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The Ressurection of Daphne - a 1932 DL


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. . . Money is tight and I hope I'll be able to afford to have the frame blasted and powdercoated. If not, it's a future of lot of elbow grease and a fresh coat of paint. . .

This is a relatively inexpensive way to safely remove rust. I haven't done it for things the size of your frame but for small parts it sure beats elbow grease and wire wheels: http://antique-engines.com/trailer-electrolysis.htm

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Now you have removed the spring, you only need apply some heat and the bush will melt and knock out. I was surprised that the bolt cut that easily - the ones I have done were really hard. The electrolysis suggestion is a quick way to remove rust but if you have the time, I would think feed molasses is another option and also very safe.

Ray.

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I like the electrolysis and the molasses ideas, but the cost of the wood and materials for the tank, plus having to wait until spring (frozen water due to our lovely climate) make those avenues difficult if not impossible. This is a big frame and would need one heck of a big tank. I have a sandblaster, and that's a good possibility, but mine is a smaller unit and it would take a lot of time to do it right. It works great on smaller pieces like the springs and tranny cross mount, but doing the entire frame is a bit daunting. I can get the entire frame and all assorted pieces blasted and powdercoated for $500. When I add up the cost of blasting material, wear and tear on my compressor and paint and primer, plus my time, that seems pretty reasonable, or did before I lost two major clients due to the economy and the medical care crisis. Both just shut down rather than deal with it and I'm currently left hanging. Having an old car to work on is great, as long as you still have a house and a garage, so most of our money is being used to survive, not have fun.

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I sympathise with you Taylormade. Here the economy is growing but most people have yet to notice any benefit. For me it is a case of sitting out the storm but it seems to be just going on and on and on....:(

Ray.

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Success! I finally found a puller that removed the pitman arm I was having so much trouble with. This is the item that did the deed - five bucks at the local rental house.

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The secret is the bolt set-up that allows you to clamp the puller arms tight to the round top of the pitman arm. The ends of the puller arms were also thin enought to slip into the narrow space between the arm and the frame. No banging needed, just a few quick turns with the socket wrench and it came loose.

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I also found a very neat trunk that really matches the styling of Daphne and is a perfect fit on the trunk rack. The red pin striping is going to go.

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Lots of snow on the ground and it's mighty cold out in the garage, but I hope to have the steering box off in the next day or two and complete the stripping of the frame.

Edited by Taylormade (see edit history)
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We finally have paint on the body. The folks over at Cobraa Powdercaoting (the two "a"s are correct) let us paint the body there, a nice coat of rich, black paint as was the original. Crin is just beginning the color sanding in these photos.

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We had a minor problem with the rear passenger door, and that will need to be repainted, but everything elese looks great. It's always a bit disheartening when you have to sand that nice, shiny paint, but the color sanding and buffing really brings out a deep, smooth finish.

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I plan to bring the frame over for powder coating after Christmas. Still miles to go, but we're getting closer.

Edited by Taylormade (see edit history)
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Thanks for the kind words everyone, and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

keiser31, my wire wheels were sort of straw yellow, which I think was the original color - two had been painted black over the years - and I'm pretty sure the pinstriping was the same color. I'm going to have to do some research before I commit, but that's the direction I'm leaning toward.

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As I slowly - and carefully - disassemble Daphne, it never fails to amaze me all the engineering and thought that went into the design and construction of this car. One tends to think of 1932 as a somewhat primative time in car design, but it's not true. Aside from the electronic nightmares built into today's cars, much of this old Dodge is as solid, well-engineered and dependable as a modern car. Better yet, it is intended to be able to take things apart and fix them rather than just replacing a major assembly with a new and very expensive unit. For example, the front bearings on my GMC Terrain are one sealed unit and cost $260 a pop.

I keep claiming that I have my frame stripped and ready for the powder coater, and then I find something I've missed and it's back to work.


