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Ava, my grandfather's 1938 Dodge D8 Sedan


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120, I did warn you ;-)

When you have everything apart this is the time to renew passenger side headlamp wiring and possibly replace the fuel line that crosses from driver to passenger side. Once reassembled you can't get to it.

I would also take a close look at the frame in this area. Could be rot in that area from water/dirt accumulating around the front fender bracing.

Tom

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120, I did warn you ;-)

When you have everything apart this is the time to renew passenger side headlamp wiring and possibly replace the fuel line that crosses from driver to passenger side. Once reassembled you can't get to it.

I would also take a close look at the frame in this area. Could be rot in that area from water/dirt accumulating around the front fender bracing.

Tom

Just looking at what remains of the headlamp wiring, I am guessing now is the time to replace everything. At least once I get it apart.

Speaking of headlamps, does anyone sell replacement parts for the non-sealed units, or should I just convert to sealed reproduction units. I like the look of the non-sealed units, frankly, but would go repro if I had to.

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Lenses seem to be pretty easy to find yet but the "guts" are going to be a bit harder. You will probably need to find a "donor car" or "parts car" that is being parted put. The reflectors, hardware parts like springs and screws will be needed too. And while finding stuff, be sure to grab the sockets and connector parts of the wiring. They are a bit "specific" in styling. Can't help with photos of any of this for your year. I do have shots of '36 stuff. So if you find out any of it is the same, I can post the '36 stuff.

"DK" - Do you have anything on that stuff?

Here are some shots of my '36's headlamp setup. Pretty similar actually. Some of these photos may help you out. This headlamp uses the same light bulbs as in your lamps.

BTW: These reflectors were surfaced by "Uvira" almost 20 years ago! Haven't touched them since re-install.

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Edited by 1936 D2
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Lenses seem to be pretty easy to find yet but the "guts" are going to be a bit harder. You will probably need to find a "donor car" or "parts car" that is being parted put. The reflectors, hardware parts like springs and screws will be needed too. And while finding stuff, be sure to grab the sockets and connector parts of the wiring. They are a bit "specific" in styling. Can't help with photos of any of this for your year. I do have shots of '36 stuff. So if you find out any of it is the same, I can post the '36 stuff.

"DK" - Do you have anything on that stuff?

I wasn't very clear; my headlights are in perfect shape and complete, minus the lenses and the actual bulbs. So what I need are new lenses and bulbs. I imagine I can clean up the reflectors, install new wiring, lenses and bulbs and go with it. So, does anyone know of a source of lenses and bulbs?

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If the reflectors have all their silvering yet, you can polish them up. I use a chemical called "Tarn-X". It converts the tarnish back to the metal it started as or removes the parts that are too oxidized. If this does not get them shiny then a typical silver polish can be used judiciously. There is not much silver on these brass reflectors.

Another idea is to send them out to a company called "Uvira" where they are stripped, the brass polished, a thin coating of aluminum is flashed on them. Then the whole surface is vacuum coated with a liquefied silica product which seals and protects the "silvered" part. That way they will never need to be polished, only dusted off every few years. The surface is a glass.

Do you have info in your "Owner's Manual" or "Parts Manual" listing the bulb numbers? Does anyone out there know the correct brand and numbers on the lenses? Or possibly good measurements of them for "120mm"?

Then it is just a matter of cleaning all the connectors well, switch contacts at the dash, and making sure the grounding is clean all the way to the bulb socket. They will work well if all this is done!

Here is a site with a lot more researched info on this subject: http://www.ply33.com/Repair/lights

Edited by 1936 D2 (see edit history)
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If the reflectors have all their silvering yet, you can polish them up. I use a chemical called "Tarn-X". It converts the tarnish back to the metal it started as or removes the parts that are too oxidized. If this does not get them shiny then a typical silver polish can be used judiciously. There is not much silver on these brass reflectors.

Another idea is to send them out to a company called "Uvira" where they are stripped, the brass polished, a thin coating of aluminum is flashed on them. Then the whole surface is vacuum coated with a liquefied silica product which seals and protects the "silvered" part. That way they will never need to be polished, only dusted off every few years. The surface is a glass.

