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Restoration of Moonstone #466

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A great and detailed update


I can understand the fustrations as i get them on just about every restoration i do , but im lucky that most customers understand that these 30 year old fords come with there issues


Keep up the great work tho , the car will be fantastic when done


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2015/11/24 - Quick update

Picked up the rear beam for the car today from the sand blasters, all cleaned up and dropped off at the powder coaters, should have it back tomorrow afternoon all shiny and new looking - 


Based on the fire damage to the bushes that I took out, I am 99% sure that this is the original beam for the car (there is currently a standard 3dr beam in there). 

Also got the orders through for a new electro plating kit and powder coating gun - I will be doing all the little bits and pieces that I can fit in a tank or oven myself to try and speed the process up and also make it as much "mine" as possible :)

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Another quick update - got the beam back today after phosphate coating, followed by zinc undercoat and finally satin black from the powder coaters, now i just need to swap it with the one in the car.



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2015-11-27 Another mini update.

Picked up the new front brake rotors during the week and took an hour off work today to get them fitted - 


Is nice to have a smooth brake pedal now and I think it may have fixed some of the quirks that were coming from the ABS pump as there is no pulsing in the system now to upset things. 

I dont think there will be much else done on the car this weekend as we have All Ford Day on Sunday which will keep me busy most of the day.

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Well they say it is the little things and attention to detail that make the good restorations great so today I managed to pick up a few little bits and pieces that fall into the "Anal Retentive" category. 

The dash display unit that shows doors open and light failures on my car is a Sapphire one with too many doors on it so I have been searching for a replacement one and managed to get one today - 



It is a little "tatty" with some nice storage dirt and a few scratches on the screen but otherwise good - I have already stripped it down in preparation for a polish of the plastic screen - 


It wont take too much work, just a quick clean up and will be back to brand new.

Also managed to pick up a "correct" set of blink and light stalks - 


And at the moment I only have 1 key for the car which is also a bit worn out, so managed to track down a new blank for the car (at a reasonable cost - just dont search for Cosworth or RS500 parts and the price is OK!) - 


And whilst I was at it, grabbed a replacement gear stick boot and under boot to replace mine as they are looking a bit worn out - these ones just need a clean up - 


And last of all, whilst it wont be going on the car straight away, managed to get an RS500 thermostat housing - 


All in all, a pretty productive day. I have a new ISCV, air filter and fuel filter turning up tomorrow and will be changing the rear beam over this weekend as well.

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Coming together nicely, hate to break the news to you but those are not Mk1 sierra stalks.

Also a 500 beam and a 3dr beam are exactly the same, its only those two little brackets which are tacked on that differentiate the two.

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5 hours ago, PAUL S said:

Coming together nicely, hate to break the news to you but those are not Mk1 sierra stalks.

Also a 500 beam and a 3dr beam are exactly the same, its only those two little brackets which are tacked on that differentiate the two.

Hmm OK, thanks for the heads up - I saw a couple of cars on the weekend and I thought they looked the same as these - closer inspection needed. -


EDIT done some more research and yes, these do look like the wrong ones - the correct ones are "squarer" with sharper edges etc - will be abel to return them and use the money towards a whole bunch of other parts I saw when I picked these up. END EDIT

I know about the differences with the beam and that it is only the little brackets that are extra but the one pictured above is the original beam from the car (had some fire damage to the bushes to prove it) and as above, it is the little differences that make the car, so will go to the effort to swap it out.

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Agree, nice to get the original bits back on her. Yes the Mk1 sierra stalks are squarer, and at least you have the 3dr beam as a spare, and handy to turn into an adjustable beam in the future.

If you dont have any joy I have spare left and right stalks somewhere

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This weekend saw me change the rear beam out. The plan was to drop the exhaust, drop the entire rear end out in one piece, put the new beam back in then strip the other parts off the old beam and put them back in piece by piece - I am trying to do all the work on this car with only 1 day off the road at a time so need to do things in bite sized chunks as I want to keep driving it during the week.

We all know that what one plans and what actually happens is never the same and there was no difference in this case. 

I started off with getting the exhaust out - should be a quick job, undo the u-bolts, disconnect at the rubbers and slide out - HA. I got the car up on the stands at 8am Sunday morning and jumped under there to have a look before getting into it and find out that not only does the exhaust have U-Bolts but some wise person has also welded all the joints. Out comes the dremel with a cut of disk and I get to work on getting rid of welds. After about 40 minutes under the car, a get back out and try and slide the exhaust off - no luck, it doesn't really want to move so I rigged up a ratchet strap and started wiggling the exhaust out - after much wiggling, swearing, banging my head on the tow hook and a bit of dead blow hammer work I finally got the exhaust out, only to find that a) I had gone through not only the welds but the pipe in spots with the dremel and that the pipe - muffler joins had cracked (could have been me, could have already been like that) so once I get it back together I am going to have a car that whistles dixie untilI get it up the exhaust shop for some welding!

