Joe West

1936 Chrysler Airstream C-8 convertible In downtown building

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Bringing this car back to life is significantly more work than it appears by looking at this car.  The devil is indeed, in the details.  I spent about seven hours working on the Chrysler today and seemed to have accomplished very little.  First, I finally took apart the original carburetor and soaked it for a couple of days.  This morning, I removed the Stromberg carb from the cleaner, rinsed it off, and discovered that the leak which was occurring was associated with a crack (see the attached photograph) on the fuel input boss... so much for rebuilding this carburetor, vacuuming sealing it, and putting it on the shelf as a spare.  I broke the body down completely and placed the cracked body on the shelf in the off chance that I would need to re-weld it.  I contacted a friend of mine, John Heimerl, who may have a spare carburetor that I can rebuild.  I suspect other than cost, all will be well.

 

With that little disappointment out of the way, I transitioned to another problem I knew would be easy to solve.  Ever since the first test drive, the Chrysler was “darty ” on the road.  I knew the toe-in was not correct, so I decided to fix it today before it caused abnormal wear on the front tires.  I measured the toe-in and discovered that it was almost .75” of toe OUT. LOL.  I corrected the toe-in and took the Chrysler for a test drive. It was like driving a different car... sooooo nice.  Sometimes it is the little things that count.

 

Next up is addressing the headlights.  At some point, someone replaced the factory headlights with (get this) 12V sealed beam headlights.  The generator is still 6 volts, so I am unsure why they would use 12V sealed beam headlights... but here we are.  I found the factory headlight lenses on eBay, but I am almost afraid of what I will find behind the sealed beams.  If I were a betting man, the original reflector assembly and bulb sockets are completely gone, which will mean I will need to find them before I can restore the headlights back to factory.  As it is, the headlights are about as bright (not an exaggeration) as a candle.  Unusable.  

 

Like I said... the devil is in the details.  I cannot imagine how the members here deal with vehicles that are mostly missing or missing significant components.  I am a hack compared to many of the members I see on this forum.  I thought I was a mechanic and reasonable automobile  restoration mechanic, but... alas... I am nowhere near the artist of many of you.  The upside of this is that I am still learning and I love the work.  It is so different than my everyday job as a professor that I cannot imagine being as happy as I am right now without this Chrysler.

 

Joe

837FA573-B61A-437B-812A-0FD58A19FD01.jpeg

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Benefits of AACA Membership.

The reflectors and bulbs behind the lenses may interchange with other Chrysler products of the era.

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The previous owner may have been considering changing to 12v in the future but never did. And if he/she didn't do any night driving probably did care of the light brightness. Also may have been forced to go with the sealed beam during lack of finding original lenses.

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I have some extra 1936 MoPar headlight reflectors that would need plating BUT I looked in my 34-39 MoPar interchange book and discovered that the Canadian reflectors might not mount in the shells the  same way as the US ones. I'd be happy to help out IF they will work. Can you take a picture of the inside of your headlight shell from straight on - I'll be able to tell if your internal mounting looks like mine. Don't want to offer you something that won't work in your shells. If they ARE different, I think I may have some of the headlight reflector mounting bits I got years ago from the US, not being aware of the differences.

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Thanks so much For the offer. I will take the sealed beams out tomorrow and upload some images.  I appreciate your jelp immensely. 
 

Joe
 

 

21 minutes ago, 36 D2 Coupe said:

I have some extra 1936 MoPar headlight reflectors that would need plating BUT I looked in my 34-39 MoPar interchange book and discovered that the Canadian reflectors might not mount in the shells the  same way as the US ones. I'd be happy to help out IF they will work. Can you take a picture of the inside of your headlight shell from straight on - I'll be able to tell if your internal mounting looks like mine. Don't want to offer you something that won't work in your shells. If they ARE different, I think I may have some of the headlight reflector mounting bits I got years ago from the US, not being aware of the differences.

 

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I will tell you those headlights (the originals ). are a real PIA to get the lenses in and out.  A spring loaded affair.  It seems like you are either going to crack the ring or chip the lens every time you take them apart.   If you ever get everything to put them back,  I would lay a very Heavy blanket over any place it could fall if it slips out of your hands.   Buy an extra lens as well when you can get one,  once you get a pair for the car.  

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34 minutes ago, auburnseeker said:

I will tell you those headlights (the originals ). are a real PIA to get the lenses in and out.  A spring loaded affair.  It seems like you are either going to crack the ring or chip the lens every time you take them apart.   If you ever get everything to put them back,  I would lay a very Heavy blanket over any place it could fall if it slips out of your hands.   Buy an extra lens as well when you can get one,  once you get a pair for the car.  

Yep....tricky....

