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snailmont5oh
snailmont5oh HalfDork
2/14/18 9:45 p.m.

Someone said that I should start a build thread for this guy. You've all heard it before, but I got this car to tow my Fairmont around to track days and autocrosses. I think it'll pull harder and look cooler than the '96 F-150 I'm using now. 

Specs:

400 CID, 9:1 compression, C6 trans, 9" diff with 2.75:1 gears. 

 

snailmont5oh
snailmont5oh HalfDork
2/14/18 9:48 p.m.

Pictures are confusing me. It only wants to put up the last one. 

Cotton
Cotton PowerDork
2/14/18 10:47 p.m.

Well,  I really like what I see so far!  Does it have the folding 3rd row?

snailmont5oh
snailmont5oh HalfDork
2/15/18 3:10 a.m.
Cotton said:

Well,  I really like what I see so far!  Does it have the folding 3rd row?

JOsworth
JOsworth New Reader
2/15/18 4:59 a.m.

Love Wagons..... Those are some really cool jump seats! Never knew they made them side by side like that. 

Norma66
Norma66 Reader
2/15/18 6:44 a.m.

Love the Galaxie/Country Sedan platform! yes

jimbbski
jimbbski Dork
2/15/18 10:18 a.m.

We had a '72 sedan with that same drivetrain.  Totally trouble free and if you were easy on the gas and kept your speed down on the highway you could eek out 20 mpg's. Around town is was low teens. 

dculberson
dculberson UltimaDork
2/15/18 10:19 a.m.

I used to have a '68 with the 390. It was great. It was lowered too much by the previous owner so I bought a set of stock springs but never got around to raising it back up before selling it. These things sound great with glasspacks on them.

 

snailmont5oh
snailmont5oh HalfDork
2/15/18 11:04 a.m.

I've already installed an Accel points eliminator kit.  I'm actively looking for some 17s for it, preferably 17x8".  The master plan calls for making sure it's structurally sound, all new suspension bushings (or maybe arms), swaybars on both ends, and new springs, with airbags in the rears. I already have a set of KYB Gas-a-just shocks for it, that I might put in this weekend, if the weather holds. I'm thinking that 2 2.5" primary pipes, with a Flowmaster merge collector into a single 3" Ultra Flo should make for a nice sound.  

 

fanfoy
fanfoy Dork
2/15/18 12:13 p.m.
snailmont5oh said:
Cotton said:

Well,  I really like what I see so far!  Does it have the folding 3rd row?

snailmont5oh
snailmont5oh HalfDork
2/16/18 1:17 a.m.

Oh, yeah...

When I got the car, it had no rear brakes. I went ahead and drove it 8 hours home anyway. When I got home, I noticed that it had no fluid in the small reservoir. I put fluid in it. After a few days, the rear brakes came back. I didn't even bleed them. The air bubble must have been right at the bottom of the master cylinder. 

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse UberDork
2/16/18 7:40 a.m.

Since it has the 400 now, a 460 will be a near-bolt in.  You will like the 460.  

snailmont5oh
snailmont5oh HalfDork
2/16/18 6:04 p.m.
volvoclearinghouse said:

Since it has the 400 now, a 460 will be a near-bolt in.  You will like the 460.  

But, the 460 has a shorter stroke!  Also, yes. I like 460s. I wanna see what I can do with this 400, though. 

SaltyDog
SaltyDog Reader
2/16/18 8:01 p.m.

Yeah, I rode thousands of miles in those rear jump seats in our '73 Galaxie Wagon. Not a fond memory. The trips were great, just not the accommodations crammed into the back of that thing.  

Wagons are pretty cool though, I'll be watching this one! 

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse UberDork
2/20/18 7:02 a.m.
snailmont5oh said:
volvoclearinghouse said:

Since it has the 400 now, a 460 will be a near-bolt in.  You will like the 460.  

But, the 460 has a shorter stroke!  Also, yes. I like 460s. I wanna see what I can do with this 400, though. 

