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My '54 Customline build

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  • #16
    A little more progress. Pulled the original wiring harness....what a mess! The cloth insulation was basically gone with lots of bare wire exposed.

    Luckily, I found this at a garage sale awhile back for $25. The guy obviously didn't know what he had. The box was a little beat up but everything inside was there, complete and still sealed in their cellophane bags!

    Mounted the fusebox high on the kickpanel and tucked up and behind the dash.

    I separated all the wiring and ran it to it's respective areas. It's coiled up and marked and ready for connection.

    Moving on to the next task, I pulled the windshield and back glass. The gaskets were toast and I needed to do a bunch of metalwork on the roof so out they came. Surprising how easy they were to remove! The windshield gasket was brittle so I just popped the inside lip off in chunks with a screwdriver.

    I left the stainless mouldings on because they're integral to the gasket. I gently pushed on the top part of the glass while my wife held the bottom so it wouldn't pop out and hit the floor. Came right out!

    The back gasket wasn't as brittle so I had to slice all around the inside lip with a razor knife. Did the same procedure. Pushed on the top portion of the glass while my wife held the bottom. Again, came right out!

    Built a little stand using scrap lumber, electrical conduit and some pipe insulation. Now they're stored out of the way so they won't get damaged.

    Next up is more metalwork. The drip rail and sections of the roof were rotted through. This was the worst spot. Cut out the drip rail and roof section. No turning back now!

    It's packed with that factory sealer garbage that loves to retain moisture. Had to scrape that all out.

    Did the front section first then moved onto the side section.

    Welded on a 1/2" strip for the valley of the drip rail.

    Next I built the face of the drip rail. Cut a 1/2" strip of 18ga and gave it a little tweak in the middle on my HF brake. That helped it match the contour of the original. Welded it on. I could barely get the tip of my MIG down in the hole!

    Moved onto the side section and did the same procedure. Made relief cuts every inch or so I could make the curve.

    Semi-finished product. Might not win the Ridler award but it'll do!

    Had to do the whole front section too.

    Had to backtrack a little today. When I mounted the '55 fuel tank I thought all was good and then I noticed the fuel door would close all the way except when the gas cap was on! So, today I pulled the tank and shortened the filler tube a little over an inch.

    Fits like a glove now and the door closes with the cap on!

    That's all for today. I hope I'm not overwhelming you guys with tons of pics! I just like to document and explain everything I do in the hopes it'll help someone else during their build. I've got a little more metal work to do and then I'll start pulling the drivetrain outta the Mustang.


    • #17
      I'm surely impressed by some of the body work you guys do. Don't slow up on the pics because the only thing better than that is being there in person. It's great to see how different folks address different things, but pics also helps make a build a bit more "personal from afar" if that makes sense. Keep up the great work! 1930 Chevy truck build link:


      • #18
        Pics are gold!
        My build thread:


        • #19
          Well the entire month of November was a wash! On election day myself and my whole family contracted Covid-19. Just in the last week I'm starting to get out and work on the '54 a little. Before I went down I got a few things done so here's an update.
          I was able to blast and prime all the inner fenders, core support, etc.

          I noticed the cardboard diffuser in the heater box was shabby. When I grabbed it, it crumbled in my hand! Welded up a new one out of 18ga sheetmetal. Yeah, I know it's upside down!

          Moving on....prepped the donor Mustang for drivetrain removal and out it came.

          Pulled the ECU and control harness also. They'll be integrated into the '54.

          Separated the tranny and put the 5.0 on the stand. Now I was able to test my homemade engine rotator and it worked like a charm! The write-up on that is in the 'Tool Talk' forum.

          Before I went down I was able to make it to Pick-N-Pull and grabbed a driveshaft from an '85 LTD which had the perfect length and correct yoke for the AOD. I wonder if I picked up Covid there?

          Slid the motor/trans into place. This is for mock-up only. I need to decide where all the peripherals will be placed and determine what mods are necessary.

