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1,654 Posts
Discussion Starter · #121 ·
Hello, I know it's old but I'm in search of a hood ornament and the fish gill chrome on both fenders. Any help would be very much appreciated. Here's a couple pics of my resto I completed myself.
Hello 1968 XL,

From the pictures your car looks nice. The 1968 XL's with bucket seats, FE and factory air con are kind of rare to find, nice to see another one.

I replied your other posting 2 days ago on this site you created regarding the emblems and decorations you need. You might want to go back and read my reply.


1,654 Posts
Discussion Starter · #122 ·
More Engine Assembly


I bought a pair of mounts for the engine buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut something doesn't look right. The boxes have a left and right part number.


Ok the last part of the part number matches the box.


Well the other mounts last digits match its box.

Good grief here we go again with aftermarket parts. They both are left hand side mounts even though one has the right hand part number on it. I can understand misboxing, but this takes the cake.


During this debacle I remembered I had new mounts I bought for the bare FE block I used to model the exhaust system. Sure enough I dug out that block and they were still bolted on. Those are left and right mounts (lower ones).


Lower block hardware.


Everything assembled fine except for the block drains. When I removed them I thought they were going to break. They were really rusted in the block.


As a result they seated far lower than I'd like.


I ended up using the plugs in the Dorman core plug kit for these as the allen driver made much better contact and depth wasn't a problem.


Other side.


I found this bolt kit on E-Bay. It was 50 dollars and I thought it would save me some time cleaning and prepping engine bolts. So I thought I would try it.

Continued in next post

1,654 Posts
Discussion Starter · #123 ·
More Engine Assembly Continued


Oil filter adapter bits.



Before I go any further, given the quality of aftermarket parts I had better check the camshaft.


I checked the lobes in the front of the cam and the rear.



The Z-390 uses the same cam as the Q-428. Now after checking the camshaft in two locations I have confirmed the intake valve opens and closes to specs. The exhaust valve opens as advertised, but closes 2˚ earlier. I'm surprised it came out that well. I am not too concerned over that. One thing to keep in mind in these measurements is that it tells you nothing about the slope of the lobe ramp. At least if you measure at 0.050" you are more on the slope and it's a better measurement. Granted it still takes two points to calculate slope, but if you measure on the slope and the measurement matches there's a higher probability of the slope being accurate.


Timing set


I have yet to see an FE that doesn't need a sleeve on the snout spacer, although it's hard to see, there is a small groove where the seal rides.


Painted and ready to go.


So far so good.

Continued in next post

1,654 Posts
Discussion Starter · #124 ·
More Engine Assembly Continued



New fuel pump and hardware.



New HV oil pump and screen.


I followed the directions and rotated the crank to make sure it clears the pump. I also opened the pump up, inspected for debris or other causes for concern, then greased with engine assembly lube. I washed out and air dried the pick up before installing it.


Head hardware and gaskets.


The Fel Pro 1020 head gasket is a much better gasket than the 8554PT. The crush on the 1020 is close to 0.040" whereas the 8554PT crush is over 0.050" That can be a significant problem with a high compression engine as it lowers the efficacy of the quench pad in the head. The 8554PT gasket probably wouldn't matter too much in a Y-390 but since this is a Z-390 and has a static CR of 10.5:1 little details like this can help.



Before I put the other head on I wanted to check the accuracy of the balancer and timing pointer. Glad I did.


That's actually TDC. It's 2˚ off. 2˚ seems to be a theme so far.

Continued in next post.

1,654 Posts
Discussion Starter · #125 ·
More Engine Assembly Continued


Other head and hardware.



New lifters.


I checked every lifter for any binding in the plunger and reasonable travel. Also I butted pairs of them to check each had a similar convex bottom. They should not be flat or concave.


Installed the lifters and the oil splash pans.


I had 6 rocker assemblies to chose from in order to make 2 decent sets. Good grief, it was close, so many of these were very worn. I made 2 sets and one spare and tossed the rest of the worn ones.


I had it narrowed down to these by inspection.


In order to clean the rocker rails properly you need to knock out the end plugs. These are the replacements.



