Category Archives: 1964 Ford Econoline

RWD Automatic Zetec conversion.

Here I will document my Automatic RWD Zetec conversion it is not a guide nor advice, just a record of how I converted a FWD zetec engine to a RWD Automatic with a few extras I learnt along the way thrown in.


Engine:

I’m using a 2.0 blacktop zetec from a 1999 Mondeo with a Ford focus EFI and ECU from 2001 and a Ford C3 Automatic Transmission from a 1975 2.3 Mustang.

Donor Engine

To RWD convert this it has a Sierra sump and oil pickup fitted.
In theory I should be looking at around 143bhp and 140lb-ft of torque.

I’ve opted for the retro ford alternator kit and will be using their DIY mount kit aswell.

As space isn’t an issue in my application I’m using the original thermostat housing so no need for a water rail.

Transmission:

I’m using a Ford C3 Automatic Transmission originally from a 2.3 Mustang with a Mondeo automatic flexplate (135 tooth, 11.3″) and Mondeo automatic crank sensor. The A4LD box was also an option but I wanted the simplicity of the C3 transmission.

I had a local engineering firm drill the TC mounting holes in the flexplate using a lathe to get them spot on.

There are at least 3 bellhousings for the C3 box which will fit on the zetec and all these need the smaller 3 bolt torque converter as the 4 bolt version fouls on the zetec timing gear.

2.3 Mustang bellhousing bolts straight up to the zetec but requires the correct Mustang starter (1974-1985)  or an adapter for the sierra starter and the smaller British TC.

1.6 Crossflow bellhousing (Escort etc) this bellhousing requires the smaller TC and a Sierra DOHC starter but as it’s considerably deeper than the pinto one you will also need a spacer between the TC and flexplate (approx 10mm), the starter is on the opposite side to the others.

2.0 Pinto bellhousing (Cortina etc)
Although I’ve not tested this myself I’m told it’s the same depth as the Mustang one so should bolt straight up using the smaller TC and the sierra DOHC starter.

When originally fitting the Torque Converter I didn’t have it seated properly, A tip given to me was to smear a line of grease on the rear end of the TC that way you can ensure its fully located as after removal you can see how far the rear seal came up the TC!

2.3 C3 Transmission with 3 bolt TC and Mondeo Flexplate

The Automatic flexplate bolts are different to the manual flywheel ones and have been discontinued by ford, luckily retro ford had some in stock. They are a class 10.9, M11 X 1.0 pitch bolt, the thread is 15mm long with a 2mm shank, they have an 18mm hex head which is 6mm tall.

Automatic Zetec Flywheel bolt

Starter motor spacer:
Whatever the transmission you’ll need to space your starter so it engages and disengages properly with the Mondeo flexplate.

With a sierra starter I found a 10mm spacer was needed and the same with the Mustang however I made an adapter plate so I could fit a sierra starter on instead of the OG Mustang one.

The flexplate teeth sit approximately 8-18mm from the sandwich plate.

Starter motor adapter
Complete engine fitted

Hopefully this helps someone and I’ll try and finish the write up at some point.

Thankyou Neil for all your help and encouragement along the way.

Econoline throttle cable adapter bracket

I wanted to replace the accelerator rod setup on my 64 Econoline with a cable one so I built this very simple adapter to use the existing pedal assembly, since these photos I have changed the washer and spring setup to look a little neater but it works incredibly well.

I fitted a pair of Rivnuts to the front valence and bolted the bracket to them, the original pedal arm on the assembly rests on the bracket and I used a bolt to attach the cable end and spring to the original assembly arm.

This is the bracket, its very simple but effective!

Fitted bracket:

D&D disk brake conversion and master cylinder upgrade kits – My experience with them.

This post is about my personal experience with fitting the D&D brake and master cylinder conversion kits on an early ford Econoline, it is not a guide and I take no responsibility for anything you learn here. I fitted this with a mate and couldn’t have done it alone.

Overall I am very pleased with the kits, my van now stops straight and perfectly everytime I feel so much safer driving it however the instructions are somewhat lacking and miss a few key points.

