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1936 Chrysler Airstream C-8 convertible In downtown building


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On 5/30/2020 at 10:29 PM, Steve9 said:

I’ll bet you’re right, the shakedown cruise will probably loosen things up. Did you post the miles on that car?

The car has 48,000 miles on it.

 

Yesterday was a big day.  I started the Chrysler and after some puffs of smoke, it smoothed out and idled silky smooth.  I drove it around my property (from my house to my barn and back) and it drove very nicely.  Steering is tight, brakes are good (well... good is a relative term) and all the gauges work except the fuel gauge.  Today I am going to do some more undercarriage cleanup, make a new fuel line to remove the rubber hoses feeding an aftermarket fuel filter, purchase a new fuel filter and a carburetor rebuild kit, and order the factory wiring harnesses to replace the hack job someone did to the engine compartment wiring.

 

I have a quick question for everyone: Does anyone know what the chrome bracket is for in this picture?  There is one above both the driver’s and passenger’s wiper blade.

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I have searched for a way to decode my factory body ID plate, and have failed.  Does anyone know where I can find the codes to decipher this ID plate?

 

As always... thanks so much for your help and inputs.

 

Joe

A6F2753D-0777-4FAD-8D34-76A9C0D26953.jpeg

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I contacted Chrysler’s historical researcher and gave her images of this data plate, my body ID tag, and my serial number.  With any luck, she can find the build information.  If she does, I’ll post it here.

 

Joe

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Yesterday was spent replacing the seal around the rumble seat and working on the fuel system.  I purchased a new solid line to run from the fuel pump to the carburetor, and a replacement vacuum advance line since the existing one was about a foot too long.  Additionally, I received new spark plug wires, distributor rotor, distributor cap, points, and the original spark plug wire weatherproofing caps (they look interesting).  With any luck, I should have a tuneup completed today.

 

I also ordered six new tires from Coker Tire (ouch), and after some soul searching, I decided on the bias ply tires instead of the radial tires.  The bias ply tires had the correct four inch wide whitewall sides while the radials had 3.25 inch wide whitewall sides.  I suspect after I wear these tires out, I will put radials on and not care about the width of the whitewall sides.... we’ll see.

 

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Thanks so much Mark... any and all help is very much appreciated. If your friend wants to contact me, my email address is drjoewest at iCloud . Com

 

On 5/21/2020 at 11:04 PM, Mark McAlpine said:

Congratulations on being honored to be the next caretaker of this beautiful car.  I've never seen an Airstream convertible before.

 

You've obviously been a good friend of the gentleman who owned the car.  I agree with you and the others who commented that I think he will enjoy and appreciate seeing the car brought back to life and that he'll get great pleasure in riding in it again.  I hope you get the car roadworthy in time to share the experience with him.

 

I have a friend who's been the owner of several award-winning Airflows.  I'll direct him to your post--I'm sure he'll enjoy it and, although you probably don't need any assistance, if you have any questions he would be a good resource and happy to help a fellow Airflow owner.

 

Congrats again!

 

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Update:

 

The past few days have been spent working on the ignition system; new plugs, wires, points, rotor, condenser as well as replacing all six tires.  Additionally, I am continuing to clean the endless amount of grease on the undercarriage.

 

Speaking of tires... here is something interesting:  The stock tires on this car were (I think) 6.50 x 16.  However, the side mount tires are both 6.00 x 16 AND there is absolutely no way that a 6.50 x 16 will fit in the side mount carriers.  I do not understand why this is the case.  I cannot help but wonder if my side mount covers are the wrong size, however, they fit the vehicle attachment perfectly.  I need to do some more investigation.  It makes no sense to me to have side mount tires smaller than the stock tires.

 

Up for today is more cleaning and tearing apart the carburetor so that I can soak it in cleaner and begin the rebuild.  With any luck, after I finish the carburetor, I will have a smoothly running car.  I am hoping I can take my friend for a ride next week or the following week.

 

Joe

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Long week... where did the time go?

 

By way of a short update, I rebuilt the Stromberg carburetor, changed the fanbelt, restored and installed the proper battery cover, installed a new ignition lock and door lock from an NOS Chrysler kit found on ebay (today was a great feeling because I started the car with the ignition switch and starter button rather than hotwiring it and using a remote starting switch).  WIth the new carburetor, the car idles smooth as silk, but I have a flooding issue I am trying to resolve (this issue was on the original carb and the carb I rebuilt).  Hot starts require fuel pedal to the floor and cranking until the flood clears.  Cold starts are fine.  Float level is perfect and needle and seat work flawlessly.

