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Topics - EricCoolCats

Lounge / Dirty Old Cars on History
Anyone see this show? Found it on Hulu. In S1 E9, "Stinky Kitty", they clean up a 20th Anniversary Cougar that was sitting in a barn with the windows down and lots of barn cats.
Lounge / Forum Tweaking
Yeah so we're trying to get our forum a little more modern, both front-side and back-end, and over the next few weeks we'll be experimenting with stuff. You might see some down time, or a white screen of death, or perhaps something will disappear. For all this, we apologize in advance. We are NOT shutting down the site, we have no intentions to ditch it, but we do need to get it compliant for future updates.

Our main issue right now is that even though the board software is at the latest version and is supposedly compatible with PHP 8.1, we have been unsuccessful to get it running at that version, so we remain at an older PHP version (7.3). For that, we are getting charged an extra $5/mo US, which is $60/year for...nothing, except maintaining an old PHP version. Hence the reason why we're trying to get the board updated, so that we can skip that fee and just have a single yearly hosting cost instead.

For now, we've installed some new themes which are kinda cool but have also messed up a few things. Our advice if you're having trouble: use the dropdown menu at the top for a different theme selection. It seems to work-ish for now. You can also try flushing out your browser's cache as well.

Again, we're sorry that things have to get done on a live site in this fashion. Message boards are tricky, not fun at all. But we gotta do what we gotta do.
Lounge / Winter Projects?
So what do you all have going on with your cars over the winter, any cool projects?
T-Bird/Cougar Parts & Cars WANTED / 1985-88 Radio/Dash Panels WANTED
Looking for some needles in the proverbial haystack here...

Want to get a dash surround bezel/panel and matching radio/center stack panel for console car. What I really want are the 1987-88 XR7 style, with the butcher block pattern. I do not want woodgrain. The brushed aluminum style...not my first choice but I can consider them for the right deal.

This is for the convertible so these panels need to be show quality or near perfect with all bolt holes intact. (Well, as many as possible, I'm a realist LOL.)

XR7 instrument panel surround should be p/n E7WY-66044D70-C
XR7 radio panel surround should be p/n E5WY-66044D70-K, might be E7WY

Like I said, longshot but I'm taking that shot here. If you have something you think would work, please let me know. I'm not in a huge rush and would rather wait for the correct parts than throw something together. Thanks.
Lounge / Annual Appeal
Hello everyone, it's that time of year again where Alex and I renew the hosting and domain name for this site. You may not know this but we pay for everything out of pocket to keep this place going all year. We are both running a little tight right now (Alex especially with a new baby, new wife, and really crazy mortgage) and would appreciate any assistance you can pass along. Even $5 is cool. If we are fortunate enough to have leftover funds we'll save them and apply them next year.

Paypal -

Thanks everyone! Appreciate your viewership and loyalty, it means the world to us.
Misc Tech / HR980 A/C Issues
Instead of jamming up a different thread I wanted to put this on its own, so that we can reference/bookmark it for others as well, because there are many people going through this same situation.

I am at wit's end with my a/c setup in the '84 (3.8L V6). I mean, these cars will frustrate the best of us on any given day and for any reason whatsoever, but this is just...unreal. Long story short, my HR980 compressor is leaking at the back, meaning a full replacement is called for. Great, except for trying to find one. Yes, I've looked on Rock Auto. Yes, I've tried parts stores online. Yes, I've tried specialty a/c companies. The HR980 is made from unobtanium.

In doing research on this whole deal, I have discovered that despite hundreds of thousands of these HR980 compressors being manufactured and shoved into multiple Ford vehicles (and some misc. farm equipment) for over a decade, there was no plan to refurbish them or provide a replacement alternative that works in a car. The outer casing seems to be welded together, which is why it's not possible to rebuild them like a normal compressor, and which is why you can't find a new one. When the compressor dies, it's done, and that's it. You no fixy.

