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James_Douglas last won the day on January 29

James_Douglas had the most liked content!


About James_Douglas

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    Guru, have been a long time contributor

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    I am just a geek who likes old cars. We drive a 1947 Desoto Suburban as our daily driver.
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    San Francisco
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    Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

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  1. I have not in fact sent them a bolt yet. I called and talked with them and they said it was not a big deal. But, I suspect that once they saw one that it will be. One thing I have been thinking of having a rod and piston set up done that will clear and that has a design that a modern bolt will clear. I will also look into if there is any meat to cut on the block so that a larger head on the bolt will clear. I suspect that MOPAR did the bolt so they did not have to cast another block. They also would not want to spend the labor to grind a block for clearance. I have just been told today that in August, I may well have to have some serious back surgery. If that comes to pass, I will have to put off the car work until 2020. Between now and summer, I will get the engine down to the short block and take a look at the actual clearance. I used ARP 351C Ford bolts on the 251 that I have been driving. We worked the rod bolt faces to use them. James
  2. I am in the middle of writing the specifications for what will hopefully be the last incarnation of my Desoto power plant. So far I am looking at the following: 1. 265 either sleeved to STD or bored to 10-15 over. (When you raise the compression the bore increase causes there to be less space between the cylinders. With higher compression, OVER TIME, you can have head gasket failure. I did at about 60K miles. This engine was decked and bored 40 over. The head was NOS and had a cleaning pass on it to make sure it was flat.) 2. The engine will have a HEI from Langdon's and a throttle body injection system. (Two injectors each on one hole of an Edmunds dual 1BBL manifold). 3. On the big Chrysler 8 and the LWB Desoto which have larger steering boxes and larger steering arms, a 1969 Pontiac Wagon (Saginaw) steering chuck fits the splines and I will use that thanks to Don Smith and his research. 4. I will use an electric water pump at the base of the radiator and 4 small fans as a pusher. Not using an engine pump and fan will help with belts and access on the front of the engine. 5. A/C will be a high efficiency scroll compressor. Item 4 makes this possible and also helps with item 3. I will use a remote canister power steering pump. 6. Transmission. Some may have seen my post on that. I am leaning toward a 4L60E transmission as all the shift points can be set via the computer and not having to machine governor weights as would be the case with a 700R4. Also, some of the computers allow you to have a toggle switch to change from program A to Program B on the fly. With the 5500 pound Desoto that would be good as I could have a "flatland" and a "mountain" shift program. 7. Head. I may use one of Earl's heads if the new guys in Montana ever have them back in stock. I will also use one of his cams if they are also grinding them again. The one I got from Earl for my 1949, which is his one up from stock, work fine in the '49. 8. I will be having custom made pistons. I want to lighten the load as well as use a more modern ring arrangement. I have noted that after about 35K miles that cylinder pressure starts to drop. If one measures the bore one sees that it starts to tapper a lot. I talked with several engine builders, men in their 80's, and they all said the long stroke coupled with the heavy pistons is the issue. Their recommendation is to lighten the piston and go with different rings. 9. The ass of the cam has no bearing. The block wears and causes lower oil pressure. I will bore that hole and use a steel or oilite bearing in there. 10. Rods will been very carefully rebuilt, including having ARP make the special 265 bolts. (on my 251, I used ARP 351 Ford Cleveland rod bolts and re-worked the head and nut surfaces for them and they have been fine for 65K miles and a lot of that at WOT for the 5500 pound car). 11. Dual cast exhaust. That is my basic outline. One person wrote that he thought he was getting 25% more power, I think that may be a little optimistic. I will be happy if I can hit the Dodge Truck 136 HP mark. James.
  3. Here is a couple of photos of the '49 conversion. I did the same for the '47 although I have not installed it yet. The BIG issue on the rear is the tapered axel. You MUST take an axel and a hub flange and put it into a big lathe and turn the face of the hub flat. The you have to make sure you use the same key, axle and hub as a set. The owner at ECI told me he does not do rear disc conversions due to this issue. He said people did not "get it" and would then complain that the disk did not run true and the brakes pulsed. I even went so far as to place the actual disc onto the hub and axle and made sure it all ran true. On the '49 it has worked just fine. Note in the photo that I made a rim mounting stud. It is threaded and goes through one of the old rivet holes. It is threaded and holds the disc in place and helps when mounting the rear wheel. Slick I thought. James PS. My friend George in the photo.
  4. All very good points. Finding rear end gears for the LWB cars is kind of tough. I could swap it out for a ford 9 inch, but I would like to avoid that as I have rebuilt the rear end with all new bearings and have a lot of spare parts for it. I also have a rear, custom made, disc brake set up for it. I have talked with a few of the large transmission houses. They only way to "match" the sift points to the torque curve of a flathead is to play trial and error with the transmission governor weights. That would get old quick and it would take lot of time. not to mention a lot of machining of weights. I was told in no uncertain terms to not use a TV cable or rod to try and change the shift points as that would kill the transmission particularly in a heavy car. That is why I am leaning toward an electronic version. The shift points can be changed without touching the transmission. The issue is that it will cost a fair amount.