 

The new cooling system hoses and heater hoses and clamps arrived today so tomorrow all of the hoses and clamps get replaced.  With any luck, I’ll figure out this flooding issue and I’ll be able to drive my 92 year old friend around next week.  Everything is set... I can hardly wait.

 

Joe

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Oh!  And I found a six volt trickle charger and installed it so that I can plug in the charger without removing the seat to access the battery.  

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On 5/30/2020 at 10:16 PM, Joe West said:

 

Another question.  I measured compression on the engine and came up with the following results:

 

1. 82

2. 115

3. 120

4. 113

5. 111

6. 114

7. 120

8. 121

 

This engine has been sitting for the better part of 50 years, was stone cold during the compression test, all spark plugs were removed.  I am a bit worried about cylinder 1.   I will run a leakdown test, and assuming it is good, try squirting in some oil to test the rings.  I suspect the rings may be sticking and perhaps I should just run the motor for awhile and see if things settle down after a few hundred miles.  

 

That’s it for today.  I didn’t get much accomplished today on the Chrysler since I was taking pictures of the rest of the collection and uploading them to the forum post on the collection.

 

Joe

Enjoy your car - no need to dig into that.  

 

Perhaps for a while, add some Marvel Mystery Oil to the oil and also to the gas.  

 

You can also do a ring soak mixture of Automatic Transmission Fluid and lacquer thinner if wanted. 

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16 hours ago, Joe West said:

 

The new cooling system hoses and heater hoses and clamps arrived today so tomorrow all of the hoses and clamps get replaced.  With any luck, I’ll figure out this flooding issue and I’ll be able to drive my 92 year old friend around next week.  Everything is set... I can hardly wait.

 

Joe

Make sure you have a coil wire in the suction side hose - a water pump is pretty powerful and will often suck a hose without a wire closed under load and thus causes overheating.

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On 6/7/2020 at 6:44 AM, Joe West said:

Speaking of tires... here is something interesting:  The stock tires on this car were (I think) 6.50 x 16.  However, the side mount tires are both 6.00 x 16 AND there is absolutely no way that a 6.50 x 16 will fit in the side mount carriers.  I do not understand why this is the case.  I cannot help but wonder if my side mount covers are the wrong size, however, they fit the vehicle attachment perfectly.  I need to do some more investigation.  It makes no sense to me to have side mount tires smaller than the stock tires.

Common issue - the tires made today really are not true to the size as they were in the period - aka most all of us have smaller tires or low air pressure in our sidemounted spares. 

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On 6/1/2020 at 4:12 AM, Joe West said:

The car has 48,000 miles on it.

 

Yesterday was a big day.  I started the Chrysler and after some puffs of smoke, it smoothed out and idled silky smooth.  I drove it around my property (from my house to my barn and back) and it drove very nicely.  Steering is tight, brakes are good (well... good is a relative term) and all the gauges work except the fuel gauge.  Today I am going to do some more undercarriage cleanup, make a new fuel line to remove the rubber hoses feeding an aftermarket fuel filter, purchase a new fuel filter and a carburetor rebuild kit, and order the factory wiring harnesses to replace the hack job someone did to the engine compartment wiring.

 

I have a quick question for everyone: Does anyone know what the chrome bracket is for in this picture?  There is one above both the driver’s and passenger’s wiper blade.

3AF574FA-1F4A-4646-99D7-D10D2AE60AB9.jpeg

The brackets behind the wipers have been identified in your other post. They are for sliding rods that regulate the sweep of the wiper arms.

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5 hours ago, keiser31 said:

The brackets behind the wipers have been identified in your other post. They are for sliding rods that regulate the sweep of the wiper arms.

 

I don’t suppose you have an image Of what these rods look like, do you?  If I cannot find any, I’ll need to fabricate some.  Regardless, thanks so much!

 

Joe

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Today’s update...

 

Long day working, but it seems that I did not get much done.  I put the Chrysler back on jack stands and took a third (fourth?) pass at cleaning the undercarriage.  I used Autozone engine degreaser and sprayed the entire undercarriage.  I let this set for about 30 minutes and then I carefully power sprayed it off.  The undercarriage is finally looking like something I can work on.

