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Thanks, the entire running gear has been rebuilt, I am changing everything over to 12V, and installing vintage heat and air. The car steers excellent even at low speeds, and the straight 8 sounds pretty cool too. Thanks again for the info, I was hoping to keep it close to original but still have some creature comforts.... any clue to gas mileage ???

Fatman

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If it's in top shape it will run down the road fine and keep up with traffic up to 70 MPH no problem.

Others with similar models will no doubt chime in.

It will run beautifully on the cheapest regular. Gas mileage 15-18 MPG, don't worry about it.Your car came with hardened valve seats and heavy duty valves from the factory. It was made to run on unleaded low octane gas. A little Marvel Mystery Oil or upper cylinder lube in the gas won't hurt but is not absolutely necessary. No octane boost or other substance required.

I can't say what shape yours is in after 62 years of wear and tear. Many are still giving good service and are not too hard to repair and overhaul.

Do a search for "Fluid Drive" in the Chrysler and Dodge and possibly DeSoto forums. There were some long informative threads a year or 2 ago.

The fluid drive requires a different driving technique, not quite like a manual trans and not quite like an automatic but a mixture of both. It is easy to learn but not to figure out for yourself.

Also the fluid drive requires some simple maintenance that is also covered.

You should also buy a factory service manual. All cars of that era required more upkeep than today's cars. But the upkeep was easy and cheap compared to working on today's cars.

Oil changes, grease jobs, tuneups etc were a regular thing. If you are handy you can learn to do it yourself or hunt up a garage where they understand the old cars.

With some knowledge skill and care you should be able to drive that car to your hearts content.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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To know what cars like yours are capable of read this article. It covers the experience of the original owner of a 51 DeSoto Suburban. This is a similar car to yours but 3 years newer, with the smaller flathead 6 cylinder engine, and the same transmission. In spite of the smaller engine it is a larger heavier car.

http://www.allpar.com/cars/desoto/suburban-1951.html

Whatever that car did, yours should do in a breeze. Provided it is kept up in good shape.

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The great strength of the old long stroke flathead engines is in the low and midrange power. The engine does its work so easy in traffic and on the hiway. But flash acceleration from the stop sign is not their long suit.

Now on the Fluid Drive there is a way to get around this. Drop it into low range and do a brake torque and it will burn rubber to beat hell.

For even whippier performance you can drain off half the oil from the fluid drive unit. This is the same as installing a high stall torque converter.

These tricks are NOT recommended because they are hard on the transmission, universal joints, and rear axle.

I just thought I would mention them for general interest.

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THe straight 8 Chryslers are wonderful road cars. I have a 1950 Imperial and have been on a 10 hour trip, driving nonstop, except for gas, from CT to Va and the car did great!!! Approx 18 on the highway at 65-70 and comfortable as can be.

You really do not need to change it over to 12 volt....these cars did just fine for all the years with 6 volts. If you do decide to make the change you have to change bulbs, generator, regulator, etc. If you are trying to keep it original then dont make the switch...you can get converters for radio etc if thats what you are after.

When I made the trip it was in the 90's and with the cowl vent and windows it was tolerable.

Enjoy your car it will hook you for life once you start driving it

BvR

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Thanks so much for all the info, I am really looking forward to owning and driving this car, and cannot get over how well it rides and how comfortable it really is. I am rather large person ( my screen name fits me well ) and there is plenty of room the wife and I and a couple of friends comfortably.

Thanks Again,

:) Fatman :)

Stan Marrett

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Hey Rusty, I have asked this ? before, my 47 Chrysler has a Canuck 218, low mileage, and 3 spd trans, no fluid drive, 3.73 rear end. What highway speeds and engine temps should be acceptable in the summer heat?

I want to go a longer distance drive this summer, what advice and/or items should I pay attention to on my car, before a longer drive, ie over 200 miles.Thanx Fred

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If the car is in top shape then cruising speeds of 60 should be a breeze. With that rear axle ratio speeds of up to 80 will not over rev the engine.

Do a compression test and oil pressure test. Compression should be 120PSI oil pressure 45 @ 30 mph.

