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Hello to all car enthusiasts,

This is my first post to the forum and actually my first ever antique car. I’m Cuban and all my life I was surrounded by cars from the past. I’ve always dreamed of having one back in the Island but such cars are more of a luxury, and only a few people can afford to buy.

When I came to the States, I realized that even thought, a lot of the classics are expensive, there is an option to every pocket. Time passed and life kept me busy, I married, had kids and my dream of owning a classic went to the back of my mind.

My dream torpid quietly, until last year when we stop by a local car show. My wife and specially my boys (2 and 4 years old) loved the cars. The giant awaken in me and as my wife knows, when an idea grab me, I don’t rest until it is satisfied. With her OK the search started, she just made a request, she wanted us to look for an art deco classic.

I confess that my heart was more into the fifties, the ones that I have grown up with back in my country, but when you get your wife on board a project like this, please try to make her happy. During my search I truly fell in love with the thirties, those fenders, grill and suicide doors have an incredible appeal. 

I spent countless hours on ebay and craiglist looking for the perfect match; a car from the thirties, in solid condition (never have done body work) and accessible to my pocket (not deep at all). Finally in Connecticut, a truly barn find came to the light; a beautiful 1936 Plymouth, parked since 1954 inside a warehouse.

A couple of weeks later and a few calls, the whole family went to check the prospect. Just as we wanted it; unrestored, complete and in solid condition, just waiting for its chance to come back to life. Next day my son and I went back with a trailer and our new family member was on its way home.

I'm not sure how long this project is going to take, but what I do know  is that it would be a lot of fun, hard work, sweat and guidance from experiences.

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Thank you Keiser,

 

The car is a time capsule, so far everything is there,  not rust, all the paint (at least have a nice patina), upholstery and rubber have decayed. My plan is to take it back to original condition, it is what the car deserve. 

Edited by pehernan (see edit history)
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Thank you 51Pontiac,

 

Unfortunately live is not always easy, neither bringing a car back to life, especially if it has being parked for the last 60 years and even worse, without the spark plugs in place. Yes, spark plugs were out and even though everything is there, the engine was seized. Back in December I put penetrating oil (ATF oil+acetone, great stuff that I learned from one of your forums) it works, at least for the cylinders.  This last Saturday I open the head cover and three of the valves are stuck on the open position and one of the cylinder wall is covered in some rust, look to me like surface rust.

Here is where I need your help. I put the same penetrating oil on the valves, but how and how much I should push the valves, without making the situation worse? How I can remove the rust from the cylinder wall,  is that possible? 

Edited by pehernan (see edit history)
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Welcome, and I look forward to following the progress. as advised take lots of pictures. Even of areas you may not think you'll need, because believe me you will refer to them down the track. Post your progress and the forum will provide many suggestions and opinions. That's what I enjoy about it.

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Great news!!!

It worked, I poured a lot of the good oil (ATF+Acetone) a couple of days ago and yesterday I spent two hours tapping and oiling, more oiling and tapping and one by one all the valves gave up. Beautiful sound the clip sound of them getting loose. Thank you for all your support and ideas.

Now that everything is moving as its suppose to, I'm planning to test the compression and then remove the pan to clean it. There is anything else that I should look for or take care of?

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Gasket sets for those engines are still available through NAPA or a good parts store. Some suspension and brakes parts are also. I have current numbers for some. Make sure you clean out the lifter gallery on the right side of the engine too, making sure all the oil holes are clear. You'll also want to pull the water pump, pull the water distribution tube and check that too. They have a bad habit of rusting out and should be replaced for optimum cylinder cooling. They can be a bugger to get out though!! If you have an oil filter, whether the original can or a by-pass filter, make sure you clean that too and change the filter element. The original can type elements are getting harder to find as most mfgrs. have stopped production. Make sure that you take off the oil sump filter and clean it well,the screens can get packed tight. While you've got the pan off, you might want to pop the caps off of a couple of the rods to check bearing wear. No use trying to run an engine on shot bearings and cause further damage. Your car looks to me to need a thorough overhaul before you can drive it, and it might behoove you to go ahead and restore it before you try to drive it. With all the engine repairs, brake repairs and other repairs you'll be half-way there. I know it sounds like a daunting task, and it can be, I think you'll be happier in the long run! Good luck and have fun!!

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Guys, 

thanks a lot for following the post and your input. It promise to be a nice project and I'm very excited about it. I will try to keep you up to day and don't procrastinate with the car. My goal is to finish it in two years.

This past Saturday I cleaned the valves in place and the head cover, change the oil and put a new head gasket, but when I try to test the compression, the starter refused to engage the flywheel. 

