I bought a brake kit that was never installed, so it is new, but not new. It has "DeTomaso" etched into the side of the calipers. Vented rotors and of course no instructions. Get some nice parts, a nice deal, but the parts finally arrive without instructions. Some peple have a sense of humor and laugh at this, but....

I can not figure out where these six machined brackets go.

Has anyone installed a brake kit and can lend some assistance please?

I'm just getting into it, the half shafts have been pulled, the axle nut tool is in my possession, and I'm about to dig into it. The front wheels are on the ground and I'm ready to put 400 foot pounds of torque onto loosening the axle nuts. Carefully applying a lot of force!

The hole spacing on the rear upright, where the original caliper is bolted to, has smaller hole spacing distance than the hole spacing distance on the new calipers. So, I presume some combination of these machined mounting brackets is going to adapt the new caliper to the car.

Any clue who may have marketed this kit originally? Nicely etched word "DeTomaso" on the side of the black calipers, 4 pistons, curved vane ventilated rotors with aluminum hats. Any idea who to call for assistance on the phone? Any articles written on the subject? I have five years back of PI and POCA, so if anyone remembers an article, I'll look it up. Puzzling to me. It's always the details, eh? Thanks.
Original Post
Have you checked them against the pictures in Halls catalog ?
Sounds like one of his set ups from reading the description.

I can not figure out where these six machined brackets go.

Has anyone installed a brake kit and can lend some assistance please?

I'm just getting into it, the half shafts have been pulled, the axle nut tool is in my possession, and I'm about to dig into it. The front wheels are on the ground and I'm ready to put 400 foot pounds of torque onto loosening the axle nuts. Carefully applying a lot of force!

The hole spacing on the rear upright, where the original caliper is bolted to, has smaller hole spacing distance than the hole spacing distance on the new calipers. So, I presume some combination of these machined mounting brackets is going to adapt the new caliper to the car.

Any clue who may have marketed this kit originally? Nicely etched word "DeTomaso" on the side of the black calipers, 4 pistons, curved vane ventilated rotors with aluminum hats. Any idea who to call for assistance on the phone? Any articles written on the subject? I have five years back of PI and POCA, so if anyone remembers an article, I'll look it up. Puzzling to me. It's always the details, eh? Thanks.[/QUOTE]
I checked Hall's catalog photos many times, and Precision Proformance and PI Motorsports and all the pictures I could find. It's got to be one of theirs, but the caliper design is different. I had ordered Wilwood Dyna-Lites just a week before the opportunity to get the Pantera vendor kit arose, so those are on my work bench for comparison purposes. The Dyna-Lites are much, much lighter. The DeTomaso calipers are really cool looking, and I think they are Wilwood Super-Lites. The brackets go with the kit,and the Dyna-Lites have different mounting hole distances, so I can't use the Dyna-Lites without making new brackets, so they'll get returned. That doesn't make sense for Wilwwod to change hole spacing distances from Super-Lites to Dyna-Lites, so maybe what I got are "used" Corvette brakes that a Pantera vendor offered? The brake pads are different than the new pads just received with the Dyna-Lites too. Maybe they are Corvette calipers, Hall puts out several brake upgrade kits.... Anyway, Jim, from this BB, sent me photos, and he cc'd you too, Coz. Those were exactly the pictures I need to solve the puzzle. Thanks Jim, you're a true enthusiast, very experienced and informed, I always appreciate your help. Wish you could hook up with your buddies and go to Vegas too, but I'm sure you'll be peeling the treads off those Hoosiers on tracks closer to where you live very soon. I hope so, got to have a blast once in a while.
On this topic, I wanted to see if I could help out another Pantera guy, and maybe one of you, too. In the last issue of POCA Jan/Feb 2005, (blue cover), Randy in WI is advertizing "Sell-Corvette brake upgrade includes vented/ crossdrilled rotors, red powder coated calipers, polished alum master cylinder w/booster. ... srtimml@sbcglobal.net"

This is a very good reason to subscribe to POCA and Pantera International. Find all the deals, get all the technical info, advertize free or just have the broadest range of 'pre-owned' Pantera's to select from, when looking for a Pantera to buy. It also helps all the rest of us, collectively, by allowing the sharing of information and the continuation of the clubs. Everybody wins. $75 each club x 2 clubs is only $150 a year and you'll save far more than that the first time you make a transaction, buy or sell. Thanks for allowing the little promo for these guys who make it happen. I think it's worth it to just pay my dues and belong. It's research for my Pantera Research Library, should I need to find something someday, or just get ideas. The pictures are nice to look at too, like when I get too lazy to read the words. Remind you of another magazine? Hahaha I was talking about Time Magazine, what's wrong with you!

Oh yeah, the final solution for my brake upgrade question: the rotor hats mount inboard, just like the originals. The six mounting brackets go like this: 6/2=3 per side of vehicle; one in front, two in back. In back, one is used as a spacer to mount the existing brakes further inboard, to make up for the extra thickness of the vented rotor. The other bracket mounts on the front side of the rear axle/upright bracket. So the new brakes, in the rear, are on the front side of the axle. The new rotor is 1/8" thinner in the surface area, it's 1.875" where the original was 2.0" so it will just barely clear the mounting tabs for the brakes, and if I'm lucky, I won't even have to do any grinding of the tabs! Thanks for the e-mailed photos, Jim. Puzzle solved!
Man, my computer is getting slow from all these Pantera pictures I seem to download every day. Anybody else? Hahaha.

B.S. aside, a buddy is coming over, well maybe eight, and one's got a 650 ft.lbs. Air Impact Driver. Hope my compressor keeps up with it, but I only need 350 ft.lbs. for the axle nut removal/ installation. It's 3/4" drive, and so when I shop for one of these tools when I do this job again for new upgraded bearings, I'll have to remember that and get a 3/4 to 1/2 adapter. Air tools seems rediculously cheap for what they do.

