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My 1940 Ford Jalopy rebuild


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Hi Ratsun guys

 

It started in May of 2019 with a Craigslist ad in the neighboring state of PA...I went to my first race when I was years old with my dad...been hooked ever since...always wanted a vintage race car so I finally popped on one...

It raced at the local New Jersey Speedways...the last time it ran was 1966...

 

Through the wonderful world of Facebook I was actually able to find the driver of this fine old hot rod...he is 81 years old now and living across the street from the North Wilkesboro Speedway...

 

If you guys are into vintage race cars I will post up more build pictures.

 

MikeC

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Edited by mikec4193
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I can remember racing against a similar built car in Iowa on the 1/2 and 3/4 mile tracks.  I drove a " super modified"  39 chevy coupe.  On our cars we put a 1/4" plate over the clutch housing to prevent the clutch from coming thru the floor board.  The owner of the stable I raced for was noted for his engine builds and never allowed the driver (me) to learn much about the full drive train. Our wind screens were 1/4" hardware cloth to keep the big chunks from hitting us in the face and to keep our google somewhat clean. Depending on the track the pit crew would change the wheels and tires.  Most races no corner was the same size or height.  You have a great piece of history in your shop..

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Hey Jagman....thanks for following along....

 

I had to blow the car apart as it had some serious frame rust....here is the original cage...believe it or not...this was an actual NASCAR race car in 1963 to 1966...

 

MikeC

 

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The roll cage in most of the cars of the day were similar - ours was a bit more substantial and had heavier pipe laterally and front to back.  I was driving when NASCAR was beginning to organize the tracks and the drivers.  They were thugs then.  If you didn't want to join they broke one or both legs.  In my last race, the owner was driving an exact duplicate of the car I had and had an exterior oil line break sending hot oil into his face.  He had just tilted his googles up to see the third turn when that happened and he put the car through the  6x6 fence and into the parking lot. I was behind him in fourth place and finished the race in third for a purse.  He was taken to the hospital but had no broken bones but lost 60 percent of his sight.  His wifee decided that the race cars needed to go and sold the stable the following month.  I was 15 and could not get my parents waiver to continue to drive but did join a pit crew for another year.

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Here is the NASCAR approved fuel tank...offset to the left to make it handle better...I got this crane set up just in time to get this car blown apart...and we did blow it apart...these are from the summer of 2019...

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That roll cage was actually installed in the car when it was raced?

 

I understand the desire to be historically correct, but I would figure out a way to build a new, safe cage that emulates the design of the old one. Do you have rules that limit the roll cage? If so, then you probably won't have much choice in the matter.

 

Cool car. I think those old racers are too often overlooked. A good friend of mine has a few of them that he races on dirt ovals. Gotta be a blast.

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Hi Stoffregen

I dropped the rolling heap off to a couple of younger roll cage fabricators in October of 2019...they build 4 cylinder roundy round cars....I have bought like 5 of their cars over the years....I begged them to take on this project.....well a nasty divorce takes over and the car sat until October of 2020...but I gave him the old cobbled up cage and GOD bless him...he recreated it minus the booger welds...1 1/4" black iron schedule 40 pipe...just like back in the day...

 

The 1" dia. side bars (I was told they were called cheater bars) were sitting loose inside the car with numbers written on them and from the 1960's and we were able to reassemble them in what we hoped they had wanted to put them in...

 

It appears as tho the car was bought after sometime after the 1966 season and the new owner flattened the firewall and hung a new clutch and brake pedals out of something I still cant figure out...they painted the inside of the car with a gaudy orange and then it got stored in a warehouse for over 40 years in New Jersey...I actually think the time it spent there saved it...

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the plan as of now is to put it back to as close as it was but drive it on the street...

 

Edited by mikec4193
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More pictures on this old Jalopy...

I got to talk to one of the former owners...he said it was a car that was raced back when if someone started winning...everybody would scour the wrecking yards and snag the needed parts...he told me they did the rear end / suspension swap in one week...from a buggy type spring to what appears to be an early 1950s Ford truck rear end and suspension too...I think they call it a Timken rear end....

 

My plan from day one is to get it so it will move under its own power and be user friendly too...I am really leaning towards making it street legal again...

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To get the old heap back on the road...you need a VIN...these old Fords I thought had a tag but after some searching and asking questions...the 1940 Ford had numbers and letters hand stamped on the left front frame rail...I imagine the fellow back in late 1939 or early 1940 hammering these numbers out all day long...I bet he had gorilla arms on him...I was so happy when I found these right where everyone said to look....

After much chin scratching...I decided to pull the old boat anchor out and get something a little more user friendly....so we sourced a swamp find...the owner was pretty sure it was a 1970 Ford Bronco rear end...I wanted to keep it about the same width as old Timken...

 

then we get it home and we find out it has extra vent holes in the housing...hmmm...oh well...my bargain $300.00 9" Ford was not such a good deal but...I can grind...I can lay welds on top of rust like nobodies business...so we saved it...

 

 

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I really didn't want to hodge podge this thing too bad...just a little to keep the flavor of the build in place...I can grind...I can weld...so we cut and filled for most of the summer of 2019...it was a little rougher but it was a 79 years old car at this point....