It's funny after building the other two 390's with all newer aftermarket top ends, this looks so antiquated. It looks like a small model of an engine found on an old diesel U-Boat. :)

Continued in next post

1,654 Posts
Discussion Starter · #126 ·
More Engine Assembly Continued


New plugs


On the plus side I assembled everything to make sure the pushrod length was still appropriate as it has new valves and slightly thinner head gaskets. Turns out everything still measures good. That made me happy. I grabbed a breaker bar and tried turning it over. Nothing out of the ordinary, tis hard to turn over on the compression strokes that's for sure. If the cam breaks in normally this should run pretty well, even with worn cylinders.


This is where I stopped for now. I have to deal with this boat anchor and just looking at it makes my back hurt.

More to come.


1,654 Posts
Discussion Starter · #127 ·
More Engine Assembly

Just a little more progress.


I finally have this intake cleaned enough to use. What a nightmare, especially for my back. It spent time in the general degreaser tank and under all that black carbon was just a sea of gray lead. What a toxic mess. After that it was rinsed in some carb spray, then in the electrolysis it went overnight, then into the walnut blaster more rinses with air and carb spray and here we are.

Then dealing with those rivets holding the heat shield on. I wasn't sure what intake gaskets would work the best as one set is the std MS90145 that allows the exhaust gas crossover or the 1247S-3 which blocks it. I thought it best to reinstall the heat shield either way.

Those rivets just put up a fight, I dunno if they installed the rivets red hot or the heat treat on them was all the place as some parts of the rivets were hard or harder than tool steel as you'd be drilling and then it instantly stops and dulls the drill bit. :(

I had to use a carbide drill bit and drilled one through but on the other one the bit snapped. Now I had a stuck carbide bit in there. There's only one thing to do and that is melt it out without hurting the heat treat on the cast iron. With that I had to do my best to use the plasma cutter with surgical precision. It worked, an EDM machine would have been better but I didn't have one. Once the broken carbide drill bit was out I used a carbide file bit in the die grinder to finish grinding out the hardened parts of the rivets till it was just cast iron. Then I could finish drilling and tap for 3/8" bolt.


Installed with Locktite.


Prepped another '68 crank pulley.


I also highlighted the timing scale on the damper. The trick is to paint (epoxy paint) the damper and let it cure for a couple days then use a white paint pen and dab it on. Then take a clean piece of paper towel folded flat (not bunched up) and wet in IPA to lightly wipe the excess off.

This will make setting the timing very easy with the light.


I used the stainless bolts in the Roguebolt kit.


Top half of the intake painted.


After some thought and checking the fit of both gasket possibilities I settled on these gaskets as the port match is much better and it does block off the cross port as I don't need any more heat under the carb in the summer here. For winter I don't mind if the engine takes longer to warm up before the fuel is vaporized enough.

I also used Ultra Black RTV for the end seals and a light smear around the water jackets. I used the gray fuel resistant sealant for a wipe around each port since I don't trust the print o seal on old pitted cast iron.


I used the ceiling winch as the bloody cast iron intake weighs an insane amount.


I used the stainless bolts in the kit and smeared a light coating of Ultra Black RTV around the washers to keep engine oil from creeping up onto the intake.

Continued in next post.

1,654 Posts
Discussion Starter · #128 ·
More Engine Assembly Continued


I just put both carb spacer and carb gaskets on under my poor mans induction cap for now. At least I know where they are when I need them.


I used Locktite on the studs in the intake.


Thermostat and distributor hold down painted and ready for installation.



Heater hose nipple and throttle cable bracket.


That's it for now, the oil pan is bubbling away in the tank and hopefully today I can finish that up and install that then transfer the engine to a different stand for more assembly (starter locating plate and flexplate).

More to come.


1,654 Posts
Discussion Starter · #129 ·
More Aftermarket Headaches

Hello again, here's some more trials and tribulations of getting this engine together.


I was able to clean the oil pan pretty well and of course a new gasket. I also replaced the drain plug for one with a magnet built into it.



A brand new Wells brand coolant pump.


Now here's one of those what were people thinking moments. Why on earth did the previous owner paint the inside of the rocker cover? That paint can flake off and plug up the oil pump inlet screen. It has to go.





This is the oil and additive I put in to break in the new parts.


And I primed it on this stand and that's when things became interesting.

The most disturbing was the oil pressure gauge reading 85 PSI. The other disturbing bit was even with restricting the oil flow to the rockers it was pouring out.

Back to the high pressure, with even as roughly the same speed as an old 78 record on the distributor it was holding 85 PSI. Anything faster with the drill and pressure held constant so I was convinced the bypass valve is set to that ridiculously high pressure.

