Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Engine Bay (Part 1) - Ford FE 352 Valve Covers

I begin to clean up the engine bay as I can see by peering under the hood that many wires are going nowhere, fragments of upgrades past that have been removed for one reason or another (Uncle Ken once had cruise control on Old Blue!), Oil and other fluids have splashed on the various components and a fine rust permeates across the Fender wells, firewall, radiator and most of the electrical component boxes.

I will NOT do a restoration but I would like to get an idea of what wires are being used, what is causing the various leaks and see what I can do to eliminate fluid loss and rusting of the engine bay.

It does not take long to see the valve covers are oozing oil ... Reading up on the FE Forum first step is to check valve covers and gaskets. This seems to be a common problem with these old trucks but I will need to get a Torque wrench to perform the maintenance.

After cleaning the oil off all the parts I can reach, I ran the truck for a few days and took another look under the hood. I notice there is also just a little oil now on the front of the oil filter .. touching around the various pieces I think I feel dampness on the bottom of the oil pressure sending unit. hmmm ... maybe it needs tightening or something I will also read up on this little piece of mechanical mastery....

Next Steps:
1. Buy Torque wrench - I checked out what Sears, Napa and the usual suspects had in stock and chose one of the Napa offerings. I got the analog version as I did not read anything that said the digital was any better. It cost about $50

2. Find out what Torque to apply to bolts - I posted this question on the Ford Enthusiasts forum and was told to get a copy of the old 1966 Ford Truck shop manuals off of EBAY. When I looked around, I found they were being offered as digital copies on DVD (around $25) or the old printed versions for between $60 - $150 for the set of four books. I found one offering for Vols 1,  3, 4 for $11 and Uncle Ken sent me Volume 2 and the Preliminary so I got the complete set for $11.

I spent all my spare time for the next week reading through the manuals and found on page 8-248 of Vol 2 a table showing the Ft-Lbs for the Valve Rocker Arm Cover for the 352 to be 10-12. OK!

3. Find replacement valve cover bolts (one is broke).  I notice that on the passenger side nearest the carburetor one of the bolt heads has snapped off and the bolt will need to be replaced. I asked at Napa if they had anything and they did not. The man at the counter said that the bolts need to come with the lock washer already on it and to get a size 5/16"-18 x 5/8"  hex-head bolts with the split washers. He said from the factory the correct markings on the bolt head would be AMK428. I found some New Old Stock (NOS) on EBAY for $8 for a set of 10 and bought them. I also picked up a stud puller since I will have to remove the bit of bolt now stuck in the engine block.

4. Find replacement gaskets. Easy as a trip to Napa. I decided on the rubber cork type since many people said they seat the often misaligned cylinder head covers well. Minimizing the potential for vacuum leaks. 

5. Repaint Covers? -- YES! I will try to find someplace in town to bead blast the covers and then paint them OLD FORD BLUE (Duplicolor). I read a ton of forum threads on the appropriate color of the 1966 352 valve covers and after all kinds of analysis by many people much smarter than me about such things they determine that in 1966 Ford sold the F-250's with BLUE engine blocks and BLUE Valve covers. Either the Ditzler paint code 22362 or the Duplicolor 'Old Ford Blue' will work. I found the Duplicolor at the local Napa store for $5 and picked up some VHT high build primer at the same time.

6. Removing Valve Covers - pulling broken stud.
7. Stripping
8. Painting
9. Replacing Gaskets
10. Mounting Valve Covers with new bolts

Should be a fun little project!

Monday, October 21, 2013

License Plate Options for 1966 Ford Truck

So I will have to replace the current IOWA license plates on Old Blue. Looking through the DMV website I have a few options when it comes to a 47 year old vehicle in this state. A couple of gotcha's here that need to be considered. In California, all pickup trucks are licensed as commercial vehicles so I will need to get the truck weighed and then be sure I get commercial plates. Commercial plates for a 1966 Truck can be:

1. Current Commercial
commercial motor vehicle license plate

2. Personalized 

Blue on white with any text up to 7 letters - OLD BLUE or OL BLU 66.
Environmental Plate Image

Many types available. See

3. Legacy License Plate Program 
California Legacy License Plate program offers the opportunity to purchase replicas of California license plates similar to those issued in the 1950's, 1960's, and 1970's. The program requires a minimum of 7,500 pre-paid applications prior to January 1, 2015 to be implemented.

Legacy License plates can be ordered for any year model automobile, commercial vehicle, motorcycle, or trailer. The Legacy License Plate Program will not replace the current Year of Manufacture (YOM) license plate program.

row of legacy plates with total applications approved

From the CA DMV website:

Q1: What is the fee to order Legacy License Plates?
A: $50.

Q2: Does the application fee of $50 apply to either a sequential or a personalized license plate?
A: Yes. The fee is the same for either choice of plate configuration.

Q3: If the Legacy License Plate Program is implemented, what other fees will be due?
A:$40 for renewal
   $15 to transfer the plates to another vehicle
   $35 for substitute plates
So, it looks like Legacy plates (IF implemented) would cost $50 to order and $40 per year for renewal. 

4. Year of Manufacture (YOM) 
YOM plates are any officially manufactured California license plates issued prior to 1969 for auto, motorcycle, or trailers and extends to 1972 or prior for commercial vehicles that the department determines are legible and serviceable.

