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Cross Country in '41 Connie?


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I'm inheriting my father's '41 Lincoln Continental. Amateur resto over last 20 yrs from two basket cases. Runs ok, and most things needed were replaced or 'repaired'. However, NC to CO would have been an epic journey in 1941. I know lots can and will go wrong, but are there any items I should especially prepare her for prior to the trip next spring? Which of my tools should I bring? Is this too much adventure for a 60 yr old amateur wrench? My background is British sports cars and various marque motorcycles.

Be honest. I'm not beneath hiring a transporter. It is the Sensible thing. Just seems undignified somehow.

Cheers.

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If it was me I would start by going over the car. Change oil, trans lube, rear axle, steering box, grease chassis, everything that takes grease or oil. Inspect all rubber under the hood and elsewhere like fan belts, rad hoses, fuel lines, brake lines etc. Replace any that were softened or mummified or cracked or even looked old. Replace brake fluid, inspect brakes. Do a complete tuneup. Check tires.

Now start driving it. Take it for a leisurely drive about 10 miles away. Stop for coffee. Check for dragging brakes, look under hood, check for leaks, make sure everything is ok. Drive home.

Next time go farther. Work your way up to where you can drive 100 miles at a time with no fear. Try some hilly roads.

If you can go 100 miles with no oil burning, heating up or other signs of stress you should be good to go. Take along some tools, spare parts, oil, water etc also drinking water, canned food, blankets, first aid kit but you shouldn't need them.

But in case of an emergency have a cell phone and a credit card.

By the way by 1941 a trip like that in a new car would have been routine. If you had a breakdown it would have been unusual. If you are used to British sports cars and motorcycles, this trip should be a breeze.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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If it was me I would start by going over the car. Change oil, trans lube, rear axle, steering box, grease chassis, everything that takes grease or oil. Inspect all rubber under the hood and elsewhere like fan belts, rad hoses, fuel lines, brake lines etc. Replace any that were softened or mummified or cracked or even looked old. Replace brake fluid, inspect brakes. Do a complete tuneup. Check tires.

Now start driving it. Take it for a leisurely drive about 10 miles away. Stop for coffee. Check for dragging brakes, look under hood, check for leaks, make sure everything is ok. Drive home.

Next time go farther. Work your way up to where you can drive 100 miles at a time with no fear. Try some hilly roads.

If you can go 100 miles with no oil burning, heating up or other signs of stress you should be good to go. Take along some tools, spare parts, oil, water etc also drinking water, canned food, blankets, first aid kit but you shouldn't need them.

But in case of an emergency have a cell phone and a credit card.

By the way by 1941 a trip like that in a new car would have been routine. If you had a breakdown it would have been unusual. If you are used to British sports cars and motorcycles, this trip should be a breeze.

I agree with what Rusty wrote.

If the car has not been driven a lot since the restoration was completed there might be some assembly mistakes that have not yet shown themselves. Doing the short drives leading to longer drives with checks between will work out those bugs.

I find that my own worries about driving my '33 long distances grow if I haven't been driving it much. So during the "off season" when I'm doing other things that anxiety grows and I start imagining all sorts of things that could go wrong on the car when I next drive it. Most of those anxieties go away when I do the spring maintenance and see the actual condition of the car. The rest disappear once I've got a few miles on it. Basically if you drive it enough you come to know how it sounds and feels, how easy it is to start under different conditions and what types of things need more mechanical attention than others. Once you get so that a tour or weekend trip to some place 100 miles or so from home is no big deal it should be good for the distance.

Edited by ply33 (see edit history)
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I may have misread the original post. "restored over the last 20 years" registered as "restored over 20 years ago". If the work was completed in the last couple of years it may not be necessary to refresh all lubricants (although it can't hurt) and replace hoses, belts and brake fluid.

I also meant to include an auto club membership. Cell phone, auto club and credit cards. They will see you through.

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Realistically if the engine, trans, tires etc are in good condition about the only problems that would stop you would be the fuel pump diaphragm, coil or condenser and usually these are pretty reliable.

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First, post your question on the Lincoln and Zephyr forum on this site. If it were me, I would bring an extra distributor and coil assembly. A little pricey spare part to have but if the dual points or coils malfunction ( and they do often on these cars) it is likely you will not find anybody that will know how to set-up the points right on a distributor machine. In fact, they may not even have a distributor machine. I just sold my '41 and the guys on the forum were a great help.

