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matt167

Old mopar's. What do I need to know?

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I'm kind of in the market for a late 40's early 50's Mopar. I had a '51 Chevy for many years that was on the road a while but really was a project and I sold it 2 years ago It was factory stock 235/ Powerglide. Now I want another post war car and the old Mopar's are speaking to me. Quite a few available close by including a 1949 Desoto that is stock with a rebuilt engine and fluid drive. looking at that car tomorrow

 

What about these cars do I need to know? I have a 1937-1953 Motors manual covering all brands. I want a car that I can take to work every day in clear weather if I want to ( with reasonable reliability ) but I want to enjoy it as it is/ was. No engine swap, auto trans or anything like that. Also, am I correct that Desoto was basically 2nd to Chrysler?

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Old Mopars are awesome and I think you would enjoy it.  Chrysler made DeSoto, Dodge and Plymouth...all great cars (I think I'm leaving one brand out, but it escapes me now).  This forum has never failed me on any question I have had over the years.  Thanks to the "interweb" I've never had issues finding parts either.  Keep an eye out for rust, but thats true of all old cars.  I personally find Mopar superior in many ways to Ford and Chevy.

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2 minutes ago, mmcdowel said:

Old Mopars are awesome and I think you would enjoy it.  Chrysler made DeSoto, Dodge and Plymouth...all great cars (I think I'm leaving one brand out, but it escapes me now).  This forum has never failed me on any question I have had over the years.  Thanks to the "interweb" I've never had issues finding parts either.  Keep an eye out for rust, but thats true of all old cars.  I personally find Mopar superior in many ways to Ford and Chevy.

Imperial.

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Yeah, I was actually responding. Imperial got it's own branding some time in the mid 50's.. I know the brands, I just don't know where Desoto 'fits'.. Chrysler at the top and Plymo at the bottom, Desoto and Dodge inbetween but I don't know the order or which Desoto is closer to

Edited by matt167

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You found the right place. This is an excellent forum.

 

I am less than 1 year into my first old Mopar. A 1953 Chrysler. These seem to be very well built cars. The flat head 6 is known as a very reliable engine that will seem to run on less than half of 1 lung. Better known for its reliability than horsepower. Easy to work on with pretty basic tools. I am quite happy with my Mopar.

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There should be no problem using your older MoPar for daily driving. I used my 1947 pickup for daily go-to-work for many years, bone stock in the '90's and early 2000's. Differences between GM and MoPar are generally: beefier frames, more robust brakes, much better electrical, better suspension components, fairly bullet proof drivetrain.

I think the Carter carbs are far better than the Rochester, double leading shoe brakes are much better, and a lot of little things.

 

If you keep your old MoPar bone stock, and well maintained, it should be a very reliable ride.

 

 

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That's what I plan to.. The kind of car I'm looking for is what Leno would call a " Good Ol' Girl ". Are there sources for brakes beyond Kanter and Oldmoparts? My '51 Chevy, Drums, shoes and bearings were available over the counter. I live in the hills and brakes even on modern cars are put to the test.

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1 hour ago, matt167 said:

I'm kind of in the market for a late 40's early 50's Mopar. I had a '51 Chevy for many years that was on the road a while but really was a project and I sold it 2 years ago It was factory stock 235/ Powerglide. Now I want another post war car and the old Mopar's are speaking to me. Quite a few available close by including a 1949 Desoto that is stock with a rebuilt engine and fluid drive. looking at that car tomorrow

 

What about these cars do I need to know? I have a 1937-1953 Motors manual covering all brands. I want a car that I can take to work every day in clear weather if I want to ( with reasonable reliability ) but I want to enjoy it as it is/ was. No engine swap, auto trans or anything like that. Also, am I correct that Desoto was basically 2nd to Chrysler?

They are as reliable as a rock if properly maintained,and most cars in 1949 were 2nd,3rd,or 4th to the Chrysler. Including every Chevrolet and Ford.

 

Anything you could do with your 51 Chevy can not only be done better by the DeSoto,it can be done better by the Plymouth. Chevrolets were still using splash lubrication in 51,and Mopars have had pressurized oil since forever. My 1931 Plymouth came from the factory with a oil pressure pump and hydraulic brakes.

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19 minutes ago, matt167 said:

That's what I plan to.. The kind of car I'm looking for is what Leno would call a " Good Ol' Girl ". Are there sources for brakes beyond Kanter and Oldmoparts? My '51 Chevy, Drums, shoes and bearings were available over the counter. I live in the hills and brakes even on modern cars are put to the test.

NEVER go to a dealership to buy parts unless you are desperate.  There are a ton of old cars parts suppliers that will mail you whatever you want,and most will have a reasonable price unless it is some sort of "one year only special order" doodah when the car was new.  You pay dearly for that stuff,but you never need any of that stuff for a driver car;

Click on the "Resources" link at the top of the page. That's a good place to start,but I've even new bought wheel cylinders from Amazon for 5 bucks each. The key to web searching parts is to have a factory parts manual for your car,and search using factory parts numbers. Sometimes that will lead to OEM parts numbers and that really broadens your possibilities.

