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1966 Ford Galaxie 500 7-Litre Restoration Thread


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The metalwork wasn’t quite over yet, as the battery tray and inner fenders required attention.  Here, we made a new insert for the battery tray. 

 

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An odd-shaped mounting hole was restored on the inner fender:

 

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In 1984 while in college my very dear friend Bill loved his '66 7-litre coupe, as he called it.  It was emberglo with a cream-white top.  It had no rust but did have a few small dents and well weathered paint.  Bill worked nights and weekends at a movie theater to help fund a paint job.  Bill was a brilliant Engineering Physics major but he suffered greatly from cystic fibrosis.  One summer, Bill went to do intern work in Flint MIchigan but he left the car in Oklahoma.  Unbeknownst to Bill, his older brother and I began our work to straighten and repaint that car.  With many paint jobs under my belt in my uncle's shop, we were easily able to finish it and surprised him upon his return that fall.  That horrible disease soon took my friend away and I never knew the fate of that car.  

 

You never know who you are going to touch and in what way.  Your project is special to me because it brings back memories of my friend and I love seeing this work done right.  

 

Thank you!

Joel

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I love seeing this as it is being done. Your attention to what seems the smallest detail is awesome. I have followed this post for a long time, and it has made me wish this caliber of restoration was more affordable. I know time and expertise are costly and I completely understand it. I am jealous of the person having this done, I wish it was within my means to do it as well. Again, your work and craftsmanship is outstanding, that's one lucky car to have your guys restoring it. 

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On 5/25/2016 at 8:53 PM, JoelsBuicks said:

In 1984 while in college my very dear friend Bill loved his '66 7-litre coupe, as he called it.  It was emberglo with a cream-white top.  It had no rust but did have a few small dents and well weathered paint.  Bill worked nights and weekends at a movie theater to help fund a paint job.  Bill was a brilliant Engineering Physics major but he suffered greatly from cystic fibrosis.  One summer, Bill went to do intern work in Flint MIchigan but he left the car in Oklahoma.  Unbeknownst to Bill, his older brother and I began our work to straighten and repaint that car.  With many paint jobs under my belt in my uncle's shop, we were easily able to finish it and surprised him upon his return that fall.  That horrible disease soon took my friend away and I never knew the fate of that car.  

 

You never know who you are going to touch and in what way.  Your project is special to me because it brings back memories of my friend and I love seeing this work done right.  

 

Thank you!

Joel

 

Great story Joel!   Thanks for sharing that with us.   You're correct, these old cars are truly time machines and can bring back all kinds of memories.   I'm glad ours was able to rekindle some good times with your buddy.     Thanks for the kind words!

 

On 5/29/2016 at 11:47 AM, edhd58 said:

I love seeing this as it is being done. Your attention to what seems the smallest detail is awesome. I have followed this post for a long time, and it has made me wish this caliber of restoration was more affordable. I know time and expertise are costly and I completely understand it. I am jealous of the person having this done, I wish it was within my means to do it as well. Again, your work and craftsmanship is outstanding, that's one lucky car to have your guys restoring it. 

 

Thank you very much!    It's important to have a crew that cares about the details.    They do make all the difference.    Unfortunately, these jobs require a lot of time, and that makes them out of reach for many.    However, we're glad to share as much as we can through forums like this with those who appreciate the work and want to go along for a free ride!

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With the body back on the frame and the underside completed, it was time to approach the bodywork on the topside.     The car was rolled into the body shop department.

 

The roof already had some filler and sanding work done from being on the rotisserie.    The crew installed the front sheetmetal, as well as the doors and decklid to establish a good fit.

 

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The rear decklid filler panel received some lead work to fill the original seam.

 

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Craig scuffed the epoxy and began the filler process on the Galaxie’s panels.

 

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A car like this can receive several coats of body filler from end-to-end, with the vast majority being sanded off with each refining grade of sandpaper.      Note the various size sanding blocks to get the panels straight.  

