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1955 Ford Part 20: Custom A/C, Wiring Relays, Trunk Weatherstrip

Updated: Dec 27, 2019

(Note: You are reading the progress from a project that began in August of 2014. This information in this post was originally dated in April and May of 2017.)

Custom A/C, Wiring Relays, Trunk Weatherstrip

Recently we accomplished wiring up the ignition switch through the new wiring harness so the Ford would fire and run... (nice to get that going).

And 3 coats of clear on both of the fenders - the gloss is really looking good on these. It is almost time to purchase the clips I need for the stainless and to buff the stainless (remember how those clips just disintegrated when I pulled the stainless off the fenders last year?)

And another satisfying project to get finished was gluing down the trunk seal. I purchased what looked to almost 10 feet of the stuff shown here:

I checked and rechecked on how it should be oriented to the lip of the trunk (I would imagine this is pretty important) and I looked up some good information on the Steele Rubber website. They have pretty good instructions about installation tips and suggestions. I also picked up a tube of this handy 3M weatherstrip sealant:

Ok, so first was take the roll out of the bag. Tried as I could, I was never able to the ends to "unroll" - they kept springing back to a "C" position.

Since I had so much to begin with, I just snipped off the offending end of the seal and began with a fresh, straight end. The plan - place the seal on the lip of the trunk correctly, beginning at the point where the lock mechanism is installed. Then tape the seal to the trunk lip as it should be installed, going all the way back around to meet the beginning at the trunk lock section. The remaining length was snipped off and we grabbed the 3M sealant.

You can see the way the seal was oriented to the lip of the trunk:

The tape kept the seal in position until I was ready to work on each section at a time.

At times I needed a bit more tape...

But it was worth it. The seal looks very nice around the edges and the ends met up well.

(a few days later...)

It is going to be down to almost freezing here tomorrow morning. With a day at church and cold weather besides, I am not sure how much more I am going to get done tomorrow night but you never know. There is always some project that needs to be completed on this old Ford! We are picking up my oldest daughter from her second year of college today so I thought I would post this morning to show a little progress. After checking my gauges this morning I am pretty happy with the AC install and that Mastercool Crimper Tool (more on that later). First up was to locate the overdrive cable grommet I had purchased and to punch through the firewall where it is supposed to be located. No big deal here - pretty easy setup.

After the install you could hear me say... "Now where did I place that cable and bracket?" (After a few minutes I found the cable, well, one of the two I own, and the one I located does not have the bracket. Somewhere around here is the cable AND bracket together. Easter Egg hunt coming soon!)

Now for some drilling up front - you can see from the following holes made that wiring and plumbing for the AC has to go to the front (AC condenser fan, receiver/drier, number 8 hi pressure line for condenser). We got out the drill and appropriate size grommets. The large grommet is especially made for AC hoses and will fit sizes 6-10 through sheet metal.

That number 8 hose was connected to the top of the condenser, put through the air deflector, and snaked around the side of the battery. Surprisingly there was plenty of room for this and with the idea of using looped brackets to hold the ported fitting in place I really think this will work.

The spacing up front is extra close as you can see:

Several weeks ago I tried to get the condenser in a position where we could exit out with a 180 degree fitting and it looks like we hit the jackpot there with no interference. I am happy about that of course. The final fitting being crimped!

This little tool has been well worth the investment. Again, I cannot imagine having to go back and forth with a shop on trying to get all of this crimped. In a full custom job like this one where you measure 3 or 4 times, take it out, examine it, check the routing of lines so that you have no other interference, sit there and look at it with a tall glass of iced tea, (well you get the idea!) having the crimper on hand made it extremely satisfying. The ports to the rear of the compressor look like this:

Would you believe I actually considered the 90 degree fittings exiting at the bottom instead of facing up as installed? I was a little off in thinking that would have worked but I guess it was because I had that side of the car jacked up and the lower A arm was completely extended giving so much room. I came to myself for some reason - glad I did. I cannot imagine what it would have been like to crimp it all up, drop the car and see my AC lines riding on the control arm. You can tell from the photos how tight it all is. The number 10 hose fitting is almost at the very top of the compressor and comes as close as possible to the block but there is just enough room to turn the nut. Now for the big reveal - time to put a vacuum on this thing and see how we did on these lines! Everything was pretty straight forward. I have never dealt with AC before in my life and I am a complete novice but here we go.

We hooked up the lines correctly, filled the new vacuum pump with oil, turned on the pump, and opened the valves and the lines at the ports. The vacuum held steady and while I did not want to do a full evacuation (30-45 minutes, but that will come later when I am ready to install refrigerant) I did want to check to see if my lines were sealed up well. After all, we have a novice here with a vise mounted crimping tool, with 16 places where we had to make a crimp to the hoses. The pump was run for about 5 minutes and then the valves were closed at the gauges to seal off the pressure from the pump but show the pressure from the AC lines in the car. I checked on the gauge about 30 minutes later - no needle movement! This morning I checked on it again. We had moved a whole 1 psi but since the temperature had dropped dramatically in the garage from last night to this morning I was not alarmed at all. I believe we are sealed up and ready to go.

I was reminded again tonight how much I miss "room" in the garage and work space area. I jacked up the rear then jacked up the front all on jackstands and then found that I was off by about 1" to be able to close the garage door . So...down we came and back up again. Take a look at this photo:

And more Ford Follies to grin at - as in the case of the mystery squeal. While testing my new alternator to make sure the exciter wire was acting correctly, checking our charge at idle, etc, I heard a ruckus coming from the front and it sounded like a pulley. Knowing the alternator was new, the AC compressor was new, and I had just installed the belts I thought, "Oh great, now what Jessup?"

Wouldn't you know it but 3 of the 4 water pump pulley bolts had backed out?!?!? So we shut everything down, tightened up those bolts, and away we went. I did wire up a makeshift warning light for the alternator so we could test it. Just a simple wire from the alternator excitor side of things at the terminal on the alternator case to the wire that goes back to the ignition switch. We turned the key and...

After firing up the engine and idling the light immediately went off and we took a multimeter to check voltage at the rear of the alternator and at the posts of the battery.

Plenty of Juice! Now on to the Cooling Fan Relay Test. We warmed up the engine and ran up to 190 or so on the gauge (as I recall the switch on the intake manifold is set for 195) and the fan kicked on! She cycled off just fine after cooling down a bit and recycled back on like it should. Pretty happy with that. I guess the relays are wired correctly at least.

Speaking of relays, I also put the electric fuel pump (to fill the fuel bowl or just to have another pump as a back up) on a relay with a toggle switch to boot. It has a red LED on the end of the switch to let you know it has power to the pump. Works like a charm. For now anyway.

Here are some shots of where some of the Relays sit and where we hot wire some of the leads off of the HOT side of the Starter Relay. (some more AC plumbing pics included too)

We will keep chugging along - got to get some more body work done. I did get the OD wired up on the transmission, an aftermarket relay, and the kickdown switch as well. More of that to come at a later date when we make a test run.

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