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  • Need advice on getting this old bird started up.

    About a week ago I picked up this 58’ Thunderbird. You can check out my introduction thread below.

    http://squarebirds.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=12460

    The previous owner had her for about two or three years and claimed that he had fired her up, but she ran poorly due to the points being bad. Before that, I believe the car hasn’t been run in 20 years.

    I was hoping to get her running and road worthy so that I can cruise around this summer before I dig in to the full restoration I have planned.

    So far I've ordered the following parts:

    Distributor cap
    Distributor points
    Condenser
    Coil
    Spark plugs
    Air cleaner and filter

    I will be placing an order for:

    Spark plug wires
    Fuel pump
    Engine coolant
    Engine oil
    Oil filter
    Battery

    I plan on draining the oil, pulling the plugs and spraying WD-40 in the cylinders. Then I’ll pull the valve covers off and poor some engine oil over the valve train. Once I’ve topped off the fluids, I’ll prime the engine by hand. I will also replace the old coolant and coolant lines as needed.

    Is there anything else you guys can think of that I’m missing? Any other parts I should get?

    Below are pics of my engine compartment. I’m not familiar with these old birds, so if there’s anything out of place or missing, I’d appreciate the heads up.

    Many thanks to “simplyconnected” (Dave) for the materials he’s shared with me.






















    Thanks!
    Last edited by NYsquarebird58; February 10th, 2012, 10:53 PM.
    VTCI# 11860
    58HT - Thunderbird Registry Number: 37043 (Sold)

    60HT - Thunderbird Registry Number: 37252 "Lucille" (Sold)

  • #2
    One of the best things you're doing is fogging your cylinders with WD-40. Consider the badly needed ZDDP (zinc dithiophosphate) for flat tappets, that they took out of modern engine oil. As a substitute, I use Rotella-T (15W-40). It has enough zinc. Google 'ZDDP' and find out what other classic restorers are using. Try to find the most recent info because the oil companies keep lowering phosphate for the EPA.

    I find, most oils with 40 (or above) in the numbers already have what we need (at least 1,000-parts per million), and no additives are necessary. - Dave
    My latest project:
    CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

    "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
    --Lee Iacocca

    From: Royal Oak, Michigan

    Comment


    • #3
      It looks like the fuel line from the pump to the carb has been cut up and a piece of rubber line installed. That should be replaced. The old 4100 carb is looking nasty!! If you don't want to put a kit in it before you start it up, at least have a fire gun handy. Fuel tanks that sit for years with fuel in them are often loaded with rust and garbage, the fuel pick up will clog up fast. I'd drain and drop the tank now, I bet you're going to do it sooner or later. Good luck, Bob C

      Comment


      • #4
        Now, I have this in TWO threads (just to be sure).

        I agree with redstangbob about checking the tank for old gas.

        You can smell that distinctive varnish odor, before and after it burns. Better look under the trunk mat, pull the cover off, and look down your tank with a flashlight. Depending on how old, it could have left all kinds of varnish. And guess what... our new gasohol slowly breaks it up, sending pieces to your fuel pump.

        You can stick a hose from your fuel pump into a gas can, just to err on the side of caution. This might be a good idea because it's time to change your rubber fuel line, anyway. - Dave
        My latest project:
        CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

        "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
        --Lee Iacocca

        From: Royal Oak, Michigan

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by redstangbob View Post
          It looks like the fuel line from the pump to the carb has been cut up and a piece of rubber line installed. That should be replaced. The old 4100 carb is looking nasty!! If you don't want to put a kit in it before you start it up, at least have a fire gun handy. Fuel tanks that sit for years with fuel in them are often loaded with rust and garbage, the fuel pick up will clog up fast. I'd drain and drop the tank now, I bet you're going to do it sooner or later. Good luck, Bob C
          Do I actually have the original (or correct) carburetor? I was having trouble identifying it.

          Newby question: where's the fuel filter located? is it in the carb or somewhere down the fuel line?

          When you mention a "kit", I assume you mean a rebuild kit with a new float and seals. Are these difficult to rebuild like some Rochesters.
          VTCI# 11860
          58HT - Thunderbird Registry Number: 37043 (Sold)

          60HT - Thunderbird Registry Number: 37252 "Lucille" (Sold)

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by simplyconnected View Post
            Now, I have this in TWO threads (just to be sure).

            I agree with redstangbob about checking the tank for old gas.

            You can smell that distinctive varnish odor, before and after it burns. Better look under the trunk mat, pull the cover off, and look down your tank with a flashlight. Depending on how old, it could have left all kinds of varnish. And guess what... our new gasohol slowly breaks it up, sending pieces to your fuel pump.

