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It sounds like you have your pivot shaft problems solved but if it happens again you might consider a slightly longer shaft with grooves cut in to the ends to accept circle clips. In going through a box of fuel pump cores I found a few done that way. It may have been factory or a fix back in the day.

 

Nice car and great thread.

 

Dave

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Posted (edited)

So my wife and I were out in the car tonight. We picked up a tranny. She was on top. I was on the bottom. It was a bit of a struggle but we got it to settle in....Wait minute.

 

I was out in the garage working on my ‘38. I asked for her to help me guide in the transmission. I was under the car. She was up above in the cab. Floor pans out. The tranny wouldn’t line up. No way no how.  I had a spare pinion and it wouldn’t go through the clutch into the pilot bushing either. So out it all came. Tranny,  clutch disc, throw out bearing and pressure plate. My wife dropped the throwout bearing from above. It bounced off my nose. Now I was bleeding and head throbbing. I shook it off we carried on. 

 

 I used the spare pinion to line everything up perfectly. Bolted everything in place. Pulled spare pinion out. Tranny went in like a glove! Bolted a bunch of stuff down. Fired up the engine and tested all gears. Success! So far so good. Driveshaft will go back in Sunday evening. Maybe a test drive then. Gear changes feel tight and crisp so far!
 

Washing up to go to bed, in the mirror I see double black eyes developing. Lol. Nice!

 

She’s a good woman. Helped me many times out in the shop over the past 33 years. I tell her she has small Chinese sized hands. She can get them in places I cannot. We laugh. She’s a great “dropped nut retriever” too. 
 

 

Edited by keithb7 (see edit history)
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Hope your face is feeling better, Keith.  I dropped a cast iron casserole on my foot and broke my big toe, so I've been watching a lot of old movies on TV.  I found your car today while watching "Gun Crazy," a great picture from 1950.  Here it is:

 

38plymouth.jpg.4a2f9ddd0ab8b4c79d725d03945cc36b.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Neil my face is feeling better today!

 

I fired up my car tonight to test drive after my recent new clutch gear replacement.  The tranny feels great. No grinding at all. Smooth clean tight shifts up and down between 2nd and 3rd gear. I can hardly believe how good  this '38 car feels as it keeps improving. Compared when when I acquired it. The tranny countershaft was sealed up with anaerobic sealant at the rearward end. Been full of oil for 4 days no leaks yet. Seems good. Finger crossed.

 

I've read lots of talk about different oils to use in the 3 speed tranny. I have heard that Redline MTL works really well in these old 3 speeds. I did a little more reading and researching. I decided to try Caterpillar TDTO (Transmission Drive Train Oil). SAE 50. I work at the local Caterpillar dealer. The old timers here tell me it's a great oil for my needs. Cat tells us to use it in many applications for axles, final drives, transmissions.  So I figured I'd give it a try and report my findings.  Early indications so far are I have nice smooth shifts. I also placed a very strong magnet inside the gearbox. Max distance from any moving parts. It is submersed in oil. It will collect any future metal wear particles and help keep my tranny oil clean.

 

So, the question remains did my shifts improve from the new clutch gear? Or from removing the GL-5 and putting in a better suited oil? I'm not sure I'll ever know, as I did both. I had some other odd noises going on that I seem to have quelled as well. I installed a new flywheel pilot bushing, I trimmed up the rear motor mounts so they fit properly, and I found & replaced a broken spring in the trunnion at the front of my drive shaft. I very carefully measured transmission countershaft end play. I swapped out various thickness washer to get it right in spec.  All drivetrain parts and systems should be aligned nicely at this point. I am happy with the results and feel good about the work accomplished. 

Edited by keithb7 (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

Well, finally I figured out where the bottom of the fuel tank is! Took me a while. I estimated that when the gauge was reading between ½ and ¼ it was time to get some gas. That theory has been working so far. Many miles of trouble free driving. Then tonight, it happened. The gauge was showing just around half. The engine sputtered for a second climbing a hill. Then it recovered fine. All was normal afterward. I thought, hmm. Interesting. I had wondered why it stumbled. A few miles later, dead.  I pulled the air filter to confirm... No fuel. Darn.  These sort of issues never seem to arise when I am out alone for a cruise. Tonight my wife jumped in to tag along, and we run out of fuel.

