Shiny is Good! => Your Project => Topic started by: ixplod on August 09, 2015, 01:47:11 PM

Title: 1980 Sedan Project
Post by: ixplod on August 09, 2015, 01:47:11 PM
I figure I should post more than I do, so, time for a bit of a project log. Useless for now, without pics, but I should be able to snap some to fill in the blanks.

I bought my '80 sedan as a birthday present last October. Just a blue base model with a 2.3, four-speed, new clutch, crappy but new paint, lots of miles and a sloppy shifter. I actually found the forum while looking for Pintony's info on fixing the sloppy shifter. I met Tony and his purple Pinto at a MetalMeet event hosted by some friends of mine in Staunton, IL back in '05. Tony's info got the shifter straightened out.

I hated the stock steering wheel in the car - too big with a slick, skinny rim, so, for Christmas, my girlfriend bought me a new wheel. It's just one of those cheap Chinese wheels from Amazon, but it's the right size and shape. It seems the only 6-bolt steering wheel adapter I could find for an old Ford was by Momo......for way too much money. I bought a Grant 3-bolt adapter and made my own 3 to 6-bolt adapter out of aluminum (a Bridgeport with a DRO helped a lot in getting it just right!).  Still working on a horn switch because the steering shaft and nut are about flush with the front of the horn button bezel.....but I have a plan for that.

I had a guy stop me at a local convenience store one morning, asking about the Pinto (it's an attention getter!). It seems as though he had just sold his Pinto, but kept the factory aluminum slots. A bit of bantering back and forth resulted in an offer, acceptance, and a deal to pick them up the following day. $200 later, I have a set of aluminum slots and 3 185/70/13 tires.......#4 was off the bead and on the ground, so the tire needs to be replaced. Therefore, I'm just running slots on the rear for now, steelies up front.

I checked the timing after I got the car and it was set to the factory spec of 6 degrees BTDC. I left it at that. After reading up on it more, I decided to bump the timing to 12-degrees. It's almost like driving a different car! Low end seems a lot better. I'm just going by the seat of my pants, but leaving a dead stop is much easier with more timing. I'm going to have to pull the distributor and take a look since I want to limit the mechanical advance and run 16 initial. I also hooked up the vacuum advance, which was disconnected, to manifold vacuum instead of ported - that helped the idle a lot.

I ended up parking the Pinto, my daily driver, for a few weeks due to excessive fuel leakage. I had been patching holes in the tank pretty much from the time I bought it. I finally broke down and pulled the trigger on a new Spectra tank through Amazon. It was a couple of dollars less than Rock Auto, and there were a few other things I wanted to order from Amazon, so they won. A seller on Amazon also had the fuel filler grommet, so I bought that too.

When the tank arrived and I had some time to swap the tank, the job was started. Changing a Pinto gas tank is pretty easy and almost self explanatory, for me. When I pulled the tank out, I found a pile of "filler" around the filler neck inlet on the tank. Prying off this "filler" material revealed that a previous owner, at some point welded the filler neck to the gas tank! That took the wind out of my sails, for sure. No one, it seems, has a filler neck for a Pinto for sale. A quick bit of measuring ahowed the filler neck was 2-14" o.d.. A 2 ft piece of 2-1/4" exhaust pipe was purchased at Advance Auto Parts, already expanded on oone end to 2-1/4" i.d.. I measured and marked and hacked the filler neck off the old tank with a portaband. Then, measured and hacked the exhaust pipe to size. The new grommet went on the tank, the modified filler neck slid into place, and the car was buttoned back up. Voila! Only a little bit of leakage now  :o I used a muffler clamp to attach the new pipe to the old filler. If I were to do it again, I'd add some gasoline-proof sealer to the joint so it wouldn't seep gas there. As it is, I'll have to take the tank back out sometime and slide a piece of 2-1/4" i.d. filler neck hose over the joint and clamp it together. The exhaust clamp did its job and crimped both pipes enough that the filler neck isn't coming back off, even without the clamp in place. The hose will be an easier way to go back and fix my oops.

One thing I hated about my last Pinto (another 2.3, 4-speed, '80 sedan that I owned in the mid-90s) was the driving position, exactly the same in this car. Maybe it's just the way I'm built, but, if I'm good on the pedals, the steering wheel is in my chest......if I'm comfortable with the wheel position, the pedals are just a little too far away. Besides that, third gear is way the heck over there ----------> My steering wheel adapter moved the wheel further from me, which helped a lot. Third gear, however, was still way the heck  over there ------> and the throw is awfully long. So, a bit of research found a quickshift kit from Burton's in England. Bought the plastic saddle for inside the tranny and a top cover gasket (just cuz), along with the quickshift kit for a Type-E/Rocket gearbox. $40-something with shipping.

The shifter finally arrived last Tuesday, and I spent part of Wednesday evening installing the quickshift kit. Now, the Euro Type-E box has a shifter that differes a bit from US spec. The instructions say to move the plastic ball up toward the threaded end of the shifter and install a spacer below it. There is also a shim to make the ball tight on the shaft included in the kit. Needless to say, the Pinto uses a metal ball for the shifter pivot. The ball is press-fit onto the shifter. With a bit of force (2lb hammer), it started moving! Woo hoo! Then, it moved even more. Then, it was loose and sloppy on the shifter shaft. Darn! The included shim doesn't fit the Pinto shifter. The spacer doesn't fit the Pinto shifter. The spacer moves the ball to the round part of the Pinto shifter shaft....where it just rattles about.

I found that if I moved the ball about 1/8" down from where the spacer would put it, the ball could be pressed on the edge of the square part of the shifter shaft (which normally goes almost all the way through the ball) and it would be "close enough". So, a bit of red Loctite was applied to the square part of the shaft, and the ball moved into position. It holds pretty firm. The shifter shaft was modified per Burton's instructions.. ..using an angle grinder instead of the recommended bench grinder.

The real basis of the Burton quickshift kit is a spacer that threads into the shifter hole of the tranny, then the shifter screws into the spacer. This raises the shifter enough to allow it to work with the repositioned ball. Putting it back together Went fairly smoothly.....a ll except for the saddle bushing inside the trans. I learned to put the bushing on the shifter and not the trans for easy assembly.

All of this work really shortens the working parts of the shifter, as well as the throw. The stock rubber spring had to be discarded..... which was fine with me since mine had been slit open and a metal spring installed for the reverse lockout. The metal spring was also fairly long, but I put it back in with the e-clip at the top and buttoned it back up.

I read somewhere on the 'net where a guy was saying these quickshift kits always spoiled the feel of the Type-E boxes. He said he always found them to shift a treat. Now, the FOG box has never been on my slick shift list. It's notchy and the long throw makes it feel imprecise.

From the first movement of the lever after installing the quickshifter, it was, again, like driving a whole other car! Gear changes are short and precise! Third gear is RIGHT there -> Reverse is a little difficult with the long spring, but that's a small price to pay for precision!

In the near future, I'll take some pics of the car and the work up to this point. There is still a LOT of work to be done! I'll try to document anything that may be of interest.

Tim D.
Title: Re: 1980 Sedan Project
Post by: dick1172762 on August 10, 2015, 08:41:13 AM
Pictures of the shifter please!
Title: Re: 1980 Sedan Project
Post by: ixplod on August 10, 2015, 12:45:28 PM
It'll be a couple of days before I can pull the shifter out to take some is my daily driver, after all.

Here is a link to the kit on Burton's website: (

Tim D.