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Hi, I am very new to both this forum and to the 50 Desoto I have. So lots of questions to begin with.

1.  All the wiring has been cut out, will it be better to rewire for 12 volts.

2. Although I have the fluid drive trans, is there any standard trans that can be used in place of fluid drive

3. Do I really want to do all this.

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I own two old Mopars. A 38 and a 53. Both are stock with 6V system and generator with regulator. I have the utmost confidence in the 6V system. There is no need for 12V. The Chrysler engineers had the system dialed in for these old cars. 12V was required for the higher RPM valve-in-head V8 engines with higher compression. Not the flat head 6 cyl and 4 cyl engines. My old flat heads start incredibly quickly as they are tuned up right using a vacuum gauge, timing light, and dwell meter. Hot or cold, the engine fires up before the starter can crank the engine 1 complete revolution. Is your fluid drive a semi-auto tip-toe shift model? If so, you cannot find a 12V solenoid for the tranny shift. It needs to see 6V to live.


"Do you really want to do this?" Well only you can answer that question. I thrive on repairing, maintaining and driving  my old Mopars. My 1938 has become my daily driver for 7 months a year up here in Canada. I park it during the cold snowy months. The looks and enquiries from the general public that I get are very satisfying. My 38 looks like it just left the farm yet it drives and is reliable like the day it was new. Great old cars that I prefer over anything new today. 


It's quite a feeling, driving home just as the sun sets on a summer evening. The roads quiet. Your head lights and dash lights on. Your old car purring up the twisty road home. The warm evening air from the triangular vent windows hitting you in the face. The engine purr, the bounce, the sights, the smells.....Extremely satisfying.

Yes I want to do this....Do you?



Edited by keithb7 (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Keep it 6v. Chryslers were an expensive well made car with a lot of electrical equipment not seen on cheaper makes, like electric wipers where Ford and Chev used vacuum, the electrically controlled transmission, the fine radio, etc. This makes them almost impossible to change to 12v. There is nothing wrong with the 6v system if everything is working correctly. For your purpose the 6v system is much better than 12. We sometimes get agonized questions from someone with an old Chrysler that some "genius" tried to make 12v, nothing works right, and the only cure is to go back to the factory 6v setup.

It is possible to change to a manual trans but a lot of work for not much benefit. Again, there is nothing wrong with the stock setup. It is simple, reliable and long lasting. The wiring is not very complicated there are only about 4 or 5 wires to the transmission. Simple if you understand it.

Best thing to do is buy a wiring harness and rewire it according to the factory wiring diagram and it will work great.

Whether you want to do it, is up to you. They are great cars when working right but they are not for everybody. Best suggestion do NOT change anything. Either repair to factory specifications, or sell the car to someone who can do it justice.

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