 

After cleaning the undercarriage, I adjusted the brakes again.  Then I washed the outside and went for a roughly three mile drive.  Everything worked smooth as silk.  The car still floods after it comes up to operating temperature and I turn it off and go to start it again. I reinstalled the bottom rumble seat cushion after using clear RTV to secure the rumble seat weather strip. 

 

I also ordered all of the reproduction cloth wiring harnesses from Rhode Island Wiring Company.  Lead times are about 10 weeks, so I have a lot of time to continue working on other aspects of the car before I rewire it.

 

Up for tomorrow: Replace all cooling system hoses and clamps and the thermostat.

 

Still shooting for driving my friend around next week assuming all goes well.

 

Joe

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I also bought the wiring harness from R.I. Great work done by them. Glad to hear you did heavy cleaning underside on the car. The cloth on the wiring harness doesn’t like dirt. Don’t ask me how I know this.

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53 minutes ago, Joe West said:

 

I don’t suppose you have an image Of what these rods look like, do you?  If I cannot find any, I’ll need to fabricate some.  Regardless, thanks so much!

 

Joe

You can see them here....the way I see them, the rod is just a simple "S" shape. The tube that attaches to the wiper arm is the difficult thing to find or make. My drawing is just an idea of what it should look like....

1938 Dodge Convertible.jpg

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Edited by keiser31 (see edit history)
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On 5/21/2020 at 11:04 PM, Mark McAlpine said:

Congratulations on being honored to be the next caretaker of this beautiful car.  I've never seen an Airstream convertible before.

 

You've obviously been a good friend of the gentleman who owned the car.  I agree with you and the others who commented that I think he will enjoy and appreciate seeing the car brought back to life and that he'll get great pleasure in riding in it again.  I hope you get the car roadworthy in time to share the experience with him.

 

I have a friend who's been the owner of several award-winning Airflows.  I'll direct him to your post--I'm sure he'll enjoy it and, although you probably don't need any assistance, if you have any questions he would be a good resource and happy to help a fellow Airflow owner.

 

Congrats again!

 

Thanks Mark.  Please direct your friend my way.  My email is drjoewest at iCloud dot com.

 

Joe

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5 hours ago, Joe West said:

 

Thanks Mark.  Please direct your friend my way.  My email is drjoewest at iCloud dot com.

 

Joe

 

I thought that you and John H have traded e-mails and spoken on the phone? 

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8 hours ago, Mark McAlpine said:

 

I thought that you and John H have traded e-mails and spoken on the phone? 


Sorry.. I did not know you were referring to John. We talk quite frequently. John is an amazing asset. I will be driving down to see him once COVID-19 dies down a bit. 
 

Thanks so much Mark. 
 

Joe

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You're welcome, Joe.  I agree with you--John is a great guy and very knowledgeable about cars in general, not just Airflows and Airstreams.  He's been very helpful to my wife & I with our Chevelle.  He & his wife Lynn are great friends.

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Posted (edited)

I still have a few things to do just to get it running reliably.  

 

Vapor lock after stopping and the car is warm is still an issue, even after installing a vapor filter and fuel line back to the fuel tank.  This cured the flooding issue into the carburetor, but I still have the fuel pump vapor locking.  I have a 6V fuel pump coming tomorrow and I will install it with a relay and a cutoff switch.  I am debating whether or not to use the pump only to prime or to use it full-time.  Once I solve the vapor lock problem, the car will be reliable enough to use as a pleasure driver.

 

I still need to drop the fuel tank and install a restored tank (that I have sitting here on my garage floor),  rebuild the front suspension, restore the upholstery to the factory leather and wool carpet, replace the top with new top in the correct material, and then strip and paint the car.... and of course, fix the inevitable parts that wear out / break because I am driving it regularly.

 

By the way... one side note. The chrome was looking very sad... so bad that I thought it needed to be redone.  However, I had some chrome wheel cleaner (Eagle One Chrome Wheel Cleaner), so I decided to try it out on the interior and exterior chrome.  The result was stunning.  All of the marks that I thought were pitting came off with a slight amount of pressure, and when I polished it afterward, the chrome for the most part looked brand new. This is not true for items like some of the hubcaps that actually were pitted, although they look MUCH better than before cleaning.  I now swear by Eagle One Chrome Wheel cleaner.  Amazing stuff.

