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Everything posted by Loren

  1. I saw an article in Motor Trend on how to make your own sway bar. They used 4130 that they bent with a Hot Wrench then sent to the heat treat to bring it back to 28 Rc evenly. I am not close to doing that project but I am planning to. I think 1 inch would be heavy enough. Summit has bushings to fit that size. My car didn’t come with a sway bar and even the stock one makes a difference.
  2. Loren


    When I got my 49 I was told the mechanic that had maintained it since new had changed the B & B carburetor for a Stromberg. It was his opinion that the Strombergs started better. I can’t verify that but this car does start very well. I have noticed that Bendix Stromberg was really active in the replacement carb business. They sold their carbs for just about everything. Now days there seems to be lots of NOS Strombergs on eBay where its hard to find good used B & B carbs. The only issue is that the fuel inlet fitting is on the side instead of the end. Of course if you have a dual carb manifold the side fitting is easier to deal with. I was able to score two NOS Strombergs from the same seller for a fair $150 each to use on either a reproduction Thickstun or an original Edmunds I have. So I’d say one might want to look at the Stromberg carburetor BXUV-3 ( I think that’s the number ). One unusual Plymouth carburetor I found in my travels was made in Israel called a “Levi-rator”. In jest, it might have been a carburetor Jack Benny would have used on his Maxwell. I can’t confirm if it was a high fuel economy model but it is kind of unusual.
  3. I have a modified Autometer ( got it from a seller on eBay - search 6 volt tachometer ) I am using a 6 volt positive ground Delta Mark Ten CDI and it works as expected ( which is a very rare piece indeed ) The Delta Mark Ten uses points in the distributor and the Autometer tach connects at the point cable. It could be that the Pertronix needs an amplifier to send enough signal to the tach. There are many tachometers which use a signal from the alternator ( diesels especially since they have no ignition ) and there are some which take a signal from a hall effect sensor on the crank pulley or the flywheel ( you drill a small hole and drive in a dowel pin to provide the signal ). If you want to retain 6 volts positive ground you could get a dual point breaker plate ( also an eBay NOS item but much easier to find than a Delta Mark Ten ) and that would give you good ignition and trigger the tach you have, reliably. The best of course would be a Langdon's Stove Bolt HEI distributor ( which has a standard GM Tach out connection ) but that is 12 volt only. So many choices and just think you can try them all if you have cubic yards of money! lol Another way to get a Tachometer equivalent on the cheap is to do the math and put the shift points on your speedometer. As I recall I saw them in the owner's manual or some other Mopar publication. They were a lot lower than I expected too.
  4. When I put the Overdrive in my Coupe I changed the T.O. bearing too. I didn't like the fact that it made a sound. Kind if a rustling noise. When I got the new one in it had the same noise and now a bit of clutch chatter too. I am sorry but Plymouths if nothing else are quiet and that noise was unacceptable. So I found a NOS T.O. bearing with the sleeve on eBay and I figure that will be more Plymouth-like. So if our collective experience is any indicator, there is a problem with the aftermarket T.O. bearings.
  5. I had to laugh at the line ("I know folks in the southwest that tan snake hides with anti-freeze") (speaking of snakes) Vladimir Lenin is mummified in what we use for anti-freeze today. His body has been on display since the 1920s in Red Square. They give him a dunk in the stuff for a week once a year and touch up his makeup. The moisture in his remains has long since left being replaced by the anti-freeze thus achieving the goal that was called "The immortality Project". A little too creepy for my tastes I am afraid. If it has kept Lenin's corpse from stinking for nearly a century, (nothing could help his ideology however) I am sure a few mice won't stink either.
  6. I am told that the best bait for snap traps is Toosie Roll. If you warm them up they can be molded to the trigger and made hard to steal. Apparently mice like chocolate. I've always used peanut butter but this year it will be Snap Traps and Toosie Roll with a Decon chaser.