 

Fortunately I was in a safe area. We were touring our old neighbourhood where we used to live. By chance a guy from my work, lived 50 feet away from where the engine died. I rang his doorbell. He had some fuel in a jerry can. Enough to get us to a gas station.  So far, "knock on wood" every single time I have broken down in either of my old cars, I was able to address the issues and drive the car home. Getting to know the ins-and-outs of your entire car has its benefits. The back-up electric 6V fuel pump was awesome and quickly primed the system again.

 

I am glad now that the fuel issue is out of the way. With these old inaccurate fuel gauges, you sorta gotta figure out where empty really is. I generally carry a gallon or two in a gas can in the truck. I had used it last week for some -home garden equipment.  It'll never happen again in my '38. We know where "E" really is now.

 

My latest video from the shop today:

 

 

Edited by keithb7 (see edit history)
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I had the same issue after I partially restored my ‘48 Packard. Yup, ran out of gas twice, both times wife was with. One of the most satisfying little  jobs I accomplished on that car was correctly repairing the gas gauge. Thanks again for posting another video....excellent as usual!

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  • 2 weeks later...

As I'm sure you know, Keith, you CAN adjust and recalibrate your gas gauge so that it's reasonably accurate.  But maybe being out with your wife and "running out of gas" by mistake on purpose brings back memories from your youth! 😄

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Hi @neil morse, I figured there was some way to get the gas gauge accurate. I will get to that task at some point. I have not seen instructions yet for my specific gauge. In due time I will do my research.

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I ran to a local auto parts store this evening. Getting parts for my son’s car. Walking back out, a local kid  (20-ish) was doing a walk-around inspection on my Plymouth.  I walk up and say hi. 


“Nice car!”,  he says.  “Holy smokes. How old is it?”, he asks. 
I like to say, “82 years old”. That shocks ‘em...Then tell them its a 1938.  Big grins.  The kid says “Ya sure don’t see many of those around,  hey?” 
 

“Nope. Not around here. Just the one here in Kamloops that I know of.”, I reply. 
 

Just a typical day out in the old girl.  Not much new to share. Just letting you know were having fun over here. She’s running spectacular. Engine doesn’t  spin over 1 full revolution and its running. Smooth as silk. Just rolled to 98,500 miles on the odometer.  Can’t hardly wait to roll it over to zero. 

9F38AA93-9F23-4D3C-B4AE-140B237F8E5F.jpeg.0908d5ea3cf3a637c00ddd2743bf9547.jpeg

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1 hour ago, keithb7 said:

Hi @neil morse, I figured there was some way to get the gas gauge accurate. I will get to that task at some point. I have not seen instructions yet for my specific gauge. In due time I will do my research.

 

Do you have the shop manual?  My '48 Chrysler manual had a pretty detailed section about the gas gauge.  Assuming that the dash unit is okay (which it probably is), you need to pull out the sending unit and make sure it's working right.  Then you can calibrate it when it's out of the tank by temporarily running an extra wire outside the car so you can hold the sending unit near the driver's door so you can look at the gauge while you move the float arm up an down.  Then you can bend the arm so it accurately shows "empty" and "full" when the float is in the right position.

 

I'm hoping your Plymouth is like my Chrysler with an access hole in the trunk floor so you can remove the sending unit without having to drop the gas tank.  I was shocked when I found out that this feature was missing from my Buick.  In order to remove the sending unit, you have to drop the tank, which it turns out is pretty much standard for GM cars.  What were they thinking?  Who knows?

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Posted (edited)

I do have an original 1938 shop manual. I’ve yet to read anything in there about calibrating the fuel gauge. 
 

I don’t recall seeing a window in the trunk floor to access the fuel float mechanism. I’ll take a look. My’53 Chrysler does have access from the trunk. 
 

I will get to the calibration eventually. I’m having too much fun driving it in prime cruising season right now. 

 

 

178FBE87-582D-4047-9352-9600BB3E4DAC.jpeg

Edited by keithb7 (see edit history)
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That is a neat picture, good eye! Being retired and an early bird, I find 5-7 ayem to be the best time to drive my older cars. No traffic. Just got in from a 20 mile ride in my Model T.