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16 hours ago, Joe West said:

Bringing this car back to life is significantly more work than it appears by looking at this car.  The devil is indeed, in the details.  I spent about seven hours working on the Chrysler today and seemed to have accomplished very little.  First, I finally took apart the original carburetor and soaked it for a couple of days.  This morning, I removed the Stromberg carb from the cleaner, rinsed it off, and discovered that the leak which was occurring was associated with a crack (see the attached photograph) on the fuel input boss... so much for rebuilding this carburetor, vacuuming sealing it, and putting it on the shelf as a spare.  I broke the body down completely and placed the cracked body on the shelf in the off chance that I would need to re-weld it.  I contacted a friend of mine, John Heimerl, who may have a spare carburetor that I can rebuild.  I suspect other than cost, all will be well.

 

With that little disappointment out of the way, I transitioned to another problem I knew would be easy to solve.  Ever since the first test drive, the Chrysler was “darty ” on the road.  I knew the toe-in was not correct, so I decided to fix it today before it caused abnormal wear on the front tires.  I measured the toe-in and discovered that it was almost .75” of toe OUT. LOL.  I corrected the toe-in and took the Chrysler for a test drive. It was like driving a different car... sooooo nice.  Sometimes it is the little things that count.

 

Next up is addressing the headlights.  At some point, someone replaced the factory headlights with (get this) 12V sealed beam headlights.  The generator is still 6 volts, so I am unsure why they would use 12V sealed beam headlights... but here we are.  I found the factory headlight lenses on eBay, but I am almost afraid of what I will find behind the sealed beams.  If I were a betting man, the original reflector assembly and bulb sockets are completely gone, which will mean I will need to find them before I can restore the headlights back to factory.  As it is, the headlights are about as bright (not an exaggeration) as a candle.  Unusable.  

 

Like I said... the devil is in the details.  I cannot imagine how the members here deal with vehicles that are mostly missing or missing significant components.  I am a hack compared to many of the members I see on this forum.  I thought I was a mechanic and reasonable automobile  restoration mechanic, but... alas... I am nowhere near the artist of many of you.  The upside of this is that I am still learning and I love the work.  It is so different than my everyday job as a professor that I cannot imagine being as happy as I am right now without this Chrysler.

 

Joe

837FA573-B61A-437B-812A-0FD58A19FD01.jpeg

All sort of in a days work - typical of pretty much any car I touch no matter what the age and interesting always some sort of project(s) no matter how well restored and even more when poorly restored.  

 

If you friend cannot help you with the carb, then there are plenty of other people on this forum who can - just be vocal and yet be cautious of the the people you do not know (or the do it "cheap" advice. 

 

Also, most things so not get the suspension work they deserve - but when they do it is night and day in how nice some of the stuff drives.

 

You may need a hole set of headlights to get all the parts - good news is someone will probably need what you do not, so that allows minimizing the investment. 

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2 hours ago, auburnseeker said:

I will tell you those headlights (the originals ). are a real PIA to get the lenses in and out.  A spring loaded affair.  It seems like you are either going to crack the ring or chip the lens every time you take them apart.   If you ever get everything to put them back,  I would lay a very Heavy blanket over any place it could fall if it slips out of your hands.   Buy an extra lens as well when you can get one,  once you get a pair for the car.  

Best just get out the shipping blanket and do the project on the floor to begin with. 

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16 hours ago, Joe West said:

I broke the body down completely and placed the cracked body on the shelf in the off chance that I would need to re-weld it.

 

Don't even think about the possibility of considering trying to weld that zinc alloy!

 

Yes, I know there are special rods; yes, I know there are folks that claim they can weld this stuff.

 

We had some junk pot metal carburetor parts from this era for test purposes. We tried the special rods. We also tried a number of the folks that claimed to be able to weld pot metal.

 

For the stuff we tried to fix, and the stuff "fixed" by the "experts" we subjected to an artificial heating/cooling cycle test (similar to the heating/cooling of an engine component). ALL failed within a few weeks, cracking at the edge of the "fix".

 

This carb is NOT going to be easy to find, and no, I don't have one, not grinding my axe. But do not allow the scarcity of the part to get you in trouble with a weld.

 

Jon.

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Here are the images hot off the press.  I just took the headlight out.  From where I sit, I think I need everything; lenses, bulbs, sockets, reflector, and even the chrome trim ring.  What kills me is that whoever did this upgrade probably tossed all the original stuff out.  LOL... come to think of it, I tossed stock parts out on my AMC Hornet Station Wagon back in the day.

 

One note... the headlights are so dim I thought that they were 12V.  Turns out they are 6-8V, which means either than I have a bad ground or large IR drop, or both.  I have new harnesses on order from Rhode Island Wiring, but it will be another 8 weeks or so before they are completed since it seems lots of folks are spending their COVID-19 time retiring their cars.  Oh well... I have lots to do... like find all these headlight parts.  🙂

 

Thanks again everyone for all your help.  Amazing group.

