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Gran's '57

This is a discussion on Gran's '57 within the Early Birds [1955-1957] forums, part of the Thunderbird Model Years category; 1st post: My wife's grandmother "Gran" bought her Thunderbird new in 1957, never sold it, and left it to my ...

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  #1 (permalink)   IP: 66.8.246.223
Old 02-13-2013, 04:20 PM
 
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Gran's '57

1st post:
My wife's grandmother "Gran" bought her Thunderbird new in 1957, never sold it, and left it to my wife when she passed away last year. Gran used to say her husband "Ivar always kept it in apple pie condition".
Gran always garaged it, but as she grew older, she didn't drive it more than 400 miles after its last oil change in 2007, according to the windshield sticker and the odometer.

My wife has lots of great memories of cruising around as a little girl with her Gran in the T-Bird, and never will sell it, so I just flew to L.A. to get it running and ship it back here to Hawaii. It needed a new battery, coil, distributor cap, rotor, condensor, fuel filter and rebuilt generator to get it running down to the port.

Now that it's arrived on island, in order to register it, it also needs to pass its first annual safety check. Looking at the "Sears Allstate" 3" bias-ply whitewalls, they must be 30 years old with very little tread left. 5 new Firestone bias-ply whitewalls are going on the ship today.

The brake lights were working in L.A. but now they don't, and the horn is not working, but both need to be operating to pass a safety check.
So, I'm ordering a new brake light switch, hoping that will solve that, but we will see.

About the horn, it looks like there are 2, a horn relay, and the horn ring in the steering wheel. The ring is broken, as in one half of the arc-shaped ring is missing, and the horn button in the center looks like it's pressed down on one side and lifted up on the other. I cannot find a '57 horn ring replacement part online, just the '55 & '56 seem available, so I'm considering a 15" wheel with horn ring, but would prefer to keep it original if possible, since the rest of the car is not modified.

So, looking forward to being a part of this forum, and making Gran's Tbird ready for Sunday drives and date nights!

Any guidance for the horn and brakelight scenarios above are appreciated.

Aloha!
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  #2 (permalink)   IP: 173.70.40.67
Old 02-13-2013, 09:47 PM
 
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You can check the brake lights by removing the two wires on the switch and running a jumper between them. if the brakes light work, then its the switch.

One of the wires has power all the time - get a test light and see if you have power there. Make sure the battery is hooked up.

If you don't have a shop manual, get one. Any one who works on their own car should have one. EBay usually has them all the time or try the TBird parts vendors. This may help in trouble shooting the horns.

Another suggestion - join CTCI (Classic Thunderbird Club Int'l). Great bimonthly magazine and it has helpful articles in caring for a little Bird.
picture in the center.

For a car sitting that long, you should check the entire brake system.

Last edited by paul2748; 02-13-2013 at 09:55 PM.
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Old 02-14-2013, 02:09 PM
 
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Thanks Paul,
I do have power to one of the wires. Checked that, but did not do the jumper - will try that this weekend.
Thanks for the other tips too.
Aloha
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  #4 (permalink)   IP: 66.8.246.223
Old 02-19-2013, 04:58 PM
 
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Sure enough, the brake lights worked when the jumper bypassed the stoplight switch. So the replacement switch will be an easy fix. Once I get the car registered and safety checked I'll go through the entire brake system. For now, the brakes stop the car.

I cleaned up the horn relay contacts, and removed and replaced the horn ring and got the dust out from behind the horn button - horns now work!

Tried to remove the hardtop, but the pin under the right rear dogleg lever will not come up through the keyslot. Tried several times. Any tips? The rest of the hardtop connections work as expected. Also, any special procedure for raising the soft top through the narrow space behind the seat once the hard top is removed?

Thanks again!
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  #5 (permalink)   IP: 173.70.40.67
Old 02-19-2013, 09:00 PM
 
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Good to see that you are solving some of your problems.

