Mark Wetherbee

Question, what is the length of a 1931 Pierce-Arrow 43 4-door sedan?

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Also, if anyone can comment on parts availability and how well these will keep up and stop in modern traffic it would be appreciated. Thanks again 

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Figure 18 feet with the rear mounted spare, if you're looking at the one on EBay.

 

mechanical brakes, almost 16 linear feet of brake lining with huge brake drums.  If properly adjusted, will lock up wheels and are very good brakes.

 

in stock form, will go 55 mph all day long.  My car (1931 Pierce Model 43 phaeton) has an add on overdrive, and will keep up with 65-70 mph traffic all day long.

 

no real weaknesses.  Exhaust manifolds crack, there. Were some new ones cast but I think those have dried up. Original headlight lenses getting scarce.  Lots of parts available through the Pierce Arrow Society and various suppliers.

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That is the car, and thank you for the information David. I might be able to make it fit in my garage but I was hoping the sellers length estimate was a bit over... I guess not.

 

 I know a good machinist that will stitch cast iron, I don’t know if he will do anything with that kind of heating but another question before making a commitment to the car.

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Manifolds are extremely difficult to fix, due to the temperature extremes that the metal is exposed to in use.

 

These straight eight manifolds are quite long, and if bolted too tightly or incorrectly they can't expand lengthwise and will crack.

 

The original Pierce installation for the manifolds had heavy curved washers under the nut, with just the end points contacting the manifold mounting ears.  Thus, the manifold could actually move a little bit when it expanded.  Fastening them with regular washers locks the metal in place, and expansion and contraction will eventually cause a crack.

 

If it goes for a reasonable price, I wouldn't let the manifold keep me from buying it, but I'd be looking for a replacement.

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Thank you again, if I can get her I’ll have a lot more questions but you have been a big help!

 

How is your Hupp that you bought the Trufault shocks for coming along? 

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Hupp is done, no shocks on it yet!  Yes, I'm very familiar with the Model 43 Pierce, if I can help in any way let me know.

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Thank you again David, I’m sure those questions will be coming soon unless something unforeseen happens with the sale. I bought the car for what I think was a good price and will get it sorted when I’m finally in possession of it. Thank you for your time and insight.

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I don't think that's an outrageous price by any means, particularly since the car is running and driving.  Congratulations!

 

One of the first things I'd do is inspect all the wiring, and make sure it's in good condition, if not, then replace as needed.  Nothing worse than shorts and wiring fires.  

 

Second thing I'd do is find an original mechanical fuel pump.  From one of the pictures, it apparently has an electric fuel pump, they couldn't find a low pressure one so they put one of those cheap pressure regulators on it, clearly seen in the carb side of engine picture.  That, and rubber tubing for gas on the exhaust manifold side of the engine, are not good combinations.  If you still want electric, find a low pressure pump to eliminate the regulator and hard pipe all connections.

 

Third thing I'd do is check the water manifold on the side of the engine, they go bad and rust internally, where the water distribution plate is located.  When that distribution plate is gone, then you'll have end cylinders getting hotter than cylinders by water inlet. Pictured are some extras I have in various conditions to show you the distribution.

 

The Model 43 engine (365 cubic inch) is the only Pierce 8 to use a timing gear instead of a timing chain.  You may hear some noise from that gear, a little is ok but if very noisy it may have issues.

 

Spring shackles on Pierce Arrows were actually bearings, and are known to corrode/wear and lock up.  There are kits available to repair the shackles.

 

Brakes are excellent on the 31 Pierce, over 16 feet of brake lining, and brake drums are tool steel.  They can't be turned on a regular brake machine, they must be ground.  Mechanical brakes, so they must be in excellent shape and adjusted properly, something else to check.

 

If all your linkage is there, then when you press the starter pedal, it automatically advances the throttle control in the middle of the steering wheel.  Just be aware if you start it and it's idling fast, that  might be the reason.

 

You'll notice a large "push button" in the middle of the shift knob.  That's your free-wheeling control.  If you shift without pressing down that knob, then you're in free-wheeling, which in hilly country can be scary and dangerous.  Press the knob in while shifting, and you're able to go further into the shift pattern and "lock" the gears into direct drive, where you'll have engine braking.

 

 

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Mark, if you are going to haul the car home from upstate NY yourself, you should stop by and see John Cislak in Indian Orchard Mass on your way home. It will be only about 15 miles out of your way, and he can help you with almost any parts you may need. He can also go over the car by eye for you and offer some advice. John and I were on the tour with your car about ten years ago in upstate. PM me for his information. Good luck with the new car! Ed

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Thank you David and Ed, I don’t have an enclosed trailer large enough to get her myself, but I have been in touch with a reputable company and will set up plans to move her south. At some point I’ll be back up to central Mass to help with dad’s estate (assuming my brother who isn’t into cars wants the advice) and I will PM you for that contact information momentarily. I’d already planned to look into that side cover from the eBay photograph of it, and appreciate the confirmation that it could be an issue, as for the wiring, that was suggested by the seller so it was well on the radar. Until I see the car in person, I don’t know what else to ask...

 

I just joined the PA Society and am awaiting access to the members parts of the site where I expect there’s bunches of information to guide me in keeping her roadworthy. I also need to find a radiator cap or two, one for my archer and a second for any aftermarket mascot I might display.

 

 Thank you both again for your encouragement, it’s quite a leap of faith but I have been looking for just such a car for quite some time now and I can’t wait for it to get here! Now all I have to do is make room in my tiny garage.

 

Regards,

Mark

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Mark, my brother-in-law will be coming down south in a few weeks, he has an enclosed 48 foot trailer heading to Miami. Depending on timing maybe he can haul your car down. 

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congrats on your purchase. Not a bad price.

 

I have a model 43 also and it is the close coupled sedan, so a bit shorter.

 

these cars are pretty darn heavy!

 

well built and yes, parts arent cheap but shouldnt need too many parts for your car.

 

I wouldnt worry about the manifold straight away.

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I was pleased with the price considering it’s replacing a Model A that I sold for around the same money. And while parts might be expensive, it’s my enjoyment factor and I planned a few thousand in reserves to get her home and sorted out. The fact that it was driving was a big plus, looking at the wiring, the cooling, and brakes are first on my list. Not planning a restoration, but I will see what a good buffing will do for the paint, and I have to get another mounting for my wireless turn signals before I get to far from home.

 

A good friend has offered me bud vases, but I think they might have been outdated by 31... will have to see but comments are appreciated.

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