Garage Phase 2 – Adding heat

In Part 1, I went through the insulation process. I achieved what I thought was a good enough result for this space – R15 for the walls, R30 for the sloped ceiling and R45 for the rest of the ceiling. Given the heat loss of the garage doors and concrete slab, this seems more than acceptable.

Insulation almost done. You can see the beginnings of the mini split install.

After the insulation install and with winter quickly approaching, I decided to get right to installing a mini split heat pump. There was a long lead up to this step which involved picking what to install. I decided to go DIY as this project would have been too expensive to justify otherwise.

Equipment choice

The conventional choice would be go to the standard DIY option, Mr. Cool. What I found as disadvantages of that option steered me to look elsewhere. These being the fixed length of the line set (at 25 ft.) and the lowest outdoor temperature at which it will heat which is 5°F. While we rarely get temps in my locale in the low single digits or below, I figured a mini split with a lower operating limit would be better in the range that I am looking for it to operate in.

As a result, I choose the Pioneer WYS series as they are still relatively DIY friendly and have an operating limit for heating at -13°F. Like the Mr Cool and many other mini splits, this model has a freeze protection mode. Most mini splits have the ability to heat in the range from the low 60’s upwards to the 80’s or even 90°F’s. The intent of freeze protection mode is to keep your space above freezing in order to prevent frozen pipes during periods when you are away. With the Pioneer, freeze protection mode keeps a constant 46°F. And, there’s no reason you can’t run it in that mode all the time, right? We shall see. Actually, we’ll evaluate the real world performance in a future post on that exact topic.


In order to determine sizing of the mini split, you can use a very basic calculation solely based on square feet all the way up to a full calculation based on Manual J. There are calculators that are between these two as well. I found that the complicating factor in using these generic, simplified calculators was that, being a garage, my room was not standard. Any calculations should account for the garage doors, the concrete slab floor and the ceiling height.

I found a good compromise in the calculator here. It allowed me to add the specification that I thought made this complicated but was simple enough for me not being an HVAC pro. It also allowed me to try many what-if choices varying things like design temperature, type of ceiling (because I didn’t know if my tiny attic would qualify as such) and to assess the impacts of keeping the space well heated or just heated enough.

To confirm these findings, I did find a Manual J calculator at that didn’t seem to require a PhD in HVAC and had a free option that seemed to give me what I needed.

My conclusion was that 12k BTU/hr seemed appropriate for maintaining the heat at 46°F through the winter months. If I decided to use it for cooling in the summer, this size would be appropriate for that as well.

Install process

There are lots of good videos on YouTube to guide you through the install so I won’t cover all those details here. Instead, I plan to cover the things that I wish I knew before I did the install.

I purchased my unit from Pioneer Mini Split Store. It shipped to me on a pallet and delivery by the shipper was seamless. The driver used a pallet jack to put in right into my garage.

This was an exciting day when this arrived. I’v3 dreamed about having a mini split for years!

Planning. I spent a lot of time planning the location of both the inside and outside units so that I would not have any coiled line set. I created a cardboard template for the outside unit. This allowed me to position it where I thought I wanted it considering the stud locations required for the mounting bracket. I wanted to get the vertical parts of the wall bracket to be on studs. And, with the walls unfinished, I was later able to install blocking in the wall for the horizontal bracket piece.

I used a couple pieces of twine cut to the length of both the line set and the control wire in order to confirm that my proposed location was good.

Working out the equipment location. Obviously, the mocked up unit would go outside and the line set would not follow the path of this draped string but would drop vertically, make a 90° turn and then horizontal to the outside unit. I held it in place to confirm this.

The flaw in this planning was that it was all in the same plane and didn’t take into account that the mini split would be mounted several inches away from the house. Luckily, I had planned for a little extra length at each end for adjustments.

Wifi module. I purchased the Pioneer OSK102 wifi kit from Amazon as I wanted to make sure that I had control of the Mini Split from my phone. More than anything, I wanted the ability to monitor it to see when it was running. This was based on my experience with the Nest thermostat, where that app helped me understand how my choices for temperature mapped to how often and how long our furnace was running (and ultimately allowed me to make money savings changes in how we heated our house). It actually turned out that the Mini split itself came with a wifi module.