Anybody know where I can get a 400 ft.lbs. torque wrench? Harbor Freight got them? We will all happily save/bookmark your post on where to shop on-line, when you reply. Thanks!
Hi Coz, nah, I didn't find out who made and marketed them or where they came from. Somebody in Vegas will tell me, I presume. See you there, Coz? Seen your Pantera there, Vegas 2004, in a POCA or Pantera International recent issue.

The new brakes will look cool, but they'll be temporary. I'll get the Wilwood Dyna-Lite's when I can get around to having some brackets made for them or find brackets somewhere for them. These are going to add about 20 lbs. to the car, and the DynaLite's are in my hand as we speak. But the new ventilated rotors will be on and it'll be an easy upgrade to just slap on DynaLite's once brackets come into my possession. For now, I'm limiting this project to completion of the upgrade kit as received. Just a bolt on, some difficult bolts, but a bolt on. Can't get too bogged down in details, like trying to switch to the DynaLites right now. We all know how it feels to have the Pantera up on jack stands, and we like to have projects completed, or else frustration sets in, for all. Later, I'll just advertize the DeTomaso brake upgrade kit and sell it, and it'll probably be an easy sell with pictures of them on the car, so the buyer will know they fit. These are works in progress, right? And I guess the Formula One teams are rolling out their new F-1's soon, for a new season, and I'll be watching thinking half of us will have their latest stuff on our Pantera's in a decade. I'm excited to be working on the Pantera again and running off with dribble too much lately... Ahhh, but it'll be upgraded for a while, getting closer to what I want exactly, and the work will be done for another year by the end of April. Unless I get the fever again. Maybe see you there... VFI

p.s. I may decide I want one of these more than I want new Dynalites, so imagine yourself taking a test drive, full throttle!!!


Are we having fun now?? Check it out, see a dealer near you!! You will definitely be noticed driving this!!! And if you get one, I'll get one too and we'll both have some fast times at Vegas 2006 and beyond. Want some real competion and thrills? The future, I think, laughing all the way....
I'm sure somebody will know in Vegas where they came from. All the same, they are nicer than the stock set up. Looking forward to seeing your Dynalites on. The Pantera is always a work in progress buddy :-) Mine is on jack stands right now... :-( Sounds like you've made some great progess with your car since the last time I saw it.

Yes, I am going to be there. In fact, I am working with Greg Jacobs gathering prizes and for the raffle for POCA this year. Greg can't make it to the actual event so I was asked to handle the raffle at the event in his absence. Getting there sometime Wednesday. Staying at the New Orleans.

When are you arriving ? Where are you staying ?

I look forward to seeing you there !
It's been awhile.
I'll be at The Orleans Casino and Hotel also, arriving Wednesday PM. They are Corvette brakes after all, the pads are really thick, twice as thick as the DynaLites. Corvettes are just a little heavier than Panteras, so they should work fine. I may just keep them and return the DynaLites to JEGS. I'm looking for an emergency/parking brake so I can eliminate the original Girlings on the rear. On the present set-up, the originals stay on and become the parking brake. But they are heavy and I want to remove that weight. I saw a nice after market parking brake for the Pantera, that was cable operated, and made a mental note of it. I think they were $250, but I can't find it, now that I'm looking for it. See you in April.
Just a warning to let you guys who read this BB get ahead of the game. 1) The axle nut removal tool is going for $59 to $100, brand new, depending on where you buy it. But the people who are bidding on these same axle nut tools are bidding these things up to $120 on e-bay. Nuts! I went ahead and bought two this morning. One to replace by buddy's whose tool I broke yesterday and one to keep. Which is a nice segway into warning #2. 2) Don't use your massively powerful impact hammer to loosen or tighten the axle nuts. The constant pounding of the impact work hardens the steel in the special tool and it breaks off all four tabs on the special tool. Use the old fasioned way, leverage and strength. The spec is 350 to 400 ft.lbs. torque to tighten. Also got a tip that you can rent a 3/4 inch drive torque wrench that goes to 400 ft.lbs. to do the job at those places that rent equipment. The axle nuts are one each, LH and RH thread. It's also been done that the axle nuts are chiseled off with an air hammer. Either way, it's a good idea to use new axle nuts when reassembling.

Also, a word to the wise: check your 16 nuts on the half shafts. Mine were a little loose, or lets say, not as tight as they were when I tightened them last after removing the half shaft a year and a half ago. This is where the power gets transfered, and this is also an area of failure. If one or the other of your half shafts lets loose while driving, it's going to be expensive. I ordered new nuts and bolts, as insurance, self insurance. They are under $50 and worth it. They are special, specific nuts and bolts with tight tolerances. A few showed some signs of wear, shiny teeth, soon to strip if enough torque were to be applied. But I plan to do a road test and then retighten anyway, because I figure they settle in a little as the machined surfaces mate up better going round and round zillions of times. Check them, if you drive it. And while you're at it, check to make sure the A-arm bolts are tight, especially that on that attaches to the front side, rear A-arm, lower. That's the one that pulls out and that's the one that has reinforcement from the factory on GT-5's. Or if you just drive around nice and easy, and never use more than half the RPMs or H.P, then you'll probably be OK... VFI's word to the wise!!! And you guys are wise to read a little and learn from each other, that's what I think!!! That's why I read this BB, besides catching a laugh now and then.
Here's how to get the axle nuts off:

Up on jack stands, wheels and half shafts off. New "billet" axle nut tool on the nut, 3/4" ratchet inserted. One person in the cockpit, pulls the e-brake on really hard, starts the engine to get the benefit of vacuum assist to the brakes, and smashes the brakes so hard that it seems like the hydraulic lines will burst for sure.

The other guys puts a floor jack handle over the ratchet handle and pulls up on the driver's side axle nut, from the rear, by the exhaust, while holding his breath. Flip the ratchet driver's toggle and do the same thing on the other side car. The axles and nuts have reverse threads on each side, LH and RH threads.

My driver's side rear axle has been replaced, the passenger side axle is stock.

It is a WARNING here: the passenger side axle nut was no where near 400 ft/lb torque. It was much easier to loosen that axle nut. Loose by spec is what I'm warning here, may want to check yours, by the way....

