The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by gorms68 »

Linda does good work. It must be nice that when you leave town you come home and fine that she has restored more of her truck. 8)
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Re: Sweet 1939 Ford Pickup

Post by VWNate1 »

That is very nice ! .

Although I dislike both FlatHeads and V-8's , it'll be a good daily driver for Linda , you'll see .

A few notes : (you know this stuff ,others prolly not)

The " 85 " on the hood badges is for 85 HP .

The nibs on the horn button are for the integral lightswitch , a nice Ford item since the 1920's .

The " Made in A.S.A. " on the various parts is a hall mark of Fords that also dates back to the 1920's .

Those wheel bearings & (Chicago Rawhide) grease seals are the originals ~ not dealer replacement parts . back in the day , Ford was nuts about using top quality raw materials and marking every one so you'd know . the high nickle content cast iron is why Fords's castings are so good in spite of design flaws that cause overheating & cracking on V-8 FlatHead blocks . the frames were made of Vanadium Steel , in Ford's own founderies after U.S. Steel and other were too lazy to make it and told Henry it couldn't be done .(he'd seen Vanadium Steel in Europe before WWI)

I certainly hope you didn't bead blast the spring leaves as they'll loose quite a bit of tension - one must never , EVER bead blast springs , coil or leaf typ .

Yes , it was quite common to add a leaf or three when the vehicle was operated on outlying poor roads .

Plus , as you'll soon see when you buy and read that re-pop parts manual , Ford had a bewildering array of springs available back to the 'A' Model days as folks would either break them of not like how soft the base model (read : cheap)
vehicle was and so replaced them often even when not worn out . I no longer recall the amount of available leaves and weights but it's quite impressive .

I really like the '38 & ''39 Commercial Fords , I'd prefer to have a 6 cylinder one but it'd still be a wretched FlatHead so whatever .

Your work habits , like your garage , are top notch and pleasing to see :thumbs: .

I hope this truck was affordable , I know the $1,500.00 days are long gone , glad it didn't go to another boob Hot Rodder to be destroyed .
-Nate
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Steve Simmons »

You'll be hard-pressed to find a 6-cylinder Ford from the 30's. Henry didn't make one until 1941! The whole reason the infamous flathead V8 came into existence is that he didn't want to do anything that Chevrolet had already done, and they were known for their 6-cylinder engines. So Henry one-upped Chevrolet by making an affordable V8 for his cars.

The engine in this truck is actually a 255 Merc CM so rather than the original 85HP, it has 125 HP. Or at least it did before someone wore the engine out. :(

The leaves had to be blasted, there was not a lot of choice due to the heavy grease and scale on the leaves. I could have scrubbed the grease for two days, using a ton of degreaser and rags, then hot tanked them, then sanded them down and finally recoated. That was simply too much effort for a spring however, especially a 1939 spring that has lived a very hard life. I do have an extra leaf and will be using it, so the ride height and overall stiffness should be fine. This is a 71 year old spring, and it's just a truck, so I'm not too worried about handling or anything. It just needs to hold the front end up. I've never heard such a stern warning about blasting springs though. Interesting.

The light switch is going to need some help. The end of the actuator rod is pretty worn so there is a lot of play in the switch level at the wheel. I may be able to have it welded and re-ground cheaply.

The truck was very, very affordable. I didn't pay anywhere near your "days gone by" price. 8)

Here's a shot of the engine as it stands now, next to a smaller cousin from across the pond. Two very different ways to make a car go fast.
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Flathead V8 and Supercharged B-Series engines
Flathead V8 and Supercharged B-Series engines
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by VWNate1 »

You're right of course , all my 1930's Fords had 4 Bangers .

If you take the time to polish & match the combustion chambers it'll run much stronger and cooler too .

Good running Flathead V-8's are a joy to drive .

We used to put flat washers in the upper radiator hoses to slow down the water circulation of Flathead V-8's , works really well on the race track .

Bead blasting springs releases the surface tension and makes them sag ~ I've never seen one break from bead blasting but flaccid springs are a serious PIA to me .

I've had really good luck in cleaning and hand wire brushing old leaf springs , even with serious worn spots they remained stiff .

