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Projects Saving a 54 Mercury Custom 2 Door Sedan Build Thread

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by The 39 guy, Dec 31, 2015.

  1. joel
    Joined: Oct 10, 2009
    Posts: 1,529


    That's my go to combo; angle iron. dead blow & C clamps. It drives my friend John (retired sheetmetal man) nuts. Good job.
  2. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,670

    The 39 guy

    Ha Ha,Thanks Joel we have to work with what knowledge and tools we have. It's all fun though!
  3. Wow very cool! Great project...I would love a 54 Merc hardtop someday!
  4. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,670

    The 39 guy

    Thanks Chris! Maybe you saw this fine example that Tom Davidson photographed at the 2016 GNRS. GNRS-1.jpg
  5. I did! Saw it in person! I have fallen in love with 52-54 Fords and Mercs since buying my 53 Sunliner last year. I really do not know why these cars are not more popular. 54 Mercury's have the coolest tail lights ever
    biggeorge likes this.
  6. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,670

    The 39 guy

    They are pretty cool. You wouldn't happen to have any of them would you? I think Don has a pretty good source for reproduction parts but good originals are usually better.....
  7. I am sorry, I do not
  8. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,670

    The 39 guy

    So it's been awhile since my last post. We have been bogged down with parts clean up. We have several projects in progress that I will show you later.
    I had already started beating on this part before I started taking pictures. These parts go on the bottom front edge of the fender filling the gap between the fender and bumper. They are spot welded to the fender. We chose to drill out the spot welds and remove them so that we could get rid of the rust that we could see in the seam.

    The pictures are not great at this resolution .
    It took some time get things back to contour . Mostly hammer and dolly work with a little mig welding to fix the split on the edge. So far we think we will bolt theses back on rather than plug weld them.
    We set up this little sand blasting station in the driveway.
    Don equipped for blasting.
    The beiginnig of several days of blasting.
    Typical of the stuff we were cleaning.
    The little HF pot blaster is a slow way to blast but does eventually get the job done.
    Temp was in the high 40's to low 50's during the blasting. Don just bought two bags of 70 grit silica sand for this job. We recycled it several times with only only one nozzle blockage. We used a piece of copper screen (like screen door size mesh) to filter the sand as we shoveled it off for the plastic and into the funnel. I think we recycled a few times to many as the sand was turning dust by the time we finished up.

    The air supply was had two air dryers on it. One on the main compressor line and another on the blaster itself. I drained the compressor every two or three hours.

    When we were done with blasting each day we just take down the small tent made from 3/4" PVC then pick up the edges of the plastic sheet floor to bring the sand to the center and back into the bags.
    We still have the hood and doors to blast but we will wait until we have finished trial fitting the front end.
    We have been working on fitting the front sheet metal for a couple of weeks now. It has been pretty frustrating but we are getting closer. It seems like every inner fender panel needed to be straightened and or rust repaired.
    This corner was sticking out too much so I made a relief cut.
    Hammered it over and did an ugly mig weld.
    Then metal finished it.
    That's all for now.

    Attached Files:

    biggeorge, joel and loudbang like this.
  9. okiedokie
    Joined: Jul 5, 2005
    Posts: 3,687

    from Ok

    Great work as usual. That pot blasting just sucks but your little booth would be a better way than my previous experience. I am lucky to have a friend who has done blasting as a second job for 40 years who normally gets all but the smallest of my jobs.
  10. 56longroof
    Joined: Aug 1, 2011
    Posts: 2,018


  11. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,670

    The 39 guy

    We are still working on the front end sheet metal fitment. It seems like we are treading water most days as the repair and fitment of the panels has been very difficult with not much to report.

    We have done several small projects during the last few weeks. Some are not finished yet so I don't want to post them until I see some positive results. One interesting project was the replacement of the pivot pin (I'll call it) for the hood hinge. The hole that the pin resides had been stretched resulting in a hinge arm that wobbled around too much.
    A view from inside the air intake/hinge bracket.
    We needed access to the riveted hinge bracket pin.
    So we used a hole saw get access.
    The pin hole and the pin were worn out so I decided to make a new system to secure the arm. I turned this nut on the lathe.
    I drilled the arm .562 dimension and inserted the new nut.
    Engine side. Note that the air box hole was drilled out also.
    I machined this piece to go in the airbox hole. A 3/8-16 bolt pulls the hole thing together and the hing arm no longer wobbles.
    H ere is a neat trick that Don taught me on or last project. If you going to be removing your hood springs extend them all of the way out and insert washers in between the coils before your remove them. Then when you are ready to put the spring back on you don't have to try to stretch them out as they are installed.
  12. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 24,546


    Great tip about the washers in the spring.
  13. Very nice detailed thread, and some great tips.
    Thanks for taking the time to document your work.
    loudbang likes this.
  14. 56longroof
    Joined: Aug 1, 2011
    Posts: 2,018


    Great tip on the spring. Can't wait to see your progress on the front sheet metal. I'm sure ,like the rest of your work, it will be outstanding.
  15. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,670

    The 39 guy

    Well it has been quite awhile since my last post. We have been busy on the car mostly working on the front end sheet metal. I will try to catch up on that in the next couple of weeks.

