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1948 Dodge Deluxe 4-Door Sedan Fluid-Drive


Danger

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Hello folks,

 

I have a dilemma.  I am looking for suggestions on the best course of action to take in regards to the engine/transmission (gear box) combination for a 1948 Dodge Deluxe 4-Door Sedan Fluid-Drive.  See link below for full description.  My problem is that the engine (Chrysler L-head Six 230) is literally busted as it has a gaping hole on the bottom side.  That brings me to the dilemma.  

 

What is the best course of action:

1.  Hunt down a replacement engine of the type that originally came with the car.  Are such engines out there anywhere? Due to the fact that the gear box is a fluid drive, I was once told that finding a modern engine to mate to the old gear box would be extremely problematic.  Replacing the original engine with an identical (or similar) period engine would would be ideal.   Are there such engines out there and available?  Or, 

2. Replace both engine and the gearbox with a modern pairing. Or,

3. Other options??? 

 

Car description:

https://www.automobile-catalog.com/car/1948/588590/dodge_deluxe_4-door_sedan_fluid-drive.html

 

Thanks all,

Danger

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Replacing the engine with an original type will be the easiest and probably cheapest, not to mention keeping the car original.  The flathead six was used in many Chrysler Corporation cars for almost 30 years.  Although yours may be the exception, they're pretty durable.  Finding a usable one, or at least a rebuildable one, shouldn't be too hard.

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Chrysler made millions of these engines between 1936 and 1959.  Most are alike and interchangeable. Rebuild parts are available and cheap. You do not state where you are but Vintage Power Wagons in Fairfield Iowa has warehouses full of parts including whole engines. If you are not near there, you should be able to find an engine locally even if it needs to be rebuilt. I live in a semi rural area of Canada and they turn up in junk yards from time to time, even now. In addition to cars and trucks thousands were used in farm equipment and as industrial and marine engines. Try advertising on Facebook or Kijiji or Craigslist for a Dodge or Plymouth flathead six 1946 - 1959. They are the same block only the crankshaft and rods are different for different displacement.

The bigger DeSoto and Chrysler six will fit, but is 2 inches longer which requires some change of motor mounts and moving the radiator forward. But allows use of the bigger 250 or 265 cu in engine.

No other engine or engine/trans combination will fit without major modifications. Your best bet is to find a good block and rebuild it, they are a simple engine and parts are not expensive. Complete rebuild including rebored cylinders, new pistons, crankshaft etc about $2000 but they seldom require everything. Check out Vintage Power Wagons for parts. The old Dodge Power Wagon used the flathead engine right up to 1968 in military versions.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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One other thing. Canadian made Dodges used a smaller version of the Chrysler engine. So there is a slight possibility you have one of these. You do not tell us where you are or where the car was made but I get a feeling from your post that you may be outside the US.

The Plymouth/Dodge engine is 23 1/4 inches long, measured at the cylinder head. The big DeSoto/Chrysler is 25 inches long. Otherwise they look practically the same.

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On 7/2/2020 at 2:15 AM, Danger said:

Hello folks,

 

I have a dilemma.  I am looking for suggestions on the best course of action to take in regards to the engine/transmission (gear box) combination for a 1948 Dodge Deluxe 4-Door Sedan Fluid-Drive.  See link below for full description.  My problem is that the engine (Chrysler L-head Six 230) is literally busted as it has a gaping hole on the bottom side.  That brings me to the dilemma.  

 

What is the best course of action:

1.  Hunt down a replacement engine of the type that originally came with the car.  Are such engines out there anywhere? Due to the fact that the gear box is a fluid drive, I was once told that finding a modern engine to mate to the old gear box would be extremely problematic.  Replacing the original engine with an identical (or similar) period engine would would be ideal.   Are there such engines out there and available?  Or, 

2. Replace both engine and the gearbox with a modern pairing. Or,

3. Other options??? 

 

Car description:

https://www.automobile-catalog.com/car/1948/588590/dodge_deluxe_4-door_sedan_fluid-drive.html

 

Thanks all,

Danger

 

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If a Canadian (25") engine is a possibility for you, there is a rebuilt one being offered for sale on the Canadian site Kijiji. It's located in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Here is a link to the ad:

https://www.kijiji.ca/v-classic-cars/thunder-bay/rebuilt-dodge-flathead-6-motor/1499597195

 

$_59.JPG

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  • DSC01875.thumb.JPG.efedc1d49107e891ae2273cb9ed6795c.JPGDSC01894.thumb.JPG.e62f90fe3e9707888e524ef6dbc29bb8.JPG This is all fantastic news.  Hope is restored.  This car has been a massive paper weight in the garage since the very early 1980s taking up valuable space.  First there was the registration nightmare.  That is resolved.  Progress, slow, but progress. 
  •  
  • I have one additional question (for now).  When purchasing one of these old engines, particularly if from a distant private seller (not a business), what are the best practices to ensure the product is legit and functional so as not to get burned? 
  •  
  • Thanks everyone. I have some searching to do, but now it's just a matter of time.

Much appreciation to all.

Danger

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This may not be a concern in California but I have run into it here in Canada, and that is the block freezing and being split from end to end on the left side. That is because the block does not drain when you drain the radiator, you have to remove a drain plug on the side of the block and most people don't know this.

 

Another thing that happens on old worn engines is broken pistons. They seem to be more prone to this than other engines. It usually does not harm the block and the engine even continues to run with broken pistons without excessive noise.

 

Since we are talking about an engine minimum 60 years old whatever you buy will be a bit of a gamble and may need a rebuild. On the other hand there are thousands of them around in good running order and in most cases a ring and valve job is all they need to be good for thousands of miles of driving.

 

If it was my car I would look for a suitable engine but would not pay too much, assuming it needs a complete rebuild, unless I definitely knew different, as in , could hear the engine run in a car, check the oil pressure and do a compression test. Value of a rebuildable core around $200 up to $500 or more for a known good engine.

 

By the way the Plymouth engine is alike and interchangeable, the main difference being the longer stroke. Your crankshaft and rods will fit a Plymouth block. So you can turn a Plymouth engine into a Dodge engine.  Later Plymouths used the 230 cu in engine same as your Dodge. Likewise Dodge trucks, they used the same engine, in some models up to 1962 or 3 years longer than they used them in cars.

 

These engines are common enough that you should be able to find one within a convenient driving distance especially in California. It may take a few weeks but one will turn up if you advertise and/or look around. There may be one at the local Pik A Part, you never know your luck.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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I have one of these freshly and completely rebuilt that I can make available to you.

I'm down in Palm Springs.

Trouble is, I'm taking off on vacation for 10 days or two weeks tomorrow morning. I'll be happy to call you with details when I get back.

Greg

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Second thoughts on using a Plymouth block. You say there is a gaping hole in the bottom of the engine, this suggests the old engine threw a rod and that rod, and the crankshaft may be ruined. In that case you would not be able to use your old crankshaft and rods in a Plymouth block.

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  • 1 month later...

Danger, i know of a wrecking yard here in Utah that has a lot of those engines and fluid drive parts. in fact i just took some back that came on the last engine i bought. i've bought two complete cars and two motors there for my cars. i recently picked up a nice 265 spitfire to go in my 41 WC12 and i know for a fact they've got the motor you're looking for. call Bob at B&R old car parts in Ogden Utah 801-399-5203. they are open wed. and saturdays only. if that doen't work for you i have an engine (that needs a full rebuild) sitting at a friends wrecking yard. it'd need an oil pan and a few other small items, but you could source those from your old motor. the engine at my friends place is from a '49 plymouth business coupe

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