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170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Introduction To Project

Hello All,

I've started this thread on the Ford galaxie forum, just thought I'd mirror it here in case anyone would like to read it.

I've started a similar thread on a 1966 Ford LTD resto-mod car. I have taken a break from that car for a bit for a couple of reasons. First and obviously, needed a break, especially after unveiling the rusted out roof. That one zapped my mojo if you know what I mean. The other reason is I have been accumulating so many parts for this car project, I had to start this project in order to get them out of my way.

On the LTD, I have everything I need now to repair the roof, and the mojo is regenerating. It is very difficult when you are effectively a one man band type operation. But we shall crack on with a similar project in the interim.

This is the wifes car, she fell in love originally with a beautiful 1966 Ford galaxie 500 7 litre at a car show. Well over the years a 7 litre model was next to impossible to come across, actually an XL model was hard to come across as well. Well she found one and against our better judgement we bought it anyway. In other words we bought a massive pile of........


1966 galaxie 500XL_1.jpg

1966 galaxie 500XL_5.jpg

1966 galaxie 500XL_2.jpg

1966 galaxie 500XL_3.jpg

1966 galaxie 500XL_4.jpg

1966 galaxie 500XL_6.jpg

1966 galaxie 500XL_7.jpg

This fine example of material waiting to be recycled into a new major appliance sat for years as this was clearly not a fixer-upper. A complete tear down and build up would be in order.

The Assessment

Now this car wasn't beyond redemption, however it was really beat. It's a Texas car all its life till we hauled it over one state over. The one thing this car had in its favour was it wasn't really rusty. However, it was hit, and hit hard. It was hit so hard in the back it also pushed the front end into another item, most likely the car in front of it at the time. The whole body on this was tweaked from the rear bumper to the rear of the doors. The frame was bent in the rear and in the front. Someone had already tried to pull the damage out, albeit badly.

I truly understand the allure of wanting an old car, however some are so bad unless you have unlimited time and funds they should be avoided. This would be one of those examples as I even haven't touched on the rest of the malfeasance of this car yet.

The pictures above show exactly how we bought it. The engine was incomplete and in the last picture yes that is fire damage. The fire damage is not from the engine, but rather the transmission caught fire. Yes, that's right this had the rare Ford option of the internally combusting C6. Something I didn't know was even possible. But to add insult to injury when it caught fire, obviously the fire department was called out and proceeded to pour copious amounts of water on it. So much water in fact that about 2 gallons ended up in the engine.

Now the.... person.... that sold us the car told us he poured gas down the carb and started the engine, yes without checking that there was 2 gallons of water in the oil pan. FYI, water does not make for a good lubricant. Now this same person also had the temerity to ask for even more money for the car once we were loading it on the trailer. I'll just let your imagination run wild on what I told him he could do with his solicitation.

To tally all the problems, and they are many, the frame is bent, the body is bent, the rear quarter is crushed beyond redemption. The deck lid is bent and heavily dented. The engine hood is warped from the heat of the engine compartment fire. The engine is in need of an entire rebuild, the transmission is in need of an entire rebuild. The interior is quite literally burned toast and needs to be replaced. All the accessories will need a ground up refurbishment as well, such as the brakes, steering, radio, wipers, HVAC and instrument cluster gauges.

The Plan of Action

Since sitting for so long and having a couple of other 1966 and 1968 parts cars it became apparent to not even bother with the frame nor the majority of the body. Instead a donor body shell will be used as well as a donor frame. The interior bones will be used to build up a new interior. In all 4 different clapped out cars are going to be used to build this one back up. The transmission has been rebuilt. As for the engine, well the plans are to use a 352 half done, but I'm still thinking about the correct date coded 390 for it that it came with. Dunno, jury is still out.

I started on the interior as well and have been accumulating the necessary parts to rehabilitate it. I've been putzing around with this car over the last couple of years here and there. I be glad to cover all that as well as the present work of building up the frame.

The End Goal

It's important to have a clear concise end goal before you start. The goal of this car is to have a reliable daily driver that isn't concourse in appearance nor totally original. I have no problems with upgrading certain parts of the car whilst keeping the essence of the 1960's. What we want is a car that has sufficient corrosion control to daily drive in all weather except snow and doesn't have to have award winning paint work. Something you can power wash after a long work week and take to the car show and not be embarrassed.

