Part 1: Getting Home
A couple weeks ago I picked up this 1949 Ford deluxe 2 door. I chose it for a number of reasons. Not the least of which was the fact that I could drive it home. The ride home was actually not that dramatic, it would go and stop, albiet the stop was better than the go.
I figured that if I bought one out of town I'd either have to tow it or rent a trialer. A couple hundred bucks to just get the thing into my driveway didn't sound too good. Also I picked this one because it had a fresh back window. That's about 325 without the rubber trim. along with the back window there were a number of replacement patch panels for all the rust holes, of which there are plenty. It has the original flathead V8 under the hood. When I got it it was painted, poorly, lime green. I have since taken steps to switch up the paint scheme. Some black and gold should do the trick.
This is the result after I cut down the new wires to fit and installed them. She starts up now instantly and seems to have more power. There's a pretty nasty tick coming from beneath the intake manifold that I'm going to to invsestigate soon. I have big plans for the car including a new wiring harness, remote battery, new fuel tank, a flex fan, and just general upgrades where I can fit them in.
Part 2: Ignition Conversion and Engine Tidy-Up
At right is the distributor with the cap and rotor removed. You can see the breaker points, condenser, rotor shaft, and vacuum advance plate. Most of this is removed and replaced with the new system.
Part 3: Wiring
So what is a guyto do? Well this guy started looking around for an inexpensive way to get a fresh new harness in his car. I scoured the internet and came up with this 12 circuit harness from Speedway motors. I mounted the fuse box up under the dash behind the e-brake handle out of the way. You can see some of the old harness here next to the new one.
After securing it I had a big mess of wires to sort out. Some going forward to the engne compartment, some back toward the tail lights and some for the dash controls and gauges.
One of my biggest pet peeves wih any older vehicle is botched wiring. It's not just awful to look at and often times fails, it's downright dangerous.
I wanted to go back with fabric wiring harness, but I couldn't spend the dough for one. So back to the internet and I found a product called techflex which offers that fabric look but can be cut to fit.
The techflex can be tricky as it must be cut using a hot knife, or you could use my method and heat some scissors with a torch. It is time consuming, and I think there are probably easier ways of doing things. But this is the look that I wanted so I didn't mind spending a little extra time for a tidy job. Below is an example of how I sorted the harness. This is my horn powerI ran it in line with my headlights. I solder all terminals on before heat shrinking them. Again this takes longer than merely crimping but it offers peace of mind.
Part 4: Parking Lamp Restoration
1. I pulled out the lamps and they were in bad bad shape. After sandblasting they looked like swiss cheese. Also 2 of the bolts had to be clipped out with bolt cutters because they were rusted so severely.
2. After sandblasting I got after them with a torch and some hard solder. I filled all the pin holes and rebuilt the parts which had corroded away with solder. I reblasted them and that's what you see here.
3. The pitting was really bad which left the surface very rough, so I decided to use a hammer tone paint which sort of bended the look of the paint with the surface below.
4. Next I laid out some scrap rubber and cut some body seals to go behind thelamp housings. Pretty straight forward, but a variety of punch sizes will help keep the holes tidy. In retrospect I sould have used a thicker more spongy rubber to .
5. These are the bezels, lenses, and lens gaskets I ordered from shoeboxford.com a website that specializes in 49-51 Ford passenger cars. They a a forum full of great information and they sell just about anything you could want. These bezels are pretty tough to find as no one is reproducing them at the moment. The lenses are the old glass style.
6. Here is a rear shot of the whole assembly. I used a universal dual contact light socket for these I picked up at Napa. It was cheap and easy enought to modify for my purpose and it fit nice and tightly. I fuinished it of with some bullet connectors, techflex, and some heat shrink. Overall I'd say I'm very pleased with these.
7. Once again nothing is easy. I hadn't looked that closely at the grille on this side of my car, but apparently she has been hit hard on this front corner. If you look closely you can see the grille is beat up pretty good by some former owner. I persuaded it back into shape as well as I could and eventually got it all to line up. I thought the other side with no apparent damage would be the easy one, but I actually had to totally disassemble the grille to get that one on. This is where the aforementioned thicker body seals would have come in handy.
Part 5: Wiring Part 2: The Final Installation
Part 6: Head Rush
Part 7: In Your Gauge Face
The gauges in my 49 Ford could hardly be seen at night. Not to mention only half of the original 6 volt ones worked.I know that the common solution is to pull one of the little violet domes off of the lights, but I could not see changing away from that sweet phosphorescent UV display the car came from the factory with. I mean how cool is it to have a funky blacklight glow display?
