Monday, January 19, 2009

1956 Ford F100 Emblems Upgrade - Weekend Facelift

Big Change With Little Effort
By John Gilbert
Photography by John Gilbert

When it comes to owning a classic truck, part of the fun of being a weekend warrior is getting out in the garage for a few hours and making some minor changes that will create a major improvement in how cool the truck appears before rolling it out for a Saturday or Sunday cruise.

The quickest and easiest way that I know of for fellow F-100 owners to bring out a little extra pizzazz in their old "Effie" is to remove its tarnished or broken emblems, and pop on a brand-new set. Of course, if a person has never changed the emblems on a Ford F-100 before, there are a few handy tips to know before blindly jumping in and accidently wasting something. The first step, and it's a "we make the mistakes at Custom Classic Trucks, so that our readers don't have to" kind of thing, is to be very careful when unwrapping newly arrived parts-and when storing them. When my new reproduction F-100 emblems arrived from Sacramento Vintage Ford Parts, they were perfectly packaged and survived the trip to SoCal without a blemish. One by one, I removed all of my shiny, new chrome goodies and did a lot of ooohh-ing and ahhh-ing before I stuffed them all back in the box. This is where it all went bad. A month later when I had a weekend to just goof off and mess around with my "Barn Find '56," I took everything out of the bubble wrap and discovered that the 100-degree-plus summer heat had imprinted the red paint on the F-100 hood blazes with a uniform series of deep pocks that matched the bubble wrap. Had I paid attention to how the parts were packaged when they arrived, there's a very good chance I wouldn't have ruined the paint. (Look for an upcoming story on how to repaint F-100 emblems.)

Ruining the paint on the emblems will be a slight goof compared to what can happen if a person screws up on the next steps. Removing and replacing the emblems is a real easy task, but losing one's patience and hurrying through the job can cause body damage to one's truck or, at the very least, snapping a new emblem in two. Job one is to raise the hood to the point it sits level and allows access to inside the hood. Once the hood has been propped up with something like the large Craftsman fillister blade screwdriver I utilized, the 1/41/4-28 SAE threaded nuts can be removed from the back of the hood emblem and F-100 blazes. Each emblem has two nuts, but only the hood blazes come with hardware. For the front hood emblem I reused the original 1/41/41/4-28 nuts from Ford. With the emblems removed, it's a good time to use a good cleaner wax like Mothers California Gold Carnuba Cleaner Wax to remove all of the dirt and wax buildup that forms behind the emblems. In the following captioned photos I've revealed some basic tips I believe will go a long way in helping a first-timer, or someone who needs to refresh their memory to do a first-class installation and then still have the rest of the weekend to cruise.

Not only are they are fun to look at, laying out all of the new parts and hardware on a table helps to identify if anything is missing.

Notice the pockmarks left in the red paint from the bubble wrap because I failed to repackage the parts properly for storage.

Most important of all, before unbolting that first nut, is to gain easy access to the area that is going to be worked on. To position the '56 hood in an elevated horizontal plane, I carefully placed a large Craftsman screwdriver...

...with the blade stuck in the hood safety catch, and the ball end positioned where it was locked into place and could not cause internal body damage.

By following the steps in photos 3 and 4 notice how the hood sits perfectly flat with a peripheral gap, allowing easy access to the inside of the hood by hand. Speaking of hand, this is the original hardware that was removed from the F-100 blazes.

With the two nuts removed, the next step to remove the F-100 blaze was to very carefully tap the three prongs on the blaze's backside with a hammer.

Notice how wax and dirt builds up behind the emblems.

A quick, circular wiping motion with Mothers cleaner wax and now there's a clean gap between the paint and the chrome.

I've really come to prefer Royal Purple's Maxifilm as great general-assembly lubricant. Taking a few seconds to lubricate parts before assembly will save hours in the long run.

I never wait until assembling something to find out if the nuts will screw on easily. Here I am checking the threads by hand to see if the nut tightens easily.

If not, the next step is to carefully run the nut down with a socket, or wrench. If there's any more than slight resistance, the next step is run a die nut, or die, over the threads.

The F-100 blazes from Sacramento Vintage Ford Parts include new mounting hardware that is equal to, if not better than, original.

Beyond being cuter than a damn bug, this handy little Snap-on 1/4-inch ratchet not only fits into tight places, but its extra-short handle ensures nuts will not be over-tightened to the point where parts will break.

Man, if that don't look like a brand-new '56 Ford, what does?

Not visible is my other hand removing the two 14-28 NF SAE nuts from the inside of the hood. I am holding the front of the emblem so that it will not fall off and chip my paint when it's loose.

This standard body 1/4-inch Snap-on ratchet (also available with 3/8 drive, which is real handy!) provides plenty of torque to disassemble emblems. Notice that I'm using six-point sockets to ensure the flats will not be rounded.

Using Mothers instant detailer works way better than Windex (which will strip wax) to clean off handprints left after the job is done.

Before fitting the front emblem to the hood, I made sure the gasket was free of debris and lined up.

I bought both of these Snap-on 1/4-inch ratchets at least 20 years ago. A friend of mine told me at the time they would last me way longer than the girl I had back then he was right.

Repeating all of the cautionary steps listed for the F-100 blazes, the hood emblem went right on that's it, I'm heading to the Donut Derelicts, and then down to Cars & Coffee.

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