I removed the starter and the driver was stuck, the flywheel appear to be in good condition. Luckily one of my neighbor has a alternator-generator, starter rebuilding business, so I gave him my starter, which should be ready in a few days. Either way, I decided to take the engine out to replace the bearings, rings, and take the valves out for cleaning and replace what is bad.

Garage space is a problem for me and before taking the engine out, I need to restructure it and put insulate and sheetrock in the ceiling.

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Yes paceman,

I'm a little concern, because it appears that you are right. I was very naive thinking that it would be a quick project and most likely it will take more than the two years that I said, but I'm the kind of person who needs to have a specific goal to move forward.  

At least today I had the first break through. My neighbor, the one with the electric parts business came back with a beautiful starter, that I hardly can believe is the one that I gave him yesterday. WHAT AN AMAZING JOB. Everything is not just in working condition, but completely restore to the minimum of the details. I know that he has been in business for over thirty years, but the efficient and speed were out of my mind. 

Honestly I was in need to see some progress.

 

Sorry that I do't know how to put the photos in the right sequence, but is not hard to figure out the right order :)

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Edited by pehernan (see edit history)
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Talk about time lapse; you see my photo, my car is still in the same stage as when that photo was taken about 10 years ago!!  Life has a bad habit of getting in the way! You just have to keep on keepin' on!

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I wouldn't take anything else apart beyond what you've already done. Try to get the engine to run first, and then try to make the car drive able. Then you can determine what else the car needs. DON'T take too much apart all at once! Best of luck!

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Thank you Larry,

 

My original idea was to put the car back in the road as soon is possible and without taking that much out of it. Unfortunately; the engine was stuck (result of 60 years without the spark plug) the cables are all bad, the muffler is rotten, every glass is damage by the heat (I'm assuming, because the glue between the glass plates is dark brown). Base on all the repair that I have to do, I decided to take the bullet and go the extra mile.

Thanks God I have good friends; with the knowledge that I may lack. Jean is retired and a car enthusiast, who owns a 1948 Ford and owned a garage back in the days, is a wonderful support. Efrain is another recently retired friend of mine, who worked as a body shop person his whole life and now because I show the car to one of my neighbor who I had hear have a garage, I found that is not a regular garage, but one who specialize in rebuilding any electric part, relate to cars.

It's true what I have read from many of you, the hobby is not a matter of making a profit or throw money on the counter of somebody else to do the job, but of feeling the achievement of doing something with our hands, preserving a piece of history, getting to know amazing people and in my personal case, expose my two boys to something better than video games (I'm not a enemy of the computers, but they are just a tool) kids need to go outside, enjoy real life and not just trough a screen.

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Okay, but don't take anything else apart until the engine is back together and running. Many times, people take too much of the car apart all at once and then are discouraged at the sight of all the parts laying around and then give up on the project. Don't let this happen to you. Focus on one thing at a time.

Edited by Larry W (see edit history)
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Larry, now I got your point and you are 100% right. I truly appreciate your advice and I will follow it. As today the whole front is remove and the engine is our next priority. I just need to organize my garage before start it. I'm a teacher and I would be in vacation in 10 days, and hopefully able to work at full steam. 


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Awesome car!  Of course, I am partial because I also have a 36 Plymouth!  The car is stored at my fathers, so I may be slow to get them but if you need pics of anything let me know.  I will try to help out.  I would love to see your dash panel.  Im looking for pictures of dealer installed clocks or radio's for our cars.  Not many out there.  Cheers.

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every glass is damage by the heat (I'm assuming, because the glue between the glass plates is dark brown)

 

I think the glass will be a laminate, two layers of glass separated by a plastic. The plastic breaks down over time in UV. Mine went green - I thought it was tinted! Sometimes you see the layers separating - the green plastic goes crinkly.

 

I agree with Larry. It is very easy to dismantle with no view of what you are going to do to fix anything, just that it needs fixing. I struggle with this concept, but find it is best to keep to it, else it is spread all over the place and you forget how it came apart and lose things. Remember to take lots of photos, frequently, so you have documentation of how things go together and what things are - you won't remember.

 

Another school of thought is that you leave the engine till later, coz now you will spend a lump of money and then have it sitting there for years while you do the rest of it. Engines deteriorate while sitting, even newly overhauled ones. There is a lot to be said for taking a bit off, fixing it, putting it back then doing another thing. I have to function this way else it becomes overwhelming and I don't know what to do next, so I do nothing.

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My first car was a 1935 Plymouth 4 door. I remember it well as I had to replace 3 of the 4 fenders and the front grille and radiator support, that was many moons ago, probably in 1952. I then graduated to a 1936 coupe after a year or two. Great cars, good luck with yours. After you get it running well it will be very dependable.

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