Q&A with Kit Foster: January 31, 2013

Publish date:

Q. I noticed the comments about door panel nails in the Dec. 13 issue, as used in GM cars. These nails are ringed and actually do hold the door panel to the inner door. To remove the door panel fitted with these nails, use a rubber hammer or similar [tool] and hit each nail location a sharp rap and then use a door panel removal tool to pry the panel away from the door. There are replacements for these nails if damaged, as they often are. You can get the replacements at Restoration Specialties (www.restorationspecialties.com in Windber, Pa., 814-467-9842). The Fisher Body manuals of the 1930s and 1940s explain how to attach and remove panels with these nails, plus how to replace damaged nails.

— Bill Anderson, P.E., Gambrills, Md.

A. Thanks, Bill. Readers will recognize his byline from this publication, where he writes frequently on lubricants and restoration issues. I’d like to emphasize his mention of the door panel removal tool. It’s tempting to use a screwdriver or some kind of pry bar, if you don’t have the correct tool. However, the removal tools are designed specifically to lift the panel away from the door without damage. You can often accomplish the job by using a cruder tool that you happen to have in your toolbox, but there’s a greater risk of damage that way. They are available from many restoration supply companies, and are quite reasonable in price.


Q. I read with interest Jason McHone’s question (Dec. 13) about having both the 1952 Cadillac service manual and the ’53 supplement, but that it didn’t include info about the Hydro-E-Lectric system in them. During those years GM issued something called, “Fisher Body Service News,” perhaps four to five times a year. Each of them looked like a thick service bulletin and they were issued to dealers occasionally throughout each year. There is very complete information in those. When I still owned Factory Automanuals in Flint, Mich., we would occasionally find some of these issues and they would sell very well. I am not aware if some of the fine licensed re-printers, such as Dave Graham of Coastal Press in California, have started to reprint these, because we sold our business five years ago. I recommend using that title to do eBay searches, or inquiries to the very fine literature dealers advertising in the pages of OCW.

— Dan Bower, Flint, Mich.

A. Thanks. It occurs to me also that some GM divisions issued separate service manuals for chassis and body equipment. That was the case for my 1970 Chevrolet. From what I can tell, however, it does not apply to 1950s Cadillacs. The Fisher Body Service publications you describe apparently filled that void.


Q. A minor point of clarification regarding the Dec. 6 discussion of early Mustang shifters for automatic transmissions with bench seats: Jeffery Taylor describes a T-handled shifter with a push button on the left side, stating that this mechanism was also used with the automatic transmission of the Bronco at the time. Neither the early Bronco (1966-77) nor the full-size (1978-96) ever came from the factory with floor shifters for their automatic transmissions. All Broncos had steering column shifters for automatics. The T-handle Jeffery describes was used to shift the transfer case for four wheel drive in Broncos from 1967-72 and was not provided with illumination. 1966 and ’73-77 models used a more conventional stick with black round knob on the top.

The shift pattern for the four-wheel drive options (two-wheel high, neutral, four-wheel high and four-wheel low) was in a straight line from 1966-72, much like an automatic. The shift pattern for 1973-77 was changed to a “reverse J” pattern. Automatic transmissions became a Bronco option for 1973 and later, but only with the V-8 option. The early Broncos came standard with a three-speed manual transmission, shifted from the column.

Hot rodders know that the width of the early Bronco nine-inch rear end matches nicely that of the Model A and ’30s vintage Ford cars and pickups. I do not have the exact width on recall, but do remember that it is the same or very near that used in the 1955-60 Thunderbirds. A ’58 T-Bird rear end fit nicely under my 1930 Model A pickup when it was built several years ago.

Both Mustangs and Broncos in their original vintage used the same low-back bucket seats and seat belts while sharing many other production parts with other Ford vehicles. Ford used up some of its stock in the Broncos after newer items became available in other models.

— Ronald Hill, Alpine, Ariz.

A. Thank you for that complete run-down. Many people know at a glance that they’ve seen certain parts before on another of a manufacturer’s cars, but they don’t always recall exactly where. It takes specialist knowledge (or careful reading of the parts books) to keep all the variations straight

To submit questions to this column: E-mail angelo.vanbogart@fwmedia.com or mail to: Q&A, c/o Angelo Van Bogart, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990-0001.

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