The immediate upgrades will include:

1.) 4 wheel disc brakes.
2.) Fuel injection - no more carburetors. At this altitude and fuel quality we receive they are nothing but problems.
3.) Alloy wheels of some sort the wife likes. No hub caps.
4.) A variety of anti-theft, built in cameras and radio location hardware.
5.) Original AM-FM radio with a multiplex add on (stereo) along with antenna injection ancillary input (MP3 player).
6.) HVAC system converted to R134a.
7.) Power trunk lid release.
8.) Factory type power windows.
9.) Power door locks, these will be electric and not the factory vacuum operated ones.
10.) Remote entry using Ford key fob.
11.) Rear window defroster

Long term upgrades:

1.) Overdrive transmission
2.) Intermittent wipers.

I think that's a good intro for now.

As the Terminator said, "I'll be back".


170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·

Although this was done a while ago, I wanted to share some of these pictures. The reason is I hope this becomes a cautionary tale of what to expect when you buy an old car. I know it's considered bad taste to besmirch sellers, but I'm willing to tarnish any views of me in hopes of saving someone from making a mistake that can cost them time and profuse amounts of money.

Now this seller said the engine was fine because it ran. And if you believe that you'll believe anything. Never trust a seller on what they say, only believe your eyes, ears and most importantly common sense. Here's some pictures that say otherwise to the engines condition.


Just to reiterate, fire. The HVAC cover is melted and that blower motor was seized. Probably melted. The fire came from the transmission dipstick tube.


The ingress of water into the distributor seized the mechanical and vacuum advance.


When the water neck starts disintegrating, you know you're in for a treat on the rest of the cooling system.


Yuppers. BTW feel free to have a laugh, I sure did. Sometimes you have to bow to the absurd.


I've seen rusty thermostats before but this is the first time I've seen a green one.


The comedy continues.


Those rocker covers weighed about 3X times as much as they normally do. That was some really thick dense sludge.


At this point the car sat outside for a while, like it mattered, but all the accessories were removed sans the PS pump.


You can see the transmission in the background and we'll get to that comedy of errors in a bit. As for the engine, the only bits I kept were the block, dipstick, timing cover, crank and what was present on the front dress. Everything else pitched. Even the oil pan had rusted through but the sludge kept the 2 gallons of water in it.


The dumpster pile grows.

continued in the next post

170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Disassembly Continued


Aside from the dipstick all this ended up in the rubbish bin as well.


Here's a question for the galaxie 500 connoisseur, did later model '66 gals have that style PS pump (fill port) or is that strictly a '67 and up style?

Next up was removing the interior.




Once the interior was out, I wanted to be sure to see just how bad the body was before I condemned it. So I mounted the body to my jig I made that precisely locates the body mounts. My jig is accurate to 1/16" of an inch on level ground.

Plus you can see the creases in the sail panel and rear quarter from the body being bent.


You can see how tweaked the impact side is. Now this body could be fixed. I am sure for a few thousand dollars on a rack it could be straightened and the creases removed, although the latter half of the rear quarter would still need to be replaced.

However I already had two 1966 galaxie 500 2 door fastbacks not doing anything. So it made sense to use one of them as a body donor and scrap this.


I plopped the body back on the rolling frame and proceeded to remove anything of value. The parts I removed and saved specifically relate to the identity of this car as well as all the steel bits that make it an XL as well as factory air con.


The front floor pan braces are unique to XL and 7 Litre because of the bucket seats. So those came out to go into the donor body which just had a bench seat.


I also saved part of the roof, the floor pans, rear quarters and parts and most of the outer wheel houses. The trunk floor was bent and had some rust so I didn't bother. Also the cowl was saved.


I thought this was interesting. This is a genuine XL car and apparently Ford or this factory couldn't be bothered with blanking a hole for the floor shift. So it looks like a line worker just blazed a hole with a torch for one.

Not exactly a quality old Zenith television now is it.

More in the next bit.

170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Disassembly Continued

Onto the frame.

As you can see the back is crinkled.


