Edsel Technical Notes
Collected by Jeffrey Sward
Wheel Size

Phil SkinnerThe 1957-64 Ford wheels have the same bolt patterns as Edsel, but are a bit narrower. Even at Louisville, they had problems. The Edsel wheel is a bit deeper so as to accept the 1959 wheelcover, especially on the front wheel. All 1959 Edsel wheels are the same,

Gunther Toody *SOME* Ford wheels are smaller than Edsel's. Ford wheels can be 14 x 5.0 (used with 7.50 x 14" tires) or they can alternatively be 14 x 5.5 (used with 8.00 x 14" tires. No matter what tires were installed on 1959 Edsels, all of them *should* have used the 14 x 5.5" wheel with 4-1/2 bolt pattern, five bolts. You *can* find those on Fords, but not all had them. When in doubt which you're looking at, measure them with a rule and a straightedge, or use a large caliper device. To verify bolt pattern, measure the distance from the outside of one bolt hole to the outside of another two holes away. It should measure 4-1/2", to within 1/16". 1958 Edsels are an entirely different situation, where only the station wagons used the larger Ford wheel. The Ranger, Pacer, Corsair and Citation all used the Mercury 14 x 6.0" wheel with a five-inch bolt pattern. Here's the service bulletin that deals with the smaller Ford wheels being inadvertently installed on some 1959 Edsels.

Hub Caps by Year

Ken Dye James, something I learned at the parts auction in Portage.........the caps with the offset holes are from the last run of 58 caps made. Phil Skinner made that information known to everyone in attendance at the auction. I bought one, just to be able to have one of the last ones made.

Gunther Toody I know some of us might hear this a lot, but I like to think I "discovered" the "twisted E" variety of Edsel wheel cover, and made the first note of it in club publications. My Roundup spent some time at a Fontana, CA, used car lot, and it had undergone a certain amount of "appearance sweetening" to get a sale. One of the things it got was a brand new, evidently dealer service replacement stock, set of wheel covers. When I got the car around 1981, it had 147,000 miles on it, but you could practically eat off the backs of the wheel covers. They were obviously replaced, and then not driven much at all after that. They were all the twisted "E" variety. I discovered the "twisted E" because I was considering adding spinner appliques, but I couldn't figure out how to align them. When I compared them to my Pacer's, I found the deviation. Again, this was around 1981. No "twisted E" wheel covers have been found in factory photos, and nobody had ever mentioned their existence in FoMoCo or Edsel club publications prior to my discovery, so I lay claim to the first written documentation of their existence. No "twisted E" wheel covers have ever been found with punched holes for the appliques . . . only drilled ones . . . suggesting there was no officially-authorized way to put them on. At the time, I attributed the oddity to the late production date of my Roundup, late August 1958. But later discussions I had with Phil led us both to believe these may very well have been service-replacement wheel covers, remanufactured from original tooling but not subjected to the same rigorous quality-control procedures of the original production runs. Thus, the alignment of the center-punched "E" emblem (which may have been part of a two-piece stamping die, of which the two parts could have been aligned at any desired orientation) wasn't maintained per the engineering and styling specifications. But when the last runs of the Edsel's service replacement wheel covers were made, nobody really gave a hoot . . . they were parts for an unloved marque.

Dave Sinclair 58 style caps are correct for all three years, Jim, it's possible the original owner of your car replaced hub caps with full,wheel covers off the shelf of the parts department, hence the late 58 style covers. Conversely, 59-60 style covers are not correct for 58s.

Air Filters
Gunther Toody For E400 air filter, use an STP/Champion AF14 available through Autozone, or any of these alternatives: AC A83C, Motorcraft FA15, Lee AFL14, Purolator AFP14, Fleetguard AF272. Fram CA162PL might work, but I find them *very* hard to fit into the cleaner housing. Once they're in, they're fine, though.
Electrical Cables

Gunther Toody Group, critical information here. Save it, put it away, and bring it out when somebody needs the information. I will not always be here to provide it.

