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1950 Ford truck rebuild?

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Old 02-19-2003, 04:31 PM
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1950 Ford truck rebuild?

Ok, so I'm pondering rebuilding the truck I learned to drive on. I'm only 27, but when I was 11 or 12 my dad bought a running 1950 Ford truck for $950. It worked pretty good and we started fixing it up. Well, my dad had now time, so we towed it to my grandfathers farm and I learned to drive it. After about 2 years of driving around on the farm every once and a while, I turned 15 and could drive and therefore the luster was gone. The truck has been sitting for at least 13 yrs now in an old chicken coop building. The tires are flat, battery is for sure dead, headlights have been busted out by some vandals, and no telling what else. I'm thinking of bringing it home and fixin her up.

So some questions:

1. What kind of engine is normal in a 1950 Ford?

2. How huge of a job would it be to get it running again. Besides changing the oils etc.... what can happen to an engine that sits for years?

3. I've got a 1988 Bronco with a 351 in it and I've done quite a bit of work on it and know the engine better than any other. I saw another ready to go 88 or 89 351 EFI for sale for $500. Would this engine be a good swap out, and would it fit? I think it would if I remember how much room that thing had in it! I remember being able to stand in the engine compartment!!

4. If I don't swap engines I'll probably have to do some emissions stuff, although I think before a certain year doesn't count. How much of a pain would that be.


I have the desire and time and some help from a friend, but I don't have $1000's to spend on it. Body work isn't a problem, its the engine and drivetrain etc.. I'm worried about.

Any suggestions? Helpful hints? Advice?
Thanks,
Brian
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Old 02-19-2003, 05:35 PM
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1950 Ford truck rebuild?

Brian...
I'll try to answer some of your questions and leav the rest to the experts of F-1 land..


So some questions:

1. What kind of engine is normal in a 1950 Ford?
... Define Normal ????? F-1s had both straight 6 and v-8 engines. What's in it now ???

2. How huge of a job would it be to get it running again. Besides changing the oils etc.... what can happen to an engine that sits for years?

that's really hard to say... you could change oil, clean the points and plugs, put in new battery... remove all the critter nests and fix all the wiring the varmints have eaten away... might want to do that before putting in the battery unless you like fireworks.. check the radiator for water... drain it, flush it and refill it... hope when it was shut down it had antifreeze in it... check the freeze plugs and see it they are there.. disconnect the fuel lines and drain the tank... use a temp fuel tank (5 gallon can) with a rubber hose in it... prime the carb hit the button and she might fire right up.. or not...

I'd also first try to roll the motor over by hand and see if it's seized. If you can't turn it (expecially with the plugs out) the rings are seized.. a half cup of PB-Blaster in the cylinders (or Kerosene)...
and let it set for a day... try moving it by hand again (maybe with a big socket and a cheater bar ???... keep on for a few days rocking it back and forth trying to break it loose.. until it turns over or you decide it won't.. then it's probably time to remove the heads and see what you see... this will also give you a good indication of engine condition... most times they will break loose..but sometimes depending on conditions...they have to be hammered apart.


3. I've got a 1988 Bronco with a 351 in it and I've done quite a bit of work on it and know the engine better than any other. I saw another ready to go 88 or 89 351 EFI for sale for $500. Would this engine be a good swap out, and would it fit? I think it would if I remember how much room that thing had in it! I remember being able to stand in the engine compartment!!

351 (W or C) make good choices especially if you already have one... 'bout anything will fit from a 6 to a 460.. of course any change will require some fabrication...motor mounts, trans mounts etc... swaps to a later engine will probably necessitate transmission changes...which mean (probably) drive shaft changes... something to think about EFI would be a great engine.. what do you know about efi conversions and computer wiring... that also means a conversion to 12 volt system from 6volt... not a major thing...but a necessity...

I don't think there will be room to stand in there with a V-8 but it won't be crowded with a small block


4. If I don't swap engines I'll probably have to do some emissions stuff, although I think before a certain year doesn't count. How much of a pain would that be.

depending on your location older vehicles are usually exempt from emission checks

I have the desire and time and some help from a friend, but I don't have $1000's to spend on it. Body work isn't a problem, its the engine and drivetrain etc.. I'm worried about.

$1k would probably get you running and moving...probably not stopping...but moving... it depends on how it was put away... were the fluids drained or topped off.. was the carb run dry.. or was it just rolled in and parked and left to patiently wait for you...you have to consider all the damage that the elements and God's little creatures have done in 13-50 years... brake lines will be useless... wheels will probably be locked up from frozen wheel cylinders... tires...forget them if you want to drive it... but a thousand will make a very good start on getting an old truck running... if there is no major engine/transmission problems..

what you can do from there is all up to your level of talent, expertise, energy and how many favors you can call in... and your financial commitment...


