1985 XR4ti rebuild/restore project Phase 1

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grampy666
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1985 XR4ti rebuild/restore project Phase 1

Post by grampy666 » Fri Aug 08, 2014 6:59 pm

The story.

One owner car damaged in a highway slide-off @65MPH into the median during an ice storm. Missed the guard rail and rock outcrops, but plowed into some small trees. Mostly sheet metal damage and some suspension damage. When the car was repaired and returned to me, the body shop said their alignment contractor "couldn't align to specs" and the car had serious "wander"issues. Here's the alignment specs...toe is toe-tally out of whack.

specs from the body shop alignment:
FRONT TOE TOTAL LEFT RIGHT
minimum +0.03”
maximum +0.12”
before -0.15” -0.06” -0.08”
after -0.39” -0.20” -0.19”

FRONT CAMBER
LEFT RIGHT
minimum -1.50 deg -1.50 deg
maximum +0.50 deg +0.50 deg
before -1.10 deg +0.10 deg
after -2.00 deg -0.70 deg

Took it to a few alignment shops and local mechanics, but as soon as the words "it was in an accident" came out of my mouth, they shook their heads and said "bent frame". I didn't believe it, because I didn't hit anything really hard, but finally took the car off the road and put it inside in my heated garage in 1999, because it failed safety inspections.

Fast forward to 2014. My girlfriend's been giving me grief for years about when I'm going to work on the car and I finally decide to tear down the suspension, steering and cross member to look for unrepaired damage. No obvious damage to TCAs, struts, sway bar, power steering rack or cross member. No apparent frame damage, but I still need to do some measuring to make sure.

Here's the likely culprit. Look at that crusty driver's side tie rod. Adjusting nut was frozen and has been broken loose in the pic.

Image

The passenger side by comparison. It had been replaced by the body shop.

Image

Pile o' suspension parts. All original equipment w/136K miles. Plan to replace TCAs, struts, springs and bushings.

Image

Crusty oil pan is next for R&R

Image

Front view. I'm better at wood fabrication than metal. chains wrap around motor mounts

Image
-Michael-

1985 XR4TI - one owner - off the road since 1999, finally starting to work on it!

grampy666
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Re: 1985 XR4ti rebuild/restore project Phase 1

Post by grampy666 » Tue Sep 16, 2014 5:58 pm

Not much progress this month. I blew my August budget on new TCAs and bushings and the bushings turned out to be not what I wanted. But the budget fairy stopped by last night and replenished my funds, so I placed an order for new PowerFlex bushings and nylon steering rack bushings from MC2. In the meantime, I've been picking up odds & ends, R&R'ing the oil pan, crossmember and PS rack and getting ready to put the front end back together.

The daily drivers also need attention. My GF's Subaru broke a hose clamp, popped an AT cooler line and left her stranded 50 miles away, so I had to rent a tow dolly, bring the car home, diagnose, repair and do routine maintenance. The Sable has an intermittent "check engine" light and needs an oil change and so does the F250.

Not to mention winter is coming to New England and I need to get 3 cords of wood in so I can stay warm. That project got complicated when I misjudged the lean and weight of an oak tree and dropped it on the roof of the house. :oops: Fortunately, it fell gently and I was able to call on a neighbor to help me get it off the roof with minimal damage.
-Michael-

1985 XR4TI - one owner - off the road since 1999, finally starting to work on it!

MercMike
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Re: 1985 XR4ti rebuild/restore project Phase 1

Post by MercMike » Tue Sep 16, 2014 7:40 pm

I hoping you get it going and well.
Most of us are natural lurkers, but I think to see one saved is great.
'85 XR

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merkurdriver
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Re: 1985 XR4ti rebuild/restore project Phase 1

Post by merkurdriver » Tue Sep 16, 2014 11:09 pm

( x 2 ) Keep the progress ball rolling :cheers

grampy666
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Re: 1985 XR4ti rebuild/restore project Phase 1

Post by grampy666 » Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:43 pm

well, it's been over 2 years since I made any real progress...severe monthly cash flow issues and my truck ate up 5K in repairs (tires, brakes, ball joints, etc.)...and technology has passed me by in the meantime...I can't e-mail pics from my dumb flip phone anymore...

But things are looking brighter and new KYB front struts with 200lb-in springs from MC2 are installed. next steps - tie rods and the infamous sway bar bushing captive nut fix (at least on the passenger side for now)...then unfreeze the rear drums and take the car off the jack stands so I can ballpark the toe-in alignment and have some confidence that I fixed the original problem that made me take the car off the road almost 20 years ago...
-Michael-

1985 XR4TI - one owner - off the road since 1999, finally starting to work on it!

dunhamr1
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Re: 1985 XR4ti rebuild/restore project Phase 1

Post by dunhamr1 » Fri May 05, 2017 1:51 pm

Keep it going. Good to see progress to be made!
-Ryan Dunham
1989 Merkur XR4Ti, Radiant Red, 5-speed (T9), LA3/big VAM, Stock T3 w/ Cosworth hot side - nickname: "SheaXR4"
Daily: 2003 VW Golf MkIV TDI, 199k mi

"Racing is Life. Anything else is just waiting." -Steve McQueen

grampy666
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Re: 1985 XR4ti rebuild/restore project Phase 1

Post by grampy666 » Mon May 08, 2017 1:48 pm

Things are looking very encouraging. New struts and springs up front and new shocks in the rear. I installed studs in the swaybar bushing captive nuts and did a redneck fix on the one broken captive nut. Studs make it so much easier to install the sway bar, I can see why many XRs strip or cross-thread those nuts. Took it off the jack stands, loaded the suspension and torqued up the sway bar with no problems, then I torqued up the LCAs. Lo and behold, with the free'd up tie rod jamb nuts, and using a 2x6 aluminum beam from my chainsaw lumber mill and a couple of rafter squares, I was able to ballpark the toe-in on each wheel to 0.032"!

