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New to me 1947 Desoto Custom Coupe


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38 minutes ago, keithb7 said:

For crying out loud, I was at "then and now" yesterday, and I couldn't find any fuel pump kits, their site was still under construction. Thanks for the link, and the tech tips, I would've had to learn that stuff the hard way! I definitely need to acquaint myself with what all the parts on this thing look like--without that, it's hard for me to take the word of anonymous ebay sellers that their parts will work for my application. 

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If it were me I would:

1. Drain the fuel tank and make sure it is clean, take out the sender to look in.

2. Blow out the fuel lines and the brake lines.

3. Rebuild, or at lease put in new rubber, into the master cylinder and the wheel cylinders. DO NOT put in new cylinders without inspecting the internal parts carefully. New cylinders have had bad parts in them from reputable vendors. I would replace all the bake line hoses.

4. Drain the transmission and the rearend. Put in a few pints of kerosene and let it sit.

5. Take the radiator out and flush it. Flush the block.

6. Take the head off and the pan off.

7. Pop the pistons out and put a new set of rings in it. If they cylinder walls still have a cross hatch on it fine, if not, run a hone (lightly) to get a hatch.

8. Send the fuel pump down to Terrell Machine and have them rebuild it.

9. Start the thing up and run it with the rear end on blocks so the trans and rear end will spin. After about 15 minutes and the engine rings broke in...

10. Drain the trans and the rear end and re-fill with oil.

 

Then drop it down and take it for a ride. I would also drain and replace the fluid coupling fluid. See my write up on that.

 

If everyone checks out ok after all the above, drive it cross county if you like.

 

James.

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44 minutes ago, James_Douglas said:

If it were me I would...

 

Great advice, and fantastic paper on fluid coupling. I haven't yet done a deep dive into fluid drive, and other than the badge on the glove box that says I have it, I'm a little confused if the tip-toe shift indeed has it. Wiki says: Many automobile historians confuse Chrysler's Fluid Drive with the Corporation's so-called semi-automatic M5/M6 transmissions, which were marketed under various names as “Simplimatic” (Chrysler), “Tip-Toe Shift” (DeSoto), and “Gyro-Matic” (Dodge). Unfortunately, Chrysler itself contributed to the confusion by referring to both the standard-shift fluid drive and M6 installations indiscriminately as "Fluid Drive" in much of their marketing and sales literature. I'll get these answers when I get my manuals, I guess. 

 

I don't know if I'm going to go so far as to hone the cylinders, but I think the head is going to come off. My temperment won't let me not peek in there :) I dropped some coin on Rock Auto and Bernbaum, and have lots of goodies coming, I'll keep anyone who gives a rip updated. 

 

Regarding the brakes, I think I'm pretty wary of repo parts from all the horror stories I've read. Depending on the condition of wheel cylinders and master cylinder, I may take a crack at rebuilding, though I'm not sure it's a smart move to not just put all new stuff in there. 

 

-Art

 

 

Edited by ratbailey
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Fluid drive is not directly referring to the transmission type. It is the fluid coupling between the engine and the transmission. There are two types: A simple fluid drive, or the more complex torque converter.  The main difference being the torque converter has internal stators that multiply torque at lower RPM. The basic fluid drive does not have stators, nor multiply torque.  The dry clutch is still present and used in both systems.

 

I've never owned the basic fluid drive. My understanding is the basic fluid drive can be placed in front of a manual 3 speed tranny, or the semi-auto M5-M6.  With the manual 3 speed  you shift it manually still.  A three on the tree shifter. The fluid coupling allows you to come to a stop and leave the tranny and clutch engaged. Still in gear.  Engine won't stall with either fluid coupling type used. You only use the clutch to shift gears. You do not need it to come to a stop and take off again.  The M5-M6, you are using the clutch way less, as it has an auto shift.

 

The M5 or M6 semi-auto tranny you manually put in hi or low range. As engine RPM increases, you lift your foot off the throttle. The tranny hydraulic power creates a shift. 1 auto-shift only, either up or down. It too can be left in gear when stopped, clutch engaged. Engine will not stall.

 

Here I explain some of the differences between the two types fluid drives:

 

 

 

I suggest you get under your car. Look at the tranny. The right side. Does it appear to have a couple of cans bolted to the side of the tranny? Some wires? One can is a 6V shift solenoid, the other smaller can hosts a spinning set of contact points. Wires and cans indicate M5-M6 semi-auto tranny. If no cans or wires, you likely have a standard fluid drive that does not auto shift.

Edited by keithb7
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Hi. Nice Desoto! I have a '47 Custom sedan. I was a newbie when I got it seven years ago, and proceeded to tear it down. The sheet metal, floor pans, etc. Some things I marked and some I didn't. I have a lot of bolts that need identifying. I have copied a lot of Desoto photos of the guys on here to help me find bolt types and locations, etc.

I did get all of the floor pans sandblasted, primed and painted. Some other parts as well. Mint set of hubs. NOS hood ornament, etc. I have a lot of the finishing touches. 

I know that if I had torn the engine down, or do it now, I'd probably never get over the work backlog.  Luckily my engine was in good shape when I bought it and it still cranks and turns. I agree to get the engine running as best as possible while you fix the brakes. I can't do anything until the brakes are fixed. But the seats are out so I have nowhere to sit anyway.

I don't know how long parts for these cars will be around. A friend of mine saw the car sitting in my building and said, "That's a money pit."  I find it more of a time issue than money. There's a lot than can be done on