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1952 F1: The Garage Roommate

Horseplay

I Don't Care. Do you?
Been threatening to do it for a while now and with the rain ruining the days plan decided now would be a good time start this thread. About a year ago my search for an old Ford pick-up came to an end. While I wasn't ready to start a new project just yet the right truck became available so I bought it. Fast forward a year and it's time to start in earnest to build it.

While I didn't do too much actual work on the truck the past year I did do a whole lot of planning. For the longest time, I had planned to use the first engine ('69 302) I built and later pulled out of my mustang in the truck project. The more I thought about it the less that seemed the path I would take. My attention turned to the new 5.0 Coyote platform. Visions of a twin turbo fat fender beast had me going. In fact, I still love that idea...just not for this truck. Maybe the next one. This one is going to keep it's original 8AB flathead V8. For now. Plan is to "hop it up" old school with cam, heads and multi-carb intake. Next year, if I still have the flathead lust, I will build up a new engine top to bottom sporting a polished blower. Already talking with Mike at H&H Flatheads about it now. Thing I've learned about these engines so far is it costs three times as much to make less than half the power. But damn do they look great!

So a little about the truck itself. It was purchased as the owner was nearing the end of a complete stock restoration. An older guy, he had reached the point his health just wouldn't allow him to finish. It had sat for over a year untouched when I found it. The complete chassis was finished and held a running drivetrain. Cab was done and painted bolted in place. Same for the bed. Doors, front fenders, hood, running boards and tailgate were present but needed finish prep and paint. The only thing missing for the entire truck were the rear fenders and the front and rear glass. About as complete as I had found and not a speck of rust on it anywhere. The underside was all in paint and as clean as my car. A true gem.

Since the time I drug it home I have been searching out parts for it. '51-52 are kinda the step child of the Ford trucks. While they reproduce a lot of parts there are some important panels they don't (or didn't). Just recently they started to make rear fenders. A set will cost you about $1500 delivered. And they are Asian made stampings in thinner metal. Hell, any metal is thinner than the stuff they used back in the early Fifties. So long story short, a couple weeks ago I found a set of original rear fenders out in Colorado that a guy had restored for a client that ended up not getting used. A flight, a 14 hour drive and an hour or so roadside chat with the Illinois state police and I had them back home in the garage. Not the cheapest way to go but the best. Now the truck was complete. At least I had all the body panels.

I've also been buying and hording lots of parts for the upcoming build. Namely I scored an original but never used Fenton dual carb intake along with a set of Edelbrock aluminum high compression cylinder heads. Came across the heads in Texas and enlisted my brother who lives in Houston to pick them up. He would later explain to me just how BIG Texas is. I felt bad but hey it was a lot closer than Denver was to Chicago!

The truck came to me with the stock three-on-the-tree transmission. That won't cut it. I'm once again going to rework a T5 trans to put into it. I got a Chevy S-10 T5 tailshaft housing which puts the shifter in a forward position I need to swap out on the mustang unit I have. MDL provided an adapter plate that I can use with an old Ford bellhousing ring called a "hogs head" to mate the T5 to the flathead. I also got a modern clutch set-up from MDL as well. All this is necessary so I can actually drive the truck on the street and not over rev the engine. These old trucks were never meant to go over about 40 mph. Out back I will be swapping in a 9" (originally built for the mustang, again) most likely hung on a 4-link. I'm also adding narrow wheel tubs out back in the bed to allow some really wide tires.

I will be pulling the engine and trans in a couple weeks. Taking off the stock front suspension and installing a whole new mustang II style set-up. Lots of frame work and welding involved. Will also be tearing the engine down for a cam swap and more. I will finally be firing up and using my new TIG welder. Can't wait.

If work and life cooperate even a little I hope to have the truck back on it's own four wheels and operable before winter hits. If I'm really lucky I will get to drive it yet this year before the leaves fall.

So stay tuned if you are interested. I'll be posting up a lot of pics very soon showing the truck as bought, as it sits and of all the goodies on hand so far to get things started. There aren't too many builds going on around here at the moment so this might be fun to watch.
 

