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History 1956 Ford Thunderbird find, eventually buy, and get most of way home!!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Hamtown Al, May 10, 2021.

  1. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 40,147

    loudbang
    Member

  2. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,826

    Hamtown Al
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    My son-in-law found several of my Dad's old Motors books from his 31 years of running a service station at one of my storage areas. He'll bring them home tonight for further research.:)
    In light of the information and tips so kindly provided above; I'm wondering if we're not missing a wire since the car also has a tach and it usually has a wire to the negative side of coil. Tach moves but don't think it really works.
    Another "opportunity" to resolve. Dang car might be missing that wire from start terminal on starter solenoid to positive side of coil.:eek::D
    Opportunities abound!!:D
    Thanks for the continued interest and help... and education!!:)
     
  3. 51pontiac
    Joined: Jun 12, 2009
    Posts: 299

    51pontiac
    Member
    from Alberta

    Just had an experience yesterday with my OT beater that may be a rabbit hole to check if other solutions don’t work.
    Driving down road...radio on...everything great. Engine dies...radio has static...coast to a stop and won’t start. I towed it home and thinking about the radio static led me to wiggle coil wire, started right up. Wiggled wire again, ran but misfire and static on radio, wiggled again and wouldn’t run. Checked wire carefully and found spot where it had arced to a bracket. I guess the small movement of wiggling the wire moved it far enough away from bracket to stop the arcing. Perhaps you are having a similar scenario...or not. Beautiful car!
     
  4. tbirddragracer
    Joined: Jul 25, 2013
    Posts: 113

    tbirddragracer
    Member

    I don't think it is a lack of fuel as suggested via an un-vented fuel cap or clogged
    pick-up inlet in the tank. If this was the case , it would not start up immediately after
    sitting for a time, but would require the motor to turn over for a time in order
    to pump gas to the carburetor. I would suggest a wiring diagram to verify correct
    wiring to the coil.
    I have had bad coils, condensers, and points closing up after getting hot on y-blocks
    in the past. Keep after it , you will find the problem. Lots of help on this forum.
    Ernie
     
  5. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,709

    jaracer
    Member

    If it is the stock tach in the dash, it is cable driven off the distributor. It is a mechanical tachometer.
     
  6. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,709

    jaracer
    Member

    If you have the stock mechanical tachometer, you can probably fix it by taking it out an lubing the bushing. The one in my 57 jumped all over when I first got it. I removed it and lubed the bushing with some Marvel Mystery Oil. It took a while to get the tach input to spin freely. The tach works like a speedometer and the input needs to turn freely.

    I also pulled the center out of the drive cable, cleaned and lubed with some Lubriplate. That was about 25 years ago and it has worked fine since. There are also oil caps on the distributor that should be lubed with light oil.
     
  7. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,826

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    IMG_6363.JPG
    Miracle of miracles; I managed to buy a condensor from NAPA that was actually made in America!:)
    I installed the new condensor and took a long test drive; stopping by to see a guy in the neighborhood that has a beautiful teal 55 Thunderbird.;)
    IMG_6364.JPG
    IMG_6365.JPG
    Drove home and cut it off under the car port. Waited a few seconds and it started right back up! Yea!!
    Tried again and it started again. Waited a bit longer and when I went to start it, the starter just spun but did not engage the engine!:eek::mad:
    Opportunities!!:D:D
    If it ain't one thing it is another.:eek::D
    Yep, I hit the starter with a hammer... and it still just spun!:eek:
    Now I'm looking for a really BIG hammer!!:D:D:D
     
  8. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,709

    jaracer
    Member

    Sounds like a broken bendix spring. Had that happen at a video store in my small town. It was evening and I decided to hand push it home wife steering. A guy and his son asked if they could help, not a problem. Got a couple of blocks and a policeman pulled up. He didn't have a problem with us pushing it, just turn on the lights. His squad had a large, padded push bumper which lined up perfectly. A quick shove and I drove the old 'Bird home. Got a new bendix from NAPA and it's been working for 20 years.
     
  9. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,826

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    Son-in-law and I push started car under carport in space of about 12 feet and went for a ride and came back but stopped at top of hill leading down to carport and garages.;) I relocated the 32 and 36 cabriolets to make room for the Tbird on the lift. Then we rolled bird down hill and onto lift.:)
    New starter supposed to be here in the morning.
    Stay tuned.:D
     
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  10. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,826

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    IMG_6367.JPG
    IMG_6368.JPG
    I got the starter and managed to get the old one off.
    IMG_6370.JPG
    The old starter looked okay but the springy thingy was NOT seated in the notch but I don't know whether it matters or not... a Y block guy Y am not!:D
    Installed the new starter after some wrestling.:eek::eek::D:D
     
  11. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,709

    jaracer
    Member

    Looks like you might have broken the washer that locates the spring. In high school I had a number of cars with Y blocks. I used to have a large coffee can full of bendix parts. It wasn't uncommon for the washer or spring to break. Of course all the cars I had came pre-worn out.
     
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  12. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
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    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    IMG_6370 b.JPG
    It started right up!:):)
    Took it for a spin and drove fine as usual... until I blew the horn.:eek: Dang horn stuck!!:eek::eek:
     
  13. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,826

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    I raised hood, beat on relay, and the horn never wavered!:eek::D
    Headed for home; hitting the horn button on the steering wheel every way I could think of and it finally quit.:)
     
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  14. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
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    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    I got it back home on the lift and cut it off. It started right back up! That's good I thought. Not so lucky on the next try.:eek::(:mad:
     
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  15. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,826

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    My dang computer has started acting up and won't type what I'm keyying!! :eek::D
    It goes into some kind of auto type with letters and some words I'm not entering!! ​
     
  16. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
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    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    I'm going out to the garage for a bigger hammer!!​
     
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  17. Bmac40Ply
    Joined: Nov 28, 2011
    Posts: 47

    Bmac40Ply
    Member

    Did it have Port O Walls on it when the first picture was taken that fell off on the journey home by chance?
     
