Matt Harwood

1956 Chrysler Windsor Town & Country Wagon

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Thanks, Randy. It is indeed a C71 Windsor wagon. I was coming up with the same information from several sources. However, I see other sources that suggest axle shaft interchangeability from 1953-1956. Do I take the risk on the 1955 part and hope that since the axle shafts are the same the hubs will be the same? My experience with Buick is that GM would often reassign a new part number to the same part when it was used in a new model year, even though they were the same. Do you think Mopar was like that? 

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I wouldn't take the chance on the 55 part.  If it was free or cheap,  maybe,  but at 400 a pop,  I would look for the right one. 

I would guess the other numbers for Chrysler were probably for an imperial or maybe a commercial chassis/ limo  if they offered one. 

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1 hour ago, auburnseeker said:

I wouldn't take the chance on the 55 part.  If it was free or cheap,  maybe,  but at 400 a pop,  I would look for the right one. 

I would guess the other numbers for Chrysler were probably for an imperial or maybe a commercial chassis/ limo  if they offered one. 

 

That's good advice. I have a few other sources for parts I'm going to check and if that fails, I'll just buy a wheel with a small bolt circle and worry about it later. Thanks for all your help!

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9 hours ago, auburnseeker said:

Here is a brake drum interchange chart.  Looks like Desoto wagon fits front and rear. 

http://www.jholst.net/interchange/4-brake.pdf

 

That can't be the whole story. A front one will have wheel bearings instead of an axle taper and keyway. The implication is (going WAY out on a limb) that they must be referring to just the drum without the hub. Going even further out that limb, I am going to guess that the drum and hub are held together by the studs, which are somehow swaged or peened, holding the whole mess together. 1960s Mopar front drums are like that.

 

If that is the case, then a drum that fits both front and rear comes without the hub, and Matt will still need a hub, and some studs (left hand thread) that may or may not be available, and someone who knows how to peen or swage the whole mess together.

 

A used assembly is going to be the easiest way forward here, if there is any way one can be found.

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)

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Should be able to find a used one from a western junkyard or a guy that just rodded his.  As it shows all dodge Desoto and Chrysler Wagons used the same drum. Seems atleast with Chrysler,  the hub would be the same as well.  Not sure if the Dodge or Desoto hubs would interchange as well,  without looking up that number as well. 

I figured with that chart they were implying just the drums,  nothing else. 

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I just went through the parts book again and the hub and drum as an assembly for your car is part number 1637336 for the Right hand side and 1637337 for the LH side.

That is used on 1956 Desoto Firedome, 1956 New Yorker and Windsor Wagons and all 1956 Chrysler Imperials. 

The way it's written I think it may only be Desoto Firedome wagons but I'm not 100 percent sure on that.

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That's strange but someone is selling that part number as a reupped number for a brake pedal pad.  I think someone made a mistake. According to the book and I double checked it as of 1958,  that 1637337 number is for your brake hub and drum. 

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Atlas lists it in their cross reference chart,  so they may have it.  If they do have it, hold onto your wallet though.  I don't think it will be cheap.   Their number appears to be 862-399.  

It might be worth a look and please double check my info to make sure everything is correct side wise atleast before ordering one. 

http://atlasobsoleteparts.homestead.com/files/xref16to1999.htm

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If you check further down.  that hub is specific to the cars listed in my hub and drum post a few above so it looks like you are limited to just those cars and might as well get a whole assembly. 

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Thanks for all the information and good advice. Here's where I am right now:

 

John at Big M Auto out west says he has both the brake drum and the hub that I need. $85 each + shipping. I have no reason not to trust him, but given the way these things usually go for me, I think there's a 50/50 chance that I will get parts I can actually use. My gut says this will go like most projects and I'll get another setup for a small-series car that will simply go into the dumpster. 

 

I also went online and just bit the bullet and ordered a new 15x6 wheel with the 5x4.5 bolt pattern from Wheel Vintiques for $315+shipping, which I thought was fairly reasonable. It'll look mostly the same and the car should drive correctly--it has been like this for who knows how long already. However, I never heard back from them to confirm the order, so I called today and was informed that it will be 8-12 weeks to get the wheel since it has to be made. Ugh. Never mind.

