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Featured Projects My Dads 1956 Mercury

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 56MercMan, Jun 3, 2020.

  1. 56MercMan
    Joined: May 22, 2008
    Posts: 42

    56MercMan
    Member
    from CA

    So I hope this is correct place to share and ask questions on my dads 1956 Mercury Monterey project.

    Dad had the car for a long time and I remember riding around in it as a kid. Here I am on the hood (Ignore the date... This is a digital picture of an actual photo):
    [​IMG]

    The car had the transmission go out so dad pulled it and dropped it off at a transmission shop. Dad passed away in 1999 while transmission was out getting fixed and the car sat...

    [​IMG]

    I got older and decided I wanted my dads car so I tried finding a transmission without much luck. My buddy rolled his F150 and I bought it for $500 and planned on putting the 351 Cleveland and trans in this to get it going. Long story short I could not get the motor to sit between the frame so I sold it all for $700 and made a couple hundred.
    upload_2020-6-3_15-42-12.png

    Since we had pulled the whole front end off to try the motor I thought... Hey it is only 8 more bolts to pull the whole body. That's where I screwed up.

    upload_2020-6-3_15-38-29.png

    Sanded and painted the frame. Installed new suspension bushings and had the front springs powder coated by a friend at Eibach.

    upload_2020-6-3_15-40-38.png

    Picked up the body from my Moms house and brought it home to work on:
    [​IMG]

    Started faking my way through rust repair. I know enough to get myself into trouble and that's about it:
    upload_2020-6-3_16-20-35.png
    upload_2020-6-3_16-20-57.png upload_2020-6-3_16-21-24.png
    Set the body back on the frame:

    upload_2020-6-3_16-23-2.png

    More bodywork:
    Firewall:
    upload_2020-6-3_16-24-7.png
    Driver lower rear C pillar:
    upload_2020-6-3_16-25-11.png
    upload_2020-6-3_16-25-33.png
    Driver rear upper C pillar:
    upload_2020-6-3_16-25-57.png
    upload_2020-6-3_16-26-18.png
    Passenger upper C pillar:
    upload_2020-6-3_16-27-10.png
    upload_2020-6-3_16-27-31.png

    Driver door:
    upload_2020-6-3_16-29-13.png
    Passenger Door:
    upload_2020-6-3_16-29-52.png

    Sanding door jambs and prime:
    upload_2020-6-3_16-30-42.png
    After repairing inner fenders and parts, prime and paint:
    upload_2020-6-3_16-31-24.png
    upload_2020-6-3_16-31-52.png
    Bought some skirts off a RuffRodders member who I know is on here somewhere:
    upload_2020-6-3_16-32-43.png

    That is how I last left her. I loaded the merc on a trailer stacked to the roof with parts and dropped it off at my moms house while I moved to a new house.

    6 months of working on a fixer upper house and my moms calls me saying her car is making a horrible noise and she is out front. I go out to find:

    upload_2020-6-3_16-34-26.png

    She had her friend put it back together and get it running and driving. It has a 302 in it with a C4. Painless wiring kit. Electric windshield wipers, Power disc front brakes. New carpet kit and window rubber. He put all the stainless back on and primed the car.

    Now I can enjoy driving the car while I work on it where as before it was just a pile of parts in the garage that I spent countless hours on with no enjoyment to payoff those hours.

    I have LOTS of questions and hoping I can get some help from those that know more then me.
     
  2. hudson48
    Joined: Oct 16, 2007
    Posts: 2,576

    hudson48
    Member

    Look after her on Mothers Day.
     
    210superair, Boryca, scotty t and 6 others like this.
  3. 0NE BAD 51 MERC
    Joined: Nov 12, 2010
    Posts: 1,235

    0NE BAD 51 MERC
    Member

    Your Dad has been gone 21 years. He had hopes and dreams for it . You have had it more or less the last 21 years so you had hopes and dreams for it. Your Mom loved your dad and you enough to know how much this car meant to both of you to invest time and money into moving the hopes and dreams forward, so she has hopes and dreams for it also. Stay dedicated to the project and fulfill the hopes and dreams and finish the car. The folks on here are full of knowledge and positive feed back . UNLESS you want to build a Gasser out of it. Or a Ratrod! Believe me that will not be hopes and dreams, it will be pain and nightmares!! Good luck on your project and ask questions all you want, just ignore the know it all's ! Larry
     
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  4. 56MercMan
    Joined: May 22, 2008
    Posts: 42

    56MercMan
    Member
    from CA

    Thanks Larry. Honestly I want it to look pretty stock with minor customizations. I like it when you cna make changes to improve the looks and not everyone knows they are seeing something different. The keen observer will see I shaved the body seem on the front fender when I did the rust repair. Shave the antenna, Lower it some with some whitewalls and hopefully factory hubcaps. I want to go back to the factory color and just make it nice all around and drive it as much as possible. I would like to hide whatever is new (ex: Stereo in the glovebox)

    The biggest kick I get out of it right now is I have 12 yr old twins (Which is why the project slowed) and they have been asking for years and years when can we ride in the "Merc". Well I took them for their first ride and they loved it as much as I did.
     