A few years ago I snagged a NOS compressor off eBay but it turned out to be incorrect for my setup. I have the spring-lock connectors on the back, this one has the screw-on type. Also the pulley is for a serpentine car whereas I have the 2-groove pulley. Apparently to swap pulleys there is an expensive (US ~$200) tool that's required. Plus the cost of the pulley (US $~150-200). That's just for the setup. That's not for the compressor itself. If you can find a NOS compressor we're talking a minimum of US $500. And to top that, there were different body types depending upon your bracket setup (these were mostly used on V6 and turbo-4 cars). So with a perfect alignment of stars, any owner that wants to just fix what they have is going to shell out a cool grand at the very least for just the correct compressor setup. Maybe. If you luck out.

And then we have the refrigerant issue. The HR980 was not built to withstand the higher pressures of the newer R134a refrigerant so you would be stuck with R12 or equivalent. That's fine, if you can find and afford that. Converting it to R134a will kill it within a few years and then you're back to where you started, except you're out a lot of money.

This means that, if you want working a/c on a 3.8L V6 car like mine, and also try to keep it more or less correct for judged car shows, there are only these options:

1) Fix what you have—spend a lot money on the correct HR980 compressor setup, spend more money on R12, and if all else checks out (lines, condenser, etc.) then you might get another 8-10 years out of it. It will be factory correct.

2) Find a way to convert the compressor to something else.

3) Convert to a newer factory setup with a more normal compressor (FS6?) found on some cars. This requires a change of everything but the condenser and evap core. It also requires changing the pumps and brackets on the driver's side of the engine because it also makes it a full serpentine routing. But the setup will be factory-style (just not correct for the model year) and you can get compressors to run the newer R134a.

Option 1 is looking bleak to me. Option 2 would be nice, and I did find conversion kits for tractors, but there wouldn't be enough room to use one in a passenger car. So it looks like I have to dive into Option 3. (continued)
Lounge / Welcome To The New Board!
So we did this thing and it mostly converted fine. For the most part, the new board works just like the old one. The big difference is that this platform is actively being developed and secured, while vBulletin withers away.

If you didn’t see it in the News box on the homepage, your user info did transfer but you will need to reupload your sig image and avatar. Avatars can be 100x100 pixels now. Sig files can be 400 x 150 pixels. We'll go with these dimensions for now and see how they work out.

We’re also working on getting the old attached images to convert, which may take awhile. We ask for patientce on that, as it’s really tedious stuff.

That being said...we know you’re gonna find small issues here and there, and that is expected, so please let us know in this thread so we can identify and fix them (and perhaps help someone else with the same problem).

By the way...this entire post was originally made from my phone. So things are modern now. Yay us!  8)

But the arcade didn't make it... *sniff*...

Last but not least, a huge THANK YOU to everyone that donated to upgrade this board to keep it going for many more years. Couldn't have done it without you! Y'all are the best.
Lounge / Donations and Site Update
Hello everyone,

Just wanted to keep you updated on the site updates and our future plans.

We have moved this board to a new server already (around the beginning of November 2018). So far so good...things went really smooth in the transition. There have been no noticeable hiccups or errors on our end, so for the time being, it's running just fine.

That being said...we've ruled out updating vBulletin for a few reasons. We found out it's essentially a dead product now (the development team disbanded, actually), and it has not been actively updated for a year or so, which means a lot of security holes will never get patched. So far we've been very lucky as far as spamming and bots, but we don't exactly want to encourage them by not having the latest patches. Purchasing and installing an expensive vBulletin upgrade, while technically solving some issues, only buys us so much time before we'd need to do this all over again. So the time has come to ditch it.

The good news is, we've found a few other viable candidates that are lower cost and are still being actively produced, with large community support forums. We'll be doing some test installs and beta testing over the next few weeks. Keep in mind that we have to translate our current database over to the test board software, and it's a rather large database (acspoogeulating since 2006-ish), so things are taking a little longer than, say, a fresh install from scratch. Of course, one of the priorities is that the new board software have a real, usable search feature so we're going to give that a thorough rundown in testing. All of the candidate software has newer features like responsive design for mobile devices, custom themes, uploading photos from mobile devices, etc. so those issues will definitely get resolved.

