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NickPickToo

My First Car -- P15 1947 Plymouth Deluxe

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Hey Guys

 

Taking drivers ed right now and while I'm really excited about driving soon, I wasn't feeling any of the newer model cars that I would likely be able to afford as a fist car.  Where did all the style go after the cars of the 40's and the 50's.  I asked my parents if I could put the budget into a real car:  curves, character and charisma.   My mom said I needed to write a proposal with a timeline and budget.  My dad agreed to give me some help and advice.  He was a mechanic in the Marine Corps.  He can get just about any old motor running, but he can't weld or anything like that..  

 

We found 47 Deluxe 2 door sedan, flathead six, three on the tree, VIN indicates Detroit steel.  Body looks smooth with no sign of patches.  The frame is straight with some surface rust but nothing too bad.  Floor and floor brackets look like they will need attention for sure.  There are some decisions to make that I could really use some help with.  Safety and drivability are important because this will be my first car and my primary car.

 

Engine runs and sounds great so sticking with the flathead, but is the three-speed transmission good enough for highways these days -- should I upgrade the transmission -- if so, what are the best option?

 

The suspension is very loose and all drum breaks.  Cant afford a custom chassie, but cant tell if rebuilding the suspension and upgrading to disk breaks is less expensive than just welding in a new suspension (MII).  We would have to hire the welding.  Which direction is most cost effective but still safe?

 

Thanks in advance for your help.

 

Nicholas.

Edited by NickPickToo

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Welcome NPT.  It's great that you love the old ones.  Does your school have an auto shop?  They will fix cars for cost just to have something to work on.  If your school doesn't maybe a tech school or collage nearby.  Cheaper and way easier to switch to disc brakes.  The transmission will do fine on the highway.  You will need to find out what gear ratio your differential has.  But most any of them will do 55 pretty easy.

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Since this is your baptism into auto mechanics you might do as I did. Just remove, clean, and repair as needed and you will have a fantastic education into the mechanical wonders of the engineers decades ago. Exception being disc brake kit up front, often less expensive than repairing the old style and a  safety issue, do a thorough check on the king pins, they are the foundation of the total fron suspension , radial tires, and possibly a 3:73 differential. 

 

That coupe is a winner Car.  Go for it, and ask questions, many very wise, and practical informants on this forum.  

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NPT,

 

    I'm very impressed with you, and your parents!

 

    You should join the Detroit Region of the Plymouth Owners Club. This group is hosting the 2018 Grand National Meet this coming weekend (July 24-28) at the Four Points Hotel in Novi MI. This is right in your neighborhood!

 

Walt   

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Make sure you replace ALL the brake lines,both rubber with new rubber lines and the old steel brake lines with the new nickel/copper brake lines. The copper/nickel lines will never rust inside or out.

 

It is also a good idea to use a dual-outlet master cylinder. You can save money by not going with power brakes. With the right setup,you don't really need them. The dual outlet master cylinder is for safety purposes. Buy the bracket assembly and the master cylinder from the same supplier. Sometimes it can be a nightmare trying to get one company's custom setup to play well with parts from another company.

Edited by knuckleharley

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11 hours ago, 49D-24BusCpe said:

You should join the Detroit Region of the Plymouth Owners Club. This group is hosting the 2018 Grand National

We run cross country practice near by each morning will try to come by.   My granddad tells me that my grandmothers step dad was Joseph Frazer’s son, Robert. Indicates on Wikipedia that Joseph named the brand.  Not a direct blood relationship but a cool coincidence.

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AHH a real car lover---loving the style of 50s/60s over the jelly beans of today.. My 2 cents: Dual Master cylinder, SEAT BELTS, LED brake lights...and good tires.  I put Disc brakes on my car for safety, but I was living in the hills and mountains of the pacific NW---on the midwest flatlands I expect the drums are adequate.  My car originally had the 4.1 rear end and it ran all day at 60 with no issues but was a bit noisey

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First and foremost, put in seat belts, preferably 3-point, before you do anything else. This one upgrade will be the most important thing you do by a long shot. Seat belts first, and use them.

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3 hours ago, jeffsunzeri said:

First and foremost, put in seat belts, preferably 3-point, before you do anything else. This one upgrade will be the most important thing you do by a long shot. Seat belts first, and use them.

If you upgrade the brakes and replace the lines and hoses,and then add radial tires,you might not need seat belts.

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Thanks everyone (Dad typing now)

 

Key takeaways:

Seatbelts, Lights (LED), Breaks (consider all lines and duel MC with Disk conversion), Transmission may be fine but consider together with rear Diff., (will be interesting to see how he picks up on shifting manually on the tree) if original suspension can be firmed up and saved then save it.

 

We are taking it down to the frame now to more fully assess and abate any rust issues.  NPT will send pictures as he proceeds and ask questions as he progresses

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No real need for LED lights. They add a bit of complexity for almost no reason. Incandescent lights can be just as bright considering the reflectors are designed for incandescent.

 

Your not going to get rid of the boat feel. It's just how it is, and the car is actually too heavy to utilize a Mustang II safely..  I had a stock '50 converted to discs that I intended to daily and I ended up just hating driving it, so I traded it for an 1974 MGB.. It's the kind of car you keep as a second vehicle and drive rarely.