I did some research and it turns out others are having the same problem as well with Melling HV pumps. When I look up the standard pump and HV pump on Mellings website they state the pumps have the same bypass pressure. My instincts told me that probably was not true. So I bought the standard volume pump and another new oil pan gasket.


Nothing I enjoy more is redoing work I just completed. (sarky as sarky gets)


Geeze the new standard oil pump had no oil or coating on the parts. The pump was entirely bone dry. This is just sad.

Continued in next post.

1,654 Posts
Discussion Starter · #130 ·
More Aftermarket Headaches Continued


Round 2.


This time 60 PSI max was noted. Around 300 RPM the pressure held at 60 PSI and anything up to the drills max speed of around 800 RPM it still stayed at 60 PSI so that's the set point of the bypass valve.

My words to Melling; NO, your standard pump and HV are not calibrated for the same pressure. It wouldn't surprise me if someone on the line is putting the wrong bypass springs in the HV pumps.

Well, there goes 70 dollars and 4 hours of labour down the tubes. But at least it's working proper now.


Another new Duraspark distributor. This is a 1976 year only distributor so the timing map has been neutered for emissions. So it needs a recurve as well as the pickup coil replaced as this is some problematic cheap thing.


The windows aren't even stamped with a number on the aftermarket distributor so you have to measure them and compare them to the table to figure out maximum mechanical advance.



I didn't use the lightest springs, I used the next step up since this Z390 does have pretty high dynamic compression I want to be able to use cheap fuel without worry of detonation. I'll map out the exact advance after the engine runs through its break in cycle.


Wells pick up coil installed.


The cheap aftermarket distributor does come with an adjustable vacuum advance diaphragm, much to my surprise, so no point in buying an expensive recurve kit. Just need the spring assortment.



This was the starter that was mated to the Z390 engine in the parts car. Amazingly this thing worked for the years it was sitting outside and never acted up once. When I was unearthing it I found a sticker that looks like it was a Ford reconditioned starter. Huh, I wonder how old that is.

Continued in next post.

1,654 Posts
Discussion Starter · #131 ·
More Aftermarket Headaches Continued

I took it apart, cleaned the old lubricant out of it, put the armature on the lathe then dressed and polished the commutator, cleaned the brushes and gave the starter a mild face lift.


Done, should last many many more years.


The engine is as ready as it will ever be. This has another '68 front dress on it. I have so many extra parts I wanted to chose the best parts to make one really good front dress, then one ancillary front dress for parts and then anything else can go as it's just too much stuff. So that's why there's another seemingly complete front dress on this one.


The bonnet is off and starting to disassemble the XL's engine to remove it.


Good grief I just realized there are three FE's in a row, I didn't plan that shot, in adjusting the pictures (lighting) it hit me.

So the air con in the car worked when I bought it, about the only thing that did. Now it doesn't. I would wager it all leaked out.


Get a load of that shoddy R134a conversion and high side hose replacement. It's sad how so many have no pride in doing a good job anymore.


Gee these fittings are oil soaked and get a load of that placement nightmare.


After I remove this ailing turd of a Y390 I will remove the expansion valve and all that sticky insulation goo, then flush out the evaporator.

So this compressor is pretty new and has a sticker on it that says shipped with PAG 100 oil. Now the old receiver drier is still in the car. That tells me there is still mineral oil from the old R12 in here. You can not mix PAG oil with mineral oil as it creates an acid with a little residual moisture and heat that eats aluminum from the inside out. In other words this recent looking compressor is junk now.

I will install a new Mustang expansion valve, move the sight glass to the condenser outlet and make all hoses for this. Plus I will flush out the condenser and I have brand new reproduction receiver driers for 3rd gen in which the desiccant is rated for R134a or R12. I also have a brand new York that will be dismantled, cleaned, detailed and then filled with Ester oil. Then I'll assemble and charge the whole system with R134a and all will be well.


At this point there's nothing but gravity and one overworked ratchet strap holding the engine in.


There sits Sir Slams A Lot in the background. I cannot wait till I have more time to go through my unmolested C6 in my other XL and refresh that and install that. The C6 in this golden XL is from some transmission shop in Arizona and yikes stay clear away from them.

More to come.


1,654 Posts
Discussion Starter · #132 ·
Practically Done, well with the engine anyway.

It's been awhile, but I started driving it today. Now here's the rest of the story.


