FORD'S BETTER IDEA
When I saw this old '68 Falcon in Sherwood Park (November '94) near Edmonton Alberta, Canada while on holidays I knew that I wanted her. I had been looking for an old car for awhile and this one seemed just right. It was an ugly orange with big white stripes down the middle. Had an awful time getting it started because it had been sitting there for about 1 1/2 years (or so we thought that was the reason). I decided to buy it and so the journey began to get it back to Duncan B.C., Canada.
It was running poorly, so my brother in law, his sons and I looked things over and played with the Holley carb....it ran a little better so it was decided we would start the trip home the following morning. Heading out in a snowstorm isn't much fun in early November on roads your not familiar with especially when you are alone. I was in the Falcon with it's engine roaring because the mufflers were toast and Connie was following in the truck that we had come to Alberta in. We made it to Valemount, B.C. at the end of the first day and the roads were basically clear by the time we crossed the border. Most times that we stopped, the car needed to be jumped to restart it but that wasn't a real problem because the battery was in the trunk at this time. To make a long story short we made it to Vancouver Island in one piece and since then I have done a lot of work to the rod. Right away I found the main reason it was hard to start. The center post in the distributor cap was badly worn. I also found the ground wire on the windshield washer motor was loose. Too bad I didn't find these problems before we left Alberta, it would have made the trip more enjoyable.
In September of '95 I had the car painted black and the hood scoop removed, now it is only driven between May and October and usually only when the weather is nice.
I have had it in a couple of car shows and it is one of the few Falcons around my area which is one of the main reasons I keep it.
I replaced all the brake shoes, rebuilt the back brake cylinders, turned all of the drums. Put the battery back in the front (made a world of difference starting). Moved the electronic ignition and rewired it. Put in a recovery tank for the radiator, now I never have to add antifreeze. There have been a million little things done to the car and most of them I have recorded.
I ended up putting a new Edelbrock carb on because I could not get the Holley to run correctly, rebuilt it and played around for hours and weeks with it. Even the Edelbrock is not perfect but when I put a heat shield on it made a big difference. I wish I had tried the heat shield when the Holley was on because that probably would have solved my problems and I personally like Holley carbs better.
I installed a new carpet in the spring of '96 and Connie made some cool seatcovers. Found a dashboard in excellent condition (after all the dirt was cleaned off) and installed in about 10 minutes.
In the spring of '96 I went to the Portland swap meet. Anyone who is into cars and has not been there should try to go someday, it is absolutely huge! I hope to go again in April of '98. Walked around for 2 days and did not see everything. I did found a set of 3:55 gears there for an 8" for about $100. That was complete, so all I had to do was pull the old set out (2:79) and put the new set in, nothing to set up. I had been hoping to find a set of 4:11 gears but no luck and it's just as well because the engine revs 3000 at 60 mph, lots of get up and go!
Had some trany work done this summer. The check valve inside the pump seized so it wouldn't pump fluid to the cooler I had put on. There is a bigger pump in trany now and about a 2000 stall torque converter.
The rod is off the road again until next May.
This past summer ('97) my power steering hose blew and if it has never happened to you it is unbelievable the amount of smoke that pours out of the car. The entire engine compartment got covered in oil also, what a mess!! I suppose I was lucky that the headers were not really hot because the engine had only been running for a minute. If the engine was hot I probably wouldn't have a Falcon page. I found it was cheaper and of course a lot faster to get a new hose made at the local hydraulic shop rather than order one. I also had to replace one header gasket, that really sounds awful when one of those decide to let go. I also put on new heater hoses, I didn't see the point in trying to drown her after the power steering hose episode.
I put different front drums on the rod in October that I had picked up while in Alberta. They helped the vibration some when the brakes are applied and I hope once everything wears in that all will be well.
Well here it is February 1998 already and I've just started to work on the rod. I repainted the fan, fan pulley and alternator because they were looking a little dull. Actually the alternator got replaced in July so it had to be painted to match. That alternator I had laying around for years from an old Ford PU, so keeping junk around does pay off sometimes. I replaced a stud on one of the front drums that I put on last fall. I put that black corrugated tubing over the wiring in the engine compartment, that helped tidy the area up. I still have lots I want to do before May when she goes back on the road. I started the engine for the first time since October and boy she sounds sweet!!!
I was going through the list of stuff that I've replaced on the Falcon since I bought it. I thought I might as well list some more of the parts that I haven't already mentioned.
