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Nominals 1964 Mercury


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  • 2 weeks later...

After a year or so one of the Astro wheels had an 'issue'


which resulted in their removal from the car. I went back to the original 14" steels for a while, but needed something better for the Beach Hop, so acquired some 14" 5 spokes via Trademe. After a clean up, paint, and some newly spun bullets...


Have done a couple of weddings. These are usually somewhat fun, but involve a lot of waiting around. At least this time I had a hooker in a Lincoln to chat with.


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  • 2 weeks later...

The original grille is a stamped aluminium affair with vertical bars. The design is fussy, and the blacked out areas really needed repainting.

I don't have a good before pic, but this one shows the grille reasonably well. A complicating factor is the quad headlights. I designed the grille to use the existing headlight surrounds. This means that the new bars follow the same V profile as the original, both vertically and horizontally


The first step was removing the headlights and original grille. A workshop manual was handy as there are quite a few bolts involved. I had to paint the area behind the headlights satin black as it was previously body coloured. I got rid of the dead moths later!


Each dual headlight assemble is a large pot-metal casting that bolts through the radiator support in 4 places. The tube grille assembly between the headlights would need to be attached to this casting.



After checking out some tubing sizes and looks I settled on a 7-bar design using 5/8" (16mm) stainless steel tubing. I made some plywood mounting brackets to test out the look.



When correctly assembled the headlight bezels cover the ends of the tubing.


After sourcing some tubing and cutting to the correct lengths (the usual measure twice, cut once routine) I made a template (with the small holes) then used this to create a couple of mounting plates from some stainless steel sheet. The larger holes were drilled with a unibit.


Most of the holes where then cut off with a Bosch shear to leave this shape. The small cutouts were a bit help in locating and aligning the tubing.


For these short pieces I also used the plywood brackets for alignment when welding.


The tubes were MIG welded to the mounts. I didn't have an SS wire handy so just used the normal steel MIG setup - hopefully this won't bite me in the ass later.



Due to the stepping spacing of the headlights (that matches the overall V at the front of this Mercury) the mounts are not at 90 degrees to the tubing.



I didn't really want to drill the headlight mount casting, but didn';t see a good option. So I made these large mounting plates which bolt to the casting in four places.


Trial assembly.



Both between-headlight assemblies with the mounting brackets and plates painted black.


Looking OK!



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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

Wish I could find the box with the nuts and centres in right now. Lost in the shed somewhere.

Anyway, back in 1963 Ford introduced the 'compliance link' into the front suspension of the Galaxie (and fullsize Mercury). This is a offset pivot on the front of the lower A-arm that allows the arm to move back under compression (or something like that). It was such a 'great' idea that it was dropped after the 1964 year.  When driving the car with these things it gives a weird feel to the front suspension, especially under braking. While still in the USA a bought a big steel bar that bolts between the links on each side and effectively locks them out. Worked fine, but now that I am doing the airbag thing, I wanted to get rid of it.

Here is the link in the chassis after the A-arm was removed.


Here are the parts out the chassis. The shaft threads inside the housing which is in turn threaded into the chassis. I had to borrow a big 3/4 drive socket from oldschooler CXGPWR to get it out.


There are various kits available (at outrageous prices) to replace this. Some use a straight bolt mounted through the centre of the housing, while others have new offset mounts in the chassis. I decided to use the offset approach as it puts the pivot in the factory 'rest' location.

A chunk of 50mm bar got mounted in the 4-jaw of my old clunker lathe to start the process.


Here is the result. The thinner mount goes in front, the thicker towards the rear. It needs to be thicker to take up the space used by the crank piece and a washer thingy.

The through bolt is 3/4 x 9 inches (thanks NZFord for supplying those).




They seem to work fine in the chassis. When I'm done tinkering I'll tack them to the crossmember so they don't rotate.

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  • 2 months later...

Making some progress with the bag setup. When I bought the car it had been fitted with an A/C dash (it wasn't A/C originally) and was supplied with a York compressor and some of the mounts.

First problem was the crank pulley. It was running two sheaves on the crank, one for the water pump and alternator, and one for the power steering. The factory setup has a third sheave for the A/C, running around an adjustable idler. I was visiting the US back in September so managed to order the correct pulley (which fits over the balance, so was huge) and A/C mounting bracket. Unfortunately the seller didn't do a very good packaging job with only the crank pulley arriving. I managed to get another A/C mount via Craigslist at short notice though, so it worked out OK.