    Here is a little side project I worked on off and on over a few weeks. This is the passenger side air duct. Although Don is going to put AC in this car he also wanted to maintain the outside fresh air option. Since the old heater will not be used I cut the the tee fitting off.
    The heater T will has to go.
    Cut and bent a patch.
    I used clear plastic to make the pattern for the patch.
    The valve seal was shot. Don bought this seal kit from Dennis Carpenter. The old seal was sandwiched between two steel plates that were stapled together. To get the valve out you must first pull the shaft out from between the plates. It came out easier than I thought it would.
    I cut the staples with my dremel tool cut off wheel and then carefully pried the the plates apart.

    I placed the new seal on the cleaned plate , marked it for the new bolt holes. center punched them and drilled out on the drill press.
    Everything cleaned and ready to go together with the tools I though I would need. The tool selction changed considerably as I went along.
    I chose to insert the shaft first and assemble the seal inside the tube.
    The kit supplied slotted screws which proved to be very difficult to work with inside the tube . Even this bent screw driver was hard to work with.
    After assembling the unit the first time I was unhappy with the results. The shaft wanted to turn within the plates making for inconsistent valve operations. So I bent this little sheet metal gizmo .
    The gizmo was placed on the shaft over the flattened part of the shaft.
    This shows picture shows the gizmo between the valve pieces before adding the rest of the screws to the plates.
    Since the slotted screws were such a pain to use I switched to some stainless button head allen screws. They worked much better. I used some locktite 242 on all of the screws. No lock washers were provided and since the rubber will probably shrink over the years I thought the locktite would hold the nuts in place despite the shrinkage.
    Well there it is. Be careful to make sure the shaft lever is in the correct orientation for proper valve opening and closing before you bolt the sections together. Don't ask me why I had to make that comment.
    The screws appear to be kind of long once the thing is assembled but you need all of that length to get the nuts started during assembly. I don't think the extra thread will create any problems with air flow.
    loudbang and Rui like this.
  16. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,670

    The 39 guy

    Don found an 8" rear from Mercury Comet to use in the Merc. The housing was well preserved by copious amounts of grease and dirt. The accumulation was removed by hand and then sand blasted once the grease was gone.

    Because the OD of the 8" is so small and the original Mercury springs so narrow we could not find a pad mount that fit or needs.
    Of course the spring pad mounts were the wrong size and location so we had to make new ones. We started with some 2 x 3 x 3/16 tube. The center hole was drilled on the drill press.
    I got out the wrist breaker Milwaukee drill and clamped the piece in the band saw vise and carefully drilled out. I was broken or sore wrists from this step.
    I rolled the tubing over to drill the other side.
    I cut the tube to length on the bandsaw and then cut it down the middle with the sawsall.
    We determined that we needed a little more thickness to the bottom of the bracket so I cut and welded a piece of 1/4 inch pate to the bottom of the bracket.
    Don wanted a 3 degree setting on the rear end so set it up and carefully welded the brackets on. I made short beads and allowed the parts to cool between welds .No distortion of the rear was noticeable.
    The backing plates had some grooves so I put some weld metal on the pads.
    And ground them smooth.
    We had trouble finding U bolts that would work with the mercury axle tube, spring and the plate so we decided make another modification. We heated up some 1/4 x 1" strap.
    Then formed it around the rear axle tube.
    Test the U bolt fit.
    The spacers were then cut down and welded to the axle tube.

    New brake kit and brake drums were installed along with new bearings and seals for the axles.
    Don wants to drop the car 2" so we made some spacer blocks. I drilled the 2 inch tube straight through on the drill press. I then machined some dowels to insert in the top of the spacer that will index with rear axle spring pads.
    I put a couple of tacks on the pins.
    Some sheet metal was cut and welded to cap the ends.
    A little sanding with the flap wheel and they are ready for paint.
    This stand sets the rear end at just the tight height for old guys to work on them. I included plans for this stand in my 40 build thread.
    Don is really good at this brake line stuff.
    We inserted the rear end in on the jack and twisted it into place with little trouble. The springs have been cleaned and new bushings inserted .
    Installed with spacers.
    She is back on her wheels for the first time in several months. The car does not look much lower than it did when Don brought it over last fall but we have removed a lotof the weight from the car since. I am sure it will drop down some as we put parts back on. Don is still considering his options for dropping the front end.
    biggeorge, loudbang and Rui like this.
  17. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,670

    The 39 guy

    Drivers side fender repair. Picture heavy as usual.