Both of these wifi kits were slightly different. The Pioneer OSK102 wifi kit included a module which plugged into the USB port in the circuit board in the front panel of the indoor unit. The Pioneer OSK102 is controlled via the Nethome Plus app. The Pioneer Smart Controller kit (TST-APWIFICWPD), which came with the mini split, is a small circuit board which replaces the existing board under the front panel. It uses the Cielo Home app.

Pioneer SmartController kit (TST-APWIFICWPD) box. Circuit board it replaces is pictured. Also seen is the tool that I created to install the drain plug.

I was able to try both to see which I preferred. I ultimately went with the Pioneer Smart Controller because I thought the app was better. I was not able to figure out how to turn on freeze protection mode with the Nethome Plus App. Since it’s been a couple months since I used it, I honestly can’t remember if the app had that feature but I seem to remember it not having it.

Ultimately, though, the wifi kit turned out to be of very little use to me. It turns out that when the mini split is in freeze protection mode, the Cielo app shows the Mini split as off. As such, the history section of the app shows “No usage” for every single day. So, my hopes for a Nest-like graphic visual of when the heat was on each day were not met.

Vacuum Port Adapter. This is the second thing that I bought that was redundant. The mini split itself came with a vacuum port adapter. This is required to attach the vacuum pump to the mini split. I think that I got this with the mini split that I purchased because it included an installation kit. This may also be the reason for in inclusion of the Pioneer Smart Controller. If you are installing another brand or the Pioneer without the installation kit, you will need this adapter.

Drain plug removal/install. The Pioneer mini split has two places where you can install the drain hose. In order to have the drain hose, line set and control wire exit the mini split on the side required by my installation, I had to use the alternate drain port. This meant I had to remove the factory installed drain plug from the port that I needed open and move it to the currently open port.

The rubber plug is easy to remove but difficult to install. Actually, I tore mine trying to push it into the hole with a nylon tool. It was difficult to get leverage and to compress it into the hole. What I found was that I needed something to push it which I accomplished with a custom tool that I made. I simply took the handle from a foam brush and used my bench sander to taper it to fit into the plug. See the photo above for this tool.

Torquing connections. The torque wrench that I purchased for this project was great for the 1/2″ line which required 26.6 lb-ft of torque. It did not meet the need for the 1/4″ line. While the requirements for this was for 11.8 lb-ft and the wrench had a low setting of 10 lb-ft, it just didn’t work getting to this value so close to it’s lower limit. The adjustment grip on the handle did provide some positive feedback that there was tension as you turned it, but this went away under 12 lb-ft as it just seemed loose. I still moved ahead with the tightening which was difficult with such a small wrench head. I ended up over-tightening as the limit click was never achieved and I straightening the flaring right out of the tubing.

Thankfully, I had purchased a flaring kit as a backup as I had heard that the factory flarings were often imperfect. I was at first pleased that my flarings were all perfect from the factory but then thankful I had this kit so I could add back the flaring I took out of the tubing.

The small and large diameter tubing ends which you connect the line set to on the inside unit were not the same length. This mismatch in length resulted in an equal mismatch on the outside unit. Since I had the flaring kit, it was a no-brainer to cut the 1/4″ tubing by the approximate same difference prior to making the outside connections in order to get everything to look clean. If I had to do it over again, I think I would have cut the extra off the line set where it attached to the inside unit where the lengths of the factory pieces were different and not let that difference transfer all thw way through to the outside unit.

The result

I am very happy with the end result. I got the outside all buttoned up before the cold weather really set in. It was never clear to me how the nylon wrap was supposed to stick to the line set so I ended up zip tying each end.

The final install

On the inside, I did get unit almost centered on the wall with about 8 feet from it’s bottom to the floor. I primed and painted a piece of drywall for behind the inside unit. I then realized I had enough time left in the fall to work in my newly heated garage to install some drywall on the walls. Since I was working alone, I focused on the lower parts of the walls. The ceiling and upper walls will wait until next year.

The 2014 GT and 2008 GT/CS won’t freeze this winter!

Next up, heating usage monitoring.

What I used for this project –

Garage Phase 2

This is what it looked right after the build. It will never look this again!!

