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Customs Ford Thunderbird Restoration - Project Flarebird

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by seanbelushi, Feb 17, 2020.

  1. seanbelushi
    Joined: Jan 26, 2011
    Posts: 172

    seanbelushi
    Member

    Hey everyone!

    So my father has been looking for a 64-66 Thunderbird for a long time, and really wanted to do another Father-Son project. So I've been looking for the last few months for something worthwhile.

    I came across a bunch of cars for sale, but for some reason or another, they didn't work out. Either the seller flaked out or they wanted too much, but I found a car listed on Facebook that appeared to fit the bill. I messaged the sender and they responded saying they still had the car for sale, but a couple people were ahead of me in looking at it. Bummed, I accepted that the car was probably gone. But they reached out to me again saying they wanted us to look at the car, so I loaded up the trailer and took off towards Canon City, CO.

    The gentleman that originally owned the car used it for his daily driver, and pulled it into the garage in 1988. He subsequently passed away, and the car sat protected for 30+ years. His children wanted to clean up the property, and put the car up for sale. They put new tires on the car but had not tried to start it.

    So we got the car, and here's the plan. We want to get it up and running properly, and take it across the country from Colorado Springs, CO to Memphis, TN along Rte 66 (as much as possible). We want to hit as many of the classic Americana places as possible, taking pictures along the way.

    If you're interested, here's a little video documentation about the build.

    Hope you enjoy,

    Sean

     
    Gasser 57, Kiwi 4d and deadbeat like this.
  2. Yutan Flash
    Joined: Aug 6, 2008
    Posts: 711

    Yutan Flash
    Member
    from Gretna, NE

  3. eaglebeak
    Joined: Sep 17, 2007
    Posts: 1,146

    eaglebeak
    Member

    Warning, warning. Do not idle in Park.
    These T-Birds with the tilt away steering wheel are known to jump into reverse.
     
    deadbeat and Bandit Billy like this.
  4. seanbelushi
    Joined: Jan 26, 2011
    Posts: 172

    seanbelushi
    Member

    Good to know! That’s frightening!

    Sean


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     

  5. seanbelushi
    Joined: Jan 26, 2011
    Posts: 172

    seanbelushi
    Member

    So apparently it was running a little rough and upon further inspection, had bent three pushrods!

    Got it back together with some new parts, one step closer to the first drive in 30+ years.

    Sean

     
  6. seanbelushi
    Joined: Jan 26, 2011
    Posts: 172

    seanbelushi
    Member

    OK guys...having some issues and hope you can help.

    Since getting the car back together, I’ve been having some real issues with the carb. It was initially running really well and idled great, then seemed to work well at part to full throttle but wouldn’t idle. Now, it won’t idle at all and is running pig rich. I’ve gone through the carb multiple times and everything seems to be perfect.

    - The power valve has no leaks and is not blown
    - Float level is perfect, per the manual
    - There are no vacuum leaks, tested by spraying carb cleaner around the base
    - All vacuum hoses are brand new and no detectable leaks
    - I put a Holley on there to test, and it seemed to idle well for a bit. But want to keep the 4100 (if possible)

    The timing seems correct, about 8-10 degrees BTDC with the vacuum disconnected.

    I’m running out of thoughts....help!
     
  7. Aaron65
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 285

    Aaron65
    Member
    from Michigan

    I don't know how many 4100s you've taken apart, but the primary venturi cluster gasket can be a little finicky if you've never done one. You have to position the gasket on the cluster itself, not on the carb body, before installing it. Otherwise, there's a chance that you can stab the gasket with the protrusions on the bottom of the cluster. Other than that, I'd guess that there's a stubborn piece of dirt in the idle passages somewhere. Did you blow them all out with an air compressor?

    Of course, there's also a chance that the carb is just worn out. I have an old 4100 that seems to have an internal vacuum leak and I've tried just about everything. It's on the shelf. Good luck!
     
    Algoma56 likes this.
  8. Hren59
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 92

    Hren59
    Member

    06FEE22B-C975-467A-A6C4-2DADCA2A4181.jpeg Hi, I almost rolled my 62 t bird roadster off a cliff with a similar problem before finally figuring it out. I’m experienced working on carbs and just couldn’t get the 4100 to idle (had run excellent previously) long story short, there was a clog in the emulsion tubes integral with the Venturi cluster assembly. I had soaked and cleaned the hell out of the carb many times before discovering the clog. A .10 gauge guitar string was able to gently probe and clear the clog enough for carb spray and compressed air to finish the job. Ran better than ever after that. Anyway, hope this info may help
     
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  9. seanbelushi
    Joined: Jan 26, 2011
    Posts: 172

    seanbelushi
    Member

    Got the carb issue hopefully figured out.

    The cover plate for the power valve was slightly warped, allowing for a vacuum leak. I filed it flat and it works perfectly!

    Thanks everyone for the help!

    Sean
     
  10. Nostrebor
    Joined: Jun 25, 2014
    Posts: 1,108

    Nostrebor
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I built a 66 with my dad back in the 90's. It was not the Landau like yours and was Wimbledon White with the blue interior. Really nice car to drive, but I hated working on it!:eek: Very finicky car to tune and get all the doodads working correctly. We had a good time working through the project and it made an excellent driving show car when done.

    I plan to tag along and reminisce as you build... it looks like a nice starting point!
     
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  11. seanbelushi
    Joined: Jan 26, 2011
    Posts: 172

    seanbelushi
    Member

    Got some more work done on the '66, and it seems like as soon as I get one thing fixed another breaks. Guess that's life with a barn find car.

    Anyway, thanks for looking!