 

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All while this was going on I was ordering parts to get it back rolling again....Pete and Jakes is the got to supply line for me...40 years ago when I was really into this kind of stuff they were legendary suppliers to all the old Ford guys...I was so surprised when I went online the company was still around...moved to the mid west but same quality stuff...for me..it was follow the instructions and go...so simple...not a lot of thought on my part...I would have never made it back in the days before mail order stuff...

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The middle crossmember some issues...thank God I had pieces of steel that sorta matched in thickness...we grind...we weld...we grind again...

 

The guys on the HAMB told me I needed a sturdy center for this build...so I found a fellow on that site that sold reinforced x-member mounts....I think $125.00 plus shipping I was the proud owner of a sturdy new crossmember mount....the craftsman ship on these parts is so nice...almost feel bad for putting them on such a turd but...we did...

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The front end I thought would have been a 1940 Ford...nope...ended up being a 1948...I was wondering why some parts didn't fit...I did find a fellow in Minn that had a stock 1940 axle for it...the front spring I am still not sure what it came from...the wish bones were all cobbled up...Pete and Jakes to rescue again...I don't think the shock mounts fit the build...I think they will be going away in the near future...I never split wish bones before...I found a fellow in Minn again also who had a set 1940 Ford wish bones...he shipped them out to me...looks like it as made for it now...I ended up buying a pair for another early Ford that wouldn't fit with the stock front spring set up on this car...so I have extra parts already....

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It looks like the radius arms you took out were bent for tire clearance at full steering lock. Did they increase the steering sweep for better drifting around the dirt tracks? If so, do you still have that steering and tire clearance with the new arms?

 

I just noticed the old pitman arm. It has three holes in it for adjusting the steering ratio.

Edited by Stoffregen Motorsports
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Another thought. Don't want to rain on your parade, but I would ditch that 9" housing. First off, those 9" housings were not much thicker than sheetmetal and that much rot in an axle tube could very well lead to a breakage. Second, welding on any axle housing bends it. Have you ever noticed some axle housings have random beads of weld just on the other side of the spring perches? That's because when the perches are welded on, the heat and cooling shrinks the tube at the weld. Those random welds opposite the perches are put there to bend it back the other way.

 

I build a lot of axles here in my shop, and some are very problematic. I've spent hours straightening housings that had bent from welding on spring perches, shock mounts and trusses.

 

If you are confident the housing you have is strong enough, then weld a bunch on the opposite side of your repair and quench it with a cold water soaked rag. Grind the weld off and sand it smooth. It might just work.

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I had to rebuild my La Salle frame and found that the x frame cars had a tendency to separate at the outer frame rails.  I gusseted mine in all four areas for strength.  You may want to look at doing the same with this frame. 

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On 12/24/2020 at 2:41 PM, Stoffregen Motorsports said:

Another thought. Don't want to rain on your parade, but I would ditch that 9" housing. First off, those 9" housings were not much thicker than sheetmetal and that much rot in an axle tube could very well lead to a breakage. Second, welding on any axle housing bends it. Have you ever noticed some axle housings have random beads of weld just on the other side of the spring perches? That's because when the perches are welded on, the heat and cooling shrinks the tube at the weld. Those random welds opposite the perches are put there to bend it back the other way.

 

I build a lot of axles here in my shop, and some are very problematic. I've spent hours straightening housings that had bent from welding on spring perches, shock mounts and trusses.

 

If you are confident the housing you have is strong enough, then weld a bunch on the opposite side of your repair and quench it with a cold water soaked rag. Grind the weld off and sand it smooth. It might just work.

Hey Stoffregen Motorsports....Thanks for the insight...

 

I don't plan on driving it more up to the inspection station if I even get it that far....

 

I know that original axle was out of an old Ford truck and it seems like a beast from the East...I don't know anything about them but almost all the local street stock guys out here run those 9" Ford rear ends...I am hoping from reading your post I did not warp it...how can I tell if I did wreck it??

 

thanks in advance.

 

MikeC

 

P.S. driving these old cars has never been a fun thing for me...

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The Ford 9" axle as it is called came in many different variants. Some of them had small carrier bearings and small axle/wheel bearings, and those were the most common. They also had axle spline counts from 28 to 35 spline and in diameters from whimpy to stout.

 

How do you tell if it has been warped? Three ways.

 

One, get a digital inclinometer - https://www.mcmaster.com/digital-inclinometers/

and use it on each end of the axle tube at the backing plate mounting surface. The numbers should be the same. This requires partial disassembly of the axle.

 

Another way is with an axle alignment bar. This is what pros use to build axles, and is not very common. This requires complete disassembly of the axle.

 

Third is to bring it to an alignment shop and have them check your camber and toe. If it were a full floating axle, the misalignment would be obvious, but on a flanged axle, it may be harder to detect.

 

If you already have the axle installed, then go ahead and use it, but beware that it may not be perfect. If it has yet to be painted, I would go ahead and do the heat/quench opposite the welded area just to be sure.

 

For what it's worth, almost nobody that builds axles for their custom rigs cares or even knows about the warpage. But then most people just don't do things the right way either.

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The old heap had running boards and it appears as those the rules at the time they must had to keep them on the car so someone added heavy steel angle iron...I thought I would try and find something like the original picture of the car from 1963??...those running boards were pretty beat up...the original builder didn't remember if he had done this modification or not..I was already upside down on this build so I tried to fix what was there...I spent many a day cutting and chopping out old rusty 1940 Henry Ford sheet metal and mig welding in new stuff...

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