AuthorTopic: '56 Ford pickup project  (Read 591 times)

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Online Blackwater

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'56 Ford pickup project
« on: April 07, 2019, 08:58:31 PM »
SO!!  Me and Jeff73MachI are working on a project for a friend.  It's a little '56 F100 that belongs to a friend down in Atlanta.  We're installing a C4 Corvette front suspension in it and adding A/C and removing the gas tank from the cab.  There are a few other minor touches, such as lowering the rear of the truck that we're doing while we're at it.

Got the front cradle and swing arms and hubs temporaries in this weekend.  Jeff relocated the rear shocks and brake cables today. (We'll have the spring eyes reversed a little later).

Lots of pics!  The owner didn't want the truck too low, so I had to notch the frame to clear the upper control arms.  I boxed a section of the frame to strengthen it where the notch passes through.
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Re: '56 Ford pickup project
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2019, 09:19:44 PM »
There were several places where some part of the cradle had to be cut away or reinforced. It also required that the power steering rack had to be modified. We had to rotate the hydraulic section of the rack so that the pressure lines would clear the front of the oil pan.  I'll describe that operation a little later.

Anyhow, here are some more photos of this little project.
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Re: '56 Ford pickup project
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2019, 09:32:39 PM »
We're having to rework the engine mounts. The ones that the previous builder used were extremely "Rube Goldberg" and would interfere with almost everything we are doing.  When finished, the new support brackets will use over the counter, "FACTORY" mounts.

The reason this project got started was that SOMEONE grafted an old early '60s GM power assist cylinder to the drag link!!  When the steering was turned just slightly to the left, the left front tire would grab the cylinder and try to rip it off of the truck. It would also try to stop the left front wheel from turning.  The truck was VERY unsafe!!
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Offline lowboy

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Re: '56 Ford pickup project
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2019, 03:51:28 AM »
Looks good! Jeff73 and you have been busy for sure!
life is a ride where you slide into heaven sideways on 4 flats blown motor saying Thank you God what a ride!!!!!

Offline just old

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Re: '56 Ford pickup project
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2019, 05:47:34 AM »
looking really god nice start to what you are building

Offline Granpascrazzy

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Re: '56 Ford pickup project
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2019, 05:29:56 PM »
LOOKS like a lot of work.  You must be feelin better.
have a bad AUTOHOLIC PROBLEM

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Re: '56 Ford pickup project
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2019, 06:47:51 PM »
Been feelin' pretty good most of the time!!  It's hard to do anything when you're confined to a chair or a damned knee scooter!  Most of what I do involves being on two feet and I can't seem to get anyone to let me use theirs...

I'm now almost three months on both feet.  It's taken me most of one month just to learn to get around safely and another to get enough stamina to do much of anything.  Just walking to and from the shop, (70 ft. and a half flight of stairs each way) has me stopping to take a breath.  I'm improving, but it's SLOOOOOWW!!  I get frustrated easily and also get distracted by all the other projects I have lined up.

Yeah, there's some work involved, but it's more a mental exercise, joining two unrelated vehicles and making it work and look good too.  I'm probably a little better at the making it work thing.

This weekend, I'm taking off and going shooting with my Cowboy Action pards.  Sometimes ya' just gotta' put the tools down and step away, for mental health.


I DID get to set it on the floor for some perspective and I ran the suspension through all of its movements.  I have 9 1/2" of vertical travel, it will clear everything throughout it's range of motions at both full left and full right turns, all the way down or all the way up.  I have room inside the upper control arms to mount these coil-overs and I discovered that the travel distance where I have the shock located is five inches which is exactly the shock's safe length of travel!!  SERENDIPITY!!!
« Last Edit: April 12, 2019, 07:22:06 PM by Blackwater »
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Offline Granpascrazzy

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Re: '56 Ford pickup project
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2019, 06:14:25 PM »
The main thing is you good doing it
have a bad AUTOHOLIC PROBLEM

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Re: '56 Ford pickup project
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2019, 08:30:05 AM »
We set the truck on the ground for the first trial of the suspension yesterday.  Know we have the wrong springs but they will let us run it through the full travel to check geometry and clearances. 

I made lower coil over mounts and bought heavy blanks for the uppers.  I only had to notch the uppers to fit the frame and set the height. 

Still have to make engine supports, have the power steering lines made and install them, and complete the steering column/shaft to connect the steering wheel to the rack shaft.

We're almost ready to drop it all out and finish welding everything, (It's all just heavy tacked into place) and install it all with new hardware for all the fabricated pieces.

Pics.
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Re: '56 Ford pickup project
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2019, 09:57:46 AM »
We're also moving the gas tank to a place behind the rear axle and adding A/C!  We've moved the shock mounts to the front side of the rear end and removed a cobbled up spare tire mount from under the bed.

More pics of the front end, positioned at full squat.
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Re: '56 Ford pickup project
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2019, 04:27:06 AM »
Lookin good
life is a ride where you slide into heaven sideways on 4 flats blown motor saying Thank you God what a ride!!!!!