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Today I removed two of the few wood pieces on the car. The floorboards and several interior trim hangers are wood - the rest is good old American steel. These pieces are a strip that helps hold on the wood cover for the tool storage area located in the V-shaped section of the X-frame. The area between the pieces forms a slot where the battery cable runs through. They were in bad shape and will be replaced, which will take a bit of shaping, routing and drilling. The large piece is held on by two bolts, one of which came out okay. The other snapped off and I drilled out the rest of the bolt and will tap the hole after powder coating. The bolt holding on the small piece came off with no problem. As an engineering feature, all these bolts screw into a threaded fitting in the frame rather than having a nut. This makes for a smoother area inside the tool box with no nuts and bolt ends protruding into the area. Since all the threaded holes will need to be cleaned out after the powder coat anyway, I figure I'll just wait and do everything at the same time.

Here you can see the wood pieces and the tool storage area below. In this shot it's a bit hard to spot as it's still filled with mouse urine-soaked padding and the battery cable. Check out the wiring which existed when I bought and drove the car in 1965. it's a miracle the poor thing didn't burn to the ground!


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I have discovered that much of the peripheral parts of the frame are bolted on, rather that welded or riveted. This tool box was one such item. First I had to remove the two supports for the battery box. These also bolt on and came off fairly easily despite the very rusted bolts. Only one broke off, but they are simple nuts and bolts so no tapping will be needed. As a note, none of these bolts has the Chrysler symbol stamped on the head - they are plain, with no markings and are all too obviously original.

Here are the battery box supports. The box is simple box-shaped sheet metal that hangs on these strips.

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Once the battery box supports were off, I scraped out what was left of the padding - a vinyl type surface backed with a fiber padding. The mice had really made a mess in there as you can see from this shot when I first lifted the lid after 45 years.


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Once I got the tool box out - after the usual discovery that there was always one more bolt I had somehow missed - I discovered that the mouse urine had also done a job on the metal. Ouch!


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Lots of rust! That was the bad news. The good news is that the box is actually three pieces welded together. Both ends are still in good shape. Only the floor or bottom piece had rotted.


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Since this is flat, it should be within my limited metal-working skills. Whether or not I can duplcate the reinforcing "dimples" stamped in the steel remains to be seen.

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Here is the area stripped of the battery box supports and the tool box.

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Other interesting items on the frame include a mix of hangers that I'm attempting to save. There are two types that hold on the rear brake line - which runs outside the frame, but is protected by the close fitting running board shields. One is a button type that appears to expand when it's forced into the mounting hole, or, maybe, it's expanded from behind with a tool once it's forced in.

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The other is a clip that seems to be put in and then rotated 90 degrees to seat it. Why they used two different mounting systems is a mystery.

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The brake lines are the last items I need to remove - I think! Check out the factory bend to clear the tranny support bolts.IMG_3184_zpsec86606f.jpg


Also note this brake line junction, where the line from the master cylinder in larger and takes a 1/2 inch fitting, while the wheel lines are smaller with a 7/16 fitting.

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I always seem to find something interesting working on this car.

Edited by Taylormade (see edit history)
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  • 3 weeks later...

Some days things just seem to go right. This was one of them! My next door neighbor and his son came over the other day and helped me flip the frame over. It's now sitting bottom up, totally stripped and ready for the powdercoater.

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The DL had one sturdy frame in 32. Check out the new for the year X-frame that extends almost to the front of the frame itself. It even has the rod-rodder's favorite trick - oval weight reducing holes!

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I was worried about the gas tank straps. They are notorious for breaking when you try to get them off the frame. You have to remove both nuts to get the strap through the opening in the frame and the inner nut is usually totally rusted on the threaded rod and the rod snaps when you try to remove the nut.


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I cleaned up the threads with a wire brush and soaked everything in penetrating oil and everything came off smooth as silk. Another part I won't have to find or fabricate. That's undercoating, not rust that you see on the straps. They just have some surface rust and are solid.

