So here's the story, back around 2004 or 2005 I was at the end of my lucrative manual labor career and was getting ready to make a change. I had purchased this 71 ford Thunderbird Hardtop a few years previous and, after a few years of being unable to work on it, it had degraded till the point it wasn't fit to be used in my new career. so it was parked. Now, after a few years, I am able to pull it back outta the tree line and attempt to resurrect it. This blog will follow along with the progress from rust bucket hoopty to a (once again) nice ride.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Say "ahhhh"

Open wider.. there we go.

The thunderbird gets it's hood latch rod reinstalled. The only way to get at the hood latch was to remove the grille, the only way to remove the grille was to take the bumper loose.. and two out of four of the captured nuts inside of the frame rails came loose..

I went down to the parts store and purchased an assortment of snap locks to keep the rod affixed in it's hole on the latch.. and spent some time hammering on the rod to straighten it back out.. evidently it was a struggle to get it removed when it came unhinged. It works nice..

I spent allot of time laying under the car on the concrete with the bumper siting on my chest and my arms over my head trying to get those last two bolts out so I could replace the two clip-on nuts.. but i got them.. I did do some looking around town in various parts stores but haven't been able to find any replacements for the broken ones. I will try Fastenal next week.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Hood latch,

Ever since I purchased the car way a long time ago the way you open the hood was with a stiff piece of wire that was looped around the latch mechanism and looped around a bar in the grill. Looked o.k.. and worked just fine but it just wasn't right.

I had been watching an ebay auction for some time that had the latch assembly and the latch pull rod all complete.

This weekend I was scrounging around in one of my boxes of Bird stuff for a screw and happened upon a strange looking bent metal rod. I thought it looked familiar so I looked at the auction once more to check and I'll be darned if it didn't look like the same thing.. the auction also showed a small bracket that the rod goes through.. grabbing the light around to the front of the car I peered up into the grill on the same side of the piece of wire.. nothing there.. checking on the other side I saw a bracket there.. a quick check in my manual to see which side it should be and it turns out that I already have all the parts necessary (save for a snap lock to hold the rod in the hole on the latch)..

I've removed the auction from my watch list.. leaving just the auction for the radiator shroud that ends in 20 hours.. wish me luck..

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Rube Goldberg machine transmission linkage.

Reuben Garret Lucius Goldberg (July 4, 1883 - December 7, 1970) was an American cartoonist who received a 1948 Pulitzer Prize for his political cartooning. He is best known for his series of popular cartoons depicting Rube Goldberg machines, complex devices that perform simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways. In addition to his accomplishments he was also the supposed inspiration for the transmission linkage of late 60s early 70s Ford Motor Company productions.

Starting from the steering column there is a connecting rod from the column (1) to a steel bar (2) on the linkage assembly.. This turns a steel rod that sits in a pivot point on each end (3) and four (4)... the rod has a steel bar welded to it that has a rod connected to (5) it that finally connects directly to the actual shift lever (6) on the transmission body.. All of those linkage points add to the overall play felt on the shifter lever inside of the car.

One of the items that was on order I mention in a previous post were a group of three transmission linkage bushings to tighten up the linkages.

In working underneath the car I found out that the linkage in the car was actually completely missing a bushing.. so I made a run to Anderson's Wrecking in Kearney and prowled the yard for a linkage with that bushing in tact.. I also picked up a new shift connecting rod, since it was rusted up enough that it broke when I was trying to remove the assembly.

I put the linkage assembly in easy enough and got to the point where I needed to replace those three bushings. The first two (the one on the shift rod, and the one for the pivot on the column) went in easy enough... and so it was down to the last one that connected the rod from the column to the frame mounted linkages.. LET me tell you... I wore groves into that rod with the channel locks trying to get it to snap in there.. after some time.. applying all of that torque to the rod I could feel the bushing on the other end of the rod becoming sloppy, So I decided to just remove that rod and apply the snap-lock bushing directly to it outside of the car... That didn't work either.. by this time I had pretty well destroyed two of the three bushing I spent so much for (like 10 bucks each) from T-Bird Sanctuary and I had been working at it all afternoon.. I gave up.

The next day I dropped by BG&S transmission here in town and told the guy at the counter "Looking for something like this" handing him one of my obliterated bushings.. He went to the back and came up with a couple.. He handed them to me.. When I asked how much I owed him he told me not to worry about it cause I'll be back some day. Got home and noticed that those bushing seemed to be quite a bit softer than my other bushings.. The one that I had so much trouble with snapped right on and into the hole... that only left the very top one.. well one of the bushings I got from BG&S must have been around for a while (probably so.. old Ford stuff ya know) cause it crumbled on me while trying to get it placed.. Since it had become such an ordeal by this time I just wanted to get the car back on the ground.. I used one of the lesser destroyed bushings from before and got everything put back together..


it isn't quite right since the bushing at the top is kinda destroyed.. but it's back on the ground and the shifter is way tighter than it was.. I feel comfortable now leaving it run in park.. before the only way you would want to let it run in park is if you had your foot on the brake.. it had a tendency to pop into reverse and then well... the chase would be on..