  7. The procedure I would use works like this: You can use an old GPS unit ( if it is programed to display speed ) on a 6 volt positive ground car if you make a polarity reversing adaptor, so that you can get accurate speed readings. Now you can drive the car with a speedometer that works. Make all the tire changes you are going to make so that you can make permanent changes to the speedo. If you are using a 1940 transmission you can remove the speedo drive gear and count the teeth. The original rear axle had possible gear ratios of 3.54 and if memory serves me that used a 17 tooth speedo drive gear. MoPar made the gears so you didn't have to change the mating gear to change the ratio. When you look at the chart it is easy ( and frustrating ) to tell they weren't too concerned with accuracy. Next I would get the speedometer serviced. There's sometimes a number on the back which tells the technician what rate the speedo turns for calibration. Most of the time they already know what that is. The key to getting it right is the odometer reading. You can check that with the mile markers on certain highways. I just went through this procedure and my speedo was reading 5 miles per hour slow. After servicing it was much closer but seldom dead on to the GPS reading. SO the mechanical speedometers are just not that accurate. Best not to expect too much. Perhaps that's why the police use an "enforcement tolerance" of 4 to 5 mph. I know of cars that brand new from the factory had a speedo that read 55 when you were going 57 mph. Then: With a freshly serviced speedo, an odometer error amount, a GPS speed reading of error, you can decide if you want to get a ratio adaptor box. I made some big changes to a truck I had and found that while the speed reading was very sloppy, the odometer reading was close so I left it alone. Hopefully that's what you will be able to do. Your speedometer repair shop can supply the ratio adaptor box if needed and help you work out the gears. International Scouts had only one speedo drive gear and depending on the axle ratio the truck had, they either had a ratio adaptor box or not right from the factory.
  8. Loren


    Have to see Jimmy Stewart in “Strategic Air Command” again! (1953) I stopped at one of the Air Force Museums in Nebraska and they had a B 36 on display. They are huge! Under one wing they had an A 26 (aka B 26 after 1948) which was the plane my Uncle piloted in Korea. That was a treat too. I have seen Howard Hughes Spruce Goose when it was in Long Beach and I still think the B 36 is pretty impressive. I would have loved to see one flying with “6 turning and 4 burning”!
  9. Loren


    The fellow’s eBay handle is rswitmore….so I couldn’t say if its him. Instrumentation is up to the builder of course and everybody has their own preferences. Aircraft are some of the most complex devices known to man. I keep thinking of the B 36 with 6 huge propeller engines and 4 jet engines. Can you imagine the rack of gauges the flight engineer had to monitor?! I saw a post about the flight crew required at the dawn of the jet age, 2 pilots, a navigator and a flight engineer. Now days the planes are bigger and are flown by only the two pilots. In the case of the cars I built they were the toughest of endurance racers for the Baja 1000 Ensenada to La Paz race. Every wire, every hose in fact every part had to be considered a point of failure. The thought pattern was, “what if this thing fails?” Could the car continue? If it can why are we carrying the dead weight? Then it moved to what does this thingy contribute to finishing? In the case of the gauges it became “if we build the engine right we should not have to monitor things to keep it alive except temperature.” Experience told us the engine was the most reliable part of the car. So one by one we eliminated stuff and the dashboard looked like a modern car (without the speedo) with idiot lights, then we got rid of the idiot lights. In my current project the GPS and the little tachometer are there to test some ideas. Once they are no longer needed for that duty, I will likely remove them. I will have knowledge of what the actual road speed is vs indicated, what the engine rpm is at various road speeds in all gears and tire sizes for this car. After all that is documented I won’t need the extras so why clutter that beautiful dash with non-period junk? This is not to say I don’t have cars with lots of gauges because I do. It’s just not my vision for this one. So its not only the builder who gets a say, it is also the car.
  10. Loren


    The tachometer I bought on eBay was $149 with $6.99 shipping. It comes fully assembled with housing and bracket. Three wires so it is easy for non-electricians to install. You'll need a hose clamp to install it on the steering column. 0 to 6,000 rpm which puts your cruise speed nearly straight up. ( on race cars you twist the instruments so that all the needles are straight up when normal ) It's an Autometer manufactured item modified by the seller to your particular needs. If you think you'd find a tach useful this one works. The old time racers believed that the more instruments you had in a race car the more marginal it was. The last one I built had a temp gauge, an alternator light and nothing more.