I also didn't want the cobbled look of some cheap aftermarket clocks hangin' off the bottom of my pretty dash.
So what did I do? Well after a good deal of head scratching and some research I found someone on the message boards of shoeboxford.com who had swapped some 12 volt gauges into the original cluster. Exactly what I wanted to do! After I got the part numbers from him I ordered the gauges. When I got them all in I realized that the water temp gauge was mechanical, and the 49 was wired for electrical. Boo. So I ordered an electrical unit. Unfortunately the closest thing the supplier had was a top sweep unit and I needed a bottom sweep.
This project was a time consuming endevor, but I'm happy with the results. It was also a nice project to do indoors on days too cold to turn wrenches outside. I now have a set of brand new, modern, reliable, 12v gauges to keep an eye on my old flathead with. Plus I have managed to retain the original look and feel of the car's unique display. This is something anyone can do, and a viable alternative to the glass dome removal method. I can't wait to get these babies plugged into their respective new sending units and watch my new needles convey tasty info!
Part 8: Roll of the Dice
This is a complex process with many steps so if you're trying to follow along at home I've provided an outline of the steps below and if at any point you get lost you can just go back one step and take a look at the previous on to regain your bearings. Or if you get really lost send me an e-mail and I'll try to get back to you in a timely manor. Or if you're sweating and pulling you hair out consult a reliable mechanic. I'm confident with a little patience and the help of these 9 simple steps you'll have a nice set of knobs that you can be proud of.
Step 1: Selecting a door lock knob
Step 2: Receiving your knobs (if you didn't order your knobs proceed to Step 5)
Step 3: Open the package at one end
Step 4: Empty Package Contents
Step 5: Remove your new knobs from the manufacture's packaging
Step 6: Examine your Knobs
Step 7: Locate your vehicles existing door lock knobs
Step 8: Remove existing door lock knobs
Step 9: Install your new knobs
Step 10: Test your new knobs
The first step is selecting a door lock knob that's right for you. Everyone's taste is different and luckily there are a variety of styles from which to choose, many of which can be found at your local auto parts store. If you can't find them there you may choose to do what I did and find some you like online. A quick Google search will help you here. Figure 1 shows just a few of the varied types of lock
Note: You must determine how many you need (generally one per door) and make sure you purchase the right amount.
If you ordered your part online it will have to be shipped to you, If not skip ahead to Step 4. The first thing you need to do is get the package out of the mailbox.
See Figure 2.
Note: Not all packaging will look exactly like this.
Carefully open the package at one end making sure not to rip any of its contents. You will know that you have opened the package when it looks something like this and you can access it's contents. Consult Figure 2a.
Empty the contents of the Package. If you order your parts they should have come with a receipt/packing list. hold on to these documents in case you need to make a return for whatever reason.
Remove your new knobs from the manufacture's packaging. Our new knobs will come in some type of packaging from the manufacturer. The knobs will need to be removed from the package before you can install them on your vehicle. You'll know when you have completely removed them because they will no longer be inside of the manufacturer's original packaging.
See Figure 5
Examine you brand new knobs for any defects either from the factory or incurred during the shipping process. You'll know you'll need to replace them if they are ruined.
Locate your vehicles existing door lock knobs. They should be located somewhere on your doors. Mine were located on the tops of the doors near the window.
Using the proper protective gear and remove existing door lock knobs by turning them in a counter-clockwise manner until they have been removed.
The exposed plunger should look something like this. Notice how there is not a door lock knob on the threads shown in Figure 8a.
If you are feeling lost try going back a step until you are confident enough to proceed.
Install your new knobs by aligning the hole in the bottoms of your new knobs with the threads of lock plunger. Then turn them clockwise until they become tight.
Test your knobs to see if they actuate the locking mechanisms of the vehicle.If they don't work start over at Step 8.
Remember Up for unlocked and Down for locked. If you're having trouble remembering this do what I do and think to yourself Up starts with a "U" and so does unlocked, and Down start with a "D" and so does doesn't open.
Part 9: Something Drastic
"If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month."
At the end of the day it worked though and that's what matters.
The first step was to get the old roasted stuff out. Years and years of carbon build up had the original valve guided locked into their spots. The valves were almost impossible to get out. It was a long and brutal process with me spitting and cussing the whole time. This was without a doubt some of the most grueling work I've ever done one any project.
