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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. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,546

    Hamtown Al
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    No pictures but the distributor did arrive today and at least looks like it will work!:)
    Haven't caught up with the PO yet about the tires... she might be off spending the cash!!:eek::D:D
     
  2. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 5,032

    57JoeFoMoPar
    Member

    This thread and car are awesome. Getting one sorted out after sitting a while is a real treat, eh?

    That carburetor looks like the stuff of nightmares. Time for a Holley or Edelbrock with a nice new electronic distributor and put some real miles on this ol gal.
     
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  3. oldwood
    Joined: Mar 13, 2010
    Posts: 979

    oldwood
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from arkansas

    I guess I'll be the one to Sing this Verse: Blackbird singing in the dead of night
    Take these broken wings and learn to fly
    All your life you were only waiting for this moment to
    aris
     
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  4. clem
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 3,423

    clem
    Member

    except it has the wide whites............:D
    I don’t really care about the tyres, and I get the impression that you or your son in law don’t either.
    You seem really happy with your purchase, and it looks a beautiful car.
    Pleased that you got the issues sorted...........or have you ?
     
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  5. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,546

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    Bought new MSD coil and studs w/nuts for the adaptor and ordered old manifold to adaptor gasket and a new 500 cfm Edelbrock w/electric choke.;)
    It's coming together!:)
     
  6. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,142

    jaracer
    Member

    One thing to remember is that you don't have a lot of hood clearance. The cork strip on the breather is supposed to seal the area right in front of the hood scoop, so it touches the hood.
     
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  7. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,546

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    I expect hood clearance to be another "opportunity";):D but I want it running fast and strong and reliably first!:)
    We'll figure something out... I hope!!:D
     
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  8. miker98038
    Joined: Jan 24, 2011
    Posts: 621

    miker98038
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    When you pull the old distributor, check the overall length and gear placement against the new one. There’s been some “short” distributors out there that don’t engage the gears or the oil pump rod completely. I think they were all Cardone rebuilds, you should be fine, but it’s worth a look. No gasket under the distributor either on a y block.
     
  9. OahuEli
    Joined: Dec 27, 2008
    Posts: 5,091

    OahuEli
    Member
    from Hawaii

    Matthews junkyard had a lot of cool stuff that we just kinda overlooked at the time. Do you remember the mid '50s 2 door Studebaker wagon with the tree growing up through the engine compartment?
     
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  10. Did it look like this? 20210521_095450.jpg
     
  11. OahuEli
    Joined: Dec 27, 2008
    Posts: 5,091

    OahuEli
    Member
    from Hawaii

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  12. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,546

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    The only one I remember is the Hudson pickup but I appreciate the trip back in time and that wagon is something!
    I brought the Thunderbird to my shop yesterday and left it to cool.;)
    Bert came over to help gather all the parts (we hope!:D) in one spot.
    Here are some reference pictures of the original setup.
    IMG_6507.JPG
    IMG_6508.JPG
    I also took a couple pictures before these documenting the original height of the cork on the air breather and also how high the metal piece that held the cork was above the manifold.
    IMG_6493 (1).JPG
    IMG_6494.JPG
    Now the fun begins!
     
  13. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,546

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    As I opened the parts I was particularly surprised that the manifold gasket I had to pay expensive shipping to get did NOT have the holes already punched for the dang stock manifold... the parts folks told me this was the correct gasket for the 56 Bird!
    Oh well. Here we go to punch the holes needed in the new gasket.
    IMG_6516.JPG
    IMG_6517.JPG
    I used bolts to hold gasket firmly in place. then flipped it over and laid on my vice and used an icepick to mark the center of each hole.
    IMG_6519.JPG
    IMG_6520.JPG
    You can see the 4 icepick holes above. Then I placed a smaller ball peen hammer over each hole.
    IMG_6521.JPG
    A whack with a bigger hammer and the hole was punched.
    IMG_6523.JPG
    Here's the finished gasket.
    IMG_6525.JPG
    Now to get the old carburetor off the car.
     
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  14. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,546

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    IMG_6526 (1).JPG
    One last measurement to the tip of the stud that holds the air cleaner on... pretty much 10" on the nose from the ref point on the manifold.
    After getting the carb off I discover that the present manifold gasket looks pretty new and in good shape. I was told the carb was rebuilt so the new gasket is consistent with the story which is a good thing. I'm thinking a coat of copper coat spray sealant should do the job.:)
    IMG_6530.JPG
    Question I have is what/how to plug two fittings coming out of the intake manifold that were hooked to tubing that both went to the carburetor? I was surprised to see that the ends attaching to the fittings on the carburetor both just slid right in the hole... no thread, no sealant, no nuthin'!! I'm guessing they are vacuum lines but sure didn't seem too air tight to me. I'll figure a way to plug them and see what happens. Somebody that speaks Y-block can tell me what it is and suggest a solution... I won't mind.;):D
    IMG_6531.JPG
    This one is on the driver's side and seems to bee just a little brass sleeve that the brass fitting on the end of the tubing just slid into. Baffles me.:)
    Learning Al
     
  15. Dennis D
    Joined: May 2, 2009
    Posts: 756

    Dennis D
    Member

    May have something to do with the choke if it is a hot air type. D
     
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  16. Hot air source for the choke; if the tube isn't rusted/burned out inside the manifold there's no real need to plug the ends.
     
