businesscar1917

Early db screenside production

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I've been informed that the early screensides were not built at the factory site but built at a different location for the first couple of years. I have looked at a 1917 touring frame and running gear mine is the same but it is a screenside production date June 3 1917 no#159389 title has 1917 and people have told me it is a factory production was the very first productions the screenside body was put on a touring frame then the frames were reinforced for strength as time went on. It would be interesting to find out the location of where mine was built.  Thanks for your help   Jim

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Jim, where did this info come from? You raise an interesting subject. In all the scanning and reading on the early commercial car chassis I have done I have not come across this. My '18 Light Repair Truck is on a regular chassis with one extra leaf spring in the rear. I have found reference to chassis numbers, such as number 3 and 7 but don't think I have found any real specs for them. Sure wish I'd find a nest of early truck papers, might answer a lot of our questions. 

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The all-steel bodies of the early Screensides were built at the Edward G. Budd Manufacturing Co. in Philadelphia, PA.

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Last weekend I was in Moorseville, N.C. and was talking to a man that was 88 years old and told me his father worked for the Dodge Brothers in the early years and how on breaks they could have beer. He also said that Dodge was behind in car production that the first screensides were assemble at a different location, Dodge would build a running  frame and the body was installed at a different location not to interrupt vehicle production. I also have never heard of this and was wondering myself why I'm posting.  My rear leaf springs only has 7 leafs and tapered with rounded ends. I would think the pictures that the DB club has that show train box cars with body sheet metal most likely would of come from Budd mfg but Budd would not have assembled a vehicle at their location. I think they were having the same problems as Dodge in keeping up with production.  I do know in the year 1917 Dodge had a lot going on most vehicles coming off the assembly line were sold, in April they took on the Army contract and in October they started building commercial vehicles I always thought all this was done at the main plant so hearing this was interesting. With my 1917 screenside not sure why it was built it wasn't built for the Army and 4 months before production on commercial vehicles started I've been told many things and a couple interesting reasons.  

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Jim, that is good info to know. As you know there are a bunch of pictures from Budd plant on the DBC site. None appear JUST like your screenside, we have talked about that before. I have been trying to find proof of where my truck was assembled too. Insley built the beds for them, they were also located in Detroit area and still exist. I forget, does your screenside have a body number stamped into the cowl? Would be located just above the exhaust manifold, MIGHT have an SS or other letter to signify Screenside in front. Sedans had an S, so it should be something else. 

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Yes it does but in the center of the cowl number is 38843 I didn't see any letters as s or ss that was my first concern why the high number but I've had people tell me that my cowl would be the same as the ones on the Army vehicles that production started in April 1917 and over 20,000 were produced. With no records I don't know my dash has a glove box that was discontinued June 1 1917 other than that my body is a stock screenside.  The pictures the DB club has did show one just like mine but it had the side curtains pulled down over the side screens, mine did have the side screens the farmer removed them and hung horseshoes on them I also have them. My screenside is the same as the Geographic add on Dodge Brothers Business Car

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MY numbers are Frame #159389, engine and trans same number #210285, differential #169045 with cab #38843

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Here is a 1918 ad from Automobile Trade Journal

654333629_1918dodge.thumb.jpg.5a61f8c8eb9ce0133b34f62d6723add4.jpg

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This add is my commercial car but the frame only has a 13 1/2 inch plate riveted  to the bottom of the u shape frame at the driver side and nothing on the passenger side some of the later commercial cars this is a u shape extra part inserted inside the original frame also riveted but much longer and also the same on the passenger side. This single plate only on the driver side with no plate on the passenger side I've seen on a 1917 touring car frame. I've been told Dodge didn't start production on the commercial vehicles till October 1917 and so far no records that any were built for the Army but with frame no# 159389 production shows around June 3 1917. I have had a few people say that this is possibly a prototype for Dodge to show at vehicle events to show their new line of commercial vehicles this I don't know. I do know history to 1921 and nothing has been changed on this vehicle in fact the frame had a crack in the upper u shape on the passenger side right across from the support plate area on the driver side. This vehicle was a delivery vehicle for a dairy farm along the Rogue River in Southern Oregon. Maybe I should start a new post asking people to check the reinforced area on their frames from 1917 to 1918 to see how they have changed my 1919 touring has the reinforced u shape on both sides of the frame.   

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OK, Jim, got to the shop and under the truck. It has, as I remembered, the frame reinforcement on both sides of the frame, just about where the driver sits. It has, as I remembered, NO body number. There were supposed to have been 1012 Light Repair Trucks built, all around April on 1918, FIVE known to exist. It has a reinforcement on the six blade fan, formed and riveted, have never seen another even on any other LRT. I don't think the cowl on my truck is the same as yours. There is no provision for doors, and naturally no goggle box. That is the official term used by Budd in a letter. I think the cost was $1.36 for the stamping, door, and lock. It has 9 spring leaves in the rear, 7 in front. I would LOVE to see your truck some time. Your truck has intrigued me since seeing your pictures. I just don't know enough about them to help much. IF I ever find early truck literature maybe we can figure it out. 

