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1948 - 1956 F1, F100 & Larger F-Series Trucks Discuss the Fat Fendered and Classic Ford Trucks

49 Merc

 
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Old 08-21-2016, 03:47 PM
zrae
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49 Merc

Hey guys
So I am wondering if anyone would have any suggestions for me. I have a 1949 Mercuy M68 1 ton pickup and I am looking to start a restoration on this truck. It was my great grandfathers truck that he bought new in 49. Now with a max top speed of 45 mph, it's not exactly a highway cruiser. Any ideas as to what I should do to be able to achieve more highway appropriate speeds without sacrificing too much of the original truck. The truck has some sentimental value to my dad since this is the truck he learned to drive on when he was a kid. Any feedback is appreciated. This is my first restoration. Thanks.
 
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Old 08-21-2016, 04:39 PM
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The differential gears can be a cause for lower top end speed. Try and find out what gears are in it. This will at least give you a starting point. I assume the engine is running reasonably well. What engine is in it. Pictures of what you have will get better results from this great group of people. The ones that really know what they are doing will chime in soon.
 
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Old 08-21-2016, 04:52 PM
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49 Merc Road Speed Issue

Hey Zrae - we have the same truck, a 49/50 Merc M68. Got it about a year ago. I drove it a bit and came to the same conclusion you have I think - it's not going to have enough road speed to make it comfortable driving regularly. I checked around here on the forum, and after a discussion with a couple of the regulars I came to the conclusion that a more modern transmission and rear-end made sense. I also wanted to get away from the crash-box transmission, and have something a little easier and safer to drive in traffic.

Everyone has their own idea of what constitutes "enough" to get what you want out of a project. We wanted a truck that was easier to drive, had a bit more highway speed and had safe brakes so that's what we focused on. We are almost back on the road - sometime this fall is the current plan. When it is done the only visible change will be new wheels to match the rear-end update, and an associated front-suspension change. Even when you look in the engine compartment it's looking original, which was our objective. So that worked for us - happy to share more details if that helps.
 
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Old 08-21-2016, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by dcavan001 View Post
Hey Zrae - we have the same truck, a 49/50 Merc M68. Got it about a year ago. I drove it a bit and came to the same conclusion you have I think - it's not going to have enough road speed to make it comfortable driving regularly. I checked around here on the forum, and after a discussion with a couple of the regulars I came to the conclusion that a more modern transmission and rear-end made sense. I also wanted to get away from the crash-box transmission, and have something a little easier and safer to drive in traffic.

Everyone has their own idea of what constitutes "enough" to get what you want out of a project. We wanted a truck that was easier to drive, had a bit more highway speed and had safe brakes so that's what we focused on. We are almost back on the road - sometime this fall is the current plan. When it is done the only visible change will be new wheels to match the rear-end update, and an associated front-suspension change. Even when you look in the engine compartment it's looking original, which was our objective. So that worked for us - happy to share more details if that helps.
I would definitely be interested in hearing what you did for transmission and rear end. Any information that helps with the build is awesome. I am working on getting the truck running right now. The last time it ran was 5 years ago when my uncle unloaded it from the flat deck and drove it down the street and back to where it sat. What did you do for breaks and rims for the truck? I still have the stock "widow makers" on the truck.
 
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Old 08-21-2016, 06:35 PM
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49 Merc rebuild

Summary of our rebuild at this point is:
- transmission - decided to go with a S10 synchro 5-speed. Considered the Mustang t5 "world class" which is a little more robust, but just to drive around for Sunday afternoons we didn't need to spend the extra.
- rear-end - from a bronco which is about the right width, running 3.9 gears. That choice means that we can go with regular 5-bolt pattern ford wheels. That rear-end turned out to be hardest thing to find, by the way.
- brakes are now disk-front, drum-back. will likely go with a power assist later, but for now it should be fine.
- front end - decided to drop the axle about 3 inches since we had to replace brakes and wheels and had few (surprisingly few) worn suspension parts, so will pull out the heavy-duty springs on the rear-end and likely a couple of the leafs to even out the height. This wasn't absolutely necessary but since we don't need the clearance it made sense to have it a little lower.
- Obviously same 5-bolt modern 17" wheels on the front as will be on the back. We can get wheels from Coker that are the right size and still allow us to use the old hubcaps - those are like gold - no one produces reproductions of those so guard them well.
- will still run 17" wheels with a 265/70 tire so it will be very close to the stock 31" tires - want that farm truck look with tall skinny tires.
- the only other big change was that while we had it apart (pulled the engine to get the transmission bolted up and installed) we went to 12v and halogen headlights - but they look very original.
- stayed with the current look and equipment under the hood. generator rebuild (rejected the idea of an alternator since the only one we could find did not look original), rad re-cored. It looks quite original although quite cleaned up in the engine compartment. we might replace the oil-bath air-cleaner with a modern air-filter, but not finalized on that yet. There's a kit that allows you to use the old air-cleaner shell with a modern air filter inside.

Interior is in pretty good shape, so other then replacing the floor mats and cracked windshield the cab will stay as is. Box has some rust spots that'll be a next year project, and there's plywood screwed down on the deck that'll come off at some point.

I'm sure there's some other things we'll throw in at the last minute on this round, but the question we always ask is whether it will look stock from the outside. Not even painting at this point, that might come next year but the patina is nice and it isn't necessary to spend that right now to get some fun out of the truck.
 
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Old 08-21-2016, 09:22 PM
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In my opinion there are three determining factors:
speed - how fast do you want to go
cost - how much are you comfortable spending
originality - how stock do you want it to look

I have an F-2, mostly the same truck as you have. My truck has the benefit of having 16 in one piece wheels from the factory, otherwise all other features are the same. I have the same 4.86 rear axle ratio and 4 speed crash box transmission. I decided I want my drive train to look stock while going at least 60 miles per hour. To do this the ring and pinion in the stock axle needs to be replaced with a 4.11. There is a supplier for this in kit form available from Chuck's Trucks LLC. I also found a T-98 transmission that will bolt in and provide synchronized shifting.

Another option for better gearing while keeping the 8 lug bolt pattern is to find a Dana 60 axle from a late 50s through 1972 F-250. This axle is the correct width and can be found with 3.54, 3.73, and 4.10 ratios (others were available too, so check any axle before purchase).

Here are a few threads that discuss these options:
https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/1...onversion.html
https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/1...o-a-48-f3.html
https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/1...on-photos.html
https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/1...-an-f-2-a.html
https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/1...-my-52-f3.html
https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/1...rum-specs.html
 
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Old 08-21-2016, 09:44 PM
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Right questions to answer

I completely agree with 38 Coupe on those three questions he asks. As well, remember that if you spend some now to get the result you want then you can do more later - this doesn't have to be the last kick at the can. Getting it on the road and enjoying it is important.
 
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Old 08-21-2016, 10:13 PM
zrae
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Excellent information guys. I love this site. I have received so much good info regarding this truck from here. I tried starting the truck today but it won't turn over. It kind of sounds like the starter is attempting to go. I am only able to partially turn the belts by hand. I am hoping that once I get a wrench into the bottom pulley that I will be able to break it completely free. As of right now, I can only turn it maybe a 1/4 turn. I think I mentioned earlier that it was running about 5 years ago. I had really hoped that I could get in and fire it up. Wishful thinking I guess.
 
 
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