Walt Nuckels Homepage

Resurrected from an archive host
due to loss on AOL.
Photos have been resized.
Used with permission from the Nuckels family
Edited for your use by Dot Lang
special Thanks to the other Thunderbird owners who have also kept these pages alive on their sites.
Seal Modification
Valve Lash
6V to 12 V Conversion
Oil Filter Adapter 
55 distributer mod
Cleaning Oxidized Fuel Sender


 For those of you interested in using the Chrysler rear main seal, Fel-Pro # BS-40245 in your 312 here is the procedure. You should have an ECZ seal retainer block available for evaluating the fit of the molded Fel-Pro # BS 40245 seal.

First take the seal half which has the catfish whisker like protrusions from it's sides and carefully carve them off so as this half resembles the other half as much as posable with a sharp knife. 

Next observe that the fly-wheel side of the seal halfs have numbers cast onto them. The numbered side is the side you will reduce in width so it will fit the seal block. Do not nick or damage the unnumbered side in any way as this side seals to the crankcase and the rotating crankshaft. The molded seal is about .340" wide and the crankcase and the seal block groove is only about .275" wide. 

As you can do the math about . 065" must be relieved from the fly-wheel side so it will fit the groove. Carefully take your knife and carve the most rear protrusion from both sides down to the plane it protrudes from. You will find this protrusion is about .065" wide.

Now that the fly-wheel sides have been reduced note that the width is about correct to fit the into the seal block but it sticks out too much. The outer diameter of the seal groove is about 3.250" and the outer diameter of the seal is about 3.295"As you can do the math about .0225" must be removed from the outside radius of both halfs. 

Next note that the seal halfs have a steel skeleton which helps maintain their form. This skeleton wire can be observed by viewing the tips of the seals where they mate. Next take your sharp knife and carve the outside diameters down to the steel wire. carefully carve down until the shinny wire surface is becoming exposed. Some rubber may still show, don't dress it down as it may already be almost too small. Don't worry, they seal on the front side, not the back rib. Any discrepancy in the math may be what allows this seal to work as opposed to what some might thank. This seal is now ready to install. Yes, it will roll into place when working under the car just like a 289, 302, 351, or 390 molded seal. 

You are on your own for the side seals as this kit don't have'm. Trust me, you can use your old ones or you can buy any y-block seal kit and use the side seals from it. Most y-blockers. have them laying around. For installation use only the ultra grade RTV {room temperature vulcanizing} sealer. The ultra grade contains no acidic acid and is much more oil proof than the stinky kind. This is as in Ultrablue, Ultragray, Ultrablack Permatex silicon RTV sealer. Remember, a dab of RTV must be applied to the face of the seal block where it contacts the block, a little bit will do, as this is the only seal you get for this surface. It must not leak here either. 

Many engine builders don't use side seals but instead inject RTV into the sides of the seal block where the side seals go. You must have a long injection needle so you can fill from the block surface outward. With the injection method the job should cure for a couple of days before any oil contact. I always remove the lock washers from the bolts retaining the seal block and apply RTV on the shoulders of the bolts in order to seal them with the block. Remember, if any oil reaches the bolt cavity it can leak out around the bolt heads. The pan gasket doesn't cover them. 



special Thanks to Mark for saving the photos above.


Let's Talk Valve Lash 

 Y-Block enthusiast, let’s talk valve lash. As y-blocks have no hydraulic lifters, it is necessary to adjust the tappets quit often. Unfortunately, the use of a feeler gauge is satisfactory only if the rocker faces are in good condition. If the rocker faces have wear pockets, from contacting the valve stem, the use of a feeler gauge will provide results which are little better than calculated guessing, as the gap will always be greater than the thickness of the feeler gauge due to said condition.

About fifty years ago when solid lifters were most common, a tool was developed for adjusting valve lash, utilizing a dial indicator, called a P&G Valve Gapper. These tools were supplied with specific adapters for different makes of engines, including y-block Fords, by P&G manufacturing co. of Portland, Or., but to the best of my knowledge they no longer exist. Can anyone expand on the existence of this company or a source of this tool, or parts thereof? I have found a few at swap meets but not in the last decade. This is the finest tool ever developed for adjusting solid lifter equipped overhead tappets as anyone who owns one would testify. 

For those of you without the luxury of such a precision tool, may I suggest a very satisfactory method alternative to feeler gauges anyone can perform without special tools.

The tappet adjust screw is 20 threads per inch thus 1 full turn represents .050” of linear travel. It works just like a micrometer. Multiply 1 turn of travel times existing rocker ratio. Example,  .050”  X  1.54 = .077”. As you can deduct, one full turn of the adjust screw used in a 1.54 ratio rocker will represent .077” of tappet clearance. Now divide one turn of tappet clearance i.e, .077” by 60 as in the 60 minuets of a clock face. This number is .001283” = 1 minute of clock face rotation. Thus 15 minuets of rotation will =.0192”  Very close to .019” which is the specification for valve tappet clearance on 292 and 312 engines. 15 minutes clock rotation = 90 degrees rotation, an increment most auto enthusiast can easily estimate quit closely.

