When Cheap Gets Expensive – Abom79 Fixes A Knock-Off Mustang Intake

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What happens when you decide that cheap, inferior copy intake is good enough to buy? Abom79 demonstrates in a four-part series and Carbage follows along.

If you’re not familiar with Adam Booth, who is better known as Abom79 on YouTube and works at Booth Machine Shop in Pensacola, Fl, is easily one of the best machinist channels on the social media platform. His work ranges from repairing crankshafts to customizing Hayabusa pistons to grinding electric motors back into their proper shape.

However, his channel is much more than just showing off his craft in his home shop as he explains his processes and the tools he uses in clear and concise language. You don’t have to be a machinist to know what work Abom79 is doing. Of course, having a home machine shop also means you get some interesting projects. For example, this 5.0-liter Ford V8 intake that’s going into a turbocharged Ford Mustang Fox Body.

Behind the Scenes Coverage

I spoke to Adam about this intake and this series and he has agreed to allow me to follow along with it in this written format. Even so, you should check out this first of four videos that will be coming out in digestible chunks rather than one exceedingly long video. This first part sets up what’s about to be done and creates the unique fixture he needs to make this intake stop leaking.

5.0L Mustang Intake Manifold Part 1

A Surface as Flat as Cottage Cheese

Now, you’re asking, “why does this need to be done to what looks like a fairly new part?” A good question and Adam explained, “The intake is a Chinese-made copy of a Trick Flow manifold and plenum. From what I was told, the only reason the customer even bought it was because this was the only way he could find it in a polished version.”

Adam shows in the video just out how warped this inferior cast knock-off at critical gasket surfaces. The water inlet and intake runner flanges are no where close to straight, causing massive leaks and reducing power. The phone video of the dyno run he shares with us show just how bad it really is. The poor sound of the engine and black smoke from the exhaust when the tuner gets off the throttle are cringe-inducing to observe.

The fixture Adam needs to create is rather simple but is also required for the job at hand. It is made from a piece of stock he found in his cutoff pile outside of his shop. It also shows its Florida steel tan as it was covered in surface rust from being outside. While a wire wheel gets rid of the loose stuff, it still needs machining to be brought into square.

The Shaper

This is done via his universal table shaper (quite sure ThisOldTony is crying each time Adam shows his off), but why use a shaper when he has a fly cutter and a milling machine? He uses it later in the video, so why not do it all on the same machine. In the video he explains his three reasons: the shaper is already set up to work, the shaper’s vice is larger and provides more work holding over the eight-inch vice in the mill, and the shaper makes less of a spread out mess of metal shavings compared to the milling machine. He also shared another reason with me, “They are also much easier to get their table setup and that makes truing up the surface that needs machining easier when compared to the milling machine table, as well.”

Adam also explained why much of the work that’s going to be done to the intake flanges will be on the shaper, “These types of jobs that have odd angles and geometry and that is one reason I wanted a universal table shaper.” It’s hard to argue with the surface finish that the shaper leaves after it’s done its spring pass. Rather than the circular patterns left behind by using an end mill or fly cutter, the shaper leaves straight machining marks. The work done by the shaper just comes out looking much cleaner, but the more important part is that the part is square when you’re done. Adam even says that this job could have been done completely on the mill if he needed to.

After getting the stock off the shaper, Adam finds its center and drill a pair of holes that line up with the center bolt holes of the plenum flange. Where others would have possibly taken the long route and measured where the other four bolts needed to go or taken the lazy way and used the plenum gasket to mark them, Adam uses a simple but very precise tool that I never knew existed. It is called a transfer screw.

The Amazing Transfer Screw

These transfer screws are offered in sets that meet ranges of several bolt sizes and you thread them into the bolt holes you need to recreate. The screws themselves live inside the tool, which also features a special end to allow you to screw them in. Once threaded, Adam takes a straight edge ruler and makes sure that only the transfer point is sticking out.

Once the four bolts are set, Adam snugs up the fixture plate then takes a dead-blow hammer and thwacks it at each corner. What’s left are four perfect points that will center the drill with precision. I really wish I had known the existence of these transfer screws for a few projects of my own.

Adam then takes the fixture plate over to the mill so he can drill out the four holes. He uses a lineup tool in the quill to initially center the table to the marks. To ensure the pilot drill lines up correctly, he uses a coax indicator dial gauge to get within one thousandth of an inch (.001-inch). He coaxes the mill table until he is happy with its position, then uses the pilot drill before moving on to the twist drill to open the holes to final width.

After the four holes are drilled, he flips the fixture plate over and lines up the mill table to center the quill to the larger hole. Adam then proceeds to counter sink them to allow the socket cap bolt heads to sit flush with the surface of the fixture plate.

He then moves the counter sink bit to sit on the surface to zero out the quill’s digital read out (DRO). This allows him to hit the 3/8-inch depth needed for the flush fit. After applying plenty of cutting oil, he slowly sinks it down and finishes this operation off by breaking the edge of the hole with a chamfer cutting tool.

T-nut Ain’t a Rapper

The last step of setting up this fixture plate is to drill out two more holes that will allow him to attach the intake to the shaper table with a pair of T-nuts. Adam opts for a 5/8-inch size flange nut and hardware to be used to secure the intake to the shaper table. He locates where he wants them to be, 1-inch inward of each edge, and drills the holes out using a 41/64-inch drill as that provides the correct clearance for a 5/8-inch stud.

Rather than using a punch, Adam opts to estimate the one-inch placement using his hook scale and the centering tool. Plenty of cutting oil and peck drilling creates the cavities, the first as a pilot and the other for the finished diameter. Once again, the operation is finished off with a chamfer tool.

Follow Along!

This is only the first part, as I mentioned earlier. Next up will be the machining of the thermostat and plenum flanges. Carbage will bring you the behind the scenes and observations after that video goes live.

Give Abom79 Some Love

Be sure to subscribe to Adam’s channel on YouTube, Abom79. Be sure to check out his Instagram and Facebook page to see what he’s working on as it is happening that day. If you like his work and want to support him, you can donate to his PayPal and Patreon or purchase the same tools and products he uses on his Amazon store.

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