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De Soto Frank

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  1. I have just received '59 Villager 6-pass wagon # 2, to replace the one I sold eight years ago, and regretted doing so. Present Wagon runs and moves, but has no brakes - the master cylinder is gone. The push-rod is hanging in the firewall opening, but that's all that's left. The seller included a Bendix Treadle-Vac unit from another '59, but I really don't want to embark on a rebuild of that just now. ( I have read good and bad about the T-V, and may look for another, later unit to use... plans are to rebuild the car as a mostly stock driver / pull a vintage camper. ) Will the stock non-power brake MC bolt-onto the firewall and function as a temporary make-do, so I can move the car around w/o crashing into things ? Thanks for your help ! Frank McM.
  2. I am looking at a 1938 De Soto Touring sedan for sale locally, basically complete and solid, but interior was pulled-out due to rodent infestation. Seats, door panels, and rear side trim panels are still there, and intact enough to use as patterns... Looking for other S-5 owners to chat with before committing to this one... Thanks, De Soto Frank
  3. Does anybody know who made these heaters ? They are a dead-ringer for the "recirculating" heaters used in Chrysler Products in the late 1930's through 1948.
  4. Does anyone know if Studebaker switched to using insert bearings on the 245 Commander Six, or did they stick with poured rods to the end of this engine in the late 1950's ? Thanks, De Soto Frank
  5. "Don't go until you call and make arrangements." This is an understatement. Mr. Rapp is a very pleasant and affable gentleman once he gets to know you and feels comfortable with you. He is a retired Metro NY Policeman, and doesn't take ___ from anyone. He also has a "real-world" sense of what stuff is worth. I accompanied a friend up there a couple years ago, and it is quite the trip, to say the least. Every vehicle up there has a story behind it. I wound-up coming home with a set of of 21" Model A wheels with 5.25-21 ACME tires on them... wasn't expecting to, but he "made me an offer I couldn't walk away from"...
  6. Don't know if this is possible with Chevy Stovebolt sixes, but if there is too much endplay in the camshaft, it can "walk" fore anb aft in the block, causing a knocking sound that sounds very much like a rod knock... This is common with Model A Fords, which use a spring-loaded plunger to control cam end-play; the Chevrolet six uses shims under the cam retainer plate, behind thew cam gear... With regard to the oil-pan gauges, I wonder if using the photos as a guide, you could reverse-engineer a template then make one up out of sheetmetal or even thin plywood or laminate ? Would also think one of the VCCA guys with a set of original gauges would've created plans for a "build your own" and posted them to the site ? Good luck with your '36 - keep us posted. De Soto Frank
  7. Hi, Am trying to help a friend out with his first Packard, a '51 Patrician. 327 straight-eight, Auto-Lite electrics. Somewhere along the way, someone has bodged a different set of points into the original AutoLite distributor. We are looking for correct points, condensor, etc. Does anyone have Part numbers, preferably Standard Ignition / Blue Streak ? Thanks ! De Soto Frank
  8. If it's newer than me, or I can remember it being a new car on the road, it can never be an "antique" or "collectible" in my mind... I have always been fascinated by Brass & Nickel-era cars, and have grown to like most cars of the 1930's and '40s... My interest starts to fade after about 1955 or so. I was born in 1967; when I started driving, my first car was a tired 1962 Falcon (23 years old at the time), and I kept working at getting older and older iron for daily drivers... Have worked my way back to a '28 Ford thus far... would like to get into a Brass or Nickel car while we still have gasoline to run them with... I have never had much interest in cars of "my" lifetime... VERY few ( if any) have tickled my fancy.
  9. Ersatz, Are you presently experiencing driveability issues with your Mercer ? Looks like you've got a Carter BB-1 updraft carb, which is about as good and "modern" an updraft as you can get, so it's not like you're fighting a primitive "air-valve carb" or other pre-historic "mixer"... Regards, Frank McMullen
  10. You might get away with it... depends on how warm your Mercer engine gets... does it have a thermostat ? By the late 1930's, vehicles with exhaust heat risers had them automatically controlled by a thermostatic spring, which allowed exhaust pressure to force the flapper open as the things heated-up and the spring relaxed. I have a 1941 De Soto with a flathead six and down-draft carb with automatic choke and an automatic heat riser that presently does not function (spring is broken). In cool to cold weather, there is a period between "cold-start" and "fully warmed-up to operating temperature (180*f)" where the choke has opened as it normally would, but the non-functioning heat riser is wide-open (no heat), and the result is a tremendous flat-spot in acceleration... I tied the heat riser closed as an experiment, and the flat-spot went away... My point is, while the fuels may have improved, your Mercer engine might still be on the cold-blooded side, and need the help of the heated intake. You certainly could experiment; if you find yourself having to use the choke more / longer during warm-up, that suggests the preheater is necessary, especially if the car sees a lot of short operating cycles where the engine doesn't get hot & stay hot long enough to "burn" / boil condensation / unburnt fuel blow-by out of the crankcase... Let us know your results...
  11. You're right, they are not the same car. The car on the right appears to be an Overland, judging by the shape of the radiator and the badge on same.
  12. This is also a GM wheel; probably 1939-46. This is a three-piece rim, with a locking ring, side flange, and rim section. The later rims with the 6+ " center hole may fit older trucks, but these rims with the 5" center hole generally do not fit the later trucks, as the center hole is too small to go over the hub. For what it's worth, 1938 -33 Chevy truck wheels are generally flatter in the center disc and have more triangular vent holes, and can accomodate only 6.00 / 6.50 x 20 tires (you'll often see 32 x 6 tires on these older wheels).
