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Plodding Along
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Quite a few members contacted me asking for more information on the process of modifying and installing a vintage (early '60s) Ford degas tank on a smallblock, so I thought I'd write this up for those contemplating this idea. I started with a couple of tanks bought on ebay a couple years ago for $30 - 35 each, figuring I'd ruin one in the process. After noodling this idea over for a couple of years and looking at many other versions of this mod, I came up with the following. After pressure testing both tanks, I started with the one that only had a small pin-hole in an existing soldered seam that was easily repaired - much to my surprise the mod ended-up being so easy that the second tank stayed on the shelf for use as a spare someday.

1) Note that the bigblock degas tank thermostat housing mounting holes are off by ninety degrees, requiring the removal of that part or an adapter for the smallblock thermostat housing. I chose to remove the housing and most of the tube from the degas tank. This is done first by drilling out the pressed-over bracket metal in the thermostat housing holes to free it from the tank bracket, then by cutting the 1 1/2" tube approximately 2" from the bottom of the tank. Pictures of a modified and OEM tank for a "before and after" view:





2) After mocking it up with a piece of thick cardboard, I fabricated an adapter bracket out of some 3/16" thick aluminum scrap that I had laying around (see photos above for clear view) to mount the tank to two of the top waterpump bolts using one of the original brackets on the tank. The adapter bracket covers the two original holes in the tank's original bracket - the other upper hole in the adapter was used to mark a spot on the original tank bracket so it could be drilled and the forth hole - the other lower hole, is just through the adapter bracket and is the lowest hole on that part. This mounting worked well from a hood clearance standpoint, but puts the tank very close to the distributor. If you're using a large head / cap distributor, you may need to move the tank to the forward point on the waterpump. To facilitate this mounting location, I used two longer bolts for those positions on the waterpump, but had to thread the bolts a bit higher up the shank as the majority of the bolt shank is not threaded, so that the bolts would fully seat in the water pump and timing cover and leave enough threads protruding out the back of the engine front cover to act as a mounting point. Pictures of mounted tank and of the mounting bolts - note that these photos were at the mock-up stage so the bolts holding the tank to the adapter bracket were only temporary - the permanent ones are sized appropriately.





3) I made a bead tool using instructions found on-line so that I could put a raised bead in both the stub of tubing on the bottom of the tank and at each end of the two 1 1/2" aluminum tubes that are used to piece together the upper radiator hose and the hose that spans from the lower tank to the thermostat housing. Pictures of tubes with beads (see bead on lower tank tube in pictures above) and bead making tool - 10" vice grip with woodruff key and 1 1/2" carriage for a muffler clamp welded to jaws.







CONTINUES BELOW
 

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Plodding Along
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
4) The final step was to fabricate the hoses. I'm using the FFR supplied AFCO radiator. To connect the tank to the radiator (upper rad hose), I used a 90 degree elbow that is 1 3/4" at the tank and 1 1/2" at the other end. To connect to the radiator, I used a 45 degree elbow that is 1 1/2" at both ends. To connect the two, I used the long 1 1/2" aluminum tube in the picture above. I made this tube long on purpose so that it extends well into the elbows (up to the curve) to add rigidity to the upper hose. To make the hose that connects the lower tube on the tank to the thermostat housing (which is a Canton billet housing from Summit Racing with a straight outlet), I used two small 45 degree elbows that are 1 1/2" at both ends. This will all be tied together using OEM style Ford tower hose clamps for a true vintage look. Pics of the hose assemblies:



Tank to 1 1/2" connector tube:



Radiator to 1 1/2" connector tube:



Under tank to thermostat housing assembly:



One of the under-tank 45 degree elbows:



Under tank hose assembly in place:




When combined with the adapter bracket, original bracket structure, under tank hose assembly, and upper radiator hose assembly, this is an extremely rigid mount.

Hoses were sourced from the wall of hoses at the local auto parts store and Farm & Fleet - just be creative and you'll be able to find something that will work exactly for your project.

I'll post pictures of the final product once everything is painted and all the hoses, clamps, overflow, etc. are in place. In the mean time, good luck on doing this super easy mod to give your FFR a true vintage flavor under the hood!!!
 

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Plodding Along
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Just a couple of overall shots of the installed tank:



 

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FFR Bandit
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Chris,

Thanks for the photos Dude!!! Great stuff. i as well collected a few of these and am now selling for any one on the Forum.

hadn't thought about the offset mount you came up with, but I like it, and maty redo mine (if dizzy cap isn't to tall).

Finding these "semi-dent free" is almost impossible, and then getting them leak proofed is another expense.
 

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That is one of the better overall write-ups I have seen and the best I have seen on how to get the degas tank to work on a small block.

I can pretty much see how its done but do you have a link for the homemade bead tool?
 

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FYI...You can use this (see pix) radiator hose from NAPA. It fits very well.







- Travis
 
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