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46DeSoto

First flathead!

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Hello, just joined the forum and wanted to stop in and say hello and also comment on what an amazing resource this forum is.

 

I've been looking for a flathead Mopar project for a few months and just purchased a 1946 DeSoto 4 door sedan this morning. Its being delivered to my home within an hour and I'm pretty excited to get started. Most of my project cars have been 60's era up to this point, so this is by far the classic-est car I've ever owned. I've spent most of the last year working on a '64 170 slant six Plymouth Valiant and absolutely love the motor.


The DeSoto was last registered in 1993 and has been stored outside, off the tires, on a concrete pad. I'm told that the car had been garaged for a period of time before 1993. The body is solid, most of the trim is present and I haven't found any cancer which is odd considering the projects I usually drag home. It is covered in a layer of algae and grime, though! The car doesn't roll so at this point I don't know if the issue is locked up brakes or transmission, hoping to get into that today.

 

Looking forward to joining the community.

Edited by 46DeSoto

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Welcome and take some before pictures so you can see your progress in the future.

Edited by Silverdome

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46Desoto:  Where are you located? Is the car a 4 door or a coupe.  Take some pictures.  I own a 1939 Desoto with three on the tree is yours a fluid drive car?

Ask a lot of questions. You will need to get at least a three arm drum puller to removed the rear drums because this is a tapered   axle setup.  Also note that on the right side of the car you have right hand nuts or bolts and on the left side you will probably have left handed threaded nut or bolt. The bolts should be marked either R or L. So becaredul to verify which way you try to remove the lug bolts or lug nuts.

 

I you ever take the car to a mechanic remind them at least three or more time of this fact and also that the car is 6 Volt POSITIVE Ground and not Negative Ground like the cars that you are accustom to working on.  If you have to replace the battery cable do not go to the napa store and get the regular 12 volt battery cable. You need to get the larger 6volt size 00 or 1 thicker cable because of only using a 6v battery.  we all have done the 12 volt and they do not carry enough voltage.

 

You have basically an Autolite electrical system for dizzy, points, rotor, condenser and vacuum Advance.  I can give you the appropriate numbers for the replacement parts but need to know the number that is on the dizzy body such IGT4102. Parts are specific to the dizzy.

 

The brakes are Lockheed and are not what you are typical to a more modern car. If you contact me I can explain in more details and you will have two wheel cylinders be wheel.

 

Take you time to get to know the car. Best advise is to get a 19-46-48 Desoto Service Manual and also a Parts book. These are valueable piece of literature to have when workingonthe car and will answer a lot of your questions.

 

There isa water distribution tube in the engine block behind the water pump this distributes the water to the back of the block to keep the valves cool.  These get rust and will have to be removed and it can be easy or it can be a real trying experience. We all have done these so ask around on the forum.

 

Again my name is rich Hartung I live near valley Forge pa just outside of Philadelphia you can contact me. I have a lot of cross reference catalogs for looking for replacement parts for these older Desoto and Mopar cars and trucks.

Looking forward to seeing pictures and hearing from you

 

There is a  National Desoto Club and the 2020 Convention is going to be held in Wisconsin The contact person is Dave Frank  262-745-8161   desoto2020@outlook.com.

 

every year it moves to a different state. The NDC can be found at www.desoto.org

 

you can also contact the 46-48  model year coordinator he is a good friend of mine and he is the president of the club Les Pesavento 586-945-5105   lesterpes@gmail.com  You can tellhim that I gave you his name.  Both of us have a vendor spot at the fall Hershey swap meet if you ever make it to Hershey, PA in October.

 

Hope this gets you going in the right direction.

Rich Hartung

Desoto1939@aol.com

cell 484-431-8157

home 610-630-9188

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Thank you for the welcomes and the information! Just got her unloaded and am taking photos and inventory of everything that came with it. I'll upload photos later.

I appreciate all of that, Rich! I may take you up on the offer to contact. The car is a 4 door sedan. Its a Custom with a fluid drive. So far I've found 3 of the wheel caps and trim rings.

 

Main issues right now are all 4 wheels are seized so she doesn't roll, and I feel kind of silly but I can't find the hood release. I thought I read it was between the grill and radiator underneath the car, but maybe that was another Mopar model. Does anyone know where the release is located?

 

Thanks,
Austin

Edited by 46DeSoto

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Congrats. Welcome to our favorite hobby. We’re all excited and happy to have another new person join us in our passion. 
 

You’ll find tons of great information and people here willing to help. You Tube is a good source too for help. 
 

Sorry I can’t help you on the hood latch. My ‘53 Chrysler hood latch is out at the front, behind the grill. Up top, near the hood. 

Edited by keithb7

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Thanks, Keith. 

 

I'm actually kind of stumped here. I see pictures of some latches online that appear to hang from the bottom of the dash by your left knee. I've got a few holes along that location, but no bracket or cable. 

Edited by 46DeSoto

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Well, I was at least able to pop the hood latch. I traced the cable back and found a small section accessible through the fender well and gave it a tug. It looks there is a cable coming through the firewall with "C" on the handle that could be the hood release latch, but it's rusted solid and is going to take some work to loosen. 

 

Next issues are the hood hinges themselves, guess what? Rusted. PB Blaster and patience, I'm hoping to at least have the hood open before the sun goes down tonight. 

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I found this drawing of a '48 Plymouth. Is your Desoto the same? I see a hood latch cable here too.

