sak335

1923 Dodge Brothers Business Sedan. Where to start?

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My next door neighbor just got a 1923 Dodge Brothers business sedan that has been sitting in his parents garage for about 40 years. Apparently his father was either the original or an early owner and drove it until it was put in the garage for some reason. His father died a few years ago, but always spoke of getting the car running and driving again. His mother was moving to an assisted living community so the car had to go somewhere, so it went to hin. He is a carpenter by trade and has no issue with completing the body work and the interior. The body has some rust - nothing terrible, and some dings and dents. The interior is pretty ugly but the guts are there and he can recreate all the wood parts. He has a pile of parts and some spares, apparently.

Now, the mechanics he doesn't want to mess with as he has no experience. That's where I come in. We're pretty good friends and I'm a car guy, been fixing and racing cars my entire adult life, but modern stuff, mostly German. We've worked out an arrangement (non-monetary) and I'm tasked with getting the mechanicals sorted. He's got a manual of some sort for the car, but nothing beyond that.

Given that I don't know much about these cars, but know about cars in general, I'm wondering what you'd do approaching a car with a story like this. On a modern car I'd just pull the engine and sort through it on the bench if it was really suspect, but my understanding is that pulling the engine on this car is not trivial (I can remove and install an engine on a BMW in less than 10 hours by myself, and have done so many times.) I have a hard time believing that the car was put away running perfectly (the story is the classis "ran when parked") but perhaps it was cosmetics, who knows.

Anyway, the thing is currently in pieces, but apparently they are all there. My thought was to clean up all the various parts (carb, fuel pump, etc) and see what each looks like while I'm doing that and assess perhaps what went wrong. I also have no illusions about what the gas tank looks like, and that will likely need to be dealt with as well. I'm assuming that I can pull the spark plugs and try to turn over the engine using the crank on the front, but don't have the crank. I'm also probably going to need to pick up some more standard tools, my set is pretty weak compared to metric.

Any and all thoughts encouraged. This is going to be a slow/steady project and I'd like to most of the cleanup stuff over the winter on the bench before I get to the big stuff.

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Welcome to the forum. The engine is pretty basic. Given you mechanical history I think you know how to go through it. I would drop the pan and see if anything is in there. If that year has primer cups I would go ahead and start soaking the top end. That will give you some time to find a hand crank.

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Thanks, I did spray the cylinders via the spark plug holes with Kroil about a month ago to help loosen everything up, knowing that things were probably not helped by age and the fact that it's been sitting so long. Hopefully it will work some magic.

Any "best" source for picking up a crank or just keep searching eBay, etc.?

Welcome to the forum. The engine is pretty basic. Given you mechanical history I think you know how to go through it. I would drop the pan and see if anything is in there. If that year has primer cups I would go ahead and start soaking the top end. That will give you some time to find a hand crank.

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I have an extra crank that I was told was for a DB. Can anybody send a picture of what he needs for this motor? I'll try to take a shot of mine and put it on here later.

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sak......did you look under the front seat?

It's hinged at the front.

Here are crank photos.

post-93523-143142873202_thumb.jpg

post-93523-143142873212_thumb.jpg

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Sak, before you go any farther buy an owner's manual. They are referred to as Book of Information. You want one printed just before your cars production date. DB didn't change at a specific time of year, made constant changes all the time. The BofI will answer most all your mechanical questions. They aren't like a Bentley but pretty much tell you what you need to drive and maintain. Go to the DB club website and look at the production dates, determine what month your car was built then get the manual printed soonest? before that date. Some manuals are available through AACA library. Look at the top of this page for their link, use the online catalog, and they will mail you a paper copy and/or disc.

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OK, so I finally dug into the car for the first time this morning.  We had soaked the cylinders with Kroil over the winter and my neighbor ground down an old socket to replicate the crank.  Good new is that the engine turns over easily.  I pulled the pan this morning, and aside from 90 years of crud caked over it, it came off without a fight.  He cranked the engine while I looked underneath and everything is working like it should.  The cams look brand new, no wear at all, and no discernible play in the bearings.

 

He has a book called '1914-1933 Dodge Brothers Passenger Car Master Parts List" and it looks like the parts are keyed by engine number.  Of course, there are three numbers on the engine...

 

The head has a casting number A-18147

The block has stamping 981-294

The L-part on the front is cast with A-3583 (with a 6 above the 3 and 5) and also with 17422.

 

I'm very happy that the engine turns over.  Looks like it will just be sorting all the accessories and most of them are in decent shape, and he has spares for many.  The wiring all needs to be replaced as the cloth-wrapped originals have disintegrated.  It appears that the clutch has rusted to the pressure plate as the rear wheels are turning even when it's not in gear.  No big deal, easy to deal with.

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Along with the fuel tank, you will probably need to remove and clean up the vacuum tank and carb. Nothing complex there. The carb float is brass and have a tendency to crack over time so you'll want to take a close look at that. The ignition is your basic breaker points deal. It will probably need nothing more than clean points with some emery paper and new plug wires.

I bought a complete wiring loom from Rhode Island wiring that I'm very happy with (plug & play). You can test run the motor by simply running ignition circuit on battery (12v) and starting with the crank.

Edited by MikeC5 (see edit history)

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There are also some threads on freeing up sticky clutch plates on this forum.