It is now coming up close on 10am so I get to work on the rest, finally getting the rear end out just on 11, thinking that I am probably back on track and will get the car back together by 6pm.


Along with the rear beam, I also had a new set of bushes to put int he trailing arms so started stripping down the rear end. The car has had a bit of a weird twisting sensation / vibration when getting going from a stand still and when I started getting the diff bolts out I quickly realised what part of the issue was - the diff was kind of just hanging in there as a couple of the bolts that had been used were too short and had only gripped by 2 or 3 threads when they had been put in and had since stripped the threads out and were kind of just riding along as passengers. 

I had also just picked up a new zinc plating kit so started getting it setup and also prepping all the bolts and washers, spent a good hour on the wire wheel cleaning everything up and put the plating kit together realising that I had not been sent all the ingredients!

Back onto the trailing arms, I dont have a press at home but do have some elaborate clamp setups (which I also used for putting the new bushes into the new beam with good success) but after a good hour stuffing around and a trip up to the hardware store to try and find some more suitable tools, realised I was not going to be getting the old bushes out but at this point the bushes were in no condition to put back in the car (whilst they looked pretty bad, to be honest, they probably were in no condition to put back in the car when I took them out) so I finally gave in on my plan of having it back together in 1 day which in hindsight I am glad about. 

As you can see from the pics above, whilst serviceable, the rear end is pretty shabby so I am going to spend the extra time I now have to clean it all up - I will drop the trailing arms up to the local workshop tomorrow and get the bushed pressed out then drop them in for sand blasting and powder coating later in the week as well as cleaning up the diff and getting some new wheel bearings and CV joints in - all work I was going to do later but is so much easier whilst it is all out now. 

I did get my days main objective complete though - got the new beam back in - 


The car looks so much better just for having a nice clean new looking rear beam so it would have been a shame to put all the other stuff back in without a clean up and reco. The rest of undercarriage is in generally pretty good shape, just needing a bit of a degrease and spot clean in most cases - I will get the tail shaft re-done when I get the body sprayed next year but other than that hopefully by the end of next weekend the rear end will be back in and the car back on the road. 

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2015-12-13 Update - Was a busy day today - I picked the rear trailing arms up from the local mechanic on Thursday after spending twice what what a bearing press would have cost me to purchase but did not have time to get them sand blasted and powder coated which will now happen next week so got to work on cleaning up the rest of the rear end bits and pieces.

I started off stripping down the trailing arms, knocking the old bearings out and then getting the bearing carriers into the blasting cabinet for a much needed clean. After a bit of work and some final finishing on the wire wheel, I got them ready for painting. 


The big pieces like the trailing arms and beam I am getting the pro's to blast and powder coast but smaller bits like this I am blasting my self and I have a powder coating gun and an oven for the garage turning up next week so will powder coat them myself - doing all this stuff yourself quickly pays off! I also ordered a new set of wheel bearings front and rear which will turn up in the next 3 days so they should be powder coated and back together by the end of the week.

I also got the diff housing cleaned up - it was covered in oil, grime and a fair whack of oxidising so spent a couple of hours with various wire wheels cleaning it up and then gave it a coat of paint - realise they were not painted standard but I also want to try and keep things looking clean on the car so went with a coat of paint close to the bare alloy look. Started off with a epoxy etch primer - 


Then got the main coat on - 


I will need to get the front flange done in black once the powder coating turns up and also clean up the side flanges, bolts and filler etc. 

I also dropped the drive shafts off to get the CV joints machined (I really wanted to put new VC joints in but could am getting a bit sick of the freight charges on everything from the UK at the moment and could not find the CV joints locally) and refurbished which I picked back up the other day - 


For the price I paid (about the same price as buying new VC's minus the freight) the guy did a good job on cleaning them up however I want to go a little bit further so will strip them back down and re-zinc place the inner caps as well as give the shafts a better clean up and the CV housings. 

During the week I received a new bonnet support clip and some extra tubing to relocate the dump valve back into the original position so whilst waiting for the diff to dry I started under the bonnet but quickly realised that I had got the wrong sized hose clamps so could not finish off the dump valve relocation and that I had left the bonnet clips at the office so could not finish that either. 

