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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.

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

    3. 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!

    4. Senior Member Iroczgirl's Avatar
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      11-07-2015 01:20 PM #4
      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.
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    5. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      11-07-2015 01:31 PM #5
      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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      04-13-2017 12:22 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by barry2952 View Post
      So, it's also got an H-pipe on it? what does that look like? Is it like right behind the rear seats?

    7. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      04-13-2017 12:33 PM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by Chapel View Post
      So, it's also got an H-pipe on it? what does that look like? Is it like right behind the rear seats?
      I've never heard it called an "H" pipe, but I can see why you would. Actually, the crossover is right in front of the gas tank and it accounts for the balanced sound and output of the system. The way the exhaust damper works you only have exhaust coming out of one side until the engine compartment heated up.

      Edit: I was struck by this picture looking like Roger Zimmerman's model.

      Last edited by barry2952; 04-13-2017 at 12:37 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...

    10. 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.

    11. Member arethirdytwo's Avatar
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      11-07-2015 01:17 PM #11
      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?

    12. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      11-07-2015 01:20 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by arethirdytwo View Post
      Is the exhaust supposed to exit through the bumper holes below the tails?
      Good eye.

    13. Member atomicalex's Avatar
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      11-12-2015 08:39 PM #13
      Like....


      Also... Dave....
      Last edited by atomicalex; 11-12-2015 at 08:41 PM.
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      11-13-2015 09:26 AM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by atomicalex View Post
      Like...
      Yeah, when are we getting a 'like' button??

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    15. Member Bibs's Avatar
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      11-13-2015 08:56 PM #15
      Do we have TCL awards? Barry for MVP.

    16. Member Uberhare's Avatar
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      11-16-2015 06:51 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by barry2952 View Post
      "USE PERMANENT TYPE ANTI-FREEZE ONLY"

      Is there a temporary anti-freeze one could use like Racoon piss or maybe a 5th of Bourbon?

    17. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      11-16-2015 07:08 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by Uberhare View Post
      "USE PERMANENT TYPE ANTI-FREEZE ONLY"

      Is there a temporary anti-freeze one could use like Racoon piss or maybe a 5th of Bourbon?
      Prior to glycol antifreeze alcohol/water was a common mix. Since early cooling systems were not closed the alcohol evaporated, hence the warning.

      So, now you know.

    18. Member Uberhare's Avatar
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      11-16-2015 07:09 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by barry2952 View Post
      Prior to glycol antifreeze alcohol/water was a common mix. Since early cooling systems were not closed the alcohol evaporated, hence the warning.

      So, now you know.
      So, the Bourbon would make for a expensive anti-freeze. Got it.

    19. Senior Member
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      11-16-2015 07:13 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by Uberhare View Post
      So, the Bourbon would make for a expensive anti-freeze. Got it.
      It's how I use it this time of year.

      ...but not for my car

    20. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      11-20-2015 08:21 AM #20
      Under the dirt this car's pretty pristine. Dave shot a test panel and part of the firewall with the paint supplied by Jim, but it doesn't match at all. Next up is chemically stripping the firewall. I've learned over the years that paint stripper works better the warmer the metal is, so it's time to turn up the heat.



      I sent the cast iron manifolds out to Jet Hot. Don't need them just yet, but they look pretty nice.



      I learned something new yesterday. I took the heater cores to the radiator shop to have them boiled out. I'm told that the ci=ores had been replaced at one point with OEM cores, but that someone had painted them. I didn't see any harm, but Mel said they should never be painted as the heat of the d=core will make the paint out-gas, forever, pushing paint fumes into the interior.

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      12-13-2015 10:37 PM #21
      Looks fantastic. That car is going to look as good as it drives when you get it back together.

    22. Member mike in SC's Avatar
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      12-26-2015 10:29 PM #22
      Please forgive a simple question, Barry.
      Are the springs tucked away with the shocks? I see where the shock tops are bolted in, but I'm having a hard time imagining that the car would use unusually short springs.