From the CA DMV website: 
  • Year of Manufacture (YOM) license plates are any officially manufactured California license plates issued in:
    • 1969 or prior, for autos, trailers, and motorcycles, and
    • 1972 or prior, for commercial vehicles.
  • In lieu of the license plates otherwise required for the vehicle, YOM plates may be assigned to any currently registered:
    • 1969 or older year model auto, motorcycle, or trailer of a corresponding model year, or
    • 1972 or older commercial vehicle of a corresponding model year.
  • The department must determine that the YOM plates are legible and serviceable prior to assignment to a vehicle.
  • Vehicles with YOM plates:
    • have full operating privileges, and
    • are not restricted to participation in historical vehicle activities.
  • Kit cars (SPCNS) of vintage automobiles (for example, a replica of a 1928 vehicle) do not qualify for YOM plates.
  • YOM plates must be supplied by the vehicle owner and authenticated by DMV personnel.
    • Base year license plates must have the appropriate year validation sticker attached to the plate to be authenticated as other than the base year.
      • A 1956 license plate with a 1958 sticker equals a 1958 plate and must be placed on a 1958 year model vehicle.
      • A 1963 license plate with a 1968 sticker equals a 1968 plate and must be placed on a 1968 year model vehicle).
  • Blue and yellow plates:
    • do not have a specific year model designation, but were not introduced until 1970, and
    • therefore are only valid for 1970-1972 year model commercial vehicles.
  • Unique plate series, such as exempts, dealers, etc., will be authorized for currently qualified applicants only.
    Example: California dealer #103 (if currently licensed) would be allowed to use an authenticated 1956 dealer plate #103 on a 1956 vehicle registered to the dealership. The plates must be:
    • original (legible and unaltered characters), and
    • a configuration authorized for the year of the vehicle entered on the application.
  • Legitimate YOM plate configurations may be determined by verifying the plate(s) against the plate information contained in Appendix 1E.
  • The YOM plates must be acceptable by the department and may be rejected by the department if the configuration carries any connotations offensive to good taste or have been restricted or removed from regular series license plates.
    • Two license plates are required for every qualifying vehicle, except trailers or motorcycles require a single plate, and
    • The vehicle and the license plate must be compatible (for example; a motorcycle plate to a motorcycle).
    • Weight fees must be collected on all commercial vehicles.
  • Because the department does not have year model information for all historical vehicles, the YOM applicant may have to prove that the year model of the vehicle described in the application is correct.

For Old Blue we would need:
a. The yellow on black 1963 issue commercial California plates - two matching plates.
b. A yellow 1966 sticker
c. A lot of interactions with DMV about verification that no computer records exist for plates selected and that the plates meet subjective usability criteria.

commercial motor vehicle license plate

FEES FOR Year of Manufacture Plates: 
Year of Manufacture (YOM) Plates (CVC §5004.5)     Fee   
Original  $45
Renewal  $10
Reassignment $12
Retention $20

So, it looks like YOM plates would cost $45 to originate and $10 per year for renewal. However, I will need to buy the plates and get a 1966 sticker so add another $120 to total costs. Searches at google yield websites selling match pairs of 1963 issue commercial plates for $250 - $500 a set. Ebay searches show pairs of the same plates for around $100. Be sure to verify with DMV via the 800 number that no computer records exist for a set of plates you want to purchase (regardless of source) before you put the money down!

Cost of License Plates for 6 years 
Type           Plates   Origination  Annual     Total 
Current 0 0 0 0
Vanity* 0 49 38 277
Legacy 0 50 40 290
YOM 90 45 10 195

I WANT YOM Plates, total cost over first 6 years is less then other options and I get what I want as far as original color plates.

More Information at: 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

CHP VIN review - Where is the VIN on a 1966 Ford F250 Truck?

I was feeling well prepared and ready to talk to the CHP officer assigned to verify the VIN number on Old Blue. In the weeks since scheduling this review, I had remounted the VIN plate on the drivers door and had found and prepared for easy viewing the VIN number stamped onto the top rail of the iron frame.

On the front right (passenger) side down under the alternator on the top of the frame rail - I found the VIN

I had to sand, and scrape and I was not sure what i was looking for, but then I saw the letter F and with some additional elbow grease uncovered the stamped code. The code had stars before and after the VIN code and two of the letters in the vin code were misaligned to the other numbers. This was not a problem for the CHP officer.

Mounting the warranty plate was easy. I found some exact duplicates of the original rivets re-manufactured for They sent them over with instructions on how to mount warranty plates and after drilling a couple of well placed holes in the door sill I mounted the plate.

Pulling up into the parking lot of the local CHP field office, a big man in police blues came right up to me and said "looks like a '66 to me" starting off a 20 minute exchange of information relating to the differences in the '72 F250 he owned and Old Blue. He checked the door, heard my tale of woe regarding the DMV and took a quick look at the frame saying 'This is the second one today all ready cleaned up'. He grabbed the DMV documents out of my hand said "I'll be typing up the forms inside for about 10 minutes, stay here".

When he came back out about 10 minutes later he asked what kind of plates I was planning on getting. I told him the state was planning an offering of the the old age appropriate yellow on black California plates and I was eyeing them. He told me about another program the State has for vehicles older then 1972 called the Year Of Manufacturer (YOM) program where if you can get the same series and color of license plates originally issued with the vehicle and the little registration sticker for the year of the vehicle you can request the state to use these instead of the more expensive personalized plates. He said "Take a look on E-Bay and think about it, you have some time with your current Iowa registration" handing back the signed documents on which I noticed he had written "VIN NUMBER BY CONFIDENTIAL MEANS" - what ever that means :)

I was now ready to decide which plates I wanted and head back to DMV to register the Old Blue Truck.