Restoration: D750 Ford—Part 21

By: Lyndsay Whittle, Photography by: Lyndsay Whittle

Latest updates from the D750 Ford restoration project

The D-Series restoration is making steady progress

Anybody wants to buy a bloody D Series Ford going cheap? I’m over it. Just kidding! Although, I admit to thinking about giving up on this restoration lark on several occasions during the past month.

In last month’s instalment, I promised I’d find the reason for the brake failure so here’s the lowdown. Perhaps, before giving the outcome, it should be explained that I drove the truck about 20km to the workshop about two to three years ago with full brakes all the way.

Well, that’s not strictly true, as it actually wound up being road-towed the last seven or so kilometres, all through no fault of its own, but that’s a story for another day. On that occasion, the D was doing the braking for not just one but two trucks, giving me all the more reason to think we’d have good brakes come restoration time.

The fact that the truck had been given regular runs on off-road tracks at my mate Murray’s large property over the past couple of years gave me more reason to think that all would be in order. Wrong!

The floor area is getting there

Anyway, having reinstalled the brake booster system after everything had been given a pretty-up, an initial bleed of the brakes gave the appearance of a modicum of success.
While the truck would come to a stop when the brake pedal was applied, it was far from being acceptable. A mere tweak, or so I thought. Wrong again.

The pedal was hard to apply pressure to; it was almost like the booster wasn’t assisting with the effort. A sneaky short trip along the road with a bit of a downhill slope once again proved that the truck could be stopped, but with an awful lot of muscle power (at least as much muscle power that a 70-something-year-old body could muster) so I drove the truck back to the shed, by which time, there was nobody home in the brake department at all.

C’mon you silly old fool, I thought to myself, it has to be the master cylinder, just like Murray was suggesting all along. Anyway, to cut a long story short, somehow or another I managed to twist my ageing body into shapes a body half its age shouldn’t even contemplate and found my way up under the panel below the dashboard (I sure as hell wasn’t going to remove that confounded panel again).

After much effing and blinding, I had the master cylinder out of the truck. Even though it wasn’t showing any signs of leakage when it was in the cab, once removed from its position under the dash, it was obvious from the rusty residue inside the rubber boot that a trip to our brake specialist was inevitable.

The master cylinder before repair

It only took a few days before I received a phone call to come and collect the refurbished master cylinder. Upon collection, it looked like a brand-new unit and the cost seemed reasonable at $174.00 including tax. I was stoked.

Fully reconditioned for $174 including tax

Back at the workshop,​​ it took about a quarter of the time to reinstall the piece as it did to remove it a few days before. We were going along at a great pace. Now you might have thought by now that this old idiot would’ve learned that when things are going well, the proverbial is about to hit the fan.

With the master cylinder back in place, it was time to fill it with that horribly slimy stuff that strips paint better than anything designed specifically to remove layers of paintwork could ever do.

I swear that before two minutes had elapsed, I could see fluid oozing down the side of the master cylinder, the usual cause of which is generally because a union hasn’t seated properly upon tightening.

While this would have provided an acceptable answer to the problem, unfortunately, the leak was appearing from above the one and only union, so it was back to the drawing board to find the source of the inconvenience.

Another more palatable cause might’ve been an injudicious spill from an unsteady hand when the reservoir was being filled, however, several wipes of the area with paper towels put paid to that possibility, as much to my chagrin, it was looking like it might be a hole or a crack in the casting.

So, it was out with the cylinder yet again and onto the workbench for a once-over. It turned out that the offending item was a rubber gasket around the filler head—a bit of a relief I have to say.

Every cloud has a silver lining, at least that’s what I’ve been told, and I guess the silver lining to this particular unwelcome cloud has been that each time I remove or refit this important part of braking technology to the old D Series, the process takes exactly half the time it did on the previous occasion.

Working on that extrapolation, it’ll only take another two or three failures to get the system working and I should be able to have the whole shebang in and out in minus 10-minutes flat. I don’t know, does it really work like that?

Anyway, speculation aside, now that the unit is back in place, we can only hope that we’ll have brakes when it’s all bled-up next time around. Unfortunately, this account of progress is being written on the eve of the deadline for this issue, so we’ll have to wait until the next instalment to find out how successful it’s all been.

One good thing to report is that the weather strips I’ve been waiting on for months to come from England have finally arrived, which has meant that Jeremy from Bespoke Auto Glass has been able to fit the glass to both doors.

Jeremy from Bespoke Auto Glass installs a door window

The flow-on effect from all of this is that I’ve now been able to fit the inner door panels at long last, adding yet another finishing touch to the cab’s interior. I’d hoped to have this restoration done and dusted by April or perhaps May at the latest, however, there has been a major setback, which I’ll share in Part 22 next month. Nothing that can’t be fixed with some time and effort, but a big setback nonetheless.

Find new and used trucks for sale in NZ

Keep up to date in the industry by signing up to Deals on Wheels' free newsletter or liking us on Facebook