Under Cover

Shortly after I got the engine installed, an unusually heavy early-season rainstorm appeared in the forecast, and I had a choice between rushing through the final steps of the engine and suspension project or preparing for the coming weather. (The car’s interior is reasonably weather-resistant, but I still have a considerable leak into the trunk.) I hated the idea of rushing things at the end, so when I found a reasonably priced car cover (only $40!), the deal was sealed.

I spent the week cleaning oil-caked parts, painting those that had never been off the car and occasionally repainting items that I’d done before, but have seen some wear and tear over the years—like the braces that run from the shock towers to the firewall.

PCV system, before . . .
PCV system, before . . .

Working steadily over the week, I closed up the motor some more by installing the carb, new spark plugs and the distributor. The most difficult task was the small shaft under the distributor that drives the oil pump. Originally, I think, there was a snap ring installed on these to hold it in place. Mine doesn’t have that, and it simply fell out when I turned the motor over while on the stand. I thought it would be easy to drop it in again. Instead, it landed slightly askew in the recess, too far down to be removed and in a spot too narrow to reach with most tools. I could  touch it with a skinny flat-bladed screwdriver, but didn’t have the leverage to straighten it up or pry it back out. Finally, I used the distributor itself to ease everything into place. Everything seemed to seat properly, but it’s one of those things you can’t verify visually. I’ll have to wait until the motor is ready to turn over before I know for sure that all is well.

. . .PCV system, after.
. . .PCV system, after.

I also struggled with the dipstick tube. The one on the engine was in two pieces connected with a short piece of rubber fuel line. I bought a replacement and tried to install it after the motor was back in. The tube is a press fit and a pretty tight one at that. It’s curved, so tapping one end with a mallet doesn’t drive it in; it can’t be twisted in either—too many things interfere. I finally resorted to a grinder and file to shave the tube down a bit, then installed it with some sealant. I now understand why someone would cut the thing and install it the way it was. I’m not sure my way will be better, leak-wise.

While the garage would be better, this will do in the short term.
While the garage would be better, this will do in the short term.

By the time the rain started, I had the alternator, radiator, fan, pcv system and other items installed. I still need to crawl under the car to get the exhaust hooked up and starter installed. On top, the power steering pump is cleaned and ready to go, including all new hoses.

3 thoughts on “Under Cover”

  1. Hello,

    I always enjoy your articles and progress on the ’64’… I want to put rear disc brakes on my ’65’ because I found a small double reservoir master cylinder. I’ve been told that because of the smaller reservoir the system will not work as well with rear drums. With 4 wheel disc my source said it should be fine. JEG’s has a rear disc kit, but only for the big axle bearings… Do you know if there’s a standard big or small bearing for thge rear axle? I beleive the P/N is 1225, but the parts book doesn’t show the size, big or small…

    I would remove one of the rear wheels and drums to see first hand, but my floor jack is out for repair. I have a smaller 1 ton floor jack, but I have the front end up on jack stands and don’t want to raise just one side because of that.

    I posted this request on the Vintage forum, but it was moved to the modified forum which doesn’t seem to have much activity. Any help or direction will be appreciated.


    Mitch Leland
    “Home in the Hill Country”

  2. Gday Steve been a subscriber for a while i am a 64 tbird man fighting the good fight in Australia love your posts hope you can keep them going because we need this stuff and I don’t think I could do it myself good luck with the project
    Regards Adam Whittlesea Australia

  3. Hi Steve, I feel your pain with the distributor drive because I’ve dropped that darn thing in there several times myself. It’s amazing how tightly stuck it gets!
    Enjoying reading all your progress – you do nice work.


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