  5. I have been also thinking of a 4L60E as I can set all the shift points by computer... The parasitic loss is not bothering me too much, like I said, the fluid coupling, mini flywheel, clutch and pressure plate come in at 75-80 pounds. A modern converter, even a lock up, tops out at 45 pounds. Even if the trans parts were 30 pounds more than the stock 3-speed, I would net out even and with the torque multiplication on the launch it would be better I would think. If I use a 4L60, I am thinking that I can program it to shift quick out of 1st gear, which I hardly use, into second. The "fast" second gear I am using now allows me with the 3.91 to hit 25 MPH for city stop and go without changing gears. The 200R4 second is very close. The 700R is a little numerically higher, but still far below the "stock" second gear. I worry on the freeway, with the heavy car, that the 200R4 will have to come out of overdrive too often with the .67 OD. You may be right about the 1-2 gear spread of the 700R4. When I had the M5/M6 in the car here in SF I would often start out in low range (1st) then manually shift to high range (3rd). The 700R4 would be in the same ball park as doing that. My hope would be with the computer controller, I could have the car start out in low and then do a fast shift into second... As to using a GM versus a MOPAR trans...there is a much better after market for assessorial like the controllers and the shifters. I have been using a stock transmissions in this car for daily driving of 16 years and 70K miles. I have earned my stripes and do not feel the need to be all MOPAR on this. Keep the thoughts coming. James
  6. Well, I need to decide what "modern" automatic to use with the flathead six for the rebuilding of the big Desoto for get it ready in 36 months for a Grand Tour of the USA. I thought I would get other folks opinions on this. The big Desoto is very heavy. I cannot impress on everyone enough what the difference of a 1000 pounds makes on driving this car versus a standard coupe or sedan. The same engine in the '49 CV and the car flies up a hill. In the big Desoto it necessitates down shifting going over big mountain passes. I have the weight of the reciprocating mass of the fluid-coupling and all the associated gears through the rear brake drum. However, I have not been able to get the reciprocating weights of the usual GM automatic's one would consider to be able to do a apple to apple comparison of the parasitic drag differences. The 200R4 has less loss as the internal parts are lighter than the 700R4. But it may or may not take the load. Also the gearing my be better with the 700R4 as drop at freeway speed may push the engine too far down on its torque curve and would require coming out of OD a lot more often. I have asked a couple of "hot rod" transmission houses about using a 200R4 versus a 700R4 with a car that when loaded will be in the 5500 pound range. I of course received different answers. One answer was that the OD unit of the 200R4 may not take the weight and would likely require a "bullet OD unit" which is not inexpensive. Attached are the gear choices. I could also look into the electronic transmissions like the six speed, but I really do not want to be out on the bleeding edge that far. Thoughts? James Red is what is in the car now:
  7. Dave, The hard parts that wear are a bitch to find and when you do get ready for the price. I have, and I am sure others do as well, ebay searches that will let me know immediately if one of those parts comes up. I have one so-so clutch and a couple of the brass sync rings. In my cars I have all new parts as to the clutch, ring, and input shaft. Speaking of input shafts everyone, be warned.... For my '47 that has the fluid-coupling three speed and BW overdrive.... When we went to put the trans in it was the going in a little tough. As I was trying to suck it in the last inch and my 75 year old friend was warning me to not put to much tension on it... at that moment I heard a pop and the case, by the ear I was working on, cracked. I know better, but I was tired and thought it was just a slight alignment issue with the pilot busing. Well, after the dust settled down it turns out that the end of the NOS input shaft was 0.001 larger than it should have been. It would not go into the fluid coupling. As I remember it was supposed to dead on at one inch, but it was over just enough to not go. Lucky in that I had a spare transmission, so I pulled the guts from the one and swapped it over to the other. I also had a very good used extra input shaft (on the three speed it does not have the issues like M5/M6) and it has gone 40K without any issues. I wanted to warn everyone to double check their input shafts if they get an NOS one! Some day I will weld up the old case and rebuild that three speed with BW overdrive to have a spare around. James.
  8. Do make sure that the second gear is well within the specification clearance wise. Like I said in my other post, the gear slides onto the main shaft and stops at the "flute" where the low reverse sliding gear rides. It is held in by a snap ring. Even with an NOS gear and NOS largest size snap ring it had too much clearance. The back of the gear I had built up by hard chrome to get it into the low end of the clearance specification. The little thrust area on the main shaft wears and I could not find a NOS main shaft. It now has about 40K hard miles on it now and is dead quiet. I think that the second gear is more sensitive to clearance that is commonly thought. This is however an opinion so take it for what it is worth. I also dump the oil and refill the trans every 2 or 3 years. James.
  9. The one thing to note on the indexing...it will go together and look fine even though it is in the wrong place. That is why it is very important to market it BEFORE you take it apart or it can bite you in the butt.