    Sean




    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
  12. FityFive
    Joined: Aug 9, 2010
    Posts: 312

    FityFive
    Member

    I am enjoying the video updates. Keep up the good work!
     
    seanbelushi likes this.
  13. seanbelushi
    Joined: Jan 26, 2011
    Posts: 172

    seanbelushi
    Member

    Thanks! Should have it back on the road sometime this week (fingers crossed)


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
  14. seanbelushi
    Joined: Jan 26, 2011
    Posts: 172

    seanbelushi
    Member

    Got the tank out, and it looks pretty beat up. Was probably leaking at one point and got patched. Not to mention the amount of rust!

    Think we’ll just replace it to be sure.

    Sean

    IMG_0035.JPG IMG_0036.JPG


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
  15. Fortunateson
    Joined: Apr 30, 2012
    Posts: 3,606

    Fortunateson
    Member

    Now that's nasty...
     
    seanbelushi likes this.
  16. Wow! I’m surprised it ran as well as it did. I wonder what the fuel filter and fuel pump looks like?


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  17. deadbeat
    Joined: May 3, 2006
    Posts: 522

    deadbeat
    Member

    Yes they sure do as I found out the hard way, just lucky my daughter was not behind the car that day. Always have it in "swing away" when working on it as the bushes in the linkages wear out and will bump into reverse if not with revving the car. I'm coming along for the ride as well,, cheers
     
  18. FityFive
    Joined: Aug 9, 2010
    Posts: 312

    FityFive
    Member

  19. seanbelushi
    Joined: Jan 26, 2011
    Posts: 172

    seanbelushi
    Member

    The pump and filter were new, will change the filter and run a borescope through the line before using it again!

    And new tank has arrived! [​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
  20. Scumdog
    Joined: Mar 3, 2010
    Posts: 621

    Scumdog
    Member


    Or if you do have to leave it in Park you swing the wheel to the side, if nothing has been messed with it locks the shifter in Park.
     
  21. seanbelushi
    Joined: Jan 26, 2011
    Posts: 172

    seanbelushi
    Member

    Wrapped up the cooling system on the ‘bird, and took it for the first drive in 32 years.

    Definitely uncovered a few things not working that need to be fixed.
    1st - the HVAC system on this car is a pain to work on. All the rubber vacuum lines and brittle plastic tees.
    2nd - the suspension desperately needs going through. I’m pretty sure every component is shot.

    Regardless, it was fun to take it for a short spin. Thanks for watching.

    Sean

     
  22. Nostrebor
    Joined: Jun 25, 2014
    Posts: 1,108

    Nostrebor
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    That thread here on the forum asking what car words you learned from your Dad?... I learned a whole list of "don't say that" while we worked on the heater and ac on his T-Bird. Some bean counter must have decided to short the vacuum lines to the controls by a foot each to save a dime. Dad had a special name for that guy.

    Sent from my SM-G930V using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
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  23. Boodlum
    Joined: Dec 19, 2007
    Posts: 353

    Boodlum
    Member

    Sweet FE goodness
     
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  24. seanbelushi
    Joined: Jan 26, 2011
    Posts: 172

    seanbelushi
    Member

    There’s one friggin vacuum tee between the firewall and heater box that’s broken. Looks like I have to take out the dash/heater box to replace one...stupid...vacuum tee.

    Ugh!


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
  25. Aaron65
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 285

    Aaron65
    Member
    from Michigan

    I've found that anything that requires behind the dash work on my '63 is going to involve bad language. I eventually will need to rebuild the heater box/AC, and I'm not looking forward to it. By the way, you won't enjoy the front suspension either. Start thinking of buying a quality spring compressor now.

    This is the one I use:
    https://www.amazon.com/OTC-7045B-Front-Spring-Compressor/dp/B000GTJ5I8

    It's expensive, but the springs on this thing are a mile long and you really have to crank them down to get them out, and I like that this compressor uses plates rather than hooks. I actually bought the compressor for my OT Firebird with long stock springs, but it works equally well on the T-Bird.
     
    egads likes this.
  26. Nostrebor
    Joined: Jun 25, 2014
    Posts: 1,108

    Nostrebor
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Replace all of them, and anything else that even looks like it will be suspect in the next two decades. We had the dash out of ours more than once, because a certain someone was a cheapskate. My blood pressure is going up just thinking about the vacuum lines on that thing!:D

    When you do get all of them working as designed... a thing of beauty!
     
  27. seanbelushi
    Joined: Jan 26, 2011
    Posts: 172

    seanbelushi
    Member

    Oh, you can bet that when I get to replacing vacuum lines in the heater box, I’m replacing all of them. Not gonna do this ever again!
     
  28. seanbelushi
    Joined: Jan 26, 2011
    Posts: 172

    seanbelushi
    Member

    Did get a chance to take it out for a little drive yesterday. Running much better and suspension is next on the build list.

    Stay safe everyone!

    Sean

    EA26A32F-AF23-4719-8254-1D0A062977ED.jpeg
     
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  29. seanbelushi
    Joined: Jan 26, 2011
    Posts: 172

    seanbelushi
    Member

    OK guys, you'll appreciate this.

    Things on any project just snowball, and something that started out simple became a HUGE undertaking. On the first test drive, I noticed the heater wasn't working (it had been before). Come to find out, one vacuum tee had come undone. That turned into replacing every vacuum hose in the car.

    Regardless, it's done and will NEVER need to be done again in my lifetime (I hope!).

    Anyway, here's the video:



    Sean
     
  30. Nostrebor
    Joined: Jun 25, 2014
    Posts: 1,108

    Nostrebor
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I also lost all my hair while doing this work!!:D

    I really can't watch... it brings back all the memories of cut hands and too-short vacuum lines. I was also really glad when this was done on Dad's car.
     
    loudbang and seanbelushi like this.

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