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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. 39 Deluxe
    Joined: Nov 9, 2014
    Posts: 65

    39 Deluxe

    Very interesting. I've just discovered the thread and need to spend some more time on it. My 52 four door Merc sedan is a driver but needs much the same body repairs to the floors and front fenders.

    Attached Files:

  2. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,681

    The 39 guy

    Glad you found the thread 39 Deluxe. I processed a bunch of photos from the last three months of work so I should be able to get some stuff posted this week and here we go.
    I don't know what to call this piece but it is a valance or cover over the radiator and holds the hood latch. Like everything else on the front of the car it suffered some damage in the wreck.The pencil points to a badly pulled brace point.
    We considered cutting this whole area out but decided to try fixing it.
    The right side had some damage and a crack at the vent.

    After some hammer and dolley work we used a small shrinking wheel to flatten it out some more.

    You run the wheel over it then hit it with some water.

    We used a wide felt marker to mark the low spots.
    Some cracks showed after shrinking. I drilled some small holes a the end of the cracks before veeing the cracks and welding them.
    The nose pretty chewed up by the hood safety latch so we made a patch.
    And welded it on. Hmmm hope I didn't cover this already. Been too long between post I guess.

    Attached Files:

    farmer12 and loudbang like this.
  3. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,681

    The 39 guy

    More quarter panel stuff. A buddy loaned us cool gun.
    Don used the nails to pull a crease out.
    He also used the gun as a shrinking tool by using the the tip to heat small spots . It worked well but I didn't get any pictures of that process.

    A small section at the bottom was realy beat up and had some rust so we cut it out and made a patch.

    The HF break was use to bend a 90 degree bend on one end then the shrinker was used to bend the slight body curve in the patch.


    After a bunch of test fittings small magnets were used to hold the panel in place for tack welding.
    Note that the left side corners are rounded. This is supposed to keep the corners from puckering up when welding.
    Inside view of the patch.
    Mig welded tacks.
    After some mig welding.
    The panel is not perfect but we think a skim coat of filler will finish off well.
    Carrying the patch into the door jamb area makes it a little hard to finish but I thought it would make a stronger patch and I did not have to take a chance of grinding a weld too thin on the edge trying to maintain the contour.
    Inside weld area was just roughly finished.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2016
  4. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,681

    The 39 guy

    Thanks Loudbang for the like. The latest posts otherwise seemed to not spark must interest or conversation....
    With the major body work done we turned or attention to the chassis again.
    A jack was used to release the pressure on the springs.Yes we did restrain the spring when releasing the pressure on it. Then we bolted the spindle back together so we could roll the car out front.
    With so many compound surfaces on the frame to clean we decided to return to the driveway and set up the blast tent again.
    Gets a quite hot and dirty in there.
    Even though we were careful to block off all openings we still had sand in the cabin.
    It got a little windy and the 5 gallon buckets filled with water were not enough to hold the corner ropes.
    Once we had the frame cleaned we rolled the car back in the shop and removed the rest of the front end parts
    . IMG_0274R.jpg
    Jack stands were used back at the cowl area.The 8 pound persuader ( sledge hammer) was employed a few times while taking the front end apart.
    Getting the car up high enough to allow us to work on roll around stools makes the whole processes more old back friendly.
    What do you do when your grandson is bored with his summer routine? Well if he is willing you put him to work sanding your quarter panels.
    Don and grandson Jase working together. This quarter took him quite awhile to do as he advanced from sanding block to small electric sander . The other side was done in one afternoon after we introduce him to the long board air sander. He was a joy to have around! He sure had an apatite though.
    A foot note here on the HF pot blaster.This part is a mixer T. HF does not offer a replacement part for this (to my knowledge) . If this thing fails the whole blaster is worthless.
    I cut the hose nipple end off and cut a short piece pipe to weld on the end. Terrible weld but it works.
    I should get a few more blasting sessions out of it.
    54 ford coupe likes this.
  5. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 25,119


    Things around here sometimes look like nobody is watching but most of the time fans are out there enjoying reading about your good work and just feel they don't have anything interesting to add. A good way to check is look at the number of "Views" you have that will tell you exactly how many people are looking at your work..
    Great that your grandson hung around helping you makes for a good day.