  11. Loren


    In college I had a 49 Special Deluxe Club Coupe. My Dad said keep it to 55 mph and it will last forever. I used to drive it from San Diego to L. A. often and it just kept going. My current 49 has a 3.73 rear axle and 205/75/15 tires all pretty standard out of the box. At 55 it sounded a little busy so I got an old Garmin GPS to check the speeds. The speedo was reading 55 when the GPS said 60! So I had the speedo serviced and was confirmed to read 5 mph slow. Along the way I installed an Overdrive transmission and that really quieted things down. I have read in these pages that the cruise speed should be about 80% of peak power rpm. The flathead sixes are listed at 3,600 rpm for peak power. So somewhere around 2,780 sounds about right. I found a neat little tachometer on eBay that is wired for 6 volt positive ground so I have that now too. Unfortunately the Coupe developed a coat of rust over the hood and front fenders that alarmed me enough to start a painting project, so I haven’t done much road testing lately. ( more on that in a separate post ) I think my car is capable of pulling the 3.54 gears I have on my shelf and I have some 235/75/15 tires I’d like to try as well. With the Overdrive I think a 70 mph cruise speed is possible. Before the Overdrive I kept it to 55-60. So that has been my process thus far.
  12. I checked Rockauto because I just got some for the 49 Coupe ( I have a 52 Suburban as well ) $14 for Chinese made shocks or $17 for Monroe branded. They only had the FCS Chinese ones when I bought mine. They did not list fronts for the 52 Suburban. I next followed the post above and as near as I can tell the difference is in the bushings. I can tell you there is not much of a problem to change the bushings. Almost any auto parts store has the rubber bushings. So if that's what the hold up is get the 5752 Monroes or equivalent and change the bushings. That's what I will probably do for my Suburban.
  13. There are kits which can connect to single circuit brake systems. They have a remote mounted vacuum chamber and can go anywhere. Moss Motors has a kit they make for English cars. The first time I saw this type of system was on a 1968 Volvo P 1800 sports car. The Volvo had dual circuit brakes and used two of them. If memory serves me it was a Girling manufactured system. I drove the car and it performed without any indication anything was different. Good pedal modulation etc. I suspect this type of brake boosters are still made. Perhaps a photo and a trip to a large brake rebuilder could put you on the right track. I seem to have a memory of a DeSoto with this type of system on it. The nice thing about them is you don’t have monkey around with changing pedal assemblies or anything else. A hydraulic line from the existing M.C. Connects to the booster and a hydraulic line back to the brakes, then finally a vacuum line. Plug and play.
  14. Ethyl Lead ( the heavy grey muck ) will be seen much less in the future. My Dad used to ask me to collect some of it from time to time when I found it in the bottom of an old oil pan. He mixed it with grease to make Center Lube. He said you used to go to the paint store to buy it in tiny 1/4 pint cans but the feds stopped that. The company that made “Dutch Boy” paints was once known as The National Lead and Varnish Company and they offered it for that exact purpose. My Dad was a machinist who specialized in cylindrical grinding between dead centers. When you had centers that squeaked a little dab of white lead would stop it. When you think about the thousands of gallons of leaded gasoline that have to be burned in an engine to generate that much lead in the crankcase, it boggles the mind! The best lead came from engines made after 1965. The positive crankcase ventilation system sucked the water blow by out of the engine leaving a hard layer of grey lead and no sludge. There are wall charts in some automotive machine shops which show the various conditions you will find bearings in and what caused it. Dirt and metal particles that have done damage are mostly found imbedded in the soft metal of the bearings. The stuff you find in the oil pan can be harmless. I’ve learned not to get too excited by oil pan debris. It’s what the bearings have absorbed that really matters.
