It's time to take a ride. The next step in our 1952 Ford F1 restoration project is to test drive the chassis. We want to determine if there's any malfunctioning of the drive train and a little journey to the end of the driveway should be adequate to point out any of the more serious flaws. Besides, should we find any problems, it will be easier to fix them with the cab off.
First, we checked all fluid levels to make sure we actually added fluids to begin with, and if so, to confirm that the levels are correct. We checked the coolant level, added 75W90 Royal Purple Max Gear gear oil to the transmission and the differential and bled the brakes. (To read more about how to bleed brakes see Brake Bleedng 101) We had lubed the chassis components immedially after assembly.
Bleeding the brakes.
We then had to devise a way to attach our seat to the chassis. A while ago, we built a work table, consisting of a table top attached to a couple collapsible steel saw horses so that we could move some of our more messy projects outside the garage. As luck would have it, the rails on our table top were exactly the same distance apart as our frame rails. For an easy solution, we removed the saw horses, and lashed the table top to the frame rails. Since there would be no real stresses on the new deck, some old telephone cable we had on hand would hold things together ok. We then drilled holes into the work table top to take the bolts that would hold the seat in position and bolted on the seat and were ready to go.
After bleeding the brakes we topped off the master cylinder. You can see that after our lashing job, the deck wasn't going anywhere.
The engine hadn't been fired up in a while, so we added a little gasoline to the carbs, set the chokes, turned on the fuel pump, flipped the ignition switch and hit the starter switch and the old flathead came to life.
Idle speed of the flathead is about 500 rpm and that should generate enough power to do our test drive, so we didn't see the need to rig up a throttle mechanism.After letting the engine warm up we climbed on board and pushed the clutch in and put it in reverse, slowly letting out on the clutch until it began to move under its own power — for the first time in over 30 years.
We backed out the distance of our driveway (about 4 car lengths), shifted it into 1st, eased out on the clutch again and drove back into the garage and shut everything down.
On our way back into the garage.
Our first, albeit short, excursion revealed no flaws (and no leaks) in the functioning of the drive train. We now feel confident the chassis/drive train phase of our restoration project have been completed.