I'll step back now and let the experts tell you all the interesting technical stuff... but I think as a general rule... figure how long it wiill take you...double it and use twice that amount for an estimate... the same goes for money but use "square" in place of double... but hey...we're having fun here !!!

hope I haven't discouraged you... cause I think you should go for it !!! misery loves company !!!

john

Last edited by jniolon; 02-19-2003 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 02-19-2003, 06:03 PM
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1950 Ford truck rebuild?

Thanks for the info.

I know we had everything filled b/c we were just leaving it for the winter. So much for that! And after looking at engines I'm pretty sure it had the Flathead V8 in it. Last time I looked in it, there weren't really any signs of nests or rodents. There are several cats in that chicken coop, so I'm hoping they took care of that for me.

I remember doing the brakes when we worked on it, so maybe new hoses and bleeding them would do the trick.

I'm actually debating whether or not to go up and tow that one back from Purcell, OK to Houston, Tx or to just go find another down here. I'll be sure and take a look at it next time I'm up there though.

I wouldn't mind putting $2000-$3000 into it if that would get it running, road worthy, and looking presentable(it has lots of rust but no holes.)

Brian
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Old 02-19-2003, 08:13 PM
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1950 Ford truck rebuild?

If you topped everything off, it should be half decent depending on how it was stored. IF you decided to turn over the engine it has, make sure you take jniolon's advice.

If it had a v8, it will probably be a flathead 239.

Your wheel cylinders are probably siezed, so after about 15 years of rotting, all your brake hoses should be replaced and cylinders and master cylinder rebuilt.

It would probably be cheaper to use the stock powertrain if it is still good... you can always go back and replace it later on if you don't like it.
It should be easy enough to find used radials with rims to cut down cost.

If the truck is mostly solid, it would probably be easier just to haul it home rather than look for another..... you already own it so why bother dropping more cash for another. Don't forget there is no shame in running a body with primer or flat black! Most of the time flat black looks cool anyway.
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Old 02-20-2003, 12:28 PM
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1950 Ford truck rebuild?

I asked my father what he remembered about it. He said he thinks it will work fine if we drain the fluid and gas and replace the fuel pump. That had gone out on it and he bought another one that we never put on. He thinks the brakes would be ok, after checking the hoses of course.

Thanks for the info. It may be a few months before I can haul it down to my garage, but I think I'm going to do it. I'll probably be back on this forum for help when I get started.

Brian

P.S. It's got rust all over it. We had wanted to sandblast it but never got to it. Is there a better way to take rust off? There aren't any holes thankfully and the metal is 1/8 of an inch thick all over, so it should be fine.
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Old 02-20-2003, 01:56 PM
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1950 Ford truck rebuild?

Quote:
Originally posted by yosemite98
Ok, so I'm pondering rebuilding the truck I learned to drive on. I'm only 27, but when I was 11 or 12 my dad bought a running 1950 Ford truck for $950. It worked pretty good and we started fixing it up. Well, my dad had now time, so we towed it to my grandfathers farm and I learned to drive it. After about 2 years of driving around on the farm every once and a while, I turned 15 and could drive and therefore the luster was gone. The truck has been sitting for at least 13 yrs now in an old chicken coop building. The tires are flat, battery is for sure dead, headlights have been busted out by some vandals, and no telling what else. I'm thinking of bringing it home and fixin her up.

So some questions:

1. What kind of engine is normal in a 1950 Ford?

2. How huge of a job would it be to get it running again. Besides changing the oils etc.... what can happen to an engine that sits for years?

3. I've got a 1988 Bronco with a 351 in it and I've done quite a bit of work on it and know the engine better than any other. I saw another ready to go 88 or 89 351 EFI for sale for $500. Would this engine be a good swap out, and would it fit? I think it would if I remember how much room that thing had in it! I remember being able to stand in the engine compartment!!

4. If I don't swap engines I'll probably have to do some emissions stuff, although I think before a certain year doesn't count. How much of a pain would that be.


I have the desire and time and some help from a friend, but I don't have $1000's to spend on it. Body work isn't a problem, its the engine and drivetrain etc.. I'm worried about.

