I got the call this afternoon to swing by and pick up my upper control arms from the powder coater. I am sure glad I went this route, as you can’t beat the finish. It’s hard as a rock, and the gloss on them looks great. Now all I am waiting on are coil springs, and I’ll be bolting the front end back together with all new ball joints, bushings, & Hardware.

 

While laying under the wagon disconnecting the tabs that hold the fuel/brake lines to the frame, I decided to poke the body brace with a screwdriver to see how solid it was. The screw driver went through the brace and through the inner rocker.  I kind of just starred at it in disbelief. I pulled the screwdriver out and started poking further which opened up more daylight gaping holes. I started poking more and more holes in the brace where the body mount bolt goes through. It was really bad. I poked further up the brace toward the tranny tunnel area and…. No problems. Solid as a rock.  This little discovery was unexpected and unwanted.  So I went all around the car poking all the floor bracing. All were solid.  So I guess Just one of my brace ends needed to be replaced.  I can pinpoint this particular area being a problem, because the car sat outside for a long time with no door glass in the Driver side door. The rocker,  door bottom, and now this particular floor brace are all rusty in the same area. With the door shut the rust all lines up. This is the worst spot in the whole car.

New floor braces ends are available new. There are 4 different braces that run from driver to passenger side that go from the front to back. The particular brace end I need is the second from the front. The price for one of these braces range from $125 to $175 dollars each.  That is as much as a whole floor pan new!  So I went to plan B: Find a good used one.

This leads to this story. I made a new car friend named Dave a couple of months back that also has a recently acquired ’58 Ford 2 door wagon.  He was advertising that he was looking for some ’58 wagon parts, and I answered the ad. ( I had lots of wagon parts from the first wagon I started out with but eventually parted out)  He looked through my boxes of extra parts and picked out a few items he needed. We settled on price, however when loading the parts, one of them, the front valance wouldn’t fit into his car. I offered to deliver it the next day as he only lives 15 miles away. So when I get to his home to deliver the part, he shows me his collection of cars. Dave is into ’58 & “59 Edsels, and has many project Edsels and Rancheros in various stages of restoration. I am amazed at how many solid cars he has. He also buys Edsels and parts them out for his own parts shelves, and also to sell parts to other enthusiasts.  He recently acquired a ’58 Edsel 4 door from dry southern Oregon.  He had taken the front clip off, the dash, the teletouch steering wheel/push button trans column, and misc trim.  After he stripped it, his plan was to fill it with scrap metal and take it to the scrap yard. Dave schooled me on the Edsel line of cars. There are 2 kinds of Edsel. The 2 lower end body styles are based on the Ford platform. The floor pans and frame are the same as the ’58 Ford Fairlanes/Custom 300’s. The two upper end Edsel body styles are based on the ’58 Mercury platform/Frames which are not compatible with the Ford Line of Floor pans/frames. I never knew this and was amazed at how much Edsel knowledge Dave has acquired over the years.  I enjoyed the tour, and after showing me his newly acquired ’58 Ranch Wagon I made the mental note to keep Dave’s number as a future contact for Ford related parts.

As I pondered my options on the rusty body brace suddenly, Dave The Edsel Guy‘s name flashed into my mind from the mental Ford Rolodex in my brain! I gave Dave a call, and asked him if he still had the Edsel 4 door. He said “Yes I do. However I’m taking it to the crusher in 3 days because I’ve got everything off of it I want.” I told him my predicament about the rusty floor brace  and he said “Do you have a sawzall? Because you can come out and cut off whatever you need.” I was relieved! I showed up, and Dave and  his wife were preparing the area for me to get to chopping the brace out. Their kindness and hospitality were appreciated. Dave says his wife is as passionate about his old car hobby as he is. Which is neat to see.

So Dave and I unbolt the front seat and pull it out. The seat is a 40/60 split bench seat, which is rare.  I ended up purchasing it from him and plan on using it in the wagon. The springs are in great shape, and the 40/60 split gives those entering the car from passenger  side to get into the  back seat a whole lot more room than a standard 50/50 splint bench seat.

After removing the body bolt I use my sawzall to cut through the rocker panel and into the floor pan up to the tranny tunnel, and back around to the rocker panel and now I have a perfect condition body brace and a cool seat for the Ranch Wagon!

 

I drilled out the spot welds using a Blair Spot Weld cutter bit, and have the bracket separated and read to be ground down and used when I replace the inner/outer rocker panels later on.  It’s good people like Dave the Edsel guy, who make this hobby enjoyable. By allowing me cut out a part I needed for my car, out of a crusher bound Edsel, Dave has really proven that old car guys look out for each other. Thanks Dave!

 

I purchased a set of reproduction Ball joints for the Ranch Wagon.  I just couldn’t find NOS lower ball joints at a reasonable price.  So I found the best quality reproductions available.  The rubber grease boots are high quality, which is important to look for in a reproduction ball  joint. Too often the boot ages quickly, dries out and becomes brittle. This leads to it tearing and falling apart. Then the grease won’t stay in the housing, and grit and contaminants can get into it and ruin the ball joint.  The vendors don’t sell the grease boot by itself, so you are usually stuck buying a new ball joint just for the boot.  FRUSTRATING!!!

