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Help with descriptions!

 
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Old 01-22-2019, 04:13 PM
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Help with descriptions!

Hello! I am an author. I'm working on a book, and could use some help. In my book, one of my main characters is a mechanic. While cleaning out their grandparents house, they find an old Ford truck that had belonged to Grandpa. He died in the 60’s and grandma threw some furniture blankets over it in the garage, set a few boxes on the hood over the years and forgot about it.

This isn’t anywhere near the main plot of my book, but it kind of goes through the whole thing.

So a few things I’m wondering:

From google, I like the looks for the Ford F-1 (1948). Were they easy enough to get a hold of back in the day? My story takes place in Montana, if that makes a difference.

If it was kept in a garage (out of the wind, rain) what condition would you expect to find it in? Ideally, this is something that they could finish over the course of the summer, maybe waiting on one last part they’d have to order. Would rats be a possible issue in the engine? Would the engine be something they would restore, or could/would you drop a whole new engine in it? What are some other things they might need to do to get it back in good shape/driving condition?

This isn’t something that I need to be 100% exact on with a timeline or whatever (although, what might be a realistic timeline?), but I don’t want to be like “truck truck, wheels…” and I just can’t repeatedly say that ‘so-and-so was working on the car’ — I’d like to mention things here/there that they’ve done or have to do. What parts they might have to order or be waiting on.

Would anyone be willing to help me out with some basics?

Thanks!
 
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Old 01-22-2019, 05:02 PM
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Two sources for you to peruse.

https://bringatrailer.com/

This one usually contains some history, and in many cases just as you depicted. In either case you'll have to do some searching to find "your truck".

https://barnfinds.com/
 
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Old 01-22-2019, 05:36 PM
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Let me answer some of your questions briefly. Many guys here have brought a Dad's or grandfather's truck back to life and they will have much to say.

You won't be able to simply put in a new 6 volt battery, fresh gas and fire it up

Rats? No. Mice yes. Red squirrels? Yes, depending where the truck was stored. Mice can get in the engine if the air cleaner is off the carb, or in the exhaust manifolds if a muffler is off. And they can build a nest anywhere else with seat stuffing.

Gas will turn to varnish so the tank may need to be replaced or cleaned, carb rebuilt, hoses replaced, etc....
 
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Old 01-22-2019, 06:00 PM
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Also rodents could chew the wire, make a mess of the interior too. Like nest inside even in the headliner, the smell could knock you out with the first sniff. I've seen it stop people from restoring a vehicle.
 
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Old 01-22-2019, 06:29 PM
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Hey, this sounds like the type of book us guys would actually read.
And wouldn't it be cool if we could contribute to the content. Maybe get a mention in the Forward. ;D

I'd love to help out. And throw in some unsolicited suggestions too.
For example, you can add some drama to the story by having the main character come to realization that this truck of his grandfather's is a 1949 long bed with a six cylinder motor. Some despair will set in when he realizes that the truck has parts that are twice as hard to find then if it was a short bed with a V8. Can even make it get more interesting by adding to the story that the transmission is not synchronized style, which was common back in those days but is quite difficult for anyone to learn to operate today.
This mechanic will have to dive deep into his will and fortitude to muster up enough courage to continue getting it on the road again.
For another element of danger and suspense, the mechanic can discover that the wheels on the truck were Ford's infamous 'widowmakers' which upon inflating a tire could blow up and take out an eye or worse. And the engine's plug wires have terminal ends that are not safety-booted so if you touch one while the engine is running, you get an electrical jolt that will jump him up in the iar and bonk his head on the hood.
These are things us '48-'56 guys suffer with all the time. We have mostly all learned some hard lessons and had some great moments of pain and enjoyment. The enjoyment comes when the engine fires to life after sitting many, many years.
Welcome to FTE, hope you stick around here and see and read our stories, as you write yours.

Tom
 
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Old 01-22-2019, 06:33 PM
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Oh, and to answer your first question...yes they were easy enough to obtain back in the late 40's. There were 16 Ford assembly plants all around the U.S. cranking them out as fast as they could to keep up with demand after WWII. The country was going strong, and people needed trucks to move things around. Compared to today's truck prices, and average Joe could buy one if they had some ability to borrow or save up a fair amount of money.
Tom
 
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Old 01-22-2019, 06:53 PM
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Alexis,
They were cheap back then by our standards today. They were bare bones work trucks meant for function not fashion nor comfort, although the ads for the new 1953 Ford trucks emphasized the "Triple Economy" which was Driver Comfort, gas efficiency and hauling loads.

I bought my 54 F100 from my grandfather. He bought it new. But it never sat idle for long periods of time so I don't have personal experience bringing one back to life. Here is the bill of sale Grandpa gave me when I bought it from him in 1977. He bought it on Dec. 22, 1954 which was late in the year for 54 models. I think he paid too much. It should have been cheaper since the 55's were on the lot I'm sure. But you can see how much a basic truck cost in 1954. It was more than the truck in your book, a 1948. He paid more for a V-8, the optional heater, and the optional electric wipers.
 