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Hey Keith. Very nice work! I have a question for you sir. Did you replace your rear axle pinion oil seal? If so-how much of a job was that? And have you any advice? I will tackle that on my ‘37 soon. Many thanks. Cheers. 

Chad

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Posted (edited)

Thanks @Blackbetty .

 

I removed the diff and axles. The diff was in great shape. Backlash good. Bearings felt great. Alignment and gear wear great too. I put new axle bearings and all new seals in the axles.  The previous owner had resealed the pinion a while ago. However the car had not seen much use. A modern lip seal was installed at that time.  It looked good and had no signs of leaking. Initially Inhad thought about changing it anyway just to know it was good. I had planned to do that once the axle assy and brakes were all rebuilt. Then I could lower the car and pry on that pinion nut maybe to break it loose. 
 

I thought I’d test drive my work before going into it further. I installed a new diff gasket and fill it with oil. That was back in Feb or March if I recall. Brakes finished up. Wheels back on. I’ve been driving it ever since. The pinion seal is dry. There are no leaks. All turned out well. So, ultimately I’ll leave the pinion seal until I need to someday change it. 
 

If you like I can roll under my car and get the part number off the modern seal, for you. I recall seeing the part number on it. It might even be legible!

 

“Any advice?”, you mentioned. 
Well if you’re going in there, if you don’t know the history, change diff oil at a minimum. Consider pulling the rear brake drums. Look for axle seal leaks. Axle bearings? Reseal diff housing and pinion seal. New grease seals. That’s what I did. But may be completely overkill for you!

 

While all that was going on I ordered a drive shaft trunnion rebuild kit. Lo-and-behold I found a broken main spring in the front trunnion. It was causing me weird rattle noises when hard breaking. I was stumped as to what was causing the noise.  Happy to have found it. All good now!  


Good luck whatever you decide to do. If you do go into the axles check out my You Tube channel. Lots of tips on there. 

Edited by keithb7 (see edit history)
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Thanks for the reply. I have seen many of your videos including the one you mention. I had heard the pinion seal was a tough job. I incorrectly assumed you changed yours. I’ll get around to mine. Thanks buddy. Happy motoring. 

Chad

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My latest upgrade. Dual USB charger with built in digital voltmeter.  Tucked inside the glovebox. Out of sight. Modern convenience. 
 

 

3C0CA4B3-93D8-4A4D-AC3D-19C21609274C.jpeg

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I finally got around to performing a full valve set today. The best results were netted when I stuck wrenches and feeler gauges into the running engine. You can indeed set some of them while the engine is running. Others valves are a little more difficult to access while its running.  
 

Folks will chime in and say “no need, set them cold and add .002”. In my experience thats not ideal. All valves do not run at the same temperatures when they get hot. Setting them all the same when cold, you’ll be too tight on the hotter valves. The hotter valves will elongate more than cooler valves. Those longer valves will have tighter valve lash. 
 

Some one else may say, “No need to have the engine running. Just hot, then shut it off and set the valves”. Yes that’ll work too. However then each cylinder must be set to TDC. That’s not a big deal. Easiest way to do that is pull all the spark plugs and turn the fan blade by hand. Then set valves in pairs. Cylinders 1&6, 2&5, 3&4. That’ll work.  
 

Yet in my experience the most positive and assuring results came from inserting feeler gauges in the tappet to valve gap, while it was running. No need at all try stop and find TDC. If the setting was .008 I’d set it so an .008” feeler gauge would tug in while running. Yet a .010” gauge would no go in.  As mentioned, some valves were easily adjusted with wrenches while running. Others not. It’s just too dang tight in there. I have heard of extra long valve setting wrenches. Those would be nice to have. Perhaps I will try to round some up. 


After a test drive the engine feels good. Smooth. The peace of mind is the best part. Knowing there are no tight valves.

 

I dumped the engine oil and filter today too. The hot weather is here. I went with a 10W40. Seems to me I picked up a few psi on the oil pressure gauge. 
 

