The Rickster - a 73 Mach 1 work in progress

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1973 Mustang Mach 1
Thanks, Gil. I have watched I think all of your AOD swap videos, some more than once. Very useful. I had heard horror stories about AOD transmissions burning up because the TV cable was set improperly, and have watched several videos on it. At this point, I am waiting on the speedo gear retaining clip, so tomorrow I will finish getting the TV cable installed. The filler tube is already installed and I am trying to figure out the cooler lines. Looks like 1/4" pipe thread, and not NPT, so working on finding a fitting to fit that and mate up to hard lines to the trans cooler. I am making progress, though, slowly, but surely.
 
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1973 Mustang Mach 1
I've been working on the Rickster pretty steady, but it seems like sometimes it's two steps forward, one step back. I've got the fittings and cooling lines for the transmission sorted. Ialso built a relay panel for the fans, lights, etc.

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I also got the fuel system plumbing completed installed. The supply runs from the tank through the wheelwell where it transitions to hard line. That runs along the rocker up to the front wheelwell where it transitions back to -6AN line. I ran -6AN line for the entire run of the return line.

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I used Pypes 2-1/2" stainless exhaust. It fit the car quite well, except where it mated up with the passenger side header. I had to cut the transition section shorter and weld on a 60 degree to make the fit up. My stainless welding skills aren't great, but I did get it welded up. I also had to weld in the bung for the O2 sensor.

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I don't have a picture of the tailpipes, but they're being a bit of a pain and not lining up with the rear valance cutouts. I've got to do some tweaking and maybe modify the rear exhaust hanger to get them centered up better.

I got the heater box installed, and also installed the radiator and got all the coolant lines run. I was hoping to fire it up last weekend, but when I filled the radiator, I discovered coolant leaking from the bottom of the bell housing. I couldn't find the source and started to worry about a crack in the back of the block. I pulled the transmission, but the back of the block was dry. I did find coolant along the oil pan rails, though. I purchased some UV coolant dye and rented a coolant system pressure tester. It found some coolant coming from a freeze plug under the engine mount.

I decided to pull the motor and so now it sits on an engine stand. I found another freeze plug that also had evidence that it was leaking, so I have ordered a complete set and am going to replace them all.

In the meantime, I'm getting the back half of the car wired up. Hopefully, I'll have that done in the next day or so.

Sorry for the long post, but wanted to get you back up to date with what I've been up to with the Rickster. Making progress. Slowly, but surely.
 
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My all time favorite vehicle is our 1969 Shelby GT500
Thanks, Gil. I have watched I think all of your AOD swap videos, some more than once. Very useful. I had heard horror stories about AOD transmissions burning up because the TV cable was set improperly, and have watched several videos on it. At this point, I am waiting on the speedo gear retaining clip, so tomorrow I will finish getting the TV cable installed. The filler tube is already installed and I am trying to figure out the cooler lines. Looks like 1/4" pipe thread, and not NPT, so working on finding a fitting to fit that and mate up to hard lines to the trans cooler. I am making progress, though, slowly, but surely.
It seems you are being fairly cautious and considerate in how you do your AOD transplant. I was the same way, but I saw no videos documenting the entire project. Hence my decision to provide documentation in the hope others would find them useful, along with the other AOD adjustment videos. It sounds like with you the videos hit home. Attached are some files I put together also. The one you may find most useful is the vendor and parts list.

We are very pleased with how our AOD turned out in out 73 Mach 1. It has 3.5:1 TractionLok gears in the back end.
 

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Joined
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1973 Mustang Mach 1
Thanks, guys.

I've been working on wiring up the back half of the car while waiting on the freeze plugs to arrive. They came in this morning, so this afternoon, I was able to get them replaced. I had tried to photograph the dye trail, but it wasn't showing up. I told my wife, and she suggested putting the yellow glasses in front of the lens, and sure enough, I was able to get a picture of it. You can see the fluorscent green stream flowing from the bottom of the freeze plug in the picture below.

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Two freeze plugs were confirmed to be leakers, and another was suspect. I changed all 6. I used some sandpaper to clean up the opening and wiped it out with some lacquer thinner just to make sure it was clean. I used a very thin layer of Permatex UltraBlack on the inside of the opening and around the perimeter of the freeze plug before tapping each one into place. Worked out well.

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Tomorrow, I'll do a pressure test to confirm it holds before I drop it back into the engine bay. Slowly, but surely.
 
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The engine is alive!!!!! I got the motor dropped back into the engine bay and the pressure test was successful. I got the fuel lines hooked up and built a small relay panel for the fuel pump that I mounted in the trunk, near the battery.