To the best of our knowledge as of Oct 2011:

Positive: FEY-14300-A. 18.0" or 18.5" long, 1958 junior series except with Dial-temp A/C FDR-14300-B, 15" long, alternate service replacement use for 1958 junior series except Dial-temp A/C FEY-14300-B, 20" long, 1958 junior series with Dial temp A/C FAC-14300-C, 21.50" long, alternate service replacement use for 1958 junior series with dial-temp A/C FFA-14300-A, 10.25" or 10.50" long for 1958 senior series 2703340, 15" long for 1959 C0AF 14300-A, 15" long for 1960

Negative: FEY-14301-A, 21" long, 1958 junior series except with air suspension FEY-14301-B, length unknown, believed to be alternate early production 1958 junior series except with air suspension. FEY-14301-C, length unknown (but same as 1958 Ford with A/S), 1958 junior series with air suspension FFA-14301-B, 18.0" or 18.5" long, 1958 senior series FFA-14301-A, length unknown, believed to be alternate early production 1958 senior series 2703221, 20" long, 1959 V-8 2703507, 16" long, 1959 six cylinder C0MF-14301-A, 20" to 20.5" long for 1960

Starter: FEY-14431-A, 18" long, 1958 junior series FFA-14431-A, 23" long, 1958 senior series 2703344, 21" long for 1959 C0MF-14431-A, 27.5" long for 1960

For some dimensions, two numbers are given. Sources vary since some say to measure between terminals or terminal holes, others say to measure from the center of eye terminal to the outside end of battery terminal.

All wire insulators are black number 6 gauge.

All cables extend to the right when battery terminal is installed nearest the observer. Only the positive battery terminal has a rubber covering on the terminal crimp section.


Door Sill Scuff Plates

Günther Toody

Here's what I've been able to determine from master parts catalog descriptions and engineering drawings. There are still a couple of conflicts, though. Would love to have confirmation from the field.

23-1/32" 1959 Mercury rear 24-27/32"
1956 Mercury four-door hardtop rear
*24-15/16" 1958 Edsel jr. four-door sedan and hardtop rear (23.4 from drawing BAR-5813228-A)
*25-5/16" 1958 Edsel wagon rear (25.81 scaled from drawing BAR-7913228-A)
25-7/8" 1956 Mercury four door sedan and wagon rear
26-1/32" 1957/58 Mercury and Edsel sr. rear

33-21/64" 1956 Mercury four-door hardtop front
*33-5/8" 1958 Edsel jr. four-door front (33.44" from drawing BAR-5813208-A)
34-21/32" 1957/58 Mercury/Edsel sr. four-door front
35-9/16" 1956 Mercury four-door sedan and wagon front
*36" 1958 Edsel four-door station wagon front (35.98" scaled from drawing BAR-7913208-A)
36-7/8" 1959 Mercury four-door front
42-1/2" 1956 Mercury two-door
*43-3/4" 1958 Edsel jr. two-door
44-23/32" 1958 Mercury two-door, late
44-13/16" 1957/58 Mercury, early, and Edsel sr. two-door
46-7/16" 1959 Mercury two-door

* measured from the actual part. The other lengths come from the Mercury MPC.

1956 Mercury four-door hardtop rear is only 3/32" shorter than 1958 Edsel jr. sedan and hardtop rear.
1956 Mercury sedan and wagon is only 7/16" shorter than 1958 Edsel four-door station wagon.
1958 Edsel jr. sedan and hardtop rear is only 3/8" shorter than 1958 Edsel wagon rear.
1956 Mercury four door sedan and wagon rear is only 9/16" shorter than 1957/58 Mercury and Edsel sr. series rear.
1956 Mercury four-door hardtop front is only about 5/16" shorter than 1958 Edsel jr. four-door front.
1956 Mercury four-door sedan and wagon front is only 7/16" shorter than 1958 Edsel four-door station wagon front.
1958 Mercury two-door had a production change shortening by 3/32"

I've found Edsel two-door scuff plates packaged with Ford numbers, i.e. B8E-5813208-A labeled and bagged as B7A-5813208-A. Evidently, there was a surplus of them, and they were sold as substitutions for Ford's when the OEM style ran out.

