 tap
* #29 drill for tap
* hack saw or similar

Drill through the center of the 1″ long alum. piece with the #29 drill, then countersink to the edges (or close,) and then tap the hole. Saw down the center of the alum. about halfway, (.5 or .6 deep) enough to allow it to spread easily. That’s it for the tool.

Removing the Bearings:
First tighten the screw into the tool so that it won’t slide through the bearing. The idea is you will be spreading it enough so that it will catch and pull and not slip through as you use the 4″ 3/8 rod to pound the bearing out from the opposite side. It may take a couple tries to get the tool to the right size. Once it does, it should pop out and you can repeat for the other side and you’re ready for powdercoating or paint. See the diagram for a visual aid.

If you’re powdercoating, remember to mask to avoid coating gasket surfaces, threaded holes, and especially the bearing holes. If you already powdercoated your threaded holes, you can retap them to clean out the powder with an M4x.7 for the TPS and an M5x.8 for the throttle stop. The OD of the bearings is about .750 or 3/4 so you will need something slightly smaller to tap the bearings back into place until they bottom out. The more area you have, the better – as long as you’re not pounding just on one part (the inner, central, or outer portion) of the bearing but on as much of all three as possible, it should work fine. You could potentially damage them if you’re not careful. Replace the throttle stop, setting it to the measurement you recorded earlier, and then the rest is just putting back what you removed.

bearing removal diagramthrottle body bearingbearing removal toolpowdercoated throttle body

Ford Motorsport Multiport EFI Engine Management Harness.

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

This manual is useful for any 5.0 EFI conversions.

Download the Ford Motorsport EFI Wiring Manual.

or view individual pages:

1 – table of contents, intro, overview
2 – component list
3 – component list, general installation instructions
4 – engine (injector) harness wire colors & connections
5 – engine (inj.) harness connection locations
6 – main & hego (o2) harness wire colors & connections
7 – main harness connection locations
8 – o2 harness connection locations
9 – tools, sensors & relays, engine (inj.) harness install
10 – engine (inj.) harness install
11 – engine (inj.) harness install
12 – engine (inj.) harness install
13 – main harness install, firewall hole pattern
14 – main harness install, firewall hole pattern, eec mount
15 – main harness install, brown splice
16 – main harness install, green splice
17 – green & brown connector diagram
18 – main harness install, hego/o2 install
19 – main harness install, hego/o2 install
20 – cautions, notes, grounds
21 – fuel system
22 – vacuum diagram
23 – startup, troubleshooting
24 – troubleshooting, general info
25 – misc. parts list and numbers

green brown – color coded splicing guide for the green and brown connectors

In progress: manual retyped for legibility and non-image-based pages – pdf files.