 

Here, the rear section is spread and sanded, with tape to keep the filler out of the trunk lid seam.

 

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The factory quarter seams were filled with lead like the original installation, then body filler was applied to refine the shape.

 

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More sanding… (there’s a lot of sanding on a car this big!)

 

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On 6/3/2016 at 1:35 PM, topblissgt said:

Beautiful work, Kevin. Your people are craftsmen, without a doubt. Bravo!

 

On 6/4/2016 at 5:51 AM, MikeC5 said:

These guys really separate the men from the boys in sheet metal fab and repair.  Outstanding work!

 

Thank you for the kind words, a top-notch crew makes all the difference!

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Spread filler and sand filler… the life of a bodyman.   Every panel on the car will be massaged.  

 

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Craig spreads the filler and “roughs it in” with 80 grit with an air file board, then hand block-sands with 180 grit, reapplying filler where needed.     Once the car is in a uniform 180 grit finish, he moves to 320 grit on a Dual Action sander to prep the panels for several coats of high-solids primer.    Then the car is hand-dressed with 320 right before primer.  

 

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Much of the filler left on the car is paper-thin.. Or less.   

 

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A variety of tools in play… sanding blocks in various shapes, different grits of 3M sand paper, a steel spreader, and Evercoat body filler.   The 3M tape keeps the filler out of holes and seams.

 

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I just discovered this thread, and it brought back memories of the only 7 Litre that I had ever seen.  It was in Milwaukee at City Motors on north 37th street and Wisconsin avenue in the early seventies.  This lot was sort of known for having "beat to death" but rather reasonably priced performance cars.  This particular 7Litre was dark blue exterior with white vinyl top and white bucket seat interior  with a four speed and console.  It didn't appear to be in all that bad of condition as I recall.

 

 

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Guest BillP

I don't know much about bodywork, so this may seem like a stupid question. Isn't the steel straight; or, said another way, why does all this bondo-work have to be done to make it look straight? 

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That is a great question.     The panels are relatively straight, but they suffer from many imperfections... hammer dings, grinder marks, welding warpage or other little items that will become big imperfections once shiny paint is applied.     

 

We produced a 3-part mini series on myths and benefits and how-to's of body filler... you can see it here:  

 

http://v8tvshow.com/V8TV_2/index.php/tech/body-paint/9-body-filler-magic-bullet-or-easy-way-out-3-part-video-series

 

Filler is not your enemy, but it's not the magic bullet, either.    We make sure the panels fit properly in bare steel, then refine the surfaces with filler.    

 

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Once masked, Jeff sprays an Axalta high-solids 2k primer to fill any sanding scratches in the body filler or grinder marks left in the steel panels.

 

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Then, the car is sprayed with an aerosol guide coat to help reveal the high & low spots in the sanding process and is moved back to the body shop area for more block sanding.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

…..aaaand, bring on more sanding!   In this round, Craig blocks the primer down to eliminate the guide coat and ensure that the car has been completely sanded to the next grit.    

 

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Big cars need long blocks!

 

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Details like fender edges and jamb areas are all sanded with the same level of detail as the exterior body panels. 

 

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Edited by V8TV (see edit history)
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  • 3 months later...

More block sanding is done on the individual body panels to make them straight.  

 

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Once the panels are sanded, they are cleaned and brought back into the booth for another round of Axalta primer to be wet sanded. 

 

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5 minutes ago, GARY F said:

Glad to see you back. I missed following you. Where did you go, on vacation? Ha Ha

 

Vaca... vaycay... I'm sorry, I don't know that word!

 

We've had a busy summer here at the shop and traveling to events, etc., I apologize for being delinquent on the updates!    More to come soon!

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  • 3 weeks later...

The panels and the body shell are all unmasked and cleaned, and the primer is sanded again in preparation for Axalta Chromax basecoat and then clear.    Everything was sanded to 600 grit, and then everything is cleaned with wax & grease remover. 

