Cat Bites Man! A Novice and His SCJ Eliminator

From dusty barn find to daily driver, it seems our cars are never really done. This is the place to share your progress on your project car. We will celebrate your victories and commiserate over your tragedies. But most of all this is a great place to learn!
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Mike_B_SVT
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Cat Bites Man! A Novice and His SCJ Eliminator

Post by Mike_B_SVT » 31 Jan 2013, 17:53

As many of you know, my hunt for a 4-speed ’70 Eliminator is over after 20+ years of yearning and 2 or 3 years of searching for “the right one”.

When I was young my Mother would tell me about her tearing around in an Indian Fire 1969 Mach 1, a 428CJ Ram-Air 4-speed car. With that in my brain, I always wanted to own a CJ car, and of course it had to be a 4-speed. I remember buying a Mustang / Ford magazine that had an article about something called a “Cougar Eliminator” with a 428CJ engine. The scoops, spoilers and stripes on that bold-colored body hooked me. They were rare cars, but they were almost affordable compared to a comparably equipped mustang! Hmm…
I was a pup in the Navy at that time, and I photocopied some pictures of that ’70 Eliminator from the magazine and colored them with a colored pencil (color copiers weren’t wide-spread back then). I tucked the pictures into the clear cover of my binder that I carried around on the Sub.

Life occurred between then and now, with family, house and work happening every day. The Eliminator dream was dormant for years – there was simply no money, place, or time for it. But I saved a little bit here and there for my “someday project car”.

Some years ago while unpacking boxes after a move I found that old binder and promptly hung the Eliminator pictures up on the wall in my new garage. I started casually watching various websites, just checking out Eliminator ads and prices. I was also lurking around the Cougar forum. Y’know, learning. I noticed folks posting various cougar ads in the For Sale section, so every now and then I would throw in something that I had spotted and ask a few questions as well. As my search became more serious it became a monthly collection of Eliminator for-sale ads; “Eliminators on the Market”.

In April of 2012 a fellah posted a message on the Classic Cougar forum saying that he had an acquaintance who was selling an “orange” 1970 Cougar Eliminator, 428SCJ, 4-speed car. He asked for opinions on the value of the car, which “has no rust”, was still owned by the original owner, and was in running and driving condition. A few of us chimed in with generally vague values based on the limited description. I pointed him at a few recent CJ Eliminator sales, for reference, and exchanged some emails with him about the car. I decided to just “keep in touch”, and would send an email every now and then asking if he had any more information about the car yet.
In July the seller got back to me with a VIN: 0F91Q513786. Well, the Q at least confirmed a 428CJ car.
In mid-October the owner was ready to sell. I asked for detailed pictures and submitted the VIN to Marti Autoworks. Their report confirmed that 0F91Q513786 is a competition gold 428SCJ (V-code 3.91 axle ratio), 4-speed Eliminator that left the factory with ram-air, power steering, power brakes, a black décor interior with an AM/8-track radio, styled steel wheels and tinted glass. Being a California car, it was also originally equipped with the evaporative emissions system. Wow!

The pictures showed a "well loved" (my wife's phrase for things that are about worn out) ’70 Eliminator with a 428 and 4-speed. The paint was dull and scratched all to hell, and it had old bodywork that was showing its age, having been in a major accident long, long ago. But the interior was in great shape, and the mechanicals had all been gone through 5 years ago. If the numbers all matched up could this be “the one”? I was in the middle of a 2 week business trip, so I made arrangements for an extended layover to see the car during my return home. Now I just had to tell the wife…

She was less than happy when I told her “I found a car and I’m going to go see it, and probably buy it if it all checks out.” In fact, she hung up on me and didn’t talk to me for a week after that! *sigh*

While I waited to see it in person I solicited opinions from the experts online ~ thanks guys!
http://www.mercurycougar.net/forums/sho ... n-this-one
http://www.classiccougarcommunity.com/f ... f=2&t=1767

I arrived at the seller’s shop in a not-so-good neighborhood of Oakland. There were bars on every door and window in sight, and graffiti on the front of the shop as high as a man could reach. Inside the shop, the car looked just like the pictures ~ rough, but ready. I looked it over, noting that most of the important items where there and matched up. Yeah, some things were missing, and it would eventually need bodywork and paint, but everything could be fixed given time and money. Besides, I wanted a “project” that I could work on, right? :-)
I test drove it and decided; this is a car that I don’t have to fix everything on right away, it is mostly complete, it isn't horribly rusty, I can drive it and enjoy it as I clean it up, and it has a gosh-darn 428SCJ with a 4-speed. Yeah, this is “the one”! I told the seller I would take it and we made the arrangements.
After that it took a few weeks for the owner to get a replacement title, and then there was more waiting for the transporter, but it finally arrived December 23rd, 2012.