At the end of the day, I cleaned myself up and left the house to go pick up some new bits for the car - 


I am still in negotiations with the current owner of the original engine but get the feeling he is not going to part with it in the next 6 months so have located a 205 YBD block and a 3 bolt head which I will use to build a new engine along with the components I already have. I picked up the head today and have secured the block but will not pick the block up for another 4 weeks or so (it is currently sitting in a MK1 escort running as N/A YB engine) as the current owner needs to get it out of a car and stripped down but I did inspect it today. 

I also picked up a indicator stalk - hopefully the correct one this time - 


And whilst foraging around, stumbled across this - 

DSC_0442.jpgDSC_0443.jpgYep, the cold air intake! My list of bits that I need is getting smaller and smaller by the day and engine and re-painting aside, by the end of next weekend, a large chunk of the work required on the car will be done with only the front end rebuild and some small interior things like fitting the indicator stalk etc.

All in all, a productive day again despite not really getting anything back onto the car but am confident it will be back on the road again by the end of next weekend - just in time for me to head over to the UK the week after!

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2015-12-20 Update - Not a lot of progress today, there has been a delay with the trailing arms which means I have not got them back from the powder coaters yet so do not have a complete rear end to put back in but the time was not wasted. I spent the day cleaning up a few of the rear end pieces and having a go with my new powder coating gun and oven. 

I started off prepping one of the bearing carriers - 


And then getting it powder coated - 


After 25 minutes in the oven, it was time to whip it out - 


I did not get full coverage on the first go so quickly laid down another coat and got it back in the oven along with the other one which I got right first time. 

Whilst they were in the oven I decided to give the drop links a clean up and lick of paint (I decided not to pop the rubbers out so could not powder coat them as was not sure how they would go in the oven)


After getting the bearing carriers out of the oven to cool down, I started stripping front flange off the diff got it and the dust cover apart and cleaned them up in the sand blaster and prepped them for powder coating - 


With the flange and dust cover powder coated and in the oven, the bearing carriers had finally cooled down so cleaned up the masking tape and got the new wheel bearings in - 


And then finally got the front flange and dust cover back together and back onto the diff - 


It does not look like much for a full days work (8:30 am to 7pm) but it was well over 30 degrees C today and I can tell you it was not a nice place to be in the garage with the oven going, sand blasting in a mask, wire wheeling etc - it definitely felt like a lot of work today and despite the small outcome I am surprisingly happy with it.

I am off to the UK this week for Xmas and wont be back till mid Jan so will not be any progress now for the best part of a month but the trailing arms will be back by then and I am looking forward to getting it back on the road and driving again!

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1 hour ago, PAUL S said:

Really cracking on with it now, how do you find all that stuff locally? its hard enough to find these days in the UK never mind 12,000 miles away in a country they were never officially sold in!

I spend a lot of time online and on the phone! I am finding a lot of stuff on eBay but also other online places and people in the UK as well as a small group of people in Aus that have parts - I am getting lucky in a lot of cases and am also being a bit like a dog with a bone in other cases where I tend to get on the end of a small thread and dont let go until I get to the other end of it with the part I require :) There has been a bit of speaking to one person who leads me to another and then another who finally has the part I need.

The tracking down of the parts is probably more work than getting them on the car and also a lot of the joy in many cases! It is a bit frustrating at times where you buy something for 4 quid and it costs 18 quid to get it delivered to Aus - you guys reckon you pay a RS500 tax on parts in the UK, wait till you have to double the price of something due to shipping costs! Am also finding a few parts out of Europe and the US with the cross over parts from Merkur / XR4Ti etc. 

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Merry Xmas and Happy new year all!

I managed to get a few Xmas pressies for the car - I tracked down an original radio and amp (didnt need an amp but it came with the deal) and also got some parcel shelf straps and shock tower covers. 


Will get them all on the car when I get back home in a couple of weeks :)

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First post and work session for 2016! I got back from the UK on Monday after who knows how many days sitting in a tin budgie and managed to get through Monday and Tuesday before the jet lag really kicked in on Wednesday and I decided to finish work a little early and get some work done on the car. 

I have had the rear end out of the car for way too long now, with a couple of delays in getting work done and then holidays over christmas delaying things and I have set a goal to have it back on the road this weekend. 

First order of the day was to pick up the swing arms form the powder coaters - 


They are back and looking like new.

I did a trial assembly of the hubs and spindles and then decided to clean up the spindles and hubs and give them the powder coating treatment as well so they matched the new looking beam and swing arms -



Then put some new bushes in the arms getting ready to put them back in the car - 


At which point I realised that I had to put the arms onto the beam prior to putting the beam in the car (I had read this on a forum somewhere a while back but had forgotten) so pulled the rear beam back out and then decided that I was running out of time and would not get it all back in tonight and that the bolts all needed a clean up before going back in the car as well.

