1952 FORD F1 PICKUP CAR RESTORATION PROJECT
1952 Ford Truck Restoration Part 4 — The Best Laid Plans...
This article was supposed to be all about how we measured the length of the driveshaft so that it can accommodate the T5 transmission modification. We were going to show the installation of the clutch components, etc., and the re-installation of the engine/transmission onto the frame. That hasn't happened yet, because we discovered what every restorer does: a few surprises!
Is That A Kink In The Line?
You might remember that we assembled the transmission to the engine's short block so we could create the new sub-frame mount for the T5. We knew we'd have to take them apart again for installation of the flywheel and clutch components, and that's where the delays started.
Our flywheel had been resurfaced by a machine shop and our inspection of the work verified the quality we had expected. All we needed to do was install the flywheel and clean its surface with some solvent, but we decided to check the fittings on the new oil bypass tubing on the back of the engine block to make sure they won't leak.
By way of explanation: Oil filtration on the old Ford flathead V8's was merely an afterthought. Henry Ford wasn't convinced that the flathead even needed it! After some pressure from the buying public, Ford did add a "partial flow oil filtering system." With this system, only about 10% of the oil ever made it to the filter. There are several fixes for this problem. Caspar (as you recall, Caspar is the gentleman who sent us the truck project) decided on adding a "Full Flow Oil Filtering" system which he purchased from Red's Headers for about $100. It required some machining to the block, which he had done when he sent the engine out for a rebuild. The fix requires drilling and tapping appropriately-sized holes in the oil passages to facilitate the adaptation of a modern oil filter and, in addition, a small oil bypass line from that area down to the crankshaft oil gallery.
That line — actually, it's nothing more than a piece of stainless brake line with flared male fittings on each end — looked "suspicious" enough for us to investigate. It sits behind the flywheel, after all, and any leaks would necessitate total disassembly of the transmission/engine interface. We were also a little concerned about a tight-radius turn in it, fearing a flow restriction.
The fittings on top go to the oil filter and oil gauge. The tubing (with fittings) direct oil from the rear main bearing into the filter.
Sure enough, the line's fittings were rather loose. On top of that, the female adapters to which it connects were screwed into shallow holes in the casting. We removed everything, checked for unrestricted flow by blowing through it, then spread RTV on the threads to insure against leakage. Once everything was back together we decided to pressurize the system to inspect for leaks.
Not so fast! Turns out we couldn't pump oil through the system for two reasons: first, we didn't have any oil on the shelves. Second, the old flathead engine's oil pump is driven by the camshaft, not the distributor. We didn't want to crank the engine — or start it, for that matter — to pump oil.
The solution? Well, after some thought we decided to pump air at about 100psi through the oil pressure fitting. It would, of course, leak between the bearing surfaces inside the engine, but that amount of pressure would also leak through the fittings (if they were to leak) and we would be able to hear it or place a lit match next to them to test for breezes. Our test worked like a charm and we went back to the flywheel.
Now, Where Did We Put Those Bolts?
The grade-8 flywheel attachment bolts were nowhere to be found. Since these things are relatively hard to find, not to mention extremely important pieces of hardware, we turned our attention to the T5.
We had intended to break open the T5, since it was a used transmission with no records and we had no way of knowing if there were any problems associated with it. Since we couldn't attach the flywheel/clutch/etc. anyway, why not open the thing up and check things out?
We discovered a T5 shop manual online (unfortunately, it's no longer available) and we printed the 75-page manual and followed its step-by-step instructions for getting into the gearbox. It's actually quite simple to do so after removal of the tail housing.
Looking inside we were surprised to find the total lack of gear oil. It wasn't just empty, it was spotlessly clean! The entire transmission had, at some point in the past, been completely flushed out with solvent and left to dry. All gear surfaces were exposed to air, and some teeth had flash-rusted.
Careful inspection ensued, and we found no appreciable wear on anything other than 2nd gear. Its tooth edges were a little "ratty" looking, with tiny broken tips. However, the mating cluster gear looked perfect. Everything else inside was in exceptionally good condition.
The red circle indicates the problems with the gear teeth...not an insurmountable obstacle.
That led us to the theory of what happened. The transmission came out of a 93 Chevy S10 Blazer. At some point in its life the driver probably heard some noises in the transmission after pulling a very heavy load. These noises were most likely little pieces of "spalled" gear tooth that came loose under stress and got ground up in the machinery. The transmission was removed and another put in its place. Later on, someone opened up the case and flushed it out, finding the pieces of metal and removing them. The transmission was then sold off, since it probably wasn't needed.
We decided to go ahead and use the T5 as it is, since it will probably never be called upon to perform heavy duty. It should run just fine in the old Ford, especially with the use of high-quality synthetic gear oil. With that in mind, we spread RTV on the case halves and buttoned up the transmission after filling the case with lubricant.
Now What Should We Do To Kill The Rest Of The Day?
Since the engine was out and resting comfortably on some tires, we had planned to turn our attention to the problem we had encountered when installing the left water pump. You might recall we mentioned that there was an off-center, threaded hole in the block that needed to be filled. It was 4:00 by that time, so we were faced with the choice of either fixing the threaded hole or relaxing with a cold beer.
Given the way our day had gone so far, can you guess which one we chose?