Ricky Neinei King

'73 XA Falcon w/ Boss 260 conversion

42 posts in this topic

Well, where to start!

I have another build thread based on my own Barra into XF ute on here, but the thing ended up being pushed into the corner of my shed and has remained untouched for over a year now. Progress on that should start up again within the next month as it returns home from being stored at a mates, but for now a much juicier build for you guys has just been started in my old mans shed.

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This should be fun! This is his '73 XA he has owned for around 5 years. He bought it ridiculously cheap with rough as guts bodywork, but a solid, straight and almost rust free chassis. He spent a while straightening it out and painting it, but has always been frustrated with the tired old 351 clevo it came with and tossed up potential motor upgrades for years. Fast forward to roughly 12-18 months ago and we bit the bullet and bought a complete, running but crashed '04 BA XR8 donor.

Right from the get go, we knew we wanted to start with a 100% complete donor car to save serious headaches down the line trying to source random, vague bits and pieces we would have never received had we only bought the motor on its own. Luckily a work mate of his has a Falcon wrecking yard, so we told him to contact us as soon as he sourced a complete, running XR8. Once we found the right car, we were able to test drive it, drag it home, disassemble the whole car and take literally EVERY little nut, bolt, wiring loom, sensor, computer etc that had anything to do with the drivetrain, and then returned the leftover shell back to our mate so he could continue parting out the little we left behind.

Once that was all said and done, and with the old boat anchor clevo sold to help fund buying the Boss in the first place, the motor sat in my old mans garage for over a year waiting for time, money and motivation to put it in the hole. Well, as of a few days ago we finally decided to go ahead and start cutting holes in the poor XA!

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It began like this. Right from the get-go, we knew we were going to cut no corners in the pursuit of getting the new donk as low and as far back as possible. In my typical style I cut the bare minimum I could out of the towers to be able to get the motor sat where it needs to be, in an effort of not going unnecessarily overboard with the tower notches.

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We got the motor 90% of the way in so I could precisely mark out where we needed to notch the rear of the sump hump. We ended up managing to avoid cutting the pickup, as although I am perfectly capable of cutting it up and moving it, I would rather avoid fucking around with such a critical part of the motor if I can avoid it. I'll have a lot more photos and details of that coming for you guys over coming days and weeks.

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With the sump notched, we slid the motor back in and loosely attached the factory BA slush box to have a proper look at where everything was going to end up. I'll let the pictures tell the story:

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So that is where we are at at the time of me writing this. I am about to cut the tower notches down around another 20mm and remove the brake booster so I can get the motor positioned where I want it to the millimeter. We have bought some generic Nolathane suspension bushes to build mounts around, they should have a little bit of give but not too much that the ridiculously tight fit of the motor should become an issue. 

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My only concern for the moment is getting the gearbox pan as high as possible but leaving the driveshaft yoke low enough as to not hit the tunnel - as per New Zealand law I'll have to squeeze a driveshaft hoop around the top of it too come certification-aka-engineering time. Beyond that, I want to get the motor as low as I can but need to leave the angle of the drivetrain matching the angle of the diff to avoid any vibration as soon as we are moving down the road. Other then that the only job I am dreading is whatever the fuck we are going to end up doing to squeeze headers in there - the pictures of the room I have to play with speak for themselves there!

As is the same with my Barra XF ute, we are retaining the BA auto for now as it saves thousands of dollars, retains the BA tiptronic shifter and also the cruise control! The car is primarily going to be a street driven cruiser so the auto may end up staying for a while yet. We are extending just 5-6 wires in the factory motor loom to give us extra length to play with, and other then that we are cutting NOTHING off of the factory BA loom at all in an effort to keep the overall job as simple and streamlined as possible. Same as my XF ute, we are going so far as to mount the BA ignition barrel and key and are effectively running the BA key as a secondary key, eliminating the possibility of thieves being able to do the good old pry-apart-the-ignition-barrel on the factory XA column and starting the car. This too avoids us having to fuck with the PATS which is a touch harder here in NZ to find someone to do, and costs money besides. 

With the extra length on the engine loom, we should manage to route the loom into the car and run the BA ECU under the dash. The fuse and relay box that use to sit in the BA engine bay is also being tucked under the dash too, along with virtually every visible wire that was spread throughout the BA. We are going as far as tucking the entire engine loom out of sight and moving the battery to the boot which should result in a damn near empty engine bay... many more pictures of such things will come over time.