58 Citation Gas Tank

Jason Michael Gilmore

57/58 Mercury tanks but you have to change the filler neck to make it work on an Edsel.

Jeff Carrothers

I have replaced two of my 58 Citation Gas Tanks. As Jason said, the F34D Spectra Brand fuel tank for 1957/1958 Mercury is the same except for the filler neck. My local radiator/gas tank repair shop swaps the filler neck from the original tank to the new one for $60.00.

Wheel Rim Bolt Pattern

James Ludovici

58 is 5x5

Jeffrey Walker

5X5 except station wagons Station wagons and all 59 and 60's are 5X4 1/2

Lance Alfieri

all Edsels are 4.5 bolt circle,

Günther Toody

All except the 1958 Ranger, Pacer, Corsair and Citation. Those use Mercury wheels, which have a 5" bolt circle.

Chrome Around Tail Lights

Michael Cowles

Hello to all and Mason Hollifield. The chrome strips in the light lens can be repaired very nicely. While this method does not exactly duplicate the original, it is a very nice solution to the badly damaged and missing chrome strips that need replacing. I posted this restoration process about four months ago on Facebook. But, unfortunately most of the old postings are lost long ago... thanks to Facebook's impossible structuring. So, here it goes again. (Please: for all of you, copy this instruction for future reference) Remove the old glue and badly broken parts of chrome left in the red lens channel. This must be done meticulously and all traces of the old glue and dirt must be removed. Using the chrome vinyl door guard, set it on end with the "U" facing down on a firm surface. Take a new blade in your utility knife cut the guard down the center at the bottom on the U. Separate the two halves. Remove the nasty glue from each side. (Be sure not to scratch the surface of the soft vinyl chrome - scratches of any kind can not be removed later.) Removing the glue can be done with a combination of paint thinner and a wooden stir stick (Like from Starbucks) It takes some time and is really nasty glue. Make sure all glue traces have been removed from the back side of the two halves of the separated chrome door guard. Place one of the separated guards into the red lens indent with the cut side in the lowest part of the lens - That's the bottom of the channel. The top of finished edge of the chrome door guard edge will sit right at the top of the red lens indent. Cut off the chrome guard to about five inches over size to the space being filled. Carefully - and using a hair dryer - NOT TOO MUCH HEAT - begin GENTLY bending the guard to fit the angle of the space that will be fitted. Too much heat will wrinkle the chrome and the part cannot be repaired. Repeat this process with the lower part. Then, place both ends at the point of the area and look carefully where it is to be trimmed at the two adjoining "points"... it's about 45* or so. You will most likely have to cut these two pointed ends several times with an undercut at 45* to make a clean almost seamless fit. You will have plenty of material to work with, hence the 5 extra inches. Once this two halves fit at the point, mark exactly on the opposite side, taking into account the slight angle. They are not exactly perpendicular to one another. Cut these two ends at the edge to fit cleanly and neatly, not leaving an unsightly gap. Now, you have the parts, upper and lower finished. Using ***Lexel*** brand calking (Oil based not water based - DO NOT USE SILICONE - fill the areas of the lens carefully, using a finger to help spread evenly- no skips in the calk - AND NOT TOO MUCH!!! Place in the chrome door strips on both sides, upper and lower and make sure that the points fit just right. Clean up excess calk with paint thinner using a good clean rag over the red lens and the chrome strip. Finally, using masking tape in about one inch strips, go around the areas to hold down the chrome door edge guard to the lens where it needs to sit in place. Keep this masking tape on the parts, clean any excess glue further and watch for adjustments. In one week, you can remove the tape and clean the lens with paint thinner and tidy it all up with a good car polish. Sounds like a lot of work!? It's not... just these instructions! You will have a lens that it beautiful and you will be proud of your accomplishment. The first one will take a little while, but once you get the hang of it... it will go faster! Good luck and here are photos below of the finished result. This lens was missing the chrome part altogether. m.

