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Discussion Starter #1
Well I must say, the "hey" thread and the "why do people knock cougars" thread" was great reading!
All of you are nice people and have a great sense of humor.
Nobody mentioned the 67 and 68 cougar's tendency to develop the droopy headlight door syndrome.
I know this is a touchy subject to some but in all the years I've owned Cougars most of the
negative comments I've heard were about the headlight doors. You can spend thousands of $$
restoring, or resto moding, but in the eyes of a non Cougar owner the first thing they look at are
the headlights. I believe that this is one of the biggest reasons why Cougars were sort of overlooked by some collectors.
What do you think?
 

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Can I ask what you mean by droopy doors?
If you mean they don't apear even with the rest
of the front grill, there is a simple adjustment that
threads both as they are open or closed position.
Yes, sometimes they will not fully open (stick) or close
but is just mechanical or vaccum problem. They do
take maintenence.:confused:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes redcat, that's what I mean. [they don't appear even with the rest of the front grill]
It seems ford didn't finish the design. I know
about the adjustment bumpers in fact I know every
inch of the of those headlight assemblies. The
adjusting bumper in the open position is no problem. The adjusting bumper for the closed position is another story. Ford didn't make it long enough. Even if a longer one is installed
there are still problems. If the door is adjusted with motor running, it wont't look the same with th engine off. If the door is adjusted with the engine off it won't look the same with the engine
running. Why? because of the force of vacuum pushing against that lone overworked bumper.
 

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I agree with your comment that Ford did not finish the design. There is much to this story though, Ford actually revised the design several times from early in '67 through the end of 1968 production to try and solve some of the problems. T

The earliest '67 grilles had a tendancy to crack at the attachment bolts near the hood latch, so very early there was beef up of the casting in that region of the grille. For the '68 model year the pivot point was relocated so that less downforce would be exerted. This means '67 headlight doors won't fit '68 Cougar grilles and vice-versa. The constant downforce from the vacuum motors causes the entire grille assembly to bow in the middle of each headlight door and to bend away from the bumper. The bumpers have plenty of adjustment in new condition, it is when the assembly bends that there semms to be not enough. It also means that even if you adjust the door up the teeth are not aligned properly.

The 1968 grille assemblies made later in the model year are significantly stronger in the attachment area near the center grille. Another change was made very late in 1968 to add a spring inside the vacuum motors that will open the headlight doors if vacuum is lost.

There is really no decent way to fix the grilles once they become warped in the center, if you try to straighten them they break. Longer adjustment bolts help, my solotion is to cut out a piece of 1/4" thick neoprene and glue it to the headlight assembly where the bumper rests. That shims the door up enough to be adjusted properly.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So my question to everyone is;

In your opinion, Do you think that the headlight
door alignment is one of the reasons that 67-68 Cougars weren't as popular as some of the other Pony cars of the late sixties?
 

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I think it probably was not an issue. The doors didn't start drooping until the cars were well used and by then it was 1969. Mustangs and Camaros were much cheaper and more heavily advertised. They also had more dealers selling them.
 

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In my opinion the Cougar was just Mustang's redheaded stepchild that took a back seat in sales just like Firebird did with Camaro. Both Mustang and Camaro were the flagships of their corresponding brands. Cougar and Firebird were just offered to soak up any additional sales that could be gained from the public. In my opinion both the Cougar and Firebird were conceptually better cars because of their refinement from their more popular siblings, but they didn't get the attention or sales because of their "secondary" roles. Correct me if I'm wrong, but even when Mopar got into the act a little later on the Challengers took a back seat to the Cudas because of the same marketing emphasis...
 

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I solved the closed headlight cover adjustment situation by replacing one of the four headlight door attachment screws with a long bolt and locknut on the lower screw so headlight cover would always end up in the same position.
 

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I'm to young to know what was in the mind's of buyers from 1967 to 1968, I was born in 1967, but I've talked to my mom about it and she had some interesting insights.

My mom was in her early 20's during the muscle car years and was absolutely into cars during that time. She told me that she didn't particularly like the look of the Cougar's grill and as such it wasn't one of her favorite cars. Now she didn't fully represent the buying demographic at that time but she is entitled to her opinion. :)

She also noted that during that time many young men were returning from Vietnam and buying up Mustangs which was a bargain compared to the Cougar.

I should also note that Ford was a dominate force in all manor of racing and that helped sell Ford's, once again a cheaper alternative to the Mercury.

I don't think Ford buyers looked to Mercury as a "step up" from a Ford in the same way that Buick, Pontiac and even Cadillac buyers did to the Chevy/GM faithful. Evident by how rare all models of Mercury's are today?

Even now the Mustang is a legend due to it's phenominal sales and of course the Camaro/Firebird is popular because it was 1) the GM equivilent to the Mustang, 2) looks great, and 3) has power and options up the wazoo!