Let the adventure begin! :jump3:

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Last edited by Mike_B_SVT on 15 Mar 2016, 18:08, edited 2 times in total.
Mike B.
CCOA # 9553

1970 Cougar Eliminator (Competition Gold / Black Decor Interior)
1 of 70 with 428SCJ, Ram Air, 4-speed.
Cat Bites Man!

Looking for an Eliminator? Then be sure to check out the "Eliminators on the Market" thread in the Classic Cougars For Sale section of the forum!

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xr7g428
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Re: Cat Bites Man! A Novice and His SCJ Eliminator

Post by xr7g428 » 31 Jan 2013, 18:01

You might want to point out to the wife that there was another car "just like this one" that sold at Barrett Jackson for north of $150K. except this one has a four speed which makes it even more valuable.
Bill Basore, Editor / Publisher
Legendary Cougar Magazine
Currently in the Cat House
'67 XR7 GT 390 4 speed, AC, AM FM, Lime Frost Green
'68 XR7-G 428CJ C6, Tilt-Away, AM, Black Cherry
'68 XR7-G 390 4 speed, Sunroof, Cardinal Red
'68 XR7 GT-E 427 C6 AM Cardinal Red
'68 XR7 resto mod 351W, soon to be AOD, Black Cherry

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Mike_B_SVT
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Cat Bites Man! Dec 23rd, 2012

Post by Mike_B_SVT » 31 Jan 2013, 18:06

Dec 23rd – Car rolled off the truck today!
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Loaded behind it was an army jeep, complete with machine gun and boxes of dummy ammo and dummy grenades. Driver says it is going to Canada. Should be a good time at the border crossing with all that hardware on board!
Image

Car ran and idled a while, and after the shipper left I figured I better go put gas in the car since it was on “E”. It got me to the end of the block before it sputtered and died at the stop sign. Got it restarted…and it died in the intersection and would not restart. So I started pushing it off to the side of the road. A father and son stopped and helped me out (much appreciated!).

Walked back to the house and got the gas can for the mower and put about a gallon into the car. Still didn’t want to stay running, and the battery was getting low from cranking it. So I went home and got the Cobra and hooked up the jumper cables to get some juice into the battery. Cougar still wouldn’t stay running, so I took the Cobra to the gas station and refilled the gas can. Put another 2 gallons into the Cougar, and charged the battery some more…but it still wouldn’t run more than 10 or 15 seconds before it would sputter and die. Crap… fuel filter is probably plugged up.

So I pulled the air cleaner and found the fuel filter where it goes into the carb. Gave the little gas line a squeeze and wiggle, which apparently got enough fuel into the carb ‘cuz it started and stayed running. Rough as hell, but it was enough for me to whip it around and get it back the half-block to home and into the garage.

New plan: basic tune up first!

Image
Last edited by Mike_B_SVT on 15 Mar 2016, 18:11, edited 2 times in total.
Mike B.
CCOA # 9553

1970 Cougar Eliminator (Competition Gold / Black Decor Interior)
1 of 70 with 428SCJ, Ram Air, 4-speed.
Cat Bites Man!

Looking for an Eliminator? Then be sure to check out the "Eliminators on the Market" thread in the Classic Cougars For Sale section of the forum!

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Mike_B_SVT
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Joined: 27 Oct 2011, 00:36
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Re: Cat Bites Man! A Novice and His SCJ Eliminator

Post by Mike_B_SVT » 31 Jan 2013, 18:11

xr7g428 wrote:You might want to point out to the wife that there was another car "just like this one" that sold at Barrett Jackson for north of $150K. except this one has a four speed which makes it even more valuable.
Oh, I told her all about that :-)

The other day she asked me about the lock I have for the hood. She was in disbelief when I explained to her how much the air cleaner and associated parts would cost to replace if they just "walked away".

It's taken a while, but I think she's starting to come around.
Mike B.
CCOA # 9553

1970 Cougar Eliminator (Competition Gold / Black Decor Interior)
1 of 70 with 428SCJ, Ram Air, 4-speed.
Cat Bites Man!

Looking for an Eliminator? Then be sure to check out the "Eliminators on the Market" thread in the Classic Cougars For Sale section of the forum!

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Al Bundy
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Re: Cat Bites Man! A Novice and His SCJ Eliminator

Post by Al Bundy » 31 Jan 2013, 18:13

xr7g428 wrote:You might want to point out to the wife that there was another car "just like this one" that sold at Barrett Jackson for north of $150K. except this one has a four speed which makes it even more valuable.
Negative Ghost Rider! She might make him sell it!
1974 Dodge Dart - daily driver
1963 Thunderbird Z code - raven black/red
1968 XR7 F code - diamond blue/blue
1968 XR7 J code - black/red
1968 J code - madras blue/aqua
1968 XR7 X code - lime frost/dark ivy gold
1968 GT-E XR7 W code prototype no. 500033 - cardinal red/black

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CatVert68
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Re: Cat Bites Man! A Novice and His SCJ Eliminator

