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-   -   '59, gift to my daughter (http://squarebirds.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=14768)

V-John 03-23-2013 12:02 AM

'59, gift to my daughter
My father-in-law is parting out with some of his vehicles to his granddaughters. My daughter, Megan, loved the look of this '59 over his '64. I'm hoping to fix/repair what's needed so she can drive it to the prom in May. She's thrilled as can be.

YellowRose 03-23-2013 02:56 AM

'59, gift to my daughter
Hi John, Yes, the Raven Black really stands out and especially so when you put it in a tux! Like with the chrome air scoop, the chromed "eyebrows" over the tail lights, the curved tail fin pieces. When you put that chrome "bling" on it just really sets that color off.

You will probably want to get her behind the wheel in a safe area so she can drive it and get used to the feel of it. It will probably handle a lot different than what she is used to...

V-John 03-24-2013 12:47 PM

We did let her drive it once, and I think she'll have to pass on using it for the prom this year. She's got one more chance to show it off next year. It needs some brake and carb work done before I let her do anything with it by herself.

We spent 3 hours yesterday just cleaning the interior and windows (overspray, tar, sticky crap). I read on here of guys finding factory paperwork under the rear seat, so I yanked ours up. No paperwork. But, a nice big rat nest in the coils underneath the seat. Yikes!

I can't believe the looks and double-takes from all ages when it goes down the road.

simplyconnected 03-24-2013 03:07 PM

That is really sad, John. Brakes are easy enough to redo on a Saturday. Isn't there some way you can get to it before homecoming?

My Mom learned to drive when she was 47. The only car we had back then was a 1954 Ford Country Sedan (station wagon) and it was a stick. She did it; took adult driving classes at the local high school in the Michigan winter of '57, and suprised the crap out of my dad (who never helped her learn).

The car had a six, with manual steering and manual brakes ('cause dad wouldn't pop for fancy options on a family car). It did have overdrive and we drove it from Detroit to LA in '59.

Squarebirds often featured women in their sales ads and many thousands of women drove them successfully. Teach your daughter well and she can too. Yeah, Squarebirds are different from modern cars but so are ALL classic cars. They take more effort, are heavier and consequently, require longer distances to stop. Still, the more we drive them the better and more familiar we become, without incident. Much of this depends on the personality your daughter is. She needs to really want this. ..just my 2-cents. BTW, I have two grown daughters. - Dave

fomoco59 03-25-2013 11:18 AM

Nice Car ! ;)

V-John 03-25-2013 02:08 PM

She's a good driver, but there are still too many things that needs to get done. My father-in-law re-did the brakes, but I'm not sure if you're supposed to use Herculean effort to press down on them to stop. Everything I've driven had power brakes, so I don't know if that's the norm.

Wipers don't work, and it needs all new window weatherstripping. The door windows are cracked, but can wait. Gas gauge isn't working (bad ground?).

She's already asked if she could drive my mom's Porsche. I told her she'll have to go over and practice driving it a few times. A 17-year old girl in a Porsche. What can go wrong?

Anders 03-26-2013 03:45 PM


Originally Posted by V-John (Post 73578)
She's already asked if she could drive my mom's Porsche. I told her she'll have to go over and practice driving it a few times. A 17-year old girl in a Porsche. What can go wrong?


V-John 03-30-2013 12:54 AM

We gave 'Tony' it's first wash and wax Friday evening. It was filthy from the car cover her grandpa used on it. This is Megan, and she is so in awe over this car. Her job is to clean and polish whatever there is to be done on it while I do the hard stuff.

V-John 04-19-2013 07:54 PM

I've been doing some work on the car lately. The heat riser was broke and stuck open, so my dad came over and helped me remove it. He came over to tune the carb, but insisted that we fix the exhaust problem first. We had to unbolt the exhaust from both manifolds to be able to get the heat riser and exhaust manifold out. The left side exhaust pipe gasket had blown, which explained the ticking. The choke wasn't set right and made the car run rich, hence the black plugs:

The tail lights weren't lighting properly. The running lights and brake lights worked, as did both turn signals. But, both back-up lights on the right were on continuous with running lights. I pulled the panels off inside the trunk and found a fine mess of wiring:

Above is the driver side wiring. The wire with the new red butt-splice wasn't connected to anything and found that it had to connect to the old red connector on the left. The wiring going to the socket on the right was almost broke and/or exposed, so I crimped new wires in it's place.

