Hello all; the TMH Chicago Cat project

I’m a noob here after being a noob at mc.net for a couple-few weeks now. Noob to Cougars, and noob to car repair in general.

I’ve got pretty thick skin and totally get that noobs sometimes get their ball joints busted, so no worries about that. I’m here to learn and to shoot the breeze. That’s about it.

So hello!


Welcome to the laid back smoking lounge, Noob. I mean Scott.

First of all, when I said “trial and error”, I meant that is sometimes how I personally figure things out, and welcome to my world, on your “Diane” thread over on mc net. In NO WAY did I mean that was THE BEST way, nor was it a recommendation.

Now that that is out of the way…where’s my beer? The noob ALWAYS brings the beer…SHEEEEESH!!!

Yeah,and my apologies for giving you the impression that you were to blame for my “time out” over there. “Super Moderator” has had a problem with me for a while now and it just coincidentally came to a head in the middle of your thread. No fault of yours whatsoever.

Seeing you play along with my post in your thread tells me that you’re gonna turn out just fine. The wrench turning knowledge will come with time. Stick with the experienced people here AND over there and as you’re already finding, your knowledge will increase exponentially.

Welcome Scott! You will find that there are great people here (cool also). :slight_smile: . Having a classic Cougar is part of the fun. Sharing your passion, knowledge and learning about them is the other part of it. This site combines those elements. So enjoy its great to have you here. Take some pictures of your Cougar and add them to the gallery.

Welcome aboard.
It’s kinda early for a beer but I will take a Bloody Mary if you’re buying.

Maybe you should list a few of your issues here and we can help you tackle them? I love the first thirty days after you buy a new driver. You can make so much improvement so fast it kind of gets you addicted. I suspect that there are a few things we can point you toward doing that are easy quick fixes. For example, does the shift lever feel loose and the indicator not line up? It is an easy fix, IF you know how to tackle it.

Hey Scott! Welcome to the other side of things, well at least the flip side of Mc.Net - if you want the darkside I think the Curb would qualify for that. :laughing:

Im not exactly a pro but I have stayed at a Holliday Inn!
Theres a few of us in the Chicago area that can help you out if you need an extra hand or advise.

Maybe Ill see ya at a cruise night or on the street.


Good Lord, B…so, you stayed at a Holiday Inn…it’s staying at the Holiday Inn EXPRESS that makes you a brain surgeon!!! SHEEBERS!!!

Scott- a point of advice I learned the hard way…KEEP IT DRIVING as much as possible, THEN do paint/body…I waited 4 years, seven months, 3 weeks, two days, and eight hours to actually DRIVE mine the first time. Just started taking things apart, and it snowballed on me!!! LOL, live and learn! (part of that trial and error I was talking about…that would be an error!). Should have worked out mechanicals FIRST(thanks, Mark).

Welcome to the madness Scott !

Oh I’m going for driving as much as possible, don’t worry! I’m not doing a restoration, the whole point is to have a fun and awesome car. So the only times she won’t be drivable are when I’m repairing something or during Chicago’s lovely 8 month winter.

Hey, the shift indicator doesn’t line up right! When I am in drive, it lights up both neutral and drive. I mentioned that on mc.net but nobody responded.

The only big issue right now is the PS system. Leaks heavily at the control valve, and apparently somewhere at the pump also. I don’t know if it’s an issue with the hoses or what. There are two different PS hose kits over on CougarPartsCatalog that I’ve been looking at. The cheap one and the expensive one. Forget the concours one. I’m leaning toward the expensive one, because of the nice bends and all. Anybody have experience with those? Is there a better way to go?

In addition to the leak, the slop is the worst part really. It doesn’t wander too badly, but the center position on the wheel travels freely like 15 degrees in either direction before it actually starts to affect steering, and then the steering feels just barely assisted, almost like manual steering.

I need to maybe mess with the idle, but I haven’t even got instructions for the carb yet, don’t even know the model actually. It’s an Edelbrock 4v that was put on by the previous owner. I seem to recall my dad looking it up online and saying it was 600cfm but I don’t know for sure.

Come springtime I might try and get out to some event in the area, I dunno. I’m kinda shy on account of being 4’6" 475 lbs.

Oh and I for sure need a cover, need to order that ASAP. The garage is barely gonna do anything to protect the car from rain and snow, nothing to protect it from temperature, and it’s dirty and dusty as hell. Was looking at a NOAH model by CalCarCovers. Thoughts?

One last thing for now… My idle, here’s what I found yesterday.

After a half hour of driving.

Lights on, in gear, about 425, and every few seconds there’s a single puff that drops it below 400 and it recovers fine and goes back to where it was.

Lights on, in park, about 725. Then I turned the lights off and it went up to 800.

There is a bit of a thunk when going from park into reverse, but not when going from neutral to drive.

Spec for this engine is 550, with auto trans. What conditions though? In park or in gear? Lights on or off? And I have no AC so no worries there.

Thanks guys.

You’ve probably already tried, but you might check all your connections on the PS, make sure they are snugged up. Mine is manual steering, so, don’t have much else to offer on that for you.

For that matter, that’s about all I can contribute on any of your issues, as mine is also a manual trans…doh! Turning the lights off, and RPM’s increasing however, is probably a by-product of the vacuum motors for the lights…at least that is my guess. The experts can tell you better than I, though.

Idle stop screw on your Ed’brock should be by the throttle arm…screwing in should up your idle. Fuel/air should be the two screws on the front bottom of the carb.

Hope that helps, and any that beg to differ, feel free…I’m still a noob, too, so set us both straight! LOL

Welcome Scott! I’m just a few days old noob too!