The last thing I did was fill the radiator. Imagine my disappointment when water started pouring out from under the right side head. I had installed my head gaskets on the wrong side! So after I pulled the heads back off and cleaned them up I re installed them with fresh gaskets.
I was so pumped I had to get in and do some shakedown runs. I called up my buddy Nick D., a helluva talented person and all around good guy, and asked him if he'd like to ride shotgun on the old Ford's first journey after a top end rebuild. He said he would and off we went, he was even good enough to shoot a little footage of the occasion. So we set out. Here we are cruising my '49 practically straight pipes and shrieking alternator belt but I couldn't be more proud!
Part 10: Getting Tanked
"Happiness is not pleasure, it's victory"
I have treated a number of motorcycle tanks with chemical liners with a good degree of success, but it's always a long and tedious process. Short of replacing the old tank with a new one I figured this was about the only solution to my rust problems. So after a little asking around and some research I found out about a complete kit from POR15 that would run about 75 bucks and a lot of labor and would line the inside of my fuel tank protecting the steel from any moisture.
I found the least expensive place to get one of these things was amazon.com. It comes with two bottles of marine clean, a bottle of prep and ready, a quart of tank sealer and some fuel stabilizer that I frankly know nothing about and I guess they just throw it in to promote the product.
The first step is to get all the nasty crud out. I did some preliminary rinses, and then tossed about four feet worth of chain in there to try and scrape a some of the scaly rust out.
Then I blocked all the holes and poured in my first bottle of Marine Clean mixed 1:1 with hot water. The instructions say the hotter the better. I left the chain in the first go round just to agitate things. Then as per the instruction left it on each side for a couple hours.
Then after a good rinse I pulled out the chain and in went the second bottle of Marine Clean. Then I just repeated the process.
Next came the Prep and Ready etching solution. This stuff puts a good bite on the metal and allows the sealant to bond to the interior of the tank. This is by far the quickest of the processes. Eye protection and gloves are a really good idea here.
The whole can goes in and you let it sit on every side for thirty minutes. You may be thinking, "sure that's all well and good, but I've got a couple pin holes." Well I did to. While I was cleaning the outside of the tank I scraped away some rust that was all the way through. It left me with a couple holes a between 1/16" and 1/8". I slapped some QuickSteel on there to fill the holes before I poured in the liner.
To reduce rubbing I cut up an old mouse rubber mouse pad and glued the pieces to the mounting straps. I also cut some for between the body and the tank. With a little help from my buddy Stephen I got my freshly restored tank in position and strapped her in tightly. After I hooked the pick up line back up and reconnected the filler neck I put some gas in it and cruised to the gas station. I put 8 gallons in my 16 gallon tank and whaddya know my gas gauge read half a tank! A good day indeed.
It is messy. It is time consuming. This is a weekend long project at least. If you're gonna be around an awful lot you might get it done in a day and a half. Otherwise it could take all weekend. I had to do mine in two parts and it blew from one weekend well into the following week. There's just a lot of waiting, waiting to turn the tank, waiting for the tank to drain, waiting for the tank to dry, etc.
With that said however, you can't argue with results, and the results I got from the POR-15 kit exceeded my expectations.
Part 11: Trunk Wiring Completed
I had some hardware from a previous project to mount the plate with. They were little chrome bolts with built in LED lights. I wired them to come on with my parking lights. I'm happy with them they throw plenty of light to see the plate and they're kind of cool as they serve two roles. There are some tight spots on the inside of the trunk so it helps to have a girlfriend with tiny fingers to help you out.
Overall it was pretty easy and without too much drama just a little time consuming, but that's wiring in general. But really I had just procrastinated because I thought it was going to be a bigger pain than it was, now that it's done I wonder why I waited so long.
Part 12: Electronic Ignition Completion
Well that's because it never ran. I unfortunately received a defective part. That I may or may not have installed incorrectly... and with the wrong coil. So I ordered a new coil and the part still didn't work. Eventually and with much shegrin, I re-installed the original points ignition set-up and put the electronic ignition back in the box and just sort of forgot about it. In the mean time I managed to blow up the new coil and went back to a stock style.