2 mufflers.....2 tie rods.....1 rear shock.....2 front shocks.....upper control arm bushings.....master brake cylinder.....new battery.....front and rear u-joints.....2 new front tires.
The above are fairly expensive items but all the little things like locking gas cap, window crank, door hinge pins, gas filter, gas line hose, manual choke cable, thermostat, radio antenna, rubber stops for doors and hood, cans of spray paint, gaskets for this and that, rad cap, etc. etc., these things add up fast as we all know.
I have checked out all of the codes for the Falcon. It was built on March 21, 1968 in Kansas City. It was painted dark green metallic with black vinyl interior. It came with a 289 2V hooked up to a C4 transmission down to 2:79 gears. It was #172,139 to be produced.
Most of this information can be verified. There was some green paint in the trunk before I painted it. It still has a black vinyl interior. It has the 289 side markers on the front fenders (some day I will put 302 on when I find some in good shape). It has a C4 trany and there was 2:79 gears in the rear until I changed to 3:55.
Didn't make it to Portland for the swap meet in early April. I have been on strike since last July so money for stuff like that is just not available.
I have however been working on the Falcon to get it ready for the road. Most of the work has been just for looks so the expense is low. All of the dirt and surface rust has been taken off underneath the back half of the car.
I did replace one rear shock and all of the hold down pins for the brake shoes.
My neighbour helped me cut the rust out of the frame where the leaf spring shackle attaches on the driver's side. He has a mig welder, got it looking like new and actually he did most of the work. He is getting very good at welding as he has been restoring a 67 Mustang and doing a great job.
I have painted the inside of the trunk, rear end and axle housing, frame, floor etc. and all of the brake drums.
I put on different backs for the front seat and put on a different driver's side door handle (outside). I got these parts from Alberta last fall.
I put in new rear shackles for the leaf springs a couple of weeks ago and new wheel bearings today. I'm back to work now so I'm a little rushed to get her ready for the road. Fired up the engine and backed out of the garage, I just love the way it sounds. I gave the car a good rinse before washing because of the thick layer of dust on it. She is all vacuumed and hopefully ready for the road. I just need to put on the driver's side door panel. I plan to insure her next week (early May) if it isn't raining.
November 4/98, the Falcon has made it through another season. The only problem I had was a pinhole leak on the power steering near the hydraulic ram. I took the piece into a hydraulic shop and they fixed it up in about 10 minutes. That happened in early May so the rest of the season was happy motoring.
The drum brakes are still not perfect but then again I guess that is why they made disc brakes isn't it?!
My steering seems a bit strange at times but I think that problem is finally solved. I was reading about how to rebuild the control valve for the power steering in a Mustang magazine. At the end of the write up it said if your steering seems to be too easy when turning to the left (like mine) give the adjusting nut a 1/2 turn to the left. Hooray.....that seems to have solved that mystery. Funny how information like that never made it into the shop manual.
Once again I have great plans for the Falcon over the winter months but how much I actually get done will remain to be seen.
March/00 I finally got off my ass and put in
a new heater core. Every so often when I'd boot it I smelled that telltale
scent of a dying core. I know why I was putting it off because of the Ford
engineers. What an awful spot to get into.
December 22/00 The Falcon's last day on the road this year was October 17th. She ran perfectly all summer. I drove it more this year than ever and I'm starting to get spring fever already.
I have played with the drivers side window on the door. I think the regulator is hooped. Sometimes it winds up and down easy and sometimes it is very hard to move. I will be taking it right out to try and find the problem..............one of these days.
I'm thinking of racing her next spring at our local 1/8 mile strip near Victoria. That should be fun and with a little luck nothing will break. I'll have to disconnect the exhaust pipe from the headers and put new bolts in so when I get to the track they will come off easy. Nothing sounds better than open headers!!
February 14/01- Last month I finally started to work on the window problem. While deciding how to proceed I noticed there was some heavy grease on the main gear and it was quite hard. I got some good degreaser and sprayed the gear and it started to loosen as I wound the regulator. I kept spraying it and guess what? Problem solved! I only wish I had taken the time to do it when the window first started to get stiff last summer.
I took the exhaust pipes off the headers to see how I would be able to hang the pipes while racing. The bolts came off easy so I will use them. Started her up and scared the hell out of the dogs in the house and had stuff falling off the shelves in the garage. I'm sure the neighbours were happy when I shut her down.