The front flanges on the frame were a little splayed as well. But aside from some very light surface rust there was not serious corrosion inside or out on this one. This is the frame I offered up for free. I figured for around 500 dollars this could be placed on a frame rack and straightened. This would have made a really good frame for someone in the Midwest. But alas no one was really interested and I hated to cut it up but alas tis gone. Now I kept all the suspension parts mostly as spares. The rear axle I would use on the new build as it's the heavy duty (large bearing) 9" and these only came on the 1966 full size with a 390 or bigger engine. The donor cars were 352 and 289 and all three had the light duty (small bearing) Ford 9 inch axle.

I also used the engine perches and the coil springs for the new build since they are calibrated for the weight of the XL package plus accessories.


Everything cleared of the frame, tagged and stowed. So at this point what was left of the body and frame have been taken to the dump only after saving the key pieces.

On the next post I'll cover the transmission.

170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·

A couple people I showed this to thought I was unhinged for even attempting this. But if anything it's good for a laugh. I did suss out how it caught fire and it's pretty interesting playing detective.

So here's how I pieced the puzzle together. The case is a Ford replacement case for the C6. I can only imagine something happened to the original transmission at some earlier point. However whomever replaced the transmission never tightened the bolts to the engine. As the car ran the bolts slowly unloosened and the angle between the engine and transmission centre line became more and more severe. The flexplate was not happy. No sir. As the angle increased the flexplate forced the torque converter on an angle to match the engine and broke the gears in the pump.

But the C6 soldiered on amazingly. It just kept going. Now the intense heat from the broken gears grinding away caused the front seal to completely melt and the torque converter snout bushing that resides in the pump to weld onto the torque converter snout. Somehow it didn't leak or leak much, that one remains a mystery as the toxic sludge was still in it and quite full. But yet the C6 kept running. The pump was grinding metal and just pumping it into the valve body, torque converter and cooler. So much so that it blasted the cooler return check ball straight through the valve body spacer plate like a bullet. But yet it kept going. I am sure it was loosing pressure as the clutches started to slip and burn. The cooler was effectively plugged and the temps sky rocketed so much so the fluid ignited. Now I don't see how enough oxygen could get into the case, but unless somehow the pump was pulling it in from the front and aerating the fluid.

Alas shortley the transmission was in flames and it's quite evident flames were shooting out of the dipstick tube. Can you imagine the racket that must have made?!

Wouldn't a sane person have pulled over long before anything like this ever progressed to the level it did?

I guess not. Now for the carnage.


That's actual ash atop the valve body.


I have never seen anything like this.


You can see the broken gears in the pump.


I've never seen a band lay out almost flat. All the clutches were cooked.


These are all the parts that were replaced. Even the sprag just fell apart when I took it out.


That case took a bit to clean out. Boy did it ever.


This transmission ended up receiving the works. It was rollerized to start with along with increasing each clutch capacity in frictions and steels. The frictions are Red Eagles with Kolene steels and it also received a red eagle extra wide band. I bought a 2400 stall rebuilt torque converter with rollerized stator.

On torque converters for C6's with FE's, apparently supplies are running low and you have to return your old one for a core. Boy how I would have liked to been there when they saw that torque converter and cut it open.


This was the most difficult part of this transmission. The spacer plate, the cooler check ball was blown through with incredible force. I plug welded the hole then drilled to seat the ball. Of course the heat warped this like a potato chip and I spent all day planishing it back straight then final decking it flat again. This still had the 1966 valve body in it which is a one year only (dual range). I couldn't find a new spacer plate or valve body for the life of me.


I was able to find the 1966 only valve body gasket though. So that was a bit of luck.


I was amazed on how well this valve body came out. I spent a ludicrous amount of hours on this transmission bringing it back from the dead.

continued in next post.

170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Transmission Continued


It's going back together and looking nothing like it did.




I don't think its own mother would recognize it.

But seriously a word on rollerizing one of these. If you have the means to machine the parts yourself then you can save several hundred dollars by doing the labour and just buying the 60 or so dollars worth of Torrington bearings and doing the job yourself. However even with entrusting the machining work to a machinist is a risky proposition because of the incredulous amount of details on the cuts. One wrong cut and you'll be buying an expensive planetary or such part. Plus any machinist worth his salt will take his time, review the instructions and do the work. All this takes loads of time and by the time you pay his bill you can just buy the parts already pre-machined as a kit.

