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1961 Mercury Meteor 800 restore


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Merc update. Finally had a little break in the work schedule. I got the cam removed. It was stuck in there pretty good. I'm looking at a new one anyways. The block is going next week to get cleaned. Can't wait to get it back so I can start working on getting it back together. I also have been kicking around the idea of pulling the body of the frame. All I have to do is make some supports and lift. It's all ready to go. Since I've been getting so detailed on this build I might as well go all the way. The timing cover has been cleaned, checked and repainted. Still need to paint the intake yet and put the heads back together. Going to do some engine part shopping tonight. I will post some pics soon.

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Thanks Fredrick. Love restoring it. I did manage to get some photos of more work. The intake is finally painted and ready. Cleaned up and painted some linkage parts for it. Had to set the carb on it and see how it looks so far. I did get the heads together. Had to wait on the valve seals. Now they are ready for prime and paint and it will be off the list. The block is ready to go to the engine shop to get hot tanked. My buddy is picking it up on Monday. :D Now I have a few more things to get ready so I can lift the body off. Need to make sure my body stand are stout enough. Don't want to drop a body. Not good.

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Edited by Laughing Coyote (see edit history)
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Been plugging away at the Mercury. Got the heads all painted and ready to go. Cleaned all the main bearing caps. Still have to clean the crank and pistons. Kyle was going to stop by to get the block today, but we had some bad rain and wnd storms the night before and his carport and roof got ripped off of his rental house. I told him don't worry about the block right now. He will be by at a later date. In the mean time I will be cleaning more parts and getting ready to lift the body.

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Well I have been working on a few things here and there. Cleaning up some brake lines. Sandblasted and painted the torque converter cover. Nothing really interesting or pictures worth posting. Still trying to get some time to lift off the body. The work schedule has been really busy lately. :(

Edited by Laughing Coyote (see edit history)
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It's Friday and the block is finally going to be picked up tomorrow. Yeah. I've been doing alot of cleaning of little parts and the transmission. I have all the trans cooler lines cleaned, speedo cable, linkage, bell housing and some other misc. car parts. Took about 3 hrs to clean all the grease and grime off the transmission, but now I will be able to work on it without getting really dirty. It will be nice to re-assemble the car and not be covered in grease and dirt. Have a little bit of work left on the car body stands and I will be ready to lift the body. The Mrs. has been having me do home improvements lately so it's cutting into the car time. Like they say "Happy wife, happy life".:o

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well the block is still at the engine shop. My buddy said that they tanked it twice and it still has a good amount of crud in it. They told him it was due to cheap oil and no oil changes back in the day. They're going to put in the acid tank to get it cleaned. Once it's cleaned they're going to mic it and check it for craks with some dye or something. At least I will know exactly what I will be working with. These guys build high performance racing motors so I think they know what their doing. They're also going to him other tips and tricks for better oiling and other stuff. I will get the info on it when he drops it back off. Been cleaning up the rest of the engine parts and getting things ready.

Edited by Laughing Coyote (see edit history)
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Well the block is still at the engine shop. My buddy said that they tanked it twice and it still has a good amount of crud in it. They told him it was due to cheap oil and no oil changes back in the day. They're going to put in the acid tank to get it cleaned. Once it's cleaned they're going to mic it and check it for craks with some dye or something. At least I will know exactly what I will be working with. These guys build high performance racing motors so I think they know what their doing. They're also going to him other tips and tricks for better oiling and other stuff. I will get the info on it when he drops it back off. Been cleaning up the rest of the engine parts and getting things ready.

Martin, that is similar to the "Magnaflux" process where they used metal filings that gathered around cracks. The dye just goes into the cracks and they stand out under black light. The company I used to work for used that process on turbine parts. If they build racing engines, they'll likely balance yours. Amazing smoothness results.