 

Joe

 

20 hours ago, 36 D2 Coupe said:

I have some extra 1936 MoPar headlight reflectors that would need plating BUT I looked in my 34-39 MoPar interchange book and discovered that the Canadian reflectors might not mount in the shells the  same way as the US ones. I'd be happy to help out IF they will work. Can you take a picture of the inside of your headlight shell from straight on - I'll be able to tell if your internal mounting looks like mine. Don't want to offer you something that won't work in your shells. If they ARE different, I think I may have some of the headlight reflector mounting bits I got years ago from the US, not being aware of the differences.

 

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Hi Joe

Here's the inside of my headlight pot. You seem to be missing the mounting tabs for the reflectors as well as the trim rings.

Next post will have the reflector that goes with it.

P1020574.JPG

P1020573.JPG

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Posted (edited)

Here we go - the springs fit into the square holes in the mounting tabs. I think I also have enough sockets to do the main bulb and parking light but they would need to be rewired.

I had cleaned up the corrosion off the reflectors so we are down to the brass base. The process I used was the Uvira system that requires nickel plating followed by an aluminum/glass coating that is very bright and does not oxidize. 

P1020577.thumb.JPG.9c730cbdefa1e0d3de82248d32aa2f37.JPG

Edited by 36 D2 Coupe
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Thanks so much Jim.  I am sending you a PM now.

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Short update.  With the help of Jim (36 D2 Coupe, reflectors and sockets), Steve Barret (Stainless Steel Trim Rings), and John Heimerl (bulbs)  I can now see a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel with respect to getting the original headlamps back in my Chrysler.  Sadly, when a previous owner “upgraded” to sealed beam headlights, they cut off the headlight spring mounts so I will need to fabricate new ones and then spot weld (or weld) them back in.  I am months away from getting the headlamps in, but still, there is hope.

 

On the carburetor front, EdInMass and John Heimerl are helping me get another carburetor to rebuild.

 

I honestly don’t know what I would do without this group.  I am definitely out of my element working on 1930s cars.

 

Joe

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Update on vapor lock issues:

 

What I thought was fuel leaking past the float needle and seat turned out not to be true.  Even with a 6psi electric fuel pump, I am still getting vapor lock.  Here is how I tested and ultimately cured the problem.

 

1.  Vapor fuel filter with return line back to tank.  This reduced fuel from boiling over from the carburetor after heat soaking the fuel lines.

2.  Six PSI, 6V Electric fuel pump, no pressure regulator.  This made starting easier and stopped the extreme surging due to mechanical fuel pump vapor lock.

 

After these two steps, I found that in 85 degree plus weather, I would get a small amount of surging after the engine was hot and I was driving.  It was enough to feel, but still not enough to worry about stalling.  It was annoying, but not troublesome.  I originally thought this was due to fuel leaking past the fuel float needle and seat, but this was not so.

 

To test my theory, I wrapped the fuel pump, fuel lines and filter in the engine compartment, and the carburetor in aluminum foil, shiny side out.

 

I went for a 22 mile drive, the longest thus far, in 89 degree weather and 67% humidity, and there was not even a hint of surging.  The engine ran as smooth as silk up to 65mph cruising (overdrive on).

 

My next step will be to begin removing the foil to figure out which component or combination of components: Fuel pump, fuel lines and filter, or carburetor, is causing the small surging I feel without the aluminum foil.

 

For reference, my exhaust manifold is over my intake manifold, placing it closer to the carburetor than any of these other components.  I will start by removing the foil from the carburetor and then retest.  My engine came with a heat shield between the carburetor and exhaust manifold, but it is long gone.  I am hoping I can either find one, or find a picture of one so that I can fabricate something as close to factory as possible.  Additionally, I will look for a fuel pump heat shield (the pump I am rebuilding has the three heat shield standoffs) in case it is the fuel pump.

 

I have attached an image of my aluminum foil experiment so that you can laugh at it.  :-)

5CDAB3B8-9C34-4574-8880-7B06326DE7D1.jpeg

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Joe - great testing!

 

I believe you will find the missing heat shield to shield the carburetor bowl is the culprit. 

 

I have not seen this particular one, but generally, these were simply a portion of a sheet metal "box" that would surround the carburetor bowl with maybe a 1/4 inch air gap from shield to bowl. The lower end of the box would have an extension that generally had a hole that fit over one of the carburetor mounting bolts, and could thus be installed with the carburetor.

 

Jon.