Next steps, flush radiator and heater core, grab a water pump, thermostat and all new coolant hoses and I should be ready to try to start her up after 18 years of sitting!
-Michael-

1985 XR4TI - one owner - off the road since 1999, finally starting to work on it!

grampy666
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Re: 1985 XR4ti rebuild/restore project Phase 1

Post by grampy666 » Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:47 pm

New timing belt and tensioner installed. I broke the cam timing pointer off the inner cover, but was able to "r&r" a metal one from my '79 Turbo Mustang motor. I re-installed the stock plastic outer cover because it's got the ignition timing scale, but I will probably get one of those CNC machined timing scales and run with the metal outer cover from the same Turbo mustang motor

New water pump and thermostat installed. Pulleys all "r&r"'ed and installed. Installed a power steering cooler in the driver's side wheel well. Ordered every replacement cooling hose that BAT carries. I will probably go with the stock radiator in order to get the car running and that will be the end of Phase 1!

Sorry for no pics - my dumb flip phone has a lousy camera and my service provider doesn't support e-mailing from a flip phone anyway.
-Michael-

1985 XR4TI - one owner - off the road since 1999, finally starting to work on it!

dunhamr1
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Re: 1985 XR4ti rebuild/restore project Phase 1

Post by dunhamr1 » Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:56 pm

Almost there!

If you need a different way to do it, look up the "String method" for setting the timing, that could help you if you're missing the rear timing cover and think it might be a bit out.

Hopefully you can get 'er on the road soon. Tip that someone gave me getting started (still getting started really):

-Use straight water in the cooling system for first fill and start-up.

There's always something that'll be leaking, and this way you're not dripping slimy coolant all over everything because of the one hose clamp you forgot to tighten. When you've verified no leaks, drain and then fill with std Green coolant/distilled water mix.
-Ryan Dunham
1989 Merkur XR4Ti, Radiant Red, 5-speed (T9), LA3/big VAM, Stock T3 w/ Cosworth hot side - nickname: "SheaXR4"
Daily: 2003 VW Golf MkIV TDI, 199k mi

"Racing is Life. Anything else is just waiting." -Steve McQueen

grampy666
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Re: 1985 XR4ti rebuild/restore project Phase 1

Post by grampy666 » Wed Jun 07, 2017 9:35 am

Almost there, indeed! :cheers

I had read about the string method for cam timing on TF (I think). This might be useful as a double-check, but the salvaged inner cover has a single pointer which appears to be in the same location as the middle of the three-pointer original. If it's slightly off, it would only be off by a portion of a tooth.

Good tip about straight water for fire-up. I think I read on this forum about a member who ran straight vinegar in the cooling system during fire-up to get it all nice and clean and I will probably do that. The original radiator is serviceable and it is an all-metal replacement that I bought from Rapido 20+ years ago. I really want one of Mike's new IC/Rad combos, but money will be tight this summer.

When I am able to move the car under its own power, it will be time to sell the other project car, an '88 Thunderbird LX with a 5.0. Even though I love the performance potential of the small-block Ford, restoring a car is expensive and I'd rather spend the time and money on the Merkur.
-Michael-

1985 XR4TI - one owner - off the road since 1999, finally starting to work on it!

dunhamr1
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Re: 1985 XR4ti rebuild/restore project Phase 1

Post by dunhamr1 » Thu Jun 15, 2017 11:47 am

Vinegar is probably a good idea... I might need to do that and stop letting an already rusty cooling system sit with tap water...
-Ryan Dunham
1989 Merkur XR4Ti, Radiant Red, 5-speed (T9), LA3/big VAM, Stock T3 w/ Cosworth hot side - nickname: "SheaXR4"
Daily: 2003 VW Golf MkIV TDI, 199k mi

"Racing is Life. Anything else is just waiting." -Steve McQueen

grampy666
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Re: 1985 XR4ti rebuild/restore project Phase 1

Post by grampy666 » Mon Jul 31, 2017 5:20 pm

no progress this month. budget got shot due to $400 worth of work to the GF's Subaru (brakes, ball joint) so it can pass state inspection and new hoses from BAT are still sitting in a box waiting to be installed on the Merkur. then my step-daughter had to move out of a rented house by 6/23 and waited until 6/20 to start looking for a place to live. needless to say, she moved in with me and her mother and is still here...wassamatta w/kids these days?
-Michael-

1985 XR4TI - one owner - off the road since 1999, finally starting to work on it!

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