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    1. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      11-07-2015 12:43 PM #1
      I have a friend named Jim that owns a tired 1956 Continental Mark II. Since this is the 60th anniversary of the Mark II he's getting invited to shows and wanted to get there safely.

      He came to me for direction and I introduced him to my car-savant, Dave, to find out what the car really needed, Ho-Boy, it needs a lot.

      Whenever I do a car for a friend what I do is have an agreement that the main goal is to make it as safe as it was new. Typically that means every single piece of rubber and every brake component gets rebuilt or replaced. New tires are essential, especially if they don't have date codes. Electrical and vacuum problems are fixed and everything tested to make sure the car is roadworthy.

      Dave is working directly for my friend, but it's being repaired in my toy box. I'll handle procurement of parts. I love having Dave around doing his indy work. There are just some jobs that require two people. An extra set of eyes on a problem doesn't hurt, either.

      This my pal, Al's Mark II engine compartment. In many ways it was worse than Jim's. This is what a non-airconditioned engine compartment is supposed to look like.



      Jim's will soon look like Al's. Mark II engines are very difficult to pull as they have to come out with the trans. The combination is so long that the radiator, bracing and grill need to be removed. We try to avoid that.



      The engine in Al's car was stripped of valve covers, intake, exhaust and all the ancillary piping and wiring before a messy clean-up began. On Jim's car we backed it out the service bay in my messy shop and brought out the high-pressure washer.

      For Mark II fans, what's wrong with this picture?





      When I first looked at the car I did the thing that most Mark II owners do and asked if it had its original engine. That's one of the Holy Grails, like the Porsche world. Since the Continental Mark II got its engine parts from Lincoln the engines were interchangeable, but the original build of the Mark II engines got closer scrutiny and held tighter tolerances. There's a myth that all of the engines were dyno tested, but that doesn't seem right, from some people memories.

      However, the Continental engines were sequentially marked, and enough is known about their use that one can tell if theirs is an original engine. Unfortunately, mine is not original, either, but it is from another Mark II so it's stamped with a serial number that's known to belong to a car that there is no current record of. This car has the alternative Lincoln 368 engine, commonly used as factory replacement once the remaining Continental engines got used up. Further evidence is that this engine has its original Ford Blue engine color.



      Mandatory secondary hood prop. Looks terrible as a lowrider.



      First things first. Removing the front drum revealed the last time the brakes were fully serviced was 1975. That prompted us to look at the brake cylinders. They were bleeding and rusty, a strong indicator very old brake fluid. Brake fluid is hygroscopic allowing moisture to settle into the lowest part of the brake system, the brake cylinders. Lack of regular flushing after a rebuild leads to this problem. Bleeding brake fluid alone is not always the cure as damage may already have begun.



      Peeling back the rear seals revealed a fluid/water/rust mix.



      Pulled back the front revealed that the damage had seized up the pistons, like what happened to my car on the Pebble Tour.



      Jim has a brand-new reproduction headliner that we'll install when it's done.



      Dave pulled the radiator and sent it off. It wasn't visibly leaking, but had two splits that showed up under pressure. It was full of rust gunk, so Dave pulled the drain plugs and power-washed the inside of the engine until repeated back-flushing rinsed clean.

      The water pump had a closed drain hole and water running through the bearing. That's never good.

      The intake comes off for black gloss powder-coating, The valve covers have been polished. They should have polished high spots and glass-beaded low spots. Lots of taping will be required. The exhaust manifolds will go to JetHot for ceramic coating. The stainless exhaust wraps will be polished. I can never be sure of JetHot's silvers, so these will be black, like mine. The power steering pump leaks. I've ordered a rebuild kit. The fuel/vacuum pump was bypassed completely, so none of the vacuum features like windshield wipers, antenna, heater controls and spritzers worked. I have a kit coming for that, too. The generator isn't charging much until 2,000 rpm, so it likely needs brushes. This has the stock '56 Holley carb, infamously known at "Tea Pot" for the fact that they tend to boil over. If the float sticks fuel will fill the oil bath air cleaner, earning another nickname of "Fire Dome" when the cars burned up. The choke on this car doesn't work so a kit is coming for that, too. It'll get new tires, but we're reusing the old brake drums and shoes. There's plenty of wear material left on the drums. As long as the original chamfer on the drum is still there the drum is within spec. The fact that the shoes are already arced to the drums he'll have no break-in period. They brake and master cylinders will be replaced or rebuilt.

      When next you see it there will be a lot more room to work in the engine compartment.
      Last edited by barry2952; 11-07-2015 at 12:48 PM.

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    3. 11-07-2015 01:06 PM #2
      Cant wait to see another one of your build /progress threads, thanks Barry!