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Very interesting the door post is a separate stamping so yours is just a post with no hinge stamping in it I can understand this it would be cheaper to produce. I don't understand no numbers on the firewall unless it was just produced for the Army but still you need numbers to have inventory. Yours does seem more like a truck than mine I do believe for some reason my body was set on a touring frame but when I look at pictures of other screensides I have all they have the roll down side canvas that goes over the screens was still their not much left of it and the straps to hold it rolled up are still their this is something that if someone was to put it this together wouldn't put on only the factory would. My next question won't be answered until the dash goes in my dash has the goggle box so it doesn't have the large cut out to change the height of the steering column. I also have the tool box (bottom is rotten) it was mounted on the running board passenger side something that I don't think would be done unless by factory. Here is where I'm at engine has all pistons, cam and valves installed, oil pan is ready to be installed have a rebuilt g starter/generator that I was told all screensides have but this vehicle  has to be different I have the G-1 and in poor condition so I sent to to New York to George Farrell he's going to try and rebuild it. Frame crack has been welded up sandblasted and has final coat of black on it the suspension parts have been sandblasted and waiting for final paint. I have the delco distributor so not looking forward in taking it on. When I get the frame done I'll send you some pictures 

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My cowl does not have the four inch offset for the door jam like the screenside in the ad. The jam is flush with the face of the dashboard. If you laid the cowl on the floor the jam and dash would both be touching the floor.  I looked through all my pictures but don't have a good image of it. Does your ignition switch turn both directions or just clockwise?

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I don't know its in a big wooden freight chest and alot stuff is on top I'll get into it tomorrow and let you know its where I put items I don't want to get broken. Our cowls are very different mine up to about 4 inches from the rear of the door is the same as a touring in fact I just looked at mine and its the same as the 1919 touring same stamping this would cut cost down same part for more than one vehicle

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The reason I asked about your ignition switch is the Delco and very early Northeast distributors, 10,000 series,  have a unique way of reversing polarity for the points only. The switches are hard to find. With the key at 12:00 it is in the off position. Turn it to 3:00 and the engine will start on negative ground. Turn to 6:00 and it shuts the engine off. Go to 9:00 and it's on positive ground. That way every time you start the engine it reverses polarity and stops buildup on the points. There is also a unique grounding system for the condenser, has two leads. Those condensers can be found. If you study the late '16,'17, and early '18 wiring diagram it MAY make some sense of this.  

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Would that also have something to do with the G-1 starter/generator. Gil Belcher told me that all screensides he has ever seen had a G starter/generator so with other parts I bought a rebuilt G starter/generator but find out I have a G-1 starter/generator. The distributor and carb I also pulled out of the wooden crate so come next week I'll be looking at both. I've put together some vehicles in my life but to be honest this one is causing me to get gray hair.   

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I guess since it was on the screenside and I'm trying to keep it all original or trying to keep the same parts as I found it George Farrell has it now for rebuilding if you see him ask him how its going --- no when he gets it done that will be fine with me I'm finding out they weren't used very long.  Enjoy next week

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On ‎10‎/‎3‎/‎2019 at 8:19 PM, businesscar1917 said:

I've been informed that the early screensides were not built at the factory site but built at a different location for the first couple of years. I have looked at a 1917 touring frame and running gear mine is the same but it is a screenside production date June 3 1917 no#159389 title has 1917 and people have told me it is a factory production was the very first productions the screenside body was put on a touring frame then the frames were reinforced for strength as time went on. It would be interesting to find out the location of where mine was built.  Thanks for your help   Jim

       Businesscar, There are SOO many questions that are not yet answered regarding your car. What is your wheelbase, 110" or 114"? Can you send pix of your screenside? What does the dashboard and steering column attachment thereto look like? Is there a rubber bumper on the front spring mount for overload? What is the dimension of the windshield height? Where is the fuel tank located? On official screenside that tank is under the front seat and there are no tank holder brackets on the rear of the frame. The rear springs should be thicker and more leaves from the touring car. What ignition unit is on the engine? In the 'Progressive Changes list' The official start of the Screenside was roughly 190000-19100 significantly past your 159389 listing. So, as mentioned there are many bits of details missing.

 

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Businesscar, Here is a scan of a early DB Screenside ad.1919821841_ScreensideData.thumb.jpg.1694f6ab6a921d0a8be2949b6d481bdf.jpg

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Sorry not sure where to measure for the frame cross beam at engine to cross beam in rear is 122 inches. Dash is a stock goggle box dash with no extra cut out for the steering column, gas tank is under seat with bottom braces for support, rear gas tank brackets has upper tank brackets riveted to frame with no straps to hold tank, no rubber mount on the front springs or rear springs, ignition is delco with a G-1 starter generator, from cab to top of windshield post is 25 1/2 inches my 1919 touring is 24 inches also It has a rod across top front of window with canvas that goes between roof and top of front window, rear springs are 7 with tapered rounded ends (I saw a 1917 touring with the same springs that is why I think I'm sitting on a touring frame) frame number 159389 I know the history to 1921 and nothing has been changed to this vehicle so what ever was done was before 1921. Sorry for the pictures the vehicle was taken apart for the move from Oregon to Charlotte but here is when first found yes the farmer changed wheels but still had the original wooden in a barn and what it is at now  I've been working on the engine never rebuilt a engine like this one. What I have seems all parts seem to be in tolerance with DB production for a touring but why the screenside body I had people look at the parts and say it is a production vehicle. Picture of when it was found is to big to send maybe I can to your email but here is where I'm now on the restoration

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I am just joining this discussion on the early screen side units.  I am also involved with the rebuilding of a sorry but true screen side.  Mine, is a late 1922-23 however.  Any pointers as to what I should look for as I go through the process to build this unit of mine (I do not want to hijack this thread)?

Al

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I think each person has their own way but something I didn't do is take pictures a lot of pictures mark everything and don't use a pencil you won't be able to see what you wrote over time it fades. The condition of the vehicle makes a difference maybe only one to two problems to get it running or you want it show condition in today's world their are books that you can get to help catalog your progress and make notes as you start the disassembly. Join the DB Club members who have the same vehicle can be a help and the AACA forums can also be a great help. Good luck post pictures so we can see your progress.  

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