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1923 Dodge engine


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To be clear, the intention is not to increase the speed of the Dodge Brothers cars but to improve power and efficiency making driving acceleration and hill climbing power easier for the keen drivers among us to better enjoy modern road conditions.

 

Also to be clear I am not an engineer nor a motor mechanic.
 

The original cam shaft grind has the exhaust valve closing before or at the same time as the inlet starts to open.

The side valve configuration is not the best set up.

The bathtub combustion chamber design is also not very efficient.

The spark plug site over the valves just compounds the problem.

 

The late Ralph Provan utilised the developments by Riccardo to design a head in aluminium with a combustion chamber creating a swirl effect and positioning the plug to fire over the piston.

The upgrade to the camshaft profile changed the valve timing (inlet opening before exhaust to allow the exiting exhaust gases to help draw a larger charge in to the combustion chamber. The dwell (The time that the valves are open) is also important.

Ralph expected that all of this would be used together so taking one item may not provide much improvement. The standard head combustion chamber is not designed with swirl so perhaps some of the extra charge created by the valve opening overlap may well go straight out of the exhaust however in my opinion, the cam grind providing valve overlap (inlet opening before exhaust closes) must provide an improvement in available charge on an otherwise standard car.
Again, Ralph’s final offering was an improvement in the ratio for first and second gear to eliminate the high revving slow progress at traffic lights and intersections. (Particularly on inclines) 

I was privileged to go for a run in Ralph’s 1915 Tourer with all the above fitted and “Wow” is the only description.

My 1919 Tourer has all these improvements but is not complete and running as yet, I am looking forward to driving it with a full load.

I hope this helps clarify things John.

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Hi there. 

Someone on this forum asked about machining quite a bit off the head to increase compression. [ Sorry, I cant find that thread again ] . An answer to his question was that unless the cam was ground with a more modern grind, it was a waste of time.  Also when I checked the manual, it said the exhaust vale closed at TDC and the inlet valve opened 8 degrees after TDC. I checked my engine before dismantling and using an "eyeometer" observation, I agreed with what the manual said.  That valve timing is really backward for an engine.

My intention was to make the car a  bit smoother to drive based on the above and also to possible make the vehicle a bit more economical.  Looking at the design, I would think it lucky to get 10 miles per gallon, but that is a guess. There was also talk on that thread that "hotting up'' these engines was not too detrimental. Not my intention though, as the vehicle is 98 years young, and the crankshaft is pretty spindly compared to modern engines.

My experience on flat head engines is my very first vehicle. A CC Bradford van, which if I was lucky, Might do 25 MPG. [ Riccardo head design as well.. Basically a flat portion above the piston and most of the space above the valves and sloping down to the piston area. Spark plug between and beside the valves. ]  My 4.2 litre Jags could be made to do 21 Mpg. I kno which I would rather drive.

 

I am just going to be happy to get this car going again after sitting idle for so long. Adjusting the bearings was my priority, but after seeing how much black crap was inside it and how loose the front gears were, there was no option but remove the engine.  It has a straight bore and Alloy pistons. Rings look in really good order. It needs a valve grind and renewing two exhaust vales as they had corroded on their stems. Also the welch plug at the back of the water jacket looks like it may have been leaking.

The fan drive pulley has flogged out, water pump, Magneto, carb and lift pump unknown. Exhaust is ok for now but the flange nut is just about worn away so for now, I removed the exhaust in one piece. A new nut will be ordered as my spare engine is much the same.. 

 

I found there were no gaskets behind the valve covers and some of the tappets had not been tightened. It will be fun again making all the new gaskets.

All the best.

 

I have made the adapter for the drain plug. just a note, modern engines have a filter mounted to the oil pump, which is inside the engine.  The old idea of cleaning the oil filter was because the oils available 100 years ago were not up to the job. [ hence the black crud found inside the engine. ] Picture here which also shows the old collet retainer and the crank pin.

 

Dereck

Dodge drain plug adaptor + crank pins and collet.jpg

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This time a question about Dyno chain and engine ID. 

