Stock 1947 Ford Prefect
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  1. #1
    Official RnS Addict Perfect65's Avatar
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    Stock 1947 Ford Prefect

    I bought this car 4 years ago and have been doing bits and pieces on it while also building another car. Well the other car is well on the way, in fact its on the road, so now putting in a few more hours on the stock Prefect.



    First thing I did was remove the badges as it had a good set and these included the very rare '10' bonnet side badges. These were reverently stored and later repaired by soldering on new brass studs. (technical tip - the badge backplates are stainless steel so use phosphoric acid aka jenolite as a flux in a well ventilated area. Use solid solder not resin-cored). I then carefully stripped the car down and found where the metal had corroded away. Worst parts were the offside A and C posts where they should have connected to the chassis. Strangely, the nearside posts were not as bad although the C post is shot. I have already done the offside repairs but will post more info and pictures on these repairs later when I turn the car to do the nearside. The usual failure points, the wing arch flanges, were badly rusted and I repaired these in conjunction with the other car, also a Prefect. I had to patch in a few areas at the bottom of the wings but overall not too bad. While doing the repairs I started removing a few dints, one big one can be seen on the front wing.
    The running boards were pretty badly rusted but perhaps repairable except I found a man who makes them as well as sills and other body panels so I bought 4 off him - 2 for each car. They take a little fettling to get them to fit close to the chassis over the rivets and B post bracket but they look good when done.

    Luckily, things like the headlamps were in good condition so I prep'd and sprayed them some while back - yes you guessed it, while doing the lamps for the other car.
    There was a niggly bit of corrosion around the point where these cars had the battery earth strap bolted to the firewall so this was cut out and patched in complete with a hank bush although I wont be bolting the earth strap there in future.
    You can see the finished firewall area now its sprayed. I also had to lift part of the upstand that rises in front of the battery and while working on that area I decided to remove it as its a pain having to lift the battery over it. Another departure from stock.

    I always take the earth direct to the starter motor attachment bolt then from there to the chassis. This car will be stock so the 6 volt electrics are staying therefore I will need to make sure the electrics are the best I can do. Only departure from stock here will be flashing bulbs in the semaphores and also flashing lamps in the stop lamps and headlamps (an extra bulb inserted in the reflectors). I managed to buy some original new old stock chrome Ford headlamp rims that were made to convert the old separate reflector/lens units to British Pre-Focus. I bought a pair of repro lamp units and have now punched an extra hole in each reflector and inserted another bulb holder for the indicators.
    The plywood floorboards were worm-holed so a new pair were made from 18mm exterior ply, given a coat of preservative insect killing fluid and then a few coats of matt black. This model had a jack that was supposed to be placed under the bumper iron and I think this was usually kept clipped on the fire wall behind the battery as there were some mystery clips there besides the usual starting handle. Anyway, there was no jack with the car and I think that system would be a strain on this motors old chassis so I bought a small screw jack and will use that under the axle to lift the car. I also had to make a new under-bonnet toolbox lid as this had also succumbed to the worm.
    Another good thing about this car was that the original number plates came with it. From these I managed to retrieve the registration and in due course I received a nice new V5C from Swansea. The plates were quite heavy steel backs with aluminium numerals that were in turn coated with plastic. The plastic had started to flake so I decided to scrape the remainder off and after a while with much elbow grease they came up good. Picture shows the change prior to painting. I masked the numerals and gave the plates a few coats of satin black. Its satisfying to recover original parts even if the 'look' is not quite original. I never liked that white plastic look anyway.

    You will notice the gearbox is back but this is not the one that came with the car which has a lump broken out of the bell housing over the starter bendix arch. I overhauled a spare box as the bronze bearing in the middle of the drive train is usually worn but the original box will get rebuilt one day and I will make a goodenough repair to that missing piece to keep the bulk of the dirt out.


    Currently, I have painted the chassis underneath including the propshaft tunnel and the rear floor. The rusty metal was scraped, wire brushed, treated with rust converter, primed, then 2 coats of matt black before a few coats of satin chassis black (sprayed). The reason for doing the chassis at this time was because I had stripped and overhauled the rear axle and torque tube and these were in my way. Only solution was to refit them and before so doing I had to paint the chassis. Then I had to fit the gearbox to keep the torque tube in position. I had previously done the similar job on the front axle so the front end of the chassis has been done too. Another thing about the rear axle - these cars run the rear hub bearings on the cast iron ends of the axle and they wear on the underside even if greased regularly. The answer is a repair kit that replaces the old bearing with a new needle roller set with hardened sleeves that are Loctited onto the worn ends of the axle. The back spring was not as rust free as the front but good enough with a light coat of grease. I will get round to finishing it later in the build. I might just use rust converter as this comes up a nice dark metallic colour.