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My buddy dropped off the engine block today along with two 80# bags of media for the blast cabinet. Told me if I need more let him know. Has 3 more bags laying around. That was a nice surprise. Now I can blast parts for a while. The block looks good after two hot tanks and two times in the chem dip tank. Just didn't want to let go of the old grime. They said everything checked out good and can use all standard bearings and rings. So I guess it's time to start shopping. I will be running taps in all the holes and double checking all the oil gallies to make sure nothing got over looked. hopefully by the end of the year i will have it all done and looking pretty on the engine stand. :cool:

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Well I got the cylinders honed and cleaned up casting flashing that was restricting some of the oiling holes. That will help the oil flow better from the lifter valley back to the oil pan. Now I have to blow out all the oil gallies and make sure the block is super clean before I start the rebuild. I have the cam coming this week along with the new cam bearings and some other smaller items. I've also been sand blasting small brakets and getting them painted. Been really busy with the job so haven't had much time to do anything dramatic. I guess that's life.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I got the cam and it looks nice. The block has been honed and is ready to go. Have the cam bearings so now I just have to put them in. Well after watching numerous videos on how they put them in I decided that I would need to get a bearing install tool. The auto parts stores don't have one to lend and after searches on Ebay I decided to make my own. So after several evenings in the shop on the lathe I think I got something that may work. It has a 1" solid driver bar with an aluminum bell that centers on the block and bearing spud to hold the bearing. I even put an o ring on it so the bearing surface doesn't get torn up. Now all I need is to get some time. Oh time. Seems like I don't get any of it to work the car, just the business. :( I guess that's life, but I will get my day to work the car some more. Hey, Labor day is coming. That would be a good day to labor on the car! :o

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Edited by Laughing Coyote (see edit history)
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  • 3 weeks later...

Well Labor day came and went. The Mrs. had me do stuff around the house. The in-laws are coming in for the up coming holidays and she has a list of things she wants done before they get here. Not to mention the business has been very busy. So no I didn't get the bearings in yet, but they are the next thing on MY list. I did manage to cut off work early this afternoon so I can raise the body. I didn't go as high as I was thinking, but it has enough room for me to get things cleaned up and painted up. Call me scared, but I didn't want to have an issue and screw up the body. Once I get it on jack stands it will be even higher to work under. This way it will make it easier to rool in and out of the garage. That way when I paint it I can put a big tarp down and paint outside without painting the garage inside. Is it considered a frame off if the body is not touching the frame technically?:rolleyes: I have been working in smaller parts too. I did the inner fender splash panels. DIdn't have any of those factory staples so I used rivets and back ups and painted them. You won't be able to see it anyway. Posted a few photos for your enjoyment.

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It is imperative that you get the oil galleries as clean as possible. Dip tanks and blow guns are not enough. Gritty dirt likes to hide in there. I use a small diameter wire brush on the end of a drill motor, along with an aerosol can of brake or carb cleaner. Wear proper safety attire. Don't skimp on time or effort. Do it once, and then do it again, and maybe a third time for good measure. It is a pleasure and quite inspiring to follow your progress. Continued good luck!

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You are doing a great job on your Mercury. I am looking at a 1961 Meteor 800 2 door maybe this weekend. Do you know if the trunk pan is the same as a 1961 Galaxie from the picture he sent me it will need it replaced. And I don't have your talent or tools to do it myself. lol

He said it has a 352 FE big block with 3 speed on the floor not sure if that could be stock or not.

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mlj427,

Thanks. I used the Galaxie one. It covers more area than the other one that I saw for it. Plus it was cheaper. I got mine off a place on ebay. Had free shipping to boot. Make sure you look it over good. You want to check for all the exterior moldings are there, door scripts, and the top fender orniments. Those are really hard to find and very pricey if you do. Since it was a one year body style parts can take time to find. As far as the 3 speed i'm not sure. It may have been an option, but i would figure an automatic would be more desireable. You should be able to tell if someone chopped it up to put one in.

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I have a queston for you. What paint are you using on your motor parts? My engine is back from the machine shop and I need to get it painted. I just havent decided to paint first or assmeble first. I do like the looks of your parts so I thoguht I'd ask you about your paint.

