Yesterday I repeated the barbecue trick on the two holdouts. I was able to open one of them, and as I expected, the insides were fairly worn and corroded.
Today I took one of the shock links whose plug seemed frozen in place, and gave it the acetylene torch treatment. After that the plug came off easily, and the internal parts are now soaking in oven cleaner to get rid of the greasy crud they were covered with.
The shocks and their arms and links are the last remaining greasy/filthy chassis parts. Every other moving part on this car has already been cleaned up, fixed up, and refinished. In the next month or two I can get all the shock parts completely cleaned up, and I will have a 100% crud-free car!
I decided to try taking apart the shock absorbers, which have been sitting in a box for the last couple of years. I have read that you usually have to get medieval on these before they will come apart.
The first step was to put them on the barbecue grill at full heat for an hour and a half. For a while there was lots of foul-smelling smoke coming from it. Eventually all the crud (inside and out) got burned up. Then I dropped the hot shocks into a bucket water, and the shock of cooling hopefully loosened the screwed-together joints.
Then I was able to easily remove the outer reservoir covers with a chain wrench, revealing large amounts of slimy, sooty crud. With a jumbo-size adjustable wrench I was able to remove the inner covers of two of them, revealing the working parts (and more crud). Once that was cleaned up, those two shocks appeared to be in amazingly good shape, and probably just need new seals.
I could not get the inner covers off the other two shocks, but their shafts seem pretty loose, so I think they are worn out anyway. But even so, having 50% of the shocks being rebuildable is better than I expected. Later this week I’ll try repeating the barbecue treatment on those two.
Yesterday I took apart the windshield frame, separating it from the glass. The frame is held together by several little flat-head screws would just get stripped or broken off if I tried too hard to simply unscrew them. But after a session with my acetylene torch, they came out cleanly. The metal frame is in pretty good shape, but the glass was ordinary plate glass, not the safety glass the Ford originally used. Apparently the windshield broke once upon a time, and the owners were too cheap to replace it with safety glass. The next step would be to bead-blast and refinish the pieces of the frame, but that can wait.
A few weeks ago I used my stud welder to pull out a dent in one of the rear doors. Unfortunately one of the studs tore out a little hole in the sheet metal. So today I welded the hole closed and ground it down flush.
But it’s too cold to do any more work on the doors (they need to be treated with metal-prep, washed, dried, and primed), so I put them up in the attic for the winter.
If it does not get especially cold in the next week or two, maybe I will be able to finally finish the body filler in the roof panels.
Over the last few days, I made a new shaft for the drive gear and soldered the drive gear to it. I also ground down the gear a bit to make it thinner so it would fit. I noticed that there were two different styles of (interchangeable) window regulators on the car, and the replacement gear assembly was apparently designed to fit the other style. Finally, I tack-welded the new drive gear assembly to the main regulator assembly. It was originally riveted in place, but it would be impossible to install new rivets because they would be blocked by other parts of the mechanism.
Anyway, it’s all fixed now, and I can put it back up in the attic until sometime next year, after the car has been painted and the window parts (and glass) can be re-installed.
I started fixing the regulator (i.e. the crank/gear/lever thing that moves the window glass up and down) for the left rear quarter window. The shaft that the knob turns on had apparently broken, and a previous owner had removed it. The car came with some random replacement parts, including a made-in-Argentina gear/shaft assembly. The gear has the right number of teeth, but the rear quarter windows have a special regulator with a shorter-than-normal shaft that uses a screw instead of a pin to hold the knob. So I had to cut down the shaft and drill and tap a hole in the end. I will also have to use my mini-lathe to make a replacement for a pin that the gear turns on- the one it came with does not match up to the rest of the regulator assembly.
I don’t know how the thing ever broke in the first place- the other moving parts show no wear at all. Those rear quarter windows probably got rolled up and down about once a year…
Strangely, a previous owner had decided that what the car needed most was new channels for the window glass to slide up and down in, new rubber seals at the top of each window, and to have that rear window working. The body, engine, and mechanical work seemed less pressing to them. From my photo gallery, you can see that I’ve taken more of a bottom-up approach to working on the car.