Do you have info in your "Owner's Manual" or "Parts Manual" listing the bulb numbers? Does anyone out there know the correct brand and numbers on the lenses? Or possibly good measurements of them for "120mm"?

Then it is just a matter of cleaning all the connectors well, switch contacts at the dash, and making sure the grounding is clean all the way to the bulb socket. They will work well if all this is done!

Here is a site with a lot more researched info on this subject: How good can those antique car headlights be?

That is an excellent link, sir. I am enjoying looking through it, and have already learned a ton.

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If I can just add that the "first decade" site has been a great help to me and I would urge everyone to visit it. Ply33 has a way of explaining things in a way that the ordinary guy can understand without resorting to a lot of jargon.

Ray

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I notice that Andy Bernbaum's advertises having all the parts I need. How reliable is the online catalog as for parts accuracy and availability?

The gentleman at Old Car Lenses warns me that one cannot count on sizes being correct just based on make, model and year. He recommends actual measurement of the lens "door" before ordering. His prices are a touch higher than Bernbaum's as well.

Thoughts?

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From what I've heard "Uvira" is the way to go. Lenses are Riteway and unique to '38 Dod/Chr, should be partno 687393. Bernbaum wouldn't be my first choice.....go slow on the headlamp thing.....price on lenses can be rather extreme. Years back bulbs appeared on ebay quite frequently. They came in boxes of 12 pcs as I recall.

I don't have access to my stuff at the moment so I can't give you bulb numbers or measurements.

Tom

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Due to lack of time and funds, didn't really do much, but took some pictures of stuff we've talked about and/or I have been researching. That ignition coil is evidently big bucks to replace. The headlight bulbs are 2331s, fwiw. The license plate light is a must replace, as you can't shine white light to the rear in Iowa.

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Id be gentle with that coil, it would be a shame to list the decal, those unity lamps as you may know are aftermarket and you might be surprised to hear what they still have available for them.

I contacted them some time ago concerning some spotlights I was restoring that were from the 50s and they still carried parts as they had not changed the already good design.

Nice looking badge also, those are expensive to have restored but yours looks fine

Edited by 1930 (see edit history)
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Due to lack of time and funds, didn't really do much, but took some pictures of stuff we've talked about and/or I have been researching. That ignition coil is evidently big bucks to replace. The headlight bulbs are 2331s, fwiw. The license plate light is a must replace, as you can't shine white light to the rear in Iowa.

- The ignition coil is a replacement coil so I would think it may be good. If it was me, I would assume good until proven wrong. ;-)

- Looks like somebody had it in for lights! Everything is broken except the parking lights! The 2331 IS a correct number for a period prefocused headlamp bulb. It is the same number I use in the '36 Dodge Riteway Headlamps. I do think the lens size is different though too.

- The silvering looks pretty much gone from the reflectors. The "Uvira" deal is THE way to go! My headlamps have been using the "Uvira" treatment since about 1986 as I recall. Haven't touched them since!

- Taillights are going to need a bit of work. Cleaning up, straightening of the trim ring you have (not a real big deal) and finding another, (at least you have a sample!), chrome painting of the interior, maybe adding a socket for turn signal bulbs in there, and finding the lenses and retainer springs. All that is not too bad actually. Then just have to make sure all paths to ground are clean. You will have nice lights there!

- The trunk lid ornament is NICE! Just pack it away until whatever you decide to do with the body paint is done.

- The "back-up light" is possibly a dealer added accessory. Has much potential. I don't know anything about them though. Not used on '36.

- The "Unity" fog/driving lamp is pretty standard. I am guessing the one on your car was a bit later aftermarket accessory than the age of your car because there is no sign of a bulb socket there. I am assuming it was therefore sealed beam. You can do a clear "driving" lamp or a yellow "fog" lamp. Which ever you think is most beneficial in your area.

- I see in the second last photo that there is a headlamp relay in the shot. If those were not part of the original wiring for '38, then it was added in an attempt to get more light on the road. Thinking along those lines, the "Unity" lamp was probably a driving lamp (clear) also in an effort to get more light on the road.