Alex (baxo) and I have limited time over the holidays to work on this but we'll do the best we can and keep everyone updated here.

In the meantime...a huge THANK YOU to all those that have donated. With your donations we were able to purchase better multi-year hosting which really takes some pressure off of us. We'll continue to judiciously use the funds for the site upgrades and future purchases.

If you are looking to donate, the PayPal address is

Thanks again for your support, your patience, and your interest in this site!

P.S. Is anyone using the arcade? We turned the tab back on with the hopes we'll get some grudge matches going. :hick:
Body/Appearance/Interior / LED Bulb Conversion (Whole Car)
So I got this idea to convert my '84 Cougar over to LED. It didn't need the conversion but I simply wanted to see if it could be done successfully. Over the years I'd seen various scattered reports of people attempting it, with mixed results, and I thought, "It's 2018, this should be a no-brainer."

Well, I dove right in and through a lot of trial and error, I made a game plan that so far is working great.

First my rules for myself (because I'm a stickler for details):

- Everything has to appear stock as much as possible.
- ALL lights get changed. Every single one in the entire car. It's all or nothing.
- If possible, keep the stock light range (~4500K).
- Make sure I can switch back to stock incandescent bulbs in the future if I want.
- All bulbs should remain dimmable if they were originally set up that way.

I am failing at that third one, because even though there are a lot of bulbs to choose from, most seem to be in the 6000K light range which puts out a whiter-to-blue light pattern. Which is fine, don't get me wrong, but not what I really really wanted.

But everything else is good so far.

I'm quickly finding out what works and what doesn't. I've got a few hundred dollars' worth of unused bulbs laying around doing nothing, because they didn't work for one reason or another. I've bought several packages of fuses due to some unexpected blowouts. And I've got a bucket full of the original bulbs from the car...and when I say 'original', I mean FROM 1984. It's possible that none of them had ever been changed!

Anyway...I'm going to post progress photos here as I get them. The car is dirty and I need to get it a little more presentable for photos. It's also very difficult to photograph this.

But I started with the dash bulbs, which are notoriously dim in 1983-84 dashes. They are 194 bulbs in the 6K range and are dimmable. See photos below...
T-Bird/Cougar Parts & Cars WANTED / Wtd: 1984 Cougar/T-Bird Radio Panel
Looking for a good, unbroken 1984 radio panel with the electronic radio option (not the 2-post holes) and no System Sentry. Don’t need an ’83 panel, must be for an ’84.

I know, this is a longshot but would appreciate any leads. TIA
T-Bird/Cougar Parts & Cars FOR SALE / H4 Headlamp Conversion Kit 83-86 FS
I'm selling an H4 conversion kit for 1983-86 (4-eye) cars. Complete with 4 housings, 4 95W bulbs (plus extras), and wiring harness with relays. These will require slight modification to the headlamp back housings (just enlarging the center hole a bit, nothing major). The harness supersedes the stock headlight connectors, so they won't need any modification. Just plug the driver's side low/high beam harness into this one, connect both grounds to the stock locations, connect directly to the battery, and you're good to go--no wiring needs repinned! Relays isolate both sides for super reliability.
Everything is in great shape...this came off the convertible as I'm going a different route on that car, and all wiring was protected from the elements. There is a big difference between the stock halogen sealed beams and the H4 lamps. Plus changing out bulbs is a nice touch and really easy.

$100 + shipping. Located in NE Ohio.
Lounge / COOL CATS Update
Just wanted to let everyone know that the all-new COOL CATS site is now launched and live. It works natively with smartphones and tablets now, and I've redone all the photos on the site as well. It was about 4 months of work that, frankly, I thought would drag on through winter but fortunately things worked out to be a lot sooner than that.

Thanks to quite a few people here, there's a lot of new and/or corrected info, a few new articles, and lots more photos than I'd ever be able to collect by myself. For that, you have my eternal thanks.

If anyone sees something that's not quite right, or has something to contribute, or I forgot to give you credit somewhere, please let me know. Thanks!