48NWYKR

1948 New Yorker 2 year road trip

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Hello everyone, 

Recently bought a nice 1948 Chrysler New Yorker for the sole purpose of taking my family on a two year road trip all over the USA into Mexico and down to Panama. Selling the house, home schooling the kids the whole nine yards....

Here's my question, the car is all stock and original except for a re-paint at some point in its life, starts stops drives.

I had a few thoughts on making it more reliable for the trip, 12v upgrade, new aluminum radiator with electric fan, electronic ignition, disc brake conversion etc.

But after reading a bunch of posts and taking note of guys like Rusty_OToole and DeSoto Frank now I'm not so sure anymore. 

Should I leave it alone and just take some parts like points/condenser/generator brushes/oil filters with me and leave it alone or do I cause potential headaches by "upgrading"? or will "upgrading" cause less headaches down the road?

Anyone have any input and/or tips on prepping the car for such a long journey? 

I will be pulling a small vintage trailer as well so I was going to add air shocks in the back to help with the load.

 

Thanx

...D...

Life is to short to live in one place.

1948.jpg

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If you are serious then have every single mechanical component in the car rebuilt by a reputable mechanic now.  I would include pulling and rebuildiing the engine, clutch, pressure plate, transmission, rear end seals, brakes, front end component.   Then pack along spares for the ride:  starter, cap, rotor, point, condenser, belts, water pump, etc.

 

An before going to south america,  I would put 2k miles on it locally to get the kinks out.

 

Ad for upgrades,  dual master cylinder,  dual batteries, potentially electric fan on the radiator depending on how hot it gets down there (pretty hot).

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Sell it and buy a new camper van. That is the best advice I have.

 

If you don't like that, then I suggest you go over the car and check everything and repair or replace worn out or broken parts. Do a compression test on the engine, check oil pressure, remove hubs and inspect brakes, check brake lines and hoses, wiring, all hoses and rubber parts under the hood etc. You don't have to rebuild everything but you do need everything in top shape. Especially check under the hood, rubber parts deteriorate faster from heat and gas fumes, any rubber hoses that are spongy or hardened should be replaced. Same with old fan belts.  Wiring is also suspect unless it has been replaced.

 

Replace all lubricants in engine, trans, differential, top up steering box, repack wheel bearings,  grease chassis. You may want to take along a grease gun and grease it yourself. It is supposed to be done every 1000 or 2000 miles and garages won't do it for $2 anymore.

 

Follow the maintenance schedule laid out in the owner's manual. You will find it needs a lot more upkeep than a modern car but the work is easier to do and cheaper than on a new car. Learn to work on it yourself and take some tools along. You won't find many mechanics familiar with 1948 cars anymore. Bring along a kit of tools.

 

Take it for a few long trips of 100 miles or longer, watching out for overheating, leaks, or other signs of distress.

 

You can take along spare points, condenser etc but probably won't need them. Light bulbs more likely to come in handy.  A factory manual is a must. If you anticipate certain parts are not up to the trip, replace them before you start. Most everything is available from NAPA within a couple of days.

 

I would seriously consider a Frantz oil filter and change to synthetic oil but I don't know if synthetic is compatible with your engine particularly gaskets and seals. Maybe some oil expert will chime in.

 

Have you checked the road situation? Are there good paved roads, or at least well maintained gravel roads the whole route? Bad roads can make a big difference, your car is no longer young and there is such a thing as metal fatigue.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)

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Thanx Rusty, good advice as always. But anyone can do it in a new camper van that's exactly why we got this car.

We don't leave till Oct next year so we have plenty of time to work out the kinks, will probably be in the US for the first year so roads wont be a problem for a while. And with the kids in the car we probably wont do more than 3 to 4 hours driving a day. Taking it slow will be the name of the game.

I have all the tools, grease gun and can swing a wrench so I will be working on it myself. I am going to go google Frantz filters right now.

thanx also alsancle, but a complete rebuild of ALL the parts would probably cut 6 months off the travel budget, I'm up for doing what I can with a wrench and my time but that would cost more than the car cost me.

Edited by 48NWYKR
spelling (see edit history)

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If the car is in top shape it should make the trip without too much trouble. The guy who wrote "The Long Long Trailer" travelled around the US with a similar Chrysler, a 1948 New Yorker convertible towing a 28 foot Airfloat trailer. Mind you he did it in 1948.

 

http://www.trailerite.com/clintontwiss.html

 

https://archive.org/details/longlongtrailer001201mbp

 

If the car has not been driven much there could be a number of breakdowns in the first few hundred or thousand miles then very little trouble thereafter. That is why it pays to go over the car carefully and take a few long trips before you hit the road for keeps.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)

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48NWYKR - I love your plan, this will be something you and the family will remember for the rest of your lives! 

 

I have done quite a few road trips in old cars though nothing this epic. 

 

I would recommend thinking of all the little things that could let you down that are easy to carry. For example I had a throttle return spring fail on me once, and I got home by setting the carby at a place were I could launch and drive but it wasn't much fun. 