 

Next I contacted the actual manufacturer and they have one of these 5x4.5 wheels on the shelf. It's $500+shipping.

 

So do I pony up for a wheel and call it done? Do I buy the brake parts and hope they're right and I can use the wheels I already have? Do I buy both the parts and the extra wheel to hedge my bets, and hope that I can return the wheel if the parts are actually right? Oh, and it's also worth mentioning that this wheel will be 56 spokes, while the originals that I have are 52. Hope it doesn't look odd if I end up stuck with it.

 

Regardless of which route I choose, the end total is going to be considerably more than if I had just bought brand new wheels in the first place. Sigh. I hope that the car will be so beautiful and drive so well that I'll forget the nonsense. 

 

Remind me why old cars are fun again?

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Big thanks to Linda at hobbycar.com (the wheel manufacturer), who came up with a great solution even though it cost her the sale of an expensive wheel:

 

RGG-1520104.jpg?rep=False

 

5x4.5 to 5x5.5 wheel adapters (which are apparently common in the Jeep off-road world). It'll push the wheel out 1.25 inches, but I have more than four inches of clearance between the tire and the fender, so it should be fine. $100. I can use my existing wheels and when/if I get the correct hub and drum, I can eliminate the spacer. I just ordered them from Summit Racing, which means they'll be here tomorrow. Yes, yes, I know spacers suck, but the alternative was six times as expensive with no guarantees. This is a good interim solution that isn't expensive and will buy me time to find the right parts. Thanks, Linda!

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So now you can be the guy that the guy in the time machine pays a visit to and works you over for not fixing it back in the old days when parts were still available.  Just kidding.  You do what you have to do to make things work.  I bet as you know there are alot of not quite right cars out there that look very correct until you dig into them.  Atleast they are back on the road and not in the corner of the garage awaiting that ellusive part the owner never seems to be able to find. 

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Purely temporary until I can find the right parts, I assure you. I went ahead and ordered the drum and hub from Big M so hopefully it's right. At least we can get the wheels on and Melanie can keep enjoying the car. I'll keep looking. I put the stock wheels and hubcaps back on so Melanie could drive it today.

 

In the meantime, it was pink 1956 Mopar night at the Harwood Compound (yeah, the wire wheels make a BIG difference):

 

PinkPair1.jpg.39c269acb6e1c66d4e032d12b14959a9.jpg

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OK, we are in business! The wheel adapters arrived this morning, I sent the wheels to the tire shop shortly thereafter, and this afternoon we were able to mount all four wire wheels. Result? Awesomeness! The wheels fit without a problem and the adapter is barely noticeable unless you're really looking and have a low angle. It runs and drives better than before, since the wheels were slightly out of balance but now it tracks smooth and true. None of the wire wheels had issues with trueness and they look even better on the car than I could have hoped. We couldn't be happier with the results. Melanie is getting groceries with it right now and we just got back from voting where it caused a bit of a stir in the parking lot. 

 

To me, the car looks finished now. The hubcaps looked hasty and crude--this is how the car was designed to look and I'm sure the mock-ups the designers showed management had wire wheels. 

 

I also ordered the spare hub and drum from Big M today. Hopefully they're the right parts and we can install them on the car without issues and get rid of the spacer. Until then, it looks and works great. 

 

Thanks to everyone who helped! Sometimes when things go sideways, I have a hard time seeing a way forward, so I can't tell you how much I appreciate you guys going the extra mile and helping me find solutions. I'm grateful.

 

Chrysler2.jpg.65f9b94a3329d63533f464e8979caf62.jpg Chrysler3.jpg.cea4eede3631892e4b0d0f55087a5cb1.jpg 

 

Chrysler4.jpg.8ff7bd1078a6685cb3dd512f5d0a5d7f.jpg Wheel1.jpg.df1117c6e8f03c0b86d330f4ee6cf938.jpg

 

Check out the before and after. BIG difference:

 

Chrysler1.jpg.78309863a0c514a4978d0c77caac9938.jpg Chrysler45.jpg.c18c681f459871d7a8b3d4e4f4786de4.jpg

 

Adapter moves the left rear wheel outboard a bit, but from any other angle than directly behind, it's not particularly noticeable.