- Your dome light looks pretty good too, for a driver. A little cleaning and polishing will go a long way for that. Chrome doesn't look too bad! Watch for a good clean ground again as you go.

- In the 4th shot - do I see the radiator out? If so, moving right along! ANy luck on the piston soak yet?

Hope you are having FUN with it! Take LOTS of photos as you take stuff apart. I know that can be a bit of a pain but you will like yourself for doing it - later!

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- The ignition coil is a replacement coil so I would think it may be good. If it was me, I would assume good until proven wrong. ;-)

- Looks like somebody had it in for lights! Everything is broken except the parking lights!

My older brother and sister used it as target practice for rock throwing back in the late 60s. :mad:

The 2331 IS a correct number for a period prefocused headlamp bulb. It is the same number I use in the '36 Dodge Riteway Headlamps. I do think the lens size is different though too.

My guess is that the bulbs just twist in the direction of the slots to remove? Or do you push them in and twist?

- The silvering looks pretty much gone from the reflectors. The "Uvira" deal is THE way to go! My headlamps have been using the "Uvira" treatment since about 1986 as I recall. Haven't touched them since!

I sadly like the look of the old coppered reflectors. Which means the headlights wouldn't be very effective, would they?

- Taillights are going to need a bit of work. Cleaning up, straightening of the trim ring you have (not a real big deal) and finding another, (at least you have a sample!), chrome painting of the interior, maybe adding a socket for turn signal bulbs in there, and finding the lenses and retainer springs. All that is not too bad actually. Then just have to make sure all paths to ground are clean. You will have nice lights there!

6 volt power means everything is much more sensitive to resistance, right? And it's a positive ground, if my research is correct.

- The trunk lid ornament is NICE! Just pack it away until whatever you decide to do with the body paint is done.

- The "back-up light" is possibly a dealer added accessory. Has much potential. I don't know anything about them though. Not used on '36.

- The "Unity" fog/driving lamp is pretty standard. I am guessing the one on your car was a bit later aftermarket accessory than the age of your car because there is no sign of a bulb socket there. I am assuming it was therefore sealed beam. You can do a clear "driving" lamp or a yellow "fog" lamp. Which ever you think is most beneficial in your area.

- I see in the second last photo that there is a headlamp relay in the shot. If those were not part of the original wiring for '38, then it was added in an attempt to get more light on the road. Thinking along those lines, the "Unity" lamp was probably a driving lamp (clear) also in an effort to get more light on the road.

- Your dome light looks pretty good too, for a driver. A little cleaning and polishing will go a long way for that. Chrome doesn't look too bad! Watch for a good clean ground again as you go.

- In the 4th shot - do I see the radiator out? If so, moving right along! ANy luck on the piston soak yet?

Hope you are having FUN with it! Take LOTS of photos as you take stuff apart. I know that can be a bit of a pain but you will like yourself for doing it - later!

I have not really done much to unstick the motor. #3, 5 and 6 are letting WD40 past, though, and I believe #1 is starting to as well. One of the reasons I haven't done that much to unstick the motor, is that I just cannot figure a way to effectively put pressure on the motor to turn it without just shearing a bunch of bolts. Rocking the car by myself seems pathetically stupid, and there just isn't a way to get to the crank that I can figure out. I am just going to soak it, take the sheetmetal off the front and yank the engine, but after that I am have no idea what to do. I suppose I could try unsticking it on an engine stand? BTW, none of the auto shops, vintage or otherwise wants to touch the project. But then, my area is populated by former overpaid union factory worker types who Rod everything they can. I've been told in subtle ways my business is not welcome in the shops I've stopped in, and frankly I am stumped.

The other thing is, everyone has advice, claims to be an expert in unsticking motors that I talk to, but I am starting to think they are all full of crap.

This is frustrating to say the least.

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My older brother and sister used it as target practice for rock throwing back in the late 60s. :mad:

Have to have them come over to your place and help with the lighting repairs!

My guess is that the bulbs just twist in the direction of the slots to remove? Or do you push them in and twist?

Yup. You can see the direction looking at the key way slot shapes. Push in. The socket is spring loaded. Once it is all lined up they loosen and you pull them straight out.

