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Everything posted by brian

  1. Einar: Thanks for your input. I'm not an American; I'm Canadian and many of us keep our cars a long time also. i know rust used to be a problem with Japanese cars, but that's pretty much a thing of the past. In fact early Japanese cars were much like Chrysler products of the era you mention, really good mechanically, but poor bodies. I've been in the auto business for 61 years, and I've basically seen them all. Valiants were very good cars, both bodily and mechanically, but Darts were just plain rust buckets and far less reliable than Valiants. Chrysler had built a very good reputation for "compact" cars as Valiant-size vehicles were known, and then they promptly destroyed it with the Dart - although it certainly had a good power train. As I said earlier, you have to be very selective when assessing Chrysler products from the late fifties through the early nineties - some are good, but a lot are junk. Having said all that, I still maintain that over the years Chrysler has consistently had the best-engineered power trains of all domestic vehicles. Just please don't ask me to comment on the sheet metal - we took delivery of one new fity-nine Dodge and from the driver's seat you could see the road between the right rear door and the sill. No one in the dealership seemed overly surprised, and that probably says it all.
  2. Well Einar it's nice to hear that you support North American vehicles, but you are certainly not singing from the same page as a very great number of North Americans. Collectively, as has been noted by others adding to this thread domestic manufacturers (all 2.5 of them) are steadily losing market share, first to the Japanese and now to the Koreans as well. Why? simply put, better quality vehicles that don't nickel and dime you to death on a regular basis. I have owned more than a 100 vehicles sinc I got my first license at 14, Initially they were all domestic products (there weren't many imports available, although I did own a Lancia Aprilia). Even when I worked for the General I owned Chrysler products and that's what lead to my parting of the ways with it. Chrysler products, up to the late fifties were solid, honest, well built and reliable cars in sharp contrast to the horse and buggy-derived Fords and most, but not all, of the General's products. I was proud of those vehicles I owned and still am of those I have now. But I wouldn't give house room - with a few exceptions - to a Chrysler product from 57 through the early 90's. I think their present products are better designed than the other domestics, but their quality is not one damned bit better. As for you claim that Japanese vehicles are 'junk' this is not borne out by my personal experience over many thousands of km here and in Africa and Asia, or by millions of other North Americans. Maybe not exciting, but I for one refuse to choose excitement over value for money and reliability. If I did, I'd probably buy a BMW - the most overrated vehicle on the planet. Chrysler deserves to be saved, simply because over the years it invented, or pioneered, so many of the automobile's basis features. However, its salvation does not lie with either of our other domestics, and as we have found out, purchase by a European firm with its own quality issues is not the answer.
  3. My son is the service manager for a domestic vehicle dealer (not Chrysler) with 72 mechanics on his staff. He tells me they'd all starve if not for warranty work. Once it's out of warranty virtually no one takes a vehicle to a dealership - at least not in this area. I could pass on dozens of horror stories concerning lack of quality control in terms of the domestic manufacturer I'm referring to, but even more frightening is the lack of research and development that is evident when problems in the field arise. For instance, a brand new, top of the line vehicle, taken home proudly by its new owner and parked in his garage. Next morning car (one with no key needed, just a fob in proximity to the car) won't turn over. Dealer service personnel go the the house, but can't make it run either, so they call a tow truck and have it pulled from the garage (a real problem in itself). Once on the driveway a tech tries to start it and it fires right away. After must research it turned out to be the guy's garage door openers - it's assumed their frequency upset the computer. When the factory techs were advised, they were shocked, having assumed they had dealt with all major brands of door openers, but they forgot one prominent brand. Needless to say, the once proud owner demanded, and got, his money back and promptly bought a Lexus. This is just the latest illustration my son has seen of the factory expecting final development to be done as a result of buyer complaints. Many, many years ago, before I learned better, I worked for GM and I clearly remember a charging problem we had with Cadillacs. The factory response? and I kid you not, increase the advertising budget. No thanks. I think GM had, and still has, a death wish.
  4. If DC sells Chrysler to GM it will be the kiss of death for Chrysler. GM is already headed for the dumper, and they don't seem able to turn it around. If Chrysler is really for sale, then the best bet is purchase by a Japanese company. At least some decent quality control would result, unlike the situation with DC. Daimler Benz (now DC) hasn't been able to meet or beat Japanese quality, no matter how much they charge for their Mercedes models. It is saddening, but I never thought DB was the proper partner for Chrysler from day one.
  5. Engine colour is silver for all Dodge and Fargo L-head sixes manufactured in Canada. I assume you know you also have the big block engine as standard equipment.
