Trunk lock won't pop!

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Beach Bum
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Trunk lock won't pop!

Post by Beach Bum »

I've had my 1963 Thunderbird for 3 days now and am still doing inventory and making up a list of what will have to be done to get her on the road. It keeps growing... But the first stumper has come up:

I can't get the trunk open. I've got the key and the previous owner said he had it open several years ago and he had pictures of the car with the trunk open, so there's no reason not to believe him. But we couldn't get it open the day I examined and bought the car.

Thinking the lock cylinder and release catch were rusted, even tho the cylinder turned with the key, I took the WD-40 and sprayed it into and around the cylinder from the outside. But after 6 hours of waiting and re-spraying, still no go. I can get the cylinder to turn to the left, but NOT to the right. Now on other Fords I've always found you turned the key to the right to unlock the trunk.

So, is the 1963 different in that you actually turn the trunk key to the left to unlock? If so, I can get the cylinder to rotate from the 12 o'clock position left to the 8 o'clock position, but no further and nothing clicks, much less releases. If someone could please confirm that you do turn to the left to unlock, then I'll take the chance of clamping on the vise grips and trying to turn the key further. If if that doesn't work or the key breaks off that I guess I won't be that much worse off for trying... which lead to my last question:

Anyone ever had to force open one of these trunk lids? Obviously I don't want to damage the sheet metal of the trunk lip if possible, or score the top of the chrome bumper sitting so close below it.

For all I know, many of the parts missing from the engine compartment could be hiding in there.
-
<b> -- J.R.</b>

current cars:
1963 Thunderbird HT being converted to 5-speed man
1968 Mustang GT 3-spd man
1968 Mustang GT auto
1967 Mustang auto
1981 El Camino 3-spd man
1986 Camaro IROC Z T-top auto
1998 Camaro T-top 5-spd man
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Jim Wulf
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Post by Jim Wulf »

You are correct about the unlocking procedure - the key turns to the right to unlock the trunk. If you can't get it to turn right right at all, it sounds like the lock cylinder is broken.

And trust me, you won't be able to force the trunk open. I recently spent an hour in a junkyard trying to force a locked trunk open on a '63 Bird with a BIG crow bar and never did get the latch to release, despite totally wrecking the lid and the rear firewall.

There is a way to get into the trunk however, which wasn't available to me in the junkyard because I couldn't get into the passenger compartment. Remove the rear seat bottom and back, as well as the cardboard trim piece that is behind the seat back. This will reveal a large opening that will give you access to the interior of the trunk.

Now you need to gather up every 3/8" extension that you have, as well as your neighbor's, because it's 4 1/2 feet from the seat back to the trunk lock catch. Luckily there's only two screws that you need to remove, and they directly face the rear seat, and you'll need a 1/2 socket to remove the screws. I recommend wrapping each extension joint tightly with a piece of cloth duck tape to keep the unwieldy rig from wobbling too much or accidentally pulling apart.

Here's a picture of the lock catch and the two screws that you're going to remove:
Image

And here's a picture of the of the latch:
Image

Let us know how you make out.
Jim W, VTCI 1961-1963 Technical Editor
62 SR Red/Black
63 CV Black/Red
67 MGB Roadster
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Past Birds:
63 MSR Red/Pearl Beige
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63 CV Patrician Green/Pearl Beige
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nbaum
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trunk lid

Post by nbaum »

Try pushing down on the trunk lid and turning the key. Perhaps that will relieve enough pressure to let you turn the key.
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Beach Bum
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Post by Beach Bum »

Jim,

Thanks for confirming my worst fears. Drat... I had a bad feeling that was going to be the only way get it open. And thanks to nbaum for the suggestion of trying to free it by pushing on top of the truck. I did try that... I even carefully sat on the top edge and tried bouncing up and down around a little, but no joy.

This is a mortifyin' way to start off my restoration. I'm going to be doing this in 100 degree weather with 70% humidity. I only have about 2 feet worth of extensions, but I do have an excellent old-school hardware store nearby. I think I'll get a 4-foot length of threaded pipe, rig a t-handle on one end and somehow fix a sacrificial wobble-socket on the other. Once I get it open, I may fabricate a cable-pull release to the latch and hide the pull handle under the upper lip of the bumper, just to the right of the gas tank access hatch and have done with the lock cylinder -- even tho it is very cool the way you flip back the head of the Thunderbird emblem to get to the lock.
-
<b> -- J.R.</b>

current cars:
1963 Thunderbird HT being converted to 5-speed man
1968 Mustang GT 3-spd man
1968 Mustang GT auto
1967 Mustang auto
1981 El Camino 3-spd man
1986 Camaro IROC Z T-top auto
1998 Camaro T-top 5-spd man
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TsNStangs
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Post by TsNStangs »

...and miracle of miracles, not a single post about the usage of the word "pop"! :lol:
~ Daniel
"I'm your huckleberry..."
VTCI #11333
Joe Johnston
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Post by Joe Johnston »

and miracle of miracles, not a single post about the usage of the word "pop"!
Trust me its been hard :roll: not to make a comment ("difficult" didn't seem to be the appropriate word choice in this case) :badgrin:

Daniel - glad to see you posting but not much need to be active since we've all been behaving lately. Maybe this winter when many of us can't drive our cars we can be rowdy again.
Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. J F K

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Beach Bum
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Location: North Floridia Gulf Coast on the beach south of Tallahassee

Post by Beach Bum »

Sorry... I couldn't resist writing a subject heading that rhymed. Is that a crime? Oops... sorry again... Should I run a keyword search of the forum for 'pop' or will someone enlighten me about the controversial nature of that word around here? I thought the phrase "pop the trunk" (or the hood) was universal, but maybe that was in the other universe?

