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Projects BChrismer's Beater '40 Ford Panel Project

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by bchrismer, Dec 28, 2019.

  1. I've posted a few teaser photos in a couple of threads, but figured I should go ahead and start a "build thread".

    In November, with the help of my buddy Mike Meeker, we picked up a '40 Ford Panel from up near St Louis and hauled it back to SWMO to start working on it. I'm pretty fortunate that Mike has a barn I can store it in and we move it over to his body shop to work on it after hours.

    The plan is to build it pretty much "as is" on the exterior, use the '40 Flatty that I pulled out of my stake truck, backed by a wide ratio Saginaw 4 speed, and a 3.0 geared 8" Ford rear end.

    I'll spare you most of the boring photos and hit kinda the highlights so far. 20191115_110339.jpg Loading it up onto the trailer for the ride home

    20191115_113201.jpg It came with a pretty nice '40 1/2 ton hood

    And a decent set of front fenders and a radiator

    A shot in the parking lot after lunch before hitting the road back to SWMO

    Unloaded into Mike's cattle barn
    Day one project, removing the locked up flatty, transmission, and installing a Posie's rear leaf spring setup and an 8" Ford Granada rear end.
    I was pretty impressed with the Posies rear setup. Yeah, I know that there's still a lot of cleanup to be done to the chassis, but trying to get the major hits done while it's at Mike's shop.
    To my surprise, the 58" wide Granada happens to be about 2" too narrow for a panel truck, although they are perfect for a passenger car. Who'd have guessed that? I opted to pull some old US Mags out of the collection and use some 1.25" wheel adapters to resolve the inner fender clearance issues.
    Bought some of the "new" US Mags Indys for the front in a 15x5 width and had some 165/80r15s and some 235/75r15s installed on the wheels.

    Looks like it's gonna fill the space nicely.
    20191220_161244.jpg Scored a killer deal on a front end setup that was removed from a '40 convertible being converted to a Mustang II. The front end stuff will get used in this project, the nice '40 passenger column will go in the collection, and the steering wheel will go in the panel truck. Also included in the score was a good Saginaw 3 speed, bellhousing, flywheel, pressure plate and a low mile clutch disc, a '40 crossmember that has been clearanced for a mechanical fuel pump, and a bunch of other odds and ends. Huge thanks for the top out to @okiedokie!
    Cut out the rusty floors to replace soon and to give us access to take out the center X Member support to replace with the Chassis Engineering stuff I bought.
    After the end of the 3rd day of getting after it, we have the rear end set and the front end mocked up.
    20191227_154145.jpg Still need to swap the axle with the dropped axle that I bought from Nostalgia Sid, but it's getting there!

    Attached Files:

    dwollam, hotrodharry2, brEad and 33 others like this.
  2. 40FORDPU
    Joined: Mar 15, 2009
    Posts: 3,041

    from Yelm, Wa
    1. Northwest HAMBers

    "I'll spare you most of the boring photos " there such a thing?
    Off and running, you guys are getting after it.
    Neat project, big fan of all '40's.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2019
  3. Primered Forever
    Joined: Jul 7, 2008
    Posts: 352

    Primered Forever
    from Joplin,MO

    I like it Bret!!!
    bchrismer likes this.
  4. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 12,276

    from KCMO

    Fantastic, love your 40 builds
    bchrismer likes this.

  5. Pinstriper40
    Joined: Sep 24, 2007
    Posts: 3,406


    More '40's is more fun!! I like those wheels!
    bchrismer and -Brent- like this.
  6. Will obviously be following. :D Glad you started a thread to document it. If you are like me, it will help you remember what all you did. ;)
    bchrismer, nunattax and arkiehotrods like this.
  7. Terraizer
    Joined: Jul 18, 2006
    Posts: 510


    Will be following this one, very nice.
    bchrismer and nunattax like this.
    Joined: Dec 3, 2002
    Posts: 1,119


    That's gonna be cool! Subscribed!
    bchrismer likes this.
  9. WB69
    Joined: Dec 7, 2008
    Posts: 1,570


    Nice! Liking it.
    bchrismer likes this.
  10. hoop
    Joined: Mar 21, 2007
    Posts: 598


    Very nice Bret, 40 Fords are cool.Enjoy.
    bchrismer likes this.
  11. Wow...way more feedback than I had expected this early into the thread! Thanks for the kind words.