The other day something got me thinking and I started searching around for the ignition module again to look at what kind of warranty the product came with. I recalled that it was 30 something. I knew I was way out on 30 day, and 30 week sounded weird, so with crossed fingers I started rummaging through my Ford stuff. I found the box and it said 30 WEEK! I was in luck. I called the folks at Pertronix to get the address for returns, got a polite human being on the phone, and mailed that sucker off to California. Talk about customer service
On the left is an example of the original points set up. You can see the breaker points and ballast resistor mounted under the distributor cap.
On the right is the electronic ignition module installed. With the cap installed the only way to tell the engine has been converted is the extra wire running to the coil. Notice how much more simple things are looking ...
By removing the moving parts in the distributor you also remove the possibility that they can fail. No parts contact, nothing rubs on anything else. After the installation was complete I tried to start the car and it wouldn't go at first. I had to really try the starter two or three times to get it going.
This was due to my timing being set way off because of all the lag in the points ignition set up. I had the timing set in advance, but when I checked the timing with the electronic ignition installed It was right on the mark, no longer advanced. This tells me there was some serious slop in the points system that was compensated for by running the engine timing well in advance.
It feels a little faster, and I would not be surprised if it was literally faster on the stopwatch. It also seems to be more comfortable cruising at highway speeds. Before the conversion the sweet spot was right around 55 mph anything . This is not to say that it would not go faster, simply that going faster felt like I had to push it harder than was comfortable. Now the sweet spot is up on the other side 60, a notable and worthwhile gain.
Was this all the Pertronix product? It could be, but the installation wasn't the only variable. The new Pertronix coil spits 40,000 volts, which I would guess is higher than stock. This hotter spark definitely can improve power. Also resetting the timing could have something to do with the better performance. But the reliability and accuracy of electronic ignition would have been a worthwhile conversion in any case.
I never have to set points again, my points will never short and fuse together, and my car won't run like crap because my points got dirty, all this because I made the easy and relatively inexpenxive switch to electronic ignition! There is a reason why the automotive industry no longer uses points in .
Part 13: Simply Shocking
A popular upgrade for the 49-51 Fords is to pull out the old factory front springs and throw some Ford Aerostar van springs under the front. The Aerostar springs are progressive rate springs which means they have more resistance the further they are compressed. This leads to less bottoming out and a smoother ride overall. All that technology and a 2.5 inch drop to boot can be purchased for around $60 brand new from the parts store.
Thankfully I was moving at a safe speed and just rolled slowly to a stop without event. Once we got it up on the lift we found the culprit. A brake line that ties to the back of the wheel split and was spilling precious stopping juice all over the inside of wheel and making a puddle on the shop floor. I was grateful it was not a wheel cylinder and that it did not squirt fluid all over my brake shoes.
That's right, I was running no shocks at all on the back. In fact the threads on the lower rear shock mounts were in such terrible shape, probably from being buried for years in mud, we had to run a thread die and cleaner over them to get the nuts to thread on.
With the new shocks up front and the shocks actually existing under the back the ride has smoothed significantly. Cornering is much better and bottoming out is way less frequent. This wasn't really an upgrade so much as maintenance but it really did improve the driving experience a great deal.
Up front we noticed that the wheel bearings were awfully loose. I lucked out here too as the were not shredded and ruined. The previous owner had not tightened them down very tightly at all.
Also for some reason they elected not to use a cotter key through the castle nut on the end of my spindles but instead used something that looked like speaker wire...
Part 14: Aerostar Coil Swap: The Dirty Low Down
This is something that has been covered at lenghth on a number of forums online, but I didn't see a step-by-step with pics, so I figured I'd throw my hat in the ring.
At some point in the past a former owner lowered my car by heating the front coil springs. This left them way lower than stock but also really soft and without much travel. Not to mention it's not exactly a scientific approach. It isn't easy to do exactly the same thing to both sides. Which was the case on my car. There was a definite lean to the passenger side.
All that technology and a 2.5 inch drop to boot can be purchased for around $60 brand new from the parts store. Or I found mine on Amazon for 54$ and free shipping.
This is how I did my suspension swap for under 100 bucks using some instructions I found on the internet. The cost doesn't include the new shocks as I had already purchased them.
If the nuts and bolts give you trouble in any step use a combo of your favorite penetrant and a torch. Be careful because of course mixing fire and lubricant can cause a serious problem if you're not watchful. I keep a fire extinguisher handy in the car at all times.
Then remove your shocks starting with the top nut. The shock may turn so it's a good idea to use a crescent wrench on the top screw.