When I got home I realised that I needed a smaller water pump pulley to fit with the big crank pulley. Not having a good source for this I cut the inner sheave off my newly acquired pulley and mounted it to the old skinny balancer. For some reason this didn't align with the P/S pump. so a 3mm spacer was needed between the pulleys.

New pulley mounted up


This is the newer of the two A/C compressors. It's a York 2-piston unit. I tested the magnetic clutch and that the unit still spun OK.


This is the idler for the A/C belt which also includes the alternator mount and adjuster. I had to cut off one ear to fit around the water pump, and also adjust some spacing for belt alignment.


The 50 year old A/C mount needed some clean up and rust removal in acid. Nasty stuff!


The mounting bits almost ready to go on.


I wanted to block off an oil passage which allows crank case oil to be sucked into the compressor suction side. This doesn't matter in a closed A/C system, but is messy when using it as an air compressor. Head off shows the reed-type valves.


Removing the valve plate shows the pistons. The crank is in a separate chamber below. I used a self-tapping screw to block the passage.


All assembled onto the engine, and with a couple of new belts as the lengths had changed. I started the car up and it all stayed in place. Jumping the magnetic clutch resulted in some satisfying pumping action.


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  • 1 month later...

OK, so the front end is progressing OK. Lower A-arms are off getting tig welded (needed for cert) and I should get them back tomorrow. Where should I go for crack testing in Wellington?

Have acquired some Falcon front discs which look promising to use on the Merc stubs (the Falcon discs are integral with the hub).

Pulled the stock single-pot MC off and it looks like the mid-70's US Ford dual M/C will work fine.

Pics of all this to come.

Current problem is getting the leaf springs off. The pic shows the front mounting to the chassis.



There is a big shouldered bolt that runs through the spring bushing, then bolts to the outer side of the chassis rail.

There is an access hole to the nut inside the chassis rail....


and through the big X-crossmember too. However the thread and nut look well rusted (probably haven't been removed for 50 years), so getting it apart will be a challenge. I think I'm going to need a grinder with a cutting disc.

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OK, so front suspension progress.

Dirty old stock system


I made a spring compressor from some threaded rod.


and a couple of steel plates/tubes


Dealing with loaded springs makes me nervous, so I didn't want to leave any way for it to escape.


It's a beefy spring, weighs about 10kg. Static weight on front of car is right around 1000kg.


Upper mounts are made from steel tubing, plates, and some threaded rod that goes through the old upper shock mount.




I didn't want to have to cut/weld the chassis spring pockets while the whole car is assembled, so the top of the airbag sits just below the pocket.

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This means that the bag needs to sit down into the lower A-arm, roughly even with the bottom of the arm.


Which means some cutting....


I later had to cut a lot more away from the arm for clearance to the bag sides.

So, it goes together like this. I think this is roughly ride height. It's designed so that the bag ends are parallel at ride height.


Should look like this....


Sorting the shocks and mounts was a hassle. Due to the way the chassis is designed I needed to have the lower shock mount located further out towards the ball joint. This means a longer shock stroke is needed. Even with the longest I could locate (something from a Valiant) I need to limit droop travel a bit, but I don't expect to be getting the front end airbourne so hope this works out OK. Inner guard needed to be cut for the upper mount.


The upper mount has another piece that locates right down the depth of the chassis. It's all made from 6mm plate, so won't be going anywhere.

Having one side worked out meant that the other side was quicker - just duplicate...


I needed to fill in the gaps to rebuilt the A-arm strength. I used some donated 3.5mm plate for this. After chewing through a few cut-off wheels I realised I could use the Nibbler to shear this size. It did work OK, but the small pieces of plate were hard to hold on to when it was running.


Here's the arms tacked together, ready to go off to the tig man.


I should get them back this week. Anyone know where to go for crack testing in Wellington?

Also acquired the airbag controller setup.


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At the rear, I needed to get the axle out so I can deal with the front spring mounts.

The old leafs look a bit shagged.....


Got it all unbolted after some persuasion with long breaker bars and a rattle gun.


Having the car on a lift is great, but it is a bit tricky to remove heavy parts from under the car. After a bit of a wrestle with jack stands and trolleys there is a large hole to fill.


At least I won't have to swap in a 9" - it comes with one from the factory.


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  • 2 weeks later...

OK, so springs extracted with grinder. I don't thing that nut (the rusty thing at bottom left) was going to come undone.


A package arrived from Airride NZ - I think this is the last big order. Only plumbing fittings and P clips needed now.


Also picked up some 25mm Sch 80 tube for the 4-bars. Pipe sizing is weird. No dimension on this stuff is 25mm.


