I’d researched hydraulic release bearings and became convinced of the good reputation the McLeod Racing bearing had. This, along with the recommendation of David Webber, owner of last November’s feature car the “Boston Mangler”, meant I’d intended all along to use a McLeod Racing item on the Mustang T5 behind the Zetec four-banger, but now needed a complete clutch and flywheel assembly too.

The guys at McLeod Racing supplied one of their 10 1/2-inch Super Street Pro clutch kits, ideal for my application, along with an aluminum flywheel, and even took measurements from my unknown brand scattershield in order to set up the release bearing so it’d work perfectly from the outset. Some other brands employ shims to achieve the perfect gap between the face of the bearing and the fingers of the pressure plate, but McLeod Racing offers eight different piston lengths, eliminating the need for shims. Assembly was straightforward, and McLeod Racing supplied detailed instructions. If you’re used to a simple clutch release arm and this all seems complicated (it did to me at first), here’s how it works:

The diagram above is used to determine which McLeod Racing series bearing is required. If the measurement A in your application is less than 3 inches, the 1300 series is for you (this is what I used). If A is greater than 3 inches, you’ll need the 1400 series bearing. The gap between the face of the bearing and the tips of the pressure plate fingers should be between 0.100 and 0.300 inch for correct pressure plate release and to allow the bearing to self-adjust. Proper clearance can be determined by subtracting measurement B from measurement A. If the answer to this sum is outside the 0.100- to 0.300-inch parameters, the 1300 series bearing will require a piston change, while the 1400 series has an adjustment screw. More details are available on McLeod Racing’s website, where you’ll find information on their other products too, such as SFI bellhousings, starters, and shifters.

While this mechanical maelstrom had been occurring, Nick Fioto had been wiring the car. This meant once the brakes and clutch were bled, the fuel lines fabricated and installed and all the fluids filled, it should be ready to go. At this point our departure was a little over 48 hours overdue and it was 3:30 a.m., so the still unfinished car was pushed into the trailer along with tools and boxes of parts, and my girlfriend and I hit the road for Bonneville, planning to finish it on the salt!

[15] We then fabricated a couple of steel straps to locate in grooves in the upper tank, again insulated with rubber. These straps bolt to the top rail of the framework.

[16] The track nose is supplied by Speedway Motors without the grille hole, in case the dedicated cast aluminum grille isn’t to be used, though its outline is evident. We used hole saws to cut the corners, and an air hacksaw to cut away the remainder.

[17] Here’s the track nose and dedicated cast grille.

[18] The backside of the grille has three raised bosses for mounting.

[19] The bosses were drilled and tapped for 1/4-20 studs, obtained from our local industrial supply house. Thread locker will prevent them from working loose.

[20] A 1-inch holesaw was used to drill clearance holes for the bosses.

[21] From the rear you can see how the grille is attached. We used three old Chevy V-8 valve cover hold downs, bent to suit. Nyloc nuts were used on final assembly, once the track nose was painted.

[22] This is the inside top of the track nose, showing the steel panel we fabricated to locate the Dzus fasteners for the front of the hood.

[23] The heads of the stainless domed Allen bolts we’d intended to use to sandwich the ’glass nose between two steel panels were too tall for the hood to sit flush with the nose, so we used these Allen-headed furniture bolts for clearance, the threads shortened to suit.

[24] Here’s the final assembly, with the Dzus retainers in place. The temporary paint is ready-to-spray black lacquer from NAPA, available in quart cans. The car will get a proper paintjob sometime in the future!

[25] Weiand supplied one of its Warrior intake manifolds for the new engine, as the Vortec-style heads have different mounting holes to the first generation Chevy engines. We’d intended to rob the intake from the Purple Pig ’49 in order to make Bonneville until we found it wouldn’t fit. It did give up its water pump and alternator though!

[26] These extensions are available from Patriot to fit the Sprint Car headers when used in a T bucket. Don Lindfors cut them down to remove the turnouts for our application, figuring the headers alone may be too short to run wide open for a few miles.

[27] After an insane thrash this is how the engine bay looked prior to our departure for the salt. Actually this is after we returned, as we had no hood, and the track nose wasn’t painted before we left. We reused the Aeromotive fuel rail, pressure gauge, and regulator we’d removed from the Purple Pig when we switched from carb to injection, and will bring you the complete fuel system installation once the injected Zetec is installed.

[28] Après Bonneville, this shows the header extensions in place, along with the hood and completed nose and grille.

Aeromotive, Inc
7805 Barton Street
KS  66214
U.S. Radiator
Speedway Motors
340 Victory Lane
ME  68528
Patriot Exhaust
440 East Arrow Highway
San Dimas
CA  91773
Bowling Green
McLeod Racing
1600 Sierra Madre Circle
CA  92870