A word on this transmission. This was the most ludicrous resurrection I have ever done. The labour was astronomical and my cost alone was about 1200 dollars for parts. You can imagine how much this would have cost at a restoration shop. Figure 90 dollars an hour shop rate plus mark up on the parts. This would be easily 4 grand.

I didn't go into the details of this transmission build as it parallels this one if you're interested: 1966 LTD Resto-Mod Thread

I wish I had taken a picture of the flexplate. It was truly comical. The metal looked like a shattered windscreen. The amount of cracks in it was amazing.

The next post will deal with building up the donor frame. I won't touch on the interior until the chassis is complete and work starts on the body.

Thanks for reading and watching.


170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Prepping the New Frame

First thing to do was dig out the donor frame. Boy these are heavy and cumbersome.

Frame Prep_01.jpg

This doesn't have any evidence of being in an accident and aside from surface rust there is no severe rust inside or out. I checked with a borescope.

Frame Prep_05.jpg

Here is the donor frame from another 1966 galaxie 500 and the heavy duty Ford 9 inch axle from the 1966 galaxie 500 XL. They are ready to be wet sand blasted.

Frame Prep_11.jpg

This is what I use to wet sand blast. The pressurized hopper is a Harbor Freight deal, the pressure washer is a 3100 PSI gasoline chain store buy and the wet blasting wand was from Northern Tools. You can only use fine blasting media as the course will clog up the nozzle.

Frame Prep_14.jpg

Frame Prep_15.jpg

After metal prep application.

Frame Prep_20.jpg

During the painting process. Since this is not a show room build, I wasn't going to spray the frame on the exterior, it's just brush painted POR 15 semi-gloss. My primary concern is corrosion control since these love to rust out from the inside.

The interior of the frame was sprayed with Eastwood's internal frame coat. Took about 6 cans and then after that cured it was internally coated with POR 15 with a spray gun with a long wand attachment. I hosed it in liberally till it ran out. It's well coated on the inside.

For those wondering about the costs as you need to budget for something like this. The Eastwood internal frame coat was ~150 and POR 15 ~100. So 250 for the paint. The blasting sand was another 100 dollars. Plus cleaner, reducer, and misc. So just for supplies 450 dollars to prep the bare frame.

Frame Prep_21.jpg

The next post will be the suspension parts.


170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Suspension Parts
I had a batch of suspension parts ready to go for the rat rod project, but since that was cancelled they were free to use on this car.

Frame Prep_02.jpg

If memory serves the suspension parts on this table are the same for any '65-'68 Ford full size (3rd generation) regardless of engine or options. All the rubber bushings and ball joints are Moog. I've learned my lesson with other brands. I try to powder coat items that will fit in my oven, otherwise if they are too big or sensitive to heat they received POR 15. The front upper and lower control arms are powder coated but the other items were just too long.

Frame Prep_03.jpg

This is one of the caveats to the suspension. This rear upper control arm fits 1965-1966. It will also fit '67 and '68 but in '67 the bushings were enlarged and so was the arm. Obviously a '67-'68 arm will not fit on a '65-'66.

The bushings have to come from Rare Parts as them seem to be the only source and pretty pricey at ~90 dollars for the set.

Frame Prep_04.jpg

Powder coated as well.

Just to reiterate, the parts that will be used that came specifically off the XL package car are the engine perches (390) and coil springs. The donor frame was from a Challenger 289 car and the engine perches are different for a Windsor engine. The coil springs from the XL package car are calibrated for XL package, engine and accessories ordered on that car so are imperative to use to get the ride height correct.

Next up retrofitting front disc brakes.

170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Suspension Parts Refurbish

I didn't think I had any pictures of rebuilding the above suspension pieces but I found a few.

Suspension refurb_01.jpg

They were well worn from use and age.

Suspension refurb_02.jpg

Some of the bushings like this one weren't too bad, but still they had to come out to treat the arm so they were all replaced.

