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Technical drivability question.....

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by flamin' ace, Sep 10, 2014.

  1. okay so heres the scoop... 1959 ford f-100 short bed single cab. only custom feature is the hand painted flying eyeball license plate. engine runs fairly smooth, no power steering, no power brakes, no seat belts, no insurance, no registration. i want to get it ready for a car show that will require a fairly long drive (bout two hours of 55 mph) and then some pretty rough traffic. this car shows in early October. can it be done? i know first step is to get it legal, but after is it wise to just hop in it and go? should i install power steering or no? i think most important of all this has to be done on a teenagers budget, which is a little over 500 bucks currently which is completely for and going towards the truck. should i push and get her going or sit it out another year???
  2. txturbo
    Joined: Oct 23, 2009
    Posts: 1,771


    Get it legal and put a few miles on it first.
    SanDiegoHighwayman likes this.
  3. olscrounger
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 4,010


    fix the brakes and get it running well-- a few test drives first. Had one for many years with a 292 and a 4 spd. Drove if for over 65000 miles in the 70's-80's with no issues and quite a few 500 miles trips.
  4. ididntdoit1960
    Joined: Dec 13, 2011
    Posts: 1,007

    from Western MA

    its prob got 3.70 gears with 28" tall tires - it will be fine on the highway - should perform a good safyty inspection - tie rod, drag link, king pins, brakes, etc. check all fluids....these trucks steer and stop fine if everything is up to spec - just don't expect it to perform/stop/handle like a new car

  5. camerl2009
    Joined: Jan 26, 2014
    Posts: 182


    make sure things like the cooling system are not blocked up and make sure the brake and fuel lines are good. make sure it stops and stays cool I would not worry about the steering I prefer manual over power steering less to go wrong and for me no seatbelts means no ticket for not wearing a seatbelt
  6. ive taken her around the neighborhood quite a bit and the only problems ive had is ones that ive caused. all new fuel and brake lines, steers pretty well but i think my tie rod is bent a bit (its the super fragile hollow one) so that may need to be replaced. honestly i think she'll be fine and im ready to fix whatever she throws at me on the highway. its just my parents think that it needs power steering, power brakes, seatbelts, paint, airbags, ac, and all other kinds of stupid shit to be drivable. so i guess ill have to work it out with them to get it on the road... thatll be fun:rolleyes:
  7. rtp
    Joined: Aug 14, 2007
    Posts: 152


    And remember it is an old truck, not a new wizzbang car that does every thing for you. It does not Stop as quick , Steer as easy, Go as fast, Ride as smooth , WHAT I AM SAYING is YOU HAVE TO DRIVE IT.
    Pay attention to other drivers ,plan your stopping distances , Know you are probably going to be slower than others when leaving a light or merging it to traffic .etc etc etc ..
    I say this because I have seen a few old cars and trucks killed because the people that bought them thought they knew how to drive an old car.
    NOT saying you are one of those people. Just some points to remember.
  8. camerl2009
    Joined: Jan 26, 2014
    Posts: 182


    airbags really lol
  9. okiedokie
    Joined: Jul 5, 2005
    Posts: 4,088

    from Ok

    Check it out by short drives, maybe have an older neighbor, friend, mechanic, etc. and then go for a 50 mile drive with your folks following you. Maybe if they see that it can handle that they will feel better. Honor your parents, they are just looking out for you.
    bchrismer likes this.
  10. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    Good filter and spare elements for it...who knows what's lurking in the gas tank!
    Make sure wiring for charging circuit, ignition, and starting are solid and reliable. If electrics are a bit tired and not in the budget for heavy replacement carry a couple of 14 gauge jumper with alligator clips and learn how to hotwire around trouble.
    Spare parts can be still-functioning stuff like points and such that have come out during a tuneup. Spares are good because a lot of basic stuff may require ordering at the parts store.
    The more you learn, the better...self sufficiency is important since most current mechanics and parts store people are completely unaware of points, generators, drum brakes, mechanical fuel pumps, and may not even know how to roll down an unpowered window...
    bchrismer likes this.
  11. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,948

    from California

    be sure to put seat belts in it.
  12. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,711

    seb fontana
    from ct

    I'm with 49ratfink and rtp...Depending which car I take I plan the route to fit the car and me...
  13. atomickustom
    Joined: Aug 30, 2005
    Posts: 3,332


    Your parents are worried that you will get into an accident and die. It's understandable.
    Install simple seat belts. They don't cost much and all you have to do is drill a couple holes in the floor pan to do so.
    I don't think you mentioned the tires? If they are really old they WILL give out sooner or later. Plenty of people may jump me for saying so, but it will be more stable and therefore safer with radial tires than with bias-ply tires. (Side note to all the radial haters: I've owned many vehicles with bias ply tires and I like them just fine but on the highway they don't handle as well as radials and they want to follow road irregularities and that can be enough to cause an accident in a stock-height pickup that isn't exactly a slot car to begin with.)

