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1955 Ford Part 61: Getting Back to "Work"

Updated: Dec 27, 2019

Getting Back to "Work"


Yep - the photo you are looking at is not of a 1955 Ford! The past few months have put me on all kinds of other projects at the house and the garage. For instance, just last month the dryer went out on us. Now, mind you it is only 3 years old, but these days when owning appliances that length of time means nothing. I have replaced a hi-limit thermostat, a heating element, and now the tensioner pulley and drum belt. THREE different times in THREE years of owning the unit. What a joy. Don't worry - there are photos and progress on the 55 Ford in this most recent post, but first let's look at the title photo.

In addition to the 1955 Ford Fairlane, we have a 2013 Chrysler Town and Country, and a 2008 Chevrolet HHR. The big three are represented in the Jessup household. This summer I replaced the thermostat and the coolant temperature sensor on the HHR, and I also had to replace the AC Compressor and for good measure the serpentine belt. It has 157,000 miles on it and still gets decent gas mileage. My daughter has driven it to Pensacola, Florida from the Cincinnati, Ohio area with no issues so the thing has been pretty dependable.

Just last week I let a friend borrow the car and when I got back in it I smelled a faint trace of raw gasoline. It was raining and I didn't see any leaks but I checked the fuel cap and thought that maybe he had left it loose when filling up. Not too long after, my son drove me to a pizza shop in town and when I got out of the car in the parking lot I was sure I smelled gasoline again. Sure enough when I looked underneath the car I could see a definitive drip, drip, drip of fuel.


The photo below clarifies the issue: the fuel delivery line under the car (and right next to the exhaust) was leaking at the place where a plastic clip secures the brake lines and fuel lines to the frame. After looking up some information it seems that this has been a real problem with HHR's because of where the fuel line sits and the road grime that builds up to keep the hard lines in a state of everlasting moisture.

So, I jacked up the car, placed a jackstand under the rear axle, removed the rear wheel, and got to work.

Just to check that this was indeed the only place where fuel was leaking, I started the car while in this position. Sure enough within seconds we had a nice, dangerous leak going.

In the photo above you can see how much hard line was removed. I used fuel injection hose and the nicer clamps to secure a new section to the main line. The 3/8" line tucked in nicely behind the clip that was mounted to the frame. I tested it for leaks and away we went. There is no doubt in my mind that if we plan to keep the car there will be a day when the lines will need to be replaced from the fuel pump to the injectors. Evidently there are companies that sell kits to get the job done. At roughly $155, I am not looking forward to that day. And people complain about paying $115 for a 1955 or 1956 Ford hard fuel line that goes from the tank to the fuel pump.

So what else has the Hot Rod Reverend been up to? My son, Ethan, and I have resorted to the woods during some of our free time the last two months...

Yep - the Hot Rod Reverend enjoys spending time with his son out in the woods. A friend of ours has a 100 acre farm and has given us permission to hunt. The above photo is from the trail cam when we came in one afternoon. We have not used trail cams before but was quite surprised at the level of clarity.

The photo immediately above is our exit when it turned dark. The camera had already gone to its infrared mode. And... there are deer out there. Take a look at this:

Having limited space at the house, we needed to make a rack to hang any deer that we harvest. Everything in the garage is tight. So what do we do? Use the parts paint rack! I can't use it during the cold winter months anyway. Ethan and I built a 2x4 riser fitted to the top of the rack that also includes a gambrel system. Check it out:

We process our own meat at the Jessup house, down to the Kitchen-Aid meat grinder attachment and packing supplies. Hopefully we will get one soon. My two daughters return from college in December - they will be expecting venison steaks.

"I thought this was a blog about a 1955 Ford?" you may ask yourself, looking for pictures and information about the ongoing work from the Hot Rod Reverend's point of view. And we would have to say you are right! I just received a great score: two original bumper guards in very good shape for a driver:

My originals were so badly rusted I never remounted them up front. There are two in the back, and they look good, but I needed two up front. Not only is the chrome good enough to use on a driver (and at a driver price too - $40 for the pair), but the threads are clean for both the bolts and the weld nuts. Can't beat it.

Then I did have my visors recovered. Years ago in the late 80's the 55 Fairlane had matching material from the headliner installed on both of the visors. It was very felt-like material that was fine in its day. Back when I had purchased the headliner, the company had shipped two extra swatches of materials to cover the visors. I never dreamed how difficult it would be to find an upholsterer who would be willing to recover my visors. They were in great shape - the only issue was that the material did not match my new headliner.

Given below is a copy of the story I posted on a popular forum for hot rods and classic cars to explain the dilemma and what took place:

My latest foray into finding local shops that will do specialty labor like what has been described concerns these simple sun visors. I have not lived in the Cincinnati area too long, so there was no luxury of contacts, long-standing relationships, etc.

They [visors below] are for a 1955 Ford Fairlane. I had installed the headliner myself, and when I had ordered the material the company sent two pieces just for the sun visors to match. I called several shops in the Cincinnati area. I e-mailed a few others as well so that I could send pictures. Basically the work involved taking my supplied material and covering the existing padding on visor boards. No repair work, no damage anywhere, no parts to replace, etc. No stainless steel trim, etc. If I had a heavy duty stitcher I could have done it myself. After the phone calls and the e-mails, only 3 of the 9 or so shops returned any contact. Most had said the work was too difficult to perform. repeat: most had said the work was too difficult to perform. 4 of the businesses kept referring me to what they described as the best in the area. So, I called that company one more time, hoping to get an answer and finally someone was on the phone. They said for me to bring them down to take a look at them so I asked their hours and decided to take the 45 minute trip to the shop. When I arrived, no one was there even though the hours on the sign said they should be. I waited 15 minutes. Two old men were behind the shop cutting firewood. I asked them about the shop and they commented to me, "Those people come in when they feel like it." Got back in my vehicle, called the shop from their own parking lot, and got no answer so I left a message. I figured well, the guy told me when to come, had to be an emergency or something. Nope. Later on the next day he returns my message with a phone call and just simply says he didn't come in that day until 11 am. Okeydokey. I described the visors to him to get some idea of an estimate. He says, "$175 each." No thanks. Of the 3 shops that returned contact, one local guy says he can do both for $100. I arrange a visit. He was about my age, but examined the material, my visors, explained what he would do and how he would do it. I dropped it all off and shook his hand. Two weeks later he called me to let me know they were done. Went to the shop, examined the visors, was very happy, handed him $100, and thanked him for his customer service.

The shop that did the work gave me a business card, and I told the owner, Jeff, that I would be glad to post his name and contact information to the blog.

Once I got the visors back it was time to install those pesky clips. I had a difficult time finding them and actually purchased a set from Norbert Doll out in Oklahoma.

The visors are obviously not stock, but I did want to put these clips back on. I guess they are chrome but to be honest it was hard to tell. They really seemed like stainless steel but the pits resembled a chrome surface. They are so small it was really hard to tell there were any pits once the visors were all back together.

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