Suspension refurb_03.jpg

Before I use to struggle with removing old bushings, but I made some hokey little bits and bobs and was able to easily press the old ones out quickly.

Suspension refurb_05.jpg

like so

Suspension refurb_06.jpg

Occasionally I had a bushing press out its innards first then the shell just popped out, but for the most part they popped out as a whole.

Suspension refurb_08.jpg

The inner and outer tie rod along with the sleeve would all be replaced however the centre link needs to be reused so the old tie rods need to come off.

Suspension refurb_09.jpg

This is the portion that I really do not like, that is drilling out these pressed riveted ball joints. A word of caution the centre of the head here is not the centre of the shank, it's mushed over so only drill deep enough to remove the head and not into the arm.

Suspension refurb_10.jpg

I used a drill press as it's just easier.

Suspension refurb_11.jpg

Once the head pops off I used an air hammer to drive the shank through and out.

Suspension refurb_12.jpg

You can see even though I centre drilled the head it's offset. If you drill all the way through would have drilled into the control arm and elongated the holes. And that is nicht sehr gut.

continued in next post

170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Suspension Parts Refurbish Continued

Suspension refurb_13.jpg

Nothing worse than old sloppy parts.... Don't read into that. :p

Suspension refurb_17.jpg

The upper control arms were no better. I used the same techniques to take these apart.

Suspension refurb_18.jpg

All prepped for paint or powder coat.

Unfortunately I don't have any more pictures of the assembly. But I think you get the idea.

170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Front Brakes

The 1966 galaxie 500 XL originally came with power 4 wheel drum brakes. One of the immediate upgrades was to migrate to 4 wheel power disc brakes. I've seen some of the aftermarket kits for these cars. Some are rather sketchy. Since the rat rod project (1968 LTD) was abandoned it made sense to pillage the factory disc brakes off that car. Now these brakes aren't cheap to refurbish either, but at least they are OEM parts.


Driver side


Passenger side. I think Ronald Reagan was president last time these worked.

In order to still move the car I just replaced these with drum spindles and hubs to put the tyres back on.


Fords paranoia wire on the caliper bracket bolts. Not very elegantly done.


Here's all the dilapidated disc brake parts off the '68 LTD. The splash shields were bent over on themselves on the bottom.


First thing was to unbend and straighten the splash shields best I could. Loads of time spent with a hammer and dolly as well as the torch to shrink the metal so it would lie flat.


All hardware, bearings and races were really bad, so it received all new goodies. The hub was powder coated.


Same thing with the calipers. The calipers and pistons were still serviceable but everything else pretty much wasn't. The calipers were powder coated as well.


Sometimes my anal retentiveness knows no bounds. Every single piece of hardware (nut, bolt, washer, clip, etc) was clear coated and baked to cure. Any original hardware like these that were re-used were sand blasted, blackened then clear coated.


New pads, these are semi-metallic.


Round 1 of anti-rattle clips.

continued in next post

170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Front Brakes Continued and Steering


For the hose kits since these brakes aren't common, there is only one company making these. It's about 160 dollars for the 3 piece kit, beggars can't be choosers. It's a stainless braid in a polymer line, they should last for a couple of decades.


The rotors are a bit pricey as well at about 90 dollars a piece shipped.


The rotors need to be pressed onto the hub via the studs.


New races installed as well. But this concludes refinishing the front disc brake parts.

Now onto some of the steering parts.


There are two different kinds of idler arms you can use. The original one (crusty one on the left) using rubber bushings, you can still buy these or buy the greaseable bearing joint kind. I like the ability to grease moving parts so I opted for that kind.


The tie rods were all new, even the coupler.

Now there's enough finished parts to start assembling.

That's the next post.

170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
First Round of Frame Assembly
Finally some actual progress, or so it seems to me.


Engine perches go in first before lower control arms.


Next I set the upper control arms into place. I tightened them down half way on the adjustment travel.


The lower control arms were then installed.