At the end of the summer I transitioned from house projects to garage projects. I couldn’t help but think ahead to the coming winter and enhancing the space used for storage of the Mustangs. Ever since I had the 2 car detached garage built in 2015, I have wanted it to be a decently warm place to store the cars. With it being not insulated or otherwise finished inside, it held no heat and pretty much maintained the same temperature as that outside.

The walls are 2×4 construction and the sloped part of the ceiling is 2×8. In order to increase the thickness of the insulation I could use, I added ripped 2×4 to each rafter to get effectively a 2×10.

Rafters with extended width

I considered thickening the 2×4 walls but the complexity and time involved especially for handling the window and door openings, seemed more than the added benefit that the additional thickness would provide. Although, I did have to address the upper part of the walls as the framing was done with the 2×4’s in a non standard orientation.

End walls with added framing (lighter in color)

With this framing done but before I insulated, I also did some other things –

– I moved some of the electrical that i had an electrician install to where I actually wanted it installed. I also added some ceiling boxes for future lighting needs as well as a box for a future celling fan.

– I added some framing in the corners for future drywall screwing.

– I added a catwalk across the top side of the collar ties using some extra 1/2″ plywood I had around. It’s a little sketchy to crawl around up there as it flexes but the need for going up there is very minimal.

I framed an opening in the collar ties. Even though I have no use for the limited space in the attic, I figured it was pretty trivial to add this now rather than entirely sealing off the attic space. As it turned out, it was useful to have this access as I added more insulation from above after the ceiling was insulated.

Approximately 32″ x 32″ opening for attic access

For insulation, I went with mineral wool rather than fiberglass. With it, I found that I could get a slightly higher R value for the same thickness. I had purchased a small amount of Rock Wool a few years ago and found it easier to work with than fiberglass in the ability to cut and shape it. Since that time, pricing of mineral wool has dropped to be the same as fiberglass. So, using it was a no brainer.

I started out with Owens Corning Thermafiber mineral wool. Handling it, even gently, resulted in it just starting to disintegrate and break apart. Working with a piece of it over my head resulted in my being covered with particles from it. I found that once it was in place, it was near impossible to remove it should you not get it exactly where you want it. It is just too brittle. Luckily I had just purchased one bundle to try it out. I would have returned it but since it came compressed in the bundle it was not possible to get it back into the bag so I just threw it out and took the loss.

I then switched back to using the Rock Wool brand. This was perfect. Much less fallout from handling it, and even the ability to remove a piece and reposition it if needed. I cut it with a handled hacksaw blade and was able to cut angles, electrical box cutouts and other cuts in order to fit tightly to the framing.

Insulation nearly complete. Furring strips installed just in case

The angles of the ceiling presented a challenge and resulted in this project taking a lot longer than I ever had anticipated. Because drywall was possibly not in the plans for this phase, I installed furring strips across the rafters and collar ties to keep everything in place. While the insulation had a pretty good friction fit, it just added peace of mind that things will stay in place.

In terms of air flow, I used Owens Corning raft-r-mate vents. It was possibly overkill, but I added them in every bay. This required two pieces which I did not overlap but separated with a two inch gap. This was based on research that I did on these vents. I also learned that coated staples should be used but, since I couldn’t find them locally, I went with stainless steel.

Note some of the cutting that required lots of time. Here, fitting around the collar ties

Relative of the attic space, I was thankful for the access that I created for it as I was able to add another layer of insulation on top of what I installed between the collar ties. I also used some of the many extra cut off pieces I had to fill in the space over the catwalk.

Unusable, but well insulated attic space

So, the end result is a pretty well insulated garage with the walls being R15, the sloped sections of the ceiling are R30 and the rest of the ceiling is R45.

Next up, adding heat!

What I used for this project –

Putting the pedal down

In times like these, it may seem like the best thing to do is to follow the herd. Which seems to be letting up, putting things on pause and waiting for things to get better. But, I think that’s the wrong thing to do. It’s time to double our efforts. We need to excel in our work lives, excel in our personal lives, be better partners, be better parents and most of all, use this new found time that we all seem to have to grow ourselves, learn new things and continue to do the things we love. Especially, those things that we might not have had time to do previously.