Horseplay

I Don't Care. Do you?
Didn't mean to leave it hanging like that. Pretty busy right now. Anyway, some pics. If you've been around here a bit you likely saw some of these. Starting with when I picked it up and the condition as it was purchased.pickup.jpgIMG_0259.jpgIMG_0258.jpgIMG_0260.jpg
 
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Horseplay

I Don't Care. Do you?
I initially wanted to get it fired up with the intent to sell off the engine, trans and rear end. I figured at the time I might as well upgrade it to 12v from the stock 6v. I also bought a Pertronix electronic module to upgrade the old points in the distributor. Somewhere here I think I did a post on that stuff. Part of the effort was to rewire the factory gauges with a voltage regulator to work on 12v.
A few pics of all that.
points.jpgpertronix.jpgvoltage reg.jpgheat sink.jpg
 

Horseplay

I Don't Care. Do you?
So boredom and curiosity got the better of me so I started to tear the engine down to see what exactly I had. The seller as you may recall was not the builder (his son) so he really didn't know what was done with the engine. He said he remembered "something about adjustable lifters..." but that was all. For me it was a sign that just about anything could have been done. I had hope it might be over bored and/or stroked. Maybe larger valves. Who knows what kind of cam might be hiding in there.

A couple things came to light when removing the cylinder heads. First, the old timer who built the engine used an original style paper gasket which he sprayed with copper paint on both sides. He might as well have used super glue. The heads did not want to come off. Even using a 5 foot piece of steel roll bar pipe and the steel intake manifold as a fulcrum I could not get the head to even think about releasing. I was forced to think about rather than use force and had an epiphany. I took a 1/2" bolt and threaded a nut onto the end. Slipped a short section of a piece of steel tube and a washer over the exposed threaded end. Placed this between the two heads and proceeded to thread the nut down the bolt, forcing the washer against the tube which in turn drove against the opposing cylinder head. Because of the angle at which it contacted the head the force exerted drove the head up and out at the same time eventually breaking it free.

Inside the engine is very clean. As told, it had not been run much. It was also run very rich as evidenced by the look of the valves and pistons. Wipes off with easily. The lifter valley is spotless. It has adjustable lifters, as promised too.IMG_3331.jpgIMG_3330.jpg
 

Horseplay

I Don't Care. Do you?
Tonight I hope to get back in the garage to do some investigating on the engine. The stamping on the piston tops indicated a .080 overbore which I confirmed by measurement of the bore. This brings the C.I. up to a 255 if stock stroke or a 276 if it has had the crank swapped to a 4" stroke. Hoping that is what I find! I also plan to measure the valve lift. If it is other than a stock cam I'll be pulling the front cover so i can measure the rotation in degrees which I can then use to determine some other cam specifics and maybe deduce what is in there. Unlike a typical small block engine, the way a flathead is put together I would need to do a lot of other disassembly to try and find any stampings on the cam itself for identification. Odds are pretty great I will be installing a different cam but would really like to try and figure it out first this way. A new cam and lifters alone are over $500 not including any other parts that might get replaced of gaskets needed to put it all back together.
 

Horseplay

I Don't Care. Do you?
Since I was doing some parts porn I might as well show off the transmission stuff too. Adapter plate and clutch from MDL. S-10 Front shift position T5 tailshaft housing. I also have the shorter shaft main case cover assembly as well.
IMG_3344.jpgIMG_3345.jpg
 

Horseplay

I Don't Care. Do you?
Finally got back to the garage. Been out of town last few days for work. Put a bar on the crank so I could rotate the engine and take some measurements of the stroke and valve lifts. Didn't go quite as planned. Cylinder 1 was near the bottom of the stroke so I was watching it for bottoming out when I noticed something odd. Really odd. Really bad. The pistons in numbers 2, 3 and 4 were moving but number 1 never moved a bit. After about 15-20 degrees of rotation the engine didn't want to rotate anymore either. Seems something ain't right with #1! SOB

Actually not the end of the world. I was already planning to pull it and take it apart anyway. Seems my decision about stroking and boring a bit more has been made for me. Now I'm just curious to see what the old guy might have messed up. All his work to this point that I have reviewed has been excellent. Of course that's all mainly body work, paint and electrical. Be interesting to see what I find.
 

Horseplay

I Don't Care. Do you?
Got the heads all cleaned up and polished the tops of the fins and the Fenton logo area on the intake. Took quite bit of work to get the fins on the heads that nice. Hand filed them each individually to get them level and remove any casting pits or damage. Sanded next in four steps starting at 80 and ending up at 400 before I hit them with the polishing wheels. Three grits of polish got them pretty shiny. When and if the rain ever stops I can pull the car out so I can paint them. Using a high temp ceramic in gloss black. I will remove the paint off the polished areas before it fully cures. Should look really good when done.

IMG_3360.jpgIMG_3361.jpgIMG_3362.jpg
 
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