    EDIT: I just checked and right now 7200 times members have stopped by to look at this thread that is pretty good for this type of thread.
    brEad, Texas57 and Ray C's son like this.
  6. choptop40
    Joined: Dec 23, 2009
    Posts: 3,511


    Enjoying this, appreciate the pics...
  7. 64 DODGE 440
    Joined: Sep 2, 2006
    Posts: 4,027

    64 DODGE 440
    from so cal

    Amazed by your metal working skills. I'm picking up a lot of neat little tricks from your posts. Someday I may get enough confidence to try some of this.
  8. Ray C's son
    Joined: Dec 27, 2009
    Posts: 410

    Ray C's son

    I'm just enjoying watching and listening (or reading, in this case). Great work, btw.
    Loudbang, you and I must have very similar interests because I see you in a lot of the same threads I'm interested in. The Thunderbolt picture thread is the reason I joined the HAMB and is one I see you in from time to time.

    loudbang likes this.
  9. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,681

    The 39 guy

    Thanks for the kind comments Loudbang,60choptop40,64dodge 440,and ray C's son. I didn't expect this thread to draw as many followers as the 40 coupe build. It slowed down some after they figured out that the Custom in the thread title had to do with model of car not necessarily the projected outcome...... We did fill in the some of the trunk holes and the car will be lowered but a radical custom it will not be.

    For clarification, Chase is Don's grandson not mine. He is a great kid though and I would be delighted if one of my 6 grandsons would some day come over (they live 3 hours away) and spend some time working in on any project with me.

    Once the frame was cleaned up the A arms came of for a rebuild.

    After a lot of scraping to get the grease off the A arms they were bead blasted.

    All of the bushings were replaced.
    The old bushings were in pretty bad shape but Don said the car handled pretty well before the tear down.
    I didn't do a very good job of photographing this phase of the project. Some bushings came out easy although some had to be pressed out or cut and then hammered out. IMG_0311R.jpg
    The HF press worked well for this job.
    I had to machine the thread out of this one coupler to get the required clearance for the bushings .
    Keeping scrap steel around can come in pretty handy when trying to bush,shim and align parts on the press so that they can be pressed on with out bending your precious refurbished parts.
    We were able to do all of the bushing replacements here at the shop so the press pretty much paid for itself on this one project.
    The welds on the frame were less than stellar so I spent some time welding and finishing some of them.

    . IMG_0343R.jpg
    Chase and Don painted the frame and we were ready to install the new and refurbished front end parts.
    Clearances were so tight on theses A arm bolts that we had to bead blast them to get them to insert.That is a good thing.
    Assembly went pretty well. We were both delighted to be working on clean parts for a change.
    I will confirm later but I believe he bought most of the parts from C&G Early Ford Parts . Even these coil spring pads were available
    . IMG_0351R.jpg
    We used a combination of a floor jack and an 1/2 all thread rod to install the stock coil spring. I will have to enter data on the spindle kit later. It is supposed to give the front end a 2 " drop.


    After a lot of research Don bought a 2 1/2" drop kit from the Dropnstop guys.The Dropnstop guys do the different drops by varying the machine work on the Granada spindles. Don tells me they were good to work with while he tried to rap his head around this part of the project. So I recommend that you contact them for details about their products. He also bought disc brake conversion and power master cylinder from them. We will have more on that later.

    The new disc brake rotors were installed for roll around purposes.

    I am sorry I don't have more detail on this part of the project. It doesn't help that it was probably two months ago that we did this. Since I can't remember what I did yesterday I am glad I at least took some pictures to help with the telling the story.

    Attached Files:

    farmer12 and Texas57 like this.
  10. patterg2003
    Joined: Sep 21, 2014
    Posts: 552


    Great work and thread. Many of us are quietly looking over your shoulder and taking note of your practical approach to rehabilitating another nice project.

    I have been subscribed on day one and will continue looking over your shoulder. I enjoy your methods to get systematically renew a car and that you stick with it to get it built.

    A good boilermaker once instructed a bunch of welding apprentices working with a couple welding masters to keep their mouths shut, learn and steal with their eyes. I am among many quietly following and watching. :)
    Chavezk21 likes this.
  11. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,681

    The 39 guy

    That is good advice Glen. I have practiced many time myself. It looks like the posts get around 100 hits. That is pretty good I guess. Stay tuned I have several projects yet to catch up on in the next few days.
    patterg2003 likes this.
  12. godlemmy
    Joined: Apr 5, 2006
    Posts: 60


    I had a 53 Tudor sedan. Loved that car. I might not comment but I'm suscribed. Keep posting. Love this thread.

    Sent from my SCH-I435 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  13. Chavezk21
    Joined: Jan 3, 2013
    Posts: 596


    Great work. I just found this thread. I'm lurking and watching also.
  14. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 25,119


    Good thinking on using threaded rod when working on the springs.
  15. Fortunateson
    Joined: Apr 30, 2012
    Posts: 2,690


    For me it is like going to school. I tell my students, "Pay attention and learn. Ask if you have questions." So far no questions by me and my attendance is 100%.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2016
    loudbang likes this.
  16. I'm following it too, good move on the rounded corners on the patch panel and less likely to crack or show through later on.
  17. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,681

    The 39 guy

    Thanks guys! Good to hear from you.