Rather than letting off the gas, I’ve been putting the pedal down. So, among trying to do those other things that I mentioned, I’ve been putting more time into something I love – this site. I’m trying to invest a little every day. And, it’s been therapeutic. One of the main things that I got done was to get this blog up and running again. And, by doing that, I realized just how long it’s been since I’ve had and used this as an avenue to express myself. If you read back a few posts, I didn’t think it was something I needed any more. Well, I think I was wrong.

In that vein, I wanted to give an update on the things I’ve been working on to make the best use of the free time I’ve been lucky to have.

Updates and security patches to the software used by this site and

This site uses a number of separate software packages each for the main site, the forums and this blog. All of these require regular patching and updating. These types of things don’t usually result in a visible change on the site but are important to keep up with for bug fixes and, especially, for security patches. I’ve sometimes fallen behind on these. But, not recently.

Separate from this I also started the process of evaluating an upgrade the main software package that this site uses which is called Drupal. A more up to date version than what I’m currently using is available and I have started the process of determining the complexity and process of that upgrade.

Registering for the tent for Carlisle Ford 2020

It’d be easy to put this one off. The deadline for tent registration is still weeks away and the I question whether the event even will happen. But, I didn’t let that stop me. I’ve committed to it now and am paid in full for the tent and tables. And, I hope you commit to it, too. Don’t forget to register by May 4th!

We should again be located in the 1987 to 1993 Mustang LX Stock class.

Signing up for Ford Performance Club Connect

You may have seen the front page post on this. I had a nice email exchange over email with the Club Connect team to answer some questions that I had on the registration process. They were very helpful and responsive. As such, we are on the map but no longer listed at my home address!

Getting the auction history back up to date

This tracking has been on and off for the last couple of years. It’s a lot of work and, with the decline in ebay partner benefits, it has been a long time since it has been able to cover the costs of running this site. But, I still see the value in it so I continue. I’ve been considering other revenue models like a Patreon effort to support what I am doing. But, for now I’ll keep at it the best that I can. As always, click the links to support the site. Even if you aren’t purchasing the items I am linking to, I still benefit from your clicks.

Getting postings going again on

Last year at this time, I went full out on the new project that Fox Feature Cars became. I posted nearly every day until I burnt after a few months of it. It was intense to post once a day. And, quite honestly, there aren’t enough feature cars for sale to warrant a daily post.

So, I’ve taken a more measured approach. I am going to post but not every day if it isn’t appropriate. If there are great cars, sure. But if there is nothing on my radar, I’m not going to dig deeper to find something that might be sketchy or something being pushed by a dealer and/or of questionable value.

So, join me on this. Let’s all improve ourselves and creation a distraction for ourselves and, quite possibly in doing so, create a distraction for others. And, since the weather is getting nice almost everywhere, get that Mustang out and put the literal pedal down.

Blog is back online

At some point, the WordPress software used here broke and was producing an error; no blog content, just the error.

“Your PHP installation appears to be missing the MySQL extension which is required by WordPress.”

I finally got off my butt and figured it out. I figure it broke when I upgraded the version of PHP being used on the site when trying to fix something else (possibly the forums) which made it incompatible with the really old version of WordPress being used.

The solution was to update to the latest version of WordPress. Which I did and the blog content is now back.

Now the question is whether I will continue writing new posts. I haven’t decided that yet. I know my last post states that I wouldn’t be posting anything else here and using either the main page or the forums. The truth is that those two options seem much more formal than I would like for my blog posts. Posting my sometimes random thoughts on the main page or in the forums just hasn’t been comfortable. I may restart using the blog. I’m not sure yet.

Blog now closed

Just a quick note that the blog is now maintained as an archive and will not receive new posts. Comments are closed as well. New content will appear on the front page of this site and no longer be “hidden” here. When new content warrants commenting, a discussion thread in the forum will be opened. This is being done to reduce the number of places where new content and commenting happen on the site.

BOSS Track Attack

Last week I attended the BOSS Track Attack with my buddy Tom who, earlier this year, purchased a 2013 BOSS 302 in Race Red. As part of the purchase, he was eligible to attend a day of performance driving school at Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City, UT. To my great fortune and surprise, he asked me along as a guest. I opted to drive the first day of the two day class. I could have also not driven at all or driven for two days (at additional cost). I’m glad I drove – it was an amazing experience.