I sadly like the look of the old coppered reflectors. Which means the headlights wouldn't be very effective, would they?

Nope. Not at all. You would only be getting the light off the bulb and what did reflect would be very amber colored. Ick. The actual reflector is brass and I don't think they used multiple plating metals. I am pretty sure they plated the highly polished brass directly with the silver for the final look. With the "Uvira" process, the brass reflector is straightened, polished to a high shine, plated with the aluminizing process then finished with the "liquid silica glass" overcoat. The aluminum stays at the same high shine until something happens to the silica glass coating. Great stuff!

6 volt power means everything is much more sensitive to resistance, right? And it's a positive ground, if my research is correct.

Yup. Just like you read on "ply33's" site where he showed the affect of 1 ohm of resistance in the lighting circuit. That's why it is important to clean the switch contacts, and all of the grounding route for any load. I would also suggest that you purchase a full wiring loom from one of the reputable vendors. Current flows on the SURFACE of the wires. That's one of the reasons that stranded wire is used. More "surface area". The other is that it can also bend during installation without too much stress. If you look at almost any of the wiring in your car now, clean off some of the insulation, and you will see the wire is ALL blackened or corroded essentially all the way along its length. All that stuff is adding resistance to the wire and then causes the issues previously described concerning higher than specified circuit resistance. Another bad thing is that this old wiring then heats up with this higher resistance all along its length and, if conditions are right, can start an electrical fire. BAD!

My car is a positive ground. As I understand yours should be positive ground also. That was not changed for a while.

I have not really done much to unstick the motor. #3, 5 and 6 are letting WD40 past, though, and I believe #1 is starting to as well. One of the reasons I haven't done that much to unstick the motor, is that I just cannot figure a way to effectively put pressure on the motor to turn it without just shearing a bunch of bolts. Rocking the car by myself seems pathetically stupid, and there just isn't a way to get to the crank that I can figure out. I am just going to soak it, take the sheetmetal off the front and yank the engine, but after that I am have no idea what to do. I suppose I could try unsticking it on an engine stand? BTW, none of the auto shops, vintage or otherwise wants to touch the project. But then, my area is populated by former overpaid union factory worker types who Rod everything they can. I've been told in subtle ways my business is not welcome in the shops I've stopped in, and frankly I am stumped.

The other thing is, everyone has advice, claims to be an expert in unsticking motors that I talk to, but I am starting to think they are all full of crap.

This is frustrating to say the least.

Let's see what some of the other guys think at this point. My experience with stuck motors is minimal. I have heard a lot though. My thoughts are that rocking it would be most useful BUT I would fear for all the stress put on the rest of the drive line - transmission, u-joints, rear end, axles, lug bolts/nuts, etc. But there IS a pile of mass working for you that way! Much more than you would get with just a crank handle I would suspect! I know these parts are supposed to hold up to this type of rotational stress BUT my issue is with the constant changing of direction. Stress goes on one way, maximizes, starts to release until the parts are loose and free from each other. Then the stuff meshes up again and tightens up in the opposite direction but this is all done rather quickly - at least compared to the way the parts all work normally - where they are tight together in one direction most of the time.

I'm sure others have some insight or opinions on how this all plays out.

Edited by 1936 D2 (see edit history)
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There is a real risk of bending con rods if you use too much force. I would remove the big end caps (note their positions) and take action from underneath to free the pistons indidvidually. The risk is that you could damage the pistons but if they are available and the engine is really stuck, it might be the cheaper option in the long run. The piston ring groves may be worn anyway so replacement may be on the cards any way.

Ray.

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There is a real risk of bending con rods if you use too much force. I would remove the big end caps (note their positions) and take action from underneath to free the pistons indidvidually. The risk is that you could damage the pistons but if they are available and the engine is really stuck, it might be the cheaper option in the long run. The piston ring groves may be worn anyway so replacement may be on the cards any way.

Ray.

It looks like someone buggered up several of the piston tops prying on them, so some of the pistons need to be replaced anyway.

BTW, I reread my entry, and what I meant to say is "around here" as in where I live, not on this forum. I've heard some things that make sense here.

