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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Was all set to finally fire up the car after getting everything in place after adding a new cam and some Dart Eagle Iron heads. Solved the issue with mounting the accessories.

However, ran into a last issue that keeps me from starting the car. I can't get the spark plugs in. The passenger side bank has the header flange just in enough at 10 o/c that you cannot use a socket. The driver's bank is completely obscured as the plug holes are almost right under the tubes preventing view and any use of a socket. Clearly I am screwed big time at the moment.

Either I have to find headers that would work and it seems that Fox body headers are mentioned with these heads. Fox body headers work in a 1968 engine compartment? I also though of disconnecting the headers to access the plugs and then reconnect. I just don't know what kind of heat the driver's side plugs could handle being right under the tubes?

Or, since a 1/8" corner of header flange is the culprit is there some tool out there with a flexible extension that could be used to grind that corner out since no way the headers can come out?
 

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You could get a Dremel with the flexible whip , you will need a carbide bit to do this work . I think they have small ones for them 1/8 shank .
 

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Not familiar with the Dart heads but is there any way you could cut and trim the flanges enough to get your clearances? Otherwise, you may have to adapt fox body headers which I would bet need a ton of mod's to get them in a cat anyways....may be a matter of which end is easiest to modify. Curious as to what you find out though...?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have a dremel and also thought of the rotary shaft grinder. The flange lays almost flat against 1 side of the 6 sided hex of the Autolite 45 spark plug that is called for. This is just enough to keep the plug from being turned more than 1/8th into the head but not enough to keep you from putting it into it's place. So that is the first route I am going to take. At least I got the engine and everything else back together instead of having parts stashed here and there in the garage.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Here is a shot. Stock heads had the holes slightly forward of where they are in this shot of the driver's side. Passenger side where slightly back so all cleared. The same piece of flange is in the way of each plug by the same amount and needs to be ground off.
 

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Looks like a good die grinder will make short of that ( a porta band would be easier yet!) - the other option is to cut the flanges between about 1/4" and then they can be moved if you also slot the holes a bit....I've see that done but I think it may compromise a good tight seal over time.....I like knocking off the corner idea the best
 

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Dang...dump those headers and get some FPA headers for Dart heads. No issues.
 

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For the short term, I'd slice 'em and dice 'em right where ou have your red lines. For a more permanent fix (with performance in mind), I'd be scrapping those tubes for a higher flowing set.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
For the short term, I'd slice 'em and dice 'em right where ou have your red lines. For a more permanent fix (with performance in mind), I'd be scrapping those tubes for a higher flowing set.

In the long run most likely right provided I can find a set that will fit inside the compartment. Took several sets in 1975 to find the one I have that didn't require any mods other than lowering the power steering ram.

As for FPA a little reading has already shown me that there seem to be some dissatisfied people concerning how it fit 68 Mustangs using Dart heads.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Looks like I will have to disconnect the headers in order to get close to the flanges. Another pain in the neck. Discussed the issue with the guy I know at the local speed shop I have gone to since 1985 and he sees no smooth solution. Headers that fit my car won't fit the heads any better. Headers that fit the heads won't fit my car unless I am prepared to spend time modifying them trial and error.

So for the Goggle search engine I can say that, Dart Eagle Iron heads for the small block Ford, will not be a smooth fit for our cars. Too bad Dart doesn't mention that or the fact that the heads work better on later 302 engines from the Fox body era.
 

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Meh - that figures! Yeah - everybody assumes 5.0 means fox body without considering the millions of cars that came earlier..... well, I guess at some point you may be better off just buying a build you own header kit and fabing them to fit --- maybe you could make a few extra sets to offset your efforts? Assuming somebody wants to run darts in the cat)
 

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Looks like I will have to disconnect the headers in order to get close to the flanges. Another pain in the neck. Discussed the issue with the guy I know at the local speed shop I have gone to since 1985 and he sees no smooth solution. Headers that fit my car won't fit the heads any better. Headers that fit the heads won't fit my car unless I am prepared to spend time modifying them trial and error.

So for the Goggle search engine I can say that, Dart Eagle Iron heads for the small block Ford, will not be a smooth fit for our cars. Too bad Dart doesn't mention that or the fact that the heads work better on later 302 engines from the Fox body era.
Maybe you can contact the header company of the ones that fit your car, but not the heads, and plead your case for a set that has the bolt pattern you need...along with plug clearance.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Now after some weeks have passed I have even more info.

Clearly Dart Eagle Iron small block Ford heads and possibly their aluminum heads are not a direct replacement for heads on the Ford 289/302 engine. They only fit the 5.0L Ford small block.

The only way they will fit our cars is if you are in the process of rebuilding your engine and it is out of the car. You can then easily trim the header flange on both sides to gain plug access. You will also have to dent one of the tubes as there is sure to be one plug boot that rests on top of the tube. Most likely the tube for cylinder #5. If you do this with the engine already in, as well as the headers, you are SOL.

I found that I cannot get a good enough angle to grind down the flange for the driver's side. The header, as many know, does not come out once it is in unless you move the engine or cut it into pieces. My #5 boot sits right on the tube and there is no way to put a dent at the right spot with the header in the car. So this was a very expensive mistake prompted by the fact that Dart says absolutely zero about early 302's and later 5.0's. I can either rebuild my old heads at $1100 with larger valves but a very poor exhaust port or buy new headers to modify and have the car hauled to an exhaust shop to cut out the old and install the new ones after the mods. That is probably $900 at least as I will have to stop by and ask what they think. They will do it so I need their estimate.
 

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prolly cheaper to yank it and break out the hammer/grinder huh? what a PITA....
 

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I feel your pain. When I installed headers on my '69, I had to install and remove them at least four times in order to make all the mods necessary to clear the shock towers, clutch linkage and steering components without interference. It gets a little easier with practice, but still a pain. If you only have to do it once, count yourself lucky.
Unfortunately, I learned a long time ago that when dealing with these old cars, there's no such thing as a bolt-on modification.
 

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Wow, all good ideas from everyone...have you considered putting in a couple of "old" plugs (ones that you can grind enough away to allow them to turn and seal the holes) and using the gas axe (torch) to blow the material away? You'd have to touch up the engine paint...but you may be able to reach in there with the torch where as the Dremel needed more room...
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Wow, all good ideas from everyone...have you considered putting in a couple of "old" plugs (ones that you can grind enough away to allow them to turn and seal the holes) and using the gas axe (torch) to blow the material away? You'd have to touch up the engine paint...but you may be able to reach in there with the torch where as the Dremel needed more room...

I had intended to simply remove the driver's side header when I needed to change plugs. The passenger side looks to have enough room to lift out and work on. All for naught though. With the #5 boot laying on the header tube it will only be a minute before it starts to melt and drop me down to 7 cylinders firing. Unless I can get #5 taken care of, I can't set the distributor for restart much less the timing, and so I can't move the car in any shape, manner or form. Looking more and more as though the car maybe sitting for a long time now with the only way to move it would be on a flat bed.
 
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