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Oh I never went to the dealer for parts for the '51. The local Carquest could get just about everything the next day.. But as long as parts are available it sounds like my choice or feeling that Mopar is 'it' is the proper one.

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I have bought many parts for my 48 Dodge coupe from the local auto parts store as well as from Rock Auto, Andy Bernbaum, Robert’s Auto parts, etc.  

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Cool. I looked on rockauto as a gauge and the only thing I found they could not get was brake shoes. But Kanter and Andy Bernbaum both list them.

 

Rock Auto lists an electronic ignition conversion. Will that work with the shift interrupter used on an M6 transmission? I had a petronix on my '51 Chevy and it started much faster on that than points

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Oh yes, the wonderful Chevrolet. If your local parts store didn’t have wheel bearings, you could try the Schwinn dealer. That’s right, they had caged ball bearings in the front wheels just like your bicycle. Pathetic. All the Mopars were superior to the “Shove-it or leave it “ in any way you could compare them.

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Mine had actually had the fronts upgraded to roller bearing before I got it, but I get what your saying.. Had I known or discovered the superiority of the Mopar's of this vintage I probably would have bought the package deal of '49 and '50 Plymouth's that were available at the same time as my '51 Chevy for $1,200 for the pair, instead of the old Chevy. One was a coupe and the other was a 4dr.. My Chevy was a Fleetline and had the lines that drew me to it.

Edited by matt167

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4 minutes ago, matt167 said:

Mine had actually had the fronts upgraded to roller bearing before I got it, but I get what your saying.. Had I known or discovered the superiority of the Mopar's of this vintage I probably would have bought the package deal of '49 and '50 Plymouth's that were available at the same time as my '51 Chevy for $1,200 for the pair, instead of the old Chevy. One was a coupe and the other was a 4dr.. My Chevy was a Fleetline and had the lines that drew me to it.

Chevrolet has always had good attractive styling. That has gotten them where they are today. Nice chrome, good seats, sharp paint, on and on. Lacking was engineering. For two auto companies to compete with each other, they have to have comparable expenditures on finished product. GM put there money into glitz, Chrysler put their money into dependability. My employer was constantly ridiculing my 91 Dodge pickup. According to him his 88 Chev pickup was far superior to mine. His Chev needed a new engine at 49,000 a new rear diff. at 75,000 and was jumping out of high gear when he traded it off 10 years ago. I’m still driving the Junk Dodge. Nothing major has been done to the drive train in 200,000 miles. Auto trans went out 2 weeks ago due to hole in trans cooler line. I will gladly take that reliability over nice lines and fancy chrome. Welcome to the forum.

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Yeah, but actually looking and comparing. My '51 Chevy would have been equivalent to a  Plymouth/ Dodge mix AFIK. It was a 4dr Fleetline with the 2spd Powerglide auto, very rare combination with the Fleetline since Fleetline was the low option version.. The Mopar's still had a nice interior, same amount of chrome and the dashboard is 1000x nicer with the woodgrain.. Like I said if only I had known. But I have a chance at what I believe is a pretty nice '49 Desoto and if it is what I think it is, it will be mine

 

Edit.

Also adding, the tech in those days that GM created wasn't the greatest. Buicks had the pedal start switch  since the late 30's to the mid 50's which is cool but not great. Chevrolet was left with a push button until '53 ( same year as full pressure oiling ).. Vacuum shift was also a horrible idea

Edited by matt167

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There's a lot of discussion and cussin' on this forum about the Pertronix ignition.  I put one on my 47 DeSoto with the semi-automatic transmission.  The controls for upshifting include shorting out the ignition momentarily.  For this, Pertronix recommended a resister for the interrupting circuit.  ThePertronix wiring is the opposite of the usual points-type ignition, but it all worked out.   

This forum has a wealth of knowledge to be mined.  

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Ok. I'm going to shift gears and try to guide you a little into what to look for when you view that DeSoto. I have a '47 Chrysler Windsor 4dr. 

If it runs, check if it idles at the necessary 450rpm (very low) but is required for it to shift the fluid drive semi-auto transmission properly. If the owner has it idling too high, it's usually because the compression is bad (hard) or the carb needs a rebuild (easy). Try turning down the idle and see if it still purrs. Check the wiring, especially under the dash. If it's stock (like mine) it'll be the cloth wrapped type which if fine unless it is fraying or exposed. They do sell updated wiring kits which are awesome but expensive. 

If it drives, check that it shifts correctly from 3rd and 4th, and back down to 3rd. You'll need to educate yourself on the fluid drive system to understand how it works and how to operate. I'll try to find the link that explains it.

There is a lot more but I'll let others chime in....

 

 

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