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Old 11-20-2013, 04:52 PM
Hockeycoach Hockeycoach is offline
Join Date: Nov 11 2013
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Default New Squarebird Owner

By way of introduction, I live in Everett, Washington and recently bought a '59 Squarebird for my 15 year old son. I've always been kind of a car guy and own a '66 Rambler Classic 770 Convertible. I'm not a master mechanic but just knowledgeable enough to be dangerous. My son is taken by old cars and rather than a cookie cutter Honda, etc - I felt this would be a cool first car. of course, what started out as a rough but ready project is proving more than that.
In the immediate, I believe I need to replace the fuel pump. I can fill up the bowl and it will run but there is no fuel in the filter cup so I assume that is the issue. Anything resembling step-by-step help with this would be appreciated.
Bigger project - the block has a crack and I bought a '65 with a 390. I understand that the 352 and the 390 are virtually identical externally. My question: is the engine/trans swap a straight shot without modifications? If modifications are necessary, what are they?
I think I will pay the fee and set up a webpage as that seems like it may be a good way to get an assist if folks can see what I'm doing.
Anyway, in advance, thanks for you help and I apologize in advance for what probably appear to be dumb or lazy questions. My dad was an awesome rod builder and when we bought this we had hoped to make it a multi-generation project but unfortunately, and quite suddenly, my dad is no longer with us. I feel a little lost without my pop's help but I want to complete this - I love the idea of keeping old metal on the road and for my son to have a cool first car.

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Old 11-20-2013, 05:55 PM
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jopizz jopizz is offline
Excellent Auto Mechanic for over 40 years.
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As far as the fuel pump goes are you trying to get gas from the fuel tank or a gas can. If it's the tank do you know the condition of it. Unless it's fairly new it's probably too far gone to be useful. Most times the internal filter clogs up and it won't allow any gas to come out.

The engine swap is pretty straightforward. The only thing you'll need to reuse is the correct '58-60 water pump and power steering pump. The '65 390 has a pcv setup rather than the draft tube setup although you can reuse the intake from the 352 if you want it to look original. It's also a perfect time to upgrade from a generator to an alternator since the '65 390 is set up for one. If you are going to stick with the vacuum wipers you will also have to use a dual action fuel pump like the original. I would recommend going with the electric wiper conversion if you can afford it though. It sounds like a great father/son project. Don't hesitate to ask for help. Also invest in a shop manual if you don't have one. Software versions are available for about $16.

John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator
1959 Convertible

Thunderbird Registry #36223 856-779-9695
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Old 11-20-2013, 06:56 PM
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YellowRose YellowRose is offline
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Default New Squarebird Owner

Hi Jerry, John has given you some good advice and he really knows his stuff when it comes to these old Birds of ours. I would like to extend my condolences on the unexpected passing of your Dad. What a great time the three of you would have had with this project. It is great that your son has an interest in old cars, and this will be a great project for him to work with you on.

The 390 is great engine to replace the 352 with. There were many, many more of them made, and parts are very common and probably cheaper than those for the 352. John's suggestion that you upgrade the wipers to electric and the generator to an alternator are good ones. I have done both on my '59 Tbird and would never go back. You can find information in the Technical Resource Library (TRL) regarding both conversions, the link to which is always right below my signature element. Go for a 3-wire alternator, and you can get the mounting bracket from C.R.A.P. to hang it on, if you did not get the alternator mounting bracket with the 390 engine. The electric wiper motor is great and you will love having it instead of the vacuum one. You can find that info in the TRL also, along with much, much more info that will help you.

Becoming a Paid Member ($20) will get you your own 20mb of webspace on the server and you can do your own web page. It also gets you the privilege of posting pix directly on our server, your own personal avatar and more. Paid Membership can be done through PayPal and there is a Donate to Site button at the top right side of this Forum to do so. Once a Paid Member, contact Dave Dare ~ simplyconnected, our webmaster, and he can set you up.

Good luck with this project and remember, help is just a post or a Private Message away..

Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
'59 Tbird "The Yellow Rose Of Texas" aka "Tweety Bird"
"It's Hip To Be Square"
Thunderbird Registry #33025 VTCI #11178

Contact me via Private Message or (Home) 210-674-5781 (Cell) 210-875-1411

Last edited by YellowRose : 11-20-2013 at 07:23 PM.
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Old 11-21-2013, 05:25 AM
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simplyconnected simplyconnected is offline
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Welcome, Jerry. I love it that you and your boy are doing a car together. As you already know, 'car restoration' entails a lot of disciplines. The more you can do for yourself, the more money you will save. Even if money isn't an issue, when you do your own work, you know exactly what went into the car and your personal touch will be a part of the car.

If we can help, shoot questions by us. The Squarebird is a very conventional nuts & bolts kind of build. I urge you to do the body work first and then the mechanical stuff. These cars tend to rot along the inside of the rocker panels, the whole length between front and rear tires. Some of our members have welded-in a steel tube 2" X 4" channel. It fits perfectly and ends up even stronger than original.

Another spot to check for rust is the bottoms of each fender. Water and leaves tend to accumulate down there. Over time it turns to mud and never dries. Once you get into it, the fix is pretty straight forward body work.

You did well buying the 390. Parts are cheaper and a lot more available. - 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
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