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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good Afternoon,

Starting a thread on my 1952 Ford Mainline build. At this point in time, I have removed the engine, transmission, steering, steering column, and cleaned off the firewall

History
I purchased the car about two years ago June 1, 2020. The reason for the purchase was I broke my 1947 Ford during a drive mainly because I had a bit of the COVID blues going on and ripped the motor mount out of the car during a hole shot up a hill. The 47 tore the frame rail in the process, so a lot of work was needed. My wife brought up the idea of me going to go find a driver quality car for us to putt around in while I was fixing the 47. Saw the 52 and bought it. The car has 38,000 original miles and no rust on it whatsoever.

The plan is to build a street driven gasser out of the car. Big block chevy, turbo 400, and a ford 9 inch rear. the picture below show the day I brought the car home, and the removal of the engine and trans. So far all is well and going according to plan.

I will continue to update as progress is made.



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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I am planning on placing the straight axle under the original frame. The only thing that I have not quite figured out is the steering linkage. I am going to use a 525 steering box as the vega seemed a little light for the car with a big block. The question I am working on is to use heim joints or tie rod ends. The front axle is going to be a Speedway assembly, but all of them use heim joints for the tie rods and the drag link. Not too sure how I feel about that. I did notice that if I go with a straight axle with ford spindles, I can buy different steering arms which will allow me to convert to traditional tie rod ends. Never used heim joints before for steering systems. As I plan on driving the wheels off of this car for long distances with the family in the car, I need it to be safe. Any suggestions?
 

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I am planning on placing the straight axle under the original frame. The only thing that I have not quite figured out is the steering linkage. I am going to use a 525 steering box as the vega seemed a little light for the car with a big block. The question I am working on is to use heim joints or tie rod ends. The front axle is going to be a Speedway assembly, but all of them use heim joints for the tie rods and the drag link. Not too sure how I feel about that. I did notice that if I go with a straight axle with ford spindles, I can buy different steering arms which will allow me to convert to traditional tie rod ends. Never used heim joints before for steering systems. As I plan on driving the wheels off of this car for long distances with the family in the car, I need it to be safe. Any suggestions?
I think a good quality heim would be fine Using dust covers being you’re driving on the road so much. One safety tip I was taught was to use a flat washer over the heim in case the heim let’s loose the washer will keep things tied together so you won’t loose control. I’m sure the guys here can coach you further.
 

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the only problem with heim joints is they have more play in them than tie rod ends. i built a '52 chevy gasser with the side steer drag link type and it had terrible death wobble. the alignment shop said it was to short. i have always made cross steer since.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
All, picked up the engine and trans. so far soo good. The engine is a 1988 Mark IV 454. has about 90k on it and ran well before removed. (I know, weren't they all!) So far form what I can, the valve train is extremely clean by peeking under the valve covers. I need to find a fuel pump pushrod and eccentric to convert to a mechanical fuel pump. The heads are smog era heads with 2.06 intakes and 1.77 exhaust valves and 118cc combustion chambers. All and all not the greatest, but when I take a pass off of them that should increase compression a touch. The heads build power up to about 5,000 rpm which should be plenty for a street driven gasser. Although searching through the Summit catalog last night, I did find that a company by the name of VEGE makes preproduction heads that flow a bit better for about 300.00 a piece. May consider that option. It is a four bolt main block with a forged crank and rods. Should be a good base. I plan on replacing the rings, bearings, and resealing the entire engine. I know there is a lot more potential for this engine than what I plan on doing, but I am trying to keep the goal in mind of this gasser project being street driven. A new cam will be in the future, still doing some research on what type of cam to run. A dual plane intake as the car will be mainly street driven with a 850 cfm carb, more than likely a quick fuel brawler as I have used QFT on other engines and absolutely love that carb. One of the best for money in my opinion. An HEI ignition is in the plans as well. Looking to keep it reliable and easy to get parts if need be.

The trans is a th400 out of a suburban as well. It has the heavy drums and clutches and should be great behind the 454. If all checks out well, it will get a new converter and a shift kit. Thinking about a 2500 stall speed converter.

Hopefully mock-up will take place today and we shall see how that goes. Once mock-up is done, time to order the straight axle and headers so I can begin figuring out the steering system.

More to come.



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For what it is worth, I run a 3500 stall in mine. I called B&M and ran through the specs and he recommended that rpm converter. My engine is a 355 small block with a turbo 350
 

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My Austin gasser has over 15,000 miles on it in the last decade and uses heim ends on all the tie rod and drag link ends, and drives wonderful. My '39 Chev also uses heim ends everywhere, and has over 8,000 miles in the last year with several long trips, and drives great.
Every car I've built for my own use, or for others has had heim ends on the axle, and never an issue. The key is decent quality heim ends, and nothing more. If they're decent quality they will hold up fine.

Which converter you use depends on what cam you choose, so you'll need to decide on all the engine specs first, including heads and camshaft, before choosing the converter stall speed. For an engine like a BBC 454 that's not going to get high compression, or high flowing aftermarket heads, I'd stick with a cam that has plenty of lift, but not long duration, or too narrow an LSA. I'd not go less than a 109-110 LSA for a car that's going to be a good street driver.
If you can step up to a roller camshaft I would certainly do so. The number of cam and lifter failures with flat tappet cams in recent years leaves me worried about whether any of them can be trusted to be good quality, even with proper high zinc oil.
Might call Howard's cams and ask them about the #CL128001-09 if you go flat tappet, or 118045-09 for a roller cam. Both are good cams that operate in the 2000 rpm-5900 rpm range, and will work with a milder build.
 