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Re: '56 Ford pickup project
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2019, 05:25:02 PM »
I took Sunday off from the shop to perform with my band for the first time this year.  Between my health issues and the hurricane that tore up my guitar plain' partner's house down in Mexico Beach, Florida last fall, we haven't booked many shows this spring.

Today I set in to figure out and fabricate engine supports.  The left one has to miss the input shaft and pressure lines for the steering rack, leave room to run the exhaust pipe, and still attach to the frame, (or in this case the cradle for the suspension that will become part of the frame) and allow the engine to be removed if ever it needs it.

After throwing away one attempt that didn't make me happy, I rethought it and got the left one made.  It's clean and simple and it gives plenty of room for all the needs I mentioned.  I rough tacked it all into place and took a couple of pics for ya's.  I started on the passenger side mount and immediately screwed it up!!  I had to weld the piece I cut out back onto the material I was repurposing and recut it correctly.  At that point I was angry and decided to quit for the day before I messed up something I didn't want to have to fix!!

I'll get better photos of the engine supports when I pull the assembly out to final weld and clean it.  These will give you an idea of what's happening.
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Re: '56 Ford pickup project
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2019, 05:33:45 PM »
Here's a couple of shots of those lower coilover  shock brackets, set into place like they'll be when it's all assembled.  I discovered today that the swaybar brackets will need a little modificaion to clear the coilovers.  It'll require a little fabrication to re-locate the brackets.

We also got the braces that run from the bottom of the cradle to the front of the frame on the original Corvette installed on the truck.  They LOOK like they were made for it!!
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Re: '56 Ford pickup project
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2019, 04:53:50 PM »
Looks good. Thanx for sharing.
have a bad AUTOHOLIC PROBLEM

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Re: '56 Ford pickup project
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2019, 06:48:22 PM »
I got the new 450 pound springs for the pickup and they're 1/2" larger in diameter than the setup springs.  I had to chop the upper coilover mounts out and relocate 'em.  I went ahead and drilled the lower control arms for the lower shock mounts and temporarily installed them. They fit nicely and locate the bottom of the spring/shock assembly as close to the bottom of the spindle as I dare place them and still have everything clear.

I also started on the engine supports in earnest.  They worked out pretty well as far as locating the engine, spacing it above the steering rack with plenty of room.  I'm going to add a 1/4" plate to the mounting surfaces to give a little more clearance, but they're sturdy as hell, they miss all of the steering shaft and pressure lines, they'll clear the exhaust, and I can get to everything that would need maintenance.

I set the truck on the wheels, (one of the new wheels hasn't arrived yet) and then put the new wheel I got two weeks ago on one side to get some pics.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2019, 07:14:22 PM by Blackwater »
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Re: '56 Ford pickup project
« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2019, 04:29:27 AM »
Looking good Love to see how she will handle. Canyon carver? Gonna do the Dragons tail? I did with the bug. It did not like trying to keep up with the Camaro and Mustang I was with.
life is a ride where you slide into heaven sideways on 4 flats blown motor saying Thank you God what a ride!!!!!

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Re: '56 Ford pickup project
« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2019, 08:09:32 AM »
We're actually doing it because what was under it was dangerous! Someone had mounted one of the old GM power assist cylinder and control valve assemblies on the truck's original drag link.  It would interfere with the left front tire and wheel any time you attempted to turn left more than a quarter turn of the wheel and it leaked profusely. It was really unsafe to drive.  We trailered it up here from Atlanta!!

We figured that this would be safer, more modern, and offer a significant improvement in ride quality.  The guy that owns it isn't much of a slalom fan.  He's probably going to cruise it and maybe do the Cars and Coffee thing!
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Re: '56 Ford pickup project
« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2019, 08:00:49 PM »
I finished the modified engine mounts today and got the steering rack plumbed and rotated.

The pressure lines that feed the assist in the rack are all steel from the factory.  In order to gain clearance where the rack passes under the oil pan, you have to rotate the assist portion of the rack.  This moves the fittings to a forward facing position, but you have to modify the feed tubes to make it work. I had a local hydraulic hose maker cut the tubes in two, weld fittings onto the tubes, and make me some flexible hoses to complete the operation.  There are a couple of outfits that will perform this modification, but they want $250.00 to do it.  I did it myself for less than $80.00!!

The motor mounts are factory 1970 Chevy V8 pickup mounts.  These were a bad design from the factory.  They would pull in two easily if you got the truck in a bind and often would drag the throttle linkage wide open.  GM did a campaign to correct the problem using a cable that tied the front of the engine down to the frame to prevent the dangerous situation.  My dad had one of these trucks and I bet you I replaced that left engine mount five or six times before I figured out how the fix it once and for all!!  I took a 7/16 standard thread stud and screwed it into the mount so that it stuck out the back of the assembly.  I welded a nut to a big flat washer and screwed it onto the back of the mount, upside down, with some red loctite!!  After that, the mount never broke again.  My brother now has that old truck.  It's had several big blocks and a high performance small block or two and it's STILL using those same mounts that I put together in 1975!!

