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jpaturzo Reader
9/29/12 5:09 p.m.

Brought this guy home today. 1979, has been repainted (I'm pretty sure by Ray Charles, with a brush), but absolutely 0 rust.

It stops and goes, and is overall in great condition. Plans are to make it turn and stop better, and then add as much horsepower as feasibly possible.

SkinnyG HalfDork
9/29/12 5:36 p.m.

Those are the only Bobcats that are not uglier than the Pinto.

I approve.

(Recovering Pintoholic)

Woody GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/29/12 6:11 p.m.

Love that Bobcat.

petegossett GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
9/29/12 6:27 p.m.

I've been having wicked thoughts recently, maybe you can implement them.

I'm working on my basket-case Europas. The Ford/Lotus Twin Cam is the Ford Kent block(1.5L in my case) with the Lotus head on top - but what's really interesting is the Ford Zetec and Kent share the same bellhousing. So I think a Zetec should be a pretty straightforward swap into one of these. They're also cheap, and 200hp can be had N/A for not much $$$.

The other option is an engine from a T-Bird Turbo Coupe, and make your own version of the Pinto Pangra.

jpaturzo Reader
9/29/12 7:31 p.m.

The guy I bought it from had a turbo coupe engine in an earlier pinto, and has owned a few v8 swapped cars. We both agreed that the turbo 4 seems to fit the character of the car. With some modification to the intake elbow (cutting an inch out and welding the flange back on) it clears the hood.

I am intrigued by the zetec swap also, but I need to do some serious homework on it. Definitely seems like an attractive swap, seeing as zetecs are like belly buttons.

jpaturzo Reader
10/9/12 6:22 p.m.

Not a great picture, but it's up in the air with all the wheels off. The PO told me the tires were dry rotted, and as it turns out they were terrifyingly dry rotted. Tire selection is scarce for 13 inch rims, but I found a decent looking Kumho for cheap. I'm getting new tires for these rims so I can drive the damn thing to tide me over until I figure out what I want to do with the car.

Speaking of:

I'm not sure if this is the direction I want to go, but I have had worse ideas.

And if anyone was wondering, a full set of Bobcat wheels with tires fit in the trunk of my Fit. Didn't even need to fold the seat down.

SkinnyG HalfDork
10/9/12 7:15 p.m.
jpaturzo wrote: I'm not sure if this is the direction I want to go, but I have had worse ideas.

YES. This IS the direction you want to go. The Force will be with you!

klb67 New Reader
10/9/12 7:20 p.m.

Wow does seeing that bring back memories. A buddy had one in high school in the early 90s (a Pinto too). My memory is hazy on the details but he swapped the 4 cyl/auto with a V6/4 speed from something ford. That car could fly for what it was. Went through several sets of rear tires as I recall, and surprised lots of guys at stoplights.

RossD UberDork
10/10/12 7:28 a.m.

I've done lots a research on the zetec to the pinto 4-speed hook-up. I think the '95 (or so) Contour would give you the best match as the starter is in the same position (IIRC). I have a '00 Focus on my engine stand and it's starter is located at the 1 to 2 o-clock position looking at the clutch end of the engine. That means there is a bolt hole missing on the block with regards to the pinto's bellhousing. No big deal in my book, I'd just bolt the starter to the original pinto bellhousing position with a little trim to the oil pan.

Hone the engine's pilot bearing hole for the one that matches the transmission. If you use the zetec's flywheel you can use the built in crank position sensor. The 2.3 Lima flywheel from a different transmission bolted up to the zetec but was too deep for the Ford of Germany (FOG) Type E/Rocket bellhousing. I don't have that flywheel to check for throw-out bearing movement and what not. Looks all very doable, however.

The starter would be nice and simple if you have both the flywheel and starter from the same car that the transmission came from, which I don't have.

Clutch and pressure plate from either the pinto or zetec would work. Both are close to the same overall diameter (220mm??) and 1" with 23 splines.

That's what I encountered.

bravenrace PowerDork
10/10/12 9:38 a.m.
jpaturzo wrote: Brought this guy home today. 1979, has been repainted (I'm pretty sure by Ray Charles, with a brush), but absolutely 0 rust. It stops and goes, and is overall in great condition. Plans are to make it turn and stop better, and then add as much horsepower as feasibly possible.

Ten years ago I would have said that nothing from 1979 would ever look good. I would have been wrong.

bravenrace PowerDork
10/10/12 9:40 a.m.