    4. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      11-07-2015 01:13 PM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by Jettavr666 View Post
      Cant wait to see another one of your build /progress threads, thanks Barry!

    5. Member arethirdytwo's Avatar
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      11-07-2015 01:17 PM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by barry2952 View Post
      For Mark II fans, what's wrong with this picture?


      Is the exhaust supposed to exit through the bumper holes below the tails?

    6. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      11-07-2015 01:20 PM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by arethirdytwo View Post
      Is the exhaust supposed to exit through the bumper holes below the tails?
      Good eye.

    7. Senior Member Iroczgirl's Avatar
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      11-07-2015 01:20 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by Jettavr666 View Post
      Cant wait to see another one of your build /progress threads, thanks Barry!
      x eleventybillion

      I'm not very familiar with these Continentals, I'm sure I'll learn a whole lot before this car is finished!

      And I'm intrigued by that exhaust routing.
      Lots of VW stuff|Rare Scirocco parts!
      The family: '55 Ford 351C, '70 TR6 262Olds, '80 Rabbit AAZ, '84 C30 350, '88 Scirocco 9A, '97 Hardbody KA24E, '01 TJ 150AMC.
      Quote Originally Posted by Crimping Is Easy View Post
      You're always better off with a Citroën.™

    8. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      11-07-2015 01:31 PM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by Iroczgirl View Post
      x eleventybillion

      And I'm intrigued by that exhaust routing.

      The Mark II was Ford's first ladder frame. All previous mass-produced was had X frames. The ladder frame allowed for footwells which allowed for lower seating which allowed for a lower belt and roof-line.

      The low-hanging "cowbelly" chassis would have defeated it's purpose if it had a 2" exhaust pipe under it so they ran it around the perimeter of the frame, under the door sill. It makes for rather warm sills after long trips or during parades. The routing you see in the engine compartment sends the pipes into the wheel well and been alongside the frame in a purpose-build depression. This car sounds a little hot-toddy because it lacks the crossover pipe in the rear and the exhaust takes a shorter route out the bottom.

      I'll see of I can talk Jim into installing the "S" pope to re route the exhaust through the bumper. It's pretty cool to see exhaust streaming out on a cold morning.



      Last edited by barry2952; 11-07-2015 at 02:32 PM.

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      11-07-2015 01:36 PM #8
      Gah! Someone spotted the exhausts before I saw this thread.

      That gives me a facial tic. But it looks like this car had a lot of things done with it that weren't to OEM spec...

      Glad it's in your capable hands, Barry, and excited for another BarryBuild Thread.

      It's forensics combined with craftsmanship and technical know-how.

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      11-07-2015 01:40 PM #9
      Also, this is rather more than a simple engine compartment freshening; to me that implies little more than an application of some Simple Green and perhaps a few licks of paint. This is a comprehensive mechanical freshening/overhaul, which it looks as if the car needs to be roadworthy and complete.

      Of course, most people aren't Barry and don't tackle the types of projects he does, so...

    11. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      11-07-2015 02:08 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by Numbersix View Post
      Also, this is rather more than a simple engine compartment freshening; to me that implies little more than an application of some Simple Green and perhaps a few licks of paint. This is a comprehensive mechanical freshening/overhaul, which it looks as if the car needs to be roadworthy and complete.

      Of course, most people aren't Barry and don't tackle the types of projects he does, so...
      To be fair, this is Dave's project. I'm just along for some technical expertise and a means to show the build.

    12. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      11-07-2015 02:21 PM #11
      Here's another picture of the unusual frame.


    13. Member fireside's Avatar
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      11-07-2015 02:36 PM #12
      Subscribed!
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    14. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      11-07-2015 08:26 PM #13
      The power washing confirmed that this is a rebuilt 368. No idea when, though.



      With some light on the subject you can see what needs to be done.



      The valley and heads make it appear that this car has very few miles on the rebuild. No sludge and there are lots of shiny bits on the valve keepers. That's very good news.



      The big block doesn't look so big in that giant engine bay. Without the headers there's great access to the frame and the sides of the engine.



      A couple of discoveries today. The a-arm bushings are torn. This happens all the time. They are rubber torsion fittings that are designed to be tightened when the car is at ride height after a ride around the block. That allows the suspension to settle before tightening. That makes the suspension want to always return to ride height. The mistake that most people make is that they tighten the fittings with the wheels hanging down while on the lift. A few bumps later and the rubber is torn. One of the sway bar bushings is just gone. I think the power washing blew it out. Found a ground cable that was split with corrosion. That can play havoc with the electrical system. We thoroughly inspected the underside and found no sign of rust, anywhere. This would make an excellent candidate for a full restoration, but that wouldn't come cheap. I don't see this turning into that as Jim wants a nice driver that shows well. The best of both worlds.

