I am reminded of an old axiom, “if it has wheels, you’re gonna have problems with it” As I researched for my build, I kept looking for the negatives or problems. I felt everyone was going to say their car was the greatest, who wants to admit they bought a lemon. But if enough problems showed up, it might help me determine which manufacturer was going to get my hard earned dollars.
I didn’t find any publicly posted problems with the Hurricane kit. I did find all kinds of raves on how attentive the company and employees are to any form of problem. After I bought and started my kit, I did get to experience this. Like I said, it’s mechanical, it’s gonna have problems. The key is how well and quickly the problem is addressed and resolved. Hurricane has gained multiple gold stars in my book. Summit Racing is another company that excels in customer satisfaction. Unfortunately, there are some other companies that still need some work on their program or product. Details of what I’ve run into so far:
Valve Train Problems
I chose Erson needle rocker arms, to be mounted on Edelbrock heads and ARP studs. As I put the pieces together, I found the studs and nuts interefered with the bottom of the rocker arm stands. I called to Erson who told me to grind the bottom of the stand for necessary clearance. They are aware of the problem but previous owners of the company would not authorize any expenditures on product improvement. Just want I wanted to do, grind on the $700 piece of equipment. You’d think if they new there was a problem, they’d fix it. The owner who wouldn’t spend the dollars was Mr. Gasket. I’ve seen this same philosophy at some of their other companies.
Degreeing my cam, I learned the exhaust lobes had been ground on the wrong center. Sent the cam back to them and they promptly acknowledged the problem and sent me a correct unit. Mistakes happen and they handled it well.
Timing Chain & Gear problems
I chose to go with a needle bearing thrust bearing supplied by Precision Oil Pumps. When I test assembled, I found the endplay was .016″. His spec’s called for .004 to .014. A call to Doug and he says, “No big deal, Torrington allows up to .024″, it’s close enough. Not what I wanted to hear, especially when Ford is recommending .007”
I spent the bucks to have the timing gear machined to reduce the end play to .007″ When you’re building an engine, and being careful to make sure that everything is within spec, measuring in ten thousands of an inch, “close enough” is not a term you want to hear from a supplier.
Frame / IRS problems
I was one of the first persons to field assemble a Hurricane independent rear suspension. As I was putting everything together, I found the frame tubes were collapsing under the clamp loads of the fasteners. My background of failure analysis of truck suspensions told me this was not a good thing. Discussing it with Hurricane, they supplied reinforcing plates to distribute the load into the frame. The parts were shipped next day delivery and resolved the problem. Another superb display of Hurricane customer support.
When I picked up my kit, I received twelve large boxes, along with my body and frame. Imagine all the pieces, nuts, bolts, electrical connectors that go into making up a car. I estimate 3,000 pieces. If they are 99% correct, that still means there could be 30 missing pieces. As it turned out, I was missing about a dozen bolts and a couple brake components. They promptly supplied the parts. More importantly, since my build was spanning a long period of time, there has never been a question as I find another missing item.
As I assembled my front suspension, things weren’t going right. Bolting the tapered balljoints into the spindles, the spacers called for in the assembly manual weren’t working out. I used the spacers that came with the balljoint and couldn’t get the cotter to go thru the hole in the stud. Opted for standard hardened washers rather than the supplied spacers.
But when I began making up the lower balljoints, things went sideways. The drivers side was fine but the passenger’s side wouldn’t torque properly. I had to add almost .400 additional spacer thickness to get the castellated nut to engage the cotter pin. This much difference would probably affect bump steer and other steering geometry. A call to Hurricane and they supplied two new spindles. Yea, it’s a little inconvenient but I prefer it to be right.
I was concerned that taking the balljoints out would destroy the lubrication boots they were installed with. But a little research on the internet and I learned to make a Jacking Screw to push the tapered joints apart. Click here for more info.
Problems of my own making
I decided I was going to be as period correct as possible. With that, I set out to build the air vent system. Three valves later, I think I finally got it. Build 1 was really more of a learning experience. I wasn’t pleased with the final results. Build 2 was great – but when I installed them on the footbox, I found out they were too tall to fit under the fenders. When I did my design work, I didn’t realize the footbox on a Hurricane kit is about 4″ taller than an original box. Build 3 compensated for this.
Then there was the footbox bracket for the throttle pedal. Again, I wasn’t aware of the height difference in the box. Build 1 looked good but the pedal was 4″ out of location. Build 2 put the pedal in the right spot but then the steering shaft hit on the pedal pivot tube. Mod I for this build finally put me in the drivers seat. More info here.
I am certain there will be more issues. They’ll be posted here.