The old Y390 removed. With my super high tech flushing system attached I washed out the evaporator with acetone. I'd pour a pint or so in, then force it through with compressed air. I rinse and repeated till the acetone was clear and then blew it out with air till nothing more came out.


Whilst the engine was out, I noticed much unhappiness with the steering gear. It was dripping oil off the Pitman shaft/arm and I wiggled the flexible coupler and half of it just broke off. WTF? Plus the coupler was so far down on the input shaft the safety catches couldn't engage.

This car was an accident waiting to happen. At this point my better half and I renamed this car "The Death Trap". :)

I hadn't planned on doing the steering system at the same time as the engine, but I really have no choice now.


Then I noticed this. The Pitman shaft nut is not on all the way. The steering gear looks original but the Pitman arm looks much much newer as in recently replaced. What was odd is the nut wasn't on all the way, but it took an act of congress (for whatever that's worth now-a-days) to get that nut off. Whomever changed the Pitman arm galled the threads on the Pitman shaft and nut.

And the Pitman arm was loose on the Pitman shaft as it is just fell off after the nut was removed. It's a taper spline and the nut has to be fully tightened otherwise the arm is loose on the shaft.

The steering wheel was so bad you could move the wheel at least 20-25˚ before you felt the torsion spring in the steering gears input shaft.


Well I have two spare steering gears and one pump to R&R.

I didn't cover the specifics because I covered these items in other threads to a very in depth level. I will just say some things worth noting. The quality of the Edelman kits has really fallen and that RPS pump kit isn't that hot either. I had problems with the main Teflon piston seal in the Edelmans and the pump bushing in the RPS kit.

The original pump shaft bushings in old kits are made by Clevite but now discontinued, these bushings are made by someone, dunno, but the OD is a bit too big and it's a nightmare getting it pressed into the pump face. By the time I was done pressing it in, the driver had partially distorted the bushing from the unnecessary force it took to install and then many many many minutes were spent with jeweler files dressing out the distorted end. What a waste of time that was.

The Teflon seal in the Edelmann kits was different in the same part number kits between the two boxes. One had a white Teflon seal and the other had a blue Teflon seal. The white Teflon seal would not stay compressed to installed in the gear case. I ended up shearing it. The blue Teflon seal almost seemed too complacent to stay compressed and the piston just fell in.

I've R&R'd 3 of these 3rd gen Ford (not Saginaw) steering gears and never had problems like this. Another thing to note is the '68 steering gears do not have the Pitman shaft bushing like the '66's do. It's the same C6 part number on the steering gear case, it just looks like Ford cheapened out and just use the cast iron case as the bushing against the hardened Pitman shaft. <shaking head> Since the ductile iron is softer it will wear and once worn enough will require machining for a bushing or even better a needle bearing similar to the Saginaw gears.


I took the best parts from both used gears to make one decent one. The one of the XL is on the left.



Isn't that just nice..... The other half pretty much fell out. That was the only thing coupling the steering wheel to the steering gear. If that would have broke whilst driving total loss of control would have ensued as the safety catch pegs were too far away from the plate to do anything.


There's the thread they galled. So instead of buying a die and fixing it, they just rammed the nut up as far as they could and wherever it stopped, it stopped.


Well it's done. Now there's maybe 2-3˚ of steering wheel movement before the torsion spring is felt. Basically it's night and day difference and the steering just won't plain fail catastrophically.


For now the evaporator is plugged to keep moisture and debris out. On a slightly different topic, since it's pictured, the brake booster, withcidentally is incorrect, had a check valve in which didn't fit the rubber grommet so they glued it to the rubber grommet. Holy cow.

I'm all for freedom to do what you want but some people need not touch vehicles. By the way the check valve was bad at any rate.

Continued in next post.

1,654 Posts
Discussion Starter · #133 ·
Practically Done, well with the engine anyway. (continued)


I didn't have another engine stand, since the Z390 was on that, an old tyre with no rim makes a really good temporary stand.


Thus starts the long tedious process of putting the rest back together.

I don't have a picture, but I bought a brand new ATP flexplate for this engine, and it turns out the crank pilot hole was made too large and even with the 6 crank bolts in it you could position this flexplate a good 0.030" in any quadrant. Good grief, can you say engine vibration.

More bad brand new parts. I ended up using the original Ford one as it located darn near perfectly.