  6. Terry: You can also find non-metallic head gaskets with steel reinforcements around the bores and water passages that were not available in the thirties. These will minimise electrolytic problems. As to the different head studs I think "Aussie" is correct. However, even with the correct studs I would still coat them in 'never seize' or a similar compound just to add some insurance.
  7. Tom: Your windshield is flat glass, so if you go to any good auto glass shop they can cut what you need. Generally, full-service shops keep sheets of flat glass in stock for various types of construction machinery such as Bobcats, backhoes, etc.
  8. If your 38 uses a 6 volt system it is likely a U.S. or Canadian built domestic model rather than an export model that had Lucas electrics installed in the U.K. (12 volt). Therefore, what you likely need is a complete vacuum wiper system sourced from the U.S. or Canada. Otherwise, if you can look at a later Lucas system used in M.G., for example, you can likely use the gear box, cable drive system and pivots by adapting a 6 volt drive to the gearbox. The only problem is you will have parallel-acting wipers instead of the original "clap hands" variety.
  9. Use chassis lube. The same grease used to grease suspension fittings. Cup grease was very high viscosity, temperature resistant grease used in the earlier "cup" fittings often found on water pumps. There was a screw cap on top of the cup; it was removed, it and the cup filled with grease and the cup replaced. Then, as grease was required the cup was screwed down a turn or two and greas was forced into the bearing.
  10. Yes, you can renew the piston rings without changing the pistons as long as the following conditions are met: - Cylinder ridge is removed before pistons are removed. If this is not done, removal of the pistons may break ring lands; - Pistons are undamaged (no broken lands, no collapsed skirts); - Ring grooves are either within specs, or can be re-grooved and spacers added; - Wrist pins are either within specs or can be replaced to bring up to spec; - Cylinder walls are undamaged (no grooves); - Cylinder taper is within specs; - After deglazing, piston clearance to cyl. is within specs. If all these conditions are ok, or can be remedied and piston clearance is ok, then you should have a successful ring job. Note: It is not a good idea to re-ring without doing the valves (unless they are very good) and checking rod and main bearings for clearance and condition. If the engine is new enough to have shell (insert) bearings and they are "iffy" they should be replaced, especially on Chryco L-head engines. In an engine with good compression excessive con rod bearing clearance can lead to eventual crankshaft failure.
  11. 1930: Well, you got part of it right; I am very old. Have been active in the business since 1949. As to 'backyard mechanic' I spent a long time as a journeyman mechanic; a long time teaching apprentices, and a long time as a business owner. By the way, how do you think the factories used to balance drive shafts? Take a look sometime; it's not unusual to see weight added at some point on the shaft. Although they did it in the factory. I bet you also didn't know that they used to balance crankshafts by suspending the shaft from a fitting screwed into the pulley retainer bolt hole, spinning the shaft up to a specified speed and if it swung wide enough to break a light beam a squirt of paint was shot onto the offending counterweight. The operator then took down the shaft and either drilled into the weight or ground some of it and tried again until its oscillations were within limits. Strictly a trial and error procedure. That goes part way to explaining why engines had pretty low top rpms prior to the late fifties, and why engine balancing was a big deal for the hot rodders of the day.
  12. Bob: I was going to tell you how to power time your engine, but Rusty beat me to it. I have never left any engine with a distributor with the factory timing as indicated by a timing light and the marks on the harmonic balancer. Factory marks are just the beginning point. Actual optimum timing can vary from engine to engine - let's say 230 Dodge - simply because of original manufacturing tolerances and subsequent wear. In addition, atmospheric pressure and climatic conditions can affect it. An egine power timed at sea level will be different from one timed at 1000 metres (3000 ft.) Also, on occasion I have found factory timing marks to be inaccurate.
  13. Shawn: As StevieG says, go to an industrial supply company. There are many instances of flexible band brakes used in industry, and the lining materials are far superior to those originally used on your car.
  14. You should look for a shop that has a lathe for turning truck drums. It should have enough swing to accommodate your wheels. As Jan says, have the mechanic take out the absolute minimum amount of metal - just enough to make sure the drum is round and without runout. If the drum has score marks, do not try to eliminate them unless they make up a large part of the drum surface. I know someone who tried to make the drum surface perfect, and did not pay enough attention to the remaining thickness of the drum. After making a few stops with the freshly turned drum it separated from the web.