These are cars and things get loose all by themselves. I saw a picture of a guy's Pantera at a Vegas track event where his rear axle nut came off!

My passenger side rotor spun very freely, but has play in it. My driver's side rotor was rubbing on the upright tab, and was somewhat warped. My Pantera must have had it's 150 to 0 braking test done already, enough heat to warp the stock rotor.

I scooped up the last three issues of POCA to take to the machinist tomorrow. Fred Terry has donated his expertise to review and publish the three ways to upgrade the rear bearings. My buddy liked Jack DeRyke's because he likes Timkin sealed bearings, but it's the machinist who'll make that decision, based on their skill and equipment. Hate to get a crooked bore with Jack's method, throw away an upright.... All of this is way beyond my skill and knowledge level from this point forward on the bearing business.

Not just to save money, it's nice to get these projects done yourself, that way you are very confident it was all done correctly. If you take the time to learn and ask for the right people's help and use the resources available from this BB, POCA's BB and Pantera International and POCA publications, you can be sure your projects are done the right way.

Thanks to all who have contributed to all these 'data bases' in the past, present and future. Us enthusiasts must stick together for the common Pantera goal: To Drive It. Thanks again to all.
Things are working out. The machinist pressed the old rotors off and the old bearings out. He's a former professor at the local technical college, and he studied the drawings I brought him. We decided it's best to use new original ball bearings. He said water got in the bearings and caused bearing failure. I can probably get another 10 years out of new ball bearings, so I'm planning to do all this again in 2015. The bearing races hadn't spun, but there was some discoloring from heat, with otherwise good condition of the axles, good spline teeth, etc. He found some and tried to charge me a little more than I found them for. Somehow from the POCA grawings he guessed it's a Pantera and charged me, I saw his evil grin, hehehe. Pantera, eh, he can afford to pay a little more, and I can use money.... So I cut a cost from his bill. Machinist's they do cool work.

Another machinist did a hot dog job on my new cross-drilled slotted rotors. I see how they work now. The directional rotor vanes spin one way, and the holes spin the other way. Every vane has an air outlet drilled into it. Let's heat out every hole. The slots go the same direction as the spin on the holes. Everything is chamferd, nice smoth edges. The new rotors are 1/16" larger diameter, hope that's not going to be a problem, don't need them dragging on the free floating calipers.

A trip to AutoZone and new 27100 Red Permatex Threadlocker. Glad I remembered to get a new cigarette lighter to wire up and attach the G-Tech Meter to for power and rpm input.

Two 3/4" 500 ft/lb torque wrenchs lined up, and a trip to the machinist with the CDS rotors and hats to press back on the the axles and bring the new bearings before the end of the week and I'm ready to install newly rebuilt rear uprights, new locking axle nuts, new half shaft bolts, new rotors assy included on uprights, and this is good for another 40,000 miles or 10 years. Have to stay out of the rain, even though the zinc coated rotors won't rust. Bearings, body rust, and several other reasons to stay out of the rain, inside window fogging, questionable windshield wipers... lot's of reasons to avoid rain and wet.

It's not a perfect world. The brake rotor guy forgot to throw in the 'hardware' in the box. That's the socket head screws and lock nuts for the rotors/hat connections. Glad to see the 'hardware' fit from the undrilled vaned rotors (now back-up rotors) to the new rotors. Really glad.

Still have a little leeway for other, unforeseen things that might happen. And without looking at the instructions, figure out my newly arrived G-Tech Meter. How many rear wheel horsepower are coming off this Tacoma 4X4 anyway? I know a way to get the maximum ponies from the truck, clean out the airfilter and clean off the MASS air flow sensor. Last time I did that, I know it ran a lot stronger, and got better mileage again. Gotta, things to do.

And Coz, leave those X-Ray glasses at home, the gizmo's box says "Magnetic Media' DO NOT X-RAY.
Here's the rear uprights back from the machinist. The new bearings have been installed and the new rotors and hats replace the old. The old bearings and rotors are seen. The old rotors weigh 2.0 lbs. more than the new rotors. This is spinning mass that's new deleted. That'll make the brakes function just that much better. It's more than just 8 lbs. removed from the car's weight, is spinning inertia, or less of it.

You also can see PI Motorsports rear Euro bumpers and Euro rear tailight lenses.

Also noticable is the complete exhaust, metallic ceramic coated, which doesn't just look cleaner and prevent corrosion, but the main function is to keep the exhaust heat from transferring to the exhaust system metal surfaces. The primary function is to shoot the heat out the tips, into atmosphere, not build up in the metal.

The machinist was tutoring me about bearing preload. The axle nut preloads the bearings with the factory spacer between the inner and outer bearins. The specs for the axle nut torque is minimum 300 ft/lb. Different people will provide different rear axle nut torque spec recommendations. I don't want the axle nut loose enough to spin off, but I don't want the axle nut so tight it binds the bearings at all. These are measurements in 1/000's of an inch, and pressure, to pull the bearings in and seat them on the upright's inner notches. So, I'm setting the torque wrench for 360 ft/lb. That's 20% tighter than the minimum 300 ft/lb., but less than the 400 ft/lb spec I've heard. Just my best guess for this decision.

The torque wrench is adjusted by spinning the grip clockwise to increase torque or counter cloockwise to reduce torque. I'm fascinated by this, so I may take this torque wrench apart later to see just how it works....

The new calipers have four pistons and the old ones have one piston. The new brake pads have twice as much surface area. What this means, like for this week end, is I want to try and avoid running the engine to get vacuum assist to the brake booster. So, I'm going to get my buddy to start the engine, get the vacuum up, smash the brakes really hard, and cut the engine. Then with the torque wrench aleady set on the axle nuts, do the work on the torque down. The new billet axle nut socket fits really tight on the new axle nuts, so this is good to help keep the socket from slipping off the nut with a lot of pressure on it. Don't want to lose a fingernail or smash my knucles or fall down....