Get into the engine, with the lifter all the down obtain some tappet clearance then carefully rotate the adjust screw clockwise to obtain .000’ valve lash. Just touching but not depressing the valve. Now rotate the adjust screw counterclockwise 90 degrees. The resulting clearance should be very, very close to .019” regardless of rocker arm face wear.

If adjusting 1.43 ratio rockers rotate the adjust screw 16 min. of rotation ccw. To obtain .01906” clearance. Very, very ,very close.

In order to determine the ratio of  said rocker, observe the # on the side. 1.54 rockers are marked ECG 6564-B2 or –B1.  I am led to believe any rocker with a B1 or B2 suffix will be a 1.54 ratio rocker and all those without suffixes will be 1.43 ratio.

Walt Nuckels    12/31/00 

 .6 Volt to 12 V Conversion
Some of you guys are making way too big a deal of the 6V to 12 V conversion on the 55 T Bird. For instance, you don't, or should not need a wiring diagram. You don't need to rewire the car. All the wire for the 6V system is twice as large as need be for 12V service. The only thing you need to change under the dash is the dash lamp bulbs and maybe the cigar lighter if you still smoke. The polarity for the clock must be changed to neg.  ground from pos. ground. You may need to remove the clock to do this. There is a little tab that is designed to be positioned for pos. or neg. ground. Position it for neg. ground or just disconnect it if you like. Major damage
will occur if it is powered up in reverse polarity. Instal a 125 ohm 10 watt resistor in series with the 6 volt clock to drop the voltage to 6 or 7 V. Of course the radio will need to be replaced. converted to 12V, or powered through a voltage dropping resistor. It is not polarity sensitive. Your choice, or do nothing and disconnect it. You do not need to change any switches or gauges. The fuel and temp gauges will work on 6 or 12 V and are not polarity sensitive. If you miss some of the lamps you can change them after they burn out, no big deal. The direction lamp flasher also must be changed for best performance but you can change it later. The fuses may need to be changed to values smaller than original or use the ones rated for the
56 57 Birds. The tail lamps, the back-up lamps and license plate lamp will need to be replaced with the 12V ones.

Now for the firewall forward, You do not need to change the battery cables, the horns, the horn relay or the starter. If converting to a generator install a 12V one and a 12V  30 amp voltage regulator and wire it up exactly as the 6v ones. Or do the alternator conversion. This is done  same as a 12V gen to alternator conversion. You will need to install 12V head lamps and park and direction lamps. No changes in lamp wiring or the light switch is necessary, leave it alone or repair it as necessary.

     Of course you will need a 12V battery, there are 12v batteries that will fit the 55 battery carrier with little or no modifications, connect it neg. ground.

     The 6V coil can be used but the polarity must be changed, just switch the bat. And dist. wires or install a 12 volt coil same as used on 56 73 Fords or get good used ones from salvage yards from 60 64 Falcons. They have yellow tops. Now for that very minor wiring change that has everyone confused. Instal a 12V starter solenoid such as used on 56 through 73 Ford products. They are still cheap at Autozone. It will have the extra I terminal, I as in ignition. Run a wire from the I terminal of the 12V  starter solenoid to the battery terminal of the coil, remove the ignition wire that is presently attached to the coil and add a new wire about a foot long to  the bat. terminal before securing the nut. Now connect both the new wire 
attached to the batt. terminal of the coil and the original ignition wire from the
ignition switch to a new ignition resistor, Mororcraft # DY 35

     When the job is done, before you start the engine, remove the field wire from the voltage regulator and strike it (draw an arc) to the battery terminal of the voltage regulator in order to properly polarize the  generator then reconnect the field wire to it's position on the voltage regulator.

     The heater blower motor, the seat motors and window motors will work on 12V but they will run very fast. The seat motor running too fast should  be no problem. The heater motor running on low speed will be acceptable. The window motors will require some expertise in use in order to prevent mechanical damage but most of my customers don't change them. Can if you want, They may cost you up to $300 ea. for 12V window motors. You might use  a dropping resistor in the motor ground wire circuit to drop the voltage but I have not determined what the correct value would have to be. Maybe someone else knows. It will have to be a very high power resistor, maybe 1000 watts and it will give off some heat. I don't have a 6V window motor to test or I would give you the numbers. I would recommend just using the window motors  as they are and release the window switch before the window gets to it's stop. This may take some practice but it is easy.


Image of oil filter adapter from Y Block engine being reformed so it will seal tighter against the gasket  When placed on a flat surface the center hole should be up about 1/16" from surface so that when it is secured in place much force will be exerted upon the gasket
55 T Bird distrubitor modified to Ford Duraspark ignition. 
Note that the larger distributor caps fits OK 


 plate for bolting the fuel bowl down in order to straighten it by heating 
 (unknown picture)
 Checking the economizer diaphragm for leaks 
 (unknown picture)

 Image of a 6V or 12V fuel sender from a 55 or 56 T Bird. Note the burnishing tool in position for burnishing contacts. Oxidized contacts are most often all that is wrong with these sending units. 



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