    The wheel rims were not too rusty so I popped the tyres off the beads, rubbed them down, treated the rust in a few places, made some cardboard masking pieces to slip behind the rim and then sprayed them with some wheel silver bought from ebay. Advantage of this was that the tyres kept the rim up off the deck when laid across two pieces of wood so I could do front and back at one shot. Not brilliant finish but will do for now. The tyres may just get me out for a few test rides but I reckon they must be 30 or 40 years old. Pity is 2 of them must have done zero miles as the moulding flashing is still there down the middle.
    The tyres have done about 5 miles as I had to transfer it to my sons garage before doing the welding. I have a tow bar so made a flat steel 'eye' to bolt on the chassis. All seemed straightforward and I coaxed my wife into being my accomplice. I attached the tow board to the back of the car and hitched to my van. I asked my wife if she wanted to drive the van or the car, being a gentleman I gave her the choice. She opted for the car. Picture this dusty car with open roof, debatable brakes and unknown steering. I salute her courage. Anyway we set off hoping the constabulary were all at breakfast mid-morning. Most memorable things were seeing people's expressions as they overtook or stood at the kerbside - blank disbelief, and also every time I braked the old girl (the car) lurched to the right as the towing eye was not central. When we got to my son's she said "never again". Perhaps if there is another call of duty she might accept the van instead.
    Last edited by Perfect65; 12-03-2017 at 08:44.
    Greatest discombobulations to all my readers.

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  3. #2
    Rods 'n' Sods Junkie
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    splitty66 is offline
    Ooh great another prefect build to watch,good luck with it.

  4. #3
    Official RnS Addict Perfect65's Avatar
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    Thanks for watching Splitty66. We must be kindred spirits with having consecutive numbers. Hopefully this one will be well on the way by this time next year as I have been sneekily doing stuff while also doing the other car as sometimes it is almost as quick to do similar jobs as it takes to do the one.
    One very good thing about this car, apart from the wonderful '10' side badges, is the mechanical condition of the rolling gear and drive train. When I cleaned off the road springs they came up like new with a sort of black finish and no rust to speak of and also very little wear under the tips of the leaves. Of course the rubber in the metalastic bushes had gone. Same thing with the differential assembly and crown wheel - all good. The steering box had less play than you would expect for the recorded mileage - around 53k.


    The original seats were leather and although I managed to rescue most of the back seat the weather had got into the fronts. I bought a vinyl interior off a man in Yorkshire which will do for starters and will eventually make my own headlining. Although I am trying to keep this car as standard as possible I am drawn to fitting a mini hardtop like the previous car and have already bought the metal for this. Australian Prefects had a full metal jacket so it is kind of stock.
    Another job already done is the dampers. The 1947 dampers had flat metal lever arms with rubber bonded pivot joints. The rubber was shot and it is only possible to get one of the levers replaced from the usual suppliers. As the oil seal was leaking, as they do, I decided to remove the arms from the dampers, replace the seals with proper lip oil seals and then fit the later type lever arms that I robbed from some old dampers I had in stock. Again, the mechanical condition of the dampers is excellent.

    Here's a picture of the re-fitted arm after welding the cut that had to be done to get it off the old damper. Problem with the vertical chamber units is you cant get enough of the bearing splitter up behind the arm to pull it off. The later units with horizontal chamber are much easier and dont need to be split although still tight.

    Another job I did in conjunction with the previous car was the windscreen frame lower corners. These rot because water gets into the very well made and complex brass channel that unfortunately the makers joined with steel internal joining brackets. When these eventually rusted they grew and split the brass channel so I had to make up some brass ones and also a wooden jig to hold it together while the bracket holes were marked out through the frame. I had to repair the frame first though and this took some careful silver soldering. Luckily the repairs are all behind the chrome front so the plating remained intact. I have repaired 4 frames and dont want to do another - ever. If anyone is going to tackle this then have a read of "Upright Prefect Build" where the whole story is told and might be helpful.

    Not many people know that the bumpers on this car, at least up to 1948 I think, are very slightly different at the ends. I can only describe them as 'more pointy' than the later ones which have a more or less spherical radius. The early ones like mine are more eliptical but I only had the correct rear one. I found a fairly good later front bumper in the shed and set to carefully as is possible with my mini angle grinder and copied the shape from the rear one. After having the rear one chrome stripped I got them back into a good shape and took off to the chromers. Luckily there's not too much chrome on these - I finished with a bill for around £250 for the pair.



    The steering wheel had the usual cracks in the Bakelite and the steel frame was exposed in the cracks. I rust-converted the internal steel and 24 hours after filled the cracks with JB weld. After smoothing off the filler the wheel got 2 or 3 coats of Rustoleum in a similar dark brown to the original. That paint is really good stuff and as far as I know is similar to the Plastikote I used before that and which is still going strong on another Prefect wheel. I recall when my son moved house the management wanted white door handles on the french doors as she didn't like the brass. They were going to change all the handles until they found the price and them on a new bigger mortgage. So up steps dad and suggests a re-spray amid their laughter. Well, I did the first one for them and they are not laughing now and still some left in the tin in case it wears a little thin in places.
    All for now and hopefully will get the car turned round in the next few weeks so I can start the nearside A and C post repairs and also the wheel arch body flange repairs. I need to turn the car as my sons garage is not the widest and so I have to get the body up close to the wall so I have room to swing the welding torch plus it will be easier to install the engine when thats finished.
    Last edited by Perfect65; 18-01-2018 at 19:47.
    Greatest discombobulations to all my readers.

