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My 54 is on its way, (updated 10.24)

2012 Oct 20 Sat 6:57 pm

The transformation of my almost 60 year old car "back" to a daily driver begins.......

I got the front disc brake kit in place (a few weeks ago), though the hyd. lines aren't connected yet. Probably going to redo all of the lines once I'm done with everything brake install wise.
Finally got the rear axle bolted in place today. I picked it up two weeks ago, cleaned it up and painted it, and put it in the car. I didn't actually bolt it in because I ordered heavy duty shocks and a sway bar from Dave Theobault (spl ?) . While it was just sitting there. I measured for rear wheels. The fronts are Weld Draglite, 15" x 7" and the rears are also Draglites only 15" x 8". The front tires are 215-75 and the rears are 235-75.
Again, the rear disc's (and parking brake) aren't hooked up yet.
Because of the narrowing of the housing and using big Ford bearings, the "U" bolts were a real pain to install today. I put 1-1/2" lowering blocks in beacuse of the 28+" tall tire and wanting to keep the body somewhat the stock height. The new axle ends are 3" dia., while the stock axle tube is 2-3/4" ia. This made installing the "U" bolts a real pain in the butt. Some torch work, hammer work, pushing and shoving....everything is in place.

I got the dash board out the other day. Trying to unwind the Champian wire harness and ready to remove it and install a new 12 volt (smaller wires). I need to be carefull what I remove because the new harness doesn't "seem" complete/or the same as the Champ. harness...so...gotta take my time. The Commander dash is ready to go into place, once I'm ready to take my chances with the wiring...!
The Commander dash is now black with marginal chrome parts, but the black dash really seems to hide many of the blemishes in the chrome parts and bring out the cleaned and polished chrome to look better thAn it should...!
I'm using NOS gauges in a 53 type hood setup. The 53's have four seperate gauge hoods, VS. the 54 using one long gauge hood.

So far only one bucket seat is in. This makes things MUCH easier to work on the dash and later to replace a little bit of floor. The left side floor is in pretty good shape, while the right side needs about a 12" x 18" patch installed, and also removal of the stock heater and plugging that hole..!

Gonna try to get the trans. out tomorrow, though it's supposed to rain..
We'll see.

Will post more when more is done worth posting.


Re: My new 54 is on its way to being a daily driver....again

2012 Oct 24 Wed 6:22 am

I've had a "spare" T-200-4R for some time. It was rebuilt by on "old" race trans. company, C&O Hydro, about 10 years ago as a spare for my other two cars.

Well, I decided to keep it as a "spare" and go buy a new one from Art Carr (another "old time" race trans. company).
This Friday is my "off Friday", so I'm gonna make the trip to their shop in the morning. I'll watch as the trans. is installed on their breakin dyno, check the pressures, adjustments, etc., and otherwise, make sure all is well...before I take it home.
Most of the better shops these days do this.

Out for now.


Update -

Went to Art's shop Friday morning. Nice guy, his receptionist/do all help, showed us to out the shop. A Ford trans. was on the test stand. The guy finished that work and put my trans. in place. Took all of about 5 minutes to swap them..!
Filled it with fresh fluid, hooked everything up and started the engine (a Buick V-6).
He warmed it a little, then put it thru its paces, several times. Using light throttle and hard throttle, low rpm and higher rpm. Watched the pressures and how the trans. shifted.
He was friendly and answered all of my questions.
We went back into the office and handled the money stuff, listened to some of Arts war (drag racing wars) stories. We stuck the trans. and a new converter in the back of my Lark and I headed for home.

Re: My 54 is on its way to being a daily driver, again (update)

2012 Nov 25 Sun 9:43 pm

Nice updates. I am beginning to work on my '54 as well. I also will be going with a 200 4R, found one on craigs list that had been rebuilt several years ago, but never was installed. Probably not as nice as yours, but hopefully will do the job. Later this week I will be pulling the 4 barrel 289 out of the 64 Cruiser donor, along with the suspension, 11" finned drums and TT Dana 44. After that will clean up the motor, change some gaskets, put new valve seals in. Next step is prepping the wagon to receive new parts.


Re: My 54 is on its way to being a daily driver, again (update)

2012 Nov 26 Mon 7:31 am

Hey Pat, keep us updated on your build too.

I finally got the trans. out, the engine is next.
I bought an anti-sway bar for the rear of the wagon, got it in...BUT...
Since the rear tires are almost 29" tall, I installed 1-1/2" lowering blocks to get it back to a good ride height. Well...in doing this, now, the sway bar won't connect to the spring pads..the bar hits the axle before the verticalbars will connect to the spring pads ! Plus, the 54 and earlier pads don't have the sway bar mount location..!
Luckily that 55 wagon that's just been sitting..."does/did" have the correct pads, but I still have the sway bar mount problem.

Well, when I put the GM truck arms on my first 54 wagon, I saved a few things, and the spring pads was one of those things..!
So...I cut the shock tab off of the early spring pads and welded them onto the top of the 55 pads for a new sway bar mount location. Saving the original location for...just in case..! I put the pads that I cleaned and painted for the new 54...back onto the 55 to hold it together.

