Tips & Tricks for Installing a Lokar AOD Transmission TV Cable Kit

The 1967 Mercury Cougar project came with a 1980s Ford AOD transmission. This conversion is a nice upgrade over the original C4 if you plan to do much highway cruising.

OntheRoadAgain

However, the craftmanship of the original conversion left a bit to be desired. The person had used the factory AOD throttle valve (TV) cable, which didn’t really connect correctly to the carburetor. They had also fabricated a cable bracket and spring return that wasn’t holding up too well. I had noticed quite a bit of flex in it, and when I attempted to unbolt it from the intake manifold to investigate, it disintegrated.

TVCableBracketDisaster

The Lokar TV cable kit for AOD conversions came recommended from several different car magazines and forums online, so I decided to give it a shot. I won’t go into detailed instructions for the installation because there are a couple great videos about that already.

However, I will mention a few problems I encountered during the install and my solutions.

The first thing I did was add a Geometry Corrector to the Holley carburetor. While some people said they connected the Lokar cable directly to the carb with no issues, this piece creates an even pull from idle to WOT.

SonnaxGeometryCorrector

Then I tackled the transmission end of the cable. The shift lever went on with no problem, but the cable bracket was a trick. The Lokar kit comes with a longer bolt to replace the original pan bolt. It goes up through the pan and has a nut that goes on the back of it to support the tension.

LokarTVbracket01

On my car there was not enough space between the hole and the wall of the transmission to get the nut threaded onto the end of the bolt. If I had been doing this project with the transmission on a bench, I might have been able to hammer in the housing a little or bend the lip down a little to create enough clearance, but neither of those things were going to happen in the car. Instead I grabbed the dremel and shaved down the back edge of the nut.

ModifiedNut

With the flat side against the transmission case, I was just able to get it to thread. That stupid nut was the hardest part of the project.

Once I had the transmission end put together, I tackled the spring return bracket on the carburetor.

LokarReturnSpringBracket

The Lokar bracket that comes with the kit is really engineered for a throttle cable, so I had to adjust the bracket all the way in towards the carburetor, and it still barely has clearance for the throttle rod. However, the rod has full travel and the bracket isn’t causing any binding, so although I’d like a little more space, it seems ok. In the photo above you can see the Lokar adjuster tool that comes with the kit on the cable between the snap connector and the stop adjuster.

Strange fact, the allen wrench sent in the Lokar cable kit did not actually fit the set screw in the stop adjuster. I had to dig one out of my toolbox. Not sure how Lokar let that issue sneak past QA. Not a big deal, but then again, it’s not much of a confidence builder either.

Once the cable and all the brackets were installed, I screwed the pressure gauge into the TV test port on the passenger side of transmission and started the car up to set the TV cable tension.

With the car in neutral and absolutely no pressure on the cable, I was still getting 40 psi on the gauge. After several google searches and various tests, I finally pressed my finger against the shift lever and found it moved just the slightest bit. The gauge instantly dropped to 0. I let my finger off, and the lever slowly moved back out a few millimeters and the pressure came back up to 30 psi.

I have no idea why the lever wants to move by itself. This was not really discussed anywhere in any of the instructions. However, on some forums people had claimed that the Lokar cable spring wasn’t heavy enough to return their transmission to neutral while others defended it as being great. It definitely wasn’t strong enough for my transmission. I fabricated a little bracket and hung another return spring on the system, and suddenly, all my pressure readings were exactly where they were supposed to be.

LokarTVbracket02

I used vice grips to hold tension on the cable and tighten the set screw with the Lokar spacer in place to 35 psi.

PressureCheck

Then as soon as I pulled the spacer, the cable would snap back and the pressure would drop to 0 psi.

As soon as I removed the pressure gauge I took it for a test drive, and the shifts were much smoother and not as late as before.

One step closer to being on the road.