 

Joe

 

Edit: I completely forgot to add what may be the most important rebuild task; I need to replace all of the wiring.  Rhode Island Wiring will need about 12-16 weeks to build a complete set of harnesses so I have some time on my hands before I tackle that job.  I am looking forward to getting this dilapidated rats nest of wiring out of this car and replacing it with new wiring.

Edited by Joe West (see edit history)
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Also... I forgot to mention that my friend who sold me the car came over to visit me for Father’s Day.  I took him for a roughly 12 mile drive.  Here are a couple of images of him next to the Chrysler before we took a drive.  I apologize for the rotated images... I have absolutely no idea why the forum does this on what appears to be a random basis.

 

Joe

 

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Maybe the steel plate that insulates the exhaust manifold from the fuel pump is gone. That could create vapor lock.

1936 Chrysler green 2.jpeg

1936 Chrysler green.jpeg

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59 minutes ago, keiser31 said:

Maybe the steel plate that insulates the exhaust manifold from the fuel pump is gone. That could create vapor lock.

 

if there was a plate... it is definitely gone. Thanks so much. Off to the parts book....

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

It has been awhile since I provided an update... so here goes...  

 

Fuel sending unit was not functioning properly, so I decided to drop the tank, clean it (remove any rust), replace the fuel level sending unit / gasket, and the fuel filler neck hose.  Getting the tank out was a hot mess (as they say here in the south).  The tank has a metal filler tube that screws into the tank, and after 84 years, that tube was intransigent. It isn’t like I could take a torch to it, and a heat gun just wasn’t working.  It took me every bit of 6 hours of working with PB Blaster and other release fluids, and a heat gun, and my bare hands trying to grip the metal tube before I finally got it to release.  Repeat after me... NOTHING appears to be particularly easy on a car that has set relatively unmolested for as long as this car has.  To be completely honest here... I thought restoring 60’s era cars made me an automobile restorer... not a chance.  Bringing a 30’s era car (or even older) is part mechanic, part fabricator, part are you entirely completely mad insane, and part art.  I love it... but I’ll tell you, I am glad I am older and have patience... in my younger years, I would had been flipping out.

 

So...  I got the tank out, used rust remover for a couple of days, power sprayed it out on the inside, stuck a heat gun on the inside for a few hours to get all the moisture out, and put everything back together.  Everything works... but a project I thought would take me a day actually took me about 3 days.  The good news for me is that I absolutely love working on this car, and no matter what happens, I’ll make this car perfect.

 

With the fuel system, brake system, ignition system, and cooling system completely restored and all lubricants changed (including greasing everything I could), vapor lock issues fixed with a vapor fuel filter and return line and an electric fuel pump installed that turns on with the ignition and a cutoff switch to turn it off after the car starts, I am ready to start driving the Chrysler as much as possible to precipitate other failures that I can fix (generator, starter, etc.) before I take the car on a long (few hundred mile) trip.  Things are running like a top right now, and ultimately, I may just rebuild the generator and starter just to ensure they are reliable.  

 

I still need to fix the vacuum section of my double action fuel pump... someone removed the vacuum linkage internal to the pump and I already have the replacement parts... just need to pull the pump again and install the vacuum related parts.  As far as I can tell, everything but the vacuum section of the fuel pump works.

 

Did I mention that the high today was 93 degrees and the humidity was 92%.  LOL.   This must be love.  🙂

 

Thanks again everyone for all your support and help.  The people here are jaw-dropping amazing.

 

Joe

 

On Edit:  I lied... the radio is not working yet either.  LOL.  I cannot wait to tear into the radio!

Edited by Joe West
Updarte (see edit history)
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I forgot to include some images...  Also, I found my first evidence of rust that will need to be repaired.  Looks like I get to hone my sheet metal fabricating skills and break out my welder.  I think we will save the rust repair until just before I paint. 

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Like Neil Young said “Rust never sleeps”. On the subject of the fuel pump heat shield, I used card stock to fashion a pattern I then cut out of sheet metal with tin snips. Here’s some done by others;

A51BBFD1-7763-4ED8-B38A-F7EE1C6C394D.png

68FD66A9-D882-41D5-A77B-8E471D077FAA.png

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, broker-len said:

I have two cars from 30s    I use soap based grease for water pump     don't think you should petrol in cooling system


I ended up purchasing water pump grease. Thanks so much!

