Continental Kit '56

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ltcmi96
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Continental Kit '56

Post by ltcmi96 » Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:56 pm

New owner of a '56 and have looked in vain for instructions on how to open the continental kit. Previous owner dead, wife had no clue and neither do I. I am aware of the lever to allow the kit to tilt "forward" but am at a loss as to freeing the spare from the metal "can." Please have pity and send me instructions. Thanks!

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Post by Joe Johnston » Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:59 pm

Welcome to the fun and games of owning a Little Bird. Lots of help here and sometimes its even given with a bit of humor. Don't be afraid to ask anything because we all have had (& still have) issues with our cars.

I owned a 56 many years ago and as I remember there should be a hook shaped tool with the jack and jack handle. This tool removes the spare's wheel cover (hubcap) while it is still on the continental kit mount. With the wheel cover off, you can remove the mounting lug nuts and lift the whole unit off the car. Quite often the band or tread cover has a spring across the bottom or is tied together which keeps the tread band from rotating due to vibration and holds the donuts tight. Carefully spread the band, remove, and then remove the donuts. Once you do this a few times you will want to get a compact spare to keep in the trunk :!exclaim:

If this hook shaped tool isn't in your car, removal of the wheel cover is a bit difficult. I didn't have one, so I heated and bent an old screwdriver 90 degrees or more, so it would catch on the wheel cover and fit to the edge of the wheel & allow the cover to be pried off. Just need to be able to hook the wheel cover with out scratching the wheel or the donut.

Another concern is to adjust the stop so when the wheel is in its forward position, the forward donut does not touch the trunk lid and chip the paint. Once that is done, there should also be a stop to adjust which keeps the rear donut from contacting the bumper when unlatched to open the trunk. ALWAYS unlatch with one hand on top of the tire to keep it from just bouncing back and moving too fast and too far so the donut hits the bumper.

Enjoy your 56!! Lots to learn and don't hesitate to ask any questions!
Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. J F K

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paul2748
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Post by paul2748 » Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:01 pm

Pretty simple - at the bottom there will be something holding the surround piece together. Some times this is missing. Undo this and then you have to stretch the surround off the tire. Go easy.

ltcmi96
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Post by ltcmi96 » Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:36 pm

I do have the tool. In addition to the wheel cover, the spare has the "wire wheel" type surround that makes getting to the wheel cover more of challenge. But, with your information I'm sure I can be successful. Thanks for the quick reply and assistance.

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Post by Joe Johnston » Sat Aug 15, 2009 7:57 am

You have the optional wire wheel covers!! :cool: A bit more challenging but they really look nice!

How about posting a picture of your new ride? Intruictions on picture posting is down on the home page above the For Sale section.

Check at the top of the home page and you will see a line to click on about private messages. I am going to send one - so click on the line. Thought I should point that feature out since you are a new member.
Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. J F K

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Kneetoe
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Re: Continental Kit '56

Post by Kneetoe » Sat Mar 09, 2019 7:51 pm

Hi,
Looking at your posting thread.
Just got my 56 T-Bird and am working my way around it. I noticed this spring hanging down. Wasn't sure what it was for as it doesn't appear in diagrams I have. I read in the post that it keeps the tire shell in place? Is there a parts diagram showing it's position?
Mine looks like its been stretched at one end - assume I'll need a new one. Haven't worked out how to add a photo yet!

Thanks
1956 Fiesta Red 312
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Kneetoe
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Re: Continental Kit '56

Post by Kneetoe » Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:32 pm

Attachments
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Picture1.jpg
1956 Fiesta Red 312
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eboose7
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Re: Continental Kit '56

Post by eboose7 » Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:03 am

Kneetoe: The spring in your picture is for the continental kit and is used for retaining the spare wheel cover. Yours appears to be stretched. You can order a new one from Thunderbird Headquarters, www.tbirdhq.com, part #1475.

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Kneetoe
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Re: Continental Kit '56

Post by Kneetoe » Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:59 pm

OK thanks
I'll get one on order
Not clear where the other end of the spring attaches though. Its almost as though it too short (perhaps that's why its stretched?)
1956 Fiesta Red 312
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eboose7
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Re: Continental Kit '56

Post by eboose7 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 5:18 am

The auxiliary spring is used to secure the wheel cover using the two holes on the bottom. The spring will stretch to hold the cover tight. There is a looped handle at the end of the spring to help you pull it. I have one on my '56.

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paul2748
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Re: Continental Kit '56

Post by paul2748 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:01 pm

Anyone have part number for the spring - don't see it listed in any catalog
1956 Fiesta Red 312
1954 Ford Victoria 312
1948 Ford Convertible Street Rod 302

ICON 1961
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Re: Continental Kit '56

Post by ICON 1961 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:56 pm

I could not evenfind the spring part number in the Ford Car parts and Accessories Catalog page 532. I found a few Dorman Springs possibly to use
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paul2748
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Re: Continental Kit '56

Post by paul2748 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:50 pm

I never knoew about the spring and the Parts Illustrated Manual didn't show anything, so I used a modified screw clamp to hold mine together.
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1956 Fiesta Red 312
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1948 Ford Convertible Street Rod 302

eboose7
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Re: Continental Kit '56

Post by eboose7 » Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:30 am

The only place I been able to find the spring is Thunderbird Headquarters, www.tbirdhq.com, part #1475. There is a looped handle on one end to help you attach the spring. I have one on my '56.

eboose7
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Re: Continental Kit '56

Post by eboose7 » Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:30 am

The only place I been able to find the spring is Thunderbird Headquarters, www.tbirdhq.com, part #1475. There is a looped handle on one end to help you attach the spring. I have one on my '56.

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