  18. The balancing weights are different on the wide white and the thin white on the drivers side front....definitely changed wheels/tires....
     
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  19. i had a case with a gas powered pole truck back when I was still wrenching for a living, where it did the same as your bird. Turned out there was an electronic tachometer in the gondola on the crane control panel that had gotten water in it and would short out the ignition when the moisture would condense inside it. un plugged the wire to it and things worked fine . replaced it as soon as the new tach came in, good as new.
     
  20. Fortunateson
    Joined: Apr 30, 2012
    Posts: 4,718

    Fortunateson
    Member

    I hope you gets this all straightened out as it's a fine car. I must say you are taking this all in good humour which if it was me I may not be so. Good luck!
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2021
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  21. mrspeedyt
    Joined: Sep 26, 2009
    Posts: 904

    mrspeedyt
    Member

    nice bird. and i like the thin whites on it.
     
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  22. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,826

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    IMG_6384 Beam.jpg
    I drove my 32 cabriolet to a rod run in Williamsburg, VA and thoroughly enjoyed seeing many old pals; including Tom T and some other HAMBers.
    I also bought a 1956 Ford Thunderbird that looks just like the one son-in-law bought!;)
    And it was full of Jim Beam!:D:D
     
  23. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,826

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    Son-in-law, hereafter to be known as Bert, and my daughter decided to drive the car up to pickup dinner. I didn't recommend it but they said they'd keep it running while they ran in to pickup their dinner.
    Yep, I got a call... seems they did not keep it running.:eek::D I rounded up some tools and went by parts place to get new set of Autolite 46 plugs.
    IMG_6389 (2).JPG
    We proceeded to change the plugs in the parking lot with folks just coming and going.
    Several asked if we were doing a parking lot tune-up? I replied that anybody could tune their car up at home but we decided to do ours in the parking lot so we could show off for them.;):D:D
    IMG_6387.JPG
    I did one side mostly and he mostly did the other... it was a cooperative venture... when exhaust manifold got too hot for one of us, the other tried it.;):)
    He thought if had new plugs it would start. I didn't think so but went along, and along, and along... we eventually got all 8 changed.
    I have to say that all 8 plugs were black as all get out and seemed to have been flooded a bunch. No pictures as I was sick of those plugs by the time we got them out and I promptly threw each into a nearby trashcan.:D
    Well, it still didn't start.:eek::(:D:D
    We fetched the hardtop and buttoned it up for the night.
    Hopefully it will start this morning. I also advised Bert not to cut the car off again anywhere but his garage or mine until we found the problem.;):)
    Opportunities!!:D
     
  24. At least these old cars make for some great stories looking back. Or, that is what I try to convince myself at least. I’m sure you and Bert will get it reliable.
     
  25. hotrodjack33
    Joined: Aug 19, 2019
    Posts: 3,798

    hotrodjack33
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    Gee Al, As I recall, this isn't the first car you've had horn issues with...;):D:D

    I absolutely love the new T-Bird...it's the perfect color too...any thoughts on maybe some green rims?;):D
     
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  26. Pretty good indication that the float bowl plug is leaking... or you have the wrong heat range plugs. The FE and later Ford motors almost all used Autolite BF42s (back when they still had the original numbering system), the Y-block used BF82s, or four heat ranges hotter. It does make a big difference....
     
  27. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,826

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    I got it!:)
    Bert went early this morning to retrieve his Thunderbird and, on cue, it started just fine. Later I took him back to get his truck. He then went to work on cleaning and polishing the car and using Mother's to spruce up the chrome as much as possible.
    I returned home and started reading one of many of my Dad's Motors Repair Manuals. I'm reading and thinking all the while about our problem and what could be causing it.
    Then, bingo! I remembered that every time I sprayed ether into the carb, I had to open the choke... duh!! That dang teapot design carburetor threw my thinking calibration off!!:eek::D
    I called Bert and told him to put something in top of carb to hold those flaps open and try to start it.;)
    Moments later I get a call that I'm on to something! The car started!:):) I told him to bring it over and we'd try to fix it. Sure enough, if you propped the choke flaps open, the car started easily.:) Now what to do? We started by thinking of how to hold choke open when a light came on in my old head to try adjusting the automatic choke!!;)
    Sure enough, I took it apart and dialed in the setting such that choke was off after warming up and it starts fine!:)
    IMG_6390.JPG
    As luck would have it, Bert used a pair of needle nose pliers I had recently loaned him to keep the choke open the first time he tried it. What's particularly ironic is that those pliers were my Dad's!! He passed 27 years ago and he's still helping me.;):) And Bert!!
    IMG_6391.JPG
    After it started, I removed the pliers and you can see that the choke flaps are open some. This was before I corrected the automatic choke setting to be more agreeable to working correctly with a warm engine.;):)
    IMG_6392.JPG
    Here's one happy guy!;)
    If it is possible, I'm even happier!!:D:D
    Thanks for all the help and encouragement and remember to check the dang automatic choke on your carb!!
    Boy I'm glad we figured this one out.:)
    Thanks again,
    Happy Al
     

    Attached Files:

  28. Good job!!! Now yank the top off and enjoy!
     
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  29. I'm thinking the same thing.
     
  30. Great Car mine was Feasta Orange I think the 56 are the Better one's
    I have one Question who put the Thundebird Emblem on the Grill ..??
    its should not be their.
    Also do you have the Wonderbar Radio .?

    Just My 3.5 cents

    Live Learn & Die a Fool
     
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