Engine Pulled

P4250057With the weather warming up and more cruises planned for our car club, the desire builds until you get to the point where you just cannot take it any longer and need to work on your car. Going off the thrill of the Spring Cougar Run sponsored by the Stray Cats, I did find time the past two days to spend about 12 hours total working on the ’68 Cougar. This was enough time to allow me to pull the 302 out of the engine compartment. Of course this was not what I had planned on doing, but one thing led to anything and before I knew it…well, read on.

P4250062I spoke in jest of pulling the engine last year I believe, but that turned into reality yesterday when the engine was unbolted from the mounts and was raised out of the compartment. Oddly enough this all started because I needed to replace a leaking [I believe] water pump. This was the part I, with the input from the members of MC.net pinpointed.

Actually I had done quite a bit of work up to the point yesterday prior to removal in order to clean the engine compartment, such as removing as things like the alternator and solenoid and tubing from the engine walls. Before that, I had pulled out the air conditioning [which won’t be going back into the car], radiator, fan and shroud, pulleys, water pump, manifold/carb and valve covers. Much of this was R&R [remove & replace], such as the manifold and the carburetor, water pump, thermostat and the radiator.

P4250072So after removing all these parts and staring at a timing chain cover, I began to ask myself, “what if?” What if I just pulled the engine? I mean hell, I have most of the parts off, just need to disconnect the transmission and a few other bolts. I inquired about this to my buddy, Greg [the Olds guy] and the group at MC.net. One of the first comments I got, after asking was it is an easier process with two people. Well, Monday was a very productive day, I basically removed the remaining bolts/nuts, but was not able to loosen the engine from the bell housing and slide the converter backwards. Come to find out that would be a very minor issue. Thankfully, the “beer tool” was not needed, although joked about on the forums.Tuesday, I enlisted the assistance of Mark, a fellow Cougar nut and member of the Stray Cats who came over and helped me finish off the choir of unbolting the engine and hoisting it out of the compartment. The process went fairly smooth and no major problem were encountered. We pulled of the headers, which made allowed for a but more lateral movement, hooked up the hoist and pulled the motor mount bolts and the engine was free.

P4250069So now, the engine it sitting on a stand as I have been in communication with Arron, who owns Bad Ass Engines in Sonoma. While I was considering buying a new engine, it was decided to rebuild the current 302 off my block, reusing some of the parts in addition to the new parts I had previously purchased such as an Edelbrock Performer manifold intake and a Holley 600 carburetor. I also scored a good deal on a set of Cougar valve covers locally. Those are the major parts I already have that will go back on the engine.Turnaround time for the engine should be approximately 15-20 days, which should give me enough time to clean, sand and paint the engine compartment. While the engine is out, I would like to change out the steering box, which continues to have play when turning the wheel. I will also be removing the power brake booster and master cylinder along with the proportional valve and cleaning those parts as well.My target date to complete the engine is July 16, because that is the day of the SC/NCCC “Classic Cougar” Picnic at Ed Levin Park in Milpitas. While the car will still look like a “beater ” [as my wife puts it], it will steer, break, sound and run great since most of the mechanical work will have been completed.

Where the hell have I been?

If you are involved with online gaming  and follow Urban Terror, you  might be asking yourself, “WTF is up with the game?” I know I promised  an update to the web site months ago, but as I mentioned to a few, “shit  happens.” Currently my priorities do not include much work with Urban Terror. That is not to say the team has disbanded or the mod is dead. I  am sure there will be some [or maybe many] who disagree. But the work  continues, that is about all I can say. We could have more news [big  possibly] later this year.

As for the job hunting, I am still  pursuing the position at BART, here in San  Francisco [actually Oakland]. Did I mention I hate NoCal? I know I have  mentioned that before, but it is definitely not “my town” but the  position at BART could [CHA-CHING] change that. The position I am after has not been posted and honestly I have not been in to observe train operations for about 2 weeks. I am due, so I might check it out this  upcoming week. Just to make sure they remember my face.