Put a jack stands under the frame and use the floor jack to raise the
To take the bottom of the shock loose I just remove the shock plate. It's a good idea to loosen both nuts together, not one completely then the other. When you do this the shock will drop out still attached to the plate.
You do not have to remove the shocks completely to take the A arms loose. I could have just taken the bottom nut off the shock and let the A arm down but I wanted to have a look at all the parts and take the opportunity to clean everything.
Remove the floor jack from the under the coil spring part of the a-arm and place it under the center of the inner a-arm shaft and put pressure tight to the frame.
Loosen the four bolts together, don't fully remove one before the others. They're under pressure from from the springs so rotate between bolts.
Let the jack down and work the shaft out. This might take some work. Be careful not to ruin the bolt thread in the process.
If your car is anything like mine the A arms will fight you a bit and not want to let go. I used a crowbar to gently "persuade" them to cooperate. If this is the case be careful what you pry against. to make sure you are not bending anything out of alignment.
The springs are not under much pressure and will come out pretty easily. There is no need for a spring compressor. Use caution as these springs are HEAVY.
You want to make sure you're all clear when they come falling out. Take care with this as a falling A-arm or coil spring could mash your finger/hand/face and ruin your afternoon.
When the A arms come off be sure to look for spacers that might be between the shaft and frame.
You can see a big difference between the stock torched coils on the right and the new Aerostar coil on the left. The one on the far right came out from under the passenger side and is practically collapsed... no wonder the car leaned to that side.
You can see that the Aerostar coil is lower than both of the torched springs, and that the coils get tighter on one end. This is what makes these springs "progressive". Meaning that as the springs gets compressed it offers a greater level resistance.
This picture shows both lower control arms unbolted and the old springs removed.Now is a good time to pause and clean up. Not just your car but the work space. If your car is like mine it caked with the crud of some farmer's field and if you work like I do your wrenches, torch, crowbar, WD-40, etc. is strewn all over the place. It's a good idea to tidy up as a sort of reset before putting things back together.
Installation of the bump stops is pretty straight forward. Pull out the old and drop in the new. They come with lock nuts and the stud fits the factory holes nicely.
Before putting your new springs in it's a good Idea to replace your old, worn out spring isolators with new ones. These go on top of your coil springs
I got my new ones for 5$ each. Nice and shiny new.
After installing my new spring isolators I jacked up the inner a-arm shaft slightly to put the new spring in place, it will fall back out without a little pressure. Place jack so that it wont hit the frame before the inner jack is in place.
Put the bottom of the spring in the depression of the a-arm plate with the same orientation as the original spring.
With the spring in place put a little more pressure on the a-arm and make sure the spring seats properly on top side, if not, re-seat it and make sure the new rubber isolator stays in place. If you're not careful you can damage them.
Jack the spring up more and use a rubber hammer/crowbar to align the A arm and the rotation of the inner shaft.
Make sure the bolts slide in easy and not force it too much. This can be easier said than done
Make sure to replace any spacers that may have been there during dis assembly and then torque the shaft bolts down to 50 ft/lbs.
Be patient and go slowly. This can be time consuming or really quick depending on your car. In a perfect world the Holes in the A arm shafts will just line right up. These cars are old however and have likely been damaged at one point or another and may not be totally square anymore.
This was the case on my car. One side went in like a dream. The other side took me three times longer to do the same job.
Once both sides are in re-install your shocks and have a beer.
Finally you'll need to re-install the anti-sway bar. I took this opportunity install new sway bar bushings from Dennis Carpenter. My originals were roached and crusty these new ones should dramatically improve the performance of the sway bar set up.
It's a good Idea to clean up the brackets and shoot a little paint at them to tidy up their appearance.
I loaded my bushings into the frame brackets and with a little lubricant they slid on easy enough.
I then installed the frame brackets loosely so I would have more slack to work with on the A arm brackets
On my car this step was pretty brutal. It took a lot of time and effort to get the sway bar bushings to go into their respective places on the A arms. I ended up using a C clamp to press the bushing into the A arm enough to get the brackets on then used a pair of vice grips to squeeze them close enough to thread the bolts.
I also used some soapy water to try and lube them a bit so the bushings would slide in.
After they were in I tightened the frame brackets down nice and tight and slapped the wheels back on. Now you're ready to put it on the ground and dig the new stance and ride.
When I first got the car off the jacks I couldn't really tell much difference in the stance. I think It's just about the same as it was without the lean. It does seem more level, but it looks like my front bumper is a little out of whack. Overall I'm very pleased.
