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Discussion Starter #901
I recently completed a 1000 mile road trip in the Cougar and I noticed that the steering was particularly numb on center. While driving down the highway I found myself having to constantly steer it in order to keep it going straight. I attributed this mostly to the windy conditions that I encountered at various points on the trip, but I didn't give it much more thought.


After getting home, I noticed that there was a little squeaking noise from the front end when I made slow right hand turns. I suspected that maybe the preload on the front bearings has loosened up, so I jacked it up to investigate. Rocking the wheel at the 12 and 6 o'clock position really didn't show any unusual looseness in the bearings, however, I did find significant slop when I rocked the wheel at the 3 and 9 o'clock positions:




Although all of my front end components are "new" they do have about 15K miles on them since installation. After seeing the slop in the rack, I called TCP and was surprised and pleased to get a live tech guy on the line. His name was Mike and he was very helpful. He told me that due to the straight cut gears of the rack and pinion gears, periodic inspection and adjustment is necessary to minimize the backlash. He outlined the procedure and I went outside and did it. I also noticed that the passenger side inner tie rod was a little loose where it was bolted to the rack, and I was able to address that.


Needles to say, the steering feels much better. The return to center is much improved and the on center feel is also much better (no duh...considering how much slop was there)! I plan to have the car up on a rack in the near future to inspect all of the steering and the suspension components and fix anything I find.


Take away: don't assume everything is tight and working properly just because all of the components are "new."


Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter #902
Going to rock a slightly different look and feel for a bit. It is definitely a different driving experience with proper front tires.


The tires are Dunlop Direzza (who comes up with these names!?) DZ102s sized 225/55-16 all the way around, mounted on 16x7 1997ish Crown Vic wheels. The fitment is very good. In retrospect, I probably could have gone with 245/50s all the way around, but I was afraid of fitment issues in the front.





Some lowering in the front and rear is probably in order.


Andrew
 

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Looks good. I think those wheels are a better look with your car. Agreed a slight drop would finish the job
 

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I like the look! Maybe the tires could be a bit lower / wider. That would lower the car and give a bit more room in the wheelwells.


Going to rock a slightly different look and feel for a bit. It is definitely a different driving experience with proper front tires.


The tires are Dunlop Direzza (who comes up with these names!?) DZ102s sized 225/55-16 all the way around, mounted on 16x7 1997ish Crown Vic wheels. The fitment is very good. In retrospect, I probably could have gone with 245/50s all the way around, but I was afraid of fitment issues in the front.





Some lowering in the front and rear is probably in order.


Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter #906
The front can come down, but it looks pretty tough with those 225s. I wish I had gone with 245/50s in the rear, but they were not available in this tire anyway. Maybe next set? The shorter tire height is also impacting cruise engine speed. Seventy five MPH is up to about 2500rpm, which is a few hundred more than before.

Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter #909
It has been a while since I have made any updates to this thread, but that is mostly because there was nothing much to report, until now.


I had plans to visit family in the Chicagoland area, and I thought it would be great to make the road trip (750 miles each way) in the Cougar. The first thing was to put together an emergency kit for the road. This consisted of a can of FixAflat, Pladoe, balloons, canned air, and apparently a new cam shaft...just in case...LOL








The cam was obviously not for emergency use. My plan was to stay with my friend, who has a fully equipped garage to do a cam swap. I wanted something a little more mild and something that would be boost friendly, in case I want to do a turbo down the road. For this I chose the Summit Racing Stage 1 turbo cam, aka "Ghost" cam.





I was working under a pretty tight schedule. The cam needed to be installed and everything buttoned up by 4:00pm on Saturday, because I was meeting family for dinner. My buddy Matt came over to lend a hand and we started on it at 7:00am.





The new cam was installed along with the 7.425" pushrods that were recommended to be used with this cam by Summit. We double checked lifter preload and it came to .060", which is about right.





Cam cover back on and the balancer torqued to 235lb/ft per ARPs instructions.





Once the radiator was back in, and all hoses reconnected, we fired it up, checked for leaks, brought it up to temp, topped off coolant, and time for a test drive and retune.


This is where the Holley Dominator EFI is so handy. The fuel table started adjusting immediately as I drove. Within a few miles of stop and go traffic, it got noticeably better. I transferred the learn table to the base table, rinse and repeat. By the time I was heading to dinner with my family, she was purring like a kitten....ahem...