And now for the unpleasant part of the programme. Compressing these always makes me nervous. Well this time my trusty ol spring compressor failed. I was almost to the point where I could install it as it was very compressed, I just needed about an inch more. I had this on the moving blanket with my left hand holding the coil spring from turning and my right hand was operating the ratchet to tighten when the threads in the block gave out. Now the potential energy of this compressed is immense. The threads failed but in about 2-3 inches of skidding down the threaded rod welded them to the rod and stopped. 2-3 inches of sudden expansion doesn't sound so bad, but because I was holding on really hard with my left hand to keep it from turning the shock wave and sudden movement of the spring pulled my shoulder out for a moment and it popped back in. In about the time I thought, hymm that's novel, the intense pain quickly ensued. Yes I did scream my head off for about 7 seconds as it was frightfully painful. Darn near passed out. My shoulder still is very sore.

I ended up renting another spring compressor to finish this. As a side note the coil springs are powder coated as well along with new isolators for the top.


How I loathe thee, let me count the ways.... But they are in.


New shocks.


At this point I felt more comfortable having those loaded coil springs in there.


Radius arm rods (strut rods). A couple notes on some things. In already having done this on the 1966 LTD, I've learned that reproduction parts aren't always the best. If the original rubber bump stops clean up ok, I'll reuse those instead. On the bushing side, I've had nothing but problems with Raybestos and AC Delco bushings. They crack and split in two when tightening them. They are absolute rubbish. Through a good car chum pal of mine I was able to procure NOS Moog bushings for the 1966 LTD and this car. They do not split upon assembly.


These take some wrestling to get in. The trick I learned is to use a ratchet strap on the lower control to pull back slightly to line the bolt holes up, then release the strap and tighten everything up.

continued in next post.

170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
First Round of Frame Assembly Continued



These are the caliper brackets. These to were powder coated.



Well I never thought I'd use aircraft safety wire again and I certainly never thought I'd be using it on an automobile. I find it amusing.


Next items are the idler, centre link and tie rods.



I still have to rebuild the power steering gear. I'll probably start on that tomorrow.


Splash shields are installed next. These were powder coated too. I applied a little silicone sealant between the shield and the spindle to seal out water ingress onto the hub seal area.


Finally starting to look like something.


The messy part of the programme.

continued in next post.

170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
First Round of Frame Assembly Continued



I found this a trifle annoying. You have to remove the rubber boots for the caliper bolts to install the inboard pad. Well it's a small price to pay for disc brakes.


I've said it before and I'll say it again, there's quite a bit of anti-rattle clips on these. It's busy back here, that's for sure.


Wow, this will be the first old Ford we have with proper functioning disc brakes.


I still have to drill and tap the frame to mount the disc brake hoses. The drum brake hoses mount to the rear of the front wheels whereas the disc brake hoses mount in front and there are no holes in this frame for that.

That concludes what I have for the front, even though I do not have the rear axle ready I would like to install some finished bits just to get them off the floor.


These are the rear frame arch bump stops. These are not currently reproduced so you have to reuse the old ones. The little bracket is the rear brake hose holder.



It's just hanging out for now.


I figured I would install this, the lower control arms and install the rear air shocks for now.


And this is where I'm currently at as of yesterday.

This is the run down of major items I still need to do:

1. Rebuild and detail power steering gear
2. Figure out mounting for thicker sway bar from a 1978 T-Bird.
2a. Actually find the sway bar first. It's in the parts shed somewhere, although I haven't seen it in several months.

3. Set old gears in new nodular iron third member along with Eaton True Trak diff.
4. Figure out how to install Ford Explorer type brakes on this axle housing.
5. Figure out brake line routing on axle
6. Paint and assemble rear axle.

I ordered the nodular iron third member and Eaton True Trak through Summit, it should be here next week. I ordered all new bearings, seals and shims through Rock Auto, those should be here next week. I just ordered new 31 spline axle shafts from Moser. In case anyone is wondering the cost of upgrading their Ford 9". For all new bearings, nodular iron third member, Eaton Truetrac diff and new 31 spline 1541H alloy replacement axles it's 1400 dollars plus labour if you hire it out.

Thanks for watching and reading.


170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Rear Axle

I wanted to highlight once more the ultimate craptitude of this 1966 galaxie 500XL. Just to recap, the engine was buggered, the transmission went thermonuclear, the frame was bent, the body was tweaked and interior in a really sad state. The question is would the rear axle be useable.

Spoiler: no.

