TTAC Commentator tresmonos writes:
I recently wrote you about my dilemma of my dying cavalier and should I purchase a ST Focus when they come out. My question is: how easy is it to convert a v belt to a standard ‘grooved’ serpentine belt? My ’84 Diesel Fox body has mostly sat since I’ve started my new job, but back when I had time and excellent southern weather to work on it, I had rebuilt the alternator, rewired the main line from the alternator to the battery (removed the high voltage line from the main loom) and was messing around with different pullies to see if I could solve the age old dilemma that plagues these diesels: thrown v belts.
The v belt drives the alternator and the water pump. Diesel Fox’s are rare as those v belts get tossed, octogenarians would limp their beloved Lincoln home, then crack their Ford meth inspired, paper thin, specific head to a BMW M21. Sad grandma and grandpa.
Rather than keeping 3 spare belts, a socket set, and my balls in the trunk of the car at all times, I’d rather be lazy about it. The rebuild didn’t seem to help. The rewire addressed my laziness of not disconnecting the battery: blown fuse links from arcing of wrenches to alternator when tensioning fresh v belt, fuse links now have ‘quick disconnects.’ I also got over the ‘let me try to replace fusible links with a in line fuse’ phase of my life. Fun times.
Do you think I should upgrade the old assed 90 amp alternator instead? I would have to ‘jumper’ the external voltage regulator, etc. This would be easy as I’ve already prepped the wiring to handle a bigger alt. Or will that further load the skimpy little v belt and make it fly off into the sunset like all the other v belts I’ve lost on my joy rides?
I’m not even sure the Ford bastardized L21 could take a serpentine belt conversion due to how the V belt sits between the serpentine belt and the engine. I laugh at the terrible service illustrations in this Ford manual. No way in hell you can get a screw driver in to ‘tension’ the v belt as they describe. But the illustration gives you an idea of what I have to work with:
I got all the other fun diesel specific manuals, to boot. The guy I bought this baby from was a mechanical genius.
Hope this gives you some cannon fodder!
Well yes, it certainly does. You see, I’ve finally started watching this TV show that all my friends, family and co-workers believe I should know very, very well. So I decided to finally DVR it. The show is Top Gear, and they play it on some TV station in the UK. Or something like that.
And while the show is pointless, full of Internet-grade trolling, packed with reality TV worthy drama for absolutely no good reason AND is borderline racist…well, it does come in handy when responding to questions like these.
But first…let me tell you why I’m fuming mad.
- Son, let me tell you about the Fox Body Continental. It was made on a unique production line in a unique factory, with a unique name not associated with the Lincoln brand. It is a Continental, and you should at least mention that once!
- But no, you insisted on always referring to it as a “Fox Body.” Which is like referring to a $50+ steak as just another hunk of meat. It’s disrespectful. This was the test bed for so many famous Fox Body parts or models. It’s why the SVO had a good suspension and fantastic brakes. It’s why that other famous Mustang Fox with a V8 engine became sorta-kinda-less flimsy, had a better-ish suspension and sported a fun little 5.0 motor after a lot of testing in Continental mules within Dearborn, circa 1985. (According to a report from Car and Driver, back in the day.)
- And when Ford had the balls to slip behind BMW and swipe a Steyr engine during the diesel rage in the 1980s, when GM pissed away so much on their terrible oil burners, they made a rather fantastic radiator for this respectable motor to live inside an, ahem, Fox Body. That al-you-mini-um radiator so conveniently slipped into the 1993 Mustang SVT Cobra R. That’s right: R…son!
So say it with me: this is a Fox Body Continental with a Diesel motor.
It is the best example of–what could be–the most exciting/tweakable/patriotic platforms ever to come from Ford Motor Company. If you disagree, put some MKS badges on it, tell everyone it’s actually a Volvo under the skin and do some degrading thing that Jeremy Clarkson might suggest.
So perhaps you can see why I don’t necessarily see the problem with your car. It’s quite perfect as-is. It, quite frankly, was Detroit State of the Art for the time. Would you go into the Lourve and paint eye brows on the Mona Lisa?
NO! You just deal with it and enjoy a time piece that you can mess around with on weekends. That said, I do have one of those Ford-Steyr Diesel manuals you mentioned, and I agree…they are totally useless.
My Mark VIII recently developed a no-start issue and this manual was absolutely no help at all. Sometimes I wonder why I even purchased it…to make my library look even geekier?
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