    Power steering won't make a vehicle any safer, and power brakes won't help much if the rest of the brake system is original. Since you have a single-reservoir master cylinder make sure the ENTIRE brake system is rebuilt because any one leaking brake line or wheel cylinder will mean total brake loss. Better yet, install a dual-reservoir master cylinder. You have time and it shouldn't cost a fortune to do it. I'm sure there are several how-to's available on the internet to show you exactly how to do it with low-buck OEM parts from the local parts store. (I believe 1969 and up Mustang master cylinders might work well but I am no Ford parts interchange expert so don't take my word for it.) I can tell you from personal experience that the "emergency brake" on most vehicles won't do much to stop it once the brakes go out completely.

    Other than that, the key is to just drive it like what it is: a solid old vehicle that will not handle or stop as well as a new car. As long as you're not trying to set any speed records you should be fine.
    On a related note, any way you can change your travel route to stay off of divided highways? Even if your travel speeds are about the same you lessen your odds of sharing your lane with overloaded semis and SUVs AND if you break down you're never too far from a parts store and/or tow truck. Just saying. My '53 Chevy is a daily driver but when I go 2 hours away for a show every spring I take secondary roads to do it. Adds 15 minutes total to my trip but it's a much, much more pleasant drive.
  14. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 3,052


    Trucks like that have been driving down the interstate since 1959. 2 hours @ 55 is only 110 miles at a nice steady pace. You prob have put on more miles than that around town beating the snot out of it stop light to stop light. That being said, if the brakes and tires are good, (get the front end lined up) you should be good to go.
  15. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 25,525

    Jalopy Joker

    post some pics of your truck - get insurance and don't forget your cell phone and tool box
    SanDiegoHighwayman likes this.
  16. cvstl
    Joined: Apr 15, 2009
    Posts: 1,460

    from StL MO
    1. H.A.M.B. Chapel

    Do what Mr. atomickustom says and you should be good.

    Good brakes & tires (I second the radial recommendation.... especially for a guy your age, they are cheaper and handle better). Also don't skimp on the shocks, check the cooling system, fresh oil, good wipers and then toss in a few tools..... and by all means INSTALL SEATBELTS its an old truck, and the roads are filled with bad drivers.

    Once that's all taken care of, drive it for what it is, an old truck, and have fun.
  17. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,338

    from Alabama

    Being from the South, I grew driving up old stuff. So I have skill but I'm 42. If you were my son I would say Nope...The truck may be ready, but I do not think you will have skill yet.
    My father told me this when I was learning to drive.....
    You have not learned to drive yet and particularly drive that truck. What I mean by that is in new vehicle you ride around. A worn out old 59 Ford truck...You're gonna have to drive that SOB!

    IMHO the truck is not ready and your skill set is not there ....yet.

    Basics first.
    1. Seat belts, at least lap belts but I recommend you eventually pull a set from a pre 97 Ford truck.
    2. Brakes Stock is fine if it is in good working order. I cant stress enough how important it is to have that system functioning well, Anything questionable needs to be rebuilt or replaced including the lines. Make sure the emergency brake functions. The double cylinder is a good idea but it's not a must do.
    3. Suspension and steering All that needs to be checked by a honest mechanic with experience on older stuff. May need to visit a Big Truck shop. Get them to repair or tell you what you need.
    4. Good tires, I witnessed two State Troopers discussing murder charges against a driver involved in a fatality wreck because his tires were bald and it was raining. The victim was his wife.
    4. Fuel system a dirty gas tank and lines will leave you stranded.
    5, Cooling system
    6. Lights and electrical.

    Lastly is skill and the knowledge in how the truck drives and handles. All this takes time.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2014
    SanDiegoHighwayman likes this.
  18. Awesome. Sounds like my kind of adventure!

    Very good advice represented here. Count me in as another vote for the radials. The taller, the better, out back. You will need that circumference to help offset whatever low gears may be in the rear end. Getting new tires is better than a getting a new pair of PF Flyers!

    I like OkieDokie's suggestion about involving the parents in some supervisory short trips. Most of all, I liked his suggestion to honor your parents. Put some seat belts in it. Find a good pull-a-part location and you can get them for next to nothing.

    As for the suggestion about having someone give you a good "tech inspection", that's a must. Power Steering? Eat more spinach. Power brakes, overrated.

    I am also a favor of driving service roads. Nothing like some two lane blacktop and seeing some of the small town stuff along the way. Besides, the only reason to go to a car show that is any distance from where you live is for the adventure along the way! If I wanted to sit in a lawn chair all day, I could do that on the back porch.