Yes every single major part was completely destroyed in one fashion or another on this car.


Just to recap, here's the rear axle after blasting. How bad could it be... after all it spins.


Oh good grief.


If only you had smellivision.


I spent 50 dollars on brake clean, acetone and countless rolls of paper towels and rags to clean the inside of this housing. It was putrid. To scrub the inside of the axle tubes I went to Wally World and bought 3 kitchen bottle brushes and duct taped them in a delta configuration to a piece of conduit and rotated and scrubbed. I spent all afternoon just cleaning this.



The tally on the damage is the axle shafts have deep grooves worn in them from the seals and are beyond salvage. The differential feels and sounds like it's grinding walnuts when you turn the axle shafts by hand with no tyres.

Now the good; the housing, pinion support, yoke and by some miracle the gear set (3.0:1) is serviceable.

If I were to rate this car from a scale of 1 to 10, I'd have to use negative integers.

The saga continues.


170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Power Steering Gear

Time for another installment of galaxie :)

I have a couple spares of these '65-'68 power steering gears to choose from, but I decided to see if the gear out of the 1966 galaxie 500 XL was worth rebuilding. Well what a shock it wasn't too bad.


The one thing I've noticed on these Ford power steering gears is the bushing on the Pitman shaft wears. Now this was cheap on Fords part. The Saginaw power steering gear (also a possibility on these cars) and the Ford manual steering gear have a needle bearing for the Pitman shaft and doesn't wear.

If you can see the Pitman shaft move side to side with someone oscillating the steering wheel in the car whilst observing, then the bushing is worn and needs to be replaced. I have seen plenty of people just replace seals but never the worn bushing. The other item that wears is the Pitman arm as there is no grease fitting on them. This can be tedious hunting these down. This is an NOS Moog arm and an NOS Ford bushing. As of two years ago I knew Rare Parts was producing the Pitman Arm. The Pitman arm for the power and manual steering gears are different.

From what I've seen these parts are pretty well worn and sloppy at about 100K miles. Obviously the less city miles the less the steering is used and the less worn these parts will be. But these were pretty well and truly worn as I could move these wear parts side to side with just the strength of my hands/arms.

The Pitman arm from Rare Parts is a little over a 100 dollars as I bought one for the 1966 LTD as that was worn as well. To the best of my knowledge no one is currently making the bushings, once they are gone that may be it, kind of like the C4/C6 tranny mount for these cars. These bushings are about 10 bucks apiece and if you have a couple of these cars you intend to keep you may want to stock up.



The murky brown mess. I am not going to show how to disassemble one of these as it's more cumbersome with the camera, rather I'll show how to put the clean pieces back together. You can just work backwards to take it apart.

A wave of the Harry Potter wand (if only) and........


All the internals are cleaned, the case powder coated and most of the hardware blasted, blackened and clear coated.

Onto the nitty gritty details.


The cheap easy tool for removing the bushing is a 1/2" bolt with 1/2" grade 8 washers like above.


It's a close fit that works.


Now there is no stop lip on these cases, as a result you can press it in or out either end. I personally think it's easier to push downward as pictures to remove and install. Now a couple notes on detail. There are oiling groves in the bushing. You want to place the grooves as pictured because all the pressures and wear spots occur in two spots on the bushing only. The direction of side to side perpendicular to the long axis of the steering gear so you want to make sure lubricating oil can enter that area.


To install the new bushing you want to use a wider driver (left) to start and drive it flush with the case then switch over to the 1/2 inch bolt driver to set it down in the bore properly. This way you wont risk damaging the new bushing and also help start it true with the bore and not tilted.


You can see the heavy wear marks only on one area. There are similar marks on the opposite side of the bushing as well. This is the only area it wears due to the intense side pressures of the Pitman arm articulation.


Next up the lower Pitman (Ford calls it Sector) shaft seals. Both rubber seals are identical. It takes two due to the intense case pressures that can develop when hitting the stops on the control arms. (>1000 PSI).


Use the largest driver that will safely fit without hitting the bore. I almost forgot to mention to use a liberal amount of Vaseline when assembling the innards. Now a word about these seals. There is no stop other than the bore lip for the bushing. However do not drive these all the way down. You want to drive these in just enough to get the snap ring on and no more. Now the pressures will seat the seals against the snap ring but if they have to travel any distance you risk damage or them not moving true and cocking off to the side and leaking.

continued in next post.