We arrived on Sunday night and were welcomed for dinner in the museum at Miller Motorsports. The Museum houses some incredible cars from the history of Carroll Shelby racing. There were Cobras, GT 350s, Ford GTs and several other cars, all with a winning history in racing. Each car had an incredible history. The row of Ford GTs had one of each iteration Mk I through Mk IV and this was where I stopped first.

A row of GTs at the Museum

The first car in this picture was the first of any cars in the Gulf colors to win a race. I’ve got a thing for these colors. Apparently so, because even my 7 and 9 year old recognize them. I guess I credit good parenting that I explain to them things like this. The second car in the row is one of the three GT 40’s which won 1st, 2nd and 3rd in Le Mans in 1966. If you have seen Top Gear America Season 3 Episode 12 you have seen this car driven on the track at Miller Motorsports Park.

After a tour of the museum, we had dinner within feet of these cars. What a great night.

The next morning we started in the classroom. You may have seen my post of Facebook from the classroom. We spent about an hour there talking about the fundamentals of driving a road course including turning, apexing and breaking. We then suited up in the class room before heading out to the garage.

Ready to go

In the garage, they directed us to our cars. They split us into two group and my group was first out to the track to follow the instructor.  It felt like we jumped in feet first. I was alone in the car with a helmet, a four point seat belt and a “modern” Mustang under me.  It was very foreign, at first.

Our six cars did a few laps with each getting slightly faster. Tom, being a BOSS owner, drove a 2012 Race Red BOSS 302. I, being a guest, drove a 2006 Mustang GT. Both were mostly how they came form the factory with a few racing bits to make them safer and race-ready.

First laps

After our quick laps around the track we headed to the skid pad for some work with only a little traction. I thought I would do OK with this especially when the instructor said that those with experience in driving in snow and ice might have an advantage. I was not as good as I had hoped. We started at full traction with the instructor reducing it for each subsequent lap.

In control

My tendency was to go to the brake at the first sign of trouble. When I did do it right it was surprising how a little gas and turning in could correct a skid. It was also a lot of fun.

The rest of the day was spent alternating between classroom and track time. They really mean it when they say that you’ll be in the car 70% of the day. We had sessions on heel/toe shifting, cornering and braking. We had on-track time in a lead/follow where we each of us took turns right behind the instructor to learn he correct line, an instructor ride along and a some general track time in order to put it all together.

Although, initially I feared it, the instructor ride along was really good and some of the most beneficial time on the track. I found that I wasn’t using all of the track on exiting corners and that I was underestimating the car. It was far more capable than I was allowing it to be. Those that drove the BOSSes, they were allowed times to explore the custom feature of those cars such as Pit Lane Speed Control and Launch Control throughout the day.

They started to allow passing during the last track session. Though, I didn’t pass anyone, that session ended with me wanting more which was a sure sign that I had a great time.

Cornering hard

The last thing of the day were “hot laps” where an instructor drove and we rode as the passenger. They said they didn’t do this earlier because if we knew how the cars could go around the track we would have tried it on our own with less than impressive results. These laps were amazing. The amount of control, the smoothness and the hard breaking were all impressive. We even got a little sideways in each turn. The day ended with a “Graduation” where we each received a certificate and plaque.

I didn’t drive the second day but Tom did. It was cool to be track side as the cars came past.

Of course, once I knew we were at such a high altitude (4,200 ft), I couldn’t resist going for a run. I’m used to under 500 ft above sea level where I live. The course I took was fairly flat while following the edge of some steep mountains but the running felt uphill all the way. Not in my legs but in my lungs.

A different track

Carlisle 2013 Recap

Mike and Amy representing the feature cars

My 7th Carlisle Ford Nationals was a great time. I brought my oldest son with me which made for a very different experience. He attended my very first Carlisle in 2007. That was so long ago that it is only a faint memory for him. My brother also attended this Carlisle with his daughter. He last attended Carlisle in 2008 which was before he had a Mustang. He now owns a 2008 GT/CS.

2008 Mustang GT/CS

Both of our children did a great job keeping pace with us. On Friday we walked 7 miles and on Saturday we walked 9 miles. They didn’t complain and were up for anything.