The new rotors are zinc coated to prevent rust, and probably have some machine oil on them form the machine work. I took a towel and wiped this stuff off the rotor braking surfaces. Next, I'm applying lacquer thinner to a clean towel and wiping the rotor braking surfaces again, followed by a clean toweling off with alcohol. You don't want to use water or soap, this will contaminate the brake pad material.

All these details add up to performance, and that's why you're interested and reading this stuff. That's the fun stuff, and I hope to get this 'monster' on the road, this weekend. It's slam time. I'm going to crash this project, full focus and concentration, until it's finished. Not hurrying thru the details, but not messing around either.

My buddy is a master mechanic, so I have to give Mike credit here. Thank's Mike, my voice was starting to crack a little, then when you called, it gave me confidence. Then I started calculating all the details out, and when you get here, I'll be ready with the parts pre-assembled, cleaned lubed, and the garage floor is now swept up like a Formula One garage. We're ready!

Hope nothing goes wrong. Glad to have a little time left in case something does go wrong. Really glad to find the bearing problem and get that fixed, at a very convenient time in the project.


Photos (1)
Supposedly, for handling purposes, each pound of unsprung weight is worth 4 pounds of body weight. Last season we replaced the OEM wheels (about 20 lbs. per wheel) on the MR2 with the Volk TE37 (about 9 lbs. per wheel) and gained about a half second per minute on an autocross course.
Master Mechanic Mike told me the new bearings will probably be the fix for the 'handling' problem I was having. On a certain stretch of freeway I was getting some steering wheel wobble, and couldn't figure it out. The road surface wasn't that smooth, and my steering wheel would shake side to side. I was always concerned about that happening at 150 mph... like on those Nevada closed highway, open speed limit events I want to do. It's OK with me to 'accidentally' fix that problem.

I'm feeling like after this I'm not going to be ready for another Pantera project for a couple of years. The rear brake lines have two male to male fittings and so forward progress came to a halt until that little connector is located next week. The uprights are installed and it took a big hammer to get the heavy uprights into the lower a-arms, but the good news is the a-arm bushings are in good shape. It's 'looking' great. But the brakes don't work yet. The original 15" Campagnolos fit on the new brakes just fine. So, I can have a stealthy Pantera, looks kind of stock, but....

Another problem is the parking brakes. That extra 1/16" diameter in the rotors rubs the parking brake bracket. My air grinder went thru 2 grinding wheels and it just about clears now, but they are getting the heavy grinding treatment next week too, to get better clearance. The parking brakes add 8 lbs. to the axle weight, but it's not spinning weight. Subtract out the 2 lbs. weight savings on the new rotors and I have 6 extra lbs. on each side in the rear. I'm going to get the nifty parking brakes advertized in POCA and Pantera International by the vendors, at a later time.... That's one of the reasons I pay my dues and am a member, to see what's available, and what's going on in Pantera world.

It takes patience to get results. I won't quit until it's finished and I've got enough time to get it completed before Vegas. But, the problem is, I won't be satisfied until I add 200 more horsepower, gear the ZF for 180 - 200 mph, get ground effects that function and install the white face guages in the cockpit.

And then I'll think of something else I'll have to have for the Pantera.... Or see it on someone else's Pantera. Pantera fever is reaching pitch level for me. To be continued....
Well, the right way to fit the brake hoses is to reduce the number of connectors, so I had the local industrial hydraulic hose company make new brake lines for me. But the #3 fittings were back-ordered. So, on Thursday I went back again and said let’s try and figure this out a different way, and they did, and hiked the price up another $36, but who cares, I got my four new brake lines Thursday.

I talked Master Mechanic Mike into coming over Thursday night. The solid half of the rear brake lines had a 90 degree bend, and didn’t seem to fit right, so I got my new tubing bender out of the JC Whitney box and it was a large tubing bender, too large. So, I decided to do it the Italian hand made way and bent the solid lines to curve under the half shafts and go behind them, dodging the sway bar brackets and that’s where the flexible stainless steel braided lines hook up now. Looks like ‘factory’, just like the graceful curves in the in the engine bay brake lines. I was ready for MMM to show up, and he was tired and ‘just going to look to see that I’m doing it right’. Right. I was scheming to get to the next stage, so when he showed up with my twin 6 year old nieces, I had their favorite Pepperoni pizza ‘on the way’ and had the fittings for the hoses tightened, the front hood up, the brake fluid gallon bottle cap off, and asked him to mash the brakes a few times while I bled the brakes. He obliged. Brakes bled, I grabbed the 3/4" ratchet and billet axle nut tool and started tightening the axle nuts on. Then, everything started going right. He adjusted the torque wrench for me, since I couldn’t figure it out, and I was under the car attaching the tool to the axle nut. It fit like fine Italian driving glove, and he got in the car and I had to keep yelling ‘on’, ‘off’, ‘on’, ‘off’ using the ‘on’ ‘off’ as a vocal ‘ratchet’ for the torquing procedure. Just like I hoped, there was no need to start the engine and use the vacuum assisted brakes, the new brakes held 360 ft.lbs. Of torque, no problem.

Master Mechanic Mike couldn’t help being inspired and getting involved. So he started attaching the parking brakes. Snag. Later in the week he brought over his stand mounted gring wheel, and I went to grinding the the parking brake bracket. No dice. The parking brake caliper hits the aluminum rotor hat. This left choices and decisions. No parking brakes, the line lock parking brakes, or new mounting brackets for the parking brakes. I just took the parking brake brackets to the machinist. He’s quoting an hour and a half to weld up the hole, weld straps on the outside, drill new holes and tap them, then do so finish work. Hope that works. I can get the brackets back Wednesday or Thursday.

The problem is nothing works like the plan in my head, but experience tells me that’s the way it always is, so allow some extra time. Part of the problem is the new rotors are ½" wider in radius, 1" wider diameter. Even though the new cross drilled, slotted rotors are only 1/8" wider radius than the ones supplied in my e-Bay Pantera Big Brake Upgrade Kit.

