Ford Galaxie: Our Shed

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After tackling this year's targa Tas tour, Ponch's Gal desperately needed a trip to the vet...

Ford Galaxie: Our Shed
Our cars: Ford Galaxie

 

Ford Galaxie

Covering nearly 3000km in a week in the Targa Tour was a big ask for my Gal', but it definitely served a purpose. As Phil put it, "it was a trouble-shooting exercise". Ah, yes it was!

After the event, I asked Dave Morley if he wanted to drive the Gal' back to Devonport and he jumped at the chance. So while I lounged in the back, gobbling a Peppermint Magnum, then having a snooze on a pile of bags, Old Mate powered on in pouring rain, enjoying the walkabout effect of a buggered power-steering ram. Thanks mate!

Back in Melbourne, we left the Gal' in the capable hands of brothers Peter and Nick Anton at Supafix Automotive in South Oakleigh. She was still running silky smooth, but after lots of sitting around over 49 years, then Targa Tas', the gaskets were stuffed.

Up on the hoist, the engine and tranny looked like they'd been dipped in a pool of oil - clear, healthy stuff, but loads of it. Considering the busted spring in the steering ram already demanded attention, we thought we may as well get the lot fixed in one go.

As is always the case, opening the Ford's worm-filled can revealed one serious issue - the harmonic balancer. It was so loose and utterly rooted that the boys couldn't believe it hadn't shit itself in Tasmania. In the middle of nowhere. Smack-bang in a stage. Original engine kaput at 47,000 miles...

I thought the squealing from the engine bay when the car was cold was the power steering pulley. It wasn't deafening, but you could clearly hear it. Because the noise was kinda like fingernails subtly scratching a chalkboard, I was always very ginger on the accelerator. If the noise returned, I made sure I avoided any sudden demands for acceleration. And that was what saved it.

A state-wide search for a new harmonic balancer ended up being more fruitless than trying to find a Saturday-night carpark in Carlton. No one had one, and even if they claimed they did, they didn't. None of them fit. So $400 later, the Galaxie's original harmonic balancer returned, fully reconditioned. And so did the power steering unit for a very reasonable $270, looking like brand new (see below).

Given the engine's incontinence issues, Supafix Automotive replaced every gasket possible. They also flushed the cooling system, replaced a bulging radiator hose and fixed the timing. And two months later, the Galaxie was back to its old self, only better.

After picking it up, I decided to commute home in it and you could definitely feel the improvement. The steering was smooth, quiet and semi-precise, just like it should be, but the big difference, I thought, was in the engine. It felt even stronger than it did in Targa, with really keen throttle response.

Merging onto the Monash freeway, the Gal' soared straight to 75mph - no squealing, no hesitation, just surfing a wave of torque. And no more wander.

 

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