            You can stick a hose from your fuel pump into a gas can, just to err on the side of caution. This might be a good idea because it's time to change your rubber fuel line, anyway. - Dave
            Wow, I didn't realize I could access the gas tank from the trunk. That'll make draining the tank with a siphon that much easier.
            VTCI# 11860
            58HT - Thunderbird Registry Number: 37043 (Sold)

            60HT - Thunderbird Registry Number: 37252 "Lucille" (Sold)

            Comment


            • #7
              Saw the first post but didn't have a chance to respond before I saw this one so I'll start here by saying that it looks like that Tbird has found a great new home. Glad to see the care you're putting forth already.

              Think you have all the bases covered. The fuel pump lever rides on the cam and can be a little bit of a pain to re-install but just keep at it and eventually you'll hit the magic spot. There are still a lot of major parts you can get local at NAPA, O'Riley, Advance or other major parts houses and save shipping. I just rebuilt my 4100 carb like yours and that will make a world of difference. Got the main kit at O'Riley but it does not come with the secondary lever or diaphragm which I purchased at NAPA. The instructions in the carb kit were good.

              Just an observation (guess) but I think the block has been replaced with a 390 (or maybe a rebuilt 352). The 352 did not have the heat shields on the exhaust manifolds and something looks strange about the oil sending unit. I'm thinking maybe they put the 352 intake back on the 390 block. The 352 intake has the road draft port and most 390's did not. The road draft port was plumbed to the plate (added) under the carb. That's why there are only a few threads on the bolts holding the carb. (it has the standard 352 carb posts with the plate added and the carb should be bolted directly to the intake - no plate). Somethings wanky about the throttle lever. Another reason I'm thinking it is a 390 is the alternator and all associated bracketry is 390 style. The 352 had a generator mounted low. The fan has been replaced with a flex type fan. The original block color would be black - not blue.

              Nothing really important that wouldn't prevent it from running but just observation and not trying to be critical just pointing out what I see.

              I'm sure you'll get it running quickly.

              Great pictures and the posts are great - hope to see more. Hope I can help in some way.

              Eric
              registry 5437
              http://www.tbirdregistry.com/viewdat...tryNumber=5347

              Comment


              • #8
                DKheld, this is all really great info - thank you! How can I determine whether or not I have a 390? Are there numbers casted on the block or heads?

                SO I do in fact have an alternator and not a generator? (I cant tell the difference by looking at them)

                Originally posted by DKheld View Post
                Saw the first post but didn't have a chance to respond before I saw this one so I'll start here by saying that it looks like that Tbird has found a great new home. Glad to see the care you're putting forth already.

                Think you have all the bases covered. The fuel pump lever rides on the cam and can be a little bit of a pain to re-install but just keep at it and eventually you'll hit the magic spot. There are still a lot of major parts you can get local at NAPA, O'Riley, Advance or other major parts houses and save shipping. I just rebuilt my 4100 carb like yours and that will make a world of difference. Got the main kit at O'Riley but it does not come with the secondary lever or diaphragm which I purchased at NAPA. The instructions in the carb kit were good.

                Just an observation (guess) but I think the block has been replaced with a 390 (or maybe a rebuilt 352). The 352 did not have the heat shields on the exhaust manifolds and something looks strange about the oil sending unit. I'm thinking maybe they put the 352 intake back on the 390 block. The 352 intake has the road draft port and most 390's did not. The road draft port was plumbed to the plate (added) under the carb. That's why there are only a few threads on the bolts holding the carb. (it has the standard 352 carb posts with the plate added and the carb should be bolted directly to the intake - no plate). Somethings wanky about the throttle lever. Another reason I'm thinking it is a 390 is the alternator and all associated bracketry is 390 style. The 352 had a generator mounted low. The fan has been replaced with a flex type fan. The original block color would be black - not blue.

                Nothing really important that wouldn't prevent it from running but just observation and not trying to be critical just pointing out what I see.

                I'm sure you'll get it running quickly.

                Great pictures and the posts are great - hope to see more. Hope I can help in some way.

                Eric
                registry 5437
                http://www.tbirdregistry.com/viewdat...tryNumber=5347
                Last edited by NYsquarebird58; February 10th, 2012, 09:38 PM.
                VTCI# 11860
                58HT - Thunderbird Registry Number: 37043 (Sold)

                60HT - Thunderbird Registry Number: 37252 "Lucille" (Sold)

                Comment


                • #9
                  "Super Dave" has a great easy way - hopefully he won't mind me stealing his explanation. This only tells you if the crank is a 390 but if the crank is a 390 you would think the block is and that should explain all the differences in accessories. Also just noticed the water pump pulley looks like a 390. The 390 and 352 were mostly the same so it really doesn't make any difference. It may make a difference if you have to buy a water pump. Possibly you have a 352 truck motor. Really hard to tell them apart but as I mentioned - doesn't make much difference.

                  The fuel filter on an original 352 was down at the pump - a glass bowl style. I'll post a pic of my 352 - mostly the same as a '58 but mine is a '60. The 60's had yellow valve covers where as the '58's were black like yours. Brake lines and shocks were different on the '58's as well as the rear coil spring suspension only on the '58. The 60's had the fuel filter at the carb - a one year only thing.