  13. Not 1930's. It is probably GM; Looks to me like a 1947 - later two-piece wheel: splits in the middle of the center-channel; these are often referred to as "widow-makers".
  14. Does anybody recognize the knobs on the correct radio in my '61 Rambler American ? They were installed when I purchased the car, but I have not seen anything like them in any Rambler / AMC photos or literature, several years before & after my car... Anybody recognize them ? They fit a split inner shaft, with a notched outer-sleeve for tone control on the on-off/volume knob. Thanks ! De Soto Frank
  15. All things considered, when either engine is in good condition, they are both good, reliable engines. The Buick is an overhead-valve engine (Buick called them "Valve-in-head"), which means the intake and exhaust valves are located in the cylinder head, above the piston, and generally these engines "breathe" better, and offer better performance than their L-head (flathead, like your De Soto) contemporaries. The Pontiac is an L-head engine (flathead), which means the valves are located in the cylinder block, along side the cylinder bore. Sometimes this type of engine is referred to as a "side-valve" engine. While most flathead engines generally offer modest performance, they are usually durable powerplants. The biggest downside to the Buick straight-eight is that it uses poured connecting rod bearings, which are expensive to have re-done, should that be required. They can be converted to use insert-type bearings, but that is also expensive. The Pontiac has insert bearings, which are (usually) cheaper and easier to replace, and within the scope of most automotive machine shops. Otherwise, consider the rest of the car, its condition, and how much it appeals to you... make sure you at least like it, if not love it, because it will tax your finances and your patience...
  16. Just had to replace the combination fuel-pump / vacuum pump on my '61 Rambler. After bringing out of winter storage, I noticed fuel puddling under the engine, and sure enough it was coming out of the weep-hole in the pump body. When I was disconnecting all the plumbing from the fuel pump, I noticed a lot of crankcase oil in the vacuum line to the intake manifold... The pump looks like a fairly recent (last 30 years?) rebuild of an AC unit. The presence of the oil in the vacuum line brought back to mind a comment I 'd heard an uncle make many years ago, regarding vacuum pumps and "how they'd suck oil out of the crankcase if the vacuum diaphragm went bad, and foul the spark plugs and cause high oil consumption", etc. In the 1980's, my mom was running a nice 1962 Falcon with a vacuum-booster pump, and that car would go through a fuel pumps about once a year... always the vacuum section would fail first. Was this a common thing way back when ? I've seen single-action (fuel-only) mechanical pumps that were still working after 40 + years, but rarely had a combination-pump last that long... And just to clarify, my experiences are going back before the presence of ethanated fuels was a factor... Any graybeards have recollection about the lifespan of combination fuel/vacuum pumps from the good old days ? Regards, De Soto Frank
  17. It's probably the radial tires. Been through this on a number of older cars that got "upgraded" to radial tires. With the radials, the wheel covers tend to "walk", flexing the stems. Also, stock pre-'49 Dodge has a center-cap that mounts to the clips between the lugs Dodge began offering full wheel-covers in '49.
  18. Lots of blind spots, trying to drive that torpedo....
  19. My experience with 1940's & '50s GM (though not Buick specifically), the serrated drum that the wiper-arm fits-over is permanently attached to the pivot shaft... usually the drum has a flattened0oval hole in the center,the shaft goes through, and is peened / swedged over. The shaft usually appears as a rusty-dot at the center of the drum face. Usually the wiper pivot / bezel are an assembly, with the crank and drum peened on opposite ends of the shaft. In the case of 1950's Chevys I' ve worked-on, there's a thin chromed nut that screws-over a threaded-nipple coming through the cowl from the inside. There is usually chrome trim that goes under the nut (which is large enough to go over the serrated drum when unscrewed). Once the outer hardware is removed, the nipple / drum and drive pull-through the underside of the cowl, into the cabin or the cowl-plenum (if so equipped). You might want to tie some baling wire around that drum before slipping it into the cowl, in case access from the under side is limited - you could pull things back into place from the top-side once you're done working on the windshield. If your arrangement is set-up differently, look around the serrated sides of the drum for a set-screw or cross-pin.
  20. Hmmm... Well, the backing plate (dimensions aside) looks like those used by Willys on the Utililty Wagon and Truck, but both vehicles had larger drums. The wheel cylinders and eccentric adjusters from the Utility series might fit these backing plates. But, the Willys Aero was also a Jet-sized car offered from 1952-1955, and later down in South America.
  21. Chrysler division hedged their bets on the Airflow - they continued to offer a conventionally-styled Chrysler, calling it the Airstream. Unlike De Soto, who had to suffer the 1934 season as an Airflow only...
  22. I don't think it would be worth the trouble and it would be a shame to modify such a rare car. If you carefully rebuild the braking system, the "single-pot" master cylinder should be fine. That said, make sure the hand-brake is in good working order and properly adjusted, just in case. I have been driving "vehicles older than 25 years" since getting my license in 1984, and most of those vehicles had single-reservoir master cylinders. I never had a complete / catastrophic system failure on a vehicle whose brake I had gone through and re-built. The few brake failures I did experience were with vehicles whose brake plumbing had not been touched since the vehicle left the factory. ( Four incidences in all, three in the driveway, only on out on the road. ) Traditional (non-silicone) brake fluids absorb moisture from the atmosphere, and the fluid becomes "water-logged", causing the lines and the cylinders to corrode from the inside-out. This is why it's critical to inspect / replace all the steel and rubber brake lines. That's my 2-cents worth...
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