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Hey edhd58,

Your project is coming along. At least your motor is together. I'm using Dupli color high heat engine paint. It can be found at auto parts stores. They have alot of colors to choose from. I did make sure all my parts were very clean. Scubbed them with a small stiff scrub brush and laquer thinner to get any oil residue off. Then masked off the areas where gaskets and other parts attach. Then I used the engine primer first and let it sit for a day or two after applying. That way it has a chance to cure up nice. Then top coat it with the same product but the color coat. I researched the engine color for my year Mercury and it is semi gloss black. Once my engine is all assembled (heads, intake, oil pan) I will mask off any bolt head and parts I dont want painted and put one last coat of paint on it. Then once it's cured out start hanging all the other items (coil, distributor, etc.)

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I take it the primer is at the parts store too. Awesome, ty for the help. My engine is kinda together, I have to put new head studs in, and the externals of the flat head back on. Then like you, I'll redo the other parts and put them back in. I am waiting for the head studs and new clutch/pp-t/o bearing to come in so i can have it all new from the fan to the back drum. Thanks again for the insight, after coming this far, I want to make sure I do all I can do to make it as right as I can.

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Edited by edhd58
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I have a question for you. What paint are you using on your motor parts? My engine is back from the machine shop and I need to get it painted. I just haven't decided to paint first or assemble first. I do like the looks of your parts so I thought I'd ask you about your paint.

As a long time professional engine builder who has build hundreds of engines, my thought on painting before or after assembly has always been to put the heads, V covers, intake manifold, etc on the block and paint everything. This is just sitting them in place, not bolting anything on.

After the paint is dry, I take everything off and do final assembly. That was you can see all of the gasket edges. It looks much more professional than putting the engine all together and painting everything at once, gaskets and all. I hate the look of just one big painted blob, the contrast makes it look great. Just my take on the subject.

Also, no special paint required, just a rattle can of the factory color engine paint, looks good and holds up well. I always stuck to factory stock engine colors, I appreciate what the factories did. Again, just my take on it..

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Well I finally got the cam bearings installed today and the cam. The bearing install tool worked like a champ. Installed the bearings nice and straight. Cam turns so smooth. Very happy with the outcome so far. Next step is to get the block back on the stand and get it ready for the crankshaft. Still have to clean it. Ordering the crank bearings tonight and will have them shortly. I also need to get working on the frame and under body so I can get them ready to be coated and painted.

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Well I finally got the cam bearings installed today and the cam. The bearing install tool worked like a champ. Installed the bearings nice and straight. Cam turns so smooth. Very happy with the outcome so far. Next step is to get the block back on the stand and get it ready for the crankshaft. Still have to clean it. Ordering the crank bearings tonight and will have them shortly. I also need to get working on the frame and under body so I can get them ready to be coated and painted.

Hopefully, you got the oil holes lined up with the block.

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Matter a fact I researched that for hours if not days. Read alot of engine builder forums for that motor and technical information on that very subject. I wanted to make triple sure that everything is the way it's suppose to be. Were good. Started to clean up the nasty crank. That will keep me busy for a few days or so. Thanks for the input.

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Merc update. I got the crank all cleaned up. No more nasty cruddy oil. I have the block up on the stand again and installed the crank bearings. I have the crank sitting in the bearings and just have to put the main caps and bearings on and torque them down. Turns realy smooth. Now I have to get the piston rings on order and start cleaning pistons all up. Those will take a bit of time. I already have the connecting rod bearings for them. It's coming along, slow but steady. Been also working on small brackets and other little pieces too. Clean, paint and bag for later. I need to get working on the frame and underside pretty quick so once the engine is done I can put her back in. Still have a pretty good list of things to do.

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Well I have the crank in and all tighten per specs. The piston rings should be here this coming week. Going to take the pistons over to my neighbors to hot tank them to get the real nasty stuff off. Then I will dis assemble them, check them and get them all ready for the new rings. Starting to come along. Can't wait to see the finished engine all together.

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  • 3 weeks later...

