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Hello all! Just bought myself a 1952 dodge B3B. It was a service truck for a tow company and a flying A gas company. What I really liked about the truck was the patina and the flying A insignia. Plus you can see the name of the tow truck company.  Sure it is beat up, but a lot of people desire that look and are trying to replicate it. I'm very novice when it comes to auto mechanics, but I do understand the basics. 

 

My plan is to see if she runs. She was sitting for 25 years. So far I took the starter off and generator, tested it. They both work for now. Took the old spark plugs off. Looked dry obviously. Poured some ATF down the holes. Waited a few days. Seems to have some sort of compression and I can see the tops going up and down. Ive taken apart my ball and ball carburetor. Ready to be rebuilt. Distributor cap and plugs seem to be in good shape. The radiator still needs to be tested. Need to change the oil and filter. Also need to figure out my oil bath filter. 

 

My question is regarding changing oil. I've read 30w or 10w30 depending on temps.  I've heard with detergent or non detergent.  

 

My oil filter cap isn't coming off. I loosened the top, but the cap seems stuck. Should it come right off?

 

I've seen a guy on you tube convert his oil bath filter to a regular air filter. Also my wingnut and bolt are pretty rusted out any Ideas on getting it loose? Also there is some corrosion on the cap. Will I need a new cap?

 

Thank you for any help on my new adventure. I really appreciate it!

 

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Welcome to the “family”. 

What you see going up and down below the spark plug holes are actually the valves, not the pistons. But that’s a good thing too. Sometimes the valves get stuck open after sitting for long periods. 

 

On the oil filter, give the cover some taps around the edge with a small hammer, or rubber mallet. The gasket is probably gluing the cover to the canister. 

 

On the air filter, spray down the wing nut with some PB Blaster, or similar, and let it soak a bit. It’ll probably come off OK. Paper filter conversions aren’t too difficult. I did mine many years ago, but mostly because it had been sitting in the weather when I got it and parts of it were rusted away. Otherwise the oil bath, when cleaned and serviced properly, is a very good air filter. 

 

It looks like it’s had a few different layers of paint, and someone has been stripping some of it off already. 

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welcome indeed! nice truck.

a trick I like to use on those rusted bolts when I can, is use a wire brush or steel wool or a scotch brite pad etc. on the exposed part of the bolt and then hit it with PB blaster. lots of times the PB will break them loose but then your fighting crud all the way off. :) 

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20 minutes ago, Merle Coggins said:

Welcome to the “family”. 

What you see going up and down below the spark plug holes are actually the valves, not the pistons. But that’s a good thing too. Sometimes the valves get stuck open after sitting for long periods. 

 

On the oil filter, give the cover some taps around the edge with a small hammer, or rubber mallet. The gasket is probably gluing the cover to the canister. 

 

On the air filter, spray down the wing nut with some PB Blaster, or similar, and let it soak a bit. It’ll probably come off OK. Paper filter conversions aren’t too difficult. I did mine many years ago, but mostly because it had been sitting in the weather when I got it and parts of it were rusted away. Otherwise the oil bath, when cleaned and serviced properly, is a very good air filter

 

It looks like it’s had a few different layers of paint, and someone has been stripping some of it off already. 

Thank you Merle! I really appreciate the help. 

What happens if a valve is stuck? Are they hard to get unstuck?

 

As far as the oil filter I'll give it some taps and try and get it loose. 

 

I've heard the oil bath filters can be a bit of a mess. But that is from one person. 

 

The truck definitely has some history. So I imagine the layers of paint and stripping happened a long time ago. 

 

As far as motor oil goes, 30w? 10w30?

Non detergent?  When I change the oil, should I drop the pan and clean the filter inside the pan? 

 

Thanks again for the help

Edited by Saltrock

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4 minutes ago, Brent B3B said:

welcome indeed! nice truck.

a trick I like to use on those rusted bolts when I can, is use a wire brush or steel wool or a scotch brite pad etc. on the exposed part of the bolt and then hit it with PB blaster. lots of times the PB will break them loose but then your fighting crud all the way off. :) 

Thanks Brent B3B! I did soak it in pb blaster. I'll hit it again. See if I can get it. 