Take it out on the hiway and see what seems comfortable.

I would take a look at all the rubber items under the hood, rad hoses belts etc. Do a tuneup or check points gap, timing and spark plugs if they have not been done in the last 10000 miles.

If you have kept up your maintenance it should need very little attention. If you haven't, well where do you start?

One thing you should do is change all fluids, not only motor oil but transmission rear axle brake fluid and coolant. This should be done every couple of years. Also get the factory lube chart and grease everything. If you can't get water pump grease use marine grease, but very sparingly 1 pump of the grease gun per year or less.

My big concern would be tires if they are more than 5 years old and belts and hoses likewise. They are about the only things that deteriorate through sheer age.

If the car has been off the road I would start with a few short drives around the neighborhood, keep an eye open for funny smells or noises, overheating, and check for leaks from the rad or water pump. Then if everything is OK try a 50 mile drive then a 100 miler. In other words work up to a long drive slowly, do not start out on a do or die basis. Give yourself a chance to find and fix any faults at your leisure.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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If the car is in top shape then cruising speeds of 60 should be a breeze. With that rear axle ratio speeds of up to 80 will not over rev the engine.

Do a compression test and oil pressure test. Compression should be 120PSI oil pressure 45 @ 30 mph.

Take it out on the hiway and see what seems comfortable.

I would take a look at all the rubber items under the hood, rad hoses belts etc. Do a tuneup or check points gap, timing and spark plugs if they have not been done in the last 10000 miles.

If you have kept up your maintenance it should need very little attention. If you haven't, well where do you start?

One thing you should do is change all fluids, not only motor oil but transmission rear axle brake fluid and coolant. This should be done every couple of years. Also get the factory lube chart and grease everything. If you can't get water pump grease use marine grease, but very sparingly 1 pump of the grease gun per year or less.

My big concern would be tires if they are more than 5 years old and belts and hoses likewise. They are about the only things that deteriorate through sheer age.

If the car has been off the road I would start with a few short drives around the neighborhood, keep an eye open for funny smells or noises, overheating, and check for leaks from the rad or water pump. Then if everything is OK try a 50 mile drive then a 100 miler. In other words work up to a long drive slowly, do not start out on a do or die basis. Give yourself a chance to find and fix any faults at your leisure.

Hi Rusty, thanx for the reply, and here is the exhaustive list of whats has been done, and how much driving and usage has taken place.

Engine, clutch,trans, are from a 1951 Canadian Dodge.

Oil pressure is 40 psi at 30 mph and 50 at 50 mph and over, compression on last test 100 to 110, engine is supposed to have about 50 to 60 k on it.

Engine was flushed water tube removed, and freeze plugs, rad bolied out.

All new belt, hoses,antifreeze, cap, plugs, point, rotor, wires, carb rebuilt.

Trans new oil,new e-brake, diff new oil, new clutch, flywheel machined.

Starter and Genny rebuilt, new exhaust, all new brakes, lines, shoes, wheel cyls, rebuilt MC, new gas tank and all new fuel lines.

Car re-wired, new shocks, front end, as is, seems solid, could use alignment, but steers well.

The steering box leaks as does oil pan, not sure if it is the rear seal or not.

The engine now has about 3500 miles on all the new parts.

I am not sure what else should be done, the wheel bearing have been greased, the rear axle bearings are in good shape, the u-joint should be replaced, but have been greased.

Tires are 10 year old good years, good shape, but still old and should be replaced.

So this is how things are with this car, but still get a little nervous about long distance driving with her, as parts and service may be tough on the road.......Fred PS my apologies to Fatman, sorry to have hijacked your thread, I hope any info I provide or retain from Rusty, will also help you....

post-41564-143138173356_thumb.jpg

Edited by fred (see edit history)
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Hi Bob, regarding 6 cyl engines, what do you mean by maxed out. Does this mean at 60 to 65 mph with say a 3.73 to 3.54 diff, you should cruise at 60 to 65 mph max. I do know Guys iwth ODs, that cruise all day at 70 to 75 mph with 6s, and some even with 4.10 diffs cruise at 60 to 65 mph all day with there cars.

