1952 FORD F1 PICKUP CAR RESTORATION PROJECT
1952 Ford Truck Restoration Part 2 — Jumping In
Our first step in our '52 Ford F1 truck project was getting the engine block ready for mating with our T5 transmission, the 5-speed conversion we're making to bring the truck up to "modern driving standards," (well, closer than it was 50 years ago).
The front engine mounts on the frame attach to "casted-in" mounts on the engine's two water pumps. That meant we needed to attach our new pumps to the engine, of course, and in doing so we found a hole in the left one that needs to be plugged. That is, there's a threaded hole through the block that doesn't mate to the new pump's mounting bolt in the same way as the right pump. We thought it was designed for a temperature probe, but we checked this out through various sources and found no such purpose. Therefore, we attached a tag to the pump, telling us to fill the hole and re-drill and tap a new one when we remove the engine during the next phases.
Our mysterious hole. We believe it was drilled there by the machine shop when attempting to remove the water pump.
Meanwhile, we hoisted our engine off the stand with our engine crane. Normally we would use chain and a balancer, but a friend had borrowed it and our chains. For this "quick and dirty" installation (for measurement and alignment purposes only) we used some heavy-duty rope and a lot of caution.
Engine being hoisted.
After temporarily attaching the bell housing and transmission to the engine we moved the crane over the frame and gently let everything down onto the front engine mounts. The transmission's case rested directly on the rear cross member, although not in its final position.
The engine/trans assembly now tilts downward at the front and we need to cut away some of the cross member to drop the whole thing down to its appropriate angle (engine/trans assemblies must slant downward to minimize the driveshaft angle relative to the differential. Otherwise the universal joints will be stressed too much.)
The proper angle isn't listed in any of our technical specs, so we decided to set the assembly downward at the same angle that the radiator is tilted. The bracket that holds the radiator in the front engine compartment panel tilts towards the rear of the truck at 6 degrees. (Most radiators in older cars were tilted rearward at the top to make them parallel to the fan.)
You can clearly see the angle of the radiator tilt on the bracket. Measuring the angle (on right).
We had to cut away some of the original crossmember under the transmission to allow it to drop and before we could create a new crossmember to align with the transmission mounting holes. Doing so required us to establish a vertical line parallel to the sides of the transmission and about 1/2 inch out to allow some clearance.
After we determined how far the transmission had to drop, we scribed our cutlines on the crossmember.
Once the lines were drawn we lifted the transmission a few inches and started cutting the crossmember, using a reciprocating saw and grinder. An acetylene torch would have made the job easier but the melted edges would have been difficult to work with later on.
Our reciprocating saw does a quick job on the crossmember.
Now that the crossmember was severed, we took the curved piece that was cut out and placed it at the bottom of the crossmember, well below the transmission. We made appropriate cuts and bends in the piece and welded it back to the two crossmember sections to create a reasonably strong assembly that would allow clearance for the transmission and provide some torsional rigidity to the frame.
With the center section cut out we could lower the transmission far enough to establish the proper angle, allowing us to take measurements for the creation of the new crossmember. We measured the proper angle in two ways: first, we put an adjustable level on the frame and set it for horizontal, then rotated it to 6 degrees and set it on the engine/transmission top surfaces. Second, we measured distance from the radiator's mounting flanges on the bracket to a straightedge laid across the crank pulley to determine parallelism. We lowered the engine until our bubble on the level was centered and checked measurements at the radiator bracket to determine that the front of the engine was parallel to the radiator. Piece of cake!
We determined that we achieved the correct angle on the engine, and verified it by confirming that the crank pulley was parallel to the radiator position.
Now we had to create a new crossmember behind the original one, for the purpose of providing a strong placement point for the transmission mount. We looked at various pieces of thick metal before noticing that we had an extra radiator support bracket in our pile of parts. This bracket had just the right curved corners and flat surface we needed for our transmission mount, not to mention that it was heavy-duty enough for the purpose. The curve on the bracket also provided us with the necessary clearance for the master cylinder, since it mounts on the forward crossmember.
Because the master cylinder bolts onto the crossmember (where circled), we reinforced it by welding in the piece we cut out.
The reciprocal saw made short work of cutting the radiator bracket, and we followed up with a couple bends to make it sit perfectly under the transmission. Once we were satisfied the new crossmember bracket would fit we welded it in place on the frame.
Finished crossmember constructed from lower section of second radiator bracket.
We drilled a hole for the transmission mount's stud and lowered the engine/transmission into place on its freshly-built crossmember. It fit perfectly.
Crossmember welded into place.
Since the original truck didn't have the world's greatest frame (at least in the torsional sense) we decided to make some additional metal brackets that would connect the two crossmembers together. Doing so will stiffen everything up and "modernize" the truck's frame, at least a little bit. Anything that lessens frame twist will improve the overall driving experience.
Here's our finished crossmember after a coat of primer and paint.
We created cardboard templates for each of our metal pieces, then cut them out and welded them in place. Now we have a "boxed-in" set of crossmembers that will strengthen the overall frame.
With the hard work out of the way we turned our attention to the rear axle. Since its differential gears were obviously rebuilt and the axle bearings replaced, it made sense to put everything together so that we could have the flexibility to put wheels on
Adding sealant to rear seals.
Starting the seals, keeping things as straight as possible.
The only relatively difficult thing we had to do was install the seals in the axle tube ends, since we found that the previous owner hadn't removed the old seal on the left side. A little work with a cold chisel and pry bar forced the thing out. We cleaned up the seal areas and tapped new ones in after coating the outside of each seal with some gasket seal (this was primarily to act as a lubricant).
The hammer here is definitely overkill...we gently tapped the seals into place.
Reassembling the rear end was simple, since all the bits and pieces had been refinished. We checked the axle bearings for rotation and cleanliness, then broke out the gasket set to put things together. Since both axles were identical in length we arbitrarily chose one for the right side, grabbing the correct brake backing plate on the way.
Gasket and sealant are added to brakeplate.
Assembly was quite straightforward, but we took the time to put gaskets on both sides of the backing plates, followed by making sure our axle splines were engaged in the differential gears before driving the axles home with a rubber hammer. The four bolts and nuts securing everything were tightened and torqued.
We added a little oil to the bearing and the bearing races to help with the installation. Adjust until you feel the splines become engaged.
After we're sure the splines have been properly engaged, we drive the axle home with a rubber mallet. Tighten the bolts that hold the brake plate and we're all set.
Once both axles were in place and bolted we rotated them to listen for unwanted noises and to make sure everything worked smoothly. It did.
Note to self: When finished, we attached this note to the differential, lest we forget.
Now all we have to do is get the driveshaft re-lengthened, but first we need a yoke that fits the T5. More later...