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If you drop the pan and clean out any accumulated sludge, you could then use a modern detergent oil without worry. You’d probably also want to remove the valve covers, under the manifolds, and clean out the valve tapped area too. If you get the sludge out you won’t have to worry about the detergents breaking it down and dispersing it through the engine. 

 

Have you done a compression test yet? That’ll tell you if you have any sticking valves. Also, if you remove the valve covers you’ll be able to see if any are stuck open. If any are stuck you may get lucky and be able to start it on the remaining cylinders. Once it warms up a bit they may loosen up and function again. Otherwise you’ll probably need to remove the head so you can work with them to free them up without damage. 

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1 hour ago, Merle Coggins said:

If you drop the pan and clean out any accumulated sludge, you could then use a modern detergent oil without worry. You’d probably also want to remove the valve covers, under the manifolds, and clean out the valve tapped area too. If you get the sludge out you won’t have to worry about the detergents breaking it down and dispersing it through the engine. 

 

Have you done a compression test yet? That’ll tell you if you have any sticking valves. Also, if you remove the valve covers you’ll be able to see if any are stuck open. If any are stuck you may get lucky and be able to start it on the remaining cylinders. Once it warms up a bit they may loosen up and function again. Otherwise you’ll probably need to remove the head so you can work with them to free them up without damage. 

I did a compression test dry. There was very little compression. Once I put ATF in and let it sit, compression seems to be better, but I have not tested it wet. What is the minimum amount of compression needed? 

 

If I end up not getting enough compression, I will look to see if the valves are stuck open. That is best case scenario?  If the valves are free and still not getting compression, does that mean the motor needs to be rebuilt and holes rebored?

 

Thanks again Merle

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Focus on getting it running first. It's possible that some piston rings are sticking too. If you get it running, sometimes a good heat cycle or two will help free things up. It's not uncommon for an engine like this to have around 50-60 psi compression, but they'll start and run at that. A good engine should be in the 100-120 range.

 

You might even want to drain the oil and feel around through the drain plug to see what's in the pan before dropping it. If you don't find a lot of gunk maybe just refill with good oil and get it running. Then just change the oil frequently to help flush out the old crud. My thought process is to minimize the labor before a test fire attempt. If you hear it run you can better determine your course of action from there.

 

Merle

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13 hours ago, Merle Coggins said:

. If you get the sludge out you won’t have to worry about the detergents breaking it down and dispersing it through the engine. 

 

Great information. TKS . I removed the freeze plugs and steam cleaned, but this is good to know. Is there a way to remove the sludge with a running engine? 

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3 hours ago, Merle Coggins said:

Focus on getting it running first. It's possible that some piston rings are sticking too. If you get it running, sometimes a good heat cycle or two will help free things up. It's not uncommon for an engine like this to have around 50-60 psi compression, but they'll start and run at that. A good engine should be in the 100-120 range.

 

You might even want to drain the oil and feel around through the drain plug to see what's in the pan before dropping it. If you don't find a lot of gunk maybe just refill with good oil and get it running. Then just change the oil frequently to help flush out the old crud. My thought process is to minimize the labor before a test fire attempt. If you hear it run you can better determine your course of action from there.

 

Merle

You rock Merle 

 

If I don't clean out my oil pan, what brand and type of oil should I use?

 

Should I try to get it started before I remove the valve covers?

 

Thanks again 

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3 hours ago, pflaming said:

 

Great information. TKS . I removed the freeze plugs and steam cleaned, but this is good to know. Is there a way to remove the sludge with a running engine? 

 

Paul,

We're talking about sludge in the oil pan / valve tappet area. There has been no talk of the cooling system that you are referring to. The only good way to get rust, sediment, etc., out of the cooling system is to open it up and dig/flush it out. You could try coolant system flushes and such, but from what I've seen they don't do much with years of sediment that fill up the cavities.

