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1955 Hudson Wasp Score!


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I picked up this Wasp, its got 47,000 miles on it, 202 with hyrdramatic. The engine runs real smooth and clean. The body is solid, just one rust spot along the bottom of the right rear door. Came with 3 Hudson service manuals incl. the transmission manual.  From what I see, It has had a new head gasket, wires, plugs, gas line and filter at the tank end, rear shocks, brake flex lines. All of the lights are working except for the under dash lamp and missing bulb for the glove box lamp. I wound the clock and its keeping time.

It needs new tires. The temp gauge, radio, and heater blower are not working. The shifting is a little harsh.  The paint needs a good waxing and some touching and I'll live with it. I found some tires that seem to be tbe best available fit at walmart, Nankang 165/80R15. They are 25.6"OD, the stock spec is 6.70-15, 27" OD. 

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You may want to consider joining the Hudson club for technical and parts support:  https://www.hetclub.org/ .  They maintain two online forums and a Facebook page where you can quick help.  

 

Because this Hudson was built by the newly-formed American Motors Corporation, you may find you can obtain certain parts through AMC and Nash parts vendors, as well as through Hudson parts vendors.

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I did join the hetclub. I was looking into oil types, the manual states SAE20 for winter, I havent found any for engine use, at 47,000 miles, would it be risky to use a multi grade oil? Maybe I need to remove the oil pan and check for sludge to make a decision.

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Its a good idea to drop the oil pan before any much use.  Clean any sludge and the pump pick-up screen.  If you find much, check the valve lifter gallery too and clean it out good.  Removing as much sludge before you loosen and circulate it in the oiling system is better for engine health.   

 A quart of ATF replacing one quart of the total oil is an old-time cure as its highly detergent as well as a good lubricant.  After you've put a few miles on it, checking the oil as you go, note how quickly it darkens.  If it does so quickly, change it more frequently to clean it up.

 

Glad you bought this '55 Hudson and are becoming an appreciative conservator.   I will provide you with some trials but many good experiences too.  Please keep us apprised of your process reviving it.  

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It was! I like to look through the 'for sale' stuff most days. '50s cars aren't my 'thing', but occasionally, I see one that I think "I wouldn't mind having that?" This was one I thought that about.

Congratulations on a nice sore!

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2X on dropping the pan.  Not sure if you watch Roadkill, they pulled a 1969 Mach 1 out of a junkyard, got it running and drove it home, smoked the engine on the way home, leaf in the oil pick up screen.  Pulling the pan is the first thing I do when I get a car that has sit a long time, normally at least an inch of grease/crud in the bottom of the pan.

 

Nice looking Hudson.  That paint might buff out... the white for sure

 

Have fun

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I may pull the pan off and clean it. If the pan is clean without sludge, perhaps I would use 10W30 in it for this winter. May pull the pan on the trans also. Im not in a hurry to start putting miles on it, I have to deal with the DMV with appointments, 2 trips there and a vin check, plus getting tires on it. In the mean time I will sort out the issues. The hood and doors need adjustment to seam match. Alot of cleaning and waxing. Things that I can do and enjoy, with some beers and tunes.It looks a little better with just a wash.

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I have been using this...diesel engine oil so it has high zinc content (good for bearings), full synthetic (all Porsche uses, good enough for me), and reasonable price, I like to change it often on a "new to me" engine about every 500 miles till it looks clean, yes filter also, cheap insurance...if the used filter is heavy you know it is full of sludge.  The back of the car even looks great.

 

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Congrats on your acquisition. I have a 1955 Hornet 6 with manual transmission and the best tyres I had were Hankook 195/80 R15. Current ones are 205/80 R15. And totally agree with the suggestions to take sump off and clean it first. They are very good highway cars and mix it easily in modern traffic. Visibility great for parking etc. They can be rust buckets so have a real good look/poke around underneath. Important to make sure the torque tube trunnion is not perished/cracked.

 

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We had a wasp with a 202 and Hydramatic for several years...Our friends called it a Hash or a Hush... because it was half Hudson and half Nash.  They really are a great car. I was always amazed at how well it moved down the road, as well as how well it stopped. We could cruise down the interstate all day in it... and did. I believe ours was a 56. The one issue... it is WIDE.  On the rare occasion it does need a trailer... it doesn’t fit between the wheels on many of them!