So onto the air conditioning system. As I mentioned earlier, the air con worked when I bought it, but sitting for a couple of months with the dunce cap on in the corner and it no longer worked and was just about empty on refrigerant. Well the drivers side lower corner of the condenser was loaded with baked on nasty oil.

So guess what I found...


<laughing manically> someone....... tried sealing the oil drain plug on the receiever drier with generic 2 part clear epoxy. Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm that doesn't work against hot high pressure liquid. I'm almost at a loss for words, the words I can think of are not appropriate here.


Brand new receiever drier for 3rd generation full size. The desiccant is rate for R134a or R12.


It took me hours to scrub that baked on tar like oil off the condenser. I used acetone, brake clean, IPA and a propane torch to clean this thing. I did flush out both circuits internally with acetone and pressurized air till both circuits were clean.


For the best chance of success with old 45˚ flare vehicle refrigerant fittings use these copper 45˚ sealing washers in the joint. Then lightly coat the washer and threads with Nylog Blue.


The receiver drier from Old Air Products is built really nice. Tis expensive, but worth every penny and then some.


Still requires a bit of a wrestling match as the receiver is integrated between two lines in the condenser.



Brand new York 210 compressor. This one is for a Freightliner truck. (class 8, semi). These come with POE oil which is compatible with mineral oil should there be any left in the system.

I've said this before, but since I deem this important I'll say it again. Parts destined for class 8 trucks are originally designed for a life of 10 years 1 million miles. That's right 1 million miles. The York 210 debuted in 1958 and other than since adding two additional ports on the back is exactly the same as it was in 1958. Heck it still has Imperial-English bolts/threads as was never converted to SI Metric. If modern class 8 trucks specified this compressor for their builds you know this is one durable long lasting compressor, unlike the modern cheap disposable rubbish on newer cars (Sanden I'm looking at YOU).

I have to chuckle when I see posts of people buying the Sanden conversion kits to get rid of the York. I laugh because they are trading long term reliability for unreliability and paying more to do that. There's zero logic in that.

Continued in next post.

1,654 Posts
Discussion Starter · #134 ·
Practically Done, well with the engine anyway. (continued)


At this point enough was together to do cam break in. I had trouble with the ignition system and I'll get into that later and also the carburetor, but worked around that for the break in. All went well. I kept the engine close to 2500 RPM for 20 minutes, then changed the oil and filter. I found a really neat 1980's red LED digital tach/dwell meter on Fleece-Bay for a reasonable sum and bought it. It worked very well. It's hanging off the passenger side bonnet hinge.


I had 20 PSI oil pressure at hot idle and 50 PSI hot at 2500 RPM's. That's more than fine for this Z390.


Back to air con hoses and things. Since the 3rd gen full size use an expansion valve that has the 'X' fitting for the liquid line check valve, there's no replacement fittings for these and thus no way to replace that hose. So the work around is use the '67-'68 Mustang expansion valve that has flare fittings on both sides of the valve.


Even though the new compressor came with POE, I took apart the compressor, inspected and detailed it, so I just filled it up with Ester oil.


The Mustang expansion valve installed. Now the full size expansion valve also has the sight glass built in it and the Mustang one does not. So I need to add in a sight glass.


Here I have all the key fixtures and fittings on and getting ready to cut the hose to fit. You can see the sight glass I added at the condenser. If anything it's really easy to see in position.



I just buy barrier hose by the foot.


Test fitting the hoses before crimping.


The crimper I use.

Continued in next post.

1,654 Posts
Discussion Starter · #135 ·
Practically Done, well with the engine anyway. (continued)


And the upper body workout ensues.


Hoses done.


Now instead of using that nasty tar to insulate the sensing bulb on the expansion valve I use this specific tape for this purpose. It's not correct looking but it's more civilized than nasty sticky gooey tar.


I finished this Saturday night and pulled it in a vacuum. I left the gauges on over night and Sunday morning it was in the same level of vacuum. So no leaks. Gotta love those carbon-ceramic front seals of the Yorks and A6's.

So my hoses and fittings are all original, but I like to think it looks nicer than previous renditions. Here's the before picture again.


I do think the superheat in this expansion valve is set a bit higher than I'd like. I only get 40 degrees out of the vents at idle. I got 37 out of the green '66 LTD's vents. But I can live with that. I used the formula for R134a conversions of: R134a(oz) = R12 (oz) x 0.9 - 0.25. As I was charging with the system on I got to about 90% of calculated value and the sight glass cleared so it seems pretty accurate in this instance.

