Posts Tagged ‘1958 Ranch Wagon’

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.

  

So I spent Friday night dismantling the control valve, in order to soak it all overnight for a Saturday morning rebuild. It all came apart relatively easy. After having it all soak all night in some super clean, I cleaned it all up an then soaked all the internals and housing in some power steering fluid. I rebuilt the valve with a rebuild kit and a new ball stud kit as well. Then I coated the spool valve spring and nut with some white lithium grease and installed the end cap.

I then painted it in some chassis black semi-gloss and installed the stud boot and retainer. All done!

I have acquired a factory 1958 Ford Power Brake pedal assembly for cars with an Automatic Transmission.  Someone I knew purchased the unit for the Brake Booster, and gave me the Pedal assembly. I needed an Automatic pedal assembly anyway, so finding one for a Power brake car was a big plus. All I need to do now is find a Kelsey Hayes Brake booster for it.

The 4 door that I bought in the spring needed to be harvested and gotten rid of.  The car had been sitting in Bob’s driveway since being dropped off last April, and the floor boards out of it were promised to another ’58 owner that needed them. So this weekend was the time to cut it up. Bob & his family pushed the car into his garage earlier in the week, and he started unbolting as much stuff off of it as he could during the evenings after work. He had removed the doors, the front clip, and cut the top off before I got there Saturday.

Here is the car when it first arrived:

           

We started at 9:30 am and were finished by 5:30pm. The car didn’t put up to much of a fight, and the only casualties were when we were cutting up the frame, a section came down onto Bob’s foot, and I got a couple of metal splinters in the hands. Here are some pics of the car in different stages of being cut up:

        

                              

The parts I gleaned from this car for use on my wagon are:

1. Complete Dashboard with deluxe trim

2. Complete front clip (Fenders, Hood, Grille, Turn signal light assemblies)

3. Front Cross member

4. Trans crossmember

5. Automatic Trans Steering Column

6. Complete Power steering system (Ram Cylinder, Control Valve, Tie Rods, Pitman Arm, & Idler arm)

This one Four door has been cut up, and the parts we got from it will be going into My ’58 2 door wagon, another guy’s ’58 2 door wagon, Bob’s ’58 Fairlane & ’62 Ford Truck, Zapato’s 57 Ford, and if somebody buys the motor/trans combo that came out of it, another lucky car. That is 6 different vehicles! It was a great donor car, and was well worth it. If you ever have the chance to buy a parts car for a project you are working on, I highly recommend it. It will save you a lot of parts hunting and money in the long run. Plus you can sell the parts you don’t need to offset the price of the car.

It’s also nice to have good friends who will let you park a car in their driveway for 6 months, and will help dismantle & cut it up. Thanks again, Bob.

I have been searching for a motor & transmission combo for awhile now. The search is over! A Ford 351 Windsor & auto tranny were found, and I picked it up for a very reasonable price.

In preparing to do the floor pans, there are some items I need to remove from the firewall. One of them is the Heater Box.  It is a 3 piece box, with a largest section bolting on from under the dashboard on the passenger side.

The Blower motor & blower motor housing are bolted on from the outside of the car on the firewall.The remaining 4 bolts that hold the large heater box section under the dash also hold the blower motor housing to the firewall. So I had to remove it first.

What a surprise! A Mouse nest! I can’t remember when the last time was that I ever pulled an old car apart and didn’t find a mouse next somewhere inside of it.

Last was the Heater core & it’s metal housing.  Now that these are all out, I can start cleaning the toe board & floor pan up and get to drilling spot welds , cutting pans and prepping to weld in those new pans!

The Wagon has had a seized up wheel ever since I got it.  It has made it a pain in the neck to move around as I need to, and this morning was the morning to tackle it.  I jacked it up and got the front wheel off, pulled the hub & drum and discovered the brake pads were adjusted so far out they were stuck to the drum. The adjuster was frozen in place with rust.  Also as expected the front wheel bearings were very dry, as the grease had turned to a tar like consistency or chunked up dry bits that fell out when I scraped them.

I cleaned the hub, spindle, and removed the star wheel adjuster.  I soaked the adjuster and finally got it to break loose. Cleaned it up and reinstalled it. Found the outer wheel bearing was bad, luckily I had a new pair in my garage from when I had a ’58 T-bird and used it.

I repacked the hub, bearing and installed the brake drum, tightened it all down and boy does it roll now! I will do the same to the other side,  because even though it spins, it does so grudgingly.  It’s a little too hot now so I think I’ll do it this evening after the overhead sun is on the other side of the garage.

UPDATE:

I did the Driver side this evening after the sun was on the other side of t he garage.  It was slightly less seized as the other side. When I was done, I lowered the jack, the tires hit the ground, and promptly rolled backwards off the concrete pad and into the yard! I think it rolls TOO well now.  Pushed it back onto the concrete and blocked the tires.

I have always liked the deluxe trim for the 1958 Ford Wagons. That trim package was used on the high end level wagon which Ford called “Del Rio”. It was a Gold ribbed band of aluminum that ran down either side of the 1/4 panel and doors, surrounded by stainless trim. I also liked the way the 2 tone paint is used with this trim.

The Blue/White Wagon has the Del Rio Trim.  The Red/White Wagon has the standard Ranch Wagon Trim. I like both, but the Del Rio trim level makes the two/tone paint breaks look better. It is just a matter of personal preference.

So I discovered  that the 1958 Ranchero could be ordered with this Del Rio Trim, and that finding a Ranchero with the trim would be alot easier to find than an actual Del Rio wagon with the trim.  I found a set on Ebay, and purchased it. The trim was in decent shape, with a small ding here or there. It can be repaired and polished fairly easily.  I have done it before, and while it is time consuming I have had great success in making slightly dented trim look like brand new.

Well I removed the good windshield from the parts wagon.  It was going well until a I was cutting a chunk of old brittle windshield seal with a Razor knife and it jerked back and gouged deep into my thumb.  You know its deep when you see the white meat of your flesh split wide open, followed by an unstopping stream of Blood.  Luckily I had some black electricians tape in my tool box. I put a clean Kleenex over it and taped it in place tightly which stopped the bleeding. It now looks like somebody got murdered on the hood of the Parts wagon!

After cursing the razor knife, I continued on. The stainless trim around the windshield was really put up a fight, but eventually pried out. I then carefully removed the windshield.  These 50’s curved windshields are fragile and notorious for cracking if you aren’t careful. I learned this the hard way when I was 15, removing the windshield out of my ’58 Ford T-bird. I gave the windshield a good hit with my palm in order to get it loose, and cracked the whole corner of it.  That was a $850 mistake I would never make again.

The  Wagon I will be working on has a very badly broken windshield, so this is a good exchange.

I am actually thinking of cutting the parts wagon in half, and transforming the back half of it into a towable trailer to match the Wagon.  Here is a picture of one done on a ’54 Ford Wagon. They added a boat to the top, but I would keep the top the same, and maybe add a luggage rack.

Pretty cool, huh?  Now, where is my Sawzall?