I'll be interested to see how this work out .

is this the truck that was parked along side of Mulholland hwy. for 25 years ? I lusted after that one for many a year but I'm an OHV man so I kept my old Chevy 6 Banger trucks instead of asking about that one .
-Nate
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Steve Simmons »

No, this truck has been sitting in a garage for most of the past 30 years. That's the reason it's so solid, in my opinion.

Topic split to THIS THREAD.
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Steve Simmons »

Finally got a chance to get a bit more work done today, so I'm diving into the brakes. You think the brake fluid in the master cylinder is ok? I might change it anyway, just in case...
Ford V8 master cylinder
Ford V8 master cylinder
The good news is that the piston is aluminum, and the bore looks brand new! So, I get to save a bit of money here and not buy a replacement MC. The front wheel cylinders are another matter. They're stuck fast, and it looks like they're plenty corroded. If I can get the pistons out then I'll have them sleeved, but if they won't come out then I'll just have to replace the whole cylinders. I haven't seen the rears yet.
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by gorms68 »

stopping is realy over rated anyway 8)
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Scott Pettit »

Yea, the only advantage to stopping is that you get to accelerate again.

wheeeeeeee.......
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Martin Keller »

Hay Steve,

Is that the new dot mud brake fluid that the CAVEMAN use. :D :jester :drive
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Jimmy »

If that is indeed original brake "fluid", shouldn't you try to preserve it?
It's not much different from you waxing the rust, really.
In baseball, running into someone is apparently a "collision".
But doing the same thing in a car somehow makes it an "accident".
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Steve Simmons »

I seriously doubt that's original brake fluid, especially since the MC bore looks brand new. But at least this fluid will give a nice solid pedal feel, right? :jester

Waxing rust Jimmy? Only you would think of a way to preserve rust on a car! :lol:
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Steve Simmons »

Ok, I'm back to work again. Gene and Chris came by yesterday and helped get the engine tear down started, and this morning I finished it up. The block is now at the machinist. The bad news is that it's cracked in several places. The good news is that none of them are bad enough to warrant a new block. This engine has been rebuilt at some point because the bores are +30.

We also finally determined why the heads were taken off 30 years ago. He blew a head gasket in a bad way. When four head studs broke, he tried to remove one of them and seriously botched the hole. Fortunately the hole is repairable with a steel insert, which I will do when the block comes back.

While it's at the shop I've decided to have it power honed since it's cheap, and the machinist recommended it after inspecting the bores. It could use a valve job but I'm not sure if I'm going that far. Doing valves on these engines is a very time consuming process, about $300 worth of time for a professional.

More good news is that all of the bearings look great, in fact almost new. I will re-use them rather than spending $400 for a new set. The cam and crank also look good.

The clutch disc looks nearly new as well, but strangely it has three cracks so it will have to be replaced.
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Mercury CM flathead engine block
Mercury CM flathead engine block
block.jpg (33.77 KiB) Viewed 21688 times
Mercury CM flathead crankshaft
Mercury CM flathead crankshaft
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Mercury CM flathead camshaft
Mercury CM flathead camshaft
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Ford V8 Clutch
Ford V8 Clutch
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by gorms68 »

Cracked but still usable, a mixed blessing for sure. This old engine was built Ford Tough! I guess if you have enough time you can do the valves yourself. Once you have done a few the rest should be fairly straight forward.
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Steve Simmons »

I decided to do a bit of work on the interior, so removed the dash cover and header. A bunch of stuff fell out of both of them, most of it at least 60 years old! I also found large portions of the original Gray paint in perfect condition. I plan to mask them off when I repaint the dash panel pieces so that a future owner will have some original 1939 factory paint preserved.

Here are some of the highlights of the items I found...

Three S&H Green Chip Stamps. Wonder if I can turn them in somewhere? :)
S&H Green Chip Stamps
S&H Green Chip Stamps
Green-Chip-Stamps.jpg (36.74 KiB) Viewed 21670 times
San Fernando Drag Strip admission ticket. It was torn down before I was born!
San Fernando Drag Strip Admission Ticket
San Fernando Drag Strip Admission Ticket
Ticket.jpg (17.71 KiB) Viewed 21670 times
A note left on the windscreen in 1957. It reads "I am sorry I couldn't wait for you. I have a buyer for this car. Would you sell it or would you take in trade on an all new '57 Ford. Call me today. P.S. Open all day Sunday.
Poplar 3-5164
Stanley 7-5201"