Now onto the ignition problem. The symptom was if I applied too much total advance (base + mechanical advance) the engine would start to shake and backfire. If I connected the vacuum advance to vacuum it would shake and backfire even more violently then stall.

I had a feeling it was due to rotor phasing problems. So simple diagnostic step is reverse the leads on the pickup coil. That did it. Readjust base timing, now full total advance + full vacuum advance and it was fine.

Well ok diagnostics confirmed but what's causing it. Well I found the problem. Can you?


This distributor is on the old tired Y390 and this distributor works just fine.


This is the brand new one on the Z390 that has rotor phasing problems. Now these are the exact same manufacturer and part number distributors, the only thing I replace right off the bat is the pick up coil. These are Wells pick up coils.

The problem is very subtle.


If you said the vacuum advance locating the pick up coil differently in both, you are top of the class. The one on the left is correct and the one on the right has too short of a lever and the hole is closer to the diaphragm. This is causing the base position of the pick up coil to move the trigger point closer to midway between two plug terminals in the cap. Once the vacuum is applied the trigger point moves even closer to the adjacent spark plug post and the ignition fires the wrong cylinder.

More badly made parts and it's the same manufacturer and part number. They must have switched suppliers on the vacuum advance. Boy if someone wasn't familiar with rotor phasing, they'd pull their hair out with that one.

Now for the carburetor, this one was my fault. When I removed the carburetor I left it on a bench with a rag over it to keep dust out. Apparently that wasn't enough.

The symptoms were it was just too lean at idle and just off idle (transfer slots). If I partially close the choke plate or even put on the air cleaner the RPM's would increase. I was thinking did something get in the bowls and plug up the ports in the carb.

Well yes and no.


Took me a minute to find it as I was fixated on the bowls and metering jets.


A darn bug crawled into the carb and into the air bleed hole. A crazy as that is. The carb was perfectly clean otherwise. Remove bug, problem fixed. I should have put the carb into a plastic bag and sealed it whilst sitting on the bench.

Since the proof is in the pudding...

Short video of the final run.

Final run

I do have two niggles I have to address. For some reason the speedometer is jumping all over. All I did was remove cable, remove trans, replace engine, replace trans and then replace cable. Seems pretty fool proof, but then again maybe I'm just the fool that can prove it isn't. So I have to look into that.

My other problem is the level of power steering assist. It isn't quite up to par. It feels more like a new car (less assist) than being able to steer the car with a feather duster. I may have to look into the pump and or gear.

But there are no leaks and the steering is far far far better than it ever was. It's actually a joy to drive now and not some nervous experience.

More to come...


4 Posts
on your cut up 68 frame you still wouldn't have the front cross member where the strut rods bolt thru my 65 was in a accident and I need to either
somehow straighten it out or replace

1,654 Posts
Discussion Starter · #137 ·
on your cut up 68 frame you still wouldn't have the front cross member where the strut rods bolt thru my 65 was in a accident and I need to either
somehow straighten it out or replace
Hello rileycreek,

Many body shops have a frame/body table where they can push-pull to straighten. The strut rod placement is critical for alignment and if you've never performed those kinds of repairs I would find one of those body shops and to save money have the entire front clip already off the car including the radiator support to give them clear easy access to the front area of the frame. Depending on how far back the damage actually extends, removal of the engine and transmission may also be in order.

Sorry to hear about your accident, I wish you the best on getting it repaired.


1,654 Posts
Discussion Starter · #138 ·
Golden XL Strikes Back

I swear this car does not want me to enjoy it. I got a whole 2 days of driving out of it before the brake booster totally failed and it took herculean foot pressure to eventually bring the car to a halt. I did enjoy it last Friday and Saturday it went to its first car show. Met some really nice people there. Then Sunday whilst grocery shopping there went the booster and it was just one big vacuum leak with the engine revving. <rolling eyes>


Thus starts this brake post. I think Ford full size 3rd gens have to be one of the most corn-fusing when it comes to power brakes. Allow me to explain.


This is a small collection of 3rd gen boosters. The '65/'66's can have two different booster for power drums. You can have the Bendix version (back row left) or the Midland Ross (back row right). The '66's with power disc brakes use a different Bendix booster which I understand is very rare.

