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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. daleeric
    Joined: Jan 13, 2008
    Posts: 67

    from Omak

    great work, I like how you maintain the quality and don't cut corners. That little dremel cut off wheel is a charm, I bought one and use it in my cordless Milwaukee die grinder, works great, thanks for the tip. The clear plastic is a great idea as well.
    The 39 guy and loudbang like this.
  2. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,660

    The 39 guy

    Thanks Joel! How about an update on your coupe project?

    Thank you daleeric! That little cut off wheel and the clear plastic for patterns have been a great help during engineering and fabrication on many projects for me. Th eclear plastic is a real time saver and can also save on material costs from do overs.

    That cross flow radiator install created another project..... The lower valance that goes between the radiator and the front bumper needed some modification.
    This recess needed to be extended 2 1/2" on each side.
    One of the easier projects. Simple layout.
    I guess I neglected to take pictures of the different steps on this one. I just cut out the original section and bent a new longer piece and welded it in.
    IMG_1169R copy.jpg
    Wish all of the projects were this easy. That arrow just points to area that where a support rod goes. This area had to be rebuilt because during the wreck this area was basically punched out by the support rod. I flattened the area back out and reinforced it with a washer on the back side.

    That's all for today. We have been quite busy on the car lately and I am still behind on posts but I will be back soon with some coverage of the Alternator,AC comp and PS pump install.

    Attached Files:

    loudbang likes this.
  3. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,660

    The 39 guy

    Hanging the AC compressor , power steering pump and GM one wire alternator proved to be an interesting project. Unless you buy one of the very expensive billet systems for this the options seem to be limited. Also the possible combinations of engine configurations are beyond our experience as we both have spent more time working with SBC's
    The alternator was too difficult but the AC compressor took some head scratching and much modification of the bracket Don purchased.

    Fortunately I have an old lathe so we were able to custom cut the tubular spacers accurately and face them off squarely for good alignment of the pulleys.
    We have just tacked all of this together for now but we are satisfied that the system will work well.
    loudbang likes this.
  4. joel
    Joined: Oct 10, 2009
    Posts: 1,513


    Update coming, maybe today. Your work looks store bought or factory; good job.
  5. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,660

    The 39 guy

    That is a great compliment Joel! Thank You! Although we strive for well engineered parts having them look store bought I would consider a plus. It would be safe to say not all of the modifications look store bought.

    I was processing photos for this thread tonight and I am out of time for posting but I do have a quick project I can post.
    Don bought an EZ wire kit for the car and we decided to mount it on a drop down panel like we used on my coupe project.
    I welded a piece of 1/2" square stock to the firewall after drilling and tapping it for some 10/32 screws to hold the short piece of piano hinge.
    With the panel in the down position you can see the ground terminals which are 10/24 screws threaded into the the aluminum base.
    In the up position the panel is out of sight and also out of harms way. It is held in place with a 1/4 x 20 screw that is inserted into the dash and simple plastic knob with threaded brass insert. The 1/4x20 nuts ans all thread holding the fuse panel to the aluminum base will be replaced with allen head bolts during final assembly.
    loudbang likes this.
  6. going to be a long winter project, think it will be rolling in the next apple blossom parade? hope so.
  7. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,660

    The 39 guy

    Actually we hope to be into the finish body work and paint stage by next spring. Probably won't make it to an Apple Blossom or Classy Chassis parade until 2018.
  8. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,660

    The 39 guy

    Steering column and power steering gear install project.

    The power steering gear that is now installed in the car protrudes farther towards the firewall than the stock unit. We wanted to retain the stock column which is now too long. With lots of head scratching and measuring we came up with the following solutions.
    One of the last things we did is weld this smooth on the steering shaft side,Splined on the steering box side coupler onto the steering shaft. I showed you it first because it is a key element in why we did everything else the way we did. That coupler is stuffed up inside the column sheath and has just enough clearance to allow the shifter mechanism to work. We lined the column splines up at the steering wheel and the steering box as close as possible before welding, the final setting will be made when the front end is aligned in the future.
    This lower section of the column sheath was cut off .