          The Hedman 88400's fit as snug as a bug in a rug!

          The donor Mustang's radiator was a new replacement so I decided to use that. It's a crossflow, thin and the factory transmission lines along with radiator hoses bolt right up! No brainer!

          More to come!


          • #20
            Super update pics! Glad to see you're jumping back on it. On the drive shaft- how did you go about discovering what would be the perfect fit?
   1930 Chevy truck build link:


            • #21
              Lot's of research. The 'pork site' is full of titillating info! A bunch of guys over there are dedicated to building these cars and have already been down this road.
              From the '1952-59 Ford Social Group'.......

              1952-56 Ford drive shaft info. With a 302/AOD or C4 swap you can use a 1982-86 Ford Crown Vic drive shaft. It has the correct front yoke for both and you can bolt it up to the stock 1949-56 Ford rear ends by using a NEAPCO 2-0291 U-Joint. The NAPA unit is part # Perfection 506.


              • #22
                Another update. There's a million tasks that need to be completed. Just trying to methodically do them one at a time. More metal work. I had already replaced the trunk extensions but I still had to replace the rear valance panels that I cut out to get to the trunk extensions! Formed up a length of 18ga....

                Welded it in.....

                Ground down the welds......

                Did the same to the other side....


                Next up, the heater blower motor was right on top of the mass airflow pieces. Had to make more room....

                Took 1-1/2" out of the lower mount....

                Plenty of room now......

                Next up is fuel lines. Trying to utilize everything I can from the donor Mustang so I pulled the hardlines from the tank to the fuel rail. I also used the factory Mustang fuel filter bracket. Cut, rewelded and flipped it upside down....

                Turns out, I had to cut 5' out of the center section to make the lines work....

                I was only able to use the front and rear sections....

                I joined the two together with some NAPA fuel line. I know how some feel about unions in fuel lines but, I have a couple on the roadster and have never had a leak.

                The nice thing about the Mustang hardlines is you can utilize the factory soft lines also and they hook right up to fuel rail with the spring connectors...

                The engine control wiring was daunting. Not too hard, just time consuming....

                Had to clean, organize and ohm out each wire then decide which circuits could be eliminated and which ones needed to stay. Had to shorten (and sometimes lengthen) a few wires but I think I've got it pretty much squared away now. I would have been lost without this.......

                Got the ECU and power relay mounted and most all the wires run....

                Mustangs had the data link connectors just flopping around under the hood. I wanted something a little neater so I moved them to the interior and built a box that tucks up under the dash with a removeable cover so the connector just drops down below the dash where you can plug in your code reader...

                Keeping with the theme of using donor parts, I adapted the stock Mustang AOD shifter to the '54. Not sure what I'm gonna do about a console or interior just yet, but I'll get around to it. In the meantime, now I can shift the transmission....

                Moving up front. I wanted to use the stock Mustang radiator but it was just a little to tight for the SPAL 16" electric fan I intend to run. Some surgery was required.

                Removed the core support plus a couple of inches on each side....

                I moved the radiator forward about 2-1/2", welded some lower mounts to the top of the crossmember and made the upper mount out of 1" flatbar which also ties both sides of the car together. Rock solid!...

                The front pan required some notching....

                Even made a couple of sheetmetal covers to cover the tanks...

                Got my MAF and cold air intake fabbed up and mounted today. Used a 3-1/2" 90* to tie into the MAF and make the transition through the inner fender panel...

                Then I attached my K&N cone filter and even made up a debris guard for it.

                Also, for anyone that plans to run a serpentine belt and after much research, I found a way around the $300 March pulley setup. I'm using the stock '93 Mustang crank pulley, a Ford Racing short water pump (best price I found)

                and this AutoSpecialties water pump pulley

                Lines up perfectly! I still need to fab an alternator bracket.