Günther Toody

You could almost fix that broken one with a mirrored plastic insert. There is such a thing, and that's what the Edsel used in the channels around the perimeters of the taillights in 1958. new old stock.

Mason Hollifield

I heard that you could use the plastic door trim you buy at parts stores and cut it to fit.

Günther Toody

You can buy it in bulk, but you'll have a hard time cutting it to fit. Some use door edge guard, some use extruded aluminum. Some just paint it silver. It's one of those things that you write off as excessive over-restoration if you don't have the wIt's one of those things that you write off as excessive over-restoration if you don't have the wherewithal to pay the price or exert the effort (with the accompanying skill levels) to achieve OEM appearance and quality. It's been done with impressive success, but only with a great deal of effort. Creativity is king here. I've done some messing around with metallic Mylar under molded plastic strips. But the strips aren't available anymore, so that's gone. Sealing the edges from water is critical for weather-proofing these things. The originals died because of moisture intrusion.

Transmission Fluid

Günther Toody

Group Admin Sounds like another "religion" discussion. The shop manual recommends type "A", suffix "A" automatic transmission fluid. In 1960, FoMoCo replaced Type "A" with a proprietary fluid later included in the type "F" classification. The primary differences were a static coefficient of friction higher than the dynamic coefficient (not friction-modified, unlike other tranny fluids), and a greater resistance to oxidation. Today's Dexron would work as well, since it was introduced as a longer service-life replacement for Type "A", suffix "A".

58 Stabalizer Bushings

Dan Crossman

Update on my '58 Pacer stabilizer bushings dilemma. Mac's part #60-75434-1 is the one. They're listed for '59 Ford wagon, though. They come with the steel brackets which don't fit, but the bushings alone are worth the price.

58 Scuff Plates

Günther Toody

This is an opportune moment to examine the fine points of 1958 scuff plates, especially the two-door variety. Here's an NOS pair for Ranger, Pacer and Roundup. Notice the forward and aft ends are shaped differently, with the aft ends having a noticeably acute angle rather than the nearly right-angle end cut found at the forward ends. Also, notice the two single holes at either end are spaced differently, with the forward end's spaced at 5-1/8" and the aft end's spaced at 4-9/16". These details distinguish the right hand from the left hand piece with basic part numbers 7013208 and 7013209, respectively. You find them listed with a B8E part number prefix in the Edsel Master parts catalog, but don't let that fool you. For years, an oversupply of Edsel scuff plates were marketed over-the-counter for Ford service replacements with B7A part number prefixes printed on the undersides.

One reason NOS scuff plates don't have quite the luster of polished ones typically found on the top-shelf restorations is each impressed diamond in the embossing pattern has texturing to give it a "satin" finish, but only in the depressions. The rest of the piece has a standard aluminum "mill-finish" . . . not polished, but not matte either. "Restored" and reproduction pieces tend to have bright, polished surfaces both on the high areas and in the diamond depressions.

Examining some four-door scuff plates I found in my stash (not pictured), I found yet another end treatment specifically formed for contact at the "B" pillar. The scuff plates' compound bends at the "B" pillar allow about two-thirds of the width of the scuff plate to lie flat instead of curving slightly upward as the forward ends of the front door and the aft ends of the rear door scuff plates do. From the engineering drawings, the aft ends of the two-door senior series scuff plates seem to have this feature as well.

Seat belts

Günther Toody

Edsel seat belts, as far as I've been able to ascertain, all used four-panel webbing, as shown here. 1959 Lincoln (far left) was a little thicker material, similar to that used for the fabric-to-metal Autocrat belts used on Ford, but still in four panels, unlike the Autocrat belts.