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Beta Centauri: The Voyager of Hadar

BetaCentauri

I like sailing movies and documentaries. I’ve laughed my way through Captain Ron numerous times, and I’ve watched Deep Water in awe as Donald Crowhurst literally goes insane while attempting to sail solo around the world. I even love the campy overly-dramaticized 1970s story of Robin Lee Graham in The Dove — especially when the sharks eat his cat.

Needless to say I’m always on the lookout for a new sailing movie.

A few weeks ago I got a Facebook friend request from Beta Centauri. I think Daniel Paulson, or whoever is helping him with marketing, was just sending requests to everyone who was a member of various sailing groups on Facebook.

I noted that it was supposedly a sailing movie, but I wasn’t sure what to think of it. I kind of ignored the posts. But, then I was in the local Boater’s Resale Shop and low and behold, there was a stack of Beta Centauri DVDs for sale on the checkout counter. I decided I’d risk $12.99 to see what it was all about.

First off, let me tell you what is right about this movie because I don’t want to sound like I’m being negative. It’s an amazing feat that Dino Paulson and his daughter sailed around the world. I haven’t done it. I’m not yet prepared to do it. And not only did he sail around the world, he did the first half without a working engine. It was very impressive.

I also appreciated that he and the narrator worked to do some research and provide some history on each location in the film. There is some beautiful footage of the Coral Sea in Fiji and some great wildlife footage of the animals in South Africa.

However … there’s an awful lot of handheld selfie footage … like, A LOT a lot. There’s also a ton of graphics/stock images to fill the screen as the narrator tries to connect one thing to the next. Some of it, like the info about the dodo and animal extinction works. Some of it is just filler.

I liked the fact that Dino interviewed other cruisers in every port as he went around the world. However, the questions asked weren’t all that poignant and everyone seemed to want to wax philosophical. He interviews a guy shipwrecked on Palmerston Island, but he never asks him how he plans to leave … or if he even plans to leave … or if maybe he needs a ride.

The other thing about making a documentary about yourself is when you ask friends and family about yourself, they say really nice things about you. And the guy is obviously out there doing some amazing things on a Morgan 41, but it was refreshing at the end to finally hear his daughter say she hated sailing and to hear his mother say she wished he’d just settle down in the city.

So yes, there’s quite a bit of selfie footage. There’s some issues with the sound mixing. There’s some problems with the lower-thirds not being completely on the screen or being¬†misspelled. But hey, the guy sailed around the freaking world and made the documentary completely by himself, I can cut him some slack.

Now there’s some things I really wish had been in the movie. For instance, we know that SV Hadar’s engine is dead half the movie. It’s too bad he never explained his power system and how he was keeping everything charged. I also assume he had a watermaker for those 30+ day passages, but I have no idea. What they did for water was never mentioned. The only things that get discussed are the heat exchanger, the starter and the autopilot because those are the things that break.

Hadar also has an amazing graphic of a woman or an angel or something on the hull. But there’s never a long clear shot of it with any discussion of what it is or what it means.

So was it worth $12.99?

I’d say, yes. I did learn something about each location in the movie, and I will be making a fishing lure with two weights, a frayed bunji cord and a hook. I have also added “pet a giant tortoise” to my bucket list.

We’re in Houston Magazine this month

Well, Gimme Shelter isn’t actually in the magazine, but I’m flattered that one of my long-exposure photos is featured in the CLICK section of the April issue¬†of Modern Luxury Houston. Even if you’re not a Houstonian, you can still check it out on pages 22 and 23 of the digital edition.

ModernLuxury

Thursday, April 9, I’ll also be on 88.7 FM KUHF Houston Public Radio from 5-6 p.m. representing Technip and matching donations during the Spring Fund Drive as part of our commitment to transparent reporting, sustainable development and community outreach.

And while I’m just promoting random stuff, I thought I’d mention that the crew of Gimme Shelter provides freelance copywriting, design, photo, video and translation services to fund our adventures. If you’re in need of any of those things, visit our photo site at www.fredfacker.com and like our Facebook business page Facker Media Services.