  10. There is an old trick ... if you cannot find a jet and need to get it larger....one thing, do not drill it. Take a little piece of plywood. Drill a hole that you can mount the jet into. Have someone hold a funnel over the jet and pour water in the funnel. water will run out the bottom of the jet, through the plywood it is mounted in. Stick a cup into the stream and keep it there for exactly one minute. Measure the water in CC's. Then take a pipe cleaner and soak it with course valve lapping compound. Run it through the jet back and forth at 12-3-6-9 with a sea-sawing motion. What will happen to the brass is that you will open the jet while keeping the basic contour. That contour is important that is why drilling does not work correctly. You then measure again until you get the CC you want. Then do a final pass with fine valve lapping compound to smooth it out. Check one last time and use it. This takes some time, but you can increase a jet using this method. You can go into the engineering books and read on how the shape and the curve of a jet is very important. That is why drilling will cause issues. The above will work fine if you are careful as it will take an equal amount of material off the walls of the jet. James
  11. MikeMalibu is correct in that it will take a lot more work and lot more money to put a V8 in that one thinks. The steering along is a pain in the butt. You will have to have a custom made Rack & Pinion as the frame is such that the V8 will not allow a regular steering box. Now that said, I did see one, some years ago, where the box cleared, the engine was off set to the right. But it was so close I would worry about the manifold heat over time on the steering box. In my case I am working on replacing my trans with a modern automatic. I am also looking at using a set of GM late 1980's single injector throttle bodies on an Edmunds manifold so I have computerized FI and a MSD box. Will I get double the HP, of course not. But it will do for driving every say for another 20 years. If I do it right with a 265, I hope to hit the 130 HP target.
  12. I do not have an issue with someone wanting to put a different engine in one of these old cars. However, when I hear that people want to do it because they feel they need to do it to make the car reliable I want to scream. Since I have used a 1947 Desoto nine passenger sedan here AS MY DAILY DRIVER in the middle of San Francisco for over a decade... A 1949 Convertible can be made to be reliable enough for 99% of the driving you will be doing with it. I would get into my restored 1949 Desoto Convertible and drive to go see Don Coatney in a heartbeat if I had a reason without thinking one minute about reliability. Put a SBC in it if that is what you want. But, like another poster said, you can sell the SBC and with that money make the car very reliable. I have been driving single master cylinder cars for 40 years and only once have I had a total failure. It was a brand new wheel cylinder seal that was bad from the factory. I know check them all even if new. But one failure in 40 years is nothing to worry about and the properly adjusted emergency brake slowed the car down just fine and that was on a hill in San Francisco! James.
  13. Based on my experience, I would say the problem is the Direct Speed Clutch, the ring that goes with it and probably the input shaft. What happens is they wear out and then you get the problems you are talking about. Attached is a photo of the clutch and its ring. One this that is important to tell your mechanic. He MUST mark the clutch before taking it apart or it will go back together, but not work. It is NOT in most of the manuals and people miss it all the time. The index marks are either worn away or they are not there. I have had NOS parts without the mark. I have, before I knew, put a trans back together and it did not work for reasons unknown at the time. Once I lined the part up it worked just fine. By the way, finding a new clutch is VERY hard. The last one I got was from Frank Mitchel and it cost me something like $250 and that was the last one he had. For a friend, took one and dressed all of those edges very carefully. You can see how banged up there are in the photo. I then sourced a new ring and a new input shaft and it solved his problem but it is problematical trying to dress and old part. Good luck and let me know what ends up being the problem. Also, note that the V8 cars with fluid torque drive cars, have a transmission that is different that the fluid-drive cars. They made gear and other internal changes.
  14. Some my find this useful. James
  15. Although it has been to years since I rebuilt my 3 speed with overdrive the few things that were issues are as follows: 1. The second gear had too much clearance between it and the snap ring. The main shaft where the second gear rides had worn as well. I purchased an NOS second gear and there was still too much clearance. The main shaft wear. I had to take the NOS second gear to an industrial chrome house and they built up the back side to take up the room. Now the second gear was dead on lower end of the end play. For 10 plus years now it has worked great and made no noise. 2. The spring you are looking for was used mainly on cars with fluid couplings as far as I can tell. But, I have seen it in some non-fluid coupling cars. Its job is to slow down the shaft to allow the synchronizing to take place. Apparently, there is enough momentum that the main shaft is not slowing down fast enough. I got lucky and found two of them at a dealer that still had them in stock and I got them for $10! 3. On the overdrive. The sun gear and control plate. Mine were worn way beyond specification. The control plate works by friction. If, as in my case, the control plate has worn a groove into the sun gear it will not work correctly and you will have inconsistence OD engagement or no engagement. You either have to find a new set, very difficult, or have to get the sun gear welded, machined and then heat treated to fix it. In my case I had purchased the unit as it was supposed to be as good as new. I learned that one should just do it oneself and check all the specification and make sure everything is in spec. I ended up doing that and the thing has run in City and Highway traffic for 10 years and 40K miles without fail since. James. PS. I have lots of documentation that I can email directly to you if you shot me an address.
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