BUT (another but..!)... While I got the first side figured out and welded together...my welder died on me about half way thru welding up the second spring pad/sway bar mount... Great...so now just to finish off the mounting the rear axle, I need to spring for a new welder, as I doubt the parts to fix it are much cheaper than a new one. My guess, about half the cost of a new welder. Will call around to verify.
And yea, I'll need it for more thAn just this small task, so I do need to have one.



Re: My 54 is on its way to being a daily driver, again (update)

2012 Nov 26 Mon 8:11 am

Bummer on the welder. Sure wish I had found these one when I was shopping for one a while back: http://www.eastwood.com/welders/mig-welders.html

Plus, if you are not already and Eastwood subscriber, you can sign up and get another 10% off.

Re: My 54 is on its way to being a daily driver, again (update)

2012 Nov 26 Mon 1:35 pm

Pat -

Thanks for the Eastwood hint..
The looks are very simillar to my current 175amp Miller welder, the gun is the same...but the box is a mirror image and it's black instead of blue...and cheaper than the 180amp Miller replacement..!

Maybe I'll give them a try, it's about the same cost as replacing the capacitors in my current Miller.


Update -
I bought the Eastwood 175 Mig welder.
Thanks again Pat..

Re: My 54 is on its way to being a daily driver, again (update)

2012 Dec 02 Sun 8:07 pm

Received the Eastwood welder already...! Got it Saturday. I haven't had time to set it up.
I had to put the spring pad back on the car to get the car back on the ground and ready to try to pull the engine before the rain...didn't make it..
Everythings ready, just missed as far as the rain is concerned.

As far as the welder.... It's about the same size as most of this type welder, about 60+ lbs. worth. The gun is much like the Miller gun. It comes with an aluminum gun and a strange little face shield, not a helmet, just a shield. While the gas hose is nicer thAn the Miller, the regulator seems pretty cheap. A spool of .032" wire is also in the box. Too thick for most car work.
My guess, it'll weld just fine....just now to see how long it lasts, for some reason, I don't seem to have much luck with welder longevity...!?

Anyone in SoCal free next weekend, the Moon Christmas Party at Irwindale drag strip should be pretty good, normally is...and no rain in the forcast.

I bought a 54, 4dr. Champian....it's a running parts car. It's an absolute...bottom of the line car. Even the radio delete plate...it's painted steel..NOT cast ! Have never seen one like that. The front end (grill, hood, fenders, etc.) is for the most part pretty nice, rear bumper is straight, but needs chrome, the tail light housings are clean but painted, so they'll need plating if I need to use them. Got some under-car parts that are in good shape. One front fender is a little strange, dent wise. I think it can be straightened fairly easy. the rest is dent/rust free.
I stole the window crank handles today. Between three cars (two wagons and the 4dr.) I came up with 4 good window crank handles. Ones that the knob doesn't wobble around like it wants to fall off..
I derusted the four, put some wax on them..."rain...", so I didn't get them on the wagons.

That's it for now.


Re: My 54 is on its way to being a daily driver, again (update)

2012 Dec 04 Tue 7:03 pm

Good deal on the welder, which model? I have a little used Lincoln 180 that will probably last me forever. Sure wish it would have come with the spool gun. Just curious about the quality of the Eastwood.


Re: My 54 is on its way to being a daily driver, again (update)

2012 Dec 05 Wed 7:35 am

Hey Pat -

It's their 175 model. Same as the one it's replacing..
So far...all I see as far as the possible place of manufacture is Canada. I'll look harder this weekend.

I noticed that Lowes carries Lincoln welders. While cheaper than the Miller, slightly more than the $499.99 Eastwood (free shipping, no tax..!).
I wish I knew why the last two welders that I've had died a premature death..!


Re: My 54 is on its way to being a daily driver, (12.09 update)

2012 Dec 09 Sun 1:51 pm

Finally got the flathead out this morning. No muss, no fuss.
I think I have a buyer...so hopefully by next weekend, the engine and trans. will be gone.

Now it's time for much cleaning, painting, rearranging of stuff.

I've got a few things to do to the 259 before it goes in. One thing is to install one of my adjustabe cam drives. Partially just to verify that they "will" live on the street (AND not leak..)...and secondary to find out if changing the stock cam timing has any/much effect.
Also thinking of doing some light cylinder head port work, regrind the seats, hard exhaust seats. I don't know how long the Stude engine will be in place...so just in case it's there for a while, I think I'd like it to be sorta fresh.
Actually, the engine came out of my 60 Lark, that has only 23,000 original miles. And I don't think its been abused at all.

Because of the above and the holidays, might be low on posts for a while.
But check in, may have something to report.

Drove blue car number one...to the Moon Christmas party yesterday (Saturday) at the Irwindale Raceway. Ended up parked next two other Stude's (a 49 or 50 and a 53) I sometimes see there. They were turning show type cars away, the place was so full. Late spectators were parked over 3/4 mile away. Fullest I've seen that show. Looks like they may have to move it to a larger facility...


P.s. - With my 2, 54 wagons and four doors on the sedan, I did come up with (4) good window cranks (two for each wagon). You know...ones that the chrome knob doesn't flop around like it wants to fall off...!
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