I have started to replace some of the front suspension this last week. New idler arm, both inner tie rods and hopefully will get the 2 new upper ball joints installed tomorrow. I replaced the outer tie rods a few years back, so they are good. All the joints seem OK but I still have that problem with vibration when the brakes are applied at higher speeds so maybe this will help.
I thought I would put discs on the front but once I started checking around, some of the parts are too hard to get new and you don't know what you are getting from a junk yard plus the cost was just too much for me to justify. I will proceed down this road and see what happens.
I have inquired about racing the car this spring at the track in Victoria. It is not an 1/8 mile (660 feet) but 386 feet. That's OK, I still plan to do it. They have a burn out area, the proper starting lights and time everything.
March 27/01- I got the upper ball joints put in as I hoped I would. A friend of mine came over and we got it done without much problem. Hardest part was cutting the rivets off the old ball joints.
Last week she got an oil and filter change. I put new spark plugs in too. They were not in very good shape, but then the last time I changed them was about 5 years ago or 14,000 miles or so.
Last week the same friend helped me put in a new B & M Starshifter. The shifter is made for normal driving or for hammering shifts. The engine will now only start in park or neutral, which has been a long time coming. We also solved a problem with my front seat so now it is several inches further back which is just perfect for me. I have put insurance on it and had the front end aligned.
Race date is April 1st if it doesn't rain.
The next thing I will probably need is a set of rear tires.
May 26/01- Well there were scattered showers on April 1st so racing got canceled.
It was a go for April 8th though. I went out about noon to wash the car, wanted it to look good for the race. Went to start the car to back it out of the garage and it just makes a noise........no cranking!! Pop the hood and put a jumper across the solenoid and the battery cables jump but no crank!! I phoned a friend and he goes to pick up a new starter for me while I pull the old one out. I get the starter out once he arrived to push on the header with his foot. Getting the new starter in was a real treat, I didn't think we were going to make the race. Finally the damn thing went into place, I was real pissed off at the headers at that moment. We quickly cleaned up and headed for Victoria. We missed only maybe 40 minutes of racing.
I got to make 6 runs, doing burnouts was cool especially with open headers. I felt I had reasonable reaction times considering it was my first time out and I had decided I did not want to red light. The problem was getting traction, I've never laid so much rubber, which is fun but it makes your time pretty slow. I started lowering the tire pressure and the time was getting better but then there was an accident which ended the racing for that day. I plan to do it at least once more this year and decide whether I want to continue before investing in some slicks.
August 8/01- Racing (July 8th) went a lot better on my second try. All of my runs were quicker than the first time out. Traction was better although still not great (still no slicks), ran very low tire pressure this time. I also didn't torque up much waiting for the green light. My reaction times were very steady except when we went to elimination when I fell asleep. Well at least I gave it a try and it was fun. With a posi and slicks I would turn in a half decent time, $$$$ I'm not willing to spend at this time.
The next day I realized I had a broken motor mount, DUH....I should have known that when the gas pedal started sticking a little. That was an easy and cheap fix. The old babe is probably trying to tell me something.
Back in late September I had a new windshield installed because it caught a rock. The new windshield looks excellent, wish it had been changed years ago. The leak I had when going through the car wash also seems to be gone. I thought it was a rust problem where the air vents are but when the old windshield was out you could see a mark where it hadn't sealed properly. I went through the car wash once before parking her for the winter and it didn't leak. I'll know for sure next spring.
Yesterday I put a new copper tube on for the
oil pressure gauge. I have had the plastic tubing on for years and I thought
now would be a good time to change it before it broke while I was out cruising.
I have started cleaning the engine. The aluminum manifold is quite dirty
since I have not cleaned it for quite awhile. The grille and bezels are
ready to go back on.
This is what the engine has for goodies:
1969 302 ....030
Manly forged pistons 10.5-1
Crank,rods balanced/ blue printed
Block deburred & glyptal sealed
351W heads, decked, ported polished
Hardened seats, oversized stainless valves
Guide plates, screw in studs
New push rods
Manly racing oil pump & shaft
Cloy double roller timing chain
Schneider chrome molly racing cam/ lifters
Edelbrock single plane torker 2 intake manifold
600 Edelbrock carb
Mallory 8 mm spark plug wires
Mallory 50,000 volt ignition
Ford Motor Sport air cleaner & valve covers
A C-4 transmission sends the power down to
a set of 3:55 gears.
Traction bars have been added to keep the old bird glued to the road.
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