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  5. 0NE BAD 51 MERC
    Joined: Nov 12, 2010
    Posts: 1,235

    0NE BAD 51 MERC
    Member

    So you want a mild custom . So it is period correct and on topic and a great idea loved by almost everyone here! You and your Merc will fit in just find! By the way did I mention I love all things Mercury! lol Larry
     
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  6. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 24,934

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

    great story, Thanks for sharing - '56 Mercs have a great looking body style - hopefully you have done something very special for your Mom for all that she has done for you, and the memory of your Dad
     
    scotty t and loudbang like this.
  7. wvenfield
    Joined: Nov 23, 2006
    Posts: 5,075

    wvenfield
    Member

    That's a cool story. Congrats.
     
    loudbang likes this.
  8. You owe Mom BIG TIME.... Great story!
     
    210superair, kiwijeff and loudbang like this.
  9. razoo lew
    Joined: Apr 11, 2017
    Posts: 398

    razoo lew
    Member
    from Calgary

    Sounds like you have a good plan. And a GREAT mom!
     
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  10. 56MercMan
    Joined: May 22, 2008
    Posts: 42

    56MercMan
    Member
    from CA

    Thank you for all the kind words and I know... My mom is awesome.

    I know it is a 4 door which is not what everyone wants but it has 2 things going for it.
    1) was my Dads.
    2) I have a family so it works for me.

    Couple of current pics:

    Engine bay with the 302. Has a Holley carb, aluminum intake, pertronix and aluminum radiator. Moms friend replaced the air duct hoses so the heater and vent work. I hooked up the vent cables so they now open and close.
    I would like to replace the air filter. I am thinking the oh so popular batwing repop??? I also like the look of finned aluminum valve covers.

    upload_2020-6-3_19-4-7.jpg

    Interior: So far I made kick panel covers and wrapped those using the plastic sign board (learned from this site thank you very much). Wired more on the dash so that all of the dash lights work. Dean (moms friend) got all but one light working and then I added some to the radio just so it lights up.

    upload_2020-6-3_19-5-15.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2020
  11. 56MercMan
    Joined: May 22, 2008
    Posts: 42

    56MercMan
    Member
    from CA

    Question #1 for anyone that knows:
    Anyone know where I can find this switch? It attaches to the parking brake and it turns on a dash light when the parking brake is on. I found the entire kit on ebay for $350 but this car already has it... I just need a new pressure switch. I have tried searching google and using as many different words as I can to describe the emergency brake pressure switch:
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/NOS-1954-1...E-SIGNAL-WARNING-LIGHT-Original-/324008890917


    upload_2020-6-3_19-9-32.png
     
    loudbang likes this.
  12. That's just a pushbutton switch, you could substitute a dome light switch or brake light switch for it, just find one more-or-less the same size...
     
  13. 56MercMan
    Joined: May 22, 2008
    Posts: 42

    56MercMan
    Member
    from CA

    Sounds good. A dome light switch sounds like the correct option. It needs to turn on when open and off when the button is pushed. I will start looking around. Thank you
     
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  14. 56MercMan
    Joined: May 22, 2008
    Posts: 42

    56MercMan
    Member
    from CA

    The car runs now but unfortunately while idling the car drops into reverse. It looks like the linkage from column to the Automatic transmission is correct. Does anyone know if there is something in the column that would need to be rebuilt in order to have it click/stay in park?

    Factory column with a C4 Automatic transmission.