This had me sort of laughing. Someone probably came up short on wire and had to splice 3 short pieces together to make the connection to the WRONG wire. It should've went to the old red connector instead. The center holes on the tail light mounting plate had duct tape covering them, and so did some of the lenses. The inner right lens didn't have tape over it's center, so that must've explained why it showed a back-up light on, because the light shown through. I don't know if there is an actual cover or plug that goes in it, so I taped it closed, too.

V-John 04-19-2013 08:10 PM

If you suffer from dry hair, just crawl under the car to moisturize it with plenty of oil and grease. The valve covers appear to not be leaking, but I fear the front of the intake manifold may be. Once we get 'Tony' running again we can get it outside and degrease the engine and tranny. Hopefully we can find some easy fixes.

Stop laughing!

Here are a few pics of the oil mess and some suspension issues. The right coil spring was either cracked or broken and was 'repaired' with welding. And not much at that, either.
Caked on oil:

Welded spring and leaky power cylinder:

Worn out control arm bushing:

Another coil view:

I just noticed this hose hanging down while uploading these. Is this for expansion tank overflow?

YellowRose 04-19-2013 09:21 PM

'59, gift to my daughter
Hi John, Your pictures are not showing up. We would love to see them!

simplyconnected 04-20-2013 12:13 AM

I never heard of anyone welding springs, because it just doesn't work.

I assume you will replace both front springs with new ones. If you have any questions, we can help. BTW, you don't need a spring compressor. You need the body high on jack stands and a small jack (like a scissors jack) under the "A" arm to let it down. The hardest part is separating the lower ball joint, and that's usually not too hard.

BTW, I see your pictures just fine. - Dave

YellowRose 04-20-2013 04:10 AM

'59, gift to my daughter
I don't know why I was not seeing them earlier, but I am now. Strange...

V-John 04-20-2013 11:22 AM

I've been reading up on how everyone, and the Repair Manual, says to change the springs. Yes, I plan on replacing them and I think practically everything to do with the steering just to feel a whole lot safer. Thanks to the forum I've been getting ideas about where to order from.

There's a small car show this afternoon just up the street from us. My daughter is disappointed that Tony is still down. But, I told her that maybe someone will have a Squarebird and we can get some pointers and ideas on things. If there is I'll post some pics. I'll even ask if it's in the Registry.

Last night I watched West Side Story for the first time. Now I know see where she got Tony from. A real coincidence that it comes on TCM right after she names her car.

simplyconnected 04-20-2013 12:00 PM


Originally Posted by V-John (Post 74408)
...Last night I watched West Side Story for the first time. Now I know see where she got Tony from. A real coincidence that it comes on TCM right after she names her car.

So... her car is named after a former Jet who works in a candy store in NY? Well, ok. Wait 'till she finds out "Tony" is really a feisty and classy girl car. It's been many years since this old bird was in her glory. I'm glad you're bringing her back. - Dave

V-John 04-21-2013 03:36 PM

Megan likes 'Tony' because he was a girl-getter, and he got her on first sight!

I took the carb off today and cleaned that filth and everything else that was on it. Putting it back on the angle of it was more pronounced. I just read an older post about the wedge spacer and also the wedge gasket. I'll have to take a closer look at that thick gasket to see if it angled and put on wrong.

I went to that little car show put on by the Boy Scouts yesterday. They only had one T-Bird. It was a really good turnout on a cool sunny day.

klattu 04-21-2013 04:38 PM

Make Prom the goal !

YellowRose 04-21-2013 04:50 PM

'59, gift to my daughter
That wedged shaped spacer goes on with the thick part towards the radiator and the thin side towards the firewall.

V-John 04-21-2013 09:10 PM


Originally Posted by klattu (Post 74444)
Make Prom the goal !