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I may have misread the original post. "restored over the last 20 years" registered as "restored over 20 years ago". If the work was completed in the last couple of years it may not be necessary to refresh all lubricants (although it can't hurt) and replace hoses, belts and brake fluid.

I also meant to include an auto club membership. Cell phone, auto club and credit cards. They will see you through.

The resto lasted 20 yrs. so, fluids are a given, rubber, too. Starting it has been an issue. The 6 volt Optima struggles to turn over very fast. Starter, maybe tired? On full charge it just seems sluggish.

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First, post your question on the Lincoln and Zephyr forum on this site. If it were me, I would bring an extra distributor and coil assembly. A little pricey spare part to have but if the dual points or coils malfunction ( and they do often on these cars) it is likely you will not find anybody that will know how to set-up the points right on a distributor machine. In fact, they may not even have a distributor machine. I just sold my '41 and the guys on the forum were a great help.

Good advice. This is kind of what I was looking for since I'm not famine with bits that might fail and are hard to find on the road

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The resto lasted 20 yrs. so, fluids are a given, rubber, too. Starting it has been an issue. The 6 volt Optima struggles to turn over very fast. Starter, maybe tired? On full charge it just seems sluggish.

Does it have the large gauge 6 volt battery cables?

The hot cable should be about as large as your thumb.

I just drove my'50 Buick from Springfield, MO to Concord, NC and back. GO FOR IT.

Ben

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Does it have the large gauge 6 volt battery cables?

The hot cable should be about as large as your thumb.

I just drove my'50 Buick from Springfield, MO to Concord, NC and back. GO FOR IT.

Ben

They are probly 8 or 10 ga

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They are probly 8 or 10 ga

That would be a cause for slow cranking. Battery cables for 6v systems need to have at least twice the cross section as the 12v cables you find at your local auto supply.

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That would be a cause for slow cranking. Battery cables for 6v systems need to have at least twice the cross section as the 12v cables you find at your local auto supply.

Wow. That's too easy. I owe you a beer or three.

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Starter cables should be 1 gauge. About as big as your thumb with copper inside as big as your little finger. Make sure they are fastened securely and clean off any paint so they are making good metal to metal contact. A six volt starter will turn slower than a 12 volt but should turn with authority not hesitant. If in good shape the car should start as quick as a 12 volt car. 6 volt is more critical of having good wires and good connections.

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Starter cables should be 1 gauge. About as big as your thumb with copper inside as big as your little finger. Make sure they are fastened securely and clean off any paint so they are making good metal to metal contact. A six volt starter will turn slower than a 12 volt but should turn with authority not hesitant. If in good shape the car should start as quick as a 12 volt car. 6 volt is more critical of having good wires and good connections.

The car is in NC and I'm back in CO, for now, but I saw it day before yesterday as I was charging the battery. I bet the hot wire to the negative terminal is as big as my little finger. Ground strap to positive is one of those flat woven arrangements.

I hope this fixes the slow cranking. That would eliminate one big mystery for me and I can get on to figuring out why the fuel would have been spraying out of the carb.

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  • 4 months later...

Guys and Gals,

I got my Dad's car to start reliably while visiting over Thanksgiving. Much to do with the help I received from this forum. Many thanks. My next challenge is going to be to drive it to Ft Collins CO from Pinehurst, NC this spring/summer. Before I do that I plan to go over the machine thoroughly by doing major fluids R&R, adjustments and general safety measures as recommended above. However, I think some of the best advice given was to map my route via V12-LZ owners. At least three reasons for this:

1) seeing a '41 Lincoln on a cross-country trip as a LZ owner would be a pretty cool thing for me to see and I bet the same is true for most others,

2) I, basically, don't know what I'm doing when it comes to this car (my experience being on vehicles at least 30 years younger) so road-trip advice would be worth more than gold, and

3) I doubt it, but might need a jump or a push somewhere along the way.

So, what is the best way to figure out where all you guys/gals live? I would also like to make sure folks along the route would welcome a visit. I don't want to be presumptuous.

I also plan to document this journey on this forum with text and pics as I go. It should make a pretty good read.

Thanks, in advance.

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