    Here is the column in question. I have tried searching this site, google and you tube without much luck.

    upload_2020-6-9_14-50-34.jpg
    upload_2020-6-9_14-50-52.jpg
    upload_2020-6-9_14-51-5.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2020
    loudbang likes this.
  15. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,386

    jimmy six
    Member

    You need to take off the steering wheel and move up the turn signal system. Carefully push the wires from under the dash in so you can pull the turn stuff up towards you to look at the parts that go into notches. The 56 Ford is exposed and the Merc is covered. As you move the lever toward the steering wheel it moves a pin(wrong word) out of the notch and allow you to select a gear. You do pull the shift arm to you to move it don't you? Most don't do a good job of it and round the notches.
    I had to make the arm on the bottom of the steering column 1" longer by making a extension with the same rubber grommet to get mine to work and I still don't trust it. I park mine in neutral with the e brake on ALWAYS-EVERYTIME..
    I also need to go in where you need to go and "square up " the notches and possibly make a slider over clip on the Park spot to assure it stays there. A point to ponder .... ..... .... These have always been a POS and Ford paid out a lot in later years when cars idling fell out of Park and went into Reverse. Ask an old cop he'll tell you. Good luck.
     
  16. 56MercMan
    Joined: May 22, 2008
    Posts: 42

    56MercMan
    Member
    from CA

    OK. Thanks. I will take apart and see what I see. This at least gives me some idea of what I am doing. I have welded up and re ground gears on window cranks and notches in things before so maybe that will work... Assuming it is weldable steel.

    Yes I do pull the shifter towards me first then into gear.

    Also the car sometimes will not start unless I pull the lever into park harder. Current procedure is to park the car in "Park" with the E brake on. Start the car and immediately go to neutral with E brake on.
     
  17. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,386

    jimmy six
    Member

    Somebody possibly added a start in park switch to your arm on the column. Fords in 56 started only in neutral Mercs may have been different. You may need to take the fine thread adjuster on the top of the linkage going to the trans from the column and lengthen it a turn or so.
    You need to know that there were only 5 spots on your indicator and you now have 6 in your transmission. Was PRNDL. Now PRND21. Lengthening the rod may change your indicator. I also have a true 3 speed not a C4 and made changes to my indicator. A lot easier for me than you. Good luck. This is what happens when vehicles are updated. It’s the little mechanical things that need to be done and figured out and hopefully not paying anyone to do it. E9159275-0AE4-4142-AD28-605DF06C3FFE.jpeg
     
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  18. Rocket Scientist Chris
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 542

    Rocket Scientist Chris
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Search on Ebay for “plunger brake switch”. I saw a number of switches that could be used with a slightly different mounting bracket. :)
     
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  19. Rocket Scientist Chris
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 542

    Rocket Scientist Chris
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    If I remember correctly, when I replaced the turn signal switch on my ‘55 Mercury, there is a plate on the backside of the chrome housing that the shift lever engages. The lever has a pawl that fits into slots in the plate for each shift position. Either your plate or lever is worn. Since your car starts in Park, the original column switch is probably broken or missing. The Merc-o-matic was set up to start only in neutral. It’s not a horrible inconvenience - just not “modern”.

    The ‘58-‘60 Thunderbirds use the same steering column components. Since you now have a C4, you could use the Thunderbird chrome collar to give yourself the extra 1st gear position. :)
     
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  20. 56MercMan
    Joined: May 22, 2008
    Posts: 42

    56MercMan
    Member
    from CA

    Here is what I found with pictures incase someone in the future needs to know how these come apart:
    1) Pull spring clipped center cover of steering wheel off
    upload_2020-6-12_8-49-17.jpg
    2) pull nut holding steering wheel on
    3) Use puller to pull the steering wheel (Do not place puller jaw at the 10 o clock position or you will hit the horn button and crack your plastic cover- ask me how I know)
    upload_2020-6-12_8-16-4.jpg
    4) Pull 2 Phillips screws out of plastic cover and remove cover
    upload_2020-6-12_8-16-19.jpg
    5) unthread blinker lever
    upload_2020-6-12_8-16-32.jpg
    6) slide blinker mechanism towards you off of the switch and out of the hole on the left (the blinker lever holds it in so must be removed first). Be aware there may be springs or bushings on the blinker switch on the right.
    upload_2020-6-12_8-16-50.jpg
    7) remove 2 Philips screws holding blinker electrical switch and move to side
    8) Use pic tool to pop the top cover off the steering column collar. It is held on with a spring clip
    upload_2020-6-12_8-56-25.jpg
    9) Remove the 2 philips screw from under the cover to remove shifter light and shifter selector backing.
    10) Loosen the 2 nuts you see in pic in step 6 (do not remove fully). This will loosen the chrome ring allowing you to remove from column
    11) you now see your shifter lever and the collar is loose:
    upload_2020-6-12_8-37-31.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  21. 56MercMan
    Joined: May 22, 2008
    Posts: 42

    56MercMan
    Member
    from CA

    Now that that is done does this look correct? I feel like there should be a spring in here somewhere putting pressure on my gear selector pushing it into the column more.