I have  been quite involved in the local Cougar club, Mercury Cougar Stray Cats. I completely revamped the club website and have  been providing weekly information for club members. This past week, our  club took our first cruise of the year down to Half Moon Bay, ending up  in Pacifica for an early dinner. It was a great time and you can read  all about it on our web site.While time is definitely NOT been  on my side, I did have the past two days to work on my ’68 Cougar.  Believe it or not, I do not work on this every day, or even every week.  Remember, I am now a father and my son is the most important thing to me  [as is my wife] in the world. More than my Cougar, more than some video  game. Some people do not understand that. But thankfully, I was able to  accomplish some good work on my Cougar yesterday and today. Thanks to  fellow club member, Mark, we pulled the 302 out of the car. I am just  waiting to get it up to the engine shop located in Sonoma. More details  on this and all other Cougar activity tomorrow[update].

A quick  update on the previous news item, X-Busted 360 would you believe I am  STILL waiting for ANY Toys ‘R Us to get a premium system in? What’s it  been, nearly 2 weeks now? I did find a store yesterday that will swap  out the hard drive when they get more in. Hopefully that will resolve  the issue, because I am jonesing to play FIFA World Cup 2006. Since that  time, I have been playing some MVP 2005 [baseball] to pass the time,  while babysitting our son.

Speaking of our son, he is doing  great! He is starting to get a real personality now, he is almost 5  months old and continuing to do new things each and every day. He now  has a laugh, a real laugh, so we can play simple games with him. He  loves his “jumperoo” and will sit in there and bounce for about 30  minutes at a time, drooling, laughing and smiling. I did pick out some  clothing for him from a place called Baby Rock Apparel,  it is a onesie that says ‘BOOB MAN’. You can check it out, here.  Cannot wait to deck him out in his new threads.That is all for now,  thanks for continuing to support the site and check in on what the hell  I have been doing.

XBusted 360

Why I continue to buy and support Microsoft and it’s hardware and software products is beyond me. So I received my state and federal tax returns and at the convincing [which didn’t take much] of my wife, I decided to purchase an Xbox360, in order to replace the original Xbox. One note on that, YES MICROSOFT I DID MOD THAT XBOX AND COPY GAMES AND IT FELT GOOD! Last Friday, we stopped by Toys ‘R Us and I picked up a premium system [includes the wireless controller, headset, Ethernet cable and HDD) for $399. I also picked up Ghost Recon Advanced Warrior and FIFA 2006. The total bill was about $650. Not cheap by any means.

So I get it home, unpack it and connect it up to the Internet, build myself a profile and Gamertag [itgOSWALD] if anyone cares] so I can play online. I spend a few hours playing FIFA 2006 and run through a few practice sessions on Ghost Recon. The following day I go to play FIFA 2006 and the Xbox 360 locked up…just freezes, sort of like other Microsoft operating systems. So I reset the system and go to load my game up. I then get an error message saying the disk is not readable. WTF? I was just playing it 10 minutes ago.

Upon further inspection, I pull the disk from the drive and there is a circular ring, like it had been scratched on the disk. This scratch was not on the disk when I purchased the game. I did not physically put it there, so the only logical conclusion is somehow it got scratched while in the system. No big deal really, my wife returned it and got a new FIFA 2006 and I was off for a few games of footie.

Unfortunately it did not last long before the 360 locked up again [no, not a heat issue either], so I decided to pack it all back up and return the piece of shit and try my luck again. Wouldn’t you know it, I return it where I bought it at and they are out and can’t tell me when they will get more in. So I drive 30 miles southeast to Pleasant Hill and go in for an exchange. Same story, they don’t have any and can’t tell me when they will get any in.

Yesterday, I decided to drive some 55 miles east to Stockton. Thankfully I had a few other errands to run in that direction, so I stopped by Toys ‘R Us. Guess what? Yup, they don’t have any. Beginning to get more and more frustrated, I decided to call it a day and just wait it out until next week. That’s when my wife decides she wants to go to Babies ‘R Us down in Dublin, about 60 miles south of where we live.

Before lugging that box with me again, I called and they confirmed they had the premium systems in stock, so I was halfway to my return. The exchange when smooth, the salesperson was a pleasure to work with, unlike the usual gang of pimply teens or white trash women working at Toys ‘R Us. Foreseeing future problems, I also purchased a 1 year warranty for the Xbox 360, which covers damn near everything after Microsoft’s runs out. $40 bucks, thought it would come in handy seeing as I had trouble from the get go.