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Its pretty wide but the Hollywood Hornet I looked at was even wider, and longer. It had a V8, ran almost silent but had an oil leak, looked like rear main. Was out of my price range anyway but only in the next town so I went for a look.

 I scoured the whole underneath with a bright light and my phone camera when I went to see it, the only rust spot was on the right rear door skin. Looking at a partial view of the oil pan in the manual, it looks like the pick-up is within the oil pan and the tube end fits into the oil pump like a water tube fits into an outboard lower unit? Does the trunnion have a rubber grommet that could perish? Have to take a look.

They say that switching to synth oil on an old car can lead to oil seepage, did you notice any or is your engine freshly rebuilt?

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We never had the car apart to have any real knowledge, but am certain we would not have switched to synthetic. We got it out of the Auburn car corral as a runner and we ran it. As my father and my taste in cars got older and into stuff my mother doesn’t like to drive, he has always made sure there is one “modern” car with an automatic for her to drive if she so chooses, something for her to do a local tour with grandkids in, or escape a car event with in favor of an outlet mall with the ladies. Eventually, she decided the Wasp was just too big. There was a brief stop by a corvair convertible and she is now in a stude Daytona. Of those three, I enjoyed the wasp the most. 

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44 minutes ago, padgett said:

Am curious: the Wasp is single carb and the Hornet is dual ?

You could get "Twin-H" carbs for your Hornet but mine is single carb. It already has enough power for any sane person, so I figure it isn't worth the trouble and expense to get a new manifold, extra carb, linkages et etc etc.

 

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11 hours ago, supercub said:

Does the trunnion have a rubber grommet that could perish? Have to take a look.

They say that switching to synth oil on an old car can lead to oil seepage, did you notice any or is your engine freshly rebuilt?

About five years I pulled up at my brother's and he said "Your back wheels are moving" so that is when we replaced what you accurately called the rather large moulded grommet. I can't remember who I bought it from, but probably this mob: https://www.nashramblerrubber.com/trunnion-info-instructions

 

As for oil, I reckon all old engines leak oil, rebuilt or not. Mine was rebuilt 20000 miles ago and has some seepage. I use synthetic. 

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The Twin H had 15 more HP than the single carb 100hp. It has a different cam and higher compression. The Wasp doesnt seem too wide to me, and I drive a Yaris. 

I looked at my electricals. The terminal block is getting power at both legs. The radio fuse, 9A, is blown. The heater fan pot is getting power. The fan has no continuity to ground and is unresponsive  to jumped battery power. I need to remove it, will that require a complete dissassembly of the heater box?

Missing the bulb for the glove box and one under dash bulb. I found the tiny toggle switch to turn them on, so cool! 

The dash lights arent working, havent checked that out yet.

Looks like the oil pan should drop straight down after removing the skid plate. Will it be hard to reassemble, getting the pickup tube back into the oil pump?

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17 minutes ago, supercub said:

Does the grommet actually transfer power like a u-joint?

It bears some load as it helps keep it straight, so yes. Can't answer your sump question as I have never seen a 202 engine. And sorry I can't answer your heater question, as Australian Hashes don't have heaters; mine just has a heat vent box with a cable to open and shut it.

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Someone replaced the temp sensor, I believe with the wrong one. I put a 10 ohm resistor across it and the gauge registers about 3/4 to hot. I read somewhere that this is a common mistake, that the tapered thread has to be opened to the next size for a correct replacement. The thread measures .535". I havent removed the wire to do the upper and lower gauge limit resistance test  with the 9 and 11 ohm resistors yet. One thing that comes to mind, the teflon tape could be preventing continuity? 

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With my current car, it was obvious it had been fed a steady diet of 30w non-detergent. The oil was pretty dirty for the first couple changes but gradually cleaned up nice to where you can hardly see it on the dipstick even after 1,000 miles. Until fairly recently I could find 20w20 non-detergent Kendall but looks like it's been discontinued. I finally switched over to a decent 10w30 detergent and after a couple change cycles there has been no drama. I wouldn't feel confident enough to make that switch with every engine, though. 

 

I've virtually kicked the tires of a few mid-50's Nash/Hudson cars, to the point of placing bids on one or two. Someday one might follow me home. To my eyes, the '55 is the last Hudson that doesn't hurt my eyes! (Understand, though, I'd gladly own a '57!)