 

In terms of modifications, I would highly recommend an oil filter, high quality fuel filter and electric fan and as Rusty said check all rubber hoses very carefully, if not just replacing them to start with. If it were me I would also consider swapping to an electronic ignition, but I don't think this is required, it just might make life a bit easier. 

 

As the other guys have said, replace all fluids and fully service the car before you leave, and make sure you stick to the scheduled servicing as per the hand book once you are out there. 

 

I would also have a plan as to how you will handle it if the car does break down.  Consider getting a premium AAA membership and have some provisions in terms of food and water stashed just in case you get caught in the middle of nowhere and what you will do if you did happen to have to rebuild the motor somewhere. 

 

Finally please post lots of photos so we can all live vicariously through you! Perhaps even consider setting up a facebook account were we can all follow you? 

 

Cheers


Stewart 

 

 

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Also in terms of oil my understanding is you need to run an oil which is suitable for older engines because they have a higher zinc content which is critical for flat tappet camshafts.

 

I have always used mineral. 

 

Cheers   

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The 48 Chrysler has one of the engines that doesn't require a lot of zinc. It has an underhead camshaft and a lightly loaded valve train, like today's overhead camshafts. It is the hi compression, pushrod OHV V8s that required extra zinc starting with the 1951 models.

 

If I was going to add anything it would be a little upper cylinder lubricant like Redex , Bardahl, Marvel Mystery Oil or 2 stroke oil  to the gas. Cars of that time were more prone to wear the rings, cylinders and valves. A good additive was said to double engine life between overhauls. You could even add an inverse oiler to feed the oil automatically.

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Rusty! just loved that book The long, long trailer! could not stop once I started! and Stewart yes we will probably be doing a FB or tumbler kind of account for folks to follow (closer to the time).

Like I said we don't leave till October next year so we have time to sort the old girl out.  For now we are going to rent her out for weddings and currently have her registered for cars in movies with a local agent.

 

Two-stroke oil in the fuel eh? (Or one of the other additives) never thought of that.  Right now I run on premium gas because it has the least amount of ethanol in it so that it does not gum up the carb. (Those old cars use to run on leaded fuel as well but this is not a very hi compression engine so it should be fine right?) with the additives I can just read the label but with two-stroke? how much would you need?

As for oil i was thinking the Amsoil for older high milage cars with a Frantz filter. 

Can't seem to find a 6v electronic ignition (nothing specific for a 48 new yorker anyway) and i have moved away from converting to 12v so i guess i will just take a spare set of points etc with me. And definitely a good BCAA membership. (We live in Vancouver Canada)

All good suggestions boys, keep it coming!

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Thanks Rusty, you make a great point, I had never really thought about how lightly loaded the valve train is on the old motors. 

 

Make sure you take a condenser, rotor, cap and coil as well.  I recently had a lot of trouble with our 1930 DeSoto Straight 8 and it turned out to be the condenser.

 

You also should replace all the fuel lines with modern line because some of the old lines can't handle any ethanol.   

 

Something else I would recommend doing is to get the old girl dyno tuned / tuned on the road using a wideband meter.  We dyno tuned the 30 DeSoto and increased power from 27 to 36kw at the wheels (just on a tuning run, we didn't stall it down for max power) and picked up 3 extra MPG too which over your trip could pay for it self fairly easily.  

 

Cheers 


Stewart 

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If upper cylinder lubricant is required at all, it is really only at startup and just before shut down. Most wear occurs when the engine is cold and the oil is thickest.

 

To reduce engine wear, use a multi-grade, 5W or 10W-30 or 40. The 5W part refers to the oil's viscosity when cold, which is when you need to get the oil moving ASAP to lubricate the engine. I have also seen test results that indicate that many synthetic oils are better than mineral at minimising engine wear. While the valve mechanisms are supposedly lightly loaded (I only have here-say for that), you can remove concern about that from your thinking if you use a diesel oil - they have more zinc than oils designed for contemporary petrol engines. CI-4 diesel oils have the highest zinc content, CJ-4 a little less.

 

I have done 2000 mile trips in my 1930 Dodge 8. The fuel pump failed and the fan belt reached the end of its life. There were also two or three punctures until I found the cause. The wheel liners or rust bands or flaps (wire wheels) were strips rather than circular and movement at the end of the overlapping strip caused a pinch in the tube. The fuel pump failure was caused by me making sure the stirrup on the glass bowl was tight - too tight as it turned out, warping the top of the pump so it didn't seal on the bowl. Packing luggage for four into the car was the biggest problem! Grace (3.5 yrs) was distracted during driving by learning basic reading on that trip.

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Your low compression engine will run best on low octane fuel. The octane should look like the compression ratio. Your Chrysler with 6.7:1 compression needs 67 octane gas, more or less. It will run best and develop most power on 87 octane regular gas. It would run even better on lower octane gas but they don't make it anymore.  In 1948 they did not add very much lead to the gas. They used a little, but the real high compression, high octane OHV engines did not come out until around 1954.

 

That is why Chrysler equipped your engine with hardened valve seats from the factory. Only in later years, did they dispense with this feature, when heavily leaded gas made it unnecessary. Now that they have eliminated lead some older engines are suffering, unless they have hardened valve seats installed. But yours has them already.