Having done a couple Pinto V8 swaps back in the day, I have to ask you if you have ever driven one? The reason I ask is that this swap presents several issues, mostly handling and unibody strength. In this day, I would think there's better ways of getting power into one of these than adding a bunch of weight in the front end. Just saying.

SkinnyG HalfDork
10/10/12 6:22 p.m.

I've had two Pintos with V8's - a nice potato-potato idle plus the ability to smoke the tires from here to kingdom come are my two biggest persuaders.

WhiteLX Reader
10/11/12 4:43 p.m.

my vote would be for a turbo zetec

fast_eddie_72 UltraDork
10/11/12 4:53 p.m.

I like it!!

Curmudgeon MegaDork
10/11/12 7:54 p.m.

Olde skool Pintoholic here. Your best bet (as you already mentioned) for quick easy and reasonably lightweight performance is a Turbo Bird motor with a big intercooler, well hidden behind the Bobcat grille. Fox body Mustang and T Bird 'phone dial' wheels bolt right up, along with a surprising number of other odds and ends. IIRC the front calipers and brakes off a 'Stang or Turbo Coupe are a bolt in swap, the rear from a Turbo Coupe can be narrowed so you get disc brakes and limited slip. There's a ton of front suspension upgrades out there thanks to the Mustang II stuff under many a street rod.

jpaturzo Reader
10/12/12 9:44 p.m.

Got the new tires mounted on the wheels and put on the car today. Definitely an improvement, even in the barely 300 feet I drove it.

Even with the clutch cable adjusted, all of the clutch engagement is in the last 1/8" of pedal travel so I'm thinking it's time for a clutch. No big deal, it looks cake to do.

Also dug through the front and rear brakes. Typical rehab stuff needed, like replacing leaky cylinders and lubing calipers. Nothing tragic. It stops ok now, but for about $120 I can totally re-do the entire braking system, which is a no brainer.

And the best news is . . . . I have a line on a Turbo Coupe motor. While my buddies farm is littered with v8's, I think the Turbo Coupe motor will keep with the character of the car.

So I'm going to stick to my original plan: Get the damn thing on the road, and collect parts as cash becomes available.

noddaz GRM+ Memberand Reader
10/13/12 9:45 a.m.

In reply to jpaturzo:

And the best news is . . . . I have a line on a Turbo Coupe motor. While my buddies farm is littered with v8's, I think the Turbo Coupe motor will keep with the character of the car.

indeed. and keep weight out of the nose...

Brett_Murphy GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/13/12 9:03 p.m.

Plus one on the Turbo motor vs. V8, though the Ztec option is interesting as well.

jpaturzo Reader
9/21/13 9:44 a.m.

Long time, no update...

So around December of last year I took the car for a spin around the neighborhood, probably terrifying my neighbors in the process. Every time I hit the brakes, one rear wheel would lock up and drag, indicating a dead cylinder on one side. I also noticed a distinct lack of power under load. No big deal really, but when I pulled back into the driveway I noticed a small pool of coolant on the passenger floor. Looks like the heater core started puking at some point on the ride. So I parked the car for the winter and started planning.

So winter came and went and I spent most of the spring and early summer helping my buddy prep his drag car for the season. Spent a few weekends helping him out and videoing the cars. If you're interested in shaky video work and loud noises, my YouTube channel is here: http://www.youtube.com/user/jpaturzo/videos

So the plan was to bring the Bobcat over my friends air conditioned garage mid July and do some simple maintenance. Front and rear brakes, clutch, and heater core. That's it.....

Except when you put two people with OCD in the same garage, E36 M3 can get a little out of control. In the end we did the following:

  • New front calipers
  • New front rotors
  • New front brake lines
  • New front shocks
  • Completely rebuilt the rear drums with all new hardware and cylinders, and replaced the rear rubber lines
  • New rear leaf springs, since the old ones were shot
  • Rebuilt the old shackles since the correct length ones are no longer available. 20 minutes with the mig welder and the grinder and they were good as new.
  • New rear shocks because the old ones were hilariously blown. I wish I took a video of how bad they were.
  • New e-brake cable
  • Removed the rear end housing and cleaned the hell out of it, changed the fluid, and repainted it. Also managed to have my wire wheel equipped grinder snag my shirt and remove a nice swath of skin from my gut. That kind of sucked.
  • While I was there the bottom the car was also resprayed black. (rattle can, but damn the bottom of the car looks nice)
  • Fixed the fuel level sending unit. Turns out the brass float had a hole in it. After I boiled out all the gas, I soldered it back up, and now my gas gauge works again.
  • Removed all the rear suspension brackets, sand blasted them and painted them.
  • Painted bolt heads. So many bolt heads. So many.
  • Removed the transmission for cleaning and painting, and bell housing cleaning. Also changed the tar that was in it for some new gear lube.
  • Deleted the catalytic converter and had a new exhaust made up. The old muffler was packed with random chunks of steel, so at least I solved one rattle.
  • Painted the drive shaft and installed new u-joints
  • New seals for the transmission
  • Deleted the EGR and air pump tube from the engine
  • New radiator. Literally a new old stock radiator one of the local shops had on hand. (I'm sure the little old Italian guy who ran the place went home and yelled at his wife that night, "Goddamn it, I told you I would sell a Pinto radiator some day!") He also brazed my old brackets on for me, so everything lines up great. Bought a new cap for the rad,
  • New Chinese heater core that the little old Italian radiator guy pressure tested for me.
  • Had to rebuild the blower motor speed resistor since it was falling apart.
  • New heater hose for the freshly rebuilt and repainted heater box. As an aside, the heater box install / removal sucked. Harder than my Falcon, but no where near as hard as a Fox body.
  • Painted a bunch of random parts, like the trans cross member, battery tray, etc.
  • Carb was rebuilt, which is good cause the power valve looked kind of hurt. Adding 12v to the carb vent also seemed to solve the no power under load problems I had. Carb base gaskets are hard to get, so I made my own. Made a set of custom primary and secondary sized punches out of exhaust tube on the lathe.
  • Replaced a mess of melted wires
  • Probably forgetting a ton of other little E36 M3.

Pictures for the tl;dr folk (horribly out of order and scatter brained) :

jpaturzo Reader
9/21/13 9:47 a.m.

That's a crusty ass drum brake right there.

jpaturzo Reader
9/21/13 9:57 a.m.

The tranny looked like right after it was pulled. This particular transmission from Ford of Germany uses some peculiar non-euclidean geometry that allows it to leak nasty ass fluid on the floor weeks after you think you had it drained.

Freshly painted drive shaft and cross member.

You can't not paint all the bolts and drum brake hardware.

And exhaust parts. VHT is my friend.

Trans, midway through cleaning. Thing was disgustingly dirty. Also, look at all that tail shaft.

jpaturzo Reader
9/21/13 10:08 a.m.

Obligatory hatchback full o' parts shot.

Sexy new radiator, and a scrubbed bell housing. The scunge in there was incredible.

The Mach 1 came to visit, but spent most of its time in awe of the Bobcat.

And I went and visited the P1800 that belongs to another friend. He had just gotten back from a 1000+ mile vacation in it.

Why did I paint the clutch arm? Because I have no idea.

jpaturzo Reader
9/21/13 10:18 a.m.

New springs next to the old beat ones.

Finally got the trans clean enough to paint. I can sleep soundly knowing a part of the car that literally no one sees is shiny black.

Looking up the trans tunnel, before paint. One of the reasons I bought this particular car is that it has zero rust. I have no idea how this came to be, especially in CT, but the car is amazingly clean and straight.

Before further cleaning. I bought this car knowing it had an engine swap, but I didn't realize until this point the engine was a 78, not a 79. No big deal really, but it's good to know. The tag on the carb also says 78, so it seems like it's not too much of a mutant.

Oooo, shiny.

Hover Bobcat. You can see that some of the trim is less than perfect, with 34 years worth of rock ships. When Ray Charles painted the car he failed to remove the trim, opting to just tape over it. Eventually this will be remedied.

The repainted and refreshed rear end and associated brackets.

jpaturzo Reader
9/21/13 10:24 a.m.

The painted fuel tank and wheel well. Looks so much better now.

Honda Fit pickup truck for the win! The new exhaust coming home from the shop. Found an independent place that bent up the new exhaust, flanges and cat delete pipe for $80. Money well spent in my opinion.

New versus old.

Did I mention I painted a lot of bolts? So many bolts.

More oooo shiny. The KYB's on my Honda have not let me down for a DD, so I figured they would do ok on the Bobcat.

jpaturzo Reader
9/21/13 10:28 a.m.

The heater box pre-cleaning.

De-reusted. And like an ass, I forgot to take a pic of it painted. Again, a part that no one will ever see, but at least I know its clean and painted.

Way the hell cleaner engine bay with no more EGR tube and air pump tube.

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