    I also fear that my issue is due to the broken collar which is allowing the seleter to be looser:

    upload_2020-6-12_8-58-28.jpg
    upload_2020-6-12_8-58-44.jpg

    Any ideas?

    upload_2020-6-12_8-59-7.jpg
     
  22. Ford had a real issue with those die-cast shifter collars...

    Generally much more of a problem with manual-shift cars, but even with an automatic they wear out over time. Your problem is typical. Unfortunately, there is no 'easy' fix. You can still get new ones for the later cars, but those won't fit your Merc. As a temp fix you can put a hose clamp over the end to reinforce the collar and at least keep from breaking it more but that still won't fix any sloppiness. You can try and find a better OEM example but at this stage most will be the same as what you have. Best bet is to ream the hole out and press/epoxy a steel sleeve with the same ID inside the collar then re-drill the holes for the pivot pin. A real PITA...

    At one time you could buy a external sleeve to reinforce the collar but it was butt-ugly and did nothing to fix sloppy fit; it mostly just kept the lever from falling out... Worked 'OK' for manual shift, not so much for automatics.
     
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  23. Rocket Scientist Chris
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 542

    Rocket Scientist Chris
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Your shifter collar looks really bad. I would just replace it. It was used on ‘55, ‘56, ‘58 Mercurys and ‘58-60 Thunderbirds.

    I don’t remember a spring under the shift lever. My impression was the rubber grommet was the “springiness” of the lever. Check the back side of the chrome collar for damage, too. It looks really corroded.
     
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  24. 56MercMan
    Joined: May 22, 2008
    Posts: 42

    56MercMan
    Member
    from CA

    Thank you both for the responses. I will put it back together and be nice to it until I find a replacement. I have spent the morning searching the web for a replacement without much luck but I will keep it up.

    Thank you Chris for the years. That narrows down my search.

    The backside of the chrome looks worse then it is... a lot of that brown is dirty brown grease

    upload_2020-6-12_9-55-14.jpg
     
  25. I'll note that Mac's has new '58-60 T-bird shift collars listed for $99 but doesn't show it as fitting the '56 Merc and it doesn't look quite the same as yours.... Might be worth a phone call.
     
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  26. Rocket Scientist Chris
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 542

    Rocket Scientist Chris
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Search on Ebay for a 1958-60 Thunderbird column shift collar. There’s an NOS one with a box that has the printed part number for Ford and hand written interchange numbers for Mercurys. B8S-7228-B (56 &58 Mercurys) and FDT-7228-BP (55 Mercury) are the hand written numbers. This is what makes finding parts for Mercurys so difficult. The Ford part numbers do not always align exactly with the Mercury part numbers.

    Years ago a Concours Ford Parts guy got really snotty with me over the interchange of Ford parts and Mercury parts. He basically ended the discussion with “If you say so”! :)
     
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  27. Hdonlybob
    Joined: Feb 1, 2005
    Posts: 3,881

    Hdonlybob
    Member

    I absolutely LOVE stories like this..
    Good for you, and yep, you have one wonderful Mother.
    Also, being (76) years old, I too favor two doors, but your Merc is one of many that I have openly said over the years that are totally as cool as their two door counterparts....
    Nice post :)
     
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  28. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 8,276

    manyolcars

    I love your car and your story. When I was a kid in the 50s, my uncle had a light blue 56 Merc. We went out to the farm and found his car stuck in the mud on the highway. We had to drive for miles to go around the other way then daddy got the tractor and dragged the Mercury out. Yes, even the highway was dirt and when it rained, Stay in the Ruts!
     
    56MercMan likes this.
  29. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 8,276

    manyolcars

    Dont Mess with Rocket Scientist Chris!
     
  30. 56MercMan
    Joined: May 22, 2008
    Posts: 42

    56MercMan
    Member
    from CA

    Thanks. Sounds very similar to this cars life. I grew up in the country with plenty of dirt roads. Dad was not known for being nice to his vehicles so this merc has seen its fair share of dirt/mud roads and I know for a fact it has been tugged by a tractor more then a couple times. I drove the tractor at least twice... Ha. The car was full of hay from getting hay for the horses in the trunk. That is probably 90% of the reason the rear apron of the trunk is rusted out. hay stuck in there with moisture.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2020

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