 

Gasohol has been available since the mid 80s and all fuel pumps and carburetors rebuilt since then use alcohol proof parts. If you are in doubt you could replace the rubber hoses in the fuel system and get a rebuilt carb and fuel pump, but chances are they were replaced long ago.

 

If I used 2 stroke oil I think I would add about 1/4 of a quart bottle to each full tank of gas (20 gallons). I believe the low octane gas of 1948 was oilier than the new gas. The new gas seems "dry" compared to the stuff we used to get. With Redex, MMM etc I would go by the directions on the can.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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Sorry guys I have been on the road for a few days here, so I think I'm getting closer to a game plan of sorts,

give the entire car a good front to back inspection

check/replace all hoses (fuel/coolant/brakes)

change all the fluids (engine/transmission/diff)

add a Frantz oil filter and good fuel filter.

clean and inspect all electrical connections especially grounding straps.

I will swap the generator for a 6v alternator, ( I can find 60 amps all day long on ebay... anyone know if/where I can get 80 or 100amps?)

check/replace engine and transmission mounts (rubber)

switch back to regular octane fuel.

replace the fuel pump (yeah its not working right now, running a backup electric pump)

install a set of air shocks in the back to help with the trailer load

and finally add a 6v electric fan to the radiator.

 

load up with some spare bulbs and small parts like fan belts, redex etc and hit the road for a few test runs before the big day.

Edited by 48NWYKR (see edit history)

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If the top of your fuel pump is warped like mine was and the glass bowl doesn't seal (i.e. rocks on its seat), it can be easily straightened with clamps, a piece of flat steel and boiling water.

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Do not change the fluid in the Fluid Drive coupling or you may end up with a leaker.

The graphite and bellows seal might not like the new different fluid.

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I did that 6v pos ground alternator thing a couple of years ago and it worked great.

The only odd thing was the whine that an alternator makes when charging.

Be sure and take a good look at your wiring so that the amp gauge will show charge.

Mine was a 60 amp and it was plenty, my car had two blower motors. But no clock, radio, fuel pump or fan.

Since you are going to fix the fuel pump and probably wont run the fan ( and if you were running the radiator fan you wouldn't be using the blower motors) that often I would think that 60 amps should work for you.

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Mention of the radiator made me wonder if it was in good enough shape for an extended time away from home base?

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Those 1946-8 Chrysler 8 cylinder radiators are very large and unique in shape and are costly to repair.

1942-48 Chrysler Eight C39 Radiator (Large).JPG

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4 hours ago, JACK M said:

I did that 6v pos ground alternator thing a couple of years ago and it worked great.

The only odd thing was the whine that an alternator makes when charging.

Be sure and take a good look at your wiring so that the amp gauge will show charge.

Mine was a 60 amp and it was plenty, my car had two blower motors. But no clock, radio, fuel pump or fan.

Since you are going to fix the fuel pump and probably wont run the fan ( and if you were running the radiator fan you wouldn't be using the blower motors) that often I would think that 60 amps should work for you.

So did you go with a 3 wire alternator or 1? if you used a 1 wire how did you get your amp meter to show charge?

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You mentioned air shocks, that reminds me that Chrysler was one of the first to adopt modern tubular shocks. The ones on your car are most likely worn out, they only work well for 20,000 to 25,000 miles. After that they may look good and not leak but new shocks make a noticable improvement.

 

Another thing, on your car, on the front Chrysler engineers connected the top shock mount to the top control arm rather than the frame. If you can change the top mount to the frame and use modern shocks it will be an improvement. I think someone makes a kit for this.

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19 hours ago, 48NWYKR said:

So did you go with a 3 wire alternator or 1? if you used a 1 wire how did you get your amp meter to show charge?

 

One wire, I just traced the output thru the gauge rather than to the battery direct (solenoid). That would work but you would need a volt meter hooked up somewhere on the ignition side of the switch.

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48N,

 

WELCOME!  Neat car ... & awesome plan.  I'd love to be on the road 24/7/365.  Hope it all works out, you get the car ready for the trip & you have a blast.  Should be a very cool experience & rather educational.

 

 

Cort, www.oldcarsstronghearts.com
pig&cowValves.paceMaker * 1979 CC to 2003 MGM + 81mc

"Push the pedal down watch the world around fly by us" | Mat Kearney | 'Nothing Left To Lose'

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Gentlemen, So I found this guy Bill from Howard enterprises who will build you a 6v alternator to your spec (1/2/3 wire/positive ground/negative ground)

up to 100 amps for under $200. 

So I think I will go with 100 amps and also try to fit two optima batteries under the hood.

The story continues

 

Rusty I have not been able to find that suspension kit for the front shocks you were talking about, do you have any more details for me?

 

On 11/25/2016 at 10:03 PM, c49er said:

I see you have a add on power brake booster on the car too.

The car is in storage for a few weeks until I can get around to wrenching on it and I don't have the workshop manual to look it up yet but I take it that its not standard on old Chryslers? Was it specific to the New Yorker?

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