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As with Vall when I redid my Willys steering components I used heim joints on the tie rod ends and pitman arm and I've had no problems. Since the Willys has a lighter front end I used 3/4" DOM and 5/8" heim joints. Also as Vall mentioned if you go the heim joint route be sure to use "top" quality joints, not the $10 ones; you get what you pay for.
 

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I’m not a knowitall. This is not a beat down so take it with a grain of salt. I’ve had a couple of street big blocks moderately built that even passed smog emissions with a Holley 650 dbl pump.
Can I put my 2 cents in?.?.?.
850 is too big for moderate heads and dual plane intake, and low to moderate compression, with a middle of the road street cam. If you have to use it then fine cause you gotta do what you gotta do.
If the heads are not good enough Open them up a little intake side and polish the exhaust side. What do you have to lose?
2nd is the HEI Distributor. Make sure you change the module to aftermarket performance. Any major brand is fine. I loved HEI for dependability but they suck for performance with a factory module. Watch this video a see first hand what I mean. At 4000 rpm the module goes flat. No more multiple spark.

3rd as far as I’m concerned like the others mentioned a good hiem end is fine as long as you use the dust covers. If you have a death wobble it’s not the heim ends. It’s not the length of your steering drag link. It’s the rigidity of your tie rod tube. Like Steve mentioned. He used 3/4. I would order a chromoly length you need to from art Morrison to guarantee it don’t flex up and down and as Vall will tell you the caster angle is most important. (That was for anyone else listening).
4th I highly recommend the comp cams Mother Thumper roller for the street motor. A friend has one and he drives it out of state to events.

Ok the Italian stallion has spoken!
hope I didn’t hurt anyones fellings?
 

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Hey Hotrod 1937. How’s the progress going. I’m looking forward to seeing your build picks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Still building. All, hopefully more pics will follow here shortly. I inured my bicep bilateral tendon which has slowed down the progress, but the car is underway. Still shooting for an April date to have the car on the road.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Although, I do have a question. I have a ford 9 inch assembly under the rear and I really do not want to cut or radius the quarters. I have the axle mocked up as a flip under the leaf springs to be able to run a bigger tire and not interfere with the quarters. My front suspension should be here by the end of the weekend. I did not want to change the rear until I had the front end mocked in. My concern is that it may sit too high in the rear but time will tell. Any suggestions?
 

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Although, I do have a question. I have a ford 9 inch assembly under the rear and I really do not want to cut or radius the quarters. I have the axle mocked up as a flip under the leaf springs to be able to run a bigger tire and not interfere with the quarters. My front suspension should be here by the end of the weekend. I did not want to change the rear until I had the front end mocked in. My concern is that it may sit too high in the rear but time will tell. Any suggestions?
After seeing a pic online of the 52 I do think it will be hard to put a big tire under the wheel opening without lifting it up High According to the pic I found. I thought why not maybe cut the rear and keep the tires inside the quarter.
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Steve has a fine example on his 53. Radius does the job.

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
No pictures yet folks, but I did manage to get the front suspension and steering system torn out of the car, marked my wheel base and will begin to assemble the front springs with bushings, mounts, and shackles. The front axle is a Speedway unit with Ford disc brakes and measures 54 1/4 inches hub to hub. A little more narrow than stock suspension hub to hub at 58 inches but I wanted to tuck the wheels a touch. I figured if it looks too marrow I can always install longer studs with a wheel spacer. With the suspension hanging low in the front I should be fine on clearance for turning radius. I have installed the rear axle which is a Ford 9 inch assemble with a 3:50 locker. I know, the gears are a little low but for a driver on the street at highway speeds should keep the RPMs down a touch. I do have a 4:10 third member for it should the need arise. At this moment the rear end is hung under the leaf springs. Mixed feelings on that as I have mentioned but I am waiting for the front axle to be mocked in to get a look at the car on the ground on four wheels before any final decisions are made.

Picked up the go fast parts for the engine. Comp thumper cam, quick fuel 850 cfm Brawler with mechanical secondaries, HEI distributor, 10mm taylor wires, gasser headers for a 1955 - 57 chevy (Should fit just fine), all bearings, rings, high pressure meiling oil pump, hardened oil pump driveshaft, new valve springs that match the came with hydraulic flat tappets, double roller timing chain, 110 gph mechanical fuel pump, 2500 stall speed B&M converter, street strip shift kit, and I am sure I am forgetting other stuff. I know, some of you may be wandering why did I not go with tunnel ram. I have asked myself that many times. Main reason, I don't want to cut the hood at this point in time. I have a 47' Ford without a hood and it is mesriable when I get caught in the rain. Happens more than I care to think.

Quick question. This being my first gasser build, does anyone have a preference as to which end of the spring to install the spring shackles. I have heard pros and cons for both. Soem say put the shackles in the front, others say put the shackles in the rear of the front springs. I was planning on putting them in the in the front due to a slight kick up on the front frame rails in front of the spring pockets. Suggestions are very much appreciated.

Hopefully by the end of the week, I will have more pictures to update.


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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
After seeing a pic online of the 52 I do think it will be hard to put a big tire under the wheel opening without lifting it up High According to the pic I found. I thought why not maybe cut the rear and keep the tires inside the quarter.
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Steve has a fine example on his 53. Radius does the job.

View attachment 108888
Absolutely beauitful. Love the look of the car sits nice. If possible I would love to see more pics of the car. Serves as great inspiration.
 

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Jesus, that is one of my least favorite photos of myFord that Mario posted. I had WAY to short tires on the front. Anyway, there's quite a few photos on the Project Update Section under So Cal 53 Mainline Street Gasser. Here's a link to a couple youtube videos.
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If you have any questions ask away.
 
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