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James_Douglas last won the day on January 29

James_Douglas had the most liked content!


About James_Douglas

  • Rank
    Guru, have been a long time contributor

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  • Biography
    I am just a geek who likes old cars. We drive a 1947 Desoto Suburban as our daily driver.
  • Occupation

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  • My Project Cars


  • Location
    San Francisco
  • Interests
    Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

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  1. James_Douglas

    Who Is Actually Driving Their Vintage Mopars?

    The '47 Desoto is the family car. I drive it some weeks daily and some weeks one or two times. If we need to go big time shopping it goes. If we need to run to our place out of town, it goes. If there is an old car event and it is raining and everyone else is bitching about getting their cars wet, it goes. Try parallel parking the 139.5 inch wheelbase car on a steep hill here in San Francisco on a one way street on the left side! Once you master that, you can drive anything and park anything in bust traffic!
  2. James_Douglas

    Desoto 2.0

    Thanks for the thoughts on this...let me try to address some of the comments... The rear-end gears will be decided on once I have picked a particular transmission. The 6 speed and the 8 speed, if they can be used have really low first and second gear. The Desoto has about 4700 pounds of curb weight. The long trip weight comes in at 5500 pounds. I cannot over state enough how bad the hill climbing is with that weight. A regular sedan or couple just runs up a hill in comparison. For any of you that have driven into San Francisco from the north to the Golden Gate Bridge you know it is quite a grade. When I was rebuilding the car (stock) in 2003 and had the interior out except the front seat it would fly up the grade. Once I have the about 500 pounds back in, it was quite labored. Basically the power to weight ratio in this car is getting to the tipping point where when trying to pull up a hill gravity is overcoming the available power in the transmission 1:1 final ratio with a 3.9 or 4.11 gear set. I happen to have both and the 3.9 works better with the 3-speed and the OD here in city driving. I ran across some references of a guy who had a 1957 Chevy with the single injector throttle bodies on his stovebolt 6. Turns out that those throttle bodies are within 4MM of intake holes of my Edmunds dual 1BBL manifold. After some searching I found the man who did the FI for that Chevy. He builds the systems using plain jane GM parts that one can get at any auto parts store. According to him, you only have to use one O2 sensor. My gut tells me that two would be better, but a plain jane GM computer does not have the capability for two. You could use a Megasquirt and it can read two sensors. He also told me he got the HEI8 from Tom and so the computer can deal with the timing as well. A knock sensor on the flathead would not be a bad thing pulling up the mountains. James.
  3. James_Douglas

    Desoto 2.0

    I am working in earnest on the specifications for the Desoto 2.0 rebuild. I have been using the car in its mostly stock configuration since 2002. The 251 with a 3-speed and BW OD has carried us around all of California and daily here in San Francisco well. But, it is time to create a "final package" that will see us using the car to travel the USA in retirement and onward to the grave. I have the actual guts of the 265 replacement block all down on paper. Pretty much the usual stuff. The induction system is going to use two Rochester (GM) series single TBI units on an Edmunds manifold. It will use one of Langdon's HEI's which he can build as an HEI8 and the computer will run the carbs and the ignition. Do remember that from sea level here in San Francisco to 10,000 feet that one looses about three percent power for each 1000 feet of elevation with a carburetor. With TBI, that will not be a factor. Given the 5500 pound travel design weight...that is a good thing as looses 30 HP with that much weight would not be fun on mountain interstate freeways. My biggest challenge is what transmission to use. For old age a full automatic is required - - - right Don ? I have been looking over the torque and horsepower curves and applying the gearing of various transmissions and rear-end gears to see what looks like the best match. The problem I keep running into is the weight of the car. My 1949 CV has the same engine as the 1947. But that 1500 pounds makes a BIG difference in going up over the mountains on the Interstate. No matter which way I cut it, I keep coming to the conclusion that I need more than 4 gears. I am loath to head down that road, but it may be the only way to transmit the 120 to 130 HP to the wheels and not be in the right lane doing 30 in second gear which is what one has to do now. I talked with Pat at Wilcap and I could get him to custom make one of his 700R adaptors to the 5,6 or 8 speed automatics. I shutter at the thought of the time and cost for a custom plate. I have been talking to the big transmission players and there may be a ray of light from that end. A couple of them are making transmissions (5,6 &8 speed) for retrofit use by changing the bell housings so that they will bolt up to a standard old "SBC". I am investigating if I could use one of those transmissions with the off the shelf Wilcap adaptor. Those companies have stand alone controllers they sell for those transmissions do I not have to worry about the engine TBI computer controlling the transmission. When I plug in a 6 or 8 speed transmission into the RPM - Gear calculators such a combination can keep the 265 in the middle of the torque band and the RPM's in an acceptable up the mountain driving range. Again, for the weight of this car. I thought I would post what I am up to and solicit constructive thoughts on the path I am heading down. Best, James.
  4. James_Douglas