She's already set on using my mom's Porsche

V-John 04-22-2013 10:52 PM

My carb gasket is even all around. It's about 3/8-1/2" thick. I ordered the wedge from Tbird HQ today. Their online catalog showed $40, but the parts guy said they're $50 now. I should get my heat riser tomorrow.

V-John 04-25-2013 02:19 PM

While waiting on parts, I just keep on doing whatever I can. The rear tail light chrome backings were in awful shape. The black was hand-painted and showed brush strokes. I polished the chrome and carefully taped each horizontal rib so it would be shiny top, facing, and below. I started with gloss black, but the paint itself was crap. So, I decided on semi-gloss and primer and it came out swell. It was a full day-into-the night endeavor.

I couldn't help the chrome blemishes being visible

But it looks a heck of a lot better. Someday we'll find some brand new tail light buckets and rings. For now, they'll work just fine

I had to get a car cover because of the darn cats

While waiting for paint to dry I installed the new glovebox liner, and ended up putting in about 10 screws in the center console, kick panels, and dash where they were missing. The interior light didn't work so I checked the bulb. Didn't have one. So I stuck one in and checked the door switch for it. The plunger was missing and the 2 wires were just hanging. So I plugged it in and it still didn't work. Does it need the plunger to make the connection for it to come on?

V-John 04-25-2013 02:40 PM

I've got some gap/ alignment problems going on in the rear. It seems that the license plate door should be up and more parallel with the bumper. I fooled around with it but it seems that the whole spring-loaded arm needs to get bent in a little more to have it hug the bumper more. I found that I'm missing some rubber bumpers on it as well. I got a gas cap that actually seals the tank since the other one was on its death throes. It looks like it's pushing the door out, but it's not:

And then the trunk lid weather stripping seems to be either too thick or needs to be one with a crease so it would hug the lip around the trunk instead of sitting on top of it. Even adjusting the latch won't get it to push into the weather stripping. Any ideas, other than slicing a groove in it all the way around?

KULTULZ 04-25-2013 06:06 PM

Now That Is Clean... ;)

dgs 05-04-2013 10:58 AM

Nice work, it's coming along nicely. Oh, and you've got nothing in terms of leaks. Here's mine from when I did my suspension rebuild:

V-John 05-04-2013 11:55 PM


Originally Posted by dgs (Post 74848)
Here's mine from when I did my suspension rebuild:

Yeah, I'd say that has a slight leak somewhere!

My daughter was off to the prom tonight in my mom's car. She was thrilled to drive the Porsche. Next year, it WILL be the year of the Thunderbird. :rolleyes:

simplyconnected 05-05-2013 12:12 AM

She's a pretty girl. Hope she had a great time at the prom. - Dave

scumdog 05-05-2013 02:17 AM


Originally Posted by dgs (Post 74848)
Nice work, it's coming along nicely. Oh, and you've got nothing in terms of leaks. Here's mine from when I did my suspension rebuild:

Did the Torrey Canyon run aground in there somewhere??

V-John 05-07-2013 04:52 PM

As shown above, my trunk lid doesn't close flush because the weatherseal under it is mostly square and thick.

Is this what is supposed to be installed so the ridge around the trunk sits in the groove?

jopizz 05-07-2013 09:00 PM

1 Attachment(s)
That's basically what it looks like. The ridge doesn't really go into the groove. It just compresses against it. Here's how it should go.


Dakota Boy 05-09-2013 08:22 PM

your dome light wont light up unless the plunger on the door switch pops out and lets the internal contacts touch each other.

When I got my car, there was a piece of an old match stick in one of the door switches (plunger was gone). I removed the match stick, and then the dang dome light wouldnt shut off!:D

V-John 05-10-2013 11:27 PM

I just got some parts in today, the light switch one of them. Plugged it in and on came the light. One more problem fixed.

V-John 06-02-2013 09:56 PM

We took Tony to a car show at an old folks home in Florence, KY today. Perfect weather. Megan had a big grin the whole time while watching people congregate around the car, the only TBird there. It was for any and all years of cars. My wife like the Ambassador that had the seats fold down into a bed.