 

 

Screen Shot 2020-05-22 at 8.20.47 PM.png

Edited by keithb7

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It looks similar! I'll get some pictures once the hood is fully opened and hopefully I'll get a better look at where the cable enters the firewall. 

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Where do you recommend hosting photos? I tried uploading a link from a few different sites and wasn't successful.

Edited by 46DeSoto

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I upload photos to the forum directly from my phone. I use a photo resizer app which allows me to post multiple photos.

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I too upload directly to this site. From my phone or my home computer. Resize them smaller as needed to get them under the allowable data limit.

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1 hour ago, tom'sB2B said:

I upload photos to the forum directly from my phone. I use a photo resizer app which allows me to post multiple photos.

I do exactly the same on my phone...quick and easy.

I use "LITphoto".

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Thank you! The car has been in the same family since purchased new, the sellers were a little emotional as we finalized the purchase.

I found some service tags inside of the drivers door and just as the sellers said, it was parked for a very long time. The difference between the current mileage and what was recorded on the 1984 service sticker is less than 50 miles.

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Parked 36 years! No kidding. That is a while. You are going to learn a ton. If you are motivated and keen to learn, you’ll do just fine here, and with the Desoto. 

Are you ok to share with us little about your mechanical theory and practical background? Have you been busting knuckles at this car stuff for long or short while? Doing whatever you can yourself? Do you like to research, read and grasp what you’re deep into? This info will help us guide you through with any future questions you my have.

 

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No problem! I'm 38, but I've grown up wrenching on cars since I was a teenager. My first vehicle was a '63 Chevy II station wagon with a 194 six. My stepfather helped me work on the car and taught me a lot along the way. After a couple of years we rebuilt a 327 and replaced the 6. I moved away (Army) for 8 years but while I was gone I couldn't stay away from wrenching and got into Corvairs, 80's GM F bodies and G bodies. I did some pretty extensive backyard tinkering on the G bodies especially - boxed frames, fabricated 4 link rear end swaps, rebuilt Olds 455, etc.


I missed the style of older iron but wanted to learn something different than a GM platform and found an interest in Mopar A bodies. They're relatively affordable and a lot of fun - started with a 318 swap in a 66 Dart GT and most recently have been working on a 1964 Valiant. With the Valiant I comited to trying to keep the vehicle mostly stock and just using it as a fun cruiser. Its a 170 slant 6 car and I've had a blast with it. I put a new fuel tank and sending unit in the car and ran all new brake lines with a dual master cylinder upgrade. Restored the gauges and push button transmission selector, rebuilt the carb and unfroze the manifold heat riser and recently upgraded the ignition to an HEI style. I welded in a new spare tire well. It still needs some floor patches.

 

While learning about the slant platform, I read about the flatheads that predated them and wanted to learn. I looked at a few 40's Mopars that were in far worse shape (and a lot more money) than the DeSoto, so patience paid off for me. I'm very much a DIY'er and I would prefer to spend an entire weekend on a simple job than pay to have it done. I'm mechanically inclined, but I do like to learn and this is my first vehicle older than 1960's era, so it seems I've got my work cut out for me.

 

 

20200505_190924_resize_59.jpg

Edited by 46DeSoto

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You will do well with the flattie and will really enjoy working on it....welcome to the community!

 

Very nice slant six.....(but I have to say this.......replace that plastic fuel filter with a metal one......).  😊

Edited by Sam Buchanan

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Thanks, Sam! I agree, that's something I need to do. I had a terrible problem with fuel system rust and put that on there before I replaced the fuel tank so I could see what was coming through the lines. Its all new from front to back now so you're right, that filter needs to go.

 

Edit - Those battery terminal adapters aren't there anymore, I had a side post battery left over from one of my Camaros and used it while I was testing my HEI.

Edited by 46DeSoto

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You’re gonna fit in here real well. Welcome to the “I’d rather bust my butt all weekend rather than pay anyone a dime to lay a finger on my old Mopar” - car club.  It’s a long name for a club, but there sure are lots of members here. 

Edited by keithb7

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10 minutes ago, 46DeSoto said:

Those battery terminal adapters aren't there anymore, I had a side post battery left over from one of my Camaros and used it while I was testing my HEI.

I am not sure why, but always hated side terminal batteries as a poor kid and having battery issues. That attitude stayed with me through my years.

Then lately as I learn about Hot Rods ... and hear people using side post batteries, talking as if they are a upgrade .... I think they are nuts and ask why?

Answer I get, less corrosion, less problems, more clearance & more reliable.    I have to admit, once I fixed the horrible wiring PO did on my chevy, no corrosion no problems.

 

Just saying I saw your edit as possibly you were not "proud of it"

I am suggesting it is fine, you may want to get correct cables and put a GM battery back in it   :D

 

FWIW, while looking at the beautiful condition of the body on the Desoto, I was looking in the background at the 64

 

 

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14 minutes ago, Los_Control said:

Just saying I saw your edit as possibly you were not "proud of it"

I am suggesting it is fine, you may want to get correct cables and put a GM battery back in it   :D

 

FWIW, while looking at the beautiful condition of the body on the Desoto, I was looking in the background at the 64

 

Well, the terminal adapters are kind of Mickey Mouse. 😅

 

Yeah, the Valiant was hiding in the background in that picture. The body is a bit rough. That one had been off the road since 2004, The previous owner had passed away in an accident and I bought it from a family member. It was parked in the bushes for 15 years and it definitely shows in the floor pans (or lack of in some spots). Thanks for noticing!

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