    Crap Ignition Products

    Hi all, I called and talked with two of the leading Aircraft Magneto houses. Many of their magnetos use NOS point sets that are no longer available for the pre WWII aircraft. I talked with them about what had happened and the upshot of those conversations is that they have only seen one instance in the last 25 years of the blocks disintegrating like mine did. Their take is that it is a rare thing and I happen to be the unlucky one. As to the comment about a black cloud following me around, hardly, I am the luckiest guy in the world in many ways. What pissed me off was that the failure killed a NOS cam lobe. How many of those have you seen on ebay in the last 10 years? So, I guess I can be reasonably certain that I can go back to my stash of NOS points...But, I would check about 2 weeks after installing a new set to make sure it is not premature wearing just in case. If it looks good at 2 weeks it should be good for a long time I hope. But the question still remains, once the NOS or NORS stock dries up, what then?
  5. James_Douglas

    Full Flow Oil Filter??

    Not to worry, this is for my rebuild later in the year. I saw a photo and write up someplace on the internet with details...but will be dammed if I can find it now. Thanks, James PS. Just drop me a line directly at JDD@8bells.com when and if you get around to it.
  6. James_Douglas

    1946 Dodge fluid drive clutch replacement

    Just tap the wedges in easy so that the pressure plate cannot wobble or rock. The wire is just to hold the wedges in place. This is also a good thing if transporting a unit. I have a friend that wraps a cloth around it to do the same things and then unwraps it when the trans is in. I would like to see a few more photos of the unit that is posted taken apart. I wish my lathe was large enough to cut one open. James. PS. I have the complete kit in the Miller Catalog for taking one of these apart and servicing them. In the event that someone really wants to do one themselves and are close to San Francisco you can barrow it. It is heavy to ship. I also heard that Dacco that would rebuild them went bankrupt last year...
  7. James_Douglas

    Full Flow Oil Filter??

    Do you have any more information on this particular modification? James.
  8. James_Douglas

    1946 Dodge fluid drive clutch replacement

    One thing that I have not read any one mentioning in this thread is the subject of the rocking motion of the pressure plate when the input shaft is out. I was told, very strongly, that before one removes or installs one of these units to place three wooden wedges under the pressure plate (between the bottom of the plate and the coupling housing) and run foot or so of bailing wire around the wedges and twist them tight with pliers. A groove in the rear of the wedge helps. What this does is to prevent the plate from rocking. Apparently, you can crack the carbon seal in the unit if it rocks. The issues is you will not know it until after it is all back together. Some times it cracks and takes a while until it starts leaking. So, I always place the wedges in before I pull the trans out if I am going to be pulling the coupling. Then when the trans is back in you just cut the wire and rotate the unit around and pull out the wedges. I use soft pine. James.
  9. James_Douglas

    Crap Ignition Products

    Yes, it was a NOS Auto-Lite in the box off eBay. I always clean the cam's, put a single drop of non-detergent oil in the center felt, the outside busing felt and then I grease the cam with cam lobe grease. In this case the block just failed after about 2 months. The phenolic block disintegrated into something akin to sand and with the grease to hold it ground a nice groove into a NOS cam lobe. It may have been an isolated issue. But, it has left me gun shy on the subject of using 50 year old phenolic's in mechanical applications. James.
  10. James_Douglas

    Quest For The Ultimate Flathead 6 Spark Plug?