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  17. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,546

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    ^^^Thank you! I was wondering if both outlets were basically just heat sources to help the carb and choke. I'll just leave them open and see what happens.;)
    I greatly appreciate all the interest and help and shared experiences as I break a new trail into Y-blocks.:)
    Still Learning Al
     
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  18. miker98038
    Joined: Jan 24, 2011
    Posts: 621

    miker98038
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    Plug one side and see if you can blow thru the other with a short piece of vacumn hose. Those choke heat tubes often rust out, and just open give you an exhaust leak.

    This is an “ask me how I know” comment. If it’s an o/d car with the kick down switch working, you need to consider that when you adjust the new carb throttle linkage. On the 55’s they used a spring loaded on one side or the other of the bell crank. So you hit full throttle before you closed the kickdown switch. The spring loaded link let you push further and close the switch. They apparently didn’t use that in 56-57, no idea why. Money, probably. Just a minor item to keep in mind. The switch has a long thread mount to adjust it under the throttle pedal.
     
  19. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,142

    jaracer
    Member

    Did you get an updated distributor so that you get some spark advance?
     
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  20. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,546

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    ^^^I did get the new HEI distributor and came with advance springs, etc.
    I haven't opened that can of worms yet.;):eek::D
    Also, I'll check for the exhaust leak as suggested. Thanks for the tip.
    Thanks for the guidance... I need all I can get!:)
     
  21. tbirddragracer
    Joined: Jul 25, 2013
    Posts: 91

    tbirddragracer
    Member

    The tube in the intake manifold provides heat to operate the automatic choke
    for the carburetor. This tube does not connect to the exhaust system in any way,
    therefore cannot cause an exhaust leak.
     
  22. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,546

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    ^^Thank you!!
    Another "opportunity" solved!;):)

    BTW. I forgot to mention that the original builder's youngest daughter, Natalie, got the rumble seat yesterday and she and the whole family were so glad to get it!!
    We spoke on the phone and they can't wait to remodel it into some type of chair.
    The memories that rumble seat will refresh will be priceless! And their children and grandchildren, going forward, will undoubtedly be told of stories past and help the legacy of the original builder live on within the family.:)
    I'm thrilled to share the car in such a unique way.:)
     
  23. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,546

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    IMG_6532.JPG
    This was after the first coat. I later improved spruced it up a bit more.;)
    Also took a file across both sides of the adaptor to ensure it was flat and would provide a good seal.
    Installation of the adaptor is next but best to let paint dry!;):D
     
  24. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,142

    jaracer
    Member

    Doesn't it go into the exhaust crossover in the intake? I see they make the replacement out of stainless to keep them from rotting out.
     
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  25. miker98038
    Joined: Jan 24, 2011
    Posts: 621

    miker98038
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    ^^^thats how I remembered it.
     
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  26. y'sguy
    Joined: Feb 25, 2008
    Posts: 465

    y'sguy
    Member
    from Tulsa, OK

    Yes, ^^^^you should plug both sides to be safe. It doesn't take much. a bolt or rivet with sealer.
    On the carb choice I also have the Eldy carb. But I have it on a BlueThunder aluminum manifold and no clearance issues. You will have to be way cautious on closing the hood with that setup. Great way to ruin an expensive hood. I would recommend removing the latches on both sides of the hood and carefully slowly lowering it down by hand. If it's going to touch you know it before ruining anything. Clearance is really tight and I never trust just measuring it, but it will get you in the ballparkThe Eldebrock carb is a decent choice, but I plan to change over to the Summit version of the FORD Autolite carb. It has been found to be more adjustable and efficient according to Ted Eaton. Mine tends to smell rich and I can't seem to ditch that annoyance. Otherwise it's fine and a no brainer.
    IMHO it's best to plug the intake by removing it and closing off the ports in the head with thin metal, this is what I have done for years as it keeps a little less heat out of the intake manifold in theory letting the fuel run cooler. Bonus is the intake runner paint doesn't get burnt off, which will eventually happen to yours the way it is. No big deal though that's the way Henry planned it anyway.
     
  27. y'sguy
    Joined: Feb 25, 2008
    Posts: 465

    y'sguy
    Member
    from Tulsa, OK

    Forgot to say that you can replace the crossover tube IF you remove the intake with the stainless version. Then you don't need to plug it.
    As mention before by TBirdDragracer, the trouble comes I recall when the tube is rusted thru AND you are unplugging it. Then you have a manifold leak. At least that's how I remember it. It's been a while.
     
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  28. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,546

    Hamtown Al
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    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    ^^^Thanks!
    Learning More Al;):D:D
     
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  29. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 9,653

    jimmy six
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Any small base Rochester 4GC or Carter WCFB will bolt to the stock manifold. I used a 53 Cadillac WCFB on my 56 car for 4 years before installing dual quads using 53 Oldsmobiles. The Cadillac even had the fuel line in the back so it literally bolted on with just a minor tab fitted to the stock linkage. I changed the distributor at the same time too. Not sure on a the height for a Thunderbird, but a modern carb with a spacer would be pretty close.
     
  30. shashani
    Joined: Jun 2, 2017
    Posts: 3

    shashani

    good point, V8. I recall an old Ford pickup with a bad ignition switch. If you hung the keys just right, they kept the ignition connected. Otherwise, the truck would quit for no apparent reason.
     
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