I'll jump to 1968 disc brakes. Again there are two possible boosters depending on the date of manufacture. Early to mid year use the dual diaphragm Bendix (front row left) or the single large diaphragm Midland Ross (front row right) booster later that year.

The thing in the middle is off the golden XL and it's a single diaphragm modified to fit in place of a Midland Ross. Problem is I have no idea of what it was originally off of.

I do not have any 1967 boosters, but from the master parts catalogue, it shows different part numbers for that year. So they seem to unique to '67. Super duper.


The correct Midland Ross for '68 on the right and the "whatever that is" on the left.

Now the astute will notice that all these boosters have lever assemblies on the back of them. Ford decided that the brake pedal would be the same in all 3rd gens regardless of manual or power brakes. As power and manual brakes require a different pedal ratio, a lever assembly was needed between the pedal and booster to reduce the mechanical advantage (decrease the ratio) to prevent over boosting.

Now that's all dandy, except with all these different boosters the lever assemblies aren't interchangeable.


There are subtle differences for even the same year lever assemblies. The one of the left is the '68 Midland Ross lever assembly compared to the '68 Bendix assembly. The holes may line up, but the booster placement is different and the geometry is different. You risk side loading the bakelite input plunger and breaking it using the wrong lever assembly on the wrong booster.


The '65/'66 lever assemblies are deeper than the '68's.


Given all these possibilities and the attrition rates of these cars trying to find a booster assembly that fits your lever assembly is really hard now. It really pays to have an unmolested parts car.

To make matters worse, Ford doesn't go much into the boosters in the service manuals and by 1968 it just says replace unit as a whole if inoperative with no mention of how to rebuild one yourself.

But that never stops me. :) I see that as a dare.


This is the lever assembly clean and painted for the '68 Midland Ross.


You have to temporarily mount the brackets to the booster before tightening the lower fulcrum bolt to align everything.


Finished lever assembly.


Here's the rebuild kit for the '68 Midland Ross.


The nice thing about Midland Ross is there is no large spring to fight with the case halves as you do with the Bendix or Delco Moraine.

Continued in next post.

1,654 Posts
Discussion Starter · #139 ·
Golden XL Strikes Back



These are the parts for the control valve, these are the old ones changed out. There's not much to it.


I powder coated the case halves and the clamp and breather assembly.



Not to bad for DIY at home.


The problem with putting something else in there that's not specific to the car is precisely this situation. If there are no more replacements, how can you rebuild it when you don't know what to order. I was lucky to have my other XL with a complete original Midland Ross and lever assembly for disc brakes.

I was also lucky as a few months ago I saw a '68 Midland Ross Ford rebuilt unit on Fleece-Bay and I bought it. It cost more than a parts car but given the scarcity, it was worth it. Now I have another '68 Midland Ross to replace this failed Bendix from something else to use on one of the other 3rd gens.


Bench testing my rebuild. Works a treat. Holds vacuum and without the pump I have about 3 full brake applies before vacuum assist noticeably wanes.

As a side note never operate a booster without a master cylinder attached. I learned that lesson the hard and expensive way rebuilding the '66 Midland Ross :(


Finished that heinous job. I thought it would take an hour to get that booster assembly in. Well 2.5 hours later........... Just didn't want to go in. But it's in and it works. If anything it works probably too well. You can use a feather duster to stop the car now too. If anything it just showcases all the other problems in the brakes. When I changed the tyres the front rotors are really glazed so I'm sure that's contributing to now touchy brakes and it feels like the rear brakes aren't doing much, if anything. When I pulled those tyres off I pulled a rear drum and there was only a spec or two of brake dust so I'm sure the hydraulics aren't working. The mechanical parking brakes work really well. Well now they do, not so much when I brought it home.


Here's quite possibly the most idiotic grease fitting.


I wish you joy getting to that when it's together like this.

I took the carb off and took some secondary throttle plate out (adjustable stop), then adjusted the primary's. Wow this runs really good and incredibly smooth. A part of me still can't get over that (all this is now from junk cars). It may generate the power of a boiled potato, but geeze is that engine quiet and smooth, you can hear the belts spinning is how quiet it is. It is however quicker than my Grand Marquis, not much more, but noticeable. Actually it's slowly turning into a refined cooler version of my Grand Marquis. I'm digging it. After tonight's drive we now have 300 miles on this engine. So far so good.

I'm sure more to come. :)


415 Posts
Just amazing work, as always! Really hope you get to enjoy more shows/cruises in the near future.

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