Don't mind me, I've been rebuilding a carb today and breathing all those cleaning fluid fumes...
-
<b> -- J.R.</b>

current cars:
1963 Thunderbird HT being converted to 5-speed man
1968 Mustang GT 3-spd man
1968 Mustang GT auto
1967 Mustang auto
1981 El Camino 3-spd man
1986 Camaro IROC Z T-top auto
1998 Camaro T-top 5-spd man
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TsNStangs
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Post by TsNStangs »

:lol: Not to worry, J.R. - absolutely no wrong-doing on your part. "Pop the trunk", etc. is a perfectly acceptable phrase we all know and understand. We had a post a few years ago about backseat removal that ended up being a rather infamous double-entendre...unfortunately, written by Yours Truly. And one that I no doubt will ever live down! ;-)

And Joe - nice play on words, by the way - your good behaviour has actually allowed me to take extended vacations lately without a guilty conscience! :mrgreen:

P.S. Don't contribute to the delinquency of the new member, either! :badgrin:
~ Daniel
"I'm your huckleberry..."
VTCI #11333
Joe Johnston
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Post by Joe Johnston »

I won't let you down Daniel - I have already sent him a PM and asked him join in and have fun with your group of deliquents! :cool:
Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. J F K

55-57 VTCI Forum Moderator
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Beach Bum
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Location: North Floridia Gulf Coast on the beach south of Tallahassee

The Treasure Trunk is Open!

Post by Beach Bum »

Thanks to Jim Wulf's outstanding instructions and photo I finally did get the trunk of my new1963 T-bird open. I decided that rather than spend time and money fabricating a one-time 5-foot tool out of threaded pipe that I needed some more extensions for my 1/2 inch drive ratchet set anyway. Jim was spot on about the distance required -- you need a minimum of 54 inches of extension (not counting the 1/2 inch socket on one end and the ratchet on the other) -- it's a long, long way from the back of the rear seat to the far end of the trunk lid!

Once inside, I found a treasure trove of parts: There was my missing brake booster, master cylinder and lines... my radiator and surge tank... the fan blade... a whole bunch of pieces of aluminum interior trim in good shape and a complete set of re-chromed still-in-the-plastic-wrap interior trim for front windshield! :smile:
-
<b> -- J.R.</b>

current cars:
1963 Thunderbird HT being converted to 5-speed man
1968 Mustang GT 3-spd man
1968 Mustang GT auto
1967 Mustang auto
1981 El Camino 3-spd man
1986 Camaro IROC Z T-top auto
1998 Camaro T-top 5-spd man
edpol
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Post by edpol »

Sorry to post this late, but I once needed a 5' extension, so I used the pipe method - cut a 3" extension in half, then welded them into each end of the pipe.
It worked so well, I made 2', 3', and 4' extensions, and found use for all of them over the years.
Beach Bum
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Location: North Floridia Gulf Coast on the beach south of Tallahassee

Post by Beach Bum »

I forgot to mention that inside the trunk there was also the original Autolite 4100 4-barrel carb in what looks to be extremely good shape. I see indications from the old license plate on the car and registration that probably the last time this car ran was 1987 in the Chicago area... so maybe the 94,431 miles on the odometer is accurate and it has never turned over? The excellent shape of the undercarriage, completely stock metal with no repair work or significant rust, indicates that could be the case as well.

I also found my ROT sheet tucked under a spring inside the upper section of the back seat. I guess there's a separate thread where pictures of ROT get posted and I'll put mine there when I get it scanned.

While I'm posting I might as well mention what my rear seat removal procedure was in case some other newbie needs to do that someday (what do I mean "in case"? Who doesn't eventually have to remove their rear seat on these cars at some point?). Anyway, it was pretty simple. The bottom part of the seat (at least in mine) was only held down by a couple of spring clips at the front edge of the seat at the floor. I just worked a crowbar under the bottom of front edge of the seat and pushed/pulled up on it and after a few tries it "popped" loose and I could pull it out.

The back section of the rear seat was almost as easy. There were only two 3/8" bolts holding it to the floor pan at the very bottom. I took those out and again, with a only a small amount of pulling, the back of the rear seat came free and could be pulled out.
-
<b> -- J.R.</b>

current cars:
1963 Thunderbird HT being converted to 5-speed man
1968 Mustang GT 3-spd man
1968 Mustang GT auto
1967 Mustang auto
1981 El Camino 3-spd man
1986 Camaro IROC Z T-top auto
1998 Camaro T-top 5-spd man
Joe Johnston
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Location: Sunny FLORIDA

Post by Joe Johnston »

pushed/pulled up on it and after a few tries it "popped"
:thebigsqueeze:

:backinmyday: Back in my day these things just came naturally to me!

After all of that I need a Manhaten! :laughing5:
Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. J F K

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TsNStangs
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Post by TsNStangs »

Image
~ Daniel
"I'm your huckleberry..."
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wisconsinjimmy

Post by wisconsinjimmy »

Good to hear you got it opened, I would have done it a different way and that is to drill the lock cylinder out.
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