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    Official RnS Addict Perfect65's Avatar
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    Almost ready to turn the car round but must not rush. I want to install the offside wiring loom, which goes from the firewall area to the back. It needs to be tidied up and add an extra stop lamp wire for the flashing stop light indicator mod. On the blue Prefect I used 7 core trailer cable so maybe thats the way to go but I will double up on some of the wires as 6 volt electrics use double the current compared to the 12 volts the cable was meant for. I want to install the fuel tank as soon as I can after the nearside body repairs are finished as I will be fitting the overhauled engine and will get that running before I go any further. My grandson has just started driving lessons so he immediately volunteered to 'drive' the car when we roll it out for the turning although I would have preferred he push.
    I got the Bakelite dash down from the garage loft today as I need the therapy of applying the brown dark tan boot polish - I think I am getting addicted.


    While I had the dash out I tagged the wiring and checked for bad areas but then I got a bit high on the polish so had to pack it away.



    Another thing that crossed my mind while polishing the dash - this originally had a clock but it doesn't work. Cost to repair would be about £50 and I dont think it worthwhile doing that. To be original I suppose I could just put it back not-working or perhaps replace it with a temperature gauge that works and which I have in stock. Maybe when the effects of boot polish have worn off I will have a clear head and make a decision.
    Last edited by Perfect65; 14-02-2016 at 09:13.
    Greatest discombobulations to all my readers.

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    Rods 'n' Sods Junkie
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    rustyghia is offline
    Love this thread, great work and attention to detail.

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    Deviant henry's revenge's Avatar
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    henry's revenge is offline
    Great stuff keep it coming
    Caravans are cool

  9. #7
    Official RnS Addict Perfect65's Avatar
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    Thanks for the encouraging comments. I too like to see the detail of a build as this is what makes it, imho.
    Greatest discombobulations to all my readers.

  10. #8
    I'm a grown up member now !
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    prefect is offline
    it looks like the same pics from last year
    bill

  11. #9
    Official RnS Addict Perfect65's Avatar
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    Yes some pics are the same as I was doing parts from the two cars at the same time - now I'm getting stuck into the second car good and proper so you will be getting more new pics soon - but it does show you have been paying attention. My grandson helped me turn the car round today so when I get back from holiday I will get on with welding the nearside C post and the wheel arch rust damage.

  12. #10
    Official RnS Addict Perfect65's Avatar
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    Here are some views of the badly rusted A and C posts plus the wheel arches.
    First are two of the front wing flange bad bits starting with one of the 1/4"UNC bushes - the surrounding metal has started to split so I decided to try welding this before cutting it out it seems to have worked so I did another one so that makes 3 out of 4 done. The fourth was well gone so it will be chopped out. Luckily I found some 1/4" UNC hank bushes on ebay.






    They dont look pretty as the flash highlights the undulations but this saves me chopping out so I can run with it especially as it will be covered up by the wing. I might just give the tops a light grind next time I am on the job. The lowest fixing point and flange shown below, are well gone so this area will be replaced.

    This is the lower door shut bit that needs chopping out and a new section formed. This part is formed with the inner wing and covers the main door post that is on the inside. When chopping it is important to only cut through the outer layer just in case the metal it is covering is sound (unlikely but worth a try). Looks like this section was gas welded to the chassis - nice work.


    This is view under the A post closing plate. it looks mostly good but it is well rusted inside as water is trapped here and Ford didn't see fit to put in a drain - I will after it is cut out and replaced with 18g steel. I will do this before I do the lower arch repair so I will at least get some paint in there before it gets closed up.

    Next some views of the C post and rear flange.









    On the rear arch flange I have managed to drill out the rusted bolts and re-tap 5/16" UNF in about 3 cases out of 7 but only because the metal in that area was sound enough although still rusted. The lower one at the back is easily accessible from both sides so I decided to either fit a hank bush or use a nut and bolt with large washers as the structural metal here is usable. I found some 5/16" UNF hank bushes at South Essex fasteners. I have decided to repair piece-meal so as to keep the shape of the arch more or less intact as I had visions of it going horribly out of shape if I completely disconnected the outer body from the strong inner wing.
    Theres no doubt this is the worst part of the body repairs as its awkward in position even though I have the car raised 10" but the garage wall is always too close but I will persist. I dont want to cut too much away but on the other hand I have to remove any badly laced metal. I have developed a technique for filling holes in rusted metal but you never know how much you missed the next one by. After this side is done everything will seem easy.
    When I was cutting out this section I smelt a sort burning rubber smell and realised I had cut some of the stuff that is used around the body to tack the trim. I still cant work out what the material is - maybe some sort of rubberised leather plywood stuff? Anyone know?
    Last edited by Perfect65; 28-10-2015 at 20:47.
    Greatest discombobulations to all my readers.

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