 

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3M sandpaper is used in a “wet” fashion to minimize scratching and potential damage.   Wet sanding also reduces paper clogging and increases its lifespan. 

 

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Once wetsanded and cleaned, the body shell is rolled into the paint booth.    The next step is to mask it and add color to the door and under hood jambs.    A few exterior areas will be spot-primed before color, but the jambs are ready.

 

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While the paint department was doing their thing, the mechanical side of the shop turned their attention to the 428 V8 that powers the 7-Litre.    The 7-Litre was a special car, used to launch the 428 in the 1966 passenger car line.    It was intended to be quiet and quick, and this one has served it’s purpose well.  The factory rating was 345 HP and 463 lb. ft. of torque at 10.5:1 compression.   The engine underwent a mechanical rebuild when it was removed from the car many years ago, but we wanted to check everything before putting it back in service. 


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We’re glad we took the time.     First off, we noticed that the new pistons were not all installed properly, with the forward-pointing arrow pointing rearward on at least one piston.


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We also noted that the bore size was + .060” over, which is a big cut on any street engine.   We’re not 100% sure why the block required a .060” cut, but here we are.    We also noted some corrosion in the bores and passages from being stored improperly.    


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There was a little debris in the pan as well.  


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We pulled the bearing caps to measure the clearance, and noticed some scuffing.   It was enough to make us want to pull the crank and check everything. 


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With all the rubbing on the bearings, as well as the tightness of the rotating assembly, we determined that perhaps the crank should be measured and possibly recut.  


We found some nicks on the cam bearings, possibly due to the nick on the cam. 


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Time for some machine work!

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I'm no engine mechanic so please bare with me: 

What would cause that kind of damage on the cam like that?

What does the bottom of the lifter look like?

If I have this correct, this was rebuilt and running? or was it rebuilt and stored before you started on the restoration?

 

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1 hour ago, dei said:

I'm no engine mechanic so please bare with me: 

What would cause that kind of damage on the cam like that?

What does the bottom of the lifter look like?

If I have this correct, this was rebuilt and running? or was it rebuilt and stored before you started on the restoration?

 

 

All good questions.    The owner had the engine rebuilt and stored before the car arrived in our shop and we started the restoration, so it had not yet been run after the rebuild.   I'm not sure about the cam lobe chip, perhaps it is a casting flaw, as this would be pretty hard to do.    The cam bearing marks may have come from installation of the cam and the installer bumping the cam on the bearing.    The lifters are all new, no marks on them.     We always check engines before running them, new, rebuilt, or otherwise... for these very reasons.  

Edited by V8TV (see edit history)
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Thanks Kevin.

I have been following along on your thread quietly and had I the ability (aka money) would feel confident in the ability of the quality your shop is displaying with this work! :)

The engine rebuild, with the reversed piston and.... wow!

Had you not checked things, could have been a sincere disaster. :angry:

 

Hope you will post a video of her once up and running.

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39 minutes ago, dei said:

Thanks Kevin.

I have been following along on your thread quietly and had I the ability (aka money) would feel confident in the ability of the quality your shop is displaying with this work! :)

The engine rebuild, with the reversed piston and.... wow!

Had you not checked things, could have been a sincere disaster. :angry:

 

Hope you will post a video of her once up and running.

 

Thank you for the kind words.    There's more on the engine, and we will post some video of the completed car.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We sent the crank out to be machined down .001, and the machine shop had a “whoopsie” and the crank slipped in the fixture and damaged the crank, cutting it over .100”.    Crank = done.   After some searching, our good friend Eric Vanberkum came through with a fresh crankshaft.    Once balanced, we re-assembled the engine with the pistons facing the proper direction, new gaskets, and a new bearing set.   The block and heads were prepped and painted with Eastwood ceramic engine paint in proper Ford blue.  


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