 

 

2 hours ago, Steve9 said:

Like Neil Young said “Rust never sleeps”. On the subject of the fuel pump heat shield, I used card stock to fashion a pattern I then cut out of sheet metal with tin snips. Here’s some done by others;

 

 

Thanks Steve. My exhaust manifold is above my intake manifold so I need the shield that protects the carburetor and the fuel pump shield. If I can find an Image of the factory shield for my car, I can fabricate it. As far as rust goes... ugh. I hate even little bits of rush. The good part is, there isn’t much rust and it is in a spot that will be easy for me to repair. 

Edited by Joe West (see edit history)
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  Joe, I'd reconsider using a heat gun on your fuel tank,  seen lots of burns from tank fires and explosions. Its not an open flame but you are putting a lot  of heat on the tank with a heat gun.

  Nice work on the car.

 

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That's typical 36 Chrysler Rust.  Mine was the same,  maybe just a tad worse but not a spot anywhere else in the car and I even took the interior out of mine, finding no evidence of rust anywhere else.  Seems the rumble seat lid drains into the rumble seat trunk floor and as you drive the water runs out the channels stamped in the inner panel.  a couple of leaves ,  they stop working and now it rusts.  That is a terrible design but then again they were never meant to last 80 or more years.

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22 hours ago, JimKB1MCV said:

  Joe, I'd reconsider using a heat gun on your fuel tank,  seen lots of burns from tank fires and explosions. Its not an open flame but you are putting a lot  of heat on the tank with a heat gun.

  Nice work on the car.

 

 

I thought about whether or not to use a heat gun to dry the tank, but decided to use it because I had used a rust remover on the tank, followed by power spraying, and then a hose rinse.  I was pretty confident that there was not any residual fuel left.  This said, I was still a little cautious with using the heat gun.  I put it in the location where the fuel level sender goes (it fit perfectly), turned it on, and walked away.  If something happened, only the forest would be hurt.  🙂

 

9 hours ago, auburnseeker said:

That's typical 36 Chrysler Rust.  Mine was the same,  maybe just a tad worse but not a spot anywhere else in the car and I even took the interior out of mine, finding no evidence of rust anywhere else.  Seems the rumble seat lid drains into the rumble seat trunk floor and as you drive the water runs out the channels stamped in the inner panel.  a couple of leaves ,  they stop working and now it rusts.  That is a terrible design but then again they were never meant to last 80 or more years.

 

This is exactly what I was thinking.  I noticed that water off the rumble seat just ran into that area.  After I wash the car, I open the rumble seat and turn on a large fan to remove the moisture.  I will treat the rust so that it doesn’t spread, and then cut it out when I do the paint and body work.

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I learned a lesson about running a mechanical fuel pump with a non-pressure regulated (6psi) electric fuel pump.  Yesterday, I was running on the electric fuel pump for the first few minutes of my morning startup and drive (as I normally do) and I switched off the electric fuel pump.  After 10 or so seconds, the engine starts to stumble so I flip the electric fuel pump back on and the engine smooths out.  I do this a few times and realize the mechanical fuel pump I am running is not working.  I get home and disconnect the output of the mechanical fuel pump (electric pump is off) and turn over the engine; no fuel delivery at all.  I take off the input fuel valve cover ( a one minute job) and the spring and rubber flap look great.  I take off the output fuel valve cover, and I find that the spring is turned sideways, effectively blocking the rubber flap from opening.  Remembering that this fuel pump worked perfectly before I installed the electric fuel pump, and worked great for the first few days of the electric fuel pump, the only thing I can think of is that the fuel pressure from the electric fuel pump (6psi) was enough to unseat the valve spring and force it sideways.  For the life of me, I cannot figure out how this is possible given the spring guide which forces the spring to stay aligned.  I fixed the spring and the mechanical fuel pump is working great again.

 

I ordered a fuel pressure regulator and will regulate the fuel to the same psi as the output of my mechanical fuel pump (or .5psi to 1psi more).

 

Joe

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On pre war cars that will be EXTENSIVELY driven, I run an electric pump 100 percent of the time. I just block off the mechanicial pump and use it as a pass through. It's the best way with E10 fuel and all the possible vapor lock issues. I run a quality pressure regulator and keep it low most of the year, and turn it up for summer driving. Works great......25k miles on my Pierce 12 and never an issue.

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