First, My chassis plate is 905830, but according to page 103 in my manual, it refers to engines after A875-380 having timing chains.  Mine definitely does not have a timing chain, but meshing gears so it has to be from a car prior to that chassis number. [ surely ]

 

Second. On the page shown below, it says that there are 2 different Dyno chains, but it is very unclear from the description, which is which. Mine is joined by a pin which goes through quite a few interlocking fingers.  Both chains refereed to have a single joining pin. so which is it. The older chain connected together by double link locked by a pin passing through both link pins.. "The new type chain has a connecting link which is locked by a pin through only one of the link pins"

 

Mine is a Morse type silent chain, . If I understand what is written, the earlier chain is a convention chain, which is more commonly used now days.  Its true, a picture is worth a thousand words and eliminates any misunderstanding.

 

Hopefully someone may be able to shed some light on which timing chain I have because according to the manual, "the later type chain require tighter adjustment", whereas the earlier chain requires 1/2 inch up and down play, midway between sprockets".

Dodge Dyno Chain.jpg

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13 hours ago, Minibago said:

Your standard DB cam shaft can have the lobes reground to the new profile.

Here in Australia we use a company in Melbourne Victoria that only does camshaft grinding. It costs us about A$130 plus postage.

Do they hardweld the lobes before grinding or just regrind the standard lobes?

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"Do they hardweld the lobes before grinding or just regrind the standard lobes?"

 

I was wondering the same thing, John.  It certainly seems like they would have to weld up the existing lobes, doesn't it?  But I don't know, so I'm waiting for one of the smart guys to answer your question.

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The magicians at Clive Cams grind the original lobes to a different profile, I am not an engineer but as I understand it the cam lobe is ground all the way around this makes for a smaller circumference on the back side where there is no lobe and allows for enough meat for the lobe to be ground to the desired shape.

This is how I understand it.

🤔

 

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Sorry Matt, all my experience is with the early Four Cylinder Dodge Brothers cars and where most of Ralph’s work was aimed.

However he did recommend changing to a Chrysler or Desoto head for DD sixes but I have no knowledge or experience with these.

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  • 1 month later...

After stripping both my engines, I can use the best parts form both of them.  The crank on my original is good, but it looks like some Bozo has removed the Dippers from the rods. [ I found the second engine had them as part of the con rod caps ]  I am looking at changing the bearings over on the rods to see if that will work.  I am going to have to bore the engine 20 thou o/size though and get a new Generator gear and chain.  Looks like Myers in the States could be the place to shop but I have heard freight is a bit dicey from there at the moment.  Is there anywhere closer to NZ that may be able to supply these parts?

 

I have played around stripping the spare water pump to  get familiar with that. The shaft is totally Knackered and the inner housing has worn away. I can easily make up a bush and hat bush to take up the wear.  Has anyone ever thought of using hydraulic lip seals in the water pump and gear drive assy? 

 

I ran the Magneto up in my lathe and proved that works. The original water pump holds water as well.  I was told that those Magneto's can give trouble when they get hot. Has anyone ever fitted a heat shield over it to keep the heat from the exhaust manifold getting to it?

 

All the best.

 

Dereck

Dodge BE Caps.jpg

IMG_20211028_195912.jpg

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It seems that when I went to order new pistons and 84 link timing chain from Myers, the the engine is pre 1923 according to Myers.  When  was sold the car I was told it was a 21 model. This seems to fit with the  info in the workshop manual as the mention of cars after A875-380[ March 23 ] had a timing chain, and the chassis no i was given with the vehicle [ unattached ] is 905830  [ May 23 ]. Obviously the engine is prior to the A875, although still a 23 series or earlier.  Who knows how to I D these cars.

 

Dereck

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Hi Dereck,

Cars have often been put together with bits from everywhere so you should not trust a number on a loose plate as the original. The chassis number will be stamped into the chassis and this is what should identify the year of the car.

The early cars had it stamped on the cross chassis rail just at the base of the front seat base. Here is the list.

