Updated: Dec 14, 2019
(Note: You are reading the progress from a project that began in August of 2014. This post was originally dated from August of 2014.)
Back to the grind here... my parents came up to see my wife and I - and their "grandyoungin's" - and we had a great time together. I didn't get to work as much on the 55 as I had planned but spending time with mom and dad was well worth it. Besides, ol' Pops carried up a small pickup truck load of parts for me and I was pretty pleased with what I saw. It was from a Craigslist deal down in Pilot Mountain, North Carolina, and dad had agreed to bring up the whole lot for me up here to Frederick County, Virginia. I did get the entire passenger side front end sheet metal removed. This time I had to simply remove some bolts by twisting them into two pieces but there were only two. The rest came out pretty easily. This passenger side air deflector is in excellent shape compared to the driver's side. Also, the fender lip underneath the headlight bucket is very nice. There are a couple of body work places on this fender, and I am thinking that I will have to completely remove the brace that runs the vertical length at the rear of the fender to get these repairs right, and then reinstall the brace before mounting. I had one hangup that was hard to to deal with at first - the hidden stud that goes through the body (behind the kick panel under the dash) just spun and spun when I tried to take off the nut. There was no corrosion there so I couldn't figure out what the problem was. The stud just spun with the nut. I had to insert a long screwdriver and keep pressure under the washer as I tried to back out the nut. 5 minutes later we were ready to pull the fender and serious trouble averted. I have no idea how someone would get that fender off if that nut seized up. I don't really think you could get a grinder or cut off wheel in there.
The parts were all degreased and I hit them with a pressure washer for a little while today. The splash pan is also in good condition and will clean up nicely. I will have to put some of these parts up in the rafters in the garage until I can get to things later on. The firewall and the frame is really what I want to attack first and get the car ready to place the transmission and engine back in there. There is definitely some body work to do. I am not going to be able to simply sand and paint, but I was expecting to have to work things over. It will be a learning experience for sure. Some may question why I left the bumper on the front of the clip while removing everything else. It "should" be easier to remove the bumper after all the other parts are removed. I am expecting some very rough hardware on those bumper brackets and being able to get at them from the TOP with the sheet metal out of the way looks to be a good thing to do.
Things went really slow the following week but when I look at these photos, I say to myself, "who cares?" My boy (I have 3 kids, 2 daughters and a son) came into the garage with me last night to work on one of his projects - he was making a homemade trailer to go behind one of his small Tonka type trucks. "Hey dad, can I help?" he says. "Sure thing," I tell him, and my 11 year old son Ethan (we call him EJ) grabs the air ratchet and asks what's next... . I laughed a little and patted him on the back and we spent a couple of hours removing the front bumper, the hood hinges, various hoses and wiring, the sway bar, etc. It took me a whole lot longer because while he has his own hand tools he had never used an air ratchet before... I guess he has never really asked me to. Looking at the photos here I guess I should have made him wear a pair of safety goggles - will have to do that next time. He always knows to wear a pair when he is at the grinder or using a cut-off wheel or a Dremel tool.
I did take a good look at the front sway bar after removal and of a sway bar that I had on the shelf here. As I recall, it was from a 56 Station Wagon... can I mount that front sway bar with the same metal brackets? It looks like the bushings are the same but the ID of the hole is probably different. It looks like I will need new a kit for the hardware also. Those rubber washer bushings are WORE OUT lol. The bolts from the wagon sway bar look like they are a little longer. I guess there is such a thing as a kit for a wagon sway bar...
I will have to say that with my son's interest here this week things have gotten a whole lot more "fun". We'll see how long he lasts. The last thing he asked me before we went in for a shower last night was whether or not he would be allowed to drive it when he got his license. I'm sure he will.
I removed the transmission and the cross member along with the drive shaft. It took a little more time than I anticipated - stuff was really gunked up under there. I remember years ago that a rear main seal was dumping oil everywhere for while - guess it made the floor pans last a long time! I did find one small place on the driver's floor pan that was not solid. Everything else is good.
If you are wondering what is going on with the photo of the vise grips... I was looking around under there and found them clamped to a nut! I think the vise grips were left under there when the seat belts were installed. That's what I get for having teenagers help me turn wrenches! I should have counted all my tools after that project was done. I took them off... they are still good after 7 years or so and all the road time. That cross member weighs an extra 5 lbs from all the crud, grease, and road grime collected on it. Gotta get that thing cleaned up and painted. I guess the transmission mount rubber is near perfect because of being sprayed with oil so much over the years. Hopefully I can get the firewall cleaned up soon and then start prepping the firewall for paint. I would like to do that before weather sets in here.
I cleaned up the interior a bit and removed the dash and quite a bit of hardware. I already have a painted dash and painted trim pieces ready to install, just wanted to get all of this removed to make the firewall work easier. I also have plans to put in the clutch/brake pedal assembly that I have ready to go. On the list are quite a few grommets, a new wiring harness, and various pieces of anti-rattle/anti-squeak pieces. I am also going to replace the carpet. I also pressure washed the firewall and front end trying to degrease it... wasn't too successful there. I need a steam cleaner - anyone got one to loan out? After it dried I broke out the sandblaster but it did not work too well. The sandblaster is a decent one I got from Tractor Supply a few years back. Of course I was blasting in 90 degree weather and high humidity so that did not help, but my air getting to the tank was dry. I think the tank itself had some condensation in it working against me. I turned it over and put my flashlight through the hole to see the valve. On the interior of the tank at the bottom there were some "runs" of water leading to the valve. I did order the Ford Wimbledon White for 66-69 Mustangs from Eastwood yesterday. Hopefully I can get this firewall painted (and maybe the hood hinges) before weather sets in.