I discovered a new problem too. The tightened down brakes bind on the calipers. That means the larger diameter rotors ar hitting the inside of the calipers on the top half of the calipers. Master Mechanic Mike and I are going to tackle that problem tonight. There’s three solutions, grind down the inside of the calipers, make new brackets, oval out the holes on the calipers and/or the brackets. I prefer to get expert consultation before making decisions like that.

I also removed the front rotors and tried to use the air hammer that came in my air tools kit to press out the studs. No way. MMM’s air hammer did the trick, but his air hammer is 4" longer than mine and probably cost as much as my $89 air tools kit with all the air tools and attachments. He drove the studs back in the same way this morning. That’s another thing I’ll find out about tonight is whether the rotors are going to be rubbing the calipers on the front. Good news, the front bearings look fresh and good.

There’s some pictures of the rear and front so you can see what I’m talking about. I’m starting to think I should have just bought the brake upgrade kit from a Pantera vendor and maybe I wouldn’t have so many headaches with this project, even if I did all the pressing in and out of the rear axles and bearings at the local level for the hands on learning experience.

I’m feeling a little ‘stressy’ as my Polish buddy says. I want to get this project finished in time for Vegas. If not, I’ll be doing hot laps in my Toyota Tacoma 4 wheel drive with the G-Tech Meter at Vegas and nobody wants to read about that in Pantera International.... Slam time, yeah right. Slam for about 45 minutes, run into another problem and wait for Monday to order parts, then wit for the next weekend to get the parts and start slam time again. I’m the one getting slammed, slammed by the calendar.... But I’m 90% sure I’ll finish, with the help of Master Mechanic Mike and a few other people who get parts to me or machined for me.... I just want to do as much of it myself as possible, without making mistakes. No turning back now.

Opps. I forgot the cord that goes from my digital camera to the back of the computer at home, so I’ll load the pictures later. Sorry. Everything just takes ‘Mr. Do-It-Yourself’ here a little longer than normal to get the project completed. Guess you’re glad you’re not me, having to deal with little snags all the time. Man, I better check my zipper, make sure I zipped up my fly, I’m so absent minded these days. XYZ, remember that?
Last night by midnight, the veryfast italain was ready for a road test to see how the brakes worked. The front 15x7 front tightened down on the new calipers. The 15x8 in back cleared fine, they were removed in the rear again and locktighted. Same in front. On and off they go, everything getting fitted, adjusted and squirted with the red stuff. Some effort, by MMM, were got stuck and halted when all the grinding wheels wore down taking of 1/16" from the top of the calipers, to spin freely, and clear properly. This stuff is close tolerances and the brake pads extend perfectly to the perimeter of the rotor. Freight Harbor has these grinding wheels of carbon steel for $4 for 4 miniature oil well bits. 2 of those, 2 clear safety classes, one for MMM to look cool at work, they look like some spoty shades for mountain biking. Encourage my buddy to wear them at work and avoid eye injury, I hope.

Tonight, the parking brakes were installed and adjusted, just right. It took several on off sequences to shim up the parking brakes just right, and the machinist got my bracket reworked exactly right, and ready this morning. The old slave cyulinder is the new parking brake. The hydrulic fluid is drained out and a new bolt plugs the hole where the line brake used to be attached.

Lots of people have helped and come through for me, and I want to thank them. Rachel, you are getting flowers tomorrow, Thursday, 4/14/05. Thank you for weighing in on my behalf today. Thank you for taking care of business. Thank you to all who have been continually helping keep my cat in good health.

Still on jack stands, it got a new clutch hose installed tonight too. The oil plug is going to be pulled and drained overnight, since it is cold oil. When the dude dumped last year's oil yesterday, he told me the oil still had at least a thousand miles left on it, so some old oil shall remain in this time, a little, and that project cheacked off the list. Oil changes, engine and ZF, done in the next 24 hours. Same for the air cleaner K&N element. Haven't done that before, so I'll have to figure it out without looking at the instructions, of course. Lots of things done, lots of things left to do.

Not having been driven in 6 months, I noticed a new whisping sound coming from the right side, front engine compartment. MMM diagnosed it as possibly a leaking header pipe, but it gets quieter with rpm's increasing. He said it's probably that one of the hydraulic push rods lost it's fluid and needs to pump up. 20/40 is heavy oil and needs about 20 or 30 minutes to flow into the push rod. If that doesn't clear up that noise, we'll be installing whatever needs to get replaced to get it right. Little by little, closer to better performance and reliablility. That's the idea. It'll be done, and I'll know a lot about this car, and have a lot of confidence in it, except for rain.....
Front brakes installed. 8 pounds lighter per wheel, including 2 pounds less rotating mass. I'll try installing the 15X8" Campagnolo's from the rear on the front tonight, and tighten down the lugnuts to determine if I made a mistake in the installation procedure. It's normal for aftermaket, non-factory rims to use this 15x8" dimension on the front. If it locks against the caliper too, then Plan A is to get some spacers made, so it doesn't keep me off the road and from going to Vegas. I'll buy time like that. Plan B is to rework the entire procedure and see if the solution is to put the rotor hats for the fronts on the outside of the axles. Things have to get fixed the right way, sooner or later, but sometimes a reasonable solution exists for interim demands.


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Here’s the new wheels I got at 4:00 today, Friday, a week and four days before taking off for Vegas with the guys coming thru from Atlanta. These wheels solved the problem of the front brake calipers clamping down on the Campagnolo factory rims: the front wheels now spin with the lug nuts tightened down. I was worried about that. I got nothing done last night after work, I was so dog tired I laid down for a nap and slept from 6:00 PM to 7:00 AM. I’ve been trying too hard to get it all done, and my body dictated rest.