I had purchased a zinc plating / cad copy kit but had not used it yet so decided to get it setup and after doing a trial run on some copper pipe took the plunge with my first ever zinc plating attempt, trying my hand on the hand brake cable bracket - 


Which I have to say, for my first attempt, I am pretty happy with. By the time I got it all setup and done, the other half was home and dinner was on the table so had to leave it there but tonight I will be getting all the bolts done and ready to put the rear end back in the car this weekend and driving again next week :)


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Great project and some nice progress in a short space of time.

Im impressed with how easily you are purchasing parts over there. What are the rear beam bush's? Im sure i have read in magazines and forums over the years that anything but the original bushings destroy the handing on a sierra, and the only way to go is to use the Graham Goode spherical bearings remanufactured to the same tolerances as the ford originals?

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9 hours ago, Joe-Tait said:

Great project and some nice progress in a short space of time.

Im impressed with how easily you are purchasing parts over there. What are the rear beam bush's? Im sure i have read in magazines and forums over the years that anything but the original bushings destroy the handing on a sierra, and the only way to go is to use the Graham Goode spherical bearings remanufactured to the same tolerances as the ford originals?

I would not say it has been easy :) - there has been many many hours spent scouring the net trying to locate parts, multiple times a day, every day of the week. With some of the rarer parts or high demand parts, I find I have to spend some time each day on UK time as they get snatched up quick when they do become available so I just need to jump on them.

I was not aware of the handling issue with the rear bushes until yesterday and also was not aware you could get replacement "original" bushes from GGR until yesterday either but I quickly checked the price, ran my FOREX conversion in my head and decided against getting a set for not - it is going to cost me around $800 AUD for a set of the GGR ones and the set I put in came with the car when I purchased it - the previous owner threw in a complete set of new bushes for it so for now I am going to have to live with the handling issue - I hardly doubt I will be taking the car to the track any day soon though so should get by.

<edit> I am going to have the car back off the road towards the end of this year for  a respray at which point the rear end will come out again so may look to put the GGR bushes in then. <edit>

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Update 20160117 - Well, until you have spent a few hours wire wheeling washers at 3 min a washer you haven't restored a car! :)

I didn't get started on the car until 12 today due to some other running around so was going to be hard pressed getting it complete and back on the road. I spent the first few hours "finishing" bits and pieces. After my trial run the other day with the plating kit I had to get all the nuts, bolts and washers wire wheeled, degreased, plated and chromated and in the case of a bunch of them, ford blued. That took a few hours and then I realised I still had a fe bits and pieces that needed to be powder coated before getting the rear end back in.

At about 3:30pm I had finished up all the prep work and started getting the rear end back together and back in the car, starting off with getting the trailing arms back onto the rear beam - 


After a bit of fiddling getting the right arm back in I managed to the left one back in pretty quick and then it was time to get the assembly back into the car - 


After rigging the jack up on one side I managed to get it all back in pretty quick and all bolted up.

Then came the suspension - 


Followed by the rear hub carriers - 


And then the diff - 


The hubs and spindles - 


And lastly for the day, the drive shafts - 


I am not happy with a few things such as the shocks, springs, drive shafts and CV bolts and there are a couple of minor things that need to be cleaned up on the diff but my aim is to get the car back on the road at the moment and I can then revisit those bits as 1 day jobs - my aim with the car is to break each job down into 1 day jobs where I can start in the morning and have it back on the road in the afternoon, with this job being the main exception.

I have to say, I am feeling pretty good about it at the moment, with it coming back together you start to feel some fulfillment and satisfaction at having done all the work your self such as the powder coating, plating, assembly etc. Unfortunately as you can see the car is not back on the road yet so will be another week but I am pretty confident that I will have it licked next weekend and then will enjoy it for a couple of weeks before getting onto the next bits.

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Quick update, no pictures in this one - After spending a few hours with Paul L the other week and him making a recommendation, I just got off the phone with Karl from Norris Motorsport regarding the engine build and it looks like everything is in order! Karl will be shipping over the few outstanding engine parts I need to get the build complete in a few weeks time as well as the goodies to make it run to the level I want it :)

I have to say, Karl was extremely helpful on the phone, offering plenty of advice and assistance and I look forward to dealing with him in the future. Not only are the engine bits sold, but it looks he may be able to assist with a few other bits and pieces that I have been searching high and low for so we are getting a list together and am going to get everything shipped over in one go. I hope to have the engine built in 2-3 months time and whilst I am patient now, I am sure once it is built I will be aching to get it into the car asap!

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