  15. It is possible to balance the drive shaft in place as long as it is not bent, the u-joints are in good shape, and there is no runout at either end of the shaft. I assume you can feel drive shaft vibration when the car is in motion, otherwise, I assume you would not want to bother checking the balance. Procedure: a) Choose a worm drive hose clamp large enough to clamp around the shaft at the approximate centre point between the u-joints; Tighten the clamp on the shaft with the screw at any point on its circumference; c) Scribe a mark on the clamp close to the screw and extend the line to the shaft. Make sure you can see the marks clearly; d) Drive the vehicle and slowly increase speed. If the vibration is worse, move the clamp 180 degrees on the shaft and try again. If vibration is less, you will need to move the screw a few degrees around the shaft in either direction and try again. Each time you move the clamp, transfer the witness mark from the clamp to the shaft, and be sure to remember in which direction you moved it. By trial and error, you should be able to eliminate the vibration. If you can lessen the vibration, but cannot eliminate it, then the screw in the clamp is either too light or too heavy, and you will need to add or subtract weight at that point. When you have established the point, you can remove the clamp and have an equal weight tack welded in its place to provide a permanent solution.
  16. Bob: You don't need any additive for the fuel. The Stellite valve seats are better than the induction hardened seats (cast iron heads only) that have been used since lead was removed from the gasoline. Quality of the OEM valves (or any name brand replacement) is high, so they won't give trouble. You should never have a detonation problem with 87 octane fuel available today, especially if you "power time" your engine out on the road. brian
  17. I think the hub cap is 39 DeSoto, and that seems to fit with the part of the car we can see. Brian
  18. brian


    Finn: In my experience Ash is most often found in the bodies of the old cars. However, you can't go wrong in using either Oak or Hickory. In this area, Ash would be the cheapest, so if that happens to be the case in your area, then I would go with the Ash. Just make sure the Ash is North American, and not the semi-tropical variety. It is an actual Ash, but the grain is more prominent, and it is not as strong as the local wood. Brian
  19. Steve: About 55 years ago I earned my living rebuilding shock absorbers. At that time Delco supplied a "shock oil". I have no idea if something similar might be available today. Basically, shock oil is hydraulic oil that must not foam when forced through the small orifices. If you can't find anything else, I would be willing to try Dexron II ATF. It's foam resistant, lubricates, and is about the same viscosity as shock oil (if my memory is still any good). If the viscosity is wrong about the worst that could happen is that you will get either better or worse "shock absorption" that you would with the proper oil. ATF certainly won't hurt the shocks or their seals. Brian
  20. Reg: If you are not a real purist, there is a very good solution to the problem of relatively fragile fabric and the potential leakage problem of sealing the panel in the roof. The solution involves screwing/gluing the Masonite you already have to the roof bows and then having a product made for pickup truck bedliners sprayed over it. The bedliner material adheres strongly both to the Masonite and the steel surround, and the ones I have heard of are certainly durable. I am familiar with a product called Rhino liner that originates from South Africa. I saw an Essex with the replacement roof and it looked great. I talked to the owner of the company that did it. He is from South Africa, and says he did very many vintage car roofs there with the material. Rhino liner might not be available in your area, but I am sure any reputable material will do the job. If you really want to be fancy you can probably get the material tinted to match the car colour. I have a 29 Plymouth U and a Dodge Victory Six and I plan on using the Rhino liner on both of them. I helped a friend install the fabric roof on a 29 Paige, and I don't want any part of it.
  21. Thanks for the advice concerning the Plymouth Owners Club. I asked you the upholstery question because the 'basket case' I have still has a great deal of the upholstery left and it constitutes what seems to have been very good quality leather (black) on the seats with a type of cloth-backed material (also black) resembling leather on the door panels. The seat coverings are definitely in the correct style for the period, and I cannot understand why anyone would re-upholster a Plymouth with leather, so my assumption is it is original. No one I have contacted to date has been able to shed any light on this, and the only reasonable supposition I have heard is that it might be an export model that was never exported. I'll try the Plymouth club and see if I get any answers.
  22. Hook up your timing light with the red lead to negative terminal and black to ground. There is a good chance it will light on 6 volts. If it does not do so, use an idependent 12V battery as a power source and connect the plug lead as normal. In terms of the dwell meter, just observe the polarity of the unit - it probably does not care whether it has negative or positive ground.
  23. Where is your 36 located? I have a D2 touring sedan in virtually new condition, and I would like another one.
  24. KCL - thanks for the information and the offer of help. My Plymouth is a Canadian production Model U - I know it's Canadian because what's left of the wood has old-style Robertson screws in it. I can do the wood myself as I have a well-equipped wood shop, but there is so little original wood left, that I was looking for an easy way out, at least in terms of the completely missing pieces. The Dodge is not an immediate concern as it is in line behind the Plymouth. I see you restored a Model U. Do you happen to remember what the upholstery material was? You can contact me at brian@thermacoustic.com
  25. Can anyone tell me if complete wood kits for 29 Dodge and Plymouth (I have one of each, both basket cases) are still available, and if so, where? Thanks for the help.
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