General Notes:

I chose to powder coat my brackets, they are well made items but unpainted and personally I don’t want mine rusting away under the van.

DO NOT USE A PRESS for any of the installation, it isn’t needed and will do more damage than good.

Disk conversion kit:

1. If you press the studs out of the drums you risk destroying the hubs, so remove the drums you will need to cut the “Swage” from around the studs, to do this I used a bench drill with a 5/8″ hole cutter and the pilot drill removed, I ran the stud inside the hole saw and it cut the studs out perfectly. But make sure you don’t go too far as you will either damage the hubs or shatter the hole saw.

Once these are drilled out tap the hub from the drum with a hammer.

2. It is imperative that the holes in the Jeep disks are 5/8″ unfortunately due to manufacturing tollerances this cannot be assumed so ream or drill out these holes to 5/8″ (16mm) mine were close but not all uniformed. The kit would not assemble correctly without drilling these out.

3. Do not press the new studs in, tap them in with a hammer, in fact you don’t need a press for this kit at all! If you press them in you risk damaging the hubs and shattering the new disks.

I would suggest laying a wheel on the bench, assembling the components (studs, disks and hubs) tapping the studs through and tightening them up with wheel nuts, this will make sure that the whole lot goes together true.

4. While you have your van in the air and in pieces clean your suspension components and grease your kingpins, it will significantly improve the ride.

5. The recommended brake hoses do not fit they are too short, we simply relocated the the brackets to the chassis and welded them in however I am told that the 4WD S10 Blazer flexi’s are longer and may work.

The completed disk conversion with relocated flexi hose bracket:

Master cylinder kit:

1. With the supplied cylinder the larger port goes to the rear brakes this at the rear of the vehicle when fitted and the smaller to the front (the one at the pushrod end).
D&D supply a short adapter hose for the rear brakes which we put a proportioning valve on and ran straight to the rears but in theory you don’t need this and could just use a straight coupler.

If I were to do this again though I’d use a T-piece sending one line to the rears and one to a brake pressure switch binning the mechanical switch supplied.

The front outlet comes with an adapter to make it work with a standard inverted flare 3/8 fitting which I ran to a T-piece sending one line left and one right.

2. The aluminium turned caps just need pushing into the master cylinder gently until you feel resistance, they don’t need to be pushed all the way in as it’s a low pressure feed, try to source angled hose barbs for these. I cut down straight ones.

3. I fitted my resorvoir in the cab, I drilled a couple of holes in the cab floor and ran the hoses up to a resorvoir behind the front panel.

You need brake feeder pipe between the reservoir and the master cylinder, do not use fuel hose or anything else it will perish. I bought aircooled vw beetle hoses as they are readily available but summit do sell it.

Make sure there are no kinks or tight bends in the hose so the fluid can fall down to the master cylinder.

4. My pedal free play was massive, I understand there should be around 1mm free play at the master cylinder but even with the eccentric nut this was too much giving a very floppy pedal, We added 5mm to the pushrod by welding a section of M8 bolt shaft in which solved it. Obviously you may not have this issue and if you do you’d need to calculate the correct length yourself.

5. Bleeding, bleeding bloody bleeding! when fitting these kits I replaced everything front and back, shoes, pipes, cylinders, flexi’s the lot which meant lots of air and bleeding was an absolute ass, we ended up backfeeding fluid with a syring into the front lines to get it to start bleeding so I’d suggest following the advice and bench bleeding the MC beforehand.

Completed master cylinder kit:

I hope this post helps someone as this is a great way to add some stopping power to your 1961-67 Econoline.

1964 Econoline V8 conversion

When I bought the Econoline it already had a mustang 302 V8 fitted unfortunately it was not quite as advertised and needed a lot of work to finish it.

Luckily the engine had been fitted with a C4 gearbox and a custom propshaft, all the bolts were either loose or missing but not too hard to remedy.

In order to get the V8 to fit the previous owner had done a hatchet job and cut chunks of the floor out so the first job was to repair and modify the floor and also modify the engine cover (doghouse) to go around the much larger engine. Using the cutout sections we re-welded them around the larger engine giving a near stock finish.