An Edsel seat belt anchor kit, missing the outboard floor bracket. This does show, however, the distinct shape of the Edsel junior series inboard seat belt bracket. The inboard bracket is different from Ford, while the outboards are the same. Senior series uses the same brackets at 1957/58 Mercury and the inboard Ford brackets, although some of the Mercury brackets are chrome plated rather than zinc or cadmium-plated.

Günther ToodyGünther is an administrator in this group. I have install sheets for 1956 to 1960 seat belt installations that I'll post on specific request. It's worthwhile making this stuff available for the sake of safety. Most field installations I find are terribly weak and unsafe, especially on cars with marginal floor integrity. Some install sheets are more readable than others. Unfortunately, some are good for the pictures only, since you can't read the text. But other years with similar hardware can be used to get many of the specifics right.

In general, 1959 and later installations used eye bolts and spring-clips instead of the anchor kits I've shown above. For 1959 through 1961, the eye bolts must be mounted through the floor sheet metal with reinforcing plates on the underside. Starting in 1962, FoMoCo placed tapped holes for the eye bolts in every car, allowing for an easy, safe front seat belt installation.

Option list

Günther Toody

The best information for 1958 comes from the official pricing letters reproduced in Gayle Warnock's "The Edsel Affair," pages 182-185. For 1959, the information is a bit spread out and not very well-defined, although the booklet "Accessories for the 1959 Edsel" specifies what was available from the factory and what was dealer-installed. Many options were available either way. For 1960, again, the information is scattered around here and there. Ty Triplett's Edsel Owner's Handbook has pages devoted to this subject, along with many prices. I'm working on collecting additional information from various sources to make those pages even more authoritative. I'm finding a few errors, unfortunately, even in the 2010 edition.

Radial vs Bias Tires

Mark A. Spatz

In my 38+ years of tinkering with old cars, I have NEVER found one that didn't drive better with radials. True, they tend to flex the wheel some, but we're not doing radical cornering. Radials stay out of road grooves better, handle better, are more forgiving and ride better. They are much less prone to heat failure and have no (or little) danger of belt seperation. Radial tires are a safety upgrade that everybody should consider. If you don't think bias-ply tires were terrible, go read the literature of the times.

Colton Powell

I'm glad u guys like old tires but radials are just better there safer they don't catch grooves and u can get radials that look the same as bias plys from Coker but slot of u guys want stuff to look original but I don't see the point to run old tires.. why wouldn't run old brake lines u wouldnt because of safety for others and u.... and we put radials on cars from pre world war 2 and they drove just fine but that's just my look on it and I guess bias ride good and if usay bias don't crack I have a set that are cracked ��

59 Villager Door

Dave Sinclair

It should not be hard to find a solid replacement door, a 59 Ford wagon would be the same as the Edsel.

Günther Toody

Also the same as 1959 Edsel Ranger or Corsair four-door, and I'm pretty sure any 1959 Ford four-door as well.

Assembly Manuals

Günther ToodyGünther is an administrator in this group. Jim Osborne Reproductions, Lawrenceville GA: Edsel Electrical Assembly Manuals and Edsel Body, Trim and Sealant Manuals. A copy of the Edsel Maintenance Manual would be handy, but for many things the corresponding year model Ford Service Manual will give you what you need, and often with more detail than the Edsel book, especially 1958. Both the 1958 and 1959 Ford Shop Manual are downloadable on line for free. The 1958 Edsel Shop manual doesn't cover automatic transmission, and you need to supplement it with information from the Service Beacons and Technical Bulletins. That information is available from the International Edsel Club on CD-ROM, although it seems as though you need to join up and pay an extra $21 to get a copy sent to you. But there is literally thousands of dollars worth of Edsel documentation on that CD-ROM.

For E475 information, get the 1959 or 1960 Thunderbird Shop


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