    Four slits were cut in the column sheath to aid in tightening the bottom with the clamp.
    The rubber bushing or gasket was original equipment. The spacer ring was made to fill the gap between the the column sheath and the steering gear. 19 GA. I think.
    Spacer and rubber seal installed.
    IMG_1427 copy.jpg
    Item one: We had to keep this shift lever on the engine side of the firewall in order to maintain the stock column shifter. Item two a simple stainless hose clamp secures the base of the column. IMG_1435R.jpg
    The column sticks into the cabin about 1 1/8" more than stock. we hope that isn't too far. We felt it was a good compromise. Just above the column clamp are three 1/4' spacer plates that drop the column down to the stock height. This allows us to use all of the stock sheet metal and rubber seals on the floor boards.
    A very tricky part of this conversion was getting the shift linkage on the column, the shift linkage on the transmission and the shift indicator on the column to work together. Don spent a week under the car getting that sorted out. I was called on to operate the shifter from above. With one guy doing this it could take weeks
    The stock 54 Mercury linkage a seen below was modified considerably. It has a long arch to it now. The linkage on the transmission is just tacked on for now. When we remove the transmission later we will finish off the weld. I will try to remember to get a picture of that piece then.
    loudbang likes this.
  9. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,660

    The 39 guy

    Don decided to install a Gen 4 Vintage Air system in the Mercury. There is not a sure fit kit for this type of car so it took quite awhile to shoehorn this system into the car. I took a lot of pictures as we progressed through the install. Maybe it will be of some help to one of you in the future. Don was given some good technical help by Vintage Air in choosing the components.
    This bracket came with the unit. We chose to mount the unit in the original heater location.
    This flange was ground off so the bracket could sit flat against the firewall.
    The unit was mocked up.Yes it is pretty big.
    The first casualty was the ash tray. A little grinding took care of that.
    The glove box is also a casualty This area had to ground off also.
    This area had to be ground out to clear the defrost fittings on the unit shown in the next picture.
    The ground area.

    I welded come 1/4 20 nuts on the back side of the bracket.
    A 90 degree bend was made in the bracket and then fabricated a bracket to attach it to the inside firewall .
    I recommend using this anti splatter stuff. It keeps all of those weld splatter beads from sticking to your metal.
    The welded on nuts will make the install of the unit possible.
    The electric wiper motor and passenger side linkage was temporarily installed to make sure we had clearance for the linkage.
    When we sure there was adequate clearance the upper bracket was welded to the cowl. IMG_1401R.jpg
    It is mounted as close to the firewall as possible.
    So we think we can install a glove box deep enough to hold the registration and insurance papers.

    We started designing the the new cover plate with a cardboard pattern.

    Clear plastic ( not shown) was used to figure out where to drill the holes for the fittings in the 1/8" steel plate.
    The screws on the right pass through the firewall and into those nuts I welded on the bracket earlier.
    With unit securely mounted we could turn our attention to the plumbing and controls.That's next.
    loudbang likes this.
  10. okiedokie
    Joined: Jul 5, 2005
    Posts: 3,640

    from Ok

    Great work as usual. I used a complete early 80's Mustang serpentine setup on my 55 as I did on my 53F100. Been down the SBF pulley circus before.
  11. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,660

    The 39 guy

    Thanks okiedokie! Working out solutions to all of these mismatched old and new parts is my version of doing crossword puzzles with a more useful outcome.....

    As some of you may know these Mercury's have this weird control pod that extends from the dash below the instrument cluster. Besides making it difficult to come up with a suitable steering column (other than stock) it also presented us with an interesting project for the Air conditioner controls.

    At the risk of boring you to death and overloading you with too many pictures I wanted to show the steps it took to modify the original cable operated controls to work with the new vintage air electronic system. I realize AC is somewhat off topic on the HAMB but the reality is many of us find as we age that AC can make the difference in driving the car to a hot summer destination or considering the trailer or stay home options. The object of this install is to hide as much of the AC install as possible and maintain the original charm of the Mercury pod.
    The old cable control as found. You will see this side get modified extensively as this configuration will not work with the new control.
    We want to copy this side as it is just what is needed.
    Top view
    Stripping the unit down.
    I chose to make a new bottom section(above).
    The handle portion was cut off and welded to the new bottom piece. Note a piece of flattened 3/4 " copper pipe was used to keep the two pieces flat while allowing me to weld the two together without welding them to the steel tubing they were secured to.
    Mostly metal finished the new piece is compared the original from the other side that was being copied.
    Now the base had to be modified. once again I chose to make a new piece to insert into the old because they were so different in configuration.
    Welded in and marked for the new arched slot.
    I drilled the holes as close together as possible and then used a small dentist type pit in the dremel followed by a small file to finish the slot.
    Testing the slot and handle.
    The old cable clamps had to be modified. Notice they are at different heights. The ends were cut off and the height of the left clamp was lowered to match the right side.