After driving the car all weekend the biggest difference I noticed is the ride. The front end is so much firmer now. Not in a hard sports car way, but a yielding "in control" sort of way. The cornering is much flatter and it the wheel now will self spin back to neutral where it wouldn't before.
The front end negotiates bumps better but isn't marshmallow soft like it used to be. Driving the car after the install made me notice how bad it was before.
Before the install it would bump-steer and require constant attention and correction, now I'm able to let go of the wheel without worrying about being launched into the other lane.
I would say that for the effort on this project the juice was certainly worth the squeeze. There were some moments during the install I was spitting and cussing, but honestly it's not hardest thing I've done. I did it over the course of about 3 evenings after work. If you had all the parts you needed on hand and started early one morning you could feasibly get this project done by early evening.
Part 15: Irons in the Fire
Part 16: Seating Available
I drove out of town and picked it up for only 35 bucks. It was also disgusting, but after lots of clean up and pulling off all the old hog rings I had something I could work with.
Here's are some pictures of my back seat all foamed out and installed in the back of the car.
To begin I started by laying out what the cover design would look like on my seat foam. Here is a picture of the markings I made while trying to get the layout right on the rear seats.
Part 17: Good in the Hood
By brazing the end of the brace back on in place the previous owner had stuck it back together with a bit of a twist in it. I had to cut it apart to put the end back on nice and square. During this process I learned that you can not weld onto metal which has been brazed, it must be re-brazed.
The other, non-brazed, side was completely busted off. It was easier to deal with because I was able to just clean it up and weld it back.
Part 18: Getting a Handle on Things
The passenger door on my old Ford was sans one handle. This made it difficult for passengers to get in.
To enter the car a passenger would have to risk contracting tentanous by sticking their index finger into a dark and mysterious hole with sharp edges to push against a tiny panel that was difficult to find and even harder to push.
This was a skill that had to be learned by each new passenger. Needless to say it was irritating to try and explain and hard for folks understand.
I'm not sure what the part that was missing was called, but we'll call it a plunger. It is what makes contact with the plate that actually unlatches the door so it can be opened.
I thought a machine screw with a nice rounded head would work well as a new plunger. So I drilled out the existing hole in the handle and cut threads cut some threads for the screw.
I smoothed the head of the screw the bench grinder some sandpaper to help reduce friction. I re-fit the handle and tested it for clearance. After I saw that it worked I pulled everything back apart and cleaned what I could with a wire brush and cleaner. I lubed both the handle and the latch mechanism and reassembled it all nice and tightly
Below are some pics taken from the window channel looking down into the door. You can see the screw head against the unlatching plate. Closed position on the left and Open on the right.
Part 19: Interior Panels
To create the pattern I used magnets and tape to hold up clear plastic material. You can find this stuff at most fabric stores.
After the material is in place I marked out all the important things like door handles, window cranks and holes for the panel clips.
Here I have the plastic in place. It makes it easy to mark everything you need to when you can see it.
If you need a more water-proof application for a covertible you may want to build them out of a material that could hold up better when wet. Some ABS plastic sheets would work or some harware store bathroom paneling.
That is a drawing of a speaker in the bottom left, not a booby.
The panels are held on by clips that go through designated holes in the car's body. The clips attach to the panels by...
There are lots of different types of clips. I used these because they are close to what was used originally.
The clips are offset by about half an inch so I drilled my clip holes through the panels accordingly.
The quarters were a little tricky and required some extra attention around the wheel wells.
I recommend a test fit of everything, then pull it all out again and block sand your edges nice and smooth. You want your panel edges as nice and straight as possible.
Part 20: Off My Rocker
I was pretty nervous about cutting into it. It's a big project and I had never done a rocker replacement before. I mean what if I cut it all up and couldn't get it back together? I'd have a big rusty, undriveable mess on my hands.
But after loads of research on the internet, including my first foray into Pinterest to assemble my reference pictures, I had a good idea of what to do and felt like I could handle it... probably.
To begin I broke out the saws-all and the cutting wheel. The smell of hot steel hung thick in the air of the garage and the further I cut into the project the more I realized what a rusty old hulk I've been driving around.
Digging into the rockers revealed a lot of rust issues that I figured were there but until this point I had seen face to face.
I cut the rocker off at the door pillar. I will need to remove the fender to get to the front portion of the rocker. I will get this done in part 2.
