Ranchero's
Thirty-sixth Year

According to the data plate on the driver's door, my car was assembled on at the Lorain Assembly factory for the San Jose regional office with an Ivy Gold interior and a 3-speed manual transmission.

Summary of major changes from to

Freshly rebuilt with all new parts inside, new valve covers, new oil pan, new water pump, rebuilt oil pump with new shaft, new fuel pump with extra deep filter, new harmonic balancer, new double roller timing chain, rebuilt distributor with PerTronix electronic ignition, PerTronix Flame-Thrower coil, new platinum spark plugs, new plug wires,

new radiator, “new” rebuilt carburetor, new alternator, new voltage regulator, new wiring harnesses (everything forward of the firewall including engine gauge feed, headlamp extensions and alternator harness), new fan belt, new radiator and heater hoses, heater hoses routed correctly,

new brake pads all around, new front brake drums, dual-bowl master brake cylinder conversion, new performance front end, new front coil springs and perches, new rear leaf springs, new bulbs for all lights and gaskets for those that need them, new XV halogen headlights, “new” rebuilt steering box, “new” rebuilt steering wheel, new turn signal switch and lever, horn now works, rebuilt rear end assembly with all new parts, new matching door and ignition locks , freshly sanded and painted stock steel rims,

underbody and space under forward bed plate cleaned of grime and rust , rust prevention product applied, small holes patched with epoxy paste, larger holes in floor under forward bed plate patched with epoxy paste over wire screens, dents pounded out of rear wheel wells inside bed, multiple spot treatments of epoxy paste to fill low spots in wheel wells, much use of sandpaper and body shaper file between applications of epoxy paste to wheel wells,

forward bed plate removed, stripped of paint and rust, primed, covered with do-it-yourself bed liner, stainless steel piano hinge attached to plate with screws and epoxy, bed liner started on rest of bed,

Approximate chronology of events:

Nearly a thousand dollars goes to (Performance Suspension Technology) to buy their Super front end kit, front coil springs, spring perches, and front sway bar. The center link is the only piece of the front end that was not replaced with new metal.

Geoff Belleau of the High Sierra Falcon Club helps me put it together over several sessions at his house. I also have help from Mel of an Econoline club the first session, and Billy Tiemann of the High Sierra Falcon Club assists various ways.

The car gets four brand-new Bridgestone Road Handler tires from , and a front-end alignment and brake inspection that Sears totally screws up. As late as , I am still trying to correct errors made by Sears mechanics. They made it up to me eventually. I also have many brake problems and carburetor problems during this time.

I do a lot of work cleaning grime and rust from underneath the car. I also patch holes in the floor underneath the forward bed plate in the bed of the Ranchero, using wire screens and multiple layers of PC7 epoxy paste. I clean and paint the front of the engine compartment, and replace the alternator and voltage regulator. The car gets new parking lights, turn signal lights, stop lights, gaskets for all the above, and new extra powerful XV halogen headlights. I do more work on the front end with help from Geoff Belleau. See a photograph of this session here. Sears replaces new front brake drums, but screws up the alignment even worse. I install new platinum spark plugs and new plug wires. There are more carb problems. I spend a total of ten hours the last three days of April removing grime and rust from the rear end assembly, then painting.

I take the last of several recent carburetors back to Kragen's, and the car sits on jackstands for most of the rest of the month. I do much more work cleaning the underbody. I start patching small rust holes with PC7 epoxy paste. I paint the driveline. I paint the exhaust pipe. The “new” carburetor arrives from Stephen Jackson. It works, in contrast to several unsuccessful ones from Kragen's. The last couple of months, I have spent well more than a hundred hours cleaning, removing rust, and patching everywhere underneath the car and in the space beneath the forward bed plate inside the car. The last day of the month, the rear end and U-joints are lubed.

Joe's Body Shop in Geyserville roughly pounds out the worst of the dents in the rear wheel wells inside the bed, leaving me to finish the job to save me money. I spend dozens of hours over the next several weeks patching with PC7 epoxy paste and sanding and shaping until smooth (the body shaper file is grate to use). I clean and paint the exhaust pipe again, this time using naval jelly to remove the rust. In the middle of June, Jim's Automotive in Geyserville performs a dual-bowl master brake cylinder conversion for safety. The old single-bowl master cylinder is leaking out the back and needs replacement anyway. Throughout the month, I work on the the bed plate, wheel lip moldings, and the rear wheel wells: cleaning them, stripping paint, and so on. On Wednesday, June 28, 2000, Jim's Automotive replaces the left front wheel cylinder. The brake pad is contaminated, so the car still pulls.

I drive for twelve hours the , to Fresno and back with a stop in Merced. I meet Bob in Fresno, and buy a transmission and a rear bumper from him. I spend a lot of time cleaning those things. I spend more time on the bed well and the wheel wells. I replace the thermostat and housing. Near the end of the month, I replace the stoplight switch on the brake pedal arm. I also repair and paint a 1965 steering wheel for eventual use in my car.

I spend a lot of time cleaning the forward bed plate and spraying zinc-rich primer on it. I receive a rebuilt carburetor from Pony Carburetors, new leaf springs and bushings from P-S-T, and more Rust Trapper rust converting primer. I deliver the car to Jim's Automotive on , leaving the keys in the drop slot.

The replacement 289 has a six-bolt bell housing; the engine that came out had a five-bolt. In addition to the correct bell housing, I also have to spring for a new clutch, flywheel, throw-out bearing, and clutch equalizer bar. While the engine is out, the compartment is cleaned and painted. New wiring harnesses are put in for everything forward of the firewall, including the headlamps and alternator. A rebuilt steering box is installed along with a better pedal support bracket than what I had before. A 1965 steering wheel with horn button replaces the poor condition 1964 wheel. A new turn signal switch and lever are also installed. The horn is connected, and works. For a long time, the horn was the only part of the car that didn't make noise! The distributor has a PerTronix electronic ignition installed (this car is now pointless!). The coil is a . The car also gets a new radiator, new radiator and heater hoses. Most of the parts listed above, including the rebuilt engine, were ordered from . The Pony Carburetor is also installed.

(the car is driven for several months, averaging a thousand miles a month)

The car has six thousand miles on it since the engine rebuild. Northwest Classic Falcons sends me a stock rear end assembly rebuilt with all new parts inside. Jim's Automotive installs it along with the rear leaf springs from P-S-T. I switch to Castrol synthetic oil for the engine.

I sand, prime, and paint five Ford 14″ 5-lug stock steel rims and have four mounted on the car and one for the spare tire . Three of these rims (including the spare) replace Plymouth wheels that the car had since the 1980s. The last two Ford rims are mounted . What a year it has been for this car!