    I tend to overthink these things, and these threads kinda become my scratch pad. For those of you who read through them, I hope that they are somewhat entertaining and informative.

    The original plan, for wheels, was another set of American Torq Thrust Originals, however in the back of my head I kept thinking how much I wanted to use the US Indys, but they were the wrong bolt pattern. The wheels that we had initially put on for rollers were some Dodge van 15x7 steel wheels with a 3 3/4" backspace, and the 235/70's were rubbing against the lip of the bed floor. With the 1.25" wheel adapter/spacers, and the 3 3/8" backspace on the US Indys, it actually wound up saving me money over buying the new set of 'Muricans. It also fits that late 60's early 70's era street rod look that I dig.

    For those of you who followed my 3 speed into a the coupe thread, that all blew up with the bellhousing adapters, so I wound up swapping it to a hydraulic clutch and a Chevy bellhousing. That freed up the flathead to Chevy adapter, which is going into this project. Saginaw 3 and 4 speeds come in 4 different varieties, and I have become a HUGE fan of the wide ratio versions, which are recognized by having 3 rings (v shape grooves around the circumference of the input shaft), which have a low 1st gear of 3.5:1. They work FANTASTIC with the high rear end ratios that are common in the 8" Ford rear ends, giving me a good take off ratio and ultimately a nice highway cruising ratio. A fraction of the cost of a T5, to boot!

    Yesterday, on the way out to Meeker's, I stopped by the local clutch shop. I had asked them to make a 9" clutch disc with a Chevy 1 1/8" 10 spline hub. I also was able to score a new pressure plate from them for $20 less than what Speedy Bill's charges. I'll sneak out to my garage tomorrow, after church, and install the new clutch and pressure plate on the back of the flatty. I need to scrounge around and find one of the throw-out bearing carriers that I have so I can put a new bearing on it, and then the bellhousing adapter will be ready to go back on the flatty.

    The latest Saginaw was found up near St Louis, and @cvstl wound up making the deal for me. I'm hoping to make a run up that way next week, things look good inside the transmission, and I can get it mated to the flathead. Then we can set it into the panel and plan on how we are going to have to modify the replacement floorboard to accommodate for the Hurst floor shifter. (Yeah, I thought about using a '41 passenger column and doing the 4 speed on the column like I did with the coupe, but my buddies shot that down quickly.)

    Anyway...a lot of stuff just to say thanks for following along, and hipping y'all to the short term plans.

    BTW...I threw this photo from Howard Towne's book "Two Great Trucks..." to show the differences between the front crossmembers in the V8 vs 4 and 6Cyl '41 Fords and radiator mounts. This panel is definitely '40, from all the badges and interior stuff, but the frame has the 6cyl crossmember, and it has the v8 grille and hood. For those of you who aren't familiar with '40/41 trucks, hope that is new info that adds to your Ford knowledge.
  12. Kan Kustom
    Joined: Jul 20, 2009
    Posts: 2,667

    Kan Kustom

    Love it ! I am working on one myself.
    kidcampbell71 and bchrismer like this.
  13. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 21,039

    Staff Member

  14. chevyfordman
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,005


    Bret, A 51 Ford car has built in turn signals
  15. 40Standard
    Joined: Jul 30, 2005
    Posts: 5,834

    from Indy

    gotta love those 40's, interesting build
  16. MO_JUNK
    Joined: Jan 22, 2006
    Posts: 1,065

    from Rolla, Mo.

    Very nice Bret. I'm enjoying your build and I am looking forward to seeing it up close.
    nunattax likes this.
  17. one of my buddies has had one for years. He chopped it I think 3 inches. It is a beautiful rod, wins tons of awards where ever he goes. He had a bitch of a time finding rear doors as his were in terrible shape. wished I had a pic but I don't. Keep at it. It will be a great ride.
  18. This 1 is going to be BITCHEN Bret
  19. Made the trip up to Clay's yesterday and retrieved the Saginaw 4 speed, complete with a Hurst shifter that is mounted further forward than most of the ones I have seen. The price of Hurst shifters, plus the mounting kits for them, made the deal well worth the money. In the process, I also picked up several other parts that were intended for a '40 sedan, but the new owner has decided to go with a Mustang II. A brand new Chassis Engineering dropped axle and the front spring to go with it were part of that haul. Also a stock steering box and another '40 passenger column.