170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Power Steering Gear Continued
It should look close to this.


Onto the control valve housing.


This is another potentially sticky wicket. For a bearing driver a 7/16" bolt with grade eight 1/2" washers works really well.


The 7/16" nut passes through the bearing middle, unlike the 1/2" bolt/nut.


Now there is no bearing stop either on this. You have to just press it in far enough to either be flush or just proud of the seal ridge. If you go to far you'll start to block the fluid port at the top pictured.


I highly recommend a shop press or an arbor press as you have more control than with a hammer.


Like so.


Switch back to the normal seal driver to install the seals. Again only install the main seal far enough to install the snap ring. I was able to just use hand/arm pressure to push this in. Once the snap ring is installed install the dust seal.


Like so.

Now the tricky bit.


The spool valve needs to go on the same direction it was taken off as this will become more evident shortly. If you put the spool valve in backwards, you may find the power assist unequal from a left turn verses a right turn.


On this particular unit the V groove land was closer to the centre and this was calibrated this way. I wouldn't trust the direction being standard with every one of these.

continued on the next post.

170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Power Steering Gear Continued

The thin washer on the left is actually a selective (calibration) washer that results in a neutral hydraulic balance with no steering input applied to the input shaft. This is needed because of the machining tolerances. This washer precisely locates that moveable spool valve in the bore in the housing at the top resulting in all the fluid going in and out the hoses with no flow diverted to the rack piston.


Lube up everything really good and install the spool/worm assembly shaft into the housing. It should seat and you should feel the drag from the new seals.


Here's how I fixture the control housing for the next step of torquing down the main and lock nut.


This is one tool I would highly recommend you buy or make like I did. If you do not get the torque on the retaining nuts right you may up with a damaged power steering gear or if it comes loose an out of control one.


I made this out of a pipe nipple and a cheap Duralast socket welded to it. Probably the only good application of anything Duralast. Did I just say that? :whistle:


torque specs


Torquing the main and lock nut down properly. Another note about these steering gears. I have noticed there is no more buy one and return yours as a core. The only options you have are rebuild it yourself or send it out. No more cores it seems. So if you think you can skimp by with a punch and chisel on these nuts and you damage it beyond use, you are now up a creek without a paddle, as it's probably going to get really expensive for you very quickly.


Next up, assembling the rack. You should have 27 balls ready to install.


Then comes the seals. The round black O-ring goes in first, then the teflon square cut one.


Like so.

Continued in next post

170 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Power Steering Gear Continued


Next up lube up the housing bore, rack piston and assemble with the O-Rings.

If the Teflon seal doesn't want to compress enough to enter the bore easily you can attach the 4 bolts to the control housing and into the case equally and use the input shaft to carefully drive the piston into the bore squarely.


Next install the Pitman (Sector) shaft.


Then the top cover


Just a note be sure to draw up the Pitman shaft set screw all the way up through the cap before torquing down the cap bolts as you could crack the cap.


Lock sealing nut and washer for the over center Pitman lash adjustment. The seal kit does not come with a new nut or washer. I bought this full size nut at Air Craft Spruce and you can also get this nut with sealing/locking end in half size also.


Just leave it loose for the moment.


Now you need a very sensitive low range torque wrench for this. This one only goes to 15 inch pounds.



You're looking for 9-10 inch pounds and this is the part I see so many try to adjust this portion by feel. Or they try to set this to alleviate other play in the steering parts. This adjustment is really critical, too much and you risk damaging the Pitman shaft and rack teeth or cracking the gear case. Too little and you'll have excessive play. There is no way you can possible "feel" 9-10 inch pounds. Sorry, I like shooting from the hip too, but this is not the time.

Plus this adjustment needs to be done at centre. This steering gear has a lock to lock of 4 turns so set to 2 turns in from either end to carry this out.

I will say this, 1/2 turn of the Pitman shaft adjuster bolt makes a world of difference between too much play and binding. When finished tighten the lock nut.


Completed and ready to install.

continued in next post
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