                Decided to get a better perspective so I threw on some sheetmetal and dropped it to the ground. Next month will be one year since I started the build. I think I've got quite a bit accomplished in that time. I'm pretty happy today!

                Until next time!


                • #23
                  Looking good!
                  I'm wondering if that air filter setup going to clear the front tire when it turns and moves up and down? By the picture, it looks like its pretty close, but that might just be the angle the picture was taken. Gene


                  • #24
                    Thanks Gene! Actually, it's the angle of the pic. The cone filter is 8" above the tire. There used to be a long tube that ran in that area for the fresh air intake to the cabin. I removed that and the filter is higher than where the tube was.


                    • #25
                      I figured you probably had plenty of clearance given the quality of the work you do, but every once in a while we all have one of those "oh crap" moments and just miss something obvious. Carry on, I'll be watching. Gene


                      • #26
                        I like what you did with the Radiator area. I may be copying this concept for my Buick!


                        • #27
                          Man you ain't been sitting around drinking root beer and watching TV! The work is looking so very nice. Keep forging ahead.
                 1930 Chevy truck build link:


                          • #28
                            I sit around watching TV at night! During the day I get to work on the car. I'm lovin' retirement!


                            • #29
                              Yes, that retirement thing is pretty cool for sure. Working on the toys, or not, during the day is great.
                              I don't sit around and watch TV at night, but I do surf the net hot rod boards at night.


                              • #30
                                Well, it's been awhile. I'm still alive. Progress has slowed a bit but I thought I'd update the few things I've done over the last 6 months. Prepare to be underwhelmed!
                                I found the correct water pump serp pulley but I had to fab the 3G alternator bracket. For the upper mount 1/4" flat plate and thick walled steel tube did the job. The lower mount is more 1/4" plate. It's also tied into the block at 90* for support.

                                I relocated the battery to the trunk. I just used the stock '54 battery tray but I'll probably get a vented box later.

                                Can't say enough about these
                                They have everything you'll need. It's all quality stuff, their prices are great and as an added bonus, their shipping charges are ridiculously cheap!

                                For the positive lead I ran 1/0 copper welding cable from the right side of the trunk to the left side of the firewall and attached it to a power post.

                                I strung the cable under the decklid, over the rear wheelhouse and through the rocker panel.

                                For cable retainers, I cut some lengths of 7/8" tube, sliced them in half and welded them to the decklid bumper supports.

                                The negative cable runs through the floorpan and connects to a stud welded onto the framerail.

                                Got lucky and snagged a recently replated grille assembly for $400! It's in excellent condition. My local plater wants $1k to replate my crappy original. No brainer!

                                Last month I decided to tuck my rear bumper. There was a 1-1/2" gap between the top of the bumper and trunk extensions.

                                A couple of 2x6's secured together and placed on a floor jack makes installation and removal truly a one man operation.

                                Just slotted the bumper bracket holes and it tucked in nice and tight.

                                My bench seat caught on fire at one point in it's life and is beyond toast. I wanted buckets anyhow. Found these sitting out on the sidewalk 2 blocks away. The price was right, couldn't pass 'em up! I think they're out of a Prius.

                                Fabbed up some mounting brackets.............done.

                                I'm in the middle of bodywork and prep now. I decided to attack the roof first. In it's prior life someone decided to dance the Macarena in the middle of it. After popping it back out and doing a little metal shrinking, I took it down to bare metal with 80g. It took 3 layers of Rage body filler to get it back into shape.

                                Next, I layed on a couple of coats of epoxy primer and followed that with 2 medium coats of Slicksand (sprayable bondo). Blocked that all down with 180g followed by 240g then, just today, I finished up with 3 coats of 2K urethane primer.

                                Remember the roof sections and drip rail that I had to replace? I'm pretty happy with the outcome!

                                All that's left is seam sealer in the gutters and a final scuff before paint. I'm gonna move on to the rest of the bodywork tomorrow.
                                That's all for now. Thanks for lookin'!