I have soaked the upper control arms, ground the factory rivets off of the upper ball joints, hammered them out, and will be sand blasting them tomorrow.  I then plan on taking them and a number of other items to the powder coater.  I am cutting it close to self imposed deadline of September 15 to have the front suspension refurbished/replaced and the wheels on the ground, but I think I can make it.

  

This past week has been a real challenge. The temperature has topped 100 degrees for the last 3 days.  I have been grinding the frame with the wire wheel brush attached to the Cordless drill, wire brush, Brillo Pads, putty knives, dental picks, and screwdrivers every night after work. It was tedious, dirty work but paid off. The frame was clean metal, and I was out of energy. The heat has a way of really draining you quick!

The Eastwood products arrived Friday, and with the weather forecast predicting the temp to be in the low 80’s, I was excited to get the frame “encapsulated” & painted with their products.

I used a medium sized paint brush to paint the frame with the quart of Rust Encapsulator. It went on easy, but it is pretty thin and tended to run if I applied to heavy of a coat.  It was my first time using this product, so it took me a couple of strokes to familiarize myself with it.  The first coat is touchable dry in 20 minutes, and the second coat can be applied after an hour of drying. I got 2 coats on, and the overcast day was perfect for it.  The clouds have burned off now, and the bright summer sun is baking it onto the frame real nice.  Tomorrow, I will be applying 2 coats of the Eastwood Chassis paint.  I bought those in Aerosol cans, because I didn’t want any brush marks in the final finish.  Their Chassis Paint has the reputation of being tough as nails when dry, which is what I wanted. I want a tough, durable surface that looks nice when clean and strong enough to withstand the driving I plan to do with the Ranch Wagon when I’m done.

I bought 4 cans of Gloss, and 4 cans of Satin.  I am at a toss up as to which I should use. The control arms were powder coated with Semi Gloss, so maybe I should use the Satin so they’ll be close to the same reflective level.

Well,  I’m off to scrub my hands/face/arms/leg/ and shoulder with Lacquer Thinner. I just couldn’t keep myself from getting this paint on me.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I ended up finding some NOS (New Old Stock) original suspension parts. They were new in the box, and despite some box wear, and some surface rust on some of the parts, they are in great shape. I got a heck of a good deal as well. $25 dollars per Box! The shaft kits were especially nice to find, as I needed to replace 2 of the 4 shafts on my car.

I am disassembling the upper control arms and shafts and will be sandblasting them for powder coating.  I am in  “Get ‘er done” mode and despite the weather being close to 100 degrees for the past 3 days, I am working feverishly to get the frame prepped for the paint that will be here Friday.

Here is the song I frequently hear playing in my head during this recent flourish of work on the Ranch Wagon these past 2 weeks!

Benny Hill would be proud.

I finished removing the passenger side suspension Saturday morning. The lower control arm shafts were really putting up a struggle, but with enough PB Blaster penetrating oil, and pounding with the small sledge hammer they reluctantly came out of their perches.  The passenger side control arm bushing failed, and the whole it was pressed into was completely rounded out. The arm is ruined and not reusable. That is fine, because I already powder coated the lower control arms from the parts car and planned on using them in the wagon.

I have ordered some products from the Eastwood Company to clean, and finish the frame. They are the Rust Conveter, Rust Encapsilator, and finally their Black Chassis Paint. I have used the Eastwood products in the past and have had great success with their products. They are durable, and easy to apply.  I usually wait for them to have a sale (Which they are having right now) and purchase.

 

I had to remove the steering column as a whole, because the steering shaft cannot be removed from the gear box. So out it came. It is a 3 speed column shift unit, and I am replacing it with the  automatic shift column from the parts car. I will reuse the steering wheel though, because it is in beautiful condition with no cracking.

I am scrubbing and cleaning the frame areas that I couldn’t get to before, which were under the upper control arms, and where the steering box were bolted onto the frame.  When the Eastwood products are delivered on Friday, I will be ready to get to work with them and get the frame conditioned and painted. I can’t wait!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I picked up an Internal Coil Spring Compressor to use on the Ranch Wagon. After fiddling with it for awhile, I got the hang of using it and its function.  It has 4 arms with hooks that are inserted through the middle of the coils spring, rather than the ones that mount on the outside of the spring.  My opinion is that the internal Coil Spring compressor is a safer tool, and works better.

Working with coil springs is always dangerous. They are under enormous tension, so be careful and always take safety measures to ensure that you will not get  hurt.

 

Now that the Spring is removed, carefully set the spring aside. It is still under tension with the spring compressor attached to it! I carefully loosed the tension by loosening the nut on the compressor until it loosed up. I ran out of daylight, so I will have to do the other side tomorrow evening.