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Projects 53 Ford mild custom build

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by Rand Man, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. That is a clean car...
     
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  2. missysdad1
    Joined: Dec 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,148

    missysdad1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Trying to buff out that paint will only make a big mess. Use dish washing soap like Dawn and Comet cleanser - heavy on the Comet - in hot water to remove the oxidation from the paint without leaving any white residue in the rusty spots. It will take some work but you'll be surprised how good it looks when you're done.
     
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  3. Rand Man
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 3,183

    Rand Man
    Member

    That's a cool suggestion missysdad1. I would like to save this old paint. It's kinda interesting. Must be some early version of a metal-flake job. It has little silver spots all over it. There will have to be some rust repair. I plan to get creative. Maybe only repaint along the bottom with scallops?

    This weekend, my son is helping me. The brakes seem fine. We started installing the lowering blocks. I'm going to install air shocks. I have had a car that bottoms out all the time, and that takes the fun out of it for me.


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  4. That looks like it is in good shape. Good one to start with. I really like my 53. My grille was so rusted that I just sanded it down and painted it. Luckily my bumpers were in good shape. I finally have mine in the primer stage, might drive it like this for the summer. Cheers
    IMG_1913.JPG
     
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  5. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 12,379

    Squablow
    Member

    Air shocks in the rear of a '53 Ford, especially a lowered one, is the best thing you can do when you want to change a tire. The rear wheel opening is low and tight already and when they're lowered further, getting a tire off is really difficult, especially if you use a wheel that's wider than the stock wheels. But with air shocks, you can pump them up to full extension, get a jack underneath the axle and lift the car up that way, makes getting the tire off so much easier.

    You won't regret the air shocks. The only suggestion I might make there is to put a separate Schraeder valve on each shock instead of a T, so you can fill them independently. When you do have to change a tire, it's way better if you can extend just one instead of both at the same time. Also helps to even out a bit of lean if your car doesn't sit level in the rear.
     
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  6. Rand Man
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 3,183

    Rand Man
    Member

    We installed the 3" lowering blocks and rear air shocks. Not much to see, but here's a pic. [​IMG]


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  7. Rand Man
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 3,183

    Rand Man
    Member

    Also, I'm not convinced there's a problem with the gas tank. Somebody put on under coating years ago. I've seen how that looks with a leaking gas tank. No signs of that here, so maybe good news. I ordered a fuel pump.


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  8. Rand Man
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 3,183

    Rand Man
    Member

    I have a good supply of parts gathered. Should be able to accomplish something tomorrow. I'm planning to roll with the original 6V system for now. Any advice on a 12V conversion?


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  9. Rand Man
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 3,183

    Rand Man
    Member

    Had a pretty good day. Got the seats out. Cleaned the floor and painted with POR15. A few, small rust-thru spots to patch, but solid overall. Took the old intake off, getting ready to install the Offy four barrel.


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  10. Sounds like a great project! Hope your son stays interested. I tried to plant that seed in my sons but it failed to grow. I'll be following along.
     
  11. Rand Man
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 3,183

    Rand Man
    Member

    My son is grown now. I must have done something to foster a love of machinery. He has a great job fabricating prototypes for new inventions.


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  12. kingrollo
    Joined: May 24, 2008
    Posts: 39

    kingrollo
    Member

    I trimmed up a '53 Merc' bumper to fit the back of mine (see avatar) as the original was mangled.
     
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  13. Rand Man
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 3,183

    Rand Man
    Member

    I have a big weekend planned. I'll be installing the new springs and shocks, then finish the new intake/carb swap.

    The stock carb linkage is on the right side. I saw a post where the guy installed the new Holley four barrel backwards. Anyone have input on that?


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  14. I installed my holley 390 backwards and everything works perfect.
     
  15. Rand Man
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 3,183

    Rand Man
    Member

    What did you do about your distributor? I'm hearing my stock distributor won't work at all, with a non-stock carb.


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  16. donno
    Joined: Feb 28, 2015
    Posts: 187

    donno
    Member

     
  17. donno
    Joined: Feb 28, 2015
    Posts: 187

    donno
    Member

    I bought a 53 "Vicky", black / white. 3 speed. $300 bucks in 1960. One owner (Female) Did the "Dual thing", lowered. Traded a carton of "Luckies" for the Olds tail lights. Loved it.
     
  18. Rand Man
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 3,183

    Rand Man
    Member

    I got the floor ready. The new carpet will take some trimming. Local hamber Rob Jones came over and helped set the intake on. I started reupholstering my seats with a vintage Western Auto universal kit. The bench bottom is a little loose, and the backs look like they will be a booger, but I will make it fit. [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


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  19. edcodesign
    Joined: Mar 30, 2007
    Posts: 2,151

    edcodesign
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Nice start, good luck !
     
  20. The stock distributor will fire up the engine but it will not work properly. I am lucky to have an old flathead guru that lives not far from my place. He makes HEI distributors for flatheads and that is what I used. There is a guy on Ford Barn that builds distributors for flatheads. http://www.bubbasignition.com/mallory.html I would contact him for advice.
     
  21. Rand Man
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 3,183

    Rand Man
    Member

    Thanks. Yeah, I know GMC Bubba from the H.A.M.B. I'm bidding on a Mallory duel point now. I'll send it to him.

