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Dusk2Dawn

1949 Wayfarer questions - newby

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Hi everyone, I just bought my first old car this weekend and so far so good, but I'm trying to learn as much as possible before I have problems. I picked up a 1949 Dodge Wayfarer Business Coupe with the fluid drive trans and flathead 6. I Don't know much about these old Dodge's but I'm dying to learn. Looking forward to everyone's input!

From reading some posts I noticed that everyone is recommending 30W or 20/50 in the motor and 10wtND for the fluid drive trans. Any disagreements there?

Does anyone know where I can get a repair manual for the car?

Wiring Diagrams?

Thanks everyone!

Steve

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Not to steer you away from this site but you might also try this site www.P15-D24.com - Powered by vBulletin you will find many more people there with similar cars that can probabaly answer more specifically and with detail your questions than you might find here.

As far as repar manauls ect all you have to do is google 1949 Dodge repair manual and you wil have many options to choose from. Hope this helps

Edited by 1930 (see edit history)

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Thanks for the advice 1930. I've done some looking around in the forum that you recommended and so far so good. I really appreciate it!

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About the time your car was produced, the oil companies came out with 10W30 detergent oil. Chances are it has never used anything else.

Do not use good ol' straight 30 oil. That is bullshit from guys who do not know what they were talking about. The factory did not recommend it and you should not use it.

Today's oil is lacking certain high pressure additives necessary for high performance OHV pushrod engines. This does not confront your car, as it has a low performance flathead engine.

If the oil pressure is on the low side or if you want to be extra safe Rotella 15W40 is a good choice.

For the Fluid Drive unit and the semi auto transmission, you need TDH Tractor fluid, ISO32 grade. You can pick it up at Walmart, farm supply stores or auto parts stores. A gallon for $10 bucks a lifetime supply. TDH stands for transmission, differential and hydraulic. It is good for both transmission and fluid drive unit.

There are some long threads from around 2008 laying out the correct operating and maintainance for your transmission and Fluid Drive unit. It is a very rugged and reliable transmission and not hard to drive, however it has some unusual characteristics. Do a search on the Chrysler and Dodge boards for Fluid Drive.

Repair manuals, an excellent investment. They turn up on Ebay and at automotive flea markets. The best are the factory manuals used by dealers back in the day. Every dealer had one and there are still quite a few around. Usual price, $35 to $50. There are also smaller reproduction manuals around $20 that are not as complete.

Other things to be aware of, your car has wheel bolts instead of nuts and LEFT HAND THREADS on the left side, in other words the nuts turn in the "wrong" direction. This has caused a lot of headaches for those not in the know.

The electrical system is 6 volt POSITIVE ground, the battery goes in "backwards".

Generally they are a well made, reliable car built for years of hard wear. But they do require more frequent maintenance than new cars, as oil changes, grease jobs, and tuneups. Fortunately they are very simple and the upkeep is not very difficult or expensive.

You are very smart to get a manual and learn to work on the car yourself.

Would suggest you start by going thru the car and doing a thorough cleaning inside and out. Do not throw away any funny looking bits of metal or rubber, they will turn out to be important parts that it will take you 2 years to replace if you throw them out. You can throw away the dried out ballpoint pens and old cigarette packs lol.

Sometimes you find new parts in the trunk, an important clue to what may be wrong with the car.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)

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There is a certain technique required to drive a Fluid Drive correctly. If you try to drive it like a standard it won't work. Then again, it doesn't drive like an automatic either. It is a unique transmission all its own.

I have a technique for driving a fluid drive that works very well and makes it practically the same as driving a modern automatic.

Right off the bat you need to know that the gearshift is not like a standard. It only has 3 positions. Reverse is toward you and up, low range is straight up, high range is straight down.

You should do most of your driving in high range. Low range is for starting on steep hills, pulling thru deep snow, sand or mud or for starting off towing a trailer, etc.

Start the engine with the transmission in neutral, the hand brake applied and your foot off the clutch pedal.

Let the engine warm up until it will idle at its slowest speed.

Depress the clutch pedal shift into gear and release the clutch, all with the handbrake still on.

Release the handbrake and drive away like any automatic. When you get up to 15 MPH lift off the gas and wait for the "click-clunk" and step on it again.

If you elect to use low range it is the same except you can shift into hi gear (of low range) at 6 MPH. If you then wish to go from low range to high range step on the clutch pedal and move the shift lever down into high range.

This is very easy, it is based on the owner's manual recommended technique.

You have to drive it more like an automatic, if you drive it like a standard you will hate it. It is not a standard, it is a primitive automatic with a few quirks of its own but with a little understanding your fluid drive or fluid torque drive will work great for you.

Give this a try, if it doesn't work come back and ask again. Chances are there is nothing wrong with your transmission but if there is, it is usually easy to fix. The transmission itself is very rugged and trouble free. Most problems are to do with the wiring and controls, which are external, easy to get at and easy to fix.

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Well said Rusty! Having owned a few of those myself, your directions are spot on.

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Thanks for all of the great detailed information Rusty! Very helpful! I can tell that I'll be coming here for a lot of advice as I put some miles on the car and see what I'm working with.

I ordered a manual on CD from 1A Auto, hopefully this will be a detailed one. I have also been reading some of the Master Technician Service Conference materials posted on the Imperial Club website (Master Technician Service Conference - Chrysler's Training for Mechanics

Thanks again for everyone's help!

Steve

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Incidentally some Dodges came with a standard 3 speed trans with Fluid Drive. If yours is one of those, you can tell at once because it will have a standard H gearshift with 4 positions (3 speed + reverse).

In that case you will want to start in 2nd gear and shift to 3d once you get rolling. You can start in low, but it is usually not necessary. You can also start off in high if you don't mind a very sluggish takeoff.

The Imperial site is excellent with good info on the Fluid Drive. The same trans and Fluid Drive unit were used in all Chrysler Corporation cars including Dodge.

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Yes Rusty, mine does have the standard 3 with the Fluid Drive. It is the H formation. Thanks for the advice! This is my first 3 speed vehicle so I really appreciate the help!

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All that info about the semi-automatic fluid drive is not for your car, but for a 1949 Dodge Coronet, Chrysler, or DeSoto. As the low priced Dodge, your car has the fluid drive coupling, but not the Fluid Drive transmission as you already found out.

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does anyone know how to wire a 1949 dodge wayfarer coupe horn relay mine is not working and had to use the universal button direct i need to know which one is the connection for the battery horn ground etc thanks

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