 

DD6C565E-C847-4339-B4E0-753E50B27D70.jpeg.59f23ef5cb9f5832cf98390fdb68b160.jpeg

 

The engine number was usually higher but not always In synch however many cars no longer have the original engine often not even the correct age related engine. Let us know your stamped chassis number and the number stamped on the block.

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It has 4 primer cups and only one welch [ frost/freeze ] plug near the rear exhaust port on both engines.  I have 2 engines [ the same ]. No stamped numbers on either the engines that I can see, but casting marks in front of the carb port.  They are 022 and 14322. Might that suggest both engines could be 1922.

 

Apart from the wooden deck, the only wood in the whole vehicle is that of the windscreen frame and under the top of the steel skins on the doors. Are there any other distinguishing features that could help ID this car please?

 

The mention of vehicles prior to A875-380 was also an indication that something wasn't right. After that number the engines had timing chains according to the workshop manual I have. I worked out ages ago the the number 905830 was built around 18/5/23, hence the heading on this topic. Its possible as has been mentioned, the car could be 1923 but the engines I have are not from the car with that number.

 

Anyway. Progress so far. I got the fuel pump sorted out and it should work. I am checking out the carb right now and it looks in order but has the 40 years of non use look, but all there and maybe a wee bit of wear. There is play in the metering rack and the pin is loose in the rack [ wobbles ( meant to ) and some up and down movement but all  seems ok ]. 

Needs 20 thou o/size pistons. Plenty of meat on the clutch linings but need to strip and free it up.  Gearbox seems OK.

 

I have removed the SU fuel pump but unsure where the original bolted. Looks like 2 holes very near the bottom l/h edge of the firewall.  I have been recommended to mount the SU down the back to assist with delivering fuel on the long uphill drives we have around here.  [ I was advised that if i saw a hill coming I was to floor the throttle and  Because of loss of vacuum on the long hills, the SU was a good backup. 

 

Just discussing the ID of the engine with Myers prior to getting the bits sent out to NZ.

 

All the best and thanks again.

 

Dereck

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The car sounds like an all steel Budd body fully imported new rather than built locally on an imported chassis and running gear. Both of mine are Budd bodies.

The chassis number on my 1919Touring and on the 1917 Roadster are stamped here. I am not sure about later cars.

A note here, if your wheelbase is 114 inches then it is pre July 1923, after that it was changed to 116 inches.

 

01238CDC-A85C-438D-BC6F-329117999EEC.jpeg.90630105403f71903a4f783e78564edb.jpeg

 

The engine number is on the block just above the carburettor mount.

 

4E0ECCD4-6D80-439F-809F-40A313CEB914.jpeg.7ede79b2c9ab3e9c41a4db08bdc6ff81.jpeg

 

As you can see the engine fitted to my Touring is a much later block than it should be.

The SU fuel pump is not correct, your car should have a vacuum tank and this supplies fuel to the carburettor by gravity, many fires have been experienced when electric fuel pump pressure overcomes the carburettor float seat and the subsequent fuel spill ignites.

Having travelled several times in your country with the stupendous scenery and magnificent hills I can well understand the concerns relating to steep hills and running out of vacuum though.  
Timing chain.

The first four cylinder to have a timing chain was the “Fast Four” released in July 1927 quite a bit of difference in several areas so your 23 or 24 year engine will have a gear drive to the camshaft.

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Hi Minibago. The SU pump idea is controlled by a hidden switch or button that can be activated only when necessary.  If you feel your car is starting to feel like it is starving of fuel, give it a jab for a second or so to help fill the vacuum pump.  My second engine has 890-218 just above the carb.  Had to really look to see it.  I will have to go around to my daughters garage to check the other engine, which might be easier to see as it is sitting vertically IMG_20211102_212408.jpg.861183d174b7041f6ad7d0692c4065be.jpg.

 

Picture below of the spare in ,my garage. Hanging from the cam thrust pad, which wont bloody com out.  Thanks for the help with locating the numbers.  Its a big learning curve.