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I did some troubleshooting of my temperature gauge today.  The gauge typically reads around 120-130 when fully warm, so at the recommendation of Steve Barrett, I did some infrared thermal measurements to see if the issue might be real.  Note that I installed a new thermostat when I reworked the cooling system.  Here are the measurements:

 

Thermostat Housing 181F

Head, Front Driver Side: 185F

Head, Rear Driver Side: 186F

Front Freeze Plug: 185F

Rear Freeze Plug: 199F

I am not sure of the temperature range of the thermostat, but I would bet it is 180F.

 

I will pull the temperature gauge sensor and check it out soon.

 

Joe

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Thanks Jon.

 

I will try to find an original or at least an image of an original to use.  I will remove the foil off of the pump and fuel lines and filter to test.  If it works in this configuration, I will remove the foil off of the carburetor and run a final test.  I suspect I will have some answers on Wednesday.  I have meetings at the university tomorrow so no joy tomorrow.

 

Joe

 

7 hours ago, carbking said:

Joe - great testing!

 

I believe you will find the missing heat shield to shield the carburetor bowl is the culprit. 

 

I have not seen this particular one, but generally, these were simply a portion of a sheet metal "box" that would surround the carburetor bowl with maybe a 1/4 inch air gap from shield to bowl. The lower end of the box would have an extension that generally had a hole that fit over one of the carburetor mounting bolts, and could thus be installed with the carburetor.

 

Jon.

 

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Posted (edited)

See the one ground wire from your head lamp harness, soldered to the inside of the metal headlamp bucket? That is the ground for your head light. Then the power must travel through the headlamp bucket and mounting bolts, to the front rad nose cone mount frame. Eventually travelling back to the other battery post. This is far from ideal. You can also find a few more problems in the headlamp circuit. For example get a digital multimeter and measure the ohm (resistance) of the input of your head lamp switch to the outlet connection. Pull the switch on. That will give you an idea how much you are loosing through the resistance in your switch. Likely it has corroded internal connections.  How about them old original wires from the ammeter to the the headlamp switch, then down to the hi-low beam switch on the floor.  Plenty more opportunity to allow electrons to take a shortcut back to the battery and skip going to through the headlights first.

 

Part of the problem in my opinion is the entire 5A load, per headlamp goes all the way from the ammeter, out to the headlamp. (6V/30W = 5A per low beam headllight filament). Then ground back thru the frame, thru various rusty fasteners. There is little incentive for the amps do do their work, making your lights bright.

 

Here is what I did. I installed two 6V relays. 1 for each headlight circuit. Hi & low beam. I wired up the relays so they pull amps right off the battery. I  upsized all the wire too,  minimum 12ga. A small draw of electrons goes through the headlamp switch. It activates the relay via the hi-low beam foot switch. Then the relay kicks in pulling good strong amps directly from the battery and sends the electrons right out to the headlights. Each hi/low gets its own circuit and fuse.  Wired straight off the battery.  I built my own new headlamp and relay harnesses. I ran the ground wires back from the headlight socket to a good clean ground, closer to the battery. Eliminating the corroded metal path the stock ground system takes back to the battery. All is good! Nice decent headlights compared to when I bought the car. They were anemic. Much like a candle and unusable just like you describe.

 

In 1 pic here you can see just a few of the problems with old wiring. That's my headlight switch. Also shown is my new home--made headlamp harness. As mentioned, the headlamp harness is only part of the circuit. There is much more going with the head lamp wiring.

 

 

IMG_4520 (1).jpg

 

 

IMG_4578.jpg

Edited by keithb7 (see edit history)
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We are fortunate to have two auto professors here giving valuable tutelage. I hope all 30’s car buffs in need are able to pick up valuable tips on cars of our era! Bravo gentlemen!

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Today was a big day.

 

This morning, armed with the aluminum foil fix, I took the Chrysler for the longest drive since I have owned it, 29 miles.  I cruised on the freeway at 70mph and it just purred along like a kitten.  Absolutely no issues other than a slight pull to the right (I need to take it in for an alignment).  I was absolutely shocked at how nice the overdrive is.  Engage it at about 50mph by lifting the gas pedal, pausing a second or two, and then pressing the gas again.  Once engaged, the engine RPMs drop and 70mph is smooth as silk.

 

I am going to drive it to the university for a meeting today... top down.  I cannot wait!

 

Joe

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That OD makes all the difference.  Even in a six it really makes those 36 Chryslers a great road car.  Mine (a 6) was smooth and ran Fairly well at 60 with oversized tires  which gave me a little better gear ratio and that was without OD.  I looked for an OD unit,  but that also requires changing the rear axle assembly as it relocates the handbrake from the tranny to the Rear wheels.  Never found what I needed before I sold it.  

You have the perfect set up,  straight 8 and OD.

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