Here are pics of both modifications.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2019, 08:04:00 PM by Blackwater »
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Offline lowboy

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Re: '56 Ford pickup project
« Reply #18 on: May 27, 2019, 06:49:40 AM »
Great fix on the motor mounts. I've replaced a ton of them and never thought about that fix.
life is a ride where you slide into heaven sideways on 4 flats blown motor saying Thank you God what a ride!!!!!

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Re: '56 Ford pickup project
« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2019, 07:49:57 AM »
It works great on those truck mounts where the bolt passes throughout the center.  It was just one step short of a great design.  The stud is difficult to make work on the old trucks. You have to set the mount into the frame first and then bolt it to the engine .

For my application, I put an open topped notch in the frame portion so that the mount can be installed much easier!!

I'll post a pic or two when I get the cradle back in the frame for good, maybe later today.

We got the new gas tank installed too!! 
« Last Edit: May 27, 2019, 07:58:42 AM by Blackwater »
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Re: '56 Ford pickup project
« Reply #20 on: May 27, 2019, 01:55:29 PM »
I put new bellows on the steering rack this morning.  They sent some cheap plastic zip ties to secure them to the rack body!!  Cheesy garbage!!  I have to order the metal ones that should be supplied!!

Anyway, I cleaned up the rack and put the bellows and the tie rod end boots on and bolted the rack to the cradle.  As soon as I finish the shaft for the steering column, (had to shorten the shaft and column housing and splice in a piece of "Double D" steering shaft so it will connect to the rack) I'll be ready to mount the cradle permanently.  Maybe in a day or so!!

Anyhow, I put up a couple of pics of the rack all cleaned up and mounted and those motor mount brackets that attach the engine to the cradle.
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Re: '56 Ford pickup project
« Reply #21 on: June 03, 2019, 09:59:19 PM »
We're finally getting down to the end of the front suspension transplant. Matter of fact, if the supplier hadn't sent us the wrong brake pads, we'd have put her on the floor tonight.  I still need to make a support bracket for the bottom of the steering column and figure out how to wire the horn button.  The original steering box was mounted directly to the column and the wire for the horn button ran down the hollow shaft and came out the bottom of the box!!  The steering sector acted as a lower bracket for the column!!

Anyhow!  After cutting the steering shaft short and splicing a piece of "double D" shaft to the bottom of it, we added a bearing and a lock collar to hold the shaft in the column securely.  Then we found that we had used the wrong size 2D shaft and the U-joint was too large!!  Fortunately, he salvaged a short section of the larger,  (hollow!!) shaft from a junk steering column and sonde of wonders, it fit perfectly to form a bushing between our 3/4" shaft and and the 1" U-joint!!  I'd rather be lucky than good!!

I spent all day, Saturday doing the final fitting and welding in the cradle.  I found one small error in my measurements, but caught it before getting too far.  I had to lower the cradle 1/8" across the back.  AGAIN!!  Fortunately I'd made enough clearance everywhere else and it all still fit correctly once the adjustment was made.  I ran out of gas about 3:00 on Saturday afternoon and we shout down for the evening.

Sunday I got started around 8:00 am and finished the last of the welding. By noon we were starting to assemble the actual suspension.  Taking extra care to test fit and check each step one more time, we had the upper and lower control arms on, the coil overs installed, (save for the hardened washers on the upper bolts) and the new rotors hung on the hubs. When I closed the doors last night, the paint on the brake calipers was drying and I had a list of small incidentals to pick up this morning.

We picked up this evening to finish assembling the brakes, (you know what happened there) and put the front brace bars from the cradle to the front of the frame.  I'd have finished the column support bracket if we hadn't gotten sidetracked hunting brake pads that NOBODY IN TOWN had!!

SO!  Here's some pics for your perusal!!
« Last Edit: June 04, 2019, 02:14:28 PM by Blackwater »
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Re: '56 Ford pickup project
« Reply #22 on: June 03, 2019, 10:13:10 PM »
Here's a few more photos!  Even after all these years of spinning wrenches and burning metal, I find I still miss details or fail to check over my work enough!! It's cost me two days more getting this project over the hump!!  I DID give myself a good cussin' a time or two and I'm sure Jeff73 is tired of me mother henning him on little stuff.

That's all right!! We STILL have to put an A/C kit on it and I'm gonna' sit back and watch!!  I'll let him fuss at me when I don't hand him the right wrench or whatever!!

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Re: '56 Ford pickup project
« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2019, 04:29:11 AM »
Looks good
life is a ride where you slide into heaven sideways on 4 flats blown motor saying Thank you God what a ride!!!!!

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Re: '56 Ford pickup project
« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2019, 08:41:19 PM »
FINALLY on the ground.  Even got the brakes bled.  There is still a lot to do.  Except for the A/C, there are little touches like brackets for the brake lines and replacing the rear spring shackles to lower the back and level it up a little.  Small things like making to horn work and finishing the fuel and power steering lines should be done by this weekend.

More photos below.
Never use a minor caliber bullet on a major caliber adversary!!

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