Either way, I need to watch my spending on this machine, so it's okay to take some time doing this part.

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Had a completely awful weekend; lots of busy at work, plus financial news that made me realize just how limited my ambitions need to be on this project. So, I walked into the garage tonight, and noticed that damned trunk sitting open. Ever since I was a child, I remembered that the trunk had been held closed by wire, as the latch didn't work. When I got it to my place, I threw away the wire and just propped the trunk open. Tonight, in a fit of annoyance, I decided to try to fix it. I took the latch off the trunk lid, being extremely careful not to strip out the screws, and did so on two of them anyway. The screws are extremely soft, and are slotted, and were pretty rusted in there. I hosed them down a month ago with penetrating oil, and hosed them down some more tonight before working on them. Once I got the latch off, I noticed that the latch was rusted solid AND it was completely warped out of shape and jammed. It is a pressed together stamped construction, so I straightened out the slots and slipped them back through the tabs. Everything was warped differently, but I imagined what they must've looked like before whatever bent them up, and hammered them back into some sort of straightness, trying and fitting as I went. Cleaned up the internals with CLR, then hosed it down really good with ACR (An aircraft lubricant/protectant) and reassembled. Miracles of miracles it not only fit together, but now it works! Reassembled the whole mess and installed it back in the car, though am still missing the screws that stripped out. Overall, a decent night.

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First the disclaimer: I never unstuck an engine like yours.

But, I read about a guy that dealt with an engine seriously stuck like yours. He used what I would term "sustained torque" by mounting a U-bar on the flywheel and added weights. It took several weeks before the engine loosened up. He actually heard the bar hit the floor and knew it was free!

The clever thing is you just soak the bores add weigh......and wait. Eventually the rings will break loose or something else will break.

By increasing arm and/or weight you can achieve any torque needed.

Tom

P.S. Before doing this I would make sure the timing gear is not jammed, or better remove the chain.

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First the disclaimer: I never unstuck an engine like yours.

But, I read about a guy that dealt with an engine seriously stuck like yours. He used what I would term "sustained torque" by mounting a U-bar on the flywheel and added weights. It took several weeks before the engine loosened up. He actually heard the bar hit the floor and knew it was free!

The clever thing is you just soak the bores add weigh......and wait. Eventually the rings will break loose or something else will break.

By increasing arm and/or weight you can achieve any torque needed.

Tom

P.S. Before doing this I would make sure the timing gear is not jammed, or better remove the chain.

I am stripping everything off the engine when I get to it, and trying that, before I pull it.

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Hi there, Good job on the trunk latch.

I filled my D.A. engine with diesel fuel in the spark plug holes and forgot about it for a few months. when I remembered it I put my 18" shifter on the drive dog and pushed. It moved easily where before i could jump on it to no avail.

All donks are different though. Keep up the good work and we should all take the view that if we do SOMETHING on our restorations every day then progress is being made. Even the cost free job you did on the latch.

Cheers Beetles

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Hi there, Good job on the trunk latch.

I filled my D.A. engine with diesel fuel in the spark plug holes and forgot about it for a few months. when I remembered it I put my 18" shifter on the drive dog and pushed. It moved easily where before i could jump on it to no avail.

All donks are different though. Keep up the good work and we should all take the view that if we do SOMETHING on our restorations every day then progress is being made. Even the cost free job you did on the latch.

Cheers Beetles

There is hope. I've found a car guy who is willing to do the machine work on the engine. Also, the level of penetrating oil is going down in all cylinders (I think beyond evaporation rates.) I take that as a good sign.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The biggest problem I find with Andy's site is that he uses his own part numbers for reference on his site. He does not make mention of the original Mopar part numbers. This is most likely because a good portion of his parts are from after market manufacturers or much newer Mopar parts that supersede earlier part numbers. I also find that newer Mopar parts "will work" but are not the same as the "original" part that you may be looking for for your car. There is no way to tell on his site if you will get the NOS original part or a later Mopar manufacture or an aftermarket part.

All the images on his parts pages are generic so again, no way to know what you are getting.

If you "just want to make it work" or "just want it to go", you would do fine. If trying to do a "restoration" - good luck!