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Rather than go nuts right off the bat remove one the plugs in the top of the vacuum tank and pour in about a pint of gas.

Depending on which carburetor your Dodge has (probably Detroit Lubricator) you can watch the float needle go down as the carb fills with gas.

If you can get that much going for you and it has spark fire it up!.......  :D

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So reviving this thread...my neighbor had a daughter get married, grandkids, etc., etc. so he's been distracted.

 

I rewired the car entirely and re-built the vacuum canister (fuel pump) which was rusty inside.

 

 

I'm now working on the carb which is a Detroit Lubricator (Stewart.)  The carb seems problematic to me.  There is a crack in the body near the gas line fitting at the bottom of the float.  I used JB Weld to seal it up.  I imagine this was caused by the fact that the fitting and the Strainer Plug seem frozen on there.  My guess is somebody tried to remove the fuel fitting and the metal fatigued.  I am now wondering if there is a blockage in there that needs to be attended to.  The other issue is that the Valve Cap for the float assembly is missing so I need to source something for that.  

 

We've replaced the fuel line and cleaned the fuel tank, so next I need to go through the clutch and see what needs to be done there.  Hopefully we're not far from an attempt at starting.

 

I attached a couple photos including one of my kids 'helping' my neighbor with the car.

Dodge_Carb.PNG

Dodge_Vacuum.PNG

Dodge_kids.PNG

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One last thing.  When disassembling the carb, I found a small plate with two holes in it inside the float chamber.  It clearly doesn't belong in there.  But I started wondering, where did this thing come from?  Anybody recognize this:

 

 

CarbPlate.PNG

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7 hours ago, sak335 said:

One last thing.  When disassembling the carb, I found a small plate with two holes in it inside the float chamber.  It clearly doesn't belong in there.  But I started wondering, where did this thing come from?  Anybody recognize this:

 

 

 

It looks like the throttle 'butterfly' valve that locates in a separate housing just above the main brass body of the carb.

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On 7/15/2019 at 12:38 PM, sak335 said:

So reviving this thread...my neighbor had a daughter get married, grandkids, etc., etc. so he's been distracted.

 

I rewired the car entirely and re-built the vacuum canister (fuel pump) which was rusty inside.

 

 

I'm now working on the carb which is a Detroit Lubricator (Stewart.)  The carb seems problematic to me.  There is a crack in the body near the gas line fitting at the bottom of the float.  I used JB Weld to seal it up.  I imagine this was caused by the fact that the fitting and the Strainer Plug seem frozen on there.  My guess is somebody tried to remove the fuel fitting and the metal fatigued.  I am now wondering if there is a blockage in there that needs to be attended to.  The other issue is that the Valve Cap for the float assembly is missing so I need to source something for that.  

 

We've replaced the fuel line and cleaned the fuel tank, so next I need to go through the clutch and see what needs to be done there.  Hopefully we're not far from an attempt at starting.

 

I attached a couple photos including one of my kids 'helping' my neighbor with the car.

Dodge_Carb.PNG

Dodge_Vacuum.PNGDodge_kids.PNG

 

 

The carb is bronze. Not sure but you may be able to brass the crack in the carb.

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Maybe even solder shut . Not a lot heat there ,when running . Since you need other parts, maybe a e-bay carcass donner .

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On 7/15/2019 at 11:05 PM, RichBad said:

It looks like the throttle 'butterfly' valve that locates in a separate housing just above the main brass body of the carb.

 

OK, it definitely looks like a butterfly valve but I couldn't find it on this diagram.  

DB_Carb.jpg

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40 minutes ago, ArticiferTom said:

Maybe even solder shut . Not a lot heat there ,when running . Since you need other parts, maybe a e-bay carcass donner .

Thanks, it does look like there are a few on eBay that 'appear complete' so that may be a good route.

 

I had no idea this thing was bronze.  No wonder it cracked when some force was put on it.

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Posted (edited)

Your Welcome . flip that butterfly over if it has a 10 on it it from a Carter brass bowl type carb . If not ,  I still think it is ,some where not marked . I know nothing about insides on Detroit's .

  Keep use posted , Good luck Tom  

Edited by ArticiferTom
Missed words (see edit history)

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The crack is probably from freezing with water in it. I would recommend getting a donor, may need other parts too. Pay very close attention when buying one as they all look similar. The throttle plate could have come from the top of the carb, some people refer to it as a manifold. You need the reprint of Stewart carbs from the DB club store, give thorough instructions for them.

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The butterfly valve is connected to the throttle shaft at the top of the posted diagram (the artist didn't cut away that part for viewing).  I was also going to guess the crack was due to freezing.  Various models of this carb come up on ebay all of the time but I'd feel more comfortable getting a replacement from Myers or Romar.  

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13 hours ago, sak335 said:

 

OK, it definitely looks like a butterfly valve but I couldn't find it on this diagram.  

 

 

It's inside the "bulb" where the mounting flange is.

 

 

DB_Carb.jpg

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7 hours ago, cahartley said:

 

It's inside the "bulb" where the mounting flange is.

 

 

DB_Carb.jpg

 

OK, if that's the case then I'm missing more pieces than I thought.  That 'bulb' is totally empty.  There is a hole in the top where perhaps a mounting rod goes, so looks like I need to grab one off eBay or elsewhere for parts.  Thanks, this is really helpful.

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