    I have used Autolite in the big Desoto for 15 years. Mostly 303 though I have tried some 85/86 on occasion. What I find is that for whatever reason the car seems to respond better with a new set of plugs every 12 months. I guess it is due to the heavy duty service I put the big Desoto through here in the middle of San Francisco. A lot of time at WOT with the 5000 pound car and lots of stop lights. Attached is a copy of the autolite heat range chart if anyone needs it. By the way Hello Fran, I have not talked to you in a long while. I hope all is well. James. Autolite_heat_chart.pdf
  11. James_Douglas

    Just saw total disregard for other's property

    This is the reason I have not tried to restore my 1947 Desoto. I can park it here in SF and if it picks up a door ding, I don't worry about it. My restored 1949 Convertible...I only take it to shows and never park it here in SF on the street. I go to a number of shows. The large expensive fancy shows I take the '49. The local free shows to the public, I take the '47. On occasion I have told people in a loud voice that: "...you know we used to take a baseball bat to people who touched out rides when we were young..." They generally get the message. James.
  12. James_Douglas

    Crap Ignition Products

    I have a warning for you folks stocking up on NOS Autolite points. I did this for a long time, I still have a bunch of sets. That last time I used some, about 2 years ago on another car, the Bakelite rubbing block decided to degrade without warning. The particles ended up destroying an NOS distributor cam. Some of the bakelite works fine and some, as evidenced by my experience, does not. The issue is there is no way to tell in advance. So, although I really like the idea of sourcing NOS Autolite, one should so with some trepidation. James.
  13. James_Douglas

    Crap Ignition Products

    I have a Ignitor, but I have to make up an new wiring harness if I am going to use it...they require some resistors in line so that the coil interruption devices for the OD, or Underdrive if using, will not kill it. I want to make up two sets of harness's with plugs so that if a module fails on the road and I have to switch to my back up dizzy (point) that also have a back up harness without the resistors out of it... I hope in a year to have the new engine on the test stand with computerized TBI and a crank trigger...it is just in the mean time...do remember that the 1947 is my daily driver... Hence why I was asking if anyone had any make-part-numbers that are know good recently. James.
  14. James_Douglas

    Crap Ignition Products

    I had a condenser die and eat the points on the '47 Desoto. So, I get a set from the only surviving auto parts store (O'Reilly) in this end of San Francisco. The parts are "Blue Streak" from Standard. In short, they do not fit. The point mounting plate hole that the hold down screw goes through is about 1/2 hole diameter off. You slip it onto the brass stud and the hole in that bottom plate must line up. In addition, the copper plating on the bottom of the plate has crap in the plating so it is not perfectly flat and it is starting to peel of the steel base. I had a stock of these products I had been using for 10-15 years. This is the first item I have purchased since they closed the Long Island plants. These points came from Mexico. They are junk and cannot be used. Just to be sure, I pulled two of my NOS Auto-lite distributor plates and placed the points on the post. On both the screw hole was out 1/2 diameter. I then went to use the capacitor. The new one is larger in diameter than the old Blue Streak I had in my used box. The bracket holes, three of them, would not line up properly with the plate and even if you forced it the housing would hit the cam as it spun around. Has anyone purchased points and a condenser in the last six months and had no problems with them? If so, what was the make and part number on the box? As an aside, one cannot go by the part numbers on the auto part store catalogs. They are swapping in parts like these. One day you get once manufacturer and another you get someone else. Hence why I am asking for anyone who has gotten something recently and what was it according to the box as opposed to the receipt. Thanks all, James.
  15. James_Douglas

    265 Engine Color opinions

    I can second this comment. On my engine I used brass plugs when I rebuilt the engine on the thought that they would not rust. They started to pop out when I was first running the car down the road. I had to change then in place to steel. Why? I took out my caliper and measured the brass and the steel. They were smaller by a few thousands. I then started to check all the steel ones I had and they had quite a range. I contacted dorman and they told me that the plugs should all be the same. So much for their quality control. I ended up, for the 1949 engine, having my machinist make me a tool that perfectly fits the plug and the block. I hit it good and hard and it pushes the plug flat. I have thought about machining the step out in the block on the core holes, tapping the holes and making screw in bronze plugs for the 256 rebuild. The 1947 Engine color is attached. All the dark red parts were powder coated. The 1949 engine I did stock color. I don't know what color I will do for the 265 rebuild. James.

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