Any suggestions? Helpful hints? Advice?
Thanks,
Brian
Brian,
I assume by your name (Yosemite), you are in California? Me too. Call the DMV and ask if putting a '88 or '89 351 EFI in a 1950 truck would obligate you to smog regulations? If not, put it in. Plenty of room; motor mounts are available (Bob's F-100's in Riverside, CA); and if you can get a C-6 tranny or an AOD tranny, you'd be stylin'.
I believe the cut-off for smog reg's is 25 years. Once a car is over 25 years old, smogging is not required, but don't quote me. Call DMV and get it from the horse's mouth.
As far as trying to start the motor after ump-teen years? Some have put in fresh oil, a fresh battery and turned it over and it ran. Others aren't as daring and took the safe/sure road by going through the motor first (basically a tear-down and rebuilt; exploratory surgery stuff). Your call on that one. I wouldn't want to tell you, "yeah, go ahead and start her up" then it seizes on you. Nor would I want to tell you to go to the time/expense of a rebuild if it turns out it wasn't necessary. You may want to talk to an engine shop on that one for a professional's opinion.

Do you know what rear end and gears it has? Are you going to build a monster rod? or a mild one? Inquiring minds want to know...!!!

Daryl
'59 F-100 Styleside
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Old 02-20-2003, 03:33 PM
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1950 Ford truck rebuild?

Actually I'm in Texas, yosemite is short for Yosemite Sam(Warner Bros cartoon character). But I can't wait to get to Yosemite National Park again!

As far as I know, everything is stock. I don't know what rear end or gears it has. I'm somewhat of a purist, although really only in the way it looks. If it comes to it I have no problem dropping in a 351w and a newer tranny though.

Anybody ever give their older trucks a 4"-6" lift? I'd like to do that to my Bronco and would like to see what that looks like on an older truck(1950's) as well.

Brian
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Old 02-20-2003, 04:50 PM
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1950 Ford truck rebuild?

Brian

sandblasting is not the way to do body panels... the heat from the abrasive will warp your sheetmetal... soda blast is good, chemical dip is good... and sanding and scrapping is good... save the sand for the frame not the body panels...

john
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Old 02-23-2003, 04:08 PM
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1950 Ford truck rebuild?

John - I thought in the hands of a careful pro, that you could get good results sandblasting body panels. I have a guy I was going to have sandblast my truck and he wants to do the whole thing - body and all - says he can do it without messing up body panels... what do you think? I don't want to hose up the body on my truck of course. Thanks

Kris
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Old 02-23-2003, 08:38 PM
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1950 Ford truck rebuild?

I agree utvol1984. I talked to someone who said they could do it b/c the metal is so thick on older trucks that it wouldn't hurt it and would turn out pretty good. If someone has had a bad experience doing this please let us know!

Brian
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Old 02-23-2003, 09:46 PM
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I have sandblasted a lot of old sheetmetal without incident. You have to use some sense and keep the air down reasonable. It may not be the optimum solution but I can do it in the yard for cheap. I wouldn't sandblast my 95 F150 sheetmetal on a bet.
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Old 03-01-2003, 06:11 PM
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1950 Ford truck rebuild?