                  From Dave.....

                  "One way I use is:
                  Put your timing marks on TDC. Remove #1 & #4 spark plugs. (When #1 is up, #4 is down).
                  Using a welding rod or a dowel, put the rod down #1 spark plug hole and mark it at the valve cover flange. Then, stick it down #4 spark plug hole and mark it again, using the valve cover flange.

                  Pull the dowel out and measure between your marks. Because there is a 1/2" difference between a 352 and a 390, if the distance between your marks is more than 3-1/2", it couldn't possibly be a 352. If the difference is 3.75" it IS a 390/427 crank.

                  If you want an exact measurement, pull the head off and measure from the block deck using the same method. - Dave

                  Edit: You may not have your crank on TDC when measuring, which will give you a false reading."


                  Eric

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Just to confirm (and so I can sleep tonight) all the parts I ordered that I mentioned in my first post will still work regardless of whether or not it is a 390.

                    Any cons to the 390 over the 352?

                    Whats the brand of the carburetor It's a _______ 4100 series? I want to see if i can order a rebuild kit.
                    VTCI# 11860
                    58HT - Thunderbird Registry Number: 37043 (Sold)

                    60HT - Thunderbird Registry Number: 37252 "Lucille" (Sold)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Think they should. You have the fuel pump with the vacuum booster on top (those 2 posts sticking up) that boosts vacuum for the wipers although it appears the outermost is not hooked up. That port would normally go to the manifold vacuum port and the one closet to the water pump would find it's way to the firewall via a hard line then through by a hose to the vacuum wiper motor inside under the dash.
                      Advance Auto fuel pump part #3461

                      No cons at all I can think of.

                      It is a Ford Autolite 4100 - made by FoMoCo! I'll get you the kit numbers as soon as I can. Got my kit local.

                      Alternators are generally shorter than generators (which is how it can be mounted up high). It appears yours is externally regulated by the square box on the drivers front firewall above the Aoooga horn (which you need to give to a Model A owner). These old Tbirds had a dual note set of horns that sound beautiful - wish I had a set to send you.

                      Eric
                      Last edited by DKheld; February 10th, 2012, 10:15 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks again for all the info Eric. There's a medium sized box in the trunk that I have yet to dig through, but I'm pretty sure I remember seeing something that at least resembles a horn. I'll go through it tomorrow and report back.

                        Marcelo

                        Originally posted by DKheld View Post
                        Think they should. You have the fuel pump with the vacuum booster on top (those 2 posts sticking up) that boosts vacuum for the wipers although it appears the outermost is not hooked up. That port would normally go to the manifold vacuum port and the one closet to the water pump would find it's way to the firewall via a hard line then through by a hose to the vacuum wiper motor inside under the dash.
                        Advance Auto fuel pump part #3461

                        No cons at all I can think of.

                        It is a Ford Autolite 4100 - made by FoMoCo! I'll get you the kit numbers as soon as I can. Got my kit local.

                        Alternators are generally shorter than generators (which is how it can be mounted up high). It appears yours is externally regulated by the square box on the drivers front firewall above the Aoooga horn (which you need to give to a Model A owner). These old Tbirds had a dual note set of horns that sound beautiful - wish I had a set to send you.

                        Eric
                        VTCI# 11860
                        58HT - Thunderbird Registry Number: 37043 (Sold)

                        60HT - Thunderbird Registry Number: 37252 "Lucille" (Sold)

                        Comment


                        • #13

                          You may be using this Voltage Regulator (see inset). I need a better picture, but it looks like a 6-wire, external regulator, used on early alternators. If it turns out you aren't using it and your alt has an internal regulator, do as Eric suggests and remove this one.

                          The red arrow is your present fuel filter (at least you have one). The original one was mounted at the fuel pump (green arrow).

                          The red arrow is your alternator. I am impressed with the wire sizes on your battery. #2AWG (American Wire Gauge) is serious business.
                          My latest project:
                          CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

                          "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
                          --Lee Iacocca

                          From: Royal Oak, Michigan

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Looks a generic in-line fuel filter. I'll pick one up tomorrow. I'll also take some better pics of the voltage regulator and the alternator.

                            Is there anything else you can think of that you want better pics of?

                            Thanks for the pictorial - it makes it much easier for me to identify things.
                            VTCI# 11860
                            58HT - Thunderbird Registry Number: 37043 (Sold)

                            60HT - Thunderbird Registry Number: 37252 "Lucille" (Sold)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Came across this interesting article which discusses the differences in the different FE engines:

                              http://www.mre-books.com/interchange/interchange11.html
                              VTCI# 11860
                              58HT - Thunderbird Registry Number: 37043 (Sold)

                              60HT - Thunderbird Registry Number: 37252 "Lucille" (Sold)

                              Comment

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