Taking the fender off will more than likely open up a brand new can of worms to give me new kinds of fresh hell, but It's gotta get done, and doing it will give me even more to write about here. I have a nagging feeling that the grill is coming off to strip off the over-spray (thank you previous owner) and generally spruce things up.
Here both the inner and the outer rocker have been separated from the car. After cutting them off I went back with the cut-off wheel on my grinder and made sure that the bottom of the floor pan was totally flush.
This is important because if the underside of the floor is uneven it won't fit flush against the new inner rocker.
I will finish welding them when I receive my new outer rocker panels and I can make sure everything lines up.
I intend on trying my hand a fabricating some outer rocker panels for behind the door.
I have to say it's a nice feeling to see some fresh steel in the old Ford. Feels like I'm winning the battle against rust at least a little bit. For my next entry I'll pull of the front fender and try fitting my new outer rocker panel.
Stay tuned to see if I can manage to weld this mess back together into something that looks like a car, or if I will burn down my Ford and my mom's garage in the process.
Part 21: Floors
So one afternoon I decided to see just how bad off it really was...
I drilled out the rivets holding the patch panels down and pulled the panels off and this is what was there.
It was rust. Surprise!
The soft floor was due to the awful state the body mount was in. Notice the rusty remnants of the body mount in the bottom pic.
I cut the worst of the floor out and I will make a patch panel to be welded in.
body mount bold was so corroded you couldn't get a wrench on it and even if you did it was not coming out without a fight.
I started by cutting a slot in the top with the cutoff wheel.
This will come in very handy when it's time to back the bolt out.
is the best thing to use but it certainly works.
I've also read about folks doing this with wax. I can't vouch
for that because I've never done it that way but you can see
how in theory it would because it is petroleum.
When you whack an impact driver with a hammer it
turns just slightly in one direction or the other. The
force of the hammer blow keeps it well seated in the screw head.
Basic stuff but effective.
vice grips to back it the rest of the way out.
I like removing bolts this way because there is not drilling
out snapped-off bolts or tapping new threads. It is a little
time consuming, but not nearly as time consuming as drilling
out rusty bolts.
It took me awhile to develop a little patience with old bolts.
But this approach keeps me from busting the bolt off in the
threads and spitting and cussing.
In the end I think I save time not to mention I get to use the
torch which will never cease to be at least a little fun.
I bought this new body mount from Chris and Hollie at Shoebox-Central. They have a real passion for these old cars and provide excellent customer.
I have since added some washers under the bolt heads to spread the pressure out.
While I have a hole in the floor I am going to weld up the leak in the exhaust left by the muffler guy. Thanks muffler guy! In his defense its in a place that would be tough to get to but he's a professional so I don't know if that's really an excuse.
After everything has been mocked up and I'm sure it's in the right place I'll weld the body mount to my inner rocker panel.
I will butt weld the front and inner edge and plug weld the rear. Then plug weld the patch panel to the new body mount below. This should make everything rock solid again.
First impressions are that it fits pretty well. With a little more trimming here and there it will be perfect. The beads at the bottom left match up better than I thought they would.
I was pretty excited to get welding on this panel.
To get it to line up there was some massaging to be done with the body hammer. But for a first try I think I made a pretty good effort
Here it is tacked in and sprayed down with weld through primer.
Part 22: Floors Part 2
In any case, I got it all welded in, and as you can see here I primed over it. I welded the floor to the body mount through holes drilled directly above the mount. This is called plug welding.
Also note the toe-board. It's really rusty on the top right. I will have to cut it out and replace it too!
When you remove your body mounts make sure you support the car's body in the same position. You can run a scissor jack up under the door pillar or stack some 2x4 under it. Whatever you do you want to support it somehow so your doors don't sag when you cut the mound away from the inside of the door pillar.
The body mount must be unbolted from the frame in two places and then cut off the body at the spot welds.
Just like with the last body mount on this side the bolt was rusted in place. Unfortunately I twistedt the head off with a wrench. Out comes the torch and penetrant
Heat it with the torch and cool it with the oil. I like to use 3in1 because it doesn't start a big fire.
I then cut a slit in the bolt threads and used ratchet and a driver bit to ease it out.
There is much more to do but at least some of the work is done. In Floors pt. 3 I'll get my new body mount welded in, fabricate a big ol' patch for the floor over it, and tie up some loose ends with this project. The it's on to more rocker panel excitement! Thanks for reading and stay tuned.
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