    The clamp portion is cut off . This boss rotates in the the body and we maintained that function.
    Test fitting the new linear control .
    We thought we needed to move this spreader bar and did move it . We later discovered we did not have to move it.
    The dash was cut to allow the controls to pass thought it.
    IMG_1481R copy.jpg
    IMG_1514R copy.jpg
    This area of the dash pod had to be cut out clear the new controls.
    There was a little detente tab here that had to be cut off to allow the control arm to swing through it's whole range of motion.
    The modified assembly
    The modified assembly mocked up and ready for test fitting.
    Testing and adjusting.
    View 2.
    Rear view. The control wires plug into the ends of these plastic tubes.
    Note the tubes are sticking through the modified dash.
    Ready for knobs.
    Nylock nuts were used to secure all of the threaded stuff. The nylocks were also used to set the drag or resistance on the controls so that they will stay in the control position they are set to.

    There was one other rotary control switch that was installed for this AC unit. It was a simple install and I did not get a picture of it's install I will have to get some pictures of it later.

    So there it is another one of those projects that you would never think of after the car is finished. It will be out of sight and if it functions as it should everyone will think it is stock. Hopefully though by covering it here on the HAMB someone else can consider using the design rather than adding a extra control module below the dash.
    brEad, Texas57, loudbang and 3 others like this.
  12. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 22,947


    As usual some fine innovative thinking and work
  13. Ditto. Nice work and a thoughtful approach to making it look and operate 'right'.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  14. 56longroof
    Joined: Aug 1, 2011
    Posts: 2,002


  15. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,660

    The 39 guy

    Thank you gentlemen! It's always nice to get a compliment! This was one of the more fun projects to do on the car.
  16. joel
    Joined: Oct 10, 2009
    Posts: 1,513


    Wow! You guys are really on a roll; great work, especially on the overhaul of the controls. I have a thought, since the levers show as they stick through the dash, the zinc/ tin plating from Eastwood could make a really factory looking finish. Do you guys have winter yet? First snow here today.
  17. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,660

    The 39 guy

    Hi is good to hear from you! Thanks for the compliments. We have been pretty busy .W e should rap up the fabrication part of the engine,brakes,power steering and AC this week. We will then move on to the prep for paint stage. I have a few posts yet to put on this thread about the fab work.

    That is a good idea about the zinc plating for the levers. I don't think we will need it though. I was able to weld the old chromed section of the lever on to the new base section without blueing the chrome in the area that will be visible above the housing. We have not tried polishing the chrome part of the levers yet though.We will keep that zinc plating idea in the bag of tricks just in case Don is unhappy with the finish.

    We had a record rainfall for October but mild temperatures throughout the fall. Some reports say we will have a lot of snow this winter. I just bought a snow thrower (Honda single stage). I hope it performs as well as it is supposed to. Don has had one for years and has been very happy with it. So far we have not had any really cold nights (freezing) in out valley but the mountains around us have had some snow.
    loudbang likes this.
  18. 86553merc
    Joined: Sep 5, 2016
    Posts: 2


    Following along great build looking good
  19. grower54
    Joined: Dec 11, 2016
    Posts: 95


    Sam, great write up! i just spent two hours going through all the steps you guys are doing. I'm going to have to steal so many of your great ideas for my '54 build.
    I have contemplated how i would integrate the factory heater controls with a vintage air unit. Now I know how! Thanks!!
    One question. That gen4 unit looks pretty large. Would you use that same unit if you had to do it again?
    loudbang likes this.
  20. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,660

    The 39 guy

    Thanks for the compliment grower 54! I am glad you found something useful for your build.

    Yes we would use the gen 4 unit again. Although it presented many fitment issues they were manageable because the car was so stripped down while we were fitting it. If I was going to install a unit in running and assembled car I think I would consider a smaller unit..... This unit was recommended by Vintage Air for this size of vehicle though. It is a pretty big cabin to heat and cool.


    Oh, and don says the patent is pending on the control system;)
    rramjet and loudbang like this.
  21. joel
    Joined: Oct 10, 2009
    Posts: 1,513


  22. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,660

    The 39 guy

    Her is a little project that took some time to do. We have installed an electric wiper system. We wanted to maintain the original knob so we had to do a little fabricating to accomplish this. Plus the new switch was made in such a way that it would not just bolt up to the dash.
    I made this spacer by cutting a flasher unit apart.

    Because the flasher is made of very thin aluminum a flat washer was later installed between the nut and flasher spacer.
    The next problem was to get the original knob to fit the new switch. The windshield washer button will no longer be functional but we wanted to leave it in the knob.The buttons shaft was shortened just enough to make it fit tight in the knob.
    After carefully drilling a piece of round stock to fit over the new switch shaft it was hand filed to the hex shape of the inside of the knob (hand filed because I could not find anything the right dimension to fit the knob). A hole that aligned with the knobs set screw was then drilled through the now very thin tubing adapter so we could tighten the knob on the shaft.
    Final result is a stock knob in stock location operating an electric wiper.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2017
  23. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,660

    The 39 guy

    After a few false starts Don finally received his 19 inch fan, so we could proceed with the the fan shroud and condenser install. I think this fan shares a part number with a UPS truck fan;). That is to say it is big and should have no trouble pulling enough air to cool the Mercury.