    Here are some small projects.
    For some reason one of the door window stops was missing so I fabricated a new one. I didn't see any need to duplicate the original but I did duplicate the attachment and bump stop locations.
    I just bent some scrap 1/8" steel tapped it and glued a rubber stop from the rubber drawer.
    We cut off the old brake line attachment brackets off the frame. Turned out that we did not have to do that but once they were gone we needed new ones. IMG_0291R.jpg
    I used some 1/8 flat stock again.
    It was easier to clamp the piece and for drilling and filing the hole to fit the brake line fitting while it was still flat.
    After the shape was milled into the plate a I bent it into a 90 bend using the dead blow hammer while still clamped in the vise. Just another tedious but very simple project.
    Found some more rust after sand blasting.
    Drilled out the corners first.
    Used the dremmel tool to cut out the bad metal . A new piece was hand shaped.
    A little welding and grinding it's fixed.
    Hey it's not all work at Honest Sam's Trust us Garage!
    We belong to the TNGA (Thursday Night Garage Association). A group of guys that meets weekly and we take turns hosting dinners on a rotating basis.
    We have very few rules,no dues and everyone is a president. It's good fun ! It is always a good excuse to give the shop a good cleaning. That's all for tonight.
  18. 56longroof
    Joined: Aug 1, 2011
    Posts: 2,023


  19. joel
    Joined: Oct 10, 2009
    Posts: 1,536


    Still here Sam; I'm watching and admiring your work. I've been using my phone & it's harder to comment.

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    loudbang likes this.
  20. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,681

    The 39 guy

    Thanks Longroof!

    Thanks Joel, I have tried to comment on my phone a few times. I am sure if i was patient enough to learn how to run the darn thing it wouldn't be that bad but I prefer using the keyboard on the PC.

    This next post will be kind of picture heavy. Well I yes most of mine are...... Even with all of the pictures I took I still missed some steps and probably didn't get the best angles on some of the shots.But here we go anyway.
    We finally pulled the engine and trans we are going to use out of storage. Don had pulled the running 351 Windsor and C4 out of 79 Merc Zepher. Although he said it was the same as would came out of an 79 LTD .I realize this is not exactly a HAMB standard but I have noticed quite a few guys using the 351's in this vintage of Ford and Mercury so I decided to cover this install anyway.

    Don sent the C4 out for a rebuild while we were still working on chassis stuff. In our initial trial fit we discovered that the rear sump pan would not work so eventually Don begrudgingly opened up his tight wallet with rusty hinge to buy a new 69 Mustang front sump pan. We also did a compression check on the engine and Don is satisfied that the numbers are good enough to run the engine without a rebuild. He does plan on replacing the water pump and some gaskets though. I'll cover that later.

    The second test fit (with the new front sump pan) indicates that we were very close on the motor mounts.
    We determined the stock trans mount could be used in the stock location with some modification. disregard that 1 5/16" measurement. I'll tell you why later.
    The trans mount that came on the C4 was used for this install.
    Just another view of the layout on the opposite side.
    Cut it out with the Dremmel cut off wheels.
    As you can see here the the trans mount pad is actually off center to the front of the mount.
    This one shows the forward offset better.

    What I failed to photograph here is the use of some clear plastic to mark the holes that eventually will be drilled in the top plate for the mounting studs. I cut the plastic to the shape of the new top plate then mark the stud holes with a felt marker and then punch the holes. This is then transferred to the new steel top plate allowing for a very accurate transfer to the new plate.

    Testing for height with steel shims. This is when I discovered that I did not allow for the crush of the rubber trans mount when the weight of the engine and trans is set on the crossmember. I had to add some extra shim plate to the top to compensate for that later.

    1/8" steel plate was used to form the new top piece. It is cantilevered over the front of the crossmember to compensate for the forward position of the rubber mount.
    Better view.
    Welded. It was nice to weld on something other than sheet metal for a change.
    Metal finished. I like to used a 4" inch flap wheel for this kind of work. It cuts fast and leaves a good smooth finish.
    Installed. Some of you may think this is going to be too weak. That thought crossed my mind too. Don is a feather foot though and the car is being built for cruising not racing. We will keep an eye on it and see how it holds up once we hit the road. I can always beef it up a little.

    Another view without the engine in the way. You can see the new power steering unit on the right. More on that later.
  21. Old-Soul
    Joined: Jun 16, 2007
    Posts: 3,515


    Love this body style.

    For what it's worth, I ran the Aerostar coils in my '49 Tudor and found they gave me a perfect 2" drop and rode great (and were very affordable). 2" in the front and 3" blocks in the rear gave me a stance I thought really looked great.