Post by CatVert68 » 31 Jan 2013, 18:15

Al Bundy wrote:
xr7g428 wrote:You might want to point out to the wife that there was another car "just like this one" that sold at Barrett Jackson for north of $150K. except this one has a four speed which makes it even more valuable.
Negative Ghost Rider! She might make him sell it!
Wait till he tells her it will take $200k to get it to the point where it will bring $150K...
======
CCOA Member 8302

1968 Cougar XR-7 GT, Madras Blue & Parchment w/ Parchment vinyl top
1969 Corvette L-48 4-speed LeMans Blue over Bright Blue

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xr7g428
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Re: Cat Bites Man! A Novice and His SCJ Eliminator

Post by xr7g428 » 31 Jan 2013, 18:24

Great writeup by the way!
Bill Basore, Editor / Publisher
Legendary Cougar Magazine
Currently in the Cat House
'67 XR7 GT 390 4 speed, AC, AM FM, Lime Frost Green
'68 XR7-G 428CJ C6, Tilt-Away, AM, Black Cherry
'68 XR7-G 390 4 speed, Sunroof, Cardinal Red
'68 XR7 GT-E 427 C6 AM Cardinal Red
'68 XR7 resto mod 351W, soon to be AOD, Black Cherry

Whatacougar
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Re: Cat Bites Man! A Novice and His SCJ Eliminator

Post by Whatacougar » 31 Jan 2013, 19:22

xr7g428 wrote:Great writeup by the way!
I agree. Damn near brought tears to my eyes. Congratulations on the great find. I'm looking forward to seeing your progress.

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Mike_B_SVT
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Cat Bites Man! Dec 26th - Dec 28th

Post by Mike_B_SVT » 31 Jan 2013, 19:24

Dec 26th to 28th – Basic checks in progress…
I pulled the oil dipstick and noted that the oil is black as sin. Dipstick is showing down below the “add 1” mark, so probably add 2. So I’m checking the 428CJ site (http://www.428cobrajet.org/) to find out what weight oil, how many quarts and what filter I’m going to need, when I come across mention of a TSB change to the oil requirements and replacement dipstick. Huh… what dipstick do I have? I check the PN on mine and it says “D0ZE-6750-C”. Well that’s not the right dipstick at all, it belongs to a Boss 302!
http://www.mercurycougar.net/forums/sho ... Dipsticks!
http://www.classiccougarcommunity.com/f ... f=2&t=2010

- Low power steering fluid ~ can’t even see it on the dipstick or down in the pump. Not good. Found the return line had a slow leak. Refilled PS fluid. Will fix later.
- Added coolant ~ about ½ quart, to bring it up to 1” from top. Radiator looked ok, but with some buildup inside. Will need flushed eventually.
- Pulled both valve covers and cleaned them; Not much gunk in there, but passenger side had some condensation buildup around the PCV valve. Probably from idling and not bringing it up to operating temps.
- PCV valve was sticky; cleaned with brake cleaner, for now. Looks like the original.
- Also put the battery on the charger, just to be sure.

- Pulled all plugs; most had light “fluffy” carbon. Found that #2 was disconnected and had corrosion build up on end of plug and inside plug wire. Burnished connections and ohmed out slightly higher than other plug wires (1k-ohm vs 800ohm). Will need to be replaced.
- Cleaned all plugs and used dielectric grease on all plug connections.

http://www.mercurycougar.net/forums/sho ... nce-please
http://www.classiccougarcommunity.com/f ... f=3&t=2009
Last edited by Mike_B_SVT on 07 Feb 2013, 19:07, edited 1 time in total.
Mike B.
CCOA # 9553

1970 Cougar Eliminator (Competition Gold / Black Decor Interior)
1 of 70 with 428SCJ, Ram Air, 4-speed.
Cat Bites Man!

Looking for an Eliminator? Then be sure to check out the "Eliminators on the Market" thread in the Classic Cougars For Sale section of the forum!

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1967 S Code
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Re: Cat Bites Man! A Novice and His SCJ Eliminator

Post by 1967 S Code » 31 Jan 2013, 19:25

Very cool Mike. I'm glad you found the "one". Thanks for sharing this part of your adventure. I really like the photos.
Steven
Image

Our Cougars

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1967 Standard
Dan Gurney Special

6.5 Litre, Black / Black, AC Whisperaire, Am/FM, Sports Console,
Front and Rear Bumper Guards, Clock

1968 XR7-G
302 4V, Lime Frost / Black Leather, AM/FM, Black Vinyl, Tilt-A-Way
Heavy Duty Suspension, Power Disc Brakes, Rader Wheels


1968 XR7-G Hertz
390 4V, Black Cherry/ Dark Red Leather, Black Vinyl, Sunroof, Tilt-A-Way,
Cruise, Rear Defrost, AC Whisperaire


1968 Convertible Conversion "Top Cat"
Standard, 302 4V, XR7G Console, XR7G Front Valance

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