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I don't know if my friend and former owner Phil ever took a look at the differential, so it may have been hidden for at least 45 years, but I got up the courage to take a peek. Once the back cover was off I was very relieved to find everything looking just great. No chips in the gears, no real wear that I can see. It looks even better in real life, the photo makes it look darker and less shiny than it really is. I windered if the car sitting for forty years would drain oil off the top of the gears and that they might have rusted, but no worries there thankfully.

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I took the front outer bearing out and it looked brand new. The race was also smooth and scratch and wear free. All this was a real relief, as I was hoping to avoid having to do major work on the rear axle.

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Next I called my engine rebuilder and got the really good news that all my babbit bearings are in perfect shape and don't need to be replaced. The crank can just be polished and the bottom end is ready to go. She's still getting new pistons and rings, a rebore, valve job (only two valves needed replacing), a new timing chain (still looking for a NOS grear), a reground cam and an oil pump rebuild. This means I'll have a few well needed bucks in my pocket for future problems. The more I tear into my old car, the more I find that mechanically she has held up very, very well. I'm hoping the tranny looks as good as the rear end.

Edited by Taylormade (see edit history)
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Dick...Sounds like you're benefiting from some of the loving care I gave her over the years. I had the rear end apart at one time, thoroughly cleaned and inspected everything, made a new gasket for the differential cover, then filled it with gear lube. During the time she was in storage, I used to periodically spin the rear axles to keep the innards coated with lube.

Also, I believe I repacked all of the wheel bearings at least once...sometime in the late-60s.

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Thanks for the kind words everyone, and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

keiser31, my wire wheels were sort of straw yellow, which I think was the original color - two had been painted black over the years - and I'm pretty sure the pinstriping was the same color. I'm going to have to do some research before I commit, but that's the direction I'm leaning toward.

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The original pin stripe color would have been Ivory (per the attachment) if you want to maintain it as original.Wish my Dodges (DD. DD, & UF-10) were in as good of shape at this point.

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It's interesting the similarities between the 32 and 34's. Battery box supports, tank straps and brake line splitters. all look similar with not much change. I remember getting my frame to the powder coater and thinking its great to finally work on something and not have grease and dirt everywhere.

Keep up the great work.

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The original pin stripe color would have been Ivory (per the attachment)
Actually, that chart shows no color under the stripe column for the 5-Passenger Sedan that year. I'd always wondered what that meant while I owned Dick's car. Was it an omission? Did that model in all black normally come unstripped?
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Sorry, my old eyes started to wonder when I looked across the sheet. If you look at the other body styles for Black on Black then you'll see that a stripe is also not specified, so you might be right that an all Black car is not striped. Did you by any chance get a copy of the original build card from Chrysler?

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Sorry, my old eyes started to wonder when I looked across the sheet. If you look at the other body styles for Black on Black then you'll see that a stripe is also not specified, so you might be right that an all Black car is not striped. Did you by any chance get a copy of the original build card from Chrysler?
No, I never did on that car...now Dick's car.

My present DL6 was originally painted "Mercedes Drab" so would have come with an ivory stripe. That's a pretty yucky color, in my opinion, which must have also been the opinion of the prior owner who had it repainted its current more neutral gray (see my avitar pic).

One thing you'll learn in an article on pinstripping in the next issue of the DBC News is that you could order custom pinstripes from the factory, so an all-black 4-door sedan COULD have had stripes (from a variety of colors?) even if not normally available that way.

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You could order a lot of optional color combinations from the factory. My DD roadster was a custom combination. Although I have to get the build card to verify it, it appears that the original owner ordered the fenders to match the body (rather than black) and orderd the wheels and stripe in the 8 cyl configuration (Red rather than orange). It's a long way from paint, but I plan on getting the build card before I choose colors.