  15. I went to the site and the first thing I saw was a Model A steering box. The last time I had one of those apart I was salvaging the steering shaft to weld on to a Gemmer box from an F100 (1952-56). That's the old time hot setup for a Model A (which are pretty awful). So I was pretty happy to hear that Plymouth used Gemmer steering gears. Right now the seal is leaking on my 49 which you can fix in the car. To do it you remove the sector then just tip out the seal. While you have the sector out you can check the preload on the steering shaft bearings. Being that they are tapered rollers you can tighten them up if need be. Gemmer boxes use paper gaskets which come in various thicknesses. To start you can peal off a thin one and see what reaction you get. By tightening the preload on the tapered roller bearings you will take out a lot of slop in the steering, but if you get it too tight the will be hard to steer at slow speed (parking) and it won't "spring back" after completing a turn. Next you can adjust the sector engagement with the worm on the steering shaft. Getting this right is a little tricky. If you screw the adjuster in it tightens the engagement. Too much and the sector "drags" at the ends of its travel too little and its sloppy when going straight. The best way to deal with it is not to move the adjustment until you need to. That is, when you remove the sector, take it out with the cap straight out of the box. Then you can slide the cap off the sector. Once you have a new gasket and the cap torqued down you might try turning the adjustment One notch tighter. Turn the steering wheel both directions and see what you think. If it gets tight at the ends, that may be too much. If when driving it is sloppy loose on center, it may be time for new gears. Whatever you do adjust the tapered roller bearings before you adjust the sector. I would never touch that adjustment without checking the bearings first.
  16. I haven't done that job but I scan the Shop Manual for entertainment purposes. I did remember seeing the procedure for changing the boots. It is as Sniper describes. The manual offers a way to change the boot without removing the pin. The way it was done 70+ years ago was to lube the boot "with clean grease" inside and out, push it over the pin and pull it through the housing. Never having encountered "Clean Grease" I assume they meant un-used Grease. lol Speaking of the Shop Manual, I often find them lacking in description. Since Chrysler had considerable continuity of design between the divisions, I have found there are nuances in the different manuals that help me understand the procedures better...so I have all the manuals around the years of the cars I like. If the Plymouth Manual doesn't have the photo or description I'll pull out the DeSoto manual or Dodge or Chrysler. They all are a little different.
  17. I have no doubt your Dad could do this! We used to say a car could drive in and you could tell what was wrong by the sounds it made. Then we would put it into practice. It was amazing how close you could come! Its all about how many cars of the same kind you’d see each day. Patterns become apparent. Cars are a lot more reliable now days and the mechanics less so. Because of this the mechanics rarely fix cars, they change oil & filters. They know where the OBDll plug is and they let a lap top guess for them. Soon you will ride in cars with no steering wheel or brake pedal. Your car will not be a symbol of freedom, it will be just another appliance. I for one appreciate the old time mechanics so much! A dying breed like shoemakers.
  18. On my 49 Coupe there was only one key and it only fit the replacement ignition. I got some genuine “DPCD” key blanks which fit the doors & trunk but not the ignition. It seems the only replacements fit the switch but not the right key type. I removed the door lock cylinder a carefully filed a key to fit the tumblers. Later I found the proper way to do it. There are 5 tumblers (pins if you will) and 5 depths for each tumbler. Locksmiths of the day had sets of keys cut in the proper spot with the proper depth and labeled 1 through 5. They would take the lock apart and use the numbered keys to determine the combination. Then with their key cutter they could make the cuts by switching the numbered keys. Once the first key was made they could quickly copy as many as the customer wanted. In order for me to get the door and ignition keys the same I have to find a lock cylinder that fits the 49 key blank then change the tumblers. I know not many folks would bother but I will get it right one day. If you are in this predicament of needing an ignition cylinder just know the “Pentastar” keys are different than the “DPCD” keys.
  19. A tapered rod journal will not cause a piston to be cocked. There is simply too much clearance for that. If the journal were tapered it would wear a band on the bearing insert. A bent rod will. Pistons do “rock” at the top of the bore (and the bottom as well) but only in the direction of the wrist pin action. Checking the rods is a job for the machine shop as they have the equipment to do it. You may think machine shops are sloppy (they are of course) but they know what they can get away with. You have to trust them and if you don’t like their work, find another. I have my favorites and ones I don’t care for.