Edited by Merle Coggins

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2 hours ago, Saltrock said:

You rock Merle 

 

If I don't clean out my oil pan, what brand and type of oil should I use?

 

Should I try to get it started before I remove the valve covers?

 

Thanks again 

 

Saltrock,

The type of oil I would choose would be dependent on what I find in the pan. When you drain the oil try to fish around through the drain hole and see what you find. If there's a bunch of sludge I'd probably go with a straight grade non-detergent for now. If it seems fairly clean I'd use a normal multi-grade oil.

 

Again, if it were mine I'd do as little as possible first. New oil, with investigation as stated above... check/add coolant as needed... Check points and wiring to them... Check compression (if needed)... Try to get running. Once you have it running, and warmed up, you can then evaluate what will be needed.

1. Does it run nice and smooth with minimal smoke? (It may smoke like a freight train at first due to your dose of ATF and dust/condensation in the exhaust system)

2. Are there any major leaks? (oil / coolant)

3. Was there sludge in the oil pan? (May want to address this in the future, along with the valve tappet compartment)

4. Any strange noises?

 

The answers to these questions would determine my next steps. If you can answer YES to #1 and NO to the rest, then get the brakes in proper shape and drive it. (as long as it has decent rubber)

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22 minutes ago, Merle Coggins said:

 

Saltrock,

The type of oil I would choose would be dependent on what I find in the pan. When you drain the oil try to fish around through the drain hole and see what you find. If there's a bunch of sludge I'd probably go with a straight grade non-detergent for now. If it seems fairly clean I'd use a normal multi-grade oil.

 

Again, if it were mine I'd do as little as possible first. New oil, with investigation as stated above... check/add coolant as needed... Check points and wiring to them... Check compression (if needed)... Try to get running. Once you have it running, and warmed up, you can then evaluate what will be needed.

1. Does it run nice and smooth with minimal smoke? (It may smoke like a freight train at first due to your dose of ATF and dust/condensation in the exhaust system)

2. Are there any major leaks? (oil / coolant)

3. Was there sludge in the oil pan? (May want to address this in the future, along with the valve tappet compartment)

4. Any strange noises?

 

The answers to these questions would determine my next steps. If you can answer YES to #1 and NO to the rest, then get the brakes in proper shape and drive it. (as long as it has decent rubber)

Thank you for the info. So I just went and checked the compression. I got a , 0, 45, 20, 0, 25, 15. Not sure where to go from here. How do I get better compression?

Thanks

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You probably have a valve or 2 sticking in those cylinders with 0. The others could be sticking rings. It may not be easy to start, but I've been able to get my truck started with sticky valves. It'll start on a few cylinders and the others will come online once things start to warm up and the sticky valves begin to move freely again. I'd forge ahead and see if it'll start...

 

Or you can remove the valve covers and see if you can get the valves to close. Or you can pull the head and start your way down the rabbit hole. (I'm this far, I might as well fix this...)

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I am a fan of removing the inner fender, removing the tappet covers, get in there and get a good look at things

inspection.JPG.d6df0ba45b64226912111801f69106ea.JPG

just funning around :D

 

seriously, do what Merle says first but if it doesn't run, I would remove the plugs and rotate the crank by hand to see if ALL the valves move... sometimes you can gently pop stuck valves down with the valve spring. if not pull the head, lets get this party started!  :D

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Welcome. That truck is going to be very cool when it is back on the road. 10-40w is fine for now. If she runs decently just do frequent changes to begin with. I have a truck that I revived after a long nap. 10K trouble free miles and it is still running fine. Dropping the pan, etc...is not a bad idea either. I found quite a mess in my oil pan before I ran it even though the oil looked clean. You can easily go down the rabbit hole if you are not careful....but a clean oil pan is never bad.

Jeff

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1 minute ago, Jeff Balazs said:

Welcome. That truck is going to be very cool when it is back on the road. 10-40w is fine for now. If she runs decently just do frequent changes to begin with. I have a truck that I revived after a long nap. 10K trouble free miles and it is still running fine. Dropping the pan, etc...is not a bad idea either. I found quite a mess in my oil pan before I ran it even though the oil looked clean. You can easily go down the rabbit hole if you are not careful....but a clean oil pan is never bad.