Dereck 

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We are all learning (or should be) all the time. It is really good to have such a group of very experienced folk on this forum willing to help. 
The SU sounds well set up 👍

The cam thrust pad can be a pain to remove, I use a slide hammer but it is still a pain. Lots of penetrene is needed.

 

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Here is a couple of pics of my "Slide Hammer". Attach a 12 inch length of heavy chain to the head of that axle and the other to the work, and give it hell.  Nothing gives. Usually. But not the dodge cam plug. Its resting against the 24 inch front wheel.

 

The engine number on the original engine is 958-682  and it's a 114 inch chassis.

 

I serviced the SU pump last night and got it going properly. It just needed cleaning of the points and resetting the diaphragm adjustment.  Works a treat. Its over 40 years since it last may have worked.

 

I forgot to look for the chassis number on that cross member.

IMG_20211103_102203.jpg

IMG_20211103_102122.jpg

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The cam thrust pad is a very tight fit and is quite long in the body so it is most important to keep it straight when removing otherwise, if pulled from one side, it will jam tight. I use a weight type slide hammer keeping the pull central.

 

0EA93077-46DF-4F31-8B52-C1D1C1AD1352.jpeg.a5ad6b00a8a67a45d574af855fc30104.jpeg

 

Another option is to use a piece of high tensile threaded rod screwed into the plug, thread a cup over the rod (I made one using a piece of thick walled pipe and welding a thick plate on the end) and tighten a decent sized nut to act as a puller.

Extrapolating on that idea, if still unsuccessful, you could drill and tap four equidistant holes in the plate on the end of the cup, secure the threaded rod (or high tensile bolt) and tighten the four bolts against the block, I would recommend a protective plate under the cup with a centre hole to clear the plug in order to protect the block from possible damage.

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That's a good idea. I can turn something like that up on my lathe. I found a piece of steel tube with the right ID so will soon get onto it

 

I was checking through my spare bits yesterday and found most of another magneto. When I took the covers off I could see that it had been run to destruction, so I had better have a look at my "good" mag to see if it needs lubrication. No point in having it stuff up when on the road as I don't have a replacement.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks Minibago.  I finished making the puller up yesterday and got one thrust plug out yesterday and the other one this morning. i can now seriously consider grinding one of the shafts to that Chrysler profile as suggested. Just have to find someone who can do it. I also managed to drill out the 2 broken manifold studs and re-thread them on the engine I have chosen to rebuild. Also, had to make an adapter to enable drilling out the stud  holding the water outlet to the block. the nut was totally seized to the stud and it broke about 1/4 inch away from the block, iside the water jacket. That was fun but successfully achieved although I haven't got the water outlet thread in as straight as I would like. Might have to reshape the water outlet to compensate, but that's easy.  will be boring it out to 20 thou o/size.  Still have to decided which crank to use. Also, I am renewing the bearings in the gearbox.  Clutch is fine, although it had rusted together [ as expected ].  I have to sort out the brakes now as well because they are bloody useless as they are.t

 

 

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Thanks for that. Hopefully the crank out of the original engine is ok, as it has the best finish and bearings. Apparently a first check to see if a crank might be ok is to see how it "rings " like a bell when suspended. A long ringing means a good bell. A short dull ring means its cracked.

20211117_170452.jpg

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Hi Minibago.  You can now see what I can see.  Very similar to the front wheel but in this case, its a 21 inch wheel rim.  Does this mean we may have a better idea of how old the car might be.

 

All the best.  Dereck

 

ps. had a quote of $431.25 NZ for regrinding the cam., Bit of a surprise for me but I have been out of the Auto industry for 21 years now.

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Hi Dereck,

I am no expert but the chassis number stamped on the cross rail is the only way to be certain of the true build date.

This is how the car will be dated for registration.

The chassis length, 114 inches, indicates pre July 1923.

The rear axle is not the original for your car nor are the wheels.

Your cam grind is rather expensive however a Melbourne grind plus postage two ways would probably amount to the same.