I finally got the engine looking spiffy enough to show off, too

There might've been 60-70 cars altogether

simplyconnected 06-03-2013 12:16 AM


Originally Posted by V-John (Post 75850)
...There might've been 60-70 cars altogether

Yeah, but yours looks the nicest. Good pics, too. It's no wonder, why Megan was smiling the whole time. - Dave

V-John 06-22-2013 07:05 PM

Megan and I took Tony down to a show at the local flea market. As always, most cars there were pure awesome with custom paint, lots of chrome parts, and great detail. We just sat in the shade to watch some of the people come over, peek inside, and maybe take a picture or two.
Weather looked like it was coming in so over half the cars left (out of maybe 30). We bought some raffle tickets so we were there until the end.
Everyone gathered near the tent for prizes and trophies. We missed the 50/50 pot by 2 numbers. Next came the trophies. A '32 Ford got 1st Place. It was immaculate. A '48 Ford won 2nd. Then came their Manager's Choice. The announcer says, "The red '59(?) Ford Fairlane. Well, he's done left, so we decided to award it to the black '59 Ford Thunderbird."
Megan and I looked at each other totally shocked. Talk about a huge smile on that girl's face! And to top it off, she won the 2nd drawing for $32 cash. Not bad for a few hours of sweating in the heat.

If weather is good tomorrow, we'll be taking Tony to Perfect North Slopes outside of Lawrenceburg, IN for a show. My dad lives a few minutes from there and will drive his '59 Russian GAZ-69 army jeep to it.

Richard D. Hord 06-22-2013 07:25 PM

Congratulations! You guys and Tony deserve it.
Richard D. Hord

simplyconnected 06-22-2013 07:27 PM


Originally Posted by V-John (Post 76399)
...The announcer says, "The red '59(?) Ford Fairlane. Well, he's done left, so we decided to award it to the black '59 Ford Thunderbird."...

My laugh must have been loud because Robin wanted to know why.
Awesome adventure that Megan will never forget.

I love this story and I can hear it now in the coming years.., 'Hey Dad, remember when we drove Tony that weekend and won a trophy and cash!? Times like that gotta make you a very proud dad. - Dave

V-John 06-22-2013 09:38 PM

I think it was the '58 Tbird model I spent all week working on to make it look like a '59 that clinched it for her. You can barely see it on the dash.

V-John 11-27-2013 05:17 PM

Just some of the work I've been doing since September.

When I said the rear end was leaking, I wasn't kidding:

Pulled out:


Rear brakes before:


Brake lines and u-joint:

Left front end before:

before cleaning:

scraping, chiseling, and cleaning:

Ball joints are totally shot. I don't think the drums are very old, and the shoes didn't look bad, but I'm still going to install new shoes. I've got new wheels seals, but having a hard time finding the long single return spring at parts stores. May have to get them at a T-bird vendor. Bearings are great. The rear splash shield steel was ripped and pushed back. I thought maybe someone ran over something, but when I removed the shield I saw some pieces of tire and cord stuck way in there.

I still haven't started on the right front yet.

simplyconnected 11-27-2013 05:52 PM

John, you do nice work. It all looks so much nicer after you cleaned and painted your parts.

Now, let me lay some more work on you...
Since you are taking the spindles off (to change ball joints) go the rest of the way and do the rubber bushings as well.

In my experience, the RH side gets more abuse than the LH. That's because all the puddles are on the right, curbs, storm drain covers, the shoulder of the road, etc.

Vendors carry the bushings for around eight bucks each. Sometimes you can get them as a set. I changed my own using a 1-1/2" pipe nipple and a small sledge hammer I call, Percy. The only part that moves is the rubber that rots out. Nothing pivots. One of them gave me trouble but as soon as I heated it with a propane torch, the rubber melted out and the thing gave up with its hands in the air.

Again, nice work, John. - Dave

V-John 11-27-2013 07:13 PM

Thanks, Dave.

I was going to take some pics of it painted, but the battery was dead in the camera. I plan on buying the parts to do the job but have a local shop that specializes in alignments and frame straightening (frame/unibody isn't bent) to do the real work. I just have a piddly garage with limited workspace.

Is there a rubber flap or something that covers the hole between the fenderwell and the engine compartment where the upper a-arm bolts through? There are some holes made for cage nuts.

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