Sunday was my daughters HS graduation party. I stopped at a Starbucks on the way, and met up with these guys. Cool dudes...we chatted a bit and went on our ways.





Monday morning I had breakfast with a longtime friend and hit the road, back south. Other than being hot af, the car ran great. I also noted that I picked up 2-3mpg. I stopped in Bowling Green, KY on the way back.





And enjoyed a nice dinner at my favorite Mexican restaurant. Almost as if I was in Mexico...LOL





Until next time...


Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter #913
Not much new to report, other than really enjoying the new cam. I am living in the Louisville area temporarily and have been enjoying having the car with me. It sure beats driving an appliance every day. If anyone is in the area, please reach out. I can use more car buddies to hang out with.


Yesterday I did a little project that I think will enhance the overall driving experience. I bought a stitch on leather steering wheel cover on Amazon for $13. The quality was way better than I expected at that price point and I decided to stitch it on with the suede side out. It will probably wear quicker, but for the price and ease of installation, who cares. It turned out pretty good.














Some future projects that I have in the works are adding tailpipes and installing a new center section in the rear end. Flowmaster actually makes a tailpipe kit for it that I have already purchased and if that doesn't work out, I got a bunch of straight pipe and U-bends. Herb Lump has been kind enough to offer help with that project.


I also purchased a 9" center section with a clutch style diff and 3.25 gears. I want my buddy Jim to have a look at it, because the previous owner said they pulled it out because the gears were howling. I may upgrade to a Strange Daytona pinion support and add new US Gears that are polished. Or I may just toss it in as is and see what happens, after I swap pinion yokes.


Today I also reached 1000 subscribers on YouTube, so thanks to those that are following along. This has motivated me to make more Holley Terminator X videos, which seem to be pretty popular. That's all for now.


Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter #914
I finally had an opportunity to make some mechanical changes. Due to life circumstances, I still do not have a garage, but the generosity of "car guys" never ceases to amaze me. I am currently in the Louisville area, and a car buddy in Jasper Indiana offered his shop and skills to make this possible (thanks @herblumpp!!!).


Since going with the shorter tires, the cruising RPM on the highway has been a little too high for my taste with the 4.33 gears. In edition to the gearing, I was getting really tired of the Detroit Locker clucking and chattering around corners. It's great at the drag strip, but given that this car lives on the street 99% of the time, a more street friendly differential was needed. A buddy of mine had a used 9" carrier sitting around so I bought it from him. It had a 3.25 gear and a clutch type differential. The gear wasn't optimal, but I decided to go with it.











We made some adjustments to the gear mesh and added a Strange aluminum Daytona pinion support and a CV pinion yoke from The Driveshaft Shop. This way I have two complete carriers that I can swap back and forth if I wanted to in the future.


Got the car up on the lift and saw this:





That's the life of a daily driver. Pulled the driveshaft...





The axles...





Then the old carrier...





Then installed the new carrier...








The 3.25 gear is a little tall. On the highway it is a little over 1700 RPM @ 75 MPH. The engine doesn't seem to complain, especially with the mild cam, but you can tell that it really wants to be closer to 2000 RPM to be happy. The gears also whine like crazy. I was expecting this, but was hoping the whine wouldn't be so loud.


The biggest improvement was the clutch style differential. This makes driving on the street a lot smoother.


Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter #915
The second part of the update was to install tailpipes in the exhaust system. My buddy was talking about building them from scratch, but then I saw that Flowmaster makes tailpipes for the 67-70 Cougars (PN 15807). These are 2.5" diameter, like the rest of the exhaust system, and I figured they would save a ton of time.


Having the car on the lift makes fitting the pipes a lot easier. I kept the original Hooker V304 stainless mufflers.








To make exhaust disassembly easier down the road, we added some Jegs brand v-band clamps. These were not super expensive and have an internal locking lip to keep both halves aligned. The v-bands were rotated out of the way in the final installation.








The end of the tailpipes got some turndowns and the pipes were tucked up and behind the rear valance. I also painted the tailpipes black, which makes them basically invisible when looking at the car from the rear. Even in this picture they are hard to spot...





The end result is a bit of a mixed bag. I was expecting the exhaust to get a little quieter, but that didn't happen. The exhaust note got deeper and but not quieter. I am probably getting too old, because I want it quieter, especially on the highway. I think the next addition might be a H-pipe, and if that doesn't do it, I may consider either adding two bullet style mufflers ahead of the Hooker mufflers, or going with a Super Turbo style muffler.


Andrew
@projectgattato
 
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