I have to say I think the world of the folks who went to bat for me to make it happen and get these wheels to me. I have no idea why they had trouble from their supplier, and it could be a legitimate reason, that is none of my business, like death in the family, or something else that caused the hold up, but words flew, and tempers flared, and it got done. I also must say I’m not proud of some of the language I used, or that I felt I had to plead my case. I can tell you this: I’m a criminal defense attorney, and it makes cops mad when I win cases, but I’ve won their respect over the years and it’s called fighting fair, because it’s always a fight with them when you’re the defense attorney. After it’s all over, we still call each other by our first names (except the new one’s, and that’ll come later). I contribute to their causes, like fund drives when one of them gets shot, and they put heavy patrols in my neighborhood when I got burglarized. I hope we can get along after going thru rough times, and that’s always been the case, and I’m fairly confident I can continue to sort things out with people I have conflicts with and continue right along as usual, in Pantera business, and in the courtroom business.

I does make me really proud the measures people go to for me, even if we have a few struggles along the way. I want these people to know they can count on me, and sometimes they call upon me, and I do what’s necessary to help.

I’m going to have to take my Pantera to the body shop and get a weld done where I found a crack, just below the left rear sway bar mounting bracket, by the place where it’s jacked up from. I don’t know if the body shop is busy, but I know the owner. I rented my first law office from his dad for nine years and was never late with a rent payment. I know the whole family, and I know he’ll do whatever he can to help, because that’s how he is. No guarantees though, so I have to get a little lucky.

My Pantera is still on jack stands, and that’s because I still have work to do underneath it. I fired it up and ran it for twenty minutes, hoping the hydraulic lifter(s) would pump up and cure that whisping noise. Nope. I don’t get that lucky. I got out the stethiscope I use for my high blood pressure and narrowed down the area the noise is coming from. Crawling under the car, I saw the answer: black on the header gasket, on the front exhaust ports, left and right. Mike told me I risk burning a valve if I drive it to Vegas, so I’m going to do that job again. Coz helped me reinstall my headers last time, and it was a struggle getting the headers on, they just didn’t want to line up. We used a phillips head screwdriver to leverage to holes up and get a bolt started in the front headers on both sides. This time, I’ll be doing it alone, but Mike’s lending me his exhaust spreader tool to do it, so with the right tools and experience, it should be easier. This time I’m tightening the headers from the front to the rear. I have these little header locking nuts with c-clips on them that Husker told me about, and they worked to prevent the headers from loosening, but Coz and I had to trim the header gasket to make it fit last time, and it was narrow in that area on the front. Mike said I can’t just tighten it up, I have to use a new gasket, since it is burned. So, this time I’m going to use a separate gasket for that one exhaust port on each side to get greater gasket coverage. The original gasket burned thru in the same area, so I need to address this issue for longer term reliability. A trip to the speed shop tomorrow....

Mike also lent me his air tool that does the bleeding, as I saw was required to use from some other posts on this PIBB a few weeks or months ago. SO, I won’t have that red clutch line burst. I learned that reading Swen Dog’s post on that topic and ordered the same hydraulic hose he did, and it bolted right up, very nicely. If you’re reading between the lines here, you’re seeing that we all learn from each other, and I hope you learn a few tips or techniques from me, too. It works well for all the Pantera vendors too, because no matter who we order from, they all get more business, since reading about me or Swen Dog or Husker or Coz or hundreds of others doing projects serves to motivate those others among us to get going on a project they’ve been thinking about. So, let’s keep each other encouraged and keep teaching each other what we learn. It’s good business for me to get off the couch and do some physical work in the garage, and I get tremendous satisfaction from completing projects, like this brake upgrade kit installation project.

I hope you like my ‘novel’ as one of the Canadian’s, Deeb, called it. It’s just about a completed project, actually it is, except for the road testing phase. There’s just a few more things on my checklist to get accomplished before heading to Vegas and meeting some of you in person. I’ll look forward to being a Newbie there too, like a few of you other guys too. We’ll have fun, and our instincts will tell us: ‘man, that guy is just like me, he goes thru the same efforts to get his cat healthy and hopped up as I do’ and that’s one of the reasons I’m going, besides doing some driving that must feel like it must be illegal...... Like the POCA T-shirts I saw in the grey jacket issue I got this week. (Good article on Dyno Day, wish the Pantera guys in New Mexico were more organized and we could do that too.)

Adios amigos, I guess this story or novel is done. I guess it was Marlin Jack that said he likes a story that goes according to plan. Hollywood likes movies with happy endings, but tjis ain’t Hollywood, it’s real, and it’s a happy ending. Thanks to all who helped and to all who help each other everyday. That’s the Pantera spirit, dude.

Ron a/ka/a VFI

P.S. Thanks Steve, Dave, Mike and Tony (my machinist, whose assistant was scared to work on Pantera parts until Tony said, just do it one step at a time, like anything else.) There’s no way I can mention and thank all the people who have been helping me and motivating me, but you know who you are, and you know I’ll do whatever I can for you anytime I can, so just let me know.


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After some maintenance details were accomplished, my Pantera was reunited with Earth, after several months in the air. It's ready to test drive, but another problem developed, totally unexpected. There was a funnel cloud in the sky this afternoon and the National Weather Service broke into "Radar Love" on the FM. The dude's voice was cracking and he told everybody who lives in a certain area to evacuate mobile homes and go to shelters, to get inside and stay in the interior middle of the house, so I turned around and went home, the parts store is in the direction of the tornado. I've never seen a tornado before, and it was grey and dark blue, like a long cord, in the shape of a rainbow, coming from the spinning clouds and going to Earth. Amazing. So it got dark and rained really hard for a few hours and early afternoon passed into early darkness. The roads are still wet, so tomorrow I get to test the brakes and maybe get a better photo. This photo doesn't do justice and I'm still learning digital photography, as you can tell.

The receptionist on Friday said "good luck getting those wheels installed on your car, and laughed." The other leagle beagles looked at them stacked on the floor in the hall and said "no way those will ever fit" so you can seee, I have to drive my Pantera to the office Monday, and I'll be the one laughing and smiling. The tires are really wide and fit really close to the vertical fender well vertical line of sight down. I took a body man dolled and pounded the 1/2" inner fender well lip up on all four wheel wellsm then I took those carpenter clamps that slide closed and went around the perimeter of the wheel well with two of them, closing the lip up closer to the wheel wells on the inside of the fender. A little paint cracked off about 2-3" on 3 wheel wells, but my cat is painted Auto-Zone white, I call it. It's actually Dura-Last GMC Truck White #T-110, available anywhere, so that's a very easy thing to fix. Just a little time, sanding, paintings, wet sanding, compounding, waxing and polishing and the touch-ups are nearly invisible. I like that, very forgiving to fix little things, like holes where 5 mph bumpers got deleted.