The note is written on the back side of a business card from Gossett-Ames Ford Co. in Studio City, CA. I looked it up and found reference to an aspiring actress who became president of this family-owned business, after marrying a successful actor named Leon Gossett. Look him up on IMDB for an impressive list of movies and shows he acted in from the 30's through the 80's.
Note from 1957
Note from 1957
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Note from 1957 on business card
Note from 1957 on business card
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Cool Ray Polarized Sunglasses, circa early 1960's. These are my new shades. 8)
1960's Cool Ray Polarized Sunglasses
1960's Cool Ray Polarized Sunglasses
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Matchbook from Valley Federal Savings with old addresses and pre-zip code phone numbers inside.
Valley Federal matchbook
Valley Federal matchbook
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Old-style click pen from Pacific Telephone, which later became Pacific Bell.
Pacific Telephone pen
Pacific Telephone pen
pen.jpg (10.54 KiB) Viewed 21670 times
Three beer bottle openers. Two Coors and one Blatz. Apparently Blatz is Milwaukee's favorite premium beer. And apparently as well, this guy drank a lot of beer in my truck. :x
Beer bottle openers
Beer bottle openers
Beer-Bottle-Openers.jpg (13.82 KiB) Viewed 21670 times
Other things not pictured were a fold-out map (showing some rather small populations for now very large areas), a few cigarette butts, used matches, an old Kleenex wrapper, a bunch of tissues from said Kleenex package removed and turned into a mouse nest, lots of dust, etc.

I felt like an automotive archeologist that day. It was fun! :D
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by max71 »

Pieces of the past falling in from of you. That must of been exciting. You're going to frame them right? Between two pieces of glass so you can flip it over to see the other side of the items?
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Steve Simmons »

Hadn't thought of that. Interesting idea, at least for the paper items. The sunglasses are going back into service though.
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by sideache »

Those glasses rock :)

So does the truck
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Steve Simmons »

A little more progress I forgot to report from last week. I found a replacement grill for far less than it would cost to salvage what I had. Plus, I now have the stainless steel surround piece. I still need the center strip but that will come later.

The lower panels are a bit tweaked as are the left inner and outer fenders, so I can't quite get it all to line up. I'll probably leave that to a professional because I don't want to screw up those pieces. I can see them cracking because of all the compound curves.
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1939 Ford V8 Pickup
1939 Ford V8 Pickup
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by malcolmr18zoy »

Well done on the grill Steve. That really transforms the look of the truck. I think those barrel nosed Fords are one of the best looking of all the trucks. It really shows well with the T in the background.
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Larry Kluss »

Not one, but THREE beer bottle openers!...got to love the old days... :lol:

Great stuff, Steve. I'd definately preserve the artifacts, either between glass as Max said or at least in plastic page inserts in a binder with your restoration photos.

I remember doing the interior on my Dad's old '56 Vette, we found old dried rice under the seats from a wedding.
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Steve Simmons »

This week's progress:

Picked up the block from the machinist. It got hot tanked, cylinders honed and valves ground. We did find a few cracks, but nothing worth trashing the block over.
Flathead V8 block
Flathead V8 block
block1.jpg (46.21 KiB) Viewed 21616 times
Like my paint booth? Don't tell osha.
Flathead V8 block
Flathead V8 block
paintbooth.jpg (73.28 KiB) Viewed 21616 times
I've painted the block a nice cast iron gray, opting for something on the subtle side rather than original colors.
Flathead V8 block
Flathead V8 block
paintingblock.jpg (64.51 KiB) Viewed 21616 times
Today, after test fitting the valves, guides and lifters, I mounted the crank and camshaft and began preparing the pistons and rings.
Flathead V8 short block
Flathead V8 short block
crank.jpg (49.3 KiB) Viewed 21616 times
The crank bolted down and test fitting oil pump.
Flathead V8 short block
Flathead V8 short block
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Larry Kluss »

The photo of the block on the driveway look like it's running away from home... :lol:

Nice progress, Steve.
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by sideache »

I hear that you may have it ready for the 4th of July Run.
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by Steve Simmons »

That depends... ready to do what? :lol:
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Re: The Great 1939 Ford V8 Project

Post by gorms68 »

Any progress on getting the rear wheel off?
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