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Old 01-22-2019, 07:04 PM
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Thank you! Very helpful!
 
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Old 01-22-2019, 07:08 PM
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I have pulled many an old farm find truck that had been sitting for years, even decades and they run. not all of them though, most are rusted up solid etc
here is one notable truck that had been parked for decades and ran perfect after all that time. good luck on your story,
https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/1...retrieval.html
 
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Old 01-22-2019, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by pineconeford View Post
Hey, this sounds like the type of book us guys would actually read.
And wouldn't it be cool if we could contribute to the content. Maybe get a mention in the Forward. ;D

Tom
Haha, Tom... you like a good romance? My mechanic is a chick (a badass, of course).

Is this something that could be completed over the course of a summer? Or am I asking too much?

 
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Old 01-22-2019, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by jmadsen View Post
I have pulled many an old farm find truck that had been sitting for years, even decades and they run. not all of them though, most are rusted up solid etc
here is one notable truck that had been parked for decades and ran perfect after all that time. good luck on your story,
https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/1...retrieval.html

That would certainly make things A LOT easier! I will give that thread a read. Thank you!
 
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Old 01-22-2019, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by hannealexis View Post
Haha, Tom... you like a good romance? My mechanic is a chick (a badass, of course).

Is this something that could be completed over the course of a summer? Or am I asking too much?
Wow, us guys dream about ladies that like to work on old trucks. So, yep - still interested!
To answer the question about completion time....you have to define 'completed'. You can take a truck that has been sitting for years and get it on the road in as little as two weeks or as long as 20 years.
We have members here who have done it in that entire spectrum. It depends on what condition the truck was in to begin with, and how carefully the truck was stored. And also to what extent you want the truck to be safe, comfortable and correct-looking before it rolls on the public roads again.

Some old farm trucks are completely worn out, abused, cobbled together, parts aggressively taken off for other uses and then dragged to the back corner of the property to rust in peace and be used as a shooting target. Other trucks are taken care of during their working years, maintained, and then driven to a part of the barn to be protected under cover until a younger family member is old enough to take interest in it and continue using it. The engine cylinders are filled with oil, mouse traps are set, the paint is covered with a soft tarp to keep the bat poop off, battery removed, fuel drained, etc.
You will have to decide what the life the truck lived before it was put away. Cause that will determine how easily the girl character has it to put the truck back on the road.
Sometimes all that is needed are new tires, fresh fuel, new points, new battery and cleaning some wire terminals and it is rolling again. (This almost never happens) Other times you need to replace half the truck in order to get it to resemble a operational pickup again. (My current truck project falls in that category - it had been beaten like a rented mule and then sat outdoors in a junkyard since 1968)

So it depends on how long of a story you wish to write. If the truck is only part of the book, then I suggest having it somewhere in the four-month range of getting it back on the road again.
On this very forum are real projects underway in which it will happen in that amount of time.
Hope this helps. Glad you came here to ask.
Tom
 
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Old 01-22-2019, 07:59 PM
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I'll add that probably any truck that has been sitting for an extended period of time will need these things replaced at a minimum:

Fuel pump, carburetor float & gaskets, spark plugs, ignition points and condenser, ignition coil, battery, brake fluid, wheel cylinders, brake shoes, fan belt, radiator coolant, engine oil, several light bulbs, and the Indian blanket covering the seat springs that are poking out.
Tom
 
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Old 01-22-2019, 08:54 PM
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My 1952 Ford F1 belonged to my Dad. He drove it until 1967 and parked it outside in his driveway under a big white pine tree. I believe he started it up occasionally into the late 1980's, but it was not licensed or driven again on the road. I inherited it in 2012. To get it restarted, we replaced the battery and fuel pump, "touched-up" the points with a little sand paper, and rebuilt the carburetor. We used a gas can for a fuel source, and it started right up.

We did not change any fluids, wires, or belts, etc. After the brakes were reconditioned and some used tires mounted, I was able to drive it. The muffler was shot, the lights, heater, wipers, and gauges didn't work, and of course it didn't have plates or insurance, but I had it out on the road (in a very rural area). My truck has the optional (in 52) heavy duty 4 speed non- synchronized transmission, and it took a little while to get the hang of driving it again, but drive it we did--for maybe 50 miles--with all the original fluids from the 1960's.

The picture at the upper left is how my truck looked as found under the pine tree (needles of course removed).

Good luck with your story.

Jim

Edit: My Dad paid $42.50 for his truck at a government sale in 1960. Maybe that will give you an idea of value back in the day. The condition, on the official military paperwork that I still have, is described as used/ repairs required--poor. The truck had 80,000 miles on it when I started messing with it in 2012.
 
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Old 01-23-2019, 06:27 AM
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Abe, like your bill of sale. What a nice piece to have
 

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