People just stared at these wheels on Friday, and I could tell they were both a little jealous and looked at me like I'm a little crazy. That makes me laugh. Thinking about getting the new header exhaust gaskets installed stops my laughter. Ah well, maybe they have the right to laugh and I am a little crazy when it comes to my Pantera. My Pantera behavior certainly isn't logical, why work on this thing 100 hours for every 1 hour I drive it? Doesn't make sense, but it does to me.

Need to polish up my camera shooting skills some. I'm happy to be at this stage of progress, and thrilled with what'll basically be the exterior visuals of my Pantera for the next 40 years. It looks like a new car from the future, still, to me. The Pantera was always years ahead of it's time, and I'm into Pantera's a lot lately.


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Road Test

First road test, the right front scrapes the windshield wiper motor splash shield, so that was removed for nw. It'll get modified later. Spongy brakes, so they got bled again, and more air was removed. No probles with air in the new hydraulic clutch line, firm pedal pressure.

Second road test, the tires are rubbing somewhere as I corner a little hard, and not at full steering wheel lock. I have to find out where this is occuring, and correct it. The brakes still have some air in them, and another bleed is called for. At full lock, the front tires must be rubbing on the drain tubes, so I have to look for shiny spots when the wheels come off again. It's been up and down on jack stands several times doing all this, and I have to keep at it.

Cross drilled rotors. My neighbor has cross drilled rotors on his "Bullet" dark green Mustang, and he was counselling me on breaking them in and what it's like: scary. There's grinding noises, pulsating brake pedal syndrome, and it takes about 3 days of normal driving to get the brakes seated in and to function properly. He, like me, tried to keep the rotors clean and the pads clean too, but his theory is the rotor manufacturers use solvents to inhibit rust, and while you can clean it off the rotors, it stays in the drilled holes and directional vanes, and gets on the rotors and pads anyways. That is what causes the scary brakes at the beginning. Afterwards, they are smooth and don't pulsate. Hot rod guys got to stick together to explain this stuff to each other, because it can get discouraging if you don't know what to expect. So, I'm glad to have another seven days before leaving for Vegas. It's not a good idea to just go driving on the freeway 10 hours and build up heat in the brakes without properly seating them in. SO, I have to drive it some more, but out of traffic because the lady in the minivan got within inches on the way home from work. I couldn't see her face in my rear view mirror, was she fusing with the kids? Talking on the cell phone, fumbling with a cigarette? I was talking to her: you hit me and it's going to cost you more than you think, so push on your brakes and quit rolling forward, I got no where to go with the car right in front of me! Man, I watch that happen on occasion, hit from behind by some one not paying attention.

The engine whisping noise is completely gone. Master Mechanic Mike helped me and taught me a trick installing new exhaust gaskets between the headers and the valves. Notch out the end holes to let the gasket hang, only leave the two end bolts in on each side, and tighten the ends first. I'm not putting the Stage 8 locking header bolt clips on now, that's a real pain and I need better gaskets than these Mr. Gasket paper jobs, I want FelPro, the best, so I have to look around, at a later time. New gaskets installed, the whisping noise is gone. That can cause a fire, the header flames exiting forward, toward the firewall, can catch grease on fire or burn thru a fuel line. Problem solved but it's on the "look out for" list of preventative maintenance.

Ups and downs of Pantera projects keep me guessing, while the rest of life floats along just dandy, thank goodness.... No more Pantera projects for a while. Right. I'll be on a new Pantera project as soon as I work out all the bugs on this project, having this sickness classified as Pantera Fever, as correctly diagnosed by my hot rod buddies.

I've invited over as many local Pantera guys as I can find to get together for some bench racing with the Pantera guys from Atlanta next Tuesday night. So, Fred may bring his Pantera over, he's supposed to contact Jim. Foster got an e-mail from me and there's also a hot Mustang guy from Los Alamos, NM who is invited, since he's one of us, going to Vegas, to do some qwick laps. Beer, pool, bench racing on a Tuesday night in the spring time, and then off to Vegas. Sounds great to me. Any other NM Pantera folks are invited too. Greg got an e-mail, but folks always have things on their plate, so who knows. I'll just try and make everyone welcome, and invited. Should be a cool sight on my street, never having seen so many great Panteras at one time.... Looking forward to that.
Bullet (my neighbor) was right, the corrosion inhibitor solutions they dip the cross drilled rotors in flings out the holes and contaminates the brakes. I know his theory is correct because I took off my wheels and there was some dark residue on the inner rims, not too oily, and I had no hydraulic leaks and went thru no water puddles. The next day, a Ferrari 550 Marenallo was parked right outside my office window, so I went and took a close look at it. The Ferrari had the same little residue on it's inner rims too. His cross drilled rotors looked almost identical to mine and so did the residue! Must have the same number of directional vanes in his rotors. The rotor vendor said rotors come in cast iron, aluminum and steel. Cast iron is most common, Brembo used cast iron, and the colored finish wears off. His sales pitch was their rotors are controlled cooled after manufacturing over a period of three days, so the iron crystals orient just right.

And Bullet was right in his experience also. I was extra cautious looking for signes of grooving on my rotors, but there was only ever so slight of signs. Apparently, no matter how carefully machined, with chamfering and drilling, there are still some very slight imperfections. After driving about 60 miles, the brake pads act to smooth down the rough edges and the 'grinding' noise ceases. I was thinking the air might have been causing that noise, but that's not the case. Just a little seating-in will fix it. Man, it's nice to know these things when you're worried.... And nice to know who to ask, and get advice. Makes me feel good to get help when I need it. Bullet can call on me to help him with his hot rod projects any time, and I said so.