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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Been busy busy working on the suspension. Rear triangulated 4-link is built, airbags set up at the back. Currently all out of the car so I could weld the brackets (done now), and re-route the exhaust (partly done). Have gone back to the front end to sort some disc brakes and plumbing/wiring.

BA Falcon caliper and disc. Hopefully the brakes will work OK when driven, I have a big M/C from a US ford (77 t-bird or something like that). Keeping the standard drums on the back. Only just fits inside the wheel, with a tiny bit of filing on the caliper. I cut the caliper bracket like that in case I needed to pick up the third boss on the spindle. I think it will be OK with two though, because the big 1/2" bolt on the upright part took the main load of the drum brakes. Adding the third point would mean getting more tig welding and crack testing done and I am short of time.


This is tonight, one side pretty sorted. The Falcon flex hoses should work too.  New upper balljoint fitted. New shocks on relocated mounts. Height sensor fitted.



Have to do other side next, which needs the shock mount welded on then assembling. Then finish exhausts and reinstall diff. Finish plumbing, mount air tank, hook up some power and test it out. Hope to have it all working next week for cert prior to Beach Hop.

Clipping the air lines every 300mm is a pain. Any suggestions on easy ways to mount the clips to the chassis rail? I have done with a pop rivet, but I think that is crappy. Maybe some hex headed self tappers? Drilling and tapping is difficult due to clearance issues.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Been slaving on this the last few days and weekends. Found some suitable hex-drive self tappers are Mitre 10 (oh the shame). Bought some more airline only to realise that there are two systems - imperial 3/8, and metric 10mm, and they are not interchangeable (even though 3/8 is 9.5mm). Luckily I hadn't put much of the wrong line in place.

Found that to fit the rear wheels I need to deflate the tires, and pump the bags right up - bit tricky before the system is working. I'll have to pack some fittings and an inflater in the trunk in the future - along with the deep socket for the wheel nuts.

Also found that it is hard to get a jack out from under a lowered vehicle. Luckily the lift allowed me to drop it onto some jackstands. Aired out the chassis rail sits on the upright flange of the lift deck.



Got it started (engine-driven compressor), and tried the auto-level cycle, but it behaved oddly. I tried manually, but couldn't control all the corners correctly. It turned out that the cable to the VU4 valve assembly wasn't fully plugged in - worked better after that, and the auto-level seemed OK. I stopped eventually as it was past midnight, and the shed was full of fumes.

Next I need to sort a few minor brake issues before a test drive

- Caliper brackets need re-drilling to provide a little more wheel clearance

- Brake lines on diff housing need to be replace/rerouted to clear new brackets and for exhaust clearance

- Bleed brakes and ROAD TEST

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Dud compressor clutch bearing extracted. Pictured (on the left) next to one I got from another compressor (with a different style clutch) I had in the shed. It seems to be a fairly common part to the york/tecumseh compressor. Have ordered a new one from Mana Bearings to pick up on Monday. Put the other old one in for now, which seems to work fine, so took another test drive, and actually made it home OK. Need to tinker with the brakes in the weekend, but it's time for a beer now.


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Backing up a bit, here's something on the rear 4-link.

As I read the rules, they needed to be made from 1" schedule 80 steel tubing. This is heavy wall/high pressure tubing and is a bit difficult to get hold of in short lengths. I finally acquired some from an engineering workshop in Petone.

The lower links were made to run where the front half of the leaf springs were, from a bracket welded below the leaf mount pad on the diff, to the old spring mount location on the chassis. Again according to 'the book' the through bolts on the links needed to be 5/8".

I visited the Mount Shop and trolled through their catalog to find some bushes that would suit. I ended up with some leaf spring bushings for a Mitsi Canter IIRC. These needed to be trimmed for width, and custom crush tubes made up with the correct ID/OD. For the bushing outers I used some normal pipe, 1 1/2 I think. The outer fit is a little loose but will hopefully work out OK.

Since I wanted to made the links adjustable, I started up threading the ID of the tube at one end. According to the book, one of the reasons for the Sch 80 tube is that the ID suits appropriate taps without machining. This is a 1"UNF tap going in.


After getting the lower links done I could partially bolt the diff back in. Pinion angle slightly off here.


I was doing this right before the christmas break and couldn't get any 1" UNF all-thread in time, so initially tacked one end in place to set up the mounts. This is one of the shorter upper links.


For packaging reasons - I wanted to keep the upper shock mounts in the stock location to reduce the amount of work needed, it was better to have the top bars angled from the diff centre out to the chassis rails.

I made some steel spacers to use for mocking up the mounts.



And spent a lot of time getting familiar with the angle grinder and cut-off discs.


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