    Keep on keepin' on!
    loudbang likes this.
  22. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,681

    The 39 guy

    Thanks Old-Soul. don did consider the Aerostar option seriously. In the end he decided he like this option best.

    Just a short post for today. The motor mounts needed a little tweeking to work with the 351 Windsor pads.
    You can see the angle is off a few degrees. Note the gap at the top.
    Top view.
    This view from the back doesn't show it well but you can see the front of the mount needed to be tilted down.
    So I layed it out with some tape and then cut the wedge out with a sawsall and cut off wheel.
    A few taps with the dead blow hammer a test fit some welding and finishing and they are ready to go.
    loudbang and joel like this.
  23. DSmoke
    Joined: Sep 2, 2016
    Posts: 54


    Great thread, thanks for all the pictures and insight!
  24. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,681

    The 39 guy

    Thanks DSmoke! I do post a lot of pictures. I think it helps to tell the story, besides most of us would rather look at pictures than read (I think).

    Well it's on the radiator.
    The radiator chosen was out of the the same car the motor came from. It is a cross flow type from 1979 Mercury Zephyr.
    When set in place we were delighted to see that the hoses that came with the radiator fit without modification! You can see in this picture that the cross flow radiator is 5 inches wider than than the original.
    We are still waiting for a 19" steel fan to come in but with this old fan in place we simply turned the stock fan shroud that came with the radiator upside down and it looks like it will work just fine.
    The sheet metal will have to be modified. Just some rough layout pictures here.
    We cut the original radiator support off.
    1 1/2" square tube was welded on top of the original bottom piece to provide a wider surface for the vertical supports.

    Everything is still just tack welded.
    We will cover the PS AC and Alternator stuff later. But we had the front end stripped down again for the install of that stuff so I thought I would take a picture of the radiator support.

    IMG_1365R copy.jpg
    Because the square tube is so close and over the top of the original rad support base the access to the original bolts became a problem. I decided to use some coupling nuts to fasten it. They are tall enough that you can use a simple combination wrench to tighten them.
    IMG_1367R copy.jpg
    We built this little cantilevered shelf to support the radiator in it's stock pads.
    IMG_1390R copy.jpg
    Just another view of the support mounted on the back side.
    We cover the sheet metal modifications later.
    Had to make a new cross brace. 1/2 x 3/4" tube was used for this.
    We still have not finalized the top mount for radiator but the plan is to incorporate the original rubber mounts if possible.

    Attached Files:

    loudbang likes this.
  25. mkebaird
    Joined: Jan 21, 2014
    Posts: 319


    Nice job! I like the use of the 'stock' radiator/shroud with original mounts. You won't have any cooling issues!
  26. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 25,119


    That was good news that it fit without many problems.
  27. HRK-hotrods
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 922


    The windsor is a good choice. Be sure to tell Don to replace the Ford timing gear and chain with a good performance replacement. I had a factory Ford gear come apart in my 78' 351. Little pieces of plastic and metal went thru my motor and cost me a full rebuild on an 85k mile motor. You know what they say about an ounce of prevention.

    Looking forward to more updates!
    Frankie47 and loudbang like this.
  28. joel
    Joined: Oct 10, 2009
    Posts: 1,536


    Good job in engineering and fabrication as usual.
  29. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,681

    The 39 guy

    That is what we are hoping for.

    Yep, a little re-engineering is all.

    I mentioned this to Don. I think he planned on replacing the gear and chain anyway but will give extra consideration ot what type of gear he installs thanks to your input.

    Thanks Joel!

    The front bulkhead sheet metal had had to have 2 1/2" removed from each side to accommodate the new radiator.
    I cut the section out leaving enough metal to overlap about 1/4" extra on each side.

    Well this didn't come out to well but I was trying to show that by overlapping the pieces you can cut through the two pieces of metal and not worry too much about how straight the cut is because the two pieces will align to each other with out a gap.
    You can see here that there was a some seriuos difference in the contours.
    tacked together.
    This new corner was built on the shrinker stretcher.

    Some of the this contour was cut from the cut out section.
    I should have replaced this rusty section. Had a tough time welding it.
    It took me a long time to patch all of this together but in the end it looks pretty much like original equipment which was the intent.
    The drivers side was much easier.The only alignment issue was at the top.
    Over lapped,clamped and ready to cut with my trusty dremmel tool.


    Sectioned this top corner.


    Had to make a slice in the corner to match the depth of the corner.
    Had to cut a filler piece from the top cut off section.

    Lots of welding.

    After some some hammer and dolly work and some metal finishing they are done.
    This project took the best part of two weeks of shop time. I am not real fast at this stuff but I do enjoy doing it.
    loudbang likes this.
  30. joel
    Joined: Oct 10, 2009
    Posts: 1,536


    Lots of work, but kudos for making it look correct.I like it!

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