    My only experience with a Ford flathead V8 was with my HA/GR dragster. I had teamed up with hamber Recycler. He owned the engine. Apparently, he had locked the distributor at full advance, for the full-race application. It was plenty powerful. I never knew about the 8ba distributors not working with a non stock carb.


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    Last edited: May 7, 2017
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  22. Rand Man
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 3,183

    Rand Man
    Member

    Okay, dumb question: could take stock distributor be cured by installing a Petronix electronic ignition module? Seems to me, the advance curve could be built into the electronics via hardware or software. If it doesn't work that way, why not?


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  23. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 12,379

    Squablow
    Member

    I hope you're padding those seats and not just putting the slip covers over those bare springs. The slip covers were made to go over the top of the original upholstery, you can use them without the original covers but you need to pad those seats really well, probably 3 inches thick or more on the bottom and backs or the springs will tear those covers to shreds.

    Old blankets (the quilted kind with a layer of fluff inbetween, not knit "Mexican" blankets) work good cut up as padding, and you can use some zip ties to hold it into place if you don't have hog rings. Also, a layer of metal window screen on the springs before you put your padding on helps keep the mice from chewing the stuffing and also helps keep the stuffing from poking through the springs. Again, zip ties would hold the screen in place if you don't have hog rings.
     
  24. Rand Man
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 3,183

    Rand Man
    Member

    I just stuck that seat back piece up there to show the colors. I already padded the seat bottom. It has a heavy cloth over the springs, then an 1 1/2" foam layer. Then more cloth under the new cover. It still may need more padding. I haven't tried to pull it tight.

    The front seat backs seem to be way too tight, even without the padding yet. Maybe they were just made too small in the first place. Sometimes there's a reason NOS parts were never installed. I'll post more pictures.


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  25. All the Pertronix does is replace the points. It still sits on the same advance mechanism. The problem is in how the advance works. Here is an explanation Bubba has on the Load o matic distributor. I apologize for copy and pasting from another site.
    UNDERSTANDING THE LOAD-A-MATIC FULL VACUUM DISTRIBUTORS
    JIM LINDER “BUBBAS Hot Rod Shop” www.bubbashotrodshop.com

    Ford made the “load-a’matic (full vacuum) distributor from 1949 until 1957 on most of their engines . This distributor is very much mis-understood by many owners etc.
    The load a matic works by adding spark advance thru a vacuum chamber using vacuum differential at the carburetor.This vacuum signal from the carb is very low with advance typically starting at ½ inch of vacuum and being full advance at 2 inchs of vacuum.
    The slightest change in the engine vacuum makes this unit become a problem and not supply the correct signal. A carb change is the most common problem making this unit not work. Twin carbs, a camshaft change also makes the unit become inoperative. I have talked to many owners with the vacuum line disconnected with complaints of engine overheating ( retarded ignition timing) and a poor running engine.

    The “fix” for this problem is to use a later distributor that has full centrifugal advance that needs no vacuum signal and is operated by rpm alone . ( may also use vacuum advance as well on some units)

    For the 1949-53 Flatheads we offer a remachined Chevrolet unit with a curved mechanical advace suitable for the flathead engine design. We have built and shipped over 700 of these units to very happy customers over the last years..
     
  26. Rand Man
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 3,183

    Rand Man
    Member

    Okay, I believe it. I'm just saying, someone could design the advance curve into the module. I know that some spark modules have a built-in retard, based on RPM. You could do the same thing with timing advance. If you have an input sensing engine RPM, it's just one more step to trigger an output based on RPM. . .

    Probably has not been done due to lack of demand.

    I didn't win the Mallory, but I have contacted Bubba. I'll get a solution ordered.


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  27. Your carpet kit looks just like the one I just installed in my 53. I bought mine off Ebay. Fit pretty good.
     
  28. Rand Man
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 3,183

    Rand Man
    Member

    Yeah Chris, I bought mine from eBay too. I just saw your post about the carpet. I had bought some modern sound-deadening material. I think I'll use it at least on the trans hump. I may get back out there and accomplish something this evening.


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  29. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 7,357

    Atwater Mike
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I miss my '53 Vic, bought it in Santa Cruz for $300, elder lady had it repainted then sold it to me.
    Sears rebuilt engine (20K miles on it) stick/O.D. Found Foxcraft flare skirts @ Turlock swap, '55 Desoto grille and many other goodies at the wreckers North of Moffet Field. '56 Olds taillights, flattened rear springs, wwws, 15" Dodge pass. car wheels; '55 Olds Fiestas hit the shallow Ford centers, Dodge wheels are 'inset'.
    Shaved nose, deck, door handles. Nice mild custom, BUT: Never got around to exhaust system! V8 flathead with single exhaust. Pipes are the FIRST thing you do! It's the law.
    Moved from my shop, sold Vicky with no engine. Wish I hadn't.
    Got a '54 Ford Coupe now. #1 son bought it for me for Father's Day! Planting a 406/heavy duty Toploader 3 speed (R.A.T.) under the hood. Hairy...
     
  30. Rand Man
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 3,183

    Rand Man
    Member

    Oh don't start talking to me about engine swaps. My plan is to keep the flatty in this one. It's already costing me more than expected. (And I haven't even bought pipes).


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