    The biggest thing that you can do, however, is ALWAYS practice defensive driving. Leave way too much stopping distance between you and the guy in front of you. If someone is following too close, give them room to go around ya. Then, when you get in a late model, do the same.
    SanDiegoHighwayman likes this.
  19. I am not a big fan of car shows. Why not get it road worthy and go to a local cruise nite and hobnob with the crowd there.
  20. Pops1532
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 544

    from Illinois

    Obviously your parents aren't old car people. They want you to have the "stupid shit" because they don't know any better. Have them read this topic and maybe they'll realize what's really important.
    I'll echo what others have said......brakes must be thoroughly gone through, tires must be in good condition. Go through the steering, add seat belts. Take care of the safety issues first.Then move to the electrical system and mechanical stuff.
    If your parents are worried about you making a two hour trip in an old truck perhaps they could follow you in their vehicle. If they have no interest in the car show they could make a side trip on their own and meet you back at the show so they can follow you home.
  21. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,338

    from Alabama

    If you were mine I would consider the the belt! I tell you one thing, that 59 would be long gone if my son posted that.

    You see the truck in my avatar? It should have adults only posted on the door. Why because it will get away from you and kill ya or someone else.

    Your 59 with the 292, heck even if it had a 223 = light weight on the rear, low gear ratio powerful engine with incredible torque, wore out steering with a inexperienced driver being stupid is a recipe for tragedy. It can happen before you know it.

    My thoughts go back a few years to a 17 year old killed in his Cutlass. He lost it in a curve and horseshoed it around a tree. He was probably a good driver and like boys his age do he probably had it on the edge of out of control. He was not counting on a patch of slick ass red clay from a construction site, so he goes 60mph sideways into an oak. The impact...drivers door.

    As I was cutting him out with a hurst tool the other medics were trying to breath for him with an AMBU bag. I was sprayed in the face when they mashed the bag. All that air came out his ear, his ear Dude! The chopper Docs tried their stuff for a few minutes and finally called the Coroner.

    This stuff is for keeps, Boy! ...Check that attitude and take it serious.
  22. jpbspbelair
    Joined: Sep 11, 2014
    Posts: 2


    I prefer manual over power steering less to go wrong and for me no seatbelts means no ticket for not wearing a seatbelt[​IMG]
  23. Pops1532
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 544

    from Illinois

    I hadn't seen the OP's posts on the other topic you quoted here F-one. Now we know why his parents want him to have seat belts and air bags.
    Flamin' Ace, I know that at seventeen you think you're bullet proof, but the fact is kids your age make poor decisions. Some of those poor decisions can get you or someone else dead. My advice is to forget the truck for now. You're too immature. If you wanna race do it on a race track with a safe vehicle, safety harness and a helmet. Most of the old guys on here that street raced back in the day will admit it was a stupid thing to do and that they're probably lucky to still be alive.
  24. I can't add much more,make sure the steering is tight,brakes are good..

    power steering, power brakes, paint, airbags, ac are not necessary,seat belts are a good idea. HRP
    SanDiegoHighwayman likes this.
  25. 327Eric
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 1,514

    from Diablo Ca.

    Sit it out, and skip the big show for now. Get the truck up and legal, and drive it locally, learn its quirks.
  26. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,898


    And a very likely certain death, in an otherwise survivable accident.
    SanDiegoHighwayman likes this.
  27. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,898


    Suspension, steering, brakes, and other safety equipment, are the ONLY things you should be working on.
  28. I guess I am not one to be a "voice of reason" in this discussion, since I was driving a '54 F100 at that age. I never participated in any "street racing" because it had a top speed of about 60, but it sure would roast those L50s out back.

    If either of my daughters asked me to take either of my '40's to an event, we would be spending some supervisory drive time, so I am comfortable with their defensive driving skills, and their ability to read the pavement. I guess I am a bad parent for even encouraging them to drive either one of them, according to some guys standards here. It's what my dad did with me, and I am a hypocrite, if it's OK for me to drive them and not allow them to learn to drive them too.

    I highly recommend the a fore mentioned safety inspection, adding a set of 3 point seat belts, and spend some time taking rides with Dad along, so that his comfort level is eased.
  29. RTP, you aint kiddin try going from driving a 98 dodge dokata 4 wheel drive to a 1956 buick special station wagon, got to watch them curves lol.Bruce.
    SanDiegoHighwayman likes this.
  30. King ford
    Joined: Mar 18, 2013
    Posts: 1,414

    King ford
    from 08302

    Young man.....all of us old farts on here brag about our glory days raisin hell ....and many of us lost friends and know of many other deaths.....I had a near miss or two in my youth......the moment I thought I had any machine MASTERED I learned I had a long way to go....put some seat belts in (shoulder straps too ) EASE into hell raisin in a year or two and show your folks you can be responsible ........they really don't want to bury you....and have fun with your old truck!....sorry we all pissed in your corn flakes it's well intentioned

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