Fast forward to 3:30am this morning, I can’t sleep so I get up, come downstairs and fire up the system for a bit of footie. I play for about an hour, win a few games and I decide to go back to bed. I shut the system down and think nothing of possible problems, as all had gone well up to this point.After feeding our son Zachary I start up the 360 for some gaming. That is when the problems started, the 360 can not find my profile to log me in to Xbox LIVE. Further examination and an error message pops up saying, you need a hard drive to store profiles and games in progress on. WTF? More issues, so going against my better judgment I go online for “support” and here is how the conversation went down:

Me: I have already returned one Xbox 360 due to the console locking up during game play. I now have the new Xbox 360 hooked up, I recovered my Gamertag and was playing a few hours ago. Just recently I go to play and the console tells me that I do not have a HDD, which I do since I did get the premium system. Am I out of luck and do I go return a second system or is there something I can try to resolve this issue?

Jonathan: I’m sorry for the inconvenience Stephen.

Jonathan: I strongly suggest that you call our phone support for this issue so they can make arrangements for you.

Me: Arrangements for…

Jonathan: Repairs or exchange.

Me Ill take the POS back to where I bought it from, quicker…thanks*sigh* So it looks like I am back to step one…AGAIN! Stuck with a non-functioning Xbox 360. I know these consoles had issues, but what the hell are the chances that two of them are bad? Well, it is Microsoft. Guess I will give it one more chances, that is, when I find a store that actually had them in stock that does not take me 60+ miles away from home.

Cleaning and more cleaning

After nearly two weeks of not working on  the Cougar, I finally got a day and a half of work done. Of course, if  you ask my wife, it does not look like a damn thing happened. I am still  waiting for AMK Products to  ship my bolt kits. It has now been 10 days and they have not updated my  order. I might need to call them to see what is up. So for the time  being, I continue to work on items that are going to be accomplished  before all the parts are bolted back on.

After reading an article on a Mustang site [sorry have to find the link] I decided to start  cleaning and “detailing” the engine compartment. No, the engine has not  been pulled, it remains in the compartment, but I have quite of bit of  the bolt on parts removed because they are being replaced. I did pick up  a new set of Cougar valve covers from Delta Bay Mustang, along with a 7″ thermal fan and some minor odds and  ends. Currently, I have my eyes set on a new Pertronix Ignitor & Chrome Flame Thrower Coil Kit from Mustang’s Plus in Stockton.

I continue to  clean the engine compartment, removing 35 years of muck, dirt, grime and  general crap from the Cougar. With most of the forward engine compartment open, I spent the better part of a day, cleaning and sanding  it in order to spray it with a semi-gloss black paint. Considering what  I have to work with and the fact this is not a concourse Cougar, I  think the work I am going will vastly improve the look when the hood is  open, but by no means will it replace a sandblasted, primed and painted  compartment by a professional.

Family, weather and schedule  permitting, oh yeah, as well as the arrival of my bolts, I could start putting the engine back together later this week. I was hoping to have  the Cougar ready for the Stray Cats Spring Run, but April 22 is coming  quickly and I don’t believe I will be ready. So that means the next “big” event will be the Cougar Picnic in Milpitas in July. I know I can have this work accomplished by then. Who knows, maybe there might be paint on the car or at least primer.?

Once You Go Blāk…

No, this is not another insensitive racial comment. I am talking about the new Coca-Cola Bl?k, which is a Coca-Cola and coffee fusion. I only picked up a 4-pack [for $4.99] at Target because I heard the local morning talk show personalities going on about it. The drink is Coke “infused” with the essence of coffee? WTF is essence? This is not Emril Live! [gotta be a Food Network junkie to get the joke]. Coke and coffee, not really two products that go together unlike chocolate and peanut butter. So I have an 8 oz. bottle of this infusion. Can’t say it is all that. I sort of tasted like flat Coke with the aftertaste of coffee. And don’t we all just enjoy that nasty coffee aftertaste? I think if I want something along this line of drink, I will stay with the Rockstar or Red Bull. So, the saying, “once you go Bl?k, you never go back” ain’t always true. Sorry Coke, this stuff is nasty!