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1955 Ford Part 84: Tinkering on the Ford

Updated: Dec 13, 2019

"Tinkering on the Ford"


After much deliberation (and a little procrastination) I decided to put 1" coil spring spacers on the Ford. If you read through posts written much earlier in the blog you will find that I had used Moog CC850 coil springs to essentially lower the front end of the car. Modern coil springs have variable rates and make any classic car vehicle handle much better than stock. That was certainly the case for the Fairlane after my first test drive. Much, much different road feel and response than the times I drove the car while a teenager. I did have to cut the rubber bumpers on the control arm down about 1.5" because of the fear of bottoming out, but the car did look and handle better in my opinion. However, after driving the car for about a year I have noticed two problems with lowering the front end in this way: 1. on tight turns the tires were rubbing the fender, and 2. there was not much "give" to the front end - things seem pretty stiff when traveling over a bump, etc.

Believing I needed a little more room for both shock and coil spring travel, I ordered a cheap set of the rubber spacer inserts - you know the kind - basically you raise the car and insert small rubber blocks between the coils. Well, when I raised the car just to test what a 1" rise would give me, I could not get the spacers between the coils unless I removed the ball joint. So... I ended up rolling the dice and purchasing these:

They are what the sticker says - Front Coil Spring Boosters. Advance Auto shipped them to me and the packages were different although the brand name and part numbers were the same. LOTS of dust on both packages. These items don't move very much from the warehouse! These are different than the slip-in type. They have a smooth top so that essentially you put these up in your frame and then the top of the coil rests in the shallow groove. This way, you do not lose any coil spring rate or travel. They are cut once on the circle so that they can fit different diameter coils (I assume).

Now to the work...

I don't think any of us relish taking apart a front end. To be frank, once I received the spacers they sat on my workbench for two weeks before I did anything with them. Last night at about 8 pm, I was in the garage and thought to myself, "How fast can I get this done?" I was just hoping to finish up the job before bed because I wanted to give things a test drive the next morning before my next trip out of town.

So, I got out the jack and raised the front end, set the jack stands, removed the hubcaps and wheels, and set to work on removing the shocks.

Thankfully, things under the car were still relatively clean and without corrosion so removing any nuts or other hardware was very easy.

I used a jack to keep the control arm supported, and tapped lightly on the castle nut on the ball joint once it was almost removed from the stud. I like to then remove the jack letting the sway bar link keep the control arm from falling too far with the coil spring trying to "pop" free. This works relatively well and safely allows the removal of the coil spring.

The picture above is the coil spring upside down... I turned the spring right side up and installed the spacer. It was tight, but there were no issues as far as fitment was concerned.

I ended up using zip ties to keep the spacer in place while putting the coil spring back into position.

The coil spring went back into the frame and control arm with very little effort, and the total job from the time I grabbed the jack to the time I put away all of my tools was a little less than 2 hours. So, I had plenty of time to clean up before calling it a night.

And here are a few photos of the result. The stance is higher, about 1.5" or so. I would think it will settle here in a bit to be 1" overall. The ride in the morning gave me a distinct new feel to the suspension. Much of the stiffness was gone and it seemed like the shocks were able to "give" to the road.

Along with the work of installing the coil spring spacers, I also decided it was time to remove the fire hazard glass fuel filter, install the Wix fuel filter, and replace the fuel pump. It seems the ethanol had done its work on the fuel pump I had installed with the canister. The area of large threads on the pump just would not seal up and I had a very slow nuisance drip from the can itself.

Before installing the Holley fuel pump, I did notice that the inlet/outlet was not optimum and that I would have to clock the housing just one tick over. Time to disassemble!

I am sure glad I dismantled the pump. You would not believe the crud inside the new pump. I am not sure what all it was or whether it would have been dissolved by the fuel running through it, but in my opinion it all had to come out of there. After a thorough cleaning the unit was re-assembled and prepped for installation. Before mating it to the timing cover, I did ensure a clean surface.

White lithium grease was used on the gasket, the hardware was torqued, and all lines put back together with the Wix filter. On the initial run, we had excellent fuel pressure and no leaks! I have the regulator dialed back just a touch, but right around 6 lbs is where we need to be on this Holley carburetor.

Speaking of fuel, on a recent trip to North Carolina to preach at a church and train its members who serve in children and youth work, I happened to find a gas station selling ethanol-free gasoline. It was only $3.25 a gallon. Compared to what I paid up here in the Cincinnati area, it was a steal. Does the Hot Rod Reverend steal? well, not in the technical sense but it sure felt great to purchase fuel for $1.25 less a gallon (or more) than normal! My dad actually lives close by and all he had extra were these two cans. I filled them up and went on my merry way...

This summer has been very busy with preaching and teaching for various churches around the country. The list of states continues to climb. I will be in Alabama this weekend. All of this time helping others does not lend itself to enjoying the old Ford or tinkering on some odds and ends, but it sure is rewarding to watch people respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Since the day that I was spiritually born again, I have never once desired to go back to the old way of living. You can read more about what Christ did for me, and what the gospel is, by visiting this link:

Even though this summer has been a busy one, my middle daughter, Leah, and I were able to spend a morning together in the Fairlane to get some breakfast before she headed back to college... in California! Remember that Leah is the one who in April of 2018 demanded a roadworthy 55 for her senior graduation because she wanted to go to the event in style!

the Hot Rod Reverend

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