My Thunderbird experience
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   The body is off the frame and it's time to remove the small parts and get it ready to blast.The rear torsion bars will be removed and the frame will be cleaned up to determine wether to PC or paint.


   The parts are stripped,some scraping was done and the frame was presure washed and ready for blasting.


   The frame has been sand blasted and ready for primer.It was decided to paint the frame with Imron instead of powder coating.


   The serial numbers are stamped into the frame at two locations,in the engine compartment on the right side about 2/3 back and on the right frame rail at the half way point under the body.


   Some rework will have to be done on the front motor mount.Notice the two clobs of weld on each side of the mount and the cut out on the engine bracket.I have the tools to fill in the damaged section if I can't find a replacement.I believe the engine to be the orginal and someone was trying to brace the tork it recieved because of it's use.


   Notice the spring on the front shock.They were on rear shocks only.Woops there not springs but groves.


    Notice the springs on the rear shock.This must be 60's speed equipment.They also have groves like the front shocks.A clamp goes around the groves to set the tension on the shock springs.


    More speed equipment to stabalize the rear axle as illistrated in the last Early Bird mag.

pic# 9

      One of the many pictures taken to view re-assembly.

pic# 10

     Before the springs can come off the mass of weld will have to be removed on the traction bar bracket.

pic# 11

     A picture of the spring.Notice the # and location of the spring clamps. The springs will be replaced. The axle is out and ready for re-build.

pic# 12

     To remove the springs I put a chain around the car frame and the hoist since the weight of the motor is not there to hold the frame down.Next I removed the steering arm to position the power pack and pop the ball joints.I put an extended jack (not pictured) under the A arm to slowly lower it and relieve the pressure of the spring.I loosen the shock,poped the ball joint,removed the nut on the shock and slowly lowered the jack.Anytime you deal with springs it can be VERY dangerous and extreme caution must be used.This is the method I used but not responsible if you use this imformation for your application.BE CAREFUL.

pic# 13

   The frame is stripped and ready to start the restoring process.The peg is removed from the rear axle and sent to a rebuilder to be checked out.


    The mechanic is a good friend who is still racing cars and tells me the peg needs a complete overhaul,so I brought the shell back,sandblasted,2 part primed and painted it with Dupli Color DH-1610 primer.I PC the shield and sent it back to assemble.

pic# 15

       I ordered a new front motor mount from Casco,removed the damaged mount and excess weld and by measuring for the right location welded the new mount to the frame.

pic# 16

      Most of the parts were sand blasted with an outside blaster.The cabinet blaster is too slow to do larger parts but works well for small parts or to touch up larger parts that fit into the cabinet.

pic# 17

       Wheels were PC black and will be painted car color on the outside.All the front end parts were PC and are ready for installation.

pic# 18

        The frame was rolled over so the bottom side is up with the hook in the center to balance it.My thought was to tilt the ends to spray underneath (notice the old spring used as a weight) and be able to easily spray from the top on most of the parts that show. Eastwood Encapsulator was used for priming because it is more user friendly than Por-15.

pic# 19

      The following day the frame was sprayed black with Imron using the same procedure as in picture 18.After drying time the frame was turned back over and set on the hoist. On the side rail where the fuel and brake lines connect sand blew out of a bolt hole, there were some light areas which the body hides, and another coat was applied top down in the engine compartment.

pic# 20

      The frame is ready to assemble the drive train. I'm trying to stay on schedule for the Dayton car show.

pic# 21

         I'm trying to think ahead  and have the small parts painted and ready to install. The new tires are ready to mount on the wheels and the seat frame is ready to go back to the trim shop.The rebuilt peg is ready to go into the axle housing.

pic# 22

        Before disassembling the car the steering seemed fine except it leaked oil.I decided to replace the seals only and PC the case.The bearing in the selector shaft (#3576) fell apart and the bearing case is razor blade thin and was ground out with a dremel tool.Extreme care was taken not to disturb  the shaft housing. I put the unit back together with the 4 shims I took out and filled it with oil. It leaked worse than before and I could barley turn the shaft. Turned one of the seals around and put in two more shims (6) before I felt the unit was correct with no leaks. Its very tricky putting the unit together as there are different combinations but only one is correct.

pic# 23

      Bushings were pushed into the upper and lower A arms and mounted on the frame with the new springs and shocks.I followed the articles in the 1978 M-J and N-D Early Bird by Dick Huber as a guide. A friend took his car to an alignment shop after he changed the A arm bushings and was told not to tighten any of the bolts until the engine weight and the wheels are on the ground. If tighten before, the bushings twist when the weight is applied making them work in a unnatural position and it grinds them up. A lot of pressure is present so also make sure the upper arm bumpers are seated properly or they will become disformed and not be effective.

pic# 24

        The springs,rear shocks and axle are assembled on the frame.When assembling the rear brakes I discovered the emergency brake cables were too short to come in from the back side.Hmm, must had the backing plates reversed.That meant pulling the axles again and fixing one of my many mistakes.I put the traction bars back on the car allow not orginal because I felt it was part of the cars history.

pic# 25

           The brake lines are complete and the front is ready to accept the engine.

pic# 26

        The engine is set which is a good feeling.It makes it user friendly working off the hoist with no tires to contend with.

pic# 27

     I waited until after the engine was installed to run the fuel line.The fuel pump is activated by a push button switch under the dash and used only to prime the carbs and act as a backup in case  the mechanical pump fails.This is my second installation of this pump and it works well.

pic# 28

      I had two pieces of stainless so I decided to make heat shields out of them.There is a 90 degree bend on one side with 1/4" holes drilled and tapped into the side frame and holes drilled and tapped from the top down on the other side.The 4 bolts were installed on the corners from under the plate.

pic# 29

       The tires are mounted on the wheels and and the frame is ready to set down on the floor.Everything is done to  the frame I can think of except the drive shaft and torking the upper and lower A arm bolts.