    Inner structure is rusty.
    The outer skin is gone and we could find no patch panels for this section.
    Marked off the damaged area to be replaced.
    I tried to pick a spot for the cut that would allow me decent access to the back side of the panel.
    Spot welds were located along the trailing edge at theses locations.
    Outer skin removed.
    I supported the fender upside down on the table for easy no bending access to the work area.
    I used some plastic garbage bag to make a patter of the old inner structure.
    The bead roller was initially employed to form the back edge.
    I clamped some 1/4" x 1" flat stock to the bottom of the fender to maintain the body line.
    I cut the old piece off and then clamped the new piece on with a piece of sheet metal the same thickness as body panel sandwiched between the new inner fender and 1/ x 1 bar.
    The leading edge of the inner fender support was bent to 90 degrees on the break and then formed with the shrinker stretcher and welded on.
    This leading edge shape is not very critical. You just have to keep it out of contact with the fender skin.
    The repair looked great at this point but the trailing edge just wasn't formed quite right. IMG_9542R.jpg
    Had to change the contour of this trailing edge.
    Formed a new piece for this modification.
    some sanding required.....
    Don wanted to continue with the glue on technique for the patch panel so we repeated the same steps as we had done on the quarter panels before.
    The backer panels were glued and clamped in place.
    I missed taking pictures of the forming of the outer patch. But it was basically hand formed over human body parts and various round shapes such as pipe and cut shape.We waited until we were finally happy with fitment of doors and front fender finalize the patch dimensions and contours before proceeding with the gluing process.
    The inner surfaces were roughed up with a 60 grit sanding wheel.
    Same with the inside. Note the screw holes were pre drilled to a larger dimension than the screws that would be used to clamp the piece to the body.
    Glue was applied to both surfaces and spread with a putty knife.
    The screws at the top and the clamps at the bottom were sufficient to hold the panel while it dried.
    IMG_9961R.jpg Don cleaned the excess glue off.
    The screws were rem0ved and the area prepped for some reinforced filler. The sight says I am out of pictures space for this post..... I guess that is enough show and tell for one day.

    Attached Files:

  18. Peanut 1959
    Joined: Oct 11, 2008
    Posts: 1,653

    Peanut 1959

    Great fab work! We're all going to have to invest more time in repairs like this to preserve more old cars.
    The 39 guy likes this.
  19. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,670

    The 39 guy

    Thanks Peanut 1959. I was beginning to wonder if anyone was reading this thread anymore. When I first saw this car I didn't think it would need this much sheet metal repair. I was correct in thinking that there is not much in the way of reproduction sheet metal for this body style. Don did tell me just yesterday that he had found a reproduction part for the front inner fender piece I just posted about. Oh well I always enjoy a challenge.
    Steve Ray likes this.
  20. JeffB2
    Joined: Dec 18, 2006
    Posts: 7,742

    from Phoenix,AZ

    I reposted it again tonight for our "Newbies"
    Copper Top likes this.
  21. 56longroof
    Joined: Aug 1, 2011
    Posts: 2,018


    Been following since Jeff posted it on the social forum the first time. Every time I see an update I'm more and more impressed with your work. Keep it up!

    Sent from my SM-G900R4 using H.A.M.B. mobile app
    Peanut 1959 likes this.
  22. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,670

    The 39 guy

    Thanks guys! getting comments and seeing the views pile up makes it feel more worth while to take the time to compile and post this stuff. I still have several things to post in order to catch up with the builds progress. I am out of town this weekend so won't have much time to post but will get back to it on Monday.
    MyCrustyVW and loudbang like this.
  23. Nice work and I hate to be negative but I will add to what bugguts and tiki have said about gluing in patches the repair will map through at some point and show up in the paint.
  24. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,670

    The 39 guy

    Thanks K13. From the feedback I have been getting we will most likely regret the glued on patches. I talked Don into letting me weld the passenger side fender patch after reading some previous input. The front fender patch came out OK. I will do a post on that repair later.
  25. dave plmley
    Joined: Oct 24, 2014
    Posts: 141

    dave plmley

    I like your Merc, don't mean to steal your thread, just thought you would like to hear my 52/54 Merc story.

    When I was in junior high there were three hard top 1952/54 Mercs in the high school parking lot. The principal owned a black one with a green tinted glass roof and two owned by students. Both were black, but one had a cream colored roof. Being a young motor head I thought they were cool cars because they all had dual glass packs and sounded great. On Friday nights there would be a dance at the high school and the two Mercs always showed up. They would race from the far end of Main St. past the school every Friday during the dance. We would all go to the front steps to watch and hear the exhaust note. Both cars the equal and would always be bumper to bumper, but was a good time for us. One night as they came by the school one Merc hit the side of a small concrete bridge in front of the school. It slammed the other one and they both rolled end over end into a vacant field. Needless to say they were both totaled and along with cuts and bruises both the drivers had broken arms. I still like that stile Merc even though I never owned one, had a 56 and now own a 41
    Copper Top likes this.
  26. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,670

    The 39 guy

    Thanks for the Merc story Dave! A sad end for the cars though.
  27. Looking good! Remember this is a thread that will be referred back to for years to come! Hundreds of years even.. Blows your mind if you think about it too much. So keep that dremmel humming! This is great detailed info for future rodders......
  28. 48fordnut
    Joined: Nov 4, 2005
    Posts: 3,615


    I enjoyed the build.I am looking at a 54 H/T merc. Always liked them. There is a story behind this.
  29. 56longroof
    Joined: Aug 1, 2011
    Posts: 2,018


  30. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,670

    The 39 guy

    Glad you are enjoying the build. What is the story? You can PM the story if you like.

    loudbang likes this.

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