  20. I think your instincts are correct. They wouldn’t make lapping compound if it wasn’t useful. My only complaint is you only get two grades corse and fine. The fine isn’t fine enough to suit me but I use it anyway. I once worked with an Italian guy (he worked on Fiats and Lancias) when he did a valve job, he’d lap the valves and if they wouldn’t seat he sent the head out to have a new seat installed. The logic being that as the seat is ground it retracts the valve dropping the compression ratio. Okay. I can see the importance of that in diesel engines for sure. Not as bizarre as a 20 minute VW valve job through. Drop the engine, torque the heads (to check for bad threads in the case) remove the heads, put a rag on the bench under the exhaust valve, hold a deep socket over the spring retainer and smack it with a hammer releasing the keepers. Toss the exhaust valve, slip in a new valve, replace spring, keepers the tap with hammer. Re-assemble. Done. I saw it and it worked very well indeed, much to my surprise. It was my boss who did it too. He claimed he could do a valve job in half an hour...I watched and he did it in 20 minutes! Smoked two cigarettes and answered the phone once all in 20 minutes as well. What am saying is if those guys can get away with this kind of stuff, I wouldn’t worry or listen to anybody else. The valves seal with compression pressure. The valve springs only keep them in contact with the lifter. The proof I offer are the engines with desmodromic valve systems. One cam lobe opens the valve and another closes it, with no springs. The clearance is measured on both therefore compression pressure is required to fully seat the valve.
  21. I bought a new Harbor Freight “surface preparation” tool and was grinding away on the hood. I was very surprised when I saw paint under the rust! It seems that where the paint gets thin the rust flows over the top of the surface. I wondered why the horizontal surfaces were getting this “carpet-like” texture. In dry climates the metal rusts where the paint goes away. In wet climates it flows over the remaining paint and expands. My next problem is getting it off the stainless steel trim. Can it be buffed?
  22. Marc I do not envy you. A lot of agonizing. My problems are much simpler. I live at the beach, there’s a lot of fog and rain and I have to do something fast or a very nice original car is going to rust away! I don’t want to get involved with a complex paint system, I just want to stop the rust. I used to live in Northern Nevada and I go there often which is where Summit Racing has a warehouse, so it’s a natural for me. Low price, easy to use and best of all limited choices! I so glad I am not going through what you are. In 1949 Plymouth had 2 grey colors, one light and one dark. The oxidized grey on my car matches the only non-metallic grey Summit offers. Simple! It does not match the original color found in out of the way places….but who will know? If it is shiny it will be a major improvement.
  23. I too am going to paint my own car. If you want to pay for PPG paint you can get a perfect match. However they are ridiculously expensive. I have decided to use Summit Racing’s single stage acrylic urethane paint. You won’t get exact matches to factory colors but the price and ease of use puts them in the running. My last project used the primer materials from Summit and a color match from PPG. The professional who did the job is who specified the materials and worked out great! I did use a paint supplier in San Diego for one project and found their stuff hard to get good results. I like the simplicity of the Summit paint and the price. If you’d like to compare go to their website, it’s very reasonable. From the reviews I’ve read they say the paint has a good shelf life but the hardener should be used within one month after opening. So buy the paint you need and the hardener you think you will use.
  24. If a crankshaft has been ground there is a trick the machinist’s pull to take the bare minimum off the journals. On the main bearings they check the crank for straightness, then grind them. On the rod journals they measure the imperfections then alter the stroke to take the least amount off. Thus you could end up with a crank with as many different strokes as cylinders. So if you had a 0.010 deep ding in a rod journal to grind it on the original stroke would make the journal 0.020 undersize. Alter the stroke and you can have a 0.010 undersize journal. Not only does this method change the various strokes but it can change the timing as well. The good news is this is an automotive engine not a watch. You will never notice the variations.
  25. My first choice was also Plymouth & Dodge’s first choice. The Bendix Stromberg model WW. They were used on the power pack option. These carburetors are super easy to work with and can be found nos for a reasonable price. I bought one new with the Overdrive switch bracket for $150. they will also fit an adapter so you don’t have to change the manifold. Linkage has to be fabricated or find a 1955-56 power pack donor car.
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