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Also, notice that the color chart lists upper and lower colors and a "moldings" color, all of which are black. I thought 32 DLs had a solid body color and that the moldings were not painted. Phil's DL has an all gray body, a repaint, but you can see some of the original paint under the current finish and I suspect you'd see some of that black molding paint peeking through if it was under there. Having an all black car I don't have to worry about it! And now I'm not sure if I'm going with pin stripes if they weren't offered on black. Anyone out there with an original black sedan that can comment?

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Dick...Sounds like you're benefiting from some of the loving care I gave her over the years. I had the rear end apart at one time, thoroughly cleaned and inspected everything, made a new gasket for the differential cover, then filled it with gear lube. During the time she was in storage, I used to periodically spin the rear axles to keep the innards coated with lube.

Also, I believe I repacked all of the wheel bearings at least once...sometime in the late-60s.

Thanks Phil!

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I recently found a picture of my 32 dl6 from 1942. It looks like the front fenders may have had pin striping. It is a black car. I was wondering if it was original or not. Also the crank hole cover was already missing in 1942, kinda funny.

Post it if you get a chance.

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[ATTACH]230580[/ATTACH]

Note the gas ration sticker on the windshield . 1942 was the first year. "A" was non essential. Boy with cat is my grandfather in front of his grandfathers car on farm in Indiana 1942. A lot of mud on car and a poor picture.

Thats a great picture, sure hope he gained some weight though :)

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I got a call this evening from Crin, my paint guy. I posted some photos of the body after he painted it three weeks ago and I thought it looked pretty good. Well, he said he wasn't satisfied with the paint and he sanded it down, put on a new basecoat and then cleared it with a new clear formula that he really likes. It dries more slowly and seems to even out the clear so there is far less orange-peel. It still needs sanding and buffing, but it looks like a pretty good start to say the least.

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You can see in this shot of the cowl that there are still some slight waves that will sand out during color sanding and buffing.

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Sorry about the photos not showing up before!<quickprintreadystate style="display: none;"></quickprintreadystate><quickprintreadystate style="display: none;"></quickprintreadystate>

Edited by Taylormade (see edit history)
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For your chassis, what are you planning on using for the powdercoat process? The reason I ask, a few shops around here do a phosphate wash, and at least one offers the option to use a zinc rich base layer powder (primer) and then a finish coat (according to their website). I'm a few years away from getting my chassis done though... How did the hood tops work for you?

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That's exactly the process we use and that's what was done to the body. Stripped down to bare metal, phosphate wash and an zinc rich primer applied - I'm sure Dick posted the pictures of all of that. Then a primer surfacer was applied, sanded then the base and clear coats were applied (a few times because I just wasn't happy with it).

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A few days ago, when the temperature was hovering at 2 degrees above zero, we brought the body back to my garage. It's fairly heavy, but four of us could lift the body off the truck and onto the stand I built a while ago. When it warms up, Crin and I will color sand and buff it out.

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Now that the frame is off to the powder coaters, I'm begiining the tedious task of getting all the frame parts ready for paint. I took all the springs apart yesterday. A pretty simple and straightforward job. The biggest hassle was all the grease still hanging on to everything. Phil kept her well lubed, which means all the bearing surfaces are in great shape, but it sure is a mess to take apart!

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One thing I did notice - some of the bolts that run through the spring clamps (The U-shaped brackets that keep the ends of the leaves together) have thin metal tubes that I think are spacers meant to keep the ears of the clamps from bending in. You can see one in this photo.

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But other clamps didn't have them. And the driver's side front spring didn't have any at all, as in this photo, leading me to believe that it had been taken apart for some reason in the past. Notice how the tops of the clamps are bent in due to the lack of a spacer.

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Everything came apart quite easily and I had all the springs taken apart in about two hours. They weren't as rusty as I'd expected and should clean up just fine.

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This little item on the front end of the driver's side front spring is a damper to improve steering control. It has two large coil springs inside. I'll take better shots as I restore it.

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Pretty boring stuff, but it's all part of the job.

Edited by Taylormade (see edit history)
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