Carlisle wouldn’t be Carlisle without rain. This year it started for the second half of Thursday’s drive down. We drove the last 150 miles in the rain. I again joined 5pt0joe on his “Cruise to Carlisle”. The forecast for Friday was not good. This was the first time that I didn’t wash my car upon arriving in Carlisle.

As predicted, Friday was a full day of rain. We tried to get out from under cover during periods of light rain. Thankfully, we had the tent which allowed some shelter for the kids to play their video games.

A rainy day - kids under the tent

The tent was also another point of variance from the usual. It was not located in the class in which almost all of our feature cars fall – the 1987-93 Mustang LX stock class. It was about two classes away. This was a let down. The events staff had a new member in charge of clubs for this year and I had asked ahead of time if our tent would still be in our class and he had communicated that that was the plan. What changed, I don’t know and my question to him in that regard has gone unanswered.

It almost didn’t matter because most people who had registered with our club had not brought their feature cars. I had my ’91. My brother brought his ’08. Tim H. brought his ’07 due to some mechanical problems with his triple white.

Tim's '07 almost in view

Tom brought his 2013.

2013 Boss 302 in Race Red

It occurred to me that I think we really need to encourage everyone who considers themselves a supporter of to pre-register next year and specify this as their club. It doesn’t matter that the car being shown is not a feature car, or a fox-body or a Mustang, for that matter. I was very flattered to see cars around the show field with us as their club. We just might get to the 25 car free tent threshold with enough friends of TWF.

Saturday night was the third annual parade and street party. We got an earlier start than last year to get in line and avoided a little of the traffic jam to get off of the show field.

Lining up for the parade

It was a nice drive into downtown Carlisle. I gave my son the option to sit up front. Normally, he has to ride in the back. While we were waiting to go he asked me if it was OK for him to be in the front. He asked a couple times before he decided he wanted to sit in back. He definitely has my tendency to be conservative. On the other hand, his cousin had no problem with riding up front.

A front seat passenger

The street party

Sunday was all about the awards list. Both Amy H. and Mike P. won in our class! Amy won first and Mike won third. There were some nice cars in our class which meant competition was strong. Both awards were well deserved as both cars were the cleanest and best presented that I have seen them.

Going around and talking with people I had two occurrences of being recognized from my picture in the recent Fox Mustang Magazine. It made me feel really nice. The magazine was again there selling subscriptions which I thought was brave of them considering their recent track record of delivering issues. I really want them to survive and encourage everyone to subscribe. Even if they were to go to quarterly (a hint to them) I still would have a high opinion of their efforts.

The ironic thing is that I wanted to renew but couldn’t. I saw Mike on Sunday morning on his way to re-up his subscription at their tent. I joined him thinking I would gladly part with $20 to support them and, in return, would be veryhappy with a renewal and a free t-shirt. When we got to their tent, we found it empty as they had already left the show. The guys at the tent next to theirs said they had packed up on Saturday. This seems weird for a struggling magazine. They lost our two renewals.

Third Place for Mike

That’s it for 2013. See you next year!


On December 12, 2012, I stopped receiving mail sent to my email address at It was two days before I realized it. You see, I have it picked up by Gmail from the server so I can use Gmail for dealing with all of my email. I also have a Gmail address for the same inbox. So, I was still receiving some mail – the mail sent directly to my Gmail address.

It turned out that, without warning, on that date Gmail stopped supporting secure, encrypted SSL connections where the server did not have a valid certificate. From Gmail help:

As of December 2012, Gmail uses “strict” SSL security. This means that we’ll always enforce that your other provider’s remote server has a valid SSL certificate. We made this change to offer a higher level of security to better protect your information.

This was precisely my situation. I was using a self-issued certificate that came installed on my web server. I had, in the past, considered a proper SSL certificate and migration to https but I was put off by the cost of a certificate. Most providers charge hundreds of dollars and they must be renewed every year or two.

Not wanting to transmit my mail to Google over a non secure connection, I started to search for alternatives. I found one in StartCom which provides a basic SSL Certificate for free.

Over the past few days I have worked on installing one on my web server and also on my mail server. It was a little tricky to get my Dovecot mail server running with the certificates but the post here was very helpful. I also found the certificate checker at digicert helpful while debugging my configuration. You just enter your hostname:port and it checks the certificate.