So yeah! Its 8am now and old fella has just gone to bed after a 12 hour night shift, do I better start the grinder up and piss him off for a laugh :P

bear351c, Free.51, deankdx and 1 other like this

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Wicked build.!   XA and a Ford V8, what's not to like. B)  

She's real tight against the shock towers, if the motor shakes, will it touch.? Maybe it's just the photos. 

This is gunna be cool. 

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10 hours ago, bear351c said:

Wicked build.!   XA and a Ford V8, what's not to like. B)  

She's real tight against the shock towers, if the motor shakes, will it touch.? Maybe it's just the photos. 

This is gunna be cool. 

Yeah mate, she's bloody tight! We currently have around 10mm either side, once I have the mounts done I will then use the motor to perfect the placement of the notches and take 5-10mm extra out to be sure. The Nolathane mounts should firm the motor up a lot and halve the amount it movement compared to the factory BA rubber mounts.

Half the photos shown are with the motor only loosely in place so a couple of them probably show the tolerances way smaller then they will end up ;) 

Outback Jack likes this

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10 hours ago, CHESTNUTXE said:

is that a nz build tag on the radiator support ?

Yeah mate I do believe so. Currently in Christchurch, South Island NZ but bought from Dunedin

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Yeah Ford New Zealand started out making stuff for WW2 here and ended up building Falcons and a few other models near Auckland from '72 onwards, not a lot of locals know Ford ever built here :)

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Looks like I'll likely retain the factory base plates cause why not. Tossing up between mounting the bush side of the mount to the motor plate or chassis plate, guess it will only really matter either way when pulling the motor in and out, which hopefully wont be often. Hmm

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i'm surprised how well it FITS! 

i was under the impression you couldn't keep the upper control arms and needed to go the struts conversion of say RRS etc.

My exhaust mob i used to deal with would call that space " plenty of room" (if something fits, it's plenty) obviously would need to be custom? unless there's a block hugger aftermarket out there for them? but a decent log manifold looks like it would fit easily

love the idea of the BA key barrel being put elsewhere.. and use the original key as just a steering lock(hook up the start section to the horn to fuck with peoples head) 

 

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12 hours ago, Ricky Neinei King said:

Looks like I'll likely retain the factory base plates cause why not. Tossing up between mounting the bush side of the mount to the motor plate or chassis plate, guess it will only really matter either way when pulling the motor in and out, which hopefully wont be often. Hmm

 

Which ever way makes it easier to get the engine out..?  Don't suppose it matters, otherwise. I guess it would be easier if the whole bush comes out with the donk, that way if you have to remove it, it can bolt straight onto a stand. (which you haven't made yet) :lol:

Outback Jack, Slow250XC and deankdx like this

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On 6/28/2018 at 5:21 AM, deankdx said:

i'm surprised how well it FITS! 

i was under the impression you couldn't keep the upper control arms and needed to go the struts conversion of say RRS etc.

My exhaust mob i used to deal with would call that space " plenty of room" (if something fits, it's plenty) obviously would need to be custom? unless there's a block hugger aftermarket out there for them? but a decent log manifold looks like it would fit easily

love the idea of the BA key barrel being put elsewhere.. and use the original key as just a steering lock(hook up the start section to the horn to fuck with peoples head) 

 

Yeah nah the only way you would need to remove the upper arms is if you were dead set on running zoomie pipes :lol: We were initially more worried about the factory springs being too wide and needing to convert to struts to make room for the tower notches, turns out that isn't even close to being an issue too. 

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Motor side of the mounts done. One little touch I thought up was to bend out a couple of the corners for the purpose of guiding the Nolathane bushes into place when dropping the motor in, should make installation a fair bit easier ^_^

gerg, deankdx, Slow250XC and 3 others like this

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yes that should help installation a lot especially it the engine wasn't quite level going onto the bushes good thinking.. 

love the welding on top is that DR for driver side?or business.. or just a good conversation starter

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Hah yeah drivers side! The mounts are 99% symmetrical according to my measurements but I've learnt from experience that swapping such things can have drastic changes, 2mm down bottom sometimes shuffles the top of the motor 5-10mm and we need this thing to stay dead center being how tight it is :P

 

 

deankdx, Slow250XC and Valvebouncer like this

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She's in!