It's been a bit since I posted an update. I have the pistons at the neighbors house waiting to get cleaned up. He has been busy building two 1950's VW 35hp engines for a shop in town. I guess two people are restoring some old bugs. He's retired so it's on his time. Mean while I pushed the car out and spent a good hour with an air compressor and vacuum. Blew out and vacuumed all the dirt from inside the frame rails. Got about 10 pounds of dirt out. I pulled off the cross member and started to clean that up. Pretty nasty. I'm going to have to post some pictures on the general discussion page in regaurds to the transmission mount. All the ones I have been coming across as a replacement are not the right ones?? I'm sure someone would know where I could get one. Other than that life seems to be winning on the car restoration side, but I will keep at it. It will get done. One piece at a time. :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I finally got the pistons all cleaned up and now comes the task of disassembly and checking the wrist pins and all the other measurements. Then start the process of checking the ring gaps in the cylinders per the assembly manual. That will take some time. After exhausting research I will have to get the transmission mount reworked. Barry Wolk has a fella that did his mount for his Lincoln so I will be sending mine out shortly to get it repaired. Other than that sill plugging away on smaller stuff. Going to start on the pistons and rings later this week. That's the plan anyway. :)

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Well it was a bone chilling 86 degrees today. Worked for about a half of the day and then decided to shift gears and work on the car a bit. I sand blasted some suspension mounts and the idler link and got them all painted and looking good. Sand blasted the exhaust manifolds and then used a wire wheel on a drill and brought back that original cast finish. To keep them looking like that I purchased some high temp clear coat at Wally world. Little shinny, but looks better than the rusted look. Finally got one piston apart and did some deep cleaning of the grooves and what not. Ready to start measuring the rings and start getting the pistons back into the block. Working on the drag links and steering gear so I can get those cleaned up.

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After a morning of working around the house and getting some things done I decided to work on the car after lunch for a bit. I was able to pull off the steering linkage and steering gear assy. Got that all broken down. THe center link was cleaned up and painted. The tie rods need to be cleaned up and painted next. They are in really good condition. The grease was really nice inside. Not all hard and nasty. The steering gear is also tight and responsive, but I will need to replace the oil seals on it. The cross member cleaned up nice and looks like new. Glad all the oily dirt and grime that came off of it was just that and not rust. There was a big pile of it.

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I can't believe that it's already been a year since I started this venture. Time just flys by. I did managed to get my new idler bushings in and get one drag link cleaned up. One more to go. I will be ordering the rebuild kit for the control valve and get that done next. Also I need to get under the body and get to cleaning that up too. I sent off the transmission mount to Barry Wolks guy that rebuilds them. Can't wait to see the end result on that. My sticker guy also made me some 1961 Arizona license plates. They may not be the stamped ones, but they sure look original enough for me.

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Edited by Laughing Coyote (see edit history)
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Happy Anniversary Martin. We are still following you and understand - it's not about how fast you get it done, it's about how much fun you have doing it! Thanks for a fun thread, a great car, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Chuck in Kansas

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Thanks Chuck! I really enjoy doing this kind of work. It's my "get away from the world for awhile project". I know it's going to take some time to do, but I can't wait to hear that motor fire back up. Can't wait to have it all done and get in the front seat and look over the hood and enjoy a nice ride in a classic car on a spring day. :o Thanks again Chuck and have a Happy Thanksgiving Too!

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Martin, I dont know how you feel about the "cast iron" look but I found what I think is high temp cast look spray at Eastwood. It's called cast blast, I am pretty sure its for things like exhaust manifolds. I will look into it more and if it is I am considering it for the manifolds on my car.

Eddie

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Eddie,

I'm using a product that I got from my local steel store of all places. It's called Cast blast made by Seymour paints. It's not a high heat product, but I have been using it on all my cast steering parts and it covers great and looks nice. Dries really fast too. They also make an aluminum blast also. I may pick up a can of that the next time I go. The manifolds are the original cast color with a high heat (2000 degree) clear coat. I may just stick with that and see how it looks after awhile of driving it. When I get to drive it.

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Well the weather has been great and work has been crazy. I did manage to start cleaning up the bottom of the car pan. It's a little slow going. It's mainly dirt, grease, and grime an some under coating, but not to bad to remove. Like trying to drain the ocean with a teaspoon, but at least it's a scoop at a time and there is progress. Going to have my father in law start helping with the motor. He was a heavy equipment mechanic up in Oregon. They're down here for the winter so extra help is always appreciated.

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