Regarding the puller you could make one up on your lathe perhaps using the same thread as the hub cap?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I keep forgetting to get under the car and check that chassis no. Too many things to organise and one track mind. I am heading around to the men's shed now to see if we have the expertise to make that puller. The have a decent lathe  etc.

Thanks for the help. It will all happen eventually.  BTW the rear axle looks the same as that shown in the Dodge manual for the light truck. The brake pedal is very soggy but when I removed the rods etc, the 2 main ones were slightly bent, so pedal action has to straighten them out before they can do their work.

 

D

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Just checked that cross member. Could not find any number on it. I remember looking before now, and not finding a number. That cross member is pretty clean, and the paint on it has been well applied so number doesn't appear to be hidden by any paint. Build date estimated to be 18/5/23 from the chassis number plate I have.  I do need a photograph of another cars chassis number attached to the firewall, as I can see no obvious holes where the chassis number was attached.

We do have the gear to make the hub puller as well.

 

D

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If you have plenty of meat left on your brake band material then setting ip should be done from the band forward to the pedal.

The band has several points of adjustment to ensure as complete a circle as possible as close to the drum as possible without causing drag.

Next I would check all the rods for straightness and all the clevis pin holes and clevis pins for wear. The clevis pins can wear a big step in the pin and also the clevis hole itself can elongate quite badly so by the time all the play is taken up you have run out of pedal.

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The first 4 wheeled vehicle I owned had rod brakes all around.  I got those brakes working really well.  Thanks for the suggestions. I know what you mean. One of the first things I noticed when preparing to remove the diff was the 2 main brake rods were bent. As the brakes are unknown to me, I will be starting at the back and working forward. Will be an interesting exercise as I suspect the bands are not true to the drums. 

 

I meant to ask if the light trucks [ Graham Bros ] had 21 inch wheels

 

All the best from NZ

D

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Hi Dereck

my experience is with very early DB cars so I have nothing to offer regarding the trucks. DB or GB.

Looking at my cross rail you will see that the paint has been removed (carefully) as the stamping is very faint and the paint fills up the indentations. Best to use stripper.

 

3F15F034-9437-4BA6-A557-AAD9DE47BA0B.jpeg.64eb1422df8af786250bbb8062f207fe.jpeg

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I had a look earlier this evening and thought I saw the impression of numbers between the shackle mount and the steering  box mount. I scraped away a thick coat of some sort of heavy primer that was under the black, to find the previous owner may have sandblasted the chassis and done a beautiful job of preparing and painting the chassis. Unfortunately, no evidence of a number.

I am happy to believe, the chassis plate I have with the vehicle is correct, and that it has an earlier engine and a later diff. The main thing is that I rebuild all the mechanical parts so the vehicle will run reliably for the rest of its life [ and mine ].

 

D

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have finally decided that both engines are knackered and need a complete recondition. Will sort out tomorrow which outfit will do it.  Just deciding which to do. The most worn engine block  [ 20 thou taper on no 4 bore ] is in good order. The block with only 16 thou taper on no 4 bore has one of the rear main bearing studs starting to pull out.  I have got 20 thou o/size pistons.

 

I am curious about the comment in my workshop manual that mentions drilling the cam follower retaining bolts.  Can anyone show some light on that for me please?

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Perhaps this relates to drilling the bridging clamp stud for a split pin or lockwire to prevent the nut coming loose. We have had one example in the club where the nut undid, the follower body popped up and jammed, the end result was a hole in the block.

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I have just started cleaning the bearings and caps and have found someone has drilled and driven in pins to stop all the main bearing studs coming loose. I think I will discard this block and hope the more worn block will be good enough.  The original nuts on both engines [ mains and big ends ] had had the snot wound out of them to line up the split pin holes.   What a fuck up. No apologies for using good quality motor engineers language.

 

I hung both cranks, and the one out of the original engine didn't ring.  It has to be cracked.  looks like the decision making about what to use is becoming easier.  The original big end caps had had their dippers ground off so that puts them out.

 

MY PORTABLE BORING MACHINE HAS SUCKED A KUMARA, SO THAT'S GOING TO THE DUMP AS WELL.

 

Dereck

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