As a side effect of securing my mail, is now available over https.

The home page:

The forums:

This blog:

Admittedly, it is not perfect. Some links in the various parts of the site will switch you back to http. I need to do some cleanup. I could make a global change to force all traffic to switch to https but I think I will hold off on that until I see how well it goes with this hybrid solution. Also, the site includes some non-secure content in the form of the ebay ads so, if you view the certificate, you will see a warning about this.


MCA Ocean State Nationals 2012 Judging Sheet

If you follow the TWF Facebook page, you might have seen my post on winning Gold in the Unrestored class at the 2012 Ocean State Mustang Nationals. This was my first experience at an MCA show and it was more intense than any other show I have attended. But, the end result was that it was more rewarding than any other show.

I am not doing this review of my judging sheet as a critique of the judges or the judging process. They did an excellent job and found everything that I would have found had I been judging my car. I am doing this because I thought a breakdown of the scoring sheet might be helpful to others in determining where they might lose points and to what degree something might be OK or not OK.  I imagine that a different set of judges might have given me different deductions, though, hopefully with the same Gold result. This is a human process, after all.

Beforehand, I detailed my car for 20-30 hours above and beyond what I normally do for the popular vote shows. It is hard to say exactly how many hours but I went over everything inside, outside and underneath. I think I spent about 6-8 hours under the car and engine bay. This turned out to be overkill. The show field was grass, cut at the customary 3″, which resulted in that much less ability to see under the car. On asphalt, my work would have been more apparent.

On the morning of the judging I spent nearly fours hours with the final detailing. The 2 hour drive to RI was partly in the rain. I had detailed my car during the preceding weeks only in the garage and the outdoor light on the show field revealed some low points. The beginning of the morning had shade on my car. This was also helpful. In the bright sunlight, some crevices are in full shadow. In overcast weather or shade, these areas are more easy to see into.

I was present when the three judges went over my car. I did not interfere and only spoke when spoken to. Well, except on a door tag issue where they were trying to verify my car was a feature car using the interior code. I pointed them in the right direction. Otherwise, I resisted the urge to try to point out things I thought might influence the results.

The first thing I was marked on was my door weatherstrip. I think this “cracking” could be from getting in and out but I doubt it. The door sill is not scuffed in any regard. This must be due to my sagging map pocket. For many years, it sagged low enough to get closed between the door and weatherstrip thus resulting in wear. When this wear was called out, one of the judges, the one who was doing the note writing, remarked that this type of wear was present on his car.

Click on image for large view

Apparently, it was not bad enough to warrant a deduction (a dash in the deduction column).

Admittedly, my top is the weak point of my car. It is, of course, original. With 53,000 miles it has been down a lot. I rarely drive the car with the top up. There is one large hole and several cracks. This is by far the worst –

One of my primary motivations for bringing the car at this point to an MCA show and showing in unrestored vs. occasionally driven was to attempt a gold before the top needs to be replaced. The thinking was that if I could achieve gold then replace the top I could state this is a gold car and the only thing replaced since the gold was the top.

The next one was a simple deduction, not the original battery –

Another easy one, incorrect oil filter –

Finally, I didn’t have a lot for extra points. I think I will work harder for a few more of these next time.

So, that’s how it breaks down. I think I still have some room for improvement. I don’t think I will ever get a perfect score but I am very happy with the result this time out.

Here is my full judging sheet: 2012 Ocean State Nationals Judging Sheet for URB-G25

Looking forward to top down driving

I had my TWF out for a ride today. Top up. Though, the weather is finally starting to feel like spring is coming. It is the kind of weather that makes you remember that owning a convertible is about the best thing ever.

While out for the ride, I remembered that today, March 10, is a day that I usually fail to remember. It is the anniversary of the build day of my car. March 10, 1993. It is now 19 years old. Wow.

I purchased it in April 2002. So, this year marks a milestone for that – 10 years of ownership for my car. In some ways, that’s also hard to believe. In other ways, I can’t remember what life was like before owning it. Actually, it is much like thinking back to the time before you had children. You remember that time existed but are sure that you wouldn’t want to go back.

To commemorate the event, I dug up pictures from the original for sale listing for my car.