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I installed the AC condenser and lines. I also got the transmission cooling lines run, and built a mount for a secondary transmission cooler in front of the AC condenser. I used -6AN lines from the transmission that connected to hard lines after about a foot.

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I ran the lower line into the radiator, and the upper line to the secondary cooler. I used a -6AN line from the upper fitting to the cooler, completing the circuit.

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With the transmission cooling lines completed, and fuel injection harness laid out and plugged up, I used some temporary leads to connect to the oil pressure and water temp gauges, and made a temporary 12V switched circuit for the ECU, coil, etc. I pulled the distributor and primed the oil pump showing 60 PSI and used my long ratchet to turn the motor over a few times while priming it. I put it back to TDC and reinstalled the distributor and it was ready to crank.

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The next morning, I hooked up the handheld programing unit, turned on the 12V switched power to power up the ECU and entered the engine parameters into the system. It fired up on the second try. I ran it for a couple minutes running it up to 2000 RPM when we found leaking fluid on the floor under the power steering pump. I shut down and tightened the high pressure line and was trying to refill the reservoir when the cheesy little handle broke off. I was able to extricate the stopper with the dipstick, refilled the reservoir, and inserted the stopper (not all the way, but enough to be snug) and fired it up a second time. Again, I ran it at about 2000 RPM for a few minutes when we discovered transmission fluid spewing from the cooling line fitting. Again, I shut it down, and got the fitting tightened, and started it up once again. I was still running it around 2000 RPM, give or take, and things were moving along when coolant started shooting out of the radiator overflow. I checked the water temp and it was approaching 200, but the cooling fan hadn't cut on.

I checked everything I could and the fan worked with battery power, but the ECU wasn't activating the relay, so I called FAST. They were super nice to work with, talking me through a number of things to check, but we couldn't get it to activate the relay like it was supposed to, so they want me to send the ECU back to them to check out. S it will be on it's way to the manufacturer as soon as I get it boxed up. Yes, it's a little frustrating, but I am ecstatic that the motor runs and sounds great, even with being tuned.

So that is the progress over the last couple weeks, and the big news of today. The Rickster lives!!!
 

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1973 Mach-1

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Arizona car, 1973 Mach-1, Still has its original 351 Cleveland engine and its original C-6 trans, All original body panels, most of original paint. Interior is restored.
When I had my 351 C rebuilt, the shop got me oversized valves and rockers instead of tappets. It runs much quieter and breathes much better. Also a new set of pistons and rings.
 
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Glad to see you making some serious progress. Nothing sounds sweeter than when the engine fires up and "runs". Hopefully FAST will get it fixed and right back to you. Can't believe you had so many freeze plugs leaking.
 
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It's been a few weeks since I've posted an update, but I have been making progress. I got the rear decal "installed" and also the 351 Ram Air decals on the hood.

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I also got the package tray installed. I cut it out of masonite, cut out openings for the 4x10 speakers and then covered it with black marine vinyl fabric. I couldn't help myself. I placed the plastic trim above the package tray and hung the back of the back seat up just so I could see how it would look when it was done. It's getting there.

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I've also been working on the wiring, and making some progress in that regard. I built another small relay panel for the headlights, high and low beam. I also added a small power distribution block on the driver side shock tower to provide power to the fuse block inside the car and to the headlight relay panel.
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I've gotten much of the new wiring run, with only a few more circuits left to run in the engine bay. Soon I'll be able to wrap the harness, cover it with split loom, and secure it to the car.
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Today was a big day. I got the wife to give me a hand and we got the dash installed. I spent the afternoon on my back hooking up wires to the fuse block. I've got to repin a couple of connectors from the old harness, but I'm hoping to have the wiring done before to much longer.

Now, though, I can start the car, and monitor the oil pressure, water temp, and volts from inside the car.

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And so, the saga continues. Making steady progress, albeit frustrating slow at times, but always pushing forward. I'm still hoping to have it on the road before long. I was hoping for July 3rd, but it may be mid-July before I actually hit the road. Some of that depends on what snags I may run into, but I'll just keep pushing forward.

Slowly, but surely.
 

rio1856

Drive it like you stole it!!!
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Immokalee Fl.
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1972 Mach 1 Q code 351CJ 4Spd Toploader 9" rear end
Awesome job Ron! Your dedication and all of your detail work on the Rickster is an inspiration to me as I work on my sled, who name is "The Mistress", as my wife refers to my Q code since it takes up my time and my money. Thank you!!
 
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