 

rear_tread.jpg.b70783f647f6db28dba319a7107d09b4.jpg

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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No problem.  Looks good.  Have fun with it. Makes me wish I had finished off my 56 Dodge Wagon instead of selling it. 

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4 hours ago, Laughing Coyote said:

I think the little wider stance from the spacers fill the fender wells a tad more. Looks nice.

That's right, but this is adding more stress on the wheel bearings!

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Again, the adapter is NOT the permanent solution here. However, I don't think it's adding any stress, one because it's on the rear axle and two, because of the design of Chrysler axles. There's actually a hub on the rear axle--it's not just hanging off the end of the axle shaft with a bearing farther down the tube. Ironically, that hub is the cause of and solution to my problem. Hopefully I've found a correct hub and drum that will correct the problem.

 

The adapter is temporary so we can use the wheels. Melanie does not drive the car fast or far or hard so I don't have any issues with it. It's only an inch or so, so it's not like we're those kids with the tires spaced a foot out past the bodywork. There is no danger here. If the bearings can handle the stress of whatever people used to use station wagons to do (including hauling stuff and pulling trailers) then an inch of aluminum pushing the tire out a little farther isn't going to hurt anything. Heck, the radial tires are probably three inches wider than the original bias-plys and I don't expect they'll do any damage, either.

 

It's all good. 

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Ah! only at the rear? As you said, those vehicles can be loaded and surely your wife will not load concrete or sand into that nice car! The radial tires have no influence as the extra width is the same on both sides of the rim.

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Those wheels look great and really set off the appearance of the whole package. Now your only problem is keeping them clean!

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I'm already a big fan of LED lighting, mostly in back. Brighter taillights, brake lights, and turn signals in an old car is always a good idea. Even though the Pink Lady is 12 volts and has pretty good lighting, I thought I could improve things. I'll have the taillights upgraded as soon as I get a replacement bulb for the dim one I installed last week, but one thing that I thought could be better was the back-up lights. They work, but they're all but invisible from the driver's seat so they don't really help at night (Melanie didn't even realize the car had back-up lights). Others can see them, I suppose, but they won't help you back out of the driveway at night. So I bought a set of LEDs for these lights as well.

 

20180512_160744.jpg.3d74bd66a0e8a9aa70344746d9b09867.jpg
LED vs. standard incandescent

 

Unfortunately, even with more lumens, the LEDs don't really throw more light in this case. The lens and reflector do a pretty good job of making the most of the original bulb's output. The directional lighting of the LED doesn't work as well and seems to scatter less, with the result being less ambient light rather than more. The LED was a little more blue/white while the incandescent is yellowish, but either way, the LED won't improve visibility. Bah. So I put the incandescent bulb back in and called it done.

 

20180512_160605.jpg.b07e376b1e4c77187c1f41b9bb05745e.jpg 20180512_160625.jpg.f1c64bdfdf4c1328e5397a189f67b13c.jpg

Incandescent bulbs in the light and in the dark. They actually work pretty well.

 

20180512_161046.jpg.fd8a532741c0f5d23d9909a7bad70dba.jpg 20180512_161116.jpg.8ed78e25b684e37bed431a187f2ed04d.jpg
LED (on left) doesn't seem to be much of an improvement. What you can't see is that the standard incandescent
throws more light on the ground, probably due to the reflector and lens scattering the light.

 

I'll stop tinkering with the car for a while--it's good to go and doesn't need anything until we add A/C later this summer. I might try to get the radio working, too. This is really a great car, I couldn't be happier with it now. Melanie loves it, which is really what matters.

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)

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I love the higher than most rear wheel well opening. It shows off those fine wires. I wanted to get wires for this all original, 1955 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer, but I just didn't have it long enough....

Picture 998.jpg

Edited by keiser31 (see edit history)
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