The seat mounts were hanging above the manifolds so to get the stock seats to fit I swapped the standard seat mounts from passenger to drivers side which meant they were offset the opposite way and now sat on the floor.

Only half the doghouse was supplied with the van and it’s pretty ropey so temporarily I modified the bits I have using some aluminium sheet to fit around the larger engine but still maintain the original lid and fit around the stock seats, I’m currently waiting on a new doghouse to be delivered from the states and when it is I will modify it properly.

After this I fabricated new seat mounts from thick steel spacers and M10 bolts which I welded in place I also welded in seatbelt mounts.

The next job was fitting a shifter, when I bought the van it had a steel bar welded from the column shifter to the C4, it was so badly made that it fell apart the first week I drove it so I swapped this for a cable, fitting a B&M shift arm to the box and using a custom 10′ cable to the column shift, this worked allot better however there was a lot of play in it so after a while I sourced a dodge A100 dash shifter which looks great and has nearly the correct shift pattern for the C4. P, R, N, D are all in the correct place (10mm throw between each) however 2 is between D and 2 and 1 is where 2 is as the last two gears only have a 5mm throw.

I mounted this to the front of the doghouse with a fabricated box and extended the cable mounting bracket to accept the custom cable personally I think it looks like it could be standard and it shifts really well.

The stainless exhaust system that came on the van wasn’t complete and in fact wasn’t even fitted in the strictest sense of the word so after that fell off I bought some 2.5″ steel sections a couple of flowmaster boxes and welded up a custom exhaust, it currently sits low and I need to change the manifolds in order to lift it but that can wait until there are a few less important jobs to do.

After that I had to solve some major overheating, massive oil leaks, running problems, I’ve replaced the carb, had electrical issues and various other teething problems that you’d expect from a 54 year old van that’s been sat for years however I now have a safely converted V8 Econoline.

It goes like stink and drives beautifully, I’ve been putting some miles on it and loving it. Theres still lots to be done but I’m finally getting somewhere.

Jan-April 2017

Over the last few months I’ve tackled a few outstanding issues, it all started when I discovered a leak in the radiator which turned out to be bent and in need of a total rebuild, at a quarter of the cost to rebuild I decided to install a 4 core aluminium Mustang radiator, this is marginally shorter than the stock one but 4 core and mounts from the opposite side. Seeing as the original radiator bracket had been hacked up by someone in the past I fabricated a front mounted bracket for the new rad.

During this process I swapped the thermostat housing for one with a fan switch and whilst tightening it discovered that the whole engine slid 75mm from left the right as the previous owner hadn’t actually made the engine mounts correctly as they had to come off I decided that I would also look at the level of the engine as i knew it wasnt 100% flat at the carb plane whilst on the road.

The engine mounts needed to drop by 1″ so I machined up some solid spacers and fitted them with high tensile bolts (not those pictured)

The transmission needed to be raised 1″ to get it level although the C4 was the correct transmission it’s mount was horrific and definitely not original…

I fabricated a new one up from box section and fitted it back on the original mounts as it should be.

While the doghouse was out i also decided to convert the distributor back to original (although with electronic ignition) and bin the HEI setup, i treated it to new leads and original rocker covers aswell.

Before i put it all back together I decided that it was time i finished the doghouse properly, having received a donor from the states I grafted the two together, it still needs filnishing and painting but it will be done shortly.

1964 Ford Econoline

Here is my latest acquisition, I sold the Cortina and bought this 64 Econoline, its the second I’ve owned and was originally a 240ci straight six with a 9″ rear but is now a 302 V8 with C4 automatic from a Mach 1 Mustang.

I have been working to finish it, make safe and do a good job of. It’s taken a hell of allot longer than I expected for a “running road legal vehicle” but there was so much that needed doing/redoing to make it safe, I’ve pretty much finished the engine mechanical side but it still needs allot of work and at some point an interior and paint.

Here are a few pictures, it’s pretty bare atm with little to no interior but it goes like a rocket and is noisy as all hell.

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