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  • 1 month later...

Looks like your car has some of the accessories offered for the 38 from the Hollywood Brochure. If you are not familiar with the brochure let me know I will send you a copy. Write to, thedodgegarage@rcn.com. That front bumper guard, the dash piece, and the tail light are part of the options.

Well, I'm new here, and I joined the forum to get help on my current labor of love, "Ava", my grandfather's 1938 Dodge D8 Sedan. Ava was parked in 1942 due to WWII shortages, and spent the next 80 years either sitting, or being moved around from barn to barn as my father's farm slowly decayed. It has been damaged by carelessness and wild animals (to include my crazy older brother, who did in the windows) but remains an extremely solid vehicle. It is very complete, and the body is solid with on small rust through in the trunk, where I believe mouse urine ate it away from the inside. It is a dirty, dirty car with a stuck engine, and I am debating on whether to replace the engine.

My goal is to have a driver that isn't ugly. No hot rod and no concours here. My wife and I would love to drive some of the old roads and stop at the local drive ins for ice cream from time to time. And honor my grandfather Herman, who truly loved this car.

Here are some pics of Ava as she saw the light of day for the first time in at least 40 years.

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If you want a product that will wash away rust and not harm the part, the best stuff on the market is called EvapoRust and you can buy it at Tractor Supply Store for about $20 a gallon. It is very safe to use and environmentally friendly. Takes about 20 minutes for light rust and overnight for deep pitted parts. Lightly wire brush or use a Brillo pad or steel wool on it after you take it out and rinse off the product and you will be surprised how nice the part looks. It gets into tight places like a lock mechanism to remove the rust. It is a must have for small parts that can be submerged in the EvapoRust. I use various sizes of plastic storage containers depending on the size of the parts.

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Somehow I had missed ever seeing this thread. Just going to chime in and say my first car, 50 years ago this year was a '38 Dodge touring sedan, much the same as yours. It was 18K miles sitting on blocks in a garage in Chicago and the owner had passed away. As a 15, 16, 17 year old kid I disassembled everything except body from frame, learned numerous restoration skills and much basic automotive knowledge. That car was used in my first wedding.

Photo attached I'm installing the grille in 1964. Good luck with your family Dodge and enjoy the whole process.

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Somehow I had missed ever seeing this thread. Just going to chime in and say my first car, 50 years ago this year was a '38 Dodge touring sedan, much the same as yours. It was 18K miles sitting on blocks in a garage in Chicago and the owner had passed away. As a 15, 16, 17 year old kid I disassembled everything except body from frame, learned numerous restoration skills and much basic automotive knowledge. That car was used in my first wedding.

Photo attached I'm installing the grille in 1964. Good luck with your family Dodge and enjoy the whole process.

Wow. I love that pic!

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We are two months past your last report on the engine, Sept 11th. Any progress on loosening up those pistons? Just curious on the "soak time" for this job.

I have reached the "perfect storm" of "not working on the car.

My work has kind of overtaken my life, but that's good in that it increases money available.

#2 cylinder still is stuck as all get out. Penetrating oil now goes through all the others freely.

So there I am.

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Getting close now! Once you have your time back, I think you will find things moving along much more easily.

Now is a good time to spend what time you have for the car doing research and minor things (like the trunk latch job) that give you SOME feeling of accomplishment. Try not to let it get totally "taken off the burner". That is one of the things that happens to many folks and then the job (read fun) stalls. It sometimes never restarts. But you also have the family connection to keep you engaged and that is a big plus!

Take care down there.

Hey Dave;

Reserve that LR taillight for "120mm". Once he has the funds I'm sure "Ava" would love it!

Edited by 1936 D2 (see edit history)
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  • 1 year later...
How is this project coming along? Been a while.

I've taken it down to a body shell on a chassis. Fenders and front end off, broken glass removed and 2 tons of rodent defecation blown out.

I'll be honest; I am starting to regret having started. Plus the driving force behind doing this (my father) recently passed away.

I am seriously considering letting someone else take this on; If someone wandered by with some money and promised to take it away, I might be tempted.

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Edited by 120mm (see edit history)
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