As for my engine, which has miles, will keep her at 55 to 60 mph max for cruising.........Thanx Fred

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I think he means max safe cruising speed. When your car was new it had a top speed of between 85 and 90 MPH.

The old rule was that a comfortable and safe cruising speed was up to 75% of a car's top speed. Which would be 60 to 65.

Your 55 to 60 should be very safe and well within the car's capability.

There is a guy from Tennessee named Don Coatney who drives a 1948 Plymouth with a souped up flathead six 230 Dodge engine, 5 speed tranny out of Chev S10 pickup, and a higher rear axle ratio.

He drives it all over the country at 75 MPH. He has covered many thousands of miles with no problems.

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I think he means max safe cruising speed. When your car was new it had a top speed of between 85 and 90 MPH.

The old rule was that a comfortable and safe cruising speed was up to 75% of a car's top speed. Which would be 60 to 65.

Your 55 to 60 should be very safe and well within the car's capability.

There is a guy from Tennessee named Don Coatney who drives a 1948 Plymouth with a souped up flathead six 230 Dodge engine, 5 speed tranny out of Chev S10 pickup, and a higher rear axle ratio.

He drives it all over the country at 75 MPH. He has covered many thousands of miles with no problems.

Thanx Rusty, thats kinda what I thought he meant. Yes I know Don from Murfreesboro Tenn, sent him a dizzy from a flathead a couple of winters ago. He, like me is a regular on P15 D24, the T5 he intalled iinto his car, he loves it, makes for nice cruising on highways.....

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The 1946-8 C39 eight cyl cars have a 3.23 rear end which=60-80MPH + all day long on the freeways.

The 8's also were a very well built smooth high end engine and could take more high speed hard driving. The 6 cyl. cars did not have the same power/torque curves ect. and had to work harder and you could tell by the engine feel/noise. Each engine has it's sweet spot. If you drive each in it's safe range the engine will last as long as you own it and will not end up knocking or burning oil/valves ect! Overdrives were not available in 99.9% of 1946-52 chryslers. 1942 and back chryslers had them R7,6's ect. Plymouth in 52 came out with them too and you can drive them 80+ too. I have a 52 Plym W/ factory OD-its as good as the T 5 Don has. Anyway I drive the 6 cyl. chryslers easier than my 8 cyl chrysler cars.

Bob

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The 1946-8 C39 eight cyl cars have a 3.23 rear end which=60-80MPH + all day long on the freeways.

The 8's also were a very well built smooth high end engine and could take more high speed hard driving. The 6 cyl. cars did not have the same power/torque curves ect. and had to work harder and you could tell by the engine feel/noise. Each engine has it's sweet spot. If you drive each in it's safe range the engine will last as long as you own it and will not end up knocking or burning oil/valves ect! Overdrives were not available in 99.9% of 1946-52 chryslers. 1942 and back chryslers had them R7,6's ect. Plymouth in 52 came out with them too and you can drive them 80+ too. I have a 52 Plym W/ factory OD-its as good as the T 5 Don has. Anyway I drive the 6 cyl. chryslers easier than my 8 cyl chrysler cars.

Bob

Thanx Bob, I keep my 6 at 55 to 60 mph, if I had overdirve, I would go faster, but for now can live with 55 -50 mph, allows me to slow down and enjoy life....

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One thing I would suggest if you plan any serious road driving and that is radial tires. My 1940 Chrysler eight (Saratoga) has Coker radials and it handles very well and will cruise at 70 all day. It has Fluid Drive, but a regular 3 speed transmission with Cruise and Climb (kicks down) overdrive. My favorite radial tires are produced by Diamondback Radials as they use new modern big name radials that they vulcanize wide white rubber on.

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Thanx Bob, I keep my 6 at 55 to 60 mph, if I had overdirve, I would go faster, but for now can live with 55 -50 mph, allows me to slow down and enjoy life....

Fred, I drive my Chryslers easy-60 mph. Fast enough for me and easy on the cars too. And you are right- it does let you enjoy life and the old car experience a lot more too!

Bob

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