I'll give you the answer right now- not much.  I've been tinkering with 400s and 460s for the past 5 or 6 years, and the same effort put into a 400 vs a 460 is like night and day.  The last 400 I had got dumped off at the smelters a few years ago.  460's, at least around here, are cheap.  I've never paid more than $500 for a running one.  I once bought a 30,000 mile RV pullout with a C6 for $400.  Stuffed new flat top pistons into it, didn't need to do anything other than break the ridge at the top of the hole.  A Cobra Jet cam, 4 bbl intake, ported the heads and plugged the smog ports, windage tray, and a straight up timing chain set.  Should be pushing 350-375 horse.  You'd have to turbo a 400 to get that kind of power.  And then you'd hole a piston.  

The 460, as you note, has a nice stroke-bore ratio and you can really rev them.  Ours lives in a LeMons car and hits 5000 RPM for hours on end.  It sounds like the world is going to explode, but it holds up.  So far.  *knock on wood*

The 400 isn't the most terrible-est engine ever.  It will get you where you're going- slowly- and will run for a long time.  But it will be a very boring ride.  

mikedd969
mikedd969 New Reader
2/20/18 10:11 a.m.

In reply to snailmont5oh : Be sure to check the body mounts too.  They are a little bit of a PITA to replace, but they really do make a big difference out on the road.  I grew up wrenching on all the big old Fords of this vintage, body mount replacement was usually one of the first things we'd do after all the suspension rubber.  Great chouce for a tow mule, those old wagons are SOLID!!!

 

 

mikedd969
mikedd969 New Reader
2/20/18 10:15 a.m.

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

Probably the best assessment of the 400 vs. 460 I've ever heard.  You nailed it.  God how I live those big old 460 lumps!  So many fond memories.

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse UberDork
2/20/18 10:25 a.m.
Nitroracer
Nitroracer UltraDork
2/20/18 9:29 p.m.

I'd love to use my Oldsmobile wagon to pull my car to the track, but it feels like a frail old car to lug around an extra 5000lbs.  If I had the time/money/brains I'd love to drop the body over a modern 1/2 ton chassis and get the best of both worlds.  Can't wait to see yours put to work.

snailmont5oh
snailmont5oh HalfDork
2/21/18 9:44 p.m.

I finally got to do some under-car reconnaissance Monday. The frame looks pretty solid. It needs the right rearmost body mount repaired, but the guy that wants to do the rear outside-the-frame-rails repair and build the hitch said he can fix it at the same time. 

The hitch is gonna reach all the way forward to right behind the gas tank, and also use the bumper to frame bolts at the rear. 

I got the KYB Gas-a-Just shocks on, too. It recovers from bumps with less bouncing, but it still hits them weird, and is a little weird going left.  It looks like springs are gonna be the next priority item. It's kinda hard to tell in the pic, but the right side is pretty low compared to the left. Does anyone know if there's a way to get discounted pricing from Eaton Detroit Spring?

mikedd969
mikedd969 New Reader
2/22/18 12:32 a.m.

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

Thanks for that!!  I do love me some big old, obsolete but undeniably cool Ford heavy iron.  Smells like......childhood.....

I like the part about you starting your internal combustion misadventures by wenching an old push-mower.  That is exactly how I started.  Took my grandparents old mower with a worn out 3.5HP B&S out on the back patio and took it apart just to see how it worked.  My Granny, bless her heart, drove me to town the next day and bought me all the parts to rebuild it.  I never had so much fun!!  It was all brand-new to me, mysterious and fascinating.  Borrowed an old "small engine repair" book from the library and got right down to it. 10,000 times better than any video game (which didn't exist back then anyway....) and a lot more educational.  Good times man, good times....  smiley

 

snailmont5oh
snailmont5oh HalfDork
2/22/18 2:29 a.m.

@volvoclearinghouse: I just realized that your Lemons car and my wagon are on the same chassis. Please bestow upon me all you've learned about making it work. 

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse UberDork
2/22/18 6:20 a.m.

In reply to snailmont5oh :

God that thing looks mean.  laugh

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse UberDork
2/22/18 6:55 a.m.

In reply to snailmont5oh :

Our LTD is a '75...I don't know enough about early 70's Fords to tell you it's 100% the same as your 71, but anyway, here goes.  (I actually keep a spreadsheet of what we've done to the race car, because I'm an anal retentive mechanical engineer type)

Bouncy Bits:  The front coil springs we cut about 1 coil off of.  This lowered the front and stiffened it up a bit.  For the front sway bar, we found another LTD in a junkyard and bought its bar, and doubled it up with the one already on our car, with custom fabbed brackets and bushings.  Welded reinforcements on the lower suspension arms (they're open stampings).  Replaced all the bushings all around, just went with regular rubber (poly can actually fail under hard use, we've found- rubber is more forgiving to our type of abuse).  In the back, we got a rear sway bar off a cop LTD.  The rear springs on ours are tapered, so they can't be cut.  We clamped one coil each side, this made the car sit level with the front springs cut.  Amazingly, this has held up for years of track use.  KYB Gas-Adjust shocks all around, nothing fancy, ~$40 each.  