    While I was at Clay's, we bent the spindle arms on a set that is going with a Nostalgia Sid's dropped '40 axle under the front of the panel.

    The new pressure plate that I bought from the local clutch shop had the bolt holes about 1/8" too small of a circle, so it wouldn't fit. I took it back this morning and they tried 2 more times to find the right one. The second try scored the magic pattern, so I took it home and put the new clutch with the Chevy hub and new flywheel on the flywheel.

    This afternoon, I dropped off my spindles to have new bushings installed and reamed for the kingpins. Should have them back Thursday or Friday. I also took a run down to Doug's shop and dug through my parts stash there. Found the new throw out bearing that was intended for the coupe and the 'vette style master cylinder that will be used on the stock pedals.

    Tomorrow, I'll run over to O'Reilly and get a new tailshaft seal for the transmission, and if the hardware store is open, will buy the bolts to bolt the transmission to the bellhousing adapter, then I can mate the transmission to the flathead.

    I'm hoping that I can get up to Meeker's shop this weekend to finish up the x-member plates and set the motor and transmission in the truck and if everything goes right, maybe even put in the dropped axle.
  20. This afternoon, after taking my wife to an early movie & lunch, I ran up to O'Reilly and picked up a new rear seal and a replacement seal puller, since the last one was donated to my bro-in-law's shop, I popped in a new National seal for the tail shaft and bolted up the bellhousing adapter, and put the throwout bearing in so I could bolt it up to the flatty. As a last minute thought, I rolled it over onto it's side and slid the speedometer driven gear out to count teeth on the speedo drive gear. Imagine my surprise when I saw that there is no speedo drive gear!

    New 10 tooth drive gear and retaining clip ordered. With these Saginaw's, to remove the tailshaft housing, you have to take the c clip off of the rear bearing to allow the housing to come off. To get to that, you have to pull the side cover off, so looks like I'll be doing more than previously planned on the transmission and will delay setting the motor for another week or so.
    LOU WELLS, guthriesmith and Tim like this.
  21. Keep those "boring" pics coming!
  22. You have made a lot of progress in a short period of time, the 40 looks pretty darn sold and will make a great driver, and to echo Bill, please keep the "boring" photo's coming! :D HRP
    bchrismer likes this.
  23. Kan Kustom
    Joined: Jul 20, 2009
    Posts: 2,667

    Kan Kustom

    Yes, pictures of all you do. I would love to be in the garage with you on this one.
    bchrismer likes this.
  24. Nostrebor
    Joined: Jun 25, 2014
    Posts: 1,173


    In for the ride!

    I love a 40 Ford. Does not matter the flavor... and a rare Meeker sighting too!:D
    bchrismer and guthriesmith like this.
  25. Malcolm
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 7,711

    from Nebraska

    Always enjoy a good build thread.. I'll be following along!
    bchrismer likes this.
    Joined: Jan 24, 2010
    Posts: 2,051

    from IDAHO

    A Very Worthy Project And You Have Us Riding Along For This Great Start For 2020...Appreciated... forties.gif
    bchrismer likes this.
  27. straykatkustoms
    Joined: Oct 30, 2001
    Posts: 14,298


    You got my attention, this will be fun to watch. All of us are looking forward to the future boring updates. Lol!
    bchrismer and kidcampbell71 like this.
  28. I heard that the SK500 is a target to shoot for too...through the grapevine. :D
    bchrismer and straykatkustoms like this.
  29. straykatkustoms
    Joined: Oct 30, 2001
    Posts: 14,298


    What?? That is huge news!!
    bchrismer likes this.
  30. Just don’t tell Bret I let the cat out of the bag. :p

    Oh, and is a similar target to get Silas’s pu going too. Just so I don’t only put Bret out there, but myself as well... :eek:

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