I had the same problem with my 69 with the steering travel or barge steering.
Got a flameing river steering box and its 100x better but because of the way the cars are it will always have a bit of play in the steering wheel.

This guy is in Dundee IL and has a bunch of great videos for you to check out.
Plus Chris is a great guy, Ive called him a few times to get a 2nd opinion.

I think Don at WCC did a video for steering adjustments or what to look for. If I find it Ill send it on to you.

TMH, Does you car have the long center console? I need to know to tell you how to do a set of shifter bushings. I may have a spare set for you. I bought them in bulk, because every Cougar with an automatic needs them.

Finding PS leaks is hard because the fluid gets blown back wards by the breeze. Your leak might be at the back side of the pump, but the fluid will follow the hose and drip some where else. I would recommend that you do a set of hoses first. The right way to do this is to convert to the big block hose routing. This keeps the hoses away from the exhaust manifold. You will need a couple of additional parts to get the job done. If you order from WCCC they can fix you up with exactly what you need. The old hoses have a tendency to spring tiny pin hole leaks that can spray a jet of fluid on the exhaust manifold. This is great way to burn down the car.

There is one other thing that you need to know that nobody tells you. There are seats in the valve where the hoses attach, and they are often shot. The good news is that they are replaceable. IF the seats are in good shape you don’t have to tighten things supper tight and it will seal great. If the seats are bad, you almost can’t tighten the connections enough. To remove the seats you just put a self tapping screw int the center of the seat, let it get a bite and then pop the seat and the screw straight out. Also, the old hose will be really tight, you are almost guaranteed to round off the corners of the nuts that hold on the hoses. Use a big pair of Vise Grips and whack the end with a dead blow hammer. They will come lose easily. Remember, you are going to toss those hoses later.

Also, Take a close look, take a picture, draw a diagram, what ever you have to do for the two short hoses that go between the ram and the valve. If you cross these the steering witll go crazy when you start the car, lots of broken thumbs when the wheel is jerked out of your hands.

Most of the sloop in the steering comes from the steering and suspension being basically shot. Doing from end work is not fun, but it is one of those things that really makes the car more fun to drive.

I just had to delete my post saying no fair teasing me with how to fix the shifter but not telling, because in the time it took me to write my post you posted your response. So funny.

Yes, I do have the center console that goes all the way back to become an ashtray for the back seat. The floor lights on it even work. I was shocked.

I may well end up pulling all the PS components off the car before winter sets in, and rebuilding them in my apartment with the kits available on the CPC site. Nice project to keep me going through Chicago’s 10 month winter. Question is, can this be done with normal tools or do I need any obscure specialty tools? Only one I’m aware of so far is a Pitman arm puller. What else do I need to get the parts off and rebuilt using the available kits?

There are three hose kits on the CPC site, concours (no thanks), premium, and economy. I’m assuming the premium kit, with all its pre-formed pieces, is the way to go, right?

Also I’ve seen it written (by you, I believe) that pretty much any 60’s Cougar should have its tank and fuel lines replaced. That seems reasonable, and doing it before problems start presenting themselves seems like the way to go. Tank and lines to pump for sure, but what else? Line from pump to carb, is that crucial if no problems are already evident? And then what about going to the larger tank (I forget if it was '69 or '70) in a '68? How complicated is that? If I’m already replacing it, and since I’m all about function rather than being strict about staying year-correct, seems like it’s worth getting the higher fuel capacity. But is it way more complicated than just the tank? New float, make adjustments inside the dash, or what?

Sorry for a zillion questions.

I wanna buy a cover, too, like, NOW. I have my eye on the NOAH cover from CalCarCovers, I want something that’s indoor/outdoor since the garage I’m renting is about 90% indoor and 10% outdoor, roof leaking in one spot not above my car but who knows how quickly that can change. Is the NOAH a good one? For a '68 XR-7 with no spoilers and a metal top, do I order a cover for a '68 or do I need to order one for some other year? I’ve read a bit about it on the net, mostly mc.net, and don’t feel any more informed than when I started, if anything, more confused.

And with my car having been built in San Jose, I’m assuming it had the smog stuff when it was built, but I didn’t see anything in the trunk aside from the light sequencer. How do I check it out to make sure I get the right stuff when replacing the tank? It’s entirely possible the car was modded to remove the smog stuff when it was “restored” 15 years ago while it was in Nevada.

Thanks much,


Hey Scott…no worries on the questions, we all start somewhere.

Not sure what affect smog equipment has on a fuel tank swap, if any. But, I swapped to a 22 gallon, used the sender that came with it, and the guage appears to work just fine. Was reading around half a tank yesterday, went and filled up to check accuracy, and put in just under 11 gallons. The line is no biggie to replace, order up a pre-bent one from Mustangs Unlimited, or wherever you choose. From pump to carb, I was told, in no uncertain terms, DO NOT use rubber line! Bad ju-ju if it busts/leaks.

Can’t help on the cover, as I don’t have one myself.

Here I go, piling on more questions. Heh.

I have a new data point. When I’m sitting still and holding the brakes (AT) if I push just hard enough to hold the car, it’s pretty quiet. But if I push a bit harder, there’s a hissing sound, I can’t tell if it’s coming from the brake pedal or the headlight switch. And if I push really hard, brake pedal as far down as I can push it, the hiss goes away.

So what does that mean? Normal operation? Vacuum problem?

Also on the vacuum thing, I’ve heard that with a perfect vacuum system, you can leave it sit a while and the headlight doors will still be able to open and close, once or twice, without the engine on. I tested mine just a few seconds after shutting her down, and though the dash lights came on, the doors were completely non-responsive.

Vacuum problem?

I’m thinking it might do me some good to pick up a vacuum tester. Hopefully cheap, but of course not crap. Suggestions?