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Mounts nice and snug. Maybe a little overkill, probably good for 1000hp but better too big than too small :P

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Glad nothing is forcing us to have it any higher cause she's snug near the bonnet, but we're happy enough with it

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Back of the sump ended up around level with the bottom of the subframe

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Pushed it back as far as plausible without causing another 3-4 modifications needed to get it any farther. If it were a race car where every millimeter mattered, we could have shoved it around an extra inch back but it would mean clearancing the rear of the intake, the brake booster vs the cam cover, and would have meant trimming a chunk of the subframe where the motor mount base plate bolts to, to clear the oil filter. Any farther back and we would be getting close to needing to move the sump pickup forward too. Where we ended up is perfect for a street car install as not to get too carried away.

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This pic shows where the cam covers ended up in relation to the top suspension arms bolt holes. Miles off of requiring to convert to an expensive strut setup B)

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And two final pics to show the tower notch clearances - pretty happy here too. Now the motor is secure, I can come back here with a die grinder and perfect the notch placement either side to make it symmetrical and perfect.

So getting the motor straight and level before final tacks on the mounts was as much of a cunt as expected. Ended up finding a nice balance between having the motor truly straight, flat and center and having it sitting right cosmetically. Tape measurements show the motor lining up within around 3mm here and there which is plenty good enough :blink: Next job is the gearbox mount and then move on to the million other bits and pieces throughout. Wish us luck ;)

Thom, gerg, Valvebouncer and 3 others like this

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looking forward to seeing the gearbox mount, that usually hangs off a whatsit thingy that needs extending at least 
love the mounts, and the fit! i'm still amazed 

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Thanks for the feedback guys! I had no doubt it would be interesting for you guys to follow along and see whats actually involved. Makes me wonder how many Boss swapped 70's coons actually exist.

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Ended up with something like this. Played around with the idea of modifying the factory one but soon realized completely re-engineering it was gonna take as much time and effort as starting from scratch. The bottom of the main pipe will end up flush with the bottom of the 'box, with the exhaust squeezing up and over it, probably with the top half of the cross member pipe nicely notched for clearance. Means if anything around there is gonna ever hit the ground it'll be the strong as fuck cross member instead of significantly more fragile exhaust pipes.

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May as well show off some fabrication tools while im at it. This is my plate bender, tooling is 70mm high and is good for bending steel way thicker than anything i'll ever need to make for a car.

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And the one tool that almost no fabrication piece I'm ever working on doesn't touch. It cost a pretty penny despite being no more than a linishing attachment bolted to a bench grinder, but it leaves jobs 10x nicer than a flap disk on a grinder ever will. From weld prepping metal, to cleaning up, straightening and de-burring edges, to shaping pipe cuts, I'm so use to using it on everything that I can't imagine ever fabricating without it. Anyone ever serious about fabricating should seriously invest in one. This one takes 50x1220mm belts but there are smaller cheaper alternatives out there for those just tinkering away with the odd job.

The coon is being moved from my old mans house to mine tomorrow. I have a bigger garage and no noise curfew so progress and updates should continue coming nice and consistently for you fellas ^_^

Kiwi-E, bear351c, gerg and 2 others like this

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Fantastic.   Great job on the fab work, and yes, those linishing belts are the best tool in the shop..!!

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great use of the brain inventing that design for the cross member/mount.  

so it's going to be almost upside down original cross member ... good idea!

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Damn it looke good off of axle stands and out on the street! She's moved to her new no curfew, no noise limit home so I can smash out the rest of the fab work in peace :P

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Unfortunately means my drift car has been relegated to sitting outside in the elements for a few weeks, but oh well <_<

gerg, Valvebouncer and deankdx like this

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Love the mount fabrication.

Those Bosses are one fat fucking engine but look very short in the X bay.

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Love the mount fabrication.
Those Bosses are one fat fucking engine but look very short in the X bay.
As they're an extended, iron version of the 4.6 modular block, both about 2" shorter in the block than a clevo. They're wide because of the tall-deck, undersquare design, plus those fuck-off big heads.

Sent from my CPH1607 using Tapatalk

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