      Will all the money going towards improving the car, will it also increase the value? I'm supposing Mark II buyers are looking for a restored/original style car and not a modified version.
      Thanks for the updates!

      I teach visual arts. I used the photos of your Ruxton restoration to compare older car design and newer car design. They agreed the Ruxton was by far and away a better design.


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      12-26-2015 11:29 PM #23
      in
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    24. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      12-27-2015 08:30 AM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by mike in SC View Post
      Please forgive a simple question, Barry.
      Are the springs tucked away with the shocks? I see where the shock tops are bolted in, but I'm having a hard time imagining that the car would use unusually short springs.

      Will all the money going towards improving the car, will it also increase the value? I'm supposing Mark II buyers are looking for a restored/original style car and not a modified version.
      Thanks for the updates!

      I teach visual arts. I used the photos of your Ruxton restoration to compare older car design and newer car design. They agreed the Ruxton was by far and away a better design.


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
      Good catch, Mike. The springs haven't been installed yet. This was just a little pre-assembly gone overboard. The assembly will come apart at the ball joint to insert the spring, but that's not something I want to do by myself.

      On the subject of buying a "restored" car being more valuable. They typically aren't to me as most "restored" cars are not. They are sometimes taken apart and painted and put back together with worn parts and other times people will paint a car and do the interior without doing the mechanicals and call it restored.

      I'm in the market for a '40-'41 Lincoln Continental convertible. I found a beautiful car that the seller claimed was a "20-year old restoration" when, in reality it was just a paint job and a bad interior kit. I asked for pictures of the underside and quickly learned that the car was just a pig with lipstick.

      I earned my lesson about buying cars on the word of others. I bought our '41 Ford pick-up from pictures. The bodywork was just beautiful. They had done an off-frame restoration, but simply painted the old used-up chassis making it appear to be pristine when, in fact, it was a mechanical mess. Everything was worn out, but worse, it was unsafe. Of the 33 cotter pins required to keep it together it only had 3. The cotter pin on the brake clevis was missing as was one of the emergency brake levers on the rear brake platter.

      So, to answer your question thoroughly, the only time that a mechanical restoration can add value to a car is if it can be documented, like I have here. Otherwise, assume that either the seller doesn't know anything or is lying. You're always better off assuming the worst.

      What we're doing here makes the car measurably more valuable to the owner as they will actually be able to drive their car in confidence. Some things like safety have a monetary value, especially things you can't see.

      Unfortunately, not a lot seems to help the value of these cars and a good example can be had for around $50,000 when the car should easily be a $100,000 car. A bellybutton '57 Chevy brings that much. It's oft-discussed here that people place value on cars from their youth. With only 3,000 examples made and a cost new of $10,000, the price of new Detroit suburban home in '56. There aren't a lot of people that even saw a new Mark II, let alone had one in their family. My grandfathers drove Cadillacs, which were half the price of a Mark II.

      I was 14 when I saw my first Mark II. It was just a 10 year old used car that I saw in a garage of a Detroit 10,000 square foot mansion my parents were looking at in Palmer Park. The real estate agent hit the buttons for the 5-car garage and the only stall that was occupied had a white Mark II in it that came with the house. That image left a lasting impression. We never got the house or car as my uncle told my father to look at the utility bills and that killed the deal. While it wasn't a car of my youth it certainly left me with a string impression, which is what added value for me.
      Last edited by barry2952; 12-27-2015 at 08:33 AM.

    25. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      12-27-2015 04:28 PM #25
      A light blasting after degreasing and the steel brake lines look nearly new, but they got painted, like everything else.



      Steering box and hoses installed. Fuel line installed.



      Steel and flexible brake lines installed.



      I just have to figure out the idler arm and the front suspension will be just about done.

      Bearing races in the front drums and the front brakes will be done.

      Dave's been gone for a few days so I'm just throwing parts on the car to set up for a final tightening.

      Transmission reseal coming up after the differential is installed. Once that's done I can finish up the rear brakes.

      This car is flying together.

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