|After several years in storage, this classic '55 needed work on the fuel system, cooling system and some other replacement parts.|
|After covering the fenders it's time to start tearing the T-Bird down to find the things that will need replacing.|
|In this case the exhaust headers turn upward but there is still room to reach in and remove the spark plugs.|
|With the car on the lift, lubricant was added to each cylinder to break up any deposits that formed while in storage. The radiator is drained for removal and the hoses, belts and fuel line is inspected.|
|Back on the ground, the upper radiator hose and fan shroud can be removed.|
|With the gas tank removed, the sending unit can be removed to get a look at the inside of the Thunderbird's tank.|
|Looking through the sending unit opening reveals a layer of rust on the bottom of the tank. A new tank and sending unit will be installed.|
|The original radiator was tired and sitting in storage for years didn't help. It will also be replaced.|
|With the radiator pulled, the fan assembly can be removed to access the water pump that will be replaced.|
|The original placement of the generator was changed years ago to make room for the compressor when air conditioning was added.|
|The old thermostat will be replaced with the housing cleaned up and repainted.|
|The thermostat housing needs all the rust removed around the hose fittings. A wire wheel on the grinder does the job and ensures a better fit when the new hoses are installed.|
|With the old waterpump removed, the accumulation of 50 years worth of rust can be seen in the housing.|
|The housing will get a good cleaning to ensure the new waterpump seals properly.|
|Each piece is cleaned using the wire wheel before new paint is applied.|
|Surfaces where gasket will be applied get extra attention. Cleaning parts that will be reused as soon as they are removed prevents delays from hidden flaws on reassembly.|
|Surfaces that can't be taken to the grinder are cleaned with an abrasive attachment for a drill.|
|This Thunderbird uses a centerline engine mount with torque stabilizer rods on each side. The new engine mount is installed.|
|In addition to the engine mount, the transmission mount needs replacing. Note the thickness of the rubber under the thumb. The old mount was almost completely worn away.|
|The new mount is bolted to the original cross-member in the frame to test fit for any changes to the drivetrain or shifter geometry.|
|The mount is attaches to the transmission with a two bolt bracket.|
|The new waterpump gets a coat of matching "Ford red" paint and is ready to install with the new generator later.|
|With the gas tank removed, a problem is discovered with the rear suspension. Note the misalignment of the leaf spring hangers.|
|The angle and twist of the passenger side springs would be enough to cause excessive tire wear.|
|A closer inspection reveals the mount has actually been pulled away from the frame on the inside.|
|The misalignment on the driver side spring is not as bad but explains the addition of clamps to the leaf spring on that side.|
|There is still some slight distortion on the driver side hanger but it's not significant.|
|The driver side mount is still flush with the frame which indicates the event that damaged the Thunderbird's rear suspension probably happened to the passenger side.|
|Since the supsension is twisted, the drive train and rear axle are not properly aligned and additional stress is put on the components.|
|Either from the accident that bent the spring hanger or the additional stress caused by misalignment, the axle housing shows a serious crack above the weld.|
|Closer inspection reveals the crack runs along both sides of the weld point making it unsafe.|
|Although not as severe, the driver side is also cracked in the same place above the weld.|
|Since the cracks in the axle will have to be repaired, removing the third member begins with disconnecting the drive shaft.|
|After removing the rear tires, the brakes are disassembled down to the backing plates.|
|With the axle supported by a hydraulic jack, the leaf springs are unbolted to free the entire assembly. The misalignment made removing the bolts more difficult.|
|Care was taken to be certain the weight was distributed properly on the lift after the rear end assembly was removed.|
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