    15. Senior Member Iroczgirl's Avatar
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      11-07-2015 08:55 PM #14
      Love the exhaust routing, a product of a time when pure design and aesthetics came first.

      That frame setup sure is something different.
      Lots of VW stuff|Rare Scirocco parts!
      The family: '55 Ford 351C, '70 TR6 262Olds, '80 Rabbit AAZ, '84 C30 350, '88 Scirocco 9A, '97 Hardbody KA24E, '01 TJ 150AMC.
      Quote Originally Posted by Crimping Is Easy View Post
      You're always better off with a Citroën.™

    16. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      11-07-2015 10:05 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by Iroczgirl View Post
      Love the exhaust routing, a product of a time when pure design and aesthetics came first.

      That frame setup sure is something different.
      If I understand correctly it's the first use of tubular steel in a US production chassis.

      The chassis was designed from the beginning for a convertible body. When they decided not to they dropped the center crossmember.


    17. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      11-11-2015 08:09 AM #16
      End of Stage 1.

      All of the ancillary brackets and hoses and accessories have been removed from the engine. Just a few things left to take off the firewall. The next step will be a bath and a scrubbing in mineral spirits to create a better surface for painting the chassis.



      The engine is fairly fresh, but needs a new timing chain.



      The wear on the vibration damper is minimal, so a new seal will stop the leak.



      We don't know if the vacuum wipers work, but there's a company that rebuilds the motors for $69, so it's not worth doing it in-house.

      The lower control arm bushing are ripped due to improper installation, so we'll have to take the front suspension apart. That will make it much easier to clean and paint.

      First batch of parts have arrived.

    18. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      11-12-2015 02:25 PM #17
      Jim paid a visit to his car today and authorized Dave to do whatever it takes to make the car look good and be roadworthy, so, the front suspension is coming off the car next.

      So far, Dave has 14 hours in the disassembly. Jim had figured much more, so he was pleased.



      Here's why this car rode so poorly. The last mechanic to replace these torsion bushings failed to understand how they work so they tightened everything up with the control arms hanging. The rubber core allows for some movement, but not much. If tightened at normal ride height the bushings allowed controlled motion up and down. With them tightened in the wrong position the car rides high until the rubber inner core rips, defeating the purpose of the suspension always wanting to return to ride height.

      This car is also missing the washers that are supposed to be used as spacers. Without them the A-arm is spread too far apart adding tension where there isn't supposed to be any.

      The Mark II had the finest ride of the time, aside from the air-ride Caddys. Our goal is to make this the fine riding car it once was.



      I drew this about 10 years ago when I figured out why my suspension clunked every time I went around a corner.


    19. Member saron81's Avatar
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      11-12-2015 02:28 PM #18
      Barry,
      Kinda off topic... but what's the red arrow shaped light on the LH gauge in one of these? Is it a low fuel light? It sort of points to the fuel gauge...
      Thanks!

    20. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      11-12-2015 02:53 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by saron81 View Post
      Barry,
      Kinda off topic... but what's the red arrow shaped light on the LH gauge in one of these? Is it a low fuel light? It sort of points to the fuel gauge...
      Thanks!
      You are correct. This has a funky low-fuel light. Someone has come up with an electronic relay to replace the SIP relay. They were not reliable. I don't know what SIP means.

    21. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      11-12-2015 03:25 PM #20
      Pulled off the transmission pan and found the valve body clean.



      When Dave pulled the filter it was covered with little globs of what feels like silicone sealant. Can anyone identify this and is it a problem?

      Found no disc material and only a fine metallic residue in the bottom of the pan.


    22. Member BostonB6's Avatar
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      11-12-2015 03:53 PM #21
      Overapplication of form in place gasket of some type? Just a guess.
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    23. Member G0to60's Avatar
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      11-12-2015 04:05 PM #22
      In for another educating build. Thanks for documenting this one Barry.

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      11-12-2015 04:23 PM #23
      This thread is so cool. This is one reason why I love TCL.

      Barry, I see you are in Farmington Hills, MI. I am too. What shop is this out of?

    25. Member valfaw's Avatar
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      11-12-2015 05:23 PM #24
      Great to see you back in the saddle with a new project so soon after all you and your wife went through. Very much looking forward to seeing this car come back to its glory days...

    26. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      11-12-2015 05:29 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by StressStrain View Post
      This thread is so cool. This is one reason why I love TCL.

      Barry, I see you are in Farmington Hills, MI. I am too. What shop is this out of?
      I live at 9 & Drake. My buildings are on Beech between Grand River and 7. Visitors are allowed.

      I don't do work commercially. Only for friends. Couldn't imagine dealing with the automotive public.

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