To get the soft top out, you have to push it to one side, pull it out and then do the other side the same way. Getting it back down you do the same.

Regarding the problem with the top rear clamp, its possible that the pin that in the clamp has sheared and not moving the part that extends below. If that's the case, if you can go underneath (I know the soft top is in place) there is a nut under there that holds the top plate to the body - take that nut off and the whole thing will came up.

Did you try reclamping down the other side and then try to remove the troubling one? Also get a friend to exert pressure on the top to compress the rubber a little more to see if it will free up.

Last edited by paul2748; 02-19-2013 at 09:08 PM.
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Old 03-05-2013, 09:14 PM
 
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Ok, so I sent my check off to CTCI, and was able to remove the nut below the top clamp receptacle, and the whole thing came out just like you said. It looks much more worn, or even overworn, than the other one, so I'll just replace it - soon.

Got the hard top off and started to raise the soft top - it's only a frame - no canvas! Another part to order, and will have to find a good upholstery shop to install it.

Had the 5 new bias-ply tires installed, then passed the state safety check today, so now it has new plates, insurance, registration and it's ready to cruise! Ordered custom plates that say GRANZ and they should be available next week. I'll post some pics once they're installed.
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  #7 (permalink)   IP: 173.70.40.67
Old 03-05-2013, 10:01 PM
 
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Good to see that things are coming along ok and good to see another early Bird hit the road.
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Old 03-16-2013, 06:15 PM
 
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Here is another source for parts, inquire about getting a catalogue and they should send one to you.

Thunderbird Parts | NPD
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  #9 (permalink)   IP: 24.165.36.9
Old 04-25-2014, 01:03 AM
 
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Ok, I'm back again. Turns out my bride needed about a year to process the grieving of her loss of Gran, who was a fantastic lady with a lot of positive attitude.
Now she's accepted that Gran wanted her to drive the Tbird and that's why she left it to her. Since it's been sitting for (another) year, it now has fuel delivery issues, so I plan to replace the carb, install an original style glass fuel filter, and figure out if the gas guage problem is in the guage or the sending unit. Hoping to get it back on the road in May.
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Old 04-25-2014, 11:36 AM
 
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Do a check on the tank to see if it has any gunk inside. If so, your going to have to remove it and either have it cleaned out (radiator shops usually do this) or replace it
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Old 01-14-2020, 04:12 PM
 
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solenoid clicks, but doesn't turn starter

Long story: car's been plagued with electrical issues forever. Therefore she mostly sits parked. We are going to put her up for sale, but would like to get it to start so the buyer can test drive it and drive it home instead of putting it on a flatbed to haul it away.

I have replaced the coil, resistor, starter solenoid, cable from starter to solenoid, battery cables, ignition switch and cleaned the grounds.

With auto trans in neutral, sometimes the ignition key will get the solenoid to click, then the dash lights go dark, and will not come back on unless I disconnect and reconnect the battery ground cable.

If I jump the solenoid with a jumper cable from hot side to cold side, the starter turns slowly, so it doesn't appear to be the starter motor.

Feeling stumped and frustrated. Any ideas will help. Thanks, Scott
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:07 PM
 
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Sounds like the battery is low - needs a recharge. If you have electrical problems, there may be something that is draining the battery, so don't leave the battery hooked up when the car is just sitting. remove ground cable
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Old 01-15-2020, 08:17 PM
 
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You're right! I used a quick-disconnect ground terminal on the battery, which became corroded in a hidden spot underneath. I removed it, cleaned up the ground cable battery connection and lo and behold, she starts again!
Thanks, and aloha
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Old 01-16-2020, 10:20 AM
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My 1955 clock will drain the battery in a few days. Perhaps this is the same on the 1957s?
Rick
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Old 01-16-2020, 02:05 PM
 
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Yes, that could be it. The clock hasn't worked in years, but it's still wired up, so that could be the draw. Thanks
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