Everything else just got overlooked. :rolleyes:
 

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You know, every car has its good a bad points. The cougar
does have a little problem with the eyelids. Some of us like to
tinker with them to make them just right! I dont think it is a
popularity issue but it does leave a few more around to
help a poor cougaholic.:) :)
 

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No eyelids

My car has no eyelids since it is a 72 but, I have problems with the driver side door sagging and I do notice this problem on other 71-73 Cougars.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Do you want to fix your droopy headlight doors for good. This is how I straightened mine.

I eliminated the center stop. No more flex. I moved the stops to the door hinges. The center stop is just a decoration now.

I have had straight headlight doors for over 13 years and counting.







 

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I like that solution!
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
this is the result I achieved with gluing rubber on the metal where the bolt stops in a closed position. I looked at how difficult it was for Don to change the original bolt for a longer one and thought that looked way too hard for me! http://s21.postimg.org/uito0fktz/1622782_295721437244034_1739669993_n.jpg
I thought about doing that a very long time ago but it's not a REAL FIX. It's the same with the longer adjusting screw and using long screws on the bottom of the headlight revel.

When the car was new the adjusting stop was fine, over time now it becomes too short. What does that tell you. center section of the headlight assembly is literally bending in half. More like twisting from the center (top) down in a forward motion.

A simple analogy would be a diving board.

As you walk to the end of the diving board your weight creates torque which causes flex. If you decide to jump you create even more torque and more flex. If you try to jump where the diving board is attached you won't get the same effect.


By moving the torque closer to the attaching points of the headlight door and installing two stops in the hinges of the door some of that stress now is channeled into the door hinge assembly in the closed position. (The way it was meant to be)

ZERO stress on the center section. Now your headlights won't move around




In my opinion using a longer bolt or attaching a spacer in not a true fix.
Do you know what keeps it from bending (twisting) too far? The vacuum motor.



I'll make you a bet that if you check to see if your vacuum motor tilts back and forth it doesn't. I will also bet that the rubber dust boot is gone. When the vacuum motor can't tilt it puts the vacuum motor's plunger in the incorrect position it will rub against the wall and tear the boot.
 

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I thought about doing that a very long time ago but it's not a REAL FIX. It's the same with the longer adjusting screw and using long screws on the bottom of the headlight revel.

When the car was new the adjusting stop was fine, over time now it becomes too short. What does that tell you. center section of the headlight assembly is literally bending in half.

In my opinion using a longer bolt or attaching a spacer in not a true fix.
Do you know what keeps it from bending too far? The vacuum motor.

I'll make you a bet that if you check to see if your vacuum motor tilts back and forth it doesn't. I will also bet that the rubber dust boot is gone. When the vacuum motor can't tilt it puts the vacuum motor's plunger in the incorrect position it will rub against the wall and tear the boot.
You are right, it was a quick fix. ideally, I'd change to an electric system, I never intend to go the concourse way, just a presentable Sunday driver, presently it's a 20 footer and if the car behaves itself, I'll get all the dings taken out and give it a coat of Lime Frost. But I want to try and keep the "survivor" look.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Here is a picture of the stops installed. As you can see there is alot of distance between the center stop and the attaching points.

What supports the center? Two headlight cups and a cover screwed into four plastic bosses.




After taking off the 7 pound door this is what yours could look like.

Look at the corner that is starting to tear from the stress of the center stop.






You can make these brackets quickly by making a paper pattern first. Then trace on metal. These brackets are made from .080 4130-N sheet steel.

It is important to NEST (match) the perphery of the bracket with the body of the hinge. This way, the the bracket can't rotate when force is applied. The hinge and bracket become one when fastened, even using a 10/32 small screw as I did for this example.



With two stops on both headlight doors (total 4 stops) the housing can now take the pressure from the vacuum motor without twisting.

The stops can be made out of delrin instead of rubber. Your headlight doors will look the same with engine running or not.




It's kind of interesting that this hole on the hinge wasn't used for anything.
The hole may have been used, along with the one used for the bushing for a form block (holes to pin the part to the form block) used to form the outer stiffening flange for the hinge, but why did they take the extra care NOT to cover it up when the spring bracket was attached?


See how the bracket for the spring has a relief cut for the hole. Also the hole is not a SAE sized hole.

It may have been used to locate the spring bracket for the spot welding operation.

Well, now there is a use for it.



 

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Do you want to fix your droopy headlight doors for good. This is how I straightened mine.

I eliminated the center stop. No more flex. I moved the stops to the door hinges. The center stop is just a decoration now.

I have had straight headlight doors for over 13 years and counting.







If you can make them in large quantities we can sell them...
 
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