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I recall Jags wanting a straight 30wt at least to 1960. For many years I just bought Quaker State Racing 30wt by the case, found in Florida the straight weight racing held it's viscosity longer than early detergents.

Used to change oil by oil pressure. After about 3k miles would see a 2-3 psi drop at hot idle. Changed oil and filter and came right back.

Nowadaze I use mostly Mobil 1 High Milage, either 10W30 (American cars) or 0W-40 (Mercs).

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I ordered the engine and trans pan gaskets from Ace. I got the heater blower motor out. It was locked up from sitting but now is turning but hard. Going to disassemble and clean it, hopefully its salvagable. It doesnt have brush ports do it must be the permanent magnet type. 

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30 way too heavy except in very hot conditions, and with a clean pan you should use detergent oil. I would use synthetic if it doesn't all leak out. If you have the usual leaks or oil loss of an old engine, use a good name brand 10W30 non synthetic. Dollars to donuts, that is what the manufacturer recommended.

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6 minutes ago, Rusty_OToole said:

30 way too heavy except in very hot conditions, and with a clean pan you should use detergent oil. I would use synthetic if it doesn't all leak out. If you have the usual leaks or oil loss of an old engine, use a good name brand 10W30 non synthetic. Dollars to donuts, that is what the manufacturer recommended.

My thoughts too Rusty but I don’t like telling people what to do on oil topics as there a million opinions on the subject.  A thinner multi viscosity oil to get in places like main bearings faster to lubricate the surfaces rather than straight 30 seems like the best way to go for this engine. When I worked at a gas station in the 1960s I put cans of the 30w oil on the heating radiator in the office during the winter months so that I had a chance of getting the oil to flow though the can spout and into the crankcase. 
I am glad to hear the excitement in the new owners posts as he explores the workings of his new toy.

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Most engine wear occurs in the first minute after starting, before the oil begins to circulate. Using heavy oil makes it worse. I have never seen an engine burn up due to using too light oil. I do know Pierce Arrow set 24 hour records on the Bonneville salt flats using 20W20 Pennzoil. This in a 1932 engine with poured babbit bearings, running an average speed of 117 MPH under the desert sun, stopping only for gas. Any good brand of 10W30 is plenty good enough for pottering around the neighborhood or cruising 2 lane roads at 50MPH and you need detergent oil to keep out sludge.

 

Don't listen to Goober down at the filling station when he tells you old engines need good ol' 30 weight non detergent oil. Goober is a moron. Detergent oil has been around since 1947 and mulitgrade oil since 1951, and both have been recommended by all American car makers since they were introduced. As I said before, 10W30 was the default choice in all garages and dealerships from the fifties until the eighties, when lighter synthetics came in. I know, I was there.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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I can change it for 10W30. Unless the engine is really sludgy inside, but probably its not. But yes, for the winter, I need 10W30. 

I disassembled the blower motor, it was pretty rusty inside, but I cleaned it up pretty well so far. Need some electrical contact cleaner to clean the armature. The shaft end is stuck inside of the end cap, I have some PB Blaster soaking in there, not getting it on the windings. I'll use dome synthetic oil on the bushing and maybe replace the end bearing if I can find one.

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I pulled the pan on my 37 Hudson coupe’s 212 engine last year when I did a re-fresh of the engine.  I was shocked at the sledge this 38k mile engine had in the pan!  I know it’s extra work but to be safe I would highly recommend pulling the pan & cleaning it out really well.  Pan gaskets are readily available or go easy on the RTV so it doesn’t squeeze out to the inside of the pan & cause more issues.   
 

Are you 100% sure it’s a 202 motor?  I was thinking those were for the Jet only.  I would have guessed it to be a 262 big 6 engine.  If it is a 262 you can put a 232 head on it to give it a nice bump in compression!  

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Looks like tar! I ordered both pan gaskets. Going to put 10W30 in it. The head says 202 on the top of it.

I ordered a new temp sender on ebay. It was the only one I could find. I lucked out at NAPA, they let me look in the back for some preformed radiator hoses and I found ones that will mate up. I brought all new coolant hoses. I havent looked at the brake fluid yet. Everything has to be looked at to have confidence. Someone had replaced the brake flex hoses. 20201101_123831.thumb.jpg.6904cc4928749e1372397ececf0c2341.jpgHopefully the brake fluid is new but I will have to check it out.

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