My next project is the radiator. Its gotta go. It’s leaky and corroded pretty bad. With the hotter weather the last two trips up the hill home, in hot weather coolant was spraying out the cracks.  I will pull the rad and take it to the rad shop. Its not the original rad anyway. Original was removed when the original 23” 201 engine was removed.  A 25” long 226 was installed. The rad had to be moved ahead. A slightly smaller rad was installed in the 60’s, pushed further  ahead into the tapered nose cone.  I’ll try and order up a brand new rad that’ll fit! I’m excited about that. Looking forward to a new rad. 

 

48AD8BB5-AC41-4A39-9353-22FAA82C5AD1.jpeg

Edited by keithb7 (see edit history)
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Having never adjusted valves on a running motor I would think that would be a messy job? I just adjusted valves on my Model A, pulled the plugs and, using “the rule of 9” I methodically went through the process. Results were like yours, much smoother runner.


I would definitely recommend a new radiator for your car.....I eventually do purchase new radiators for all my old cars, especially the Fords. I have had issues with existing radiators when I purchase an oldie so, instead of patching old ones I pop for a new one. Saves a lot of fiddling around and long term grief.

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Posted (edited)

On the L6 Chrysler its not a messy job. The oil is not splashing around. The area where the valves are get a flow of oil that settles in pools. Sorta like how the Romans or the Incas re-routed water centuries ago. It drips down into the tappets.  A misty oil fog also seems to settle on everything.  I was breathing oil fumes, I guess.  Lol. You jack the car up. Remove RF wheel and inner fender window. You actually get good access to the valves under the exhaust manifold. You get in there and do the valve set. Sort of hugging the RF brake drum.  I came out with a black eye. My wife lauged. I guess it was oily smoke built up around my eye. I never noticed any fumes. I guess I was really “into it”, to get the valve lash settings right. 
 

While doing the job I did find myself often thinking, “ How in the heck do older guys over 65 do this?”  
 

I felt fine until I got down under my car a day later. My hips and butt were sore! I hadn’t noticed until I tried to lay under the car, today on the garage floor. Ouch! Sore body parts. 
 

No, its not for the weary. However it  is fun and very rewarding. I think I am going to get some extra long tappet wrenches for the next time I go in there.  I will do it again. I have 2 old Mopar L6 cars on the road in regular use. Its only a matter of when, not if, I’m back inside an L6 valve cover. 
 

 

Edited by keithb7 (see edit history)
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Car sounds great.  I get the logic of going for the premium gas as no ethanol outweighs anti ignition qualities of octane.   A good approach if your ignition is up to snuff.  Otherwise, if your ignition system is marginal, premium can actually make things worse.  The hot start test says it all though! 

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20 hours ago, keithb7 said:

While doing the job I did find myself often thinking, “ How in the heck do older guys over 65 do this?”  


When I hit the big 6-0 I realized that it WAS getting more difficult to have fun with the maintenance side of the hobby. An alarm went off and I made some big changes that now allow me to “make like a monkey” when I work on my cars. Now approaching 67 I find it more fun and easier than ever to work on this stuff.
 

I did run ethanol free gas in my ‘48 Packard and it made a big difference over regular gas. Not so with the old Fords....4-1 compression doesn’t need the good stuff.

Edited by Jeff Perkins / Mn (see edit history)
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@Jeff Perkins / Mn the big lifestyle changes you refer to. Was that getting better exercise to be in better physical condition? Muscle toning? Lose some weight maybe to be able to "make like a monkey"? I can see how that would be a huge help in getting in, under and around cars as we age. I'm comfortable and able at 49 currently. But 60 and beyond I imagine I'll have to work to maintain strength and agility.

 

Maybe I am guessing, but I think it's the lack of ethanol and the absence of all symptoms that show up from high heat, that my car is benefitting from.  Heat that escalates as summer ambient air temps climb. I am not so sure the compression in my '38 benefits from the premium fuel. I seem to think is the that the ethanol is gone. I am really noticing an improvement in reliability of the fuel system. I have never had as much confidence in the car as I do now, even  in the hottest months of the year. No more anxiety, hoping the engine will start in the blazing noon sun at 100F, when you stop to fuel up! LOL.

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The nearest station selling non-ethanol gas was about 12 miles away.  I stopped by last week and discovered they have stopped selling it.  Now the nearest is 62 miles away.  Sigh.