Spinny Bits: 16" steel wheels from a Jeep (5 x 5 bolt pattern IIRC).  1.25" aluminum spacers (bolt on) for extra track.  245/50R16's all around, BFG G-force, ~300 TW.  

Rear: Ford 9", 3.50 gears, limited slip

Stoppy bits:  Front calipers replaced with 2 piston aluminum calipers from a ~2005 Ford Mustang GT.  I fabbed a custom adaptor to fit them.  Stock rotors, IIRC 11".  Hawk HT-10 pads.  In race use, we chew through a set of rotors and pads about every 2 races, and melt the phenolic caliper pistons at about the same rate, so we just replace rotors, pads, and calipers every 2 races.  One big thing that helped us was converting the rear to discs.  This was super easy and cheap, after I did the leg work: rotors from a 94-96 Impala SS, calipers from any G-body GM car (I think they're called the Metric calipers) and $13 weld-on caliper brackets from Summit Racing.  Pads are Raybestos metallic, like $25 a set.  Brake hoses are braided stainless all around.  Stock master cylinder and booster.  WilWood 600 degree DOT 4 brake fluid.  

Turney bits- we de-powered the steering, which may be extreme for street use, but on a track at 100 mph, you don't notice it so much!  Everything else is stock type, including the rag joint (which we really need to replace).  We did replace ball joints, etc.  Any wear part.  

Alignment: about 2 degrees of negative camber seems pretty good up front.  For street use I'd shoot for maybe -1 degree.  Toe is just barely in (~1/16 to 1/8"), because there's so much slop in that setup it'll be essentially toe-neutral at speed.  Make sure you have caster and that it's even side to side.  As much as you can safely dial in within the constraints of the suspension.  

Transmission: stock C6 with Trans-Go $30 shift kit and new fluid and seals.  Amazingly, we "consume" a C6 about every other race as well.  But I'm also always just getting $200 used ones from craigslist.  The C6 behind 2WD Ford trucks with 351M/400 or 460's seem to be drop-in fits.  Avoid Lincoln Transmissions- they had a weird driveshaft.  Also avoid 4x4 or RV transmissions, different output shafts.  Of course, Ford car C6 work fine, but they're getting hard to find.  

Engine- 460, see build thread.  We run an Edelbrock 600 CFM carb because I had it around.  I'd go with a Street Demon 750 if budget weren't an issue.  

Body Bits- we stripped off everything that doesn't make the car go, stop, or turn.  6 point LeMons-spec cage mounted to the frame rails.  20 gallon fuel cell- we get almost 2 hours of race time on that fuel load.  Kirkey race seat, cam-lock 5 point belts.  

Exhaust: stock manifolds, 2-1/4" duals and turbo mufflers with side dumps.

We relocated the starter solenoid and the electronic ignition box to the inside firewall, to keep them away from heat.  Haven't had one fail yet.  Definitely go for the Ford electronic ignition if yours still has points.  It's an easy swap.  Ford racing makes a decent plug wire set.  I understand the Taurus alternators can be adapted pretty easily, to get rid of the stock 60 amp unit with the external regulator.  We haven't done that yet, but plan to, as we will be going with electric fans soon.  Stock clutch fan is kinda terrible- it sticks way out front and vibrates, throwing water pump belts and killing water pumps.  But then, we also spin it at 5000 RPM ll the time.  So maybe that has something to do with it.  Radiator is a Summit aluminum job, 31" wide.  IIRC is about $170.  We made a custom lower radiator hose with mostly steel tube, to prevent collapse under suction.  

snailmont5oh
snailmont5oh HalfDork
2/22/18 2:27 p.m.

Thanks for the info. Just so you know, the overall suspension design stayed the same from '65 to '78. Most parts I'm looking up say "'69-'78". Also, the front suspension was used in NASCAR for several years, and in circle-track racing for many, many more. 

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