Jeff

Hey Jeff, thanks for giving me hope! She has been asleep for a while. I'd love to get on the road and cruise it around.  

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25 minutes ago, Saltrock said:

I guess my next question would be should I change the oil before I try to get it started? The oil from the dip stick seems to be  clean. 

20180320_113740.jpg

 

Give it a go... Watch the oil pressure when it starts. It likely looks clean because any solids have settled to the bottom. When you get it running it should stir things up.

I can only offer advice based on what you tell us/show us. It all comes down to what you're comfortable with. If you feel more comfortable with fresh oil, or after cleaning out any sludge deposits, that's fully understandable. If you'd rather "wing-it" and see what happens, then hook up the battery and see if it'll fire up. Then invest the time and money from there.

 

 

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Mine was asleep for a long time too. I had old primer no cool paint like you have. So I ended up doing a frame off and had a pro spray all the body in pieces after I took it down to bare metal. Went through most everything but did not rebuild the engine. I did pull the head...the oil pan and the valve covers though because I did not want any nasty surprises. The engine had been rebuilt and when a friend and I inspected it it seemed like there was not too many miles on the rebuild. But the cooling system itself was a real mess with one of the worst water distribution tubes anyone here has ever seen and tons of rust particles in the water jackets. Cleaning it up was a very long and drawn out process in itself. To make a long story short it ended up taking me about 3 1/2 years to get it back on the road.

 

There is often a lot more work to getting one of these back on the road than we think when we start. I and many others here could go on and on with our own experiences. Instead I will just tell you that whatever you end up doing you will be happy with it when it is all done. They are fine trucks and very unique in the best way. And you will know that you have a bunch of "buddies" here that enjoy the journey and can answer just about any question you can think of.

Jeff

Edited by Jeff Balazs

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4 hours ago, Brent B3B said:

I am a fan of removing the inner fender, removing the tappet covers, get in there and get a good look at things

inspection.JPG.d6df0ba45b64226912111801f69106ea.JPG

just funning around :D

 

seriously, do what Merle says first but if it doesn't run, I would remove the plugs and rotate the crank by hand to see if ALL the valves move... sometimes you can gently pop stuck valves down with the valve spring. if not pull the head, lets get this party started!  :D

When I first saw this picture. I couldn't see it very well. I though the head was photoshoped in the engine compartment lmao. Did you take off  the tire?

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2 hours ago, Jeff Balazs said:

Mine was asleep for a long time too. I had old primer no cool paint like you have. So I ended up doing a frame off and had a pro spray all the body in pieces after I took it down to bare metal. Went through most everything but did not rebuild the engine. I did pull the head...the oil pan and the valve covers though because I did not want any nasty surprises. The engine had been rebuilt and when a friend and I inspected it it seemed like there was not too many miles on the rebuild. But the cooling system itself was a real mess with one of the worst water distribution tubes anyone here has ever seen and tons of rust particles in the water jackets. Cleaning it up was a very long and drawn out process in itself. To make a long story short it ended up taking me about 3 1/2 years to get it back on the road.

 

There is often a lot more work to getting one of these back on the road than we think when we start. I and many others here could go on and on with our own experiences. Instead I will just tell you that whatever you end up doing you will be happy with it when it is all done. They are fine trucks and very unique in the best way. And you will know that you have a bunch of "buddies" here that enjoy the journey and can answer just about any question you can think of.

Jeff

Thank you Jeff. I realize this project may take longer then expected. I'm not in a huge hurry, but I do want to see her turn over. Eventually I'd like to get the body done. 

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Believe me I understand you. I literally worked on mine every day just so I could keep the momentum going.

It is the best thing ever when you get it going down the road. Hardly a day goes by when I don't get at least a big thumbs up from someone. These trucks simply put are the just the best option out there for a rewarding project. They got it all going on.

Edited by Jeff Balazs

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