My I suggest that "BEFORE" you try anything that you remove the plugs and lube the cylinders, "BEFORE" turning the engine. If you don't get the idea, try wiping your behind with a corn cob, that will be the result the block gets with those dry rough pistons sliding through the smooth walls of that block. Have some patience, lube the cylinders and let it sit for a day or two. Diesel, Kerosene or Marvel Mystery Oil, what ever type of Lubricant. If you had antifreeze in the engine when she was parked, you might want to drain it and purchase some water pump lubricant and refilling with the antifreeze that you drained after you strain it through some cheese cloth, that will get you going but you will need to renew the coolant after you get it running and are sure the block and radiator are in good shape. The fuel system might be a bigger problem, if you have a good pump feed it with an auxiliary supply as others suggest if not you might be able to feed the cab from the auxiliary supply using gravity, shouldn’t take a pound or two of pressure to keep the carburetor full, set the tank onto of the cab. BEFORE trying to start the truck fill the carburetor with fuel, it will most likely leak, but after a few hours the gaskets might swell and seal, if not spend a couple of bucks and rebuild the carburetor. You don’t want to burn up your project before you get started. Don’t worry about the points and plugs being replaced before you get it running, inspect and clean all the components scrap the cap and file the points, this should provide enough spark to get it going, if you have trouble getting it to fire, this will be your first place to check. After your sure that you have lubricated everything you can before trying to fire the engine, hold your breath and go. Now once you get it fired you don’t run it. Stop the engine and recheck everything, oil for anything unusual, coolant for oil or anything else, etc… Now get a quart of transmission fluid, restart the engine and slowly being to pour the transmission fluid into the carburetor, lots of smoke, lots, be outside. After a few seconds begin to rev the engine and pour faster until you kill the motor. Shut off the key, sit back and admire you handy work. Then go home for the evening. After you return the next day (or a least several hours) check everything, pull the plugs and check for water in the cylinders, turn the motor over without the plugs and see if any spray comes out. Those old blocks crack in a number of places, sometimes between the valves , sometimes the cylinders into the water jackets, you don’t want to hydro lock the engine on the second attempt, some of these cracks can be fixed fairly easy, if you don’t lock the engine and bend a rod or worse. If everything checks out, fire the engine it will smoke for a while until the transmission fluid gets burned out of the engine, but the way you shouldn’t need more than about a third of a quart of trany fluid to kill the engine, if you get to much you stand a chance of getting to much in the exhaust system and starting a fire, have the necessary fire equipment on hand at any rate. I have known people that didn’t, myself included, and several times it was real hairy for a few intense moments, other peoples projects didn’t survive. The transmission fluid will loosen the built p carbon in the valve train and on top of the pistons and around the top of the cylinder bores helping to clean all of the combustion chamber and lubricating the valve train. If everything checks out you should have an engine that you can bring up to temperature for the first time, once you get that shut her down and check everything again. She should be ready to run if no leaks or cracks. As far as the brakes and steering, now you can tear into the brakes replacing everything that needs replaced, do not try to drive this truck anywhere but around the pasture before you rebuild the brakes. They weren’t that great when they were new. There are a number of up grades you can make to the steering and brakes on these old trucks, one that I’ve read about is a kit that allows you to install disk brakes on to the original axle, I think you had to change the spindles. The steering is not going to be what your used to, “modern”, but with some maintenance and a few new parts it can be made “SAFE” with out major modifications. Both will be adequate for the drive train, as is, if you go to a 351, which I don’t suggest unless you want a street rod not just an old fun truck to run around in, be prepared to modify both the steering and the brakes. They will not handle the speed of your new set up, safely, period. Hope I’ve given some useful advice, good luck and take your time, she’s (the little old truck) had plenty of time to get to the point she is in now!!
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Old 03-01-2003, 06:38 PM
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1950 Ford truck rebuild?

I forgot to mention a few thoughts about sand blasting that I'd like to share. 1st, I think when some people mention sand blasting they are not really suggesting “SAND” blasting, but rather, “media” blasting. There are a number of products that can be used that are not as aggressive or abusive as “sand”, walnut shells, plastics and others. These are suitable and don’t cause unnecessary heating and warping of the panels. However, if I may suggest an alternate approach, ACID ETCH. There are etches, a mix of phosphoric and dichromate, OSPHO is one brand made by Skyco. This turns iron oxide (rust) into iron phosphate, an inert hard surface that is black in color, this “KILLS” the rust, it also acts as a primer and therefore does not need to be prepared further before painting. That is not what I’m suggesting, for heavy equipment that looks are not the reasons for painting but preservation is the objective, this works great. In your case, you can stop the rust and wait until you determine the correct approach, and this will seal the metal from further damage from mother nature. After you etch the surface you may try different methods for preparing the metal for painting, I my opinion I start with the least harsh methods first, you can always get more aggressive as the works requires. Maybe some 120 grit on an orbital sander will clean the panels, maybe more aggressive methods are require, the metal will tell you as you proceed. You can put the solution into an ordinary spray bottle and wet the surface, two coats may be need in heavy areas, it is not expensive. Get some solution and an old fender and see what you think, before putting it on your project. Good Luck.
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Old 03-04-2003, 01:32 PM
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1950 Ford truck rebuild?

thanks for all the help and advice. i'm going to go get it sometime in the next few months. I'm going to look around for a trailer to put it on so that it doesn't fall apart when towing it. I'm thinking they probably rent out trailers for vehicles, and hopefully it has a winch!!!

Thanks
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Old 05-01-2017, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by yosemite View Post
thanks for all the help and advice. i'm going to go get it sometime in the next few months. I'm going to look around for a trailer to put it on so that it doesn't fall apart when towing it. I'm thinking they probably rent out trailers for vehicles, and hopefully it has a winch!!!

Thanks
Well, a few months turned into 14 years. I moved shortly after I posted this, got married, had kids... But, the truck was still there. Now that my son is the age I was when my dad and I worked on it, I brought it back to my new home in Colorado and have been working on it. It has been in the "barn" for over 25 years.

Already started work on it and have a few weeks before I try starting. Crankshaft is turning by hand, replaced all wiring, replacing all fuel system, replacing all brake lines/cylinders/master cylinder.

Anyway, I found this thread amusing and this might not be seen by anyone since it's so old. If so I'll start another, but this was really cool to find. I had totally forgotten about these posts!
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