By Kent Boomer
Fabricating and installing a Reverse Tilt Hood on your '53 to '56 Ford Pick-Up is easier than you might think. I have seen at lease two articles in truck magazines that provided good installation instructions and some pretty good photos of the parts required. The first article titled "Trick Truck Nose Job" appeared in the March, 1992 issue of Sport Truck Magazine. This article detailed the install of the kit manufactured and sold by Mike Chesser (www.chesserbuilt.com) of Lawrenceville, GA. The next article that I found was in the February, 1993 issue of Classic Trucks, titled "F-100 Hood Tilt." This article documented the installation of the kit sold by Bob's F-100 Parts (www.bobsf100.com) of Riverside, CA.
Prior to seeing these hood kits and articles, I had modified my radiator cross-member to allow the use of a GM cross flow radiator. During this modification, I trimmed the air deflectors behind the grill so that they do not extend higher than the point where they bolt to the inner fender and fender. The massive "U" shaped structure that holds the stock radiator cross member in place was also trimmed at the same point. The radiator cross member was ditched in favor of a modified piece of steel door jamb to cover all those cut off pieces and tie the front sheet metal back together.
With all of my modifications, the kits offered by Mike Chesser and Bob's F-100 Parts would not work with my cross member configuration, so I struck out to design and fabricate my own. The pictures that follow show how my hinge system turned out. I think my hinge attach point on the cross member is a little lower and further forward than the point that the kits use, but everything else is very similar.
Theory of Operation
The "BMW" style Reverse Tilt Hood concept can be applied to any hood that is wider at the rear (firewall) than it is at the front. If the hood is to open with the hinge point in the front, it must first be lifted upwards, so the hood will not get "pinched" between the two front fenders. Then the hood is moved forward, (see photo 2) and finally tilted up in the back (see photo 3).
Everything I used came from the local Home Depot or my metal scrap pile. The rollers I used are actually for a sliding glass door. They work fine, but do not allow for much "misalignment."
Photo 3-Hood open, tilted and prop rod in place
Photo 1-Hood closed
Photo 2-Hood open, but not tilted
Under Hood Changes
The support rods under the hood are replaced with a new braces constructed of 1" sq tubing with a "Z" shaped pieced of flat iron used to attach to the hood, inside (see photos 4 & 5 and reference sketches for details). Attach the new support to the aft hood support original steel rod supports. Mark drill two 5/16" holes (on each side) through the end of the "Z" piece, through the inner hood support. Be careful not to damage the outer sheet metal when drilling these holes.
The hinge is attached to the radiator cross member and the "Z" piece of the hood support. The hinge pivots at BOTH points. Pivot points are made from 1" angle iron on either side of the square tubing, with a 5/16" hole drilled through and a 5/16 x 1 � bolt used for a pin. (reference sketches) There is a pivot point at all 4 ends of the "H" piece.
Photo 4-This picture shows the internal bracing made of 1" square tubing and 4"x8" x 1/8" steel plate. The "H" hinge is also made of 1" square tubing. The brackets that form the hinge pivot points are made of 1" angle iron with 5/16 x 1 3/4 bolts and self-locking nuts.The roller assembly consists of a bracket on each side with the roller located on it. (see top right of photo 4 and sketches) The bracket is made of 1 �" angle iron that is tapered along the bottom side. The rollers bolt to the bracket and can be shimmed with washers for alignment with the guides. The assembly is attached to one of the original hood hinge attach points and a new point added to the hood. I pop-riveted and later welded a bracket forward of the aft cross hood support. After looking at the other designs, this bracket could use both hood mounting holes and be slightly wider, thus eliminating the need to add the new attach point.
Photo 5-My "H" hinge is wider than the kits as they use the 2 bolts on the top of the radiator mount (the large "U" shaped structure).When the hood is closed, the top of the hinge assembly leans back (towards the firewall). As the hood is opened, the hinge assembly rotates around the pivot point on the radiator cross member. The other end of the hinge (attached to the support bracket) forces the front of the hood upward, before it allows it to move forward (away from the firewall). Continued on next page.
Under Hood Changes-Cont'd
The rest of the kit consists of the guides that bolt to the inner fender well, back in the area beside the firewall, both sides.
(see photos 6 & 7)
These guides are made of �" diameter steel stock and bent as you see in the photos. Underneath the hook at the back side (closest to the firewall) there is a 2" piece of 5/16" "all-thread" welded on, extending downward. A nut is used on top and bottom of the fender to provide a height adjustment for the closed hood. A flat metal bracket was angled from the front of the guide to meet up with one of the fender/inner fender mounting bolt locations.
Photo 6-Hood guide, passenger sideIMPORTANT-These guides must be parallel for the hood to track correctly during opening & closing. The prop rod (see photo 7) is made from one of the original hood rods that were removed when the square tubing braces are added.
When the hood is closed, the rollers (attached to the hood) are at the bottom of the guide, in the "hook." As the hood is moved and the front is lifted, the roller moves up the canted bracket and forces the rear of the hood to rise while it is moving forward. The roller then moves to the flat part of the guide, once the back of the hood is high enough to clear the fenders.
Photo 7-Hood guide, driver's side with prop rodThe front of the hood continues to pivot on the hinge assembly until it hits a built in mechanical stop. The back of the hood moves along the flat part of the guides. Once the mechanical stop is reached, the hinge assembly is now leaning forward (away from the firewall). The hood itself can then be lifted from the back and tilted up. This is where the prop rod (pivots on the firewall and lays along the inner fender when not in use) comes in and holds the hood open. I bent the end of it at a right angle to stick into on of the original hinge attach points on the hood. Be careful when opening, because you can hit the grill if the hood is rotated too far.