I'm really happy. A couple of weeks ago, I had a very long way to go, and I was filled with doubt about the time-line. Even yesterday, with a two page Pantera Project checklist, I was feeling pressure. I pressure myself in life, so it's normal. Even as I worked thru the checklist late into the night, I was thinking I'll clear the hurdle, but just by one 1/1000's of an inch. Now, with the help of Master Mechanic Mike, I'm clearing the hurdle with days to spare. He MIG welded my cracked frame, and ran out of wire, just as he finished, but before he welded in my jacking plates. Good enough on my priority scale. I was getting really frustrated having spent 4 hours the prior day messing around with the parking brakes and failing at that project, so he advised me to make a checklist, which I already had, then he said to prioitize the items. Wow, just a little clear thinking can save a lot of time and keep matters on track, so that multiple tasks can be accomplished, with minimal work.

With the back end raised for the welding of the cracked frame, I checked for hydraulic leaks again. None. I checked for grooved rotors, none. The wheels off and the front end also off the ground, he did a gravity bleed on the brakes, front and rear, just cracking the two bleeders on each caliper. That did it - no more sponginess on the brake pedal. Three bleeds, each bringing the brake pedal up another 1/2". Maybe one more bleed after Vegas, or at Vegas, just for perfection.

Before raising the front end, we checked the toe-in with the $26 tool from JC Whitney. Toe-in fine, the JC Whitney measured 1/4" toe-in while it was done previously at the shop with a recently calibrated computerized wheel alignment tool, we decied to believe the 1/8" toe-in is still there, but the JC Whitney device is good for just double checking. The Pantera body style creates an optical illusion that the front tires are in toe-out, since the body widens as it goes backward, and I don't want to ruin a set of new tires in one road trip, so I feel way better. On the tire wear subject, from reading this BB, I know that the Pantera rear tire wear is on the inside of the tires. So, even though it looks like there's no adjustment for the rear camber, I widened out the camber bar 7 turns of the nut, so just a little more that one full 360 degree turn. I may go another 180 degrees further with the rear camber bar to get more even tire wear.

We lowered the back end of the car and did a gravity bleed at the clutch slave cylinder (this means no pumping of the clutch during the bleed, like normal, when you pump it then crack the valve). It burped out three pretty good sized air bubbles from the clutch line at he slave cylinder. Then it was time to put another 1/2" of DOT-4 hydraulic fluid in the clutch master. Master Mechanic Mike had previously helped me flush my brakes and clutch lines last year, and I bought a gallon of DOT 4. It's just about gone. I'm packing a 1/2 pint size DOT 4 for the trip, just in case.

My brake master cylinder reservoir had gone down 1/4" all by itself in two days, and this means the brakes were 'self-bleeding' such that the brake master cylinder, being the highest point in the hydraulic fluid system, had burped a bunch of air all by itself, replacing air in the master and draining down the reservoir 1/4". I have to tell you, I'm learning a whole lot of stuff, and it makes me feel much more confident about driving my 32 year old car 10 hours each way for a track event. It's not acting confident at all, it's preparation, knowledge, understanding, transferred wisdom and experience, that provide this confidence to me with this car and the same principles apply to everything else in my life. That's how I get confidence, not from bluffing or talking myself up for something, nope, it's being overly prepared that does it for me. Confidence. That's the difference between a worrisome trip and a fun trip, and that's what it's all about. Then, when I get back, my Pantera will be at the next higher level of maintenance for a long time to come. When I track my Pantera, it's not to win, it's to go from my house, to the track, around the track, and back home again, without problems, and to establish a baseline with track results. That's what I'm doing. Learning about my Pantera and about life. Paying attention to details, and doing the work. Learnig is being frustrated with not knowing and feeling satisfaction with achieving the successful experience of learning and having the experience to draw from forever. It really gives me confidence to put myself thru this exercise. It was not easy. Many of you may have been thru this too too and that's pretty much about the way it is, right?

I just have a few things left on my checklist. Install a headlught relay (this may have to wait), install a second heater shut-off valve, clean the K&N air filter, change the ZF fluid, and then it's just clean the house and yard, get a haircut, and I'm ready for a vacation!

What an experience! My Pantera experiences are giving me energy to get a lot more things scheduled on my goals list. Look forward to meeting you guys in Vegas. See you there!
Almost forgot. The brakes are for stopping and it really stops. Those 14" wide rear tires really help pull the speed off the Pantera in rapid style. There is no skidding of the back tires anymore. I feel more G-forces with hard stops, that means is a human head weighs about 10 or 15 pounds, then it seems like it weight 20 or thirty pounds when the brakes are pressed really hard, gives the neck muscles a workout, that's what g-force is. 9.8 meters per second squared. Some perfomance mods, and it feels like 20 meters per second squared.

Also I got out the hammer and pounded in the place on the front inner fender well, right behind the brake lines, where the rubbing had been. Then I painted it black so I can tell if it rubs off anymore, the black will wear thru to the original white body work underneath the fresh black painted area. I also did a light spray paint of black on the top part of the front fender wells, so I can tell if the black wears thru to white, I'm getting some rubbing there. So far, they don't seem to rub outer fender wells with these huge tires and wheels.

And I have to exclaim, the car puts more lateral G-forces onto my neck too, with the new wheels.

Last, the new right rear wheel bearing solved my handling problem. I has getting steering wheel shake on a particular stretch of freeway at 55 mph. Not any more. This cat will change lanes with a 1/4" turn of the steering wheel and the steering wheel doesn't shake any more on that stretch of freeway. And the bearing won't fail during my road trip and track event. Yes sir E! Musta been what Allesandro and Dallara had been designing way back then. Very close to a Formula One car for the boulevards. Amazes me that those original Girling front brake calipers were four piston.... Way ahead if it's/their time. A sign of genius, being way ahead in time, that's how I figure it. Way ahead of it's time...Genius. For us to enjoy the experience of driving such a fine tune machine. Thank you Mr. DeTomaso. Very Fast Italian Machine!
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