Sean, Orangeville

1937 Chrysler Royal

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I picked up an a 1937 Royal.  It was a barn find.  No holes in body and everything intact.  Problem is that the previous owner filled engine with Hydraulic fluid to keep from seizing.  I put new plugs in.  Have to set the correct gap yet.  But how do I know if I have the right wires from distributor to the plugs.  The firing order is clearly visible on the head, so I have that.  Not sure which wire is the right starting point on the distributor.

Also, I know the brake master cylinder is shot.  I want to convert to a dual reservoir system for safety.  Any recommendations on make or places to purchase?

Much appreciated.

Sean

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I would suggest rebuilding the original master cylinder. It was sufficient for many years and will be again. Putting in a dual reservoir master cylinder will not make things safer. Chrysler engineering was the best when your car was built.

Edited by keiser31 (see edit history)
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I have been driving for 55 years. I have never had, or heard of, a catastrophic master cylinder failure. Like disc brakes and 12 volt systems, we have been told that they are better, so many times, that it has become "fact".

Be sure to get all of that hydraulic fluid out. I'm sure a little bit won't hurt. Add motor oil and change it after you get it running.

Bring number one piston up to TDC on the compression stroke. You can tell by holding your thumb in the plug hole and feeling the compression pop it off. Take off the distributor cap. The terminal that the rotor is pointing at is the number one terminal. Wire the rest in order according to direction of rotation

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The usual advice on long-stored vehicles is to remove the sump and clean it out. Oils of the past turned to sludge and left muck everywhere in the engine, including filling the bottom of the sump. Also ensure the oil pump pick-up filter is clean. Use a 5W or 10W-30 or -40 oil.

 

The main things you can do for safety are to drive defensively, drive defensively, drive defensively, fit a high level brake light and direction indicators. Seat belts will keep you alive in a low speed crash and keep the steering column out of your chest. As for the brakes, make sure the originals are in good condition and adjusted properly and they will do the job.

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You're lucky that the previous owner did fill the cylinders with oil.  Excellent preventative step.  I fully agree with the advice to take off the oil pan and clean out the goop.  It also gives you a chance to look around in the bottom end.  Try prying the crank fore and aft.  See how much it moves.  A lot of motion isn't good.  A tiny bit is ok.  See how much the rods move also.  

 

The whole goal here is to look at it in little bites.  Don't put too much thought into possible upgrades yet.  That time will come.  Be content to get it running stationary for now and concentrate on things like fuel, timing, spark, cooling and basic wiring.  Driving it around is a whole 'nother chapter and that can begin just by using the parking brake as you drive around your shop.  Best of luck with her and don't forget to enjoy the process!

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Sean if you are in Orangeville , Ontario , Canada . There is North American Rebuilders in Oakville 905  827  8321 who do excellent work and have done work for me . There is also John Stuart in Stoney Creek  905  662  7274  who do great work I have been told .

Edited by Mark Gregory (see edit history)
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If you don't get that number 1 plug wire in the right place, brakes won't be a problem.

2008-07-30_115117_dodge46.gif

 

Now, finding #1 is pretty easy. Are you sure you want to re-engineer the brake system? I am nudging 60 years of very deep involvement working on old cars and putting a lot of miles on them. I do brake service that I am quite confident in; and I have no desire or see any need to fiddle around with a bunch of hardware and have long heart to hearts with the counterman to scab in a double master cylinder. I also run four wheel drum brakes and biased tires. Of course, my brake lining is younger that my youngest child and the tires are even younger, both by a lot.

 

Give yourself a level of comfort for the technology. Go on Ebay and buy a couple of 1937 automotive trade magazines. Take a look at just the pictures, Sun or Allen diagnostic centers, oscilloscopes, Bear alignment equipment, brake lathes, Triplett VOM's; really techie stuff. And you get to thinking, maybe you can't keep these cars going right with baling wire and a pair of pliers. There is more to it. Just a hair over 30 years later a couple guys walked on the moon. The technology is there. Don't get sucked in.

Bernie

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To set timing you need first to put the #1 piston at top dead center. Take the spark plugs out and turn the engine over until you get a woosh of air out the #1 plug hole. To find TDC exactly, there is a pipe plug in the head, over the #6 cylinder. You can take the plug out and drop a screwdriver or wire down on top of the piston and see exactly when you have TDC as you slowly turn the engine. #1 and #6 rise and fall together so when you have one at TDC, so is the other one.

 

Now after all that you have the piston at TDC. Take the cap off the distributor and see if the rotor is pointing at #1. It really doesn't matter, you can move the plug wires around to suit, but if you want #1 to be a particular wire now is the time to pull the distributor and line it up.

 

Here is how to set the timing. Put a piece of cigarette paper between the points and turn the distributor slowly until it comes free. This is the moment the points open and when the points open, is when the spark plug fires. You may want to check the point gap before you do this.

 

OK now you have the point gap set, the timing set, and you know which wire goes to #1 cylinder. Go by the firing order on the head and put all the wires in the appropriate holes. When you get done be sure to double check because it is easy to mix them up especially 3 and 4.

 

It seems a little complicated but it really is not, if you break it down and do it step by step. This is the way to guarantee the timing is right and NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT.

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