    We had to cut the bottom out of the plastic shroud and fabricate this piece to install in it;s place in order to accommodate the large fan.
    The new piece was then riveted to the bottom of the shroud. Just a reminder this is the stock shroud that came form the donor mercury and is mounted upside down.
    We were able use the stock rubber mounts on the bottom of the radiator and wanted to use the upper rubber mounts also. So made a sheet metal cover that would incorporate the upper mounts while giving the radiator a finished look.
    We used the HF break to bend this 19 ga. sheetmetal cover.
    Some contour work to match up to the upper brackets.
    Clamped in place for tacking.




    IMG_1561R.jpg .
    Welded and finished ground
    chryslerfan55, loudbang and biggeorge like this.
  24. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,660

    The 39 guy

    With the radiator secured we moved on to the AC condenser.

    There was a 1 inch space between the bottom of the radiator and the radiator support. So we decided to make the bottom condenser support run all of the way across the bottom. This allowed the support to two jobs as condenser support and air dam.
    The upper support brackets were made from 18 ga steel.
    The drier was placed on the driver side. We then ran all of the hoses to make sure we had the right fittings and that the hoses could be secured neatly during final assembly.
    Looks like it will all fit nicely.

    The cruise control and the AC hot water valve were mounted on the passenger side inner fender panel.
    Don bent and temporarily installed all of the brake lines
    More stuff soon.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2017
    chryslerfan55 and loudbang like this.
  25. Very impressive work, guys! You two really stick to it.
  26. 56longroof
    Joined: Aug 1, 2011
    Posts: 2,002


  27. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,660

    The 39 guy

    Thanks Texas 57! We do work on this project 4 to 5 hours a day. Most of winter we work 7 days a week. Or should I say play 7 days a week. We are not fast but we are steady.

    Thanks 56longroof we appreciate the kind words.

    We appreciate the likes also. Hope you all keep watching.

    Since the cross flow radiator is 5 inches wider than the stock original radiator we lost some room for the battery. After some research Don found a battery dimension that will just barely fit in the stock location.
    Since it will be awhile before the battery is actually needed Don measured the battery as acurately as he could and I made up this cardboard version to use for fabricating a new battery box for this application.


    This is not the prettiest piece I have made fr this car but it should be sturdy enough and it mounts to the original battery box holes on the inner fender.

    More AC unit complications.... We needed an abbreviated glove box. I found some very thin aluminum scrap. I believe it is a roof flashing material.
    Don made a pattern off of the worn out original glove box and made this replacement.
    The aluminum could be cut with scissors. You would think that it would be too flimsy but once it was riveted together and attached to the dash it felt quite strong. I think it is deep enough for a registration and insurance card (not much else). The aluminum will be covered with fabric to finish it off.
    It is kind of hard to see the clearance between the AC unit and the glove box here. There will be a multiple plug that goes into the slot in the AC mounting bracket so we had to leave a little room for that.
    chryslerfan55 and loudbang like this.
  28. joel
    Joined: Oct 10, 2009
    Posts: 1,513


    You guys are doing great; you are fast and precise at the same time.
  29. The 39 guy
    Joined: Nov 5, 2010
    Posts: 2,660

    The 39 guy

    Here is a subject we already addressed back on post 128 of this thread. It turns that we had the linkage upside down.So this post will cover the modifications to the C4 to modified 54 mercury column.
    . IMG_1438R.jpg
    Stock link arm.


    After much fussing over this linkage this is what we came up with. It did not work well. In fact we found that this transmission was set up for a floor shifter.

    After looking through the Lokar catalog we found this system designed for the floor shifter on a C4.
    Don having tight pockets as he does decided we would make one.

    So I turned a piece of round stock down to fit shaft of the shifter rod in the transmission.

    Some flat stock was bent to the required offset and an ajustment slot was made in the lower part of the arm.
    After trying the new linkage with the shift shaft while it was still in C4 the. Once we happy with the shift pattern,the transmission was hauled back to the tranny shop. George removed the the shift shaft and I aligned the pieces back to the match marks and carefully welded them together .Back to the tranny shop to insert the shift shaft .

    This time it took just a few minutes to get the column and transmission linkage to sinc with each other.

    Attached Files:

    chryslerfan55, joel and loudbang like this.
  30. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 22,947


    You guys do nice work and think creatively.

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