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Thinking I’ll rebuild this distributor and use it in my ‘38. Its a spare that I have. I wanted to learn more about the inner guts of a distributor, so I dove into this one. I believe this one came out of a ‘53 Plymouth. The engine in my ‘38 came out of a ‘54 Dodge. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Supposed to be a rebuild thread I know...But you kind folks who keep coming back here are the closest to knowing me and my car.

We had a wedding here on Sat. Our eldest son married. The car was part of the action.  More rewards for me again from this '38 project. It sure has been fun.

 

The older folks seen here would be Momma and my mechanic. That's also my '53 Chrysler Windsor behind.

 

 

Rach.jpeg

 

 

Momma.jpeg

Edited by keithb7 (see edit history)
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She's tempermental...She gets what she wants, when she wants it. Not when you are good n'ready...

 

 

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On 7/28/2020 at 7:27 PM, Jeff Perkins / Mn said:

Congratulations Keith, your post is well received in these quarters. Love that B/W photo!

 

I love the B&W photo also -- Keith, how did you achieve the "antique" effect in the photo, it's really perfect!

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Hi Neil. Thanks for the kind words. Is response to how did I achieve the antique photo effect?

 

There is a free app for iphones, in the app store. It's called "1998 CAM". It is a photo editing app. It allows me too add and remove a lot of filters and effects. You can add blotches,  grain, light streaks, etc typical to what you see in old developed film photos. I also adjusted my black and while colors and tones to something that sorta appealed to me. It is fun to try and find backgrounds that still today that could be typical in the late 30's. Old houses, fields and fences etc. In an effort to remove clues that tell it's a modern photo. Then edit them to look old. Old suits, hats, dresses, luggage etc help a lot too in recreating old photos. I'm just a beginner at it. I keep my eye open for old props and scenery. 

 

Here is another photo I took this year. Find an old house with vintage looking gardens and voila... I think I went a little too overboard on the specks maybe. Notice the "light leak" in the left side of the photo. Seems that somehow that happened a lot in old photos. The development process? I'm not sure. I welcome any tips that are give-away clues that it's not a vintage photo. It'll help me get better at this. Its fun.

 

 

1592276605192_filtered.jpg

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Well, I hope you don't mind a little "detour" on your thread, but I know exactly what you're talking about because I've been fooling around with the same idea.  But I hadn't yet found a way to add those defects, like the dust specks and and the light leaks.  I just downloaded 1998 Cam onto my phone, so I will be experimenting with it.  Thanks!

 

Also, again not to derail things too much, but here are a couple of my efforts in this area.  I've been using an old Kodak film camera (from around 1918), but it actually has such good resolution that I haven't been able to quite achieve the old "snapshot" effect I'm looking for.  However, since I had to adapt the camera to fit a different size film because the correct size is no longer made, I have produced some of my own actual "defects" as you can see on one of the shots below.  I actually was able to fool a friend with one of these shots because he didn't recognize that it was me in the photo!  Yet another way that we can have great fun with our old cars!

 

1103263754_presidio4(2)E.thumb.jpg.b1a302a7da115cd6ef62e2f54ed7a09d.jpg

 

1397742095_presidio3(2)E.thumb.jpg.31399f9fb95f487f0a3bb421d4195d79.jpg

 

StFrancis2.thumb.jpg.879cde4b8bea900cdac6ec8d48ba8d5a.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Looks good Neil. Keep at it. The app is easy to use. 
 

Getting back to my ‘38:

 

Today I pulled my rad and water pump. I’ll soak the front grill hardware with penetrating oil and try removing it tomorrow. I plan to yank out the water distribution tube to inspect. I'll also replace front motor mount with a new one. I discovered that I had no thermostat in the head.
 

So far so good. No issues.  Rad cores are plugged up pretty good, so flow is certainly down. I'll be dropping it off a rad shop to be re-core’d this week.  Water pump was well on its way. Some movement felt and the bearing not great. It took more torque to turn the bearing compared to the new WP I have here. She's getting a new rad, water pump, thermostat, belts and hope fully hoses.  100F ambient temps help you with your priorities.
 

19470C35-0A24-4EE7-B8AE-F7EC1C240751.jpeg

 

 

918C4D4A-4BAE-4667-B782-BA39534F8968.jpeg

Edited by keithb7 (see edit history)
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