I'd suggest borrowing one before spending too much or deciding if you just want to use the body ect.... It's just the reality of it, especially for a new driver. JMHO

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Yes, see to safety and reliability issues first, and prioritize those.  I.e., LED tail lights and higher differential ratio may be desirable, but in my book, you don't need to do them first.  I can pretty much guarantee that Mom and Dad will appreciate better brakes and seatbelts even more than you.  You'll gradually get into the other aspects of owning and driving an old car.  Some things will annoy you, or you'll want to try your hand at something, so you fix/restore it, and gradually you'll have what you like built up from a good reliable platform.  Lots of patience helps.  I think it's awesome that you are looking at an older car as your first, it means work, but you'll appreciate every minute of it - AND - have the coolest car in the parking lot.  Good luck, and this Forum is indeed the place to haunt. 

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Welcome, my first car is a 48 Plymouth 4-door Special Deluxe, the one on the left.  Unlike yours mine was only 20-years-old when my mother bought it in 1968.  Trust me you don't need to make your car "BREAK" it will do that all by itself.  You want to stop your car with brakes.

With all the information and advice here you will also get sarcasm and wit.

My car sat for 25 years while I was in the ARMY.  First I got the engine running, you got that.  I rebuilt the original brakes, I don't think Disc kits were available 25 years ago.  Then I just worked on the car one system at a time.  Invest in a service manual and a parts catalog. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Factory-Service-Manual-for-1946-1954-Plymouth/321982621366?fits=Year%3A1948|Make%3APlymouth&hash=item4af7a8e6b6%3Ag%3AkNIAAOSwcwhVKei4&_sacat=6000&_nkw=1948+plymouth+manual&_from=R40&rt=nc&LH_TitleDesc=0|0

good luck

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Do a search on here about front shock relocation. If you're taking it down to the frame this would be the time to do that.

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Engine is clean and runs well. Picture attached.  Not sure it original or why it’s blue.  Looks like color under paint is red or orange  Part number on block is 1484929-31. How would I know if it’s a 218 or a 230?

4AA957FB-5442-4232-8A7D-6CAD6E6E4F92.jpeg

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5 hours ago, Don Coatney said:

What is the number on the flat spot behind the oil fill cap? That is the engine number and will start with a "P" or a "D".

 

P26 280852

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Why blue?  Previous owner's or rebuilder's choice.  May not have known original engine color and opted for Chrysler blue because it made sense.  Engine probably rebuilt, or at a minimum repainted, but most likely rebuilt at least once.  Original color of these engines was silver, regardless whether 218, 230, or 265.  Technical section of the Forum has a list of what was silver and what was black if you want to go down the original path, otherwise - your choice.  

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7 hours ago, 48ply1stcar said:

1955 230. Is your car 6 volt or 12 volt?

Pretty sure it’s 6v. Will double check

Edited by NickPickToo

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I would personally recommend running radial tires......the old bias ply style are bad about following all the ruts and

grooves in the road and you sometimes have to fight the steering wheel.  Radials have the sidewall give and a newer

tread design......therefore they track better.  They are harder to turn when at a stop or moving very slowly.  

Is your car the two seat coupe or the one seat business coupe?  The engine should be a silver color and most accessories

attached to it are black.  Or, at least that's what I did.  I presume you know it is positive ground, with the positive side of

the battery grounded to the block.  Make sure all your  parking light and tail light connectors and bulb bases are clean and

make good contact.....and are grounded properly.   If you have not invested in a P15 repair manual and also a factory parts

manual.....you should do so soon.  Reprints are usually available if originals are difficult to find.  

 

Addendum......on a P15 with 15 inch wheels....the equivalent of a 215 R 15 is the best size in my opinion.

 

DSC03962.jpg

Edited by BobT-47P15

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Welcome aboard Nick, seems like you have a great project you never know but it might just get addictive.........I've had my 1940 Dodge since 1971, bought it when I was 17, still in school and learnt to drive in it with my Dad as co-pilot..............lol............all the suggestions put forward by the guys are good and worthwhile, I'd also recommend getting a workshop manual, ideally a paper one not the CD version also when you start work on the car, only do relatively small easily completed jobs at first as if you sometimes start pulling too many things off in one go it can overwhelm you and make it difficult to continue.......believe me I know...............lol..............I'd give it a good clean from top to bottom, regrease all the grease points in the suspension and chassis including the driveshaft, and generally tidy everything up and keep it roadworthy as nothing beats being young, bright eyed and busy tailed and driving YOUR car down the road............radial tyres wil make it much more pleasant to drive, a disc brake conversion is a good investment but remember that in doing so you will more than likely need to swap master cylinders, also the brake lines /front hoses will need changing more than likely...........whether its 6 or 12volt it would be a good straightforward job to go thru ALL the connections and check they are clean and have proper earths etc...........if the battery has 3 cells then its 6v, if 6 cells then its 12volt..............anyway again , welcome aboard from sunny Sth Grafton Australia...........Andy Douglas  

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