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Technical Issues to look for in a 57 Fairlane?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by The_Cat_Of_Ages, Apr 7, 2021.

  1. im hoping on bringing home a 57 Ford Fairlane Town Victoria. its been sitting for a while (at least a decade) and has a clean alabama title with one owner, i was wondering for things to look out for that are common issues after sitting with this era of car, as its going to be my first pre-65.
    it has a 292 Y-block with a 3 speed on the tree if that helps.
    loudbang and dana barlow like this.
  2. Jeff Norwell
    Joined: Aug 20, 2003
    Posts: 13,327

    Jeff Norwell
    Staff Member

    Rust.Thats a big issue... rockers,floor pans rear quarters,doglegs and the front fenders.... head light area and the lower fenders near the doors.. there is a brace that captures crap and rots out the lower fender.Also check the front crossmembers.... they rotted out.
    Is it a running car?
    Oil used back then was horrible.... lots of sludge......
    Upper and lower ball joints are something to look at.

    Im giving worst case scenarios,... but its a southern car ...... sounds very nice... post a pic or 2 when and if you can

    congrats if you acquire.
    fauj, loudbang, warbird1 and 7 others like this.
  3. there is minimal rust damage other than top side rust on it, only a couple of minor holes in the floor, frame looks good from the engine bay. it has oil in it, not watery or sludge, just black. there is a small spot on the rear quarter panel that was bondo'd back in the 60s when it was in a minor wreck, just a dent and a bent bumper. the motor is free, but i cant tell if it runs.
    loudbang likes this.
  4. though the tires are bias plys from the 60s that held air up until it was parked according to the owner.

  5. I would jack the car up and look at the bottom of the front cross member. They trapped water and rotted out. Other places to look for rust has been mentioned. A car sitting that long will of course need the fuel system cleaned. Look inside the air cleaner for evidence of mice nesting. If you see that, look at the wiring under the dash.
  6. the first thing i did was check for mouse damage, there was none at all, which i found odd given it was in a field. i'll bring a car jack and check that crossmember this weekend.
  7. guthriesmith
    Joined: Aug 17, 2006
    Posts: 5,479

    1. H.A.M.B. Chapel

    Might help us think of things to look for if you have any pics to share. Lots of good advice already. Have you tried to turn the motor over?
    loudbang likes this.
  8. harpo1313
    Joined: Jan 4, 2008
    Posts: 2,286

    from wareham,ma

    Be careful jacking , thats a heavy sucker.
    loudbang and MO54Frank like this.
  9. shes 800 pounds lighter than my daily driver ('06 Ford Crown Victoria) , so she wont be too hard to jack up, my worry is that the soil will be too soft to jack it up on maybe i could stick a plank of wood under it and keep it stable.
    dana barlow likes this.
  10. carguy699
    Joined: Jan 16, 2013
    Posts: 87


    if it is like my old 58 there is a rubber drain tube for the cowl that rots out and drains water into the interior. they are located behind the fenders right in front of the doors. replacements are available but can be a pain to install without pulling the fenders but it can be done.
    loudbang likes this.
  11. the motor spins, i can turn the fan on it. i'll get some pics as i forgot my camera and my phone was dead when i went out to check it out.
    guthriesmith likes this.
  12. i'll make sure that i fix that first thing, as its floors arent too bad and i dont want them to get worse
  13. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 21,814


    Plywood is your friend.
  14. Oh Boy, here we go again. If it hasn't run in over a decade do yourself a favor and Don't just hook up a batt and try to light it up. At the very least pre lube and pre oil before anything. Dry rings on dry cyl's, not a good idea. Several old posts cover the how to's on bringing them back to life. Best of luck to ya.
  15. im planning on taking out the plugs, and then filling it full of automatic transmission fluid and then turning the engine somehow, maybe pulling it while its in 3rd gear. or just use a breaker bar.
  16. No No No. You wouldn't know if you have a stuck valve until it's to late. On top of that Marvel Mystery Oil is much better than Trans fluid.
  17. harpo1313
    Joined: Jan 4, 2008
    Posts: 2,286

    from wareham,ma

    Just because the fan moves doesnt mean its not stuck unless you saw the crank spin. Like said , take it slow and save yourself a headache. Again, be careful.
    Pist-n-Broke likes this.
  18. ah, so should i crack the valvepans open and lubricate them with the marvel mystery oil as well as fill the cylinders?
  19. i'll lubricate it with marvel mystery oil first, then use a breaker bar after a day or two.
  20. I don't think that would be necessary. Kind of tough to do with Valve guide seals on them. What I would do for sure is put some (not fill) each cyl with M.M. and rotate by hand the Crankshaft 4 full revolutions before using the starter motor. Also remove the connecting hose between Fuel Pump and chassis. Keep the Old fuel away from what may not have a problem.
    dana barlow likes this.
  21. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,830

    from Alabama

    I cant understand how it has a "Clean Alabama Title" when Alabama is a No Title State.o_O I could not get a title for my 51 Ford if I wanted too. Alabama started issuing titles for new cars in 1975. Now anything over 30 years old, the state will not issue or keep a title.
    If the car has some kind of "title" from 1957 it's a bank/loan document, not a state document. Either that or it's a title from another state.
    Alabama is Bill of Sale only for cars over 30 years old.
    If a car has a current Alabama tag in the owner's name, some states might recognize that and issue a title off of that current Alabama registration and the Bill of Sale.....It varies from state to state...You need to find out!
    RAK, dana barlow and 56don like this.
  22. You should also know you can buy a New Replacement gas tank. Much better than fighting a tank with issues.
    bobss396, Sky Six and Jeff Norwell like this.
  23. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 15,240


    The hood is another common rust spot, I've seen cars in junkyards where the hood deteriorated until the pressure of the hood springs forces the hood into a giant V shape. '57 hoods are expensive and a hard kink is a tough fix.

    If the engine turns over, it's not too rusty, and it has a title (or you don't need a title in the state), and the price is right, seems like this could be a real winner. Obviously, the more complete, the better.
    guthriesmith and Jeff Norwell like this.
  24. im only going off of what i was told, he said it was a clean alabama title. maybe he was talking about how it still has its plates...
  25. t
    this hood is still good, its just the latch doesnt want to stay closed
  26. I am with F-1...something is wrong here.
    No way can you get an ALabama title on a car made before 1975. A lot of us try but the state will not do it.
    If this information is wrong then what else might be hidden?
  27. i did more research, you only need the plates and a bill of sale to get an ohio title, which is why he said that "these tags are all you need for a title" i just assumed that since he was the original owner he had lost the title and was getting a new one because he had its plates.
    56don likes this.
  28. Thats good..
  29. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,830

    from Alabama

    That's what I figured. I don't like it, especially if you are a out of state buyer. Either he is ignorant of the laws or dishonest. Once the money changes hands and you get it, it's your baby and your problem.
    This is no big deal if you live in Alabama or another "No Title State" like Alabama. If you live in a state where a paper trail and title is required, this can be a major issue. So much so, it may be just a parts car.
    Know the laws and process of registration in your home state. This could be a deal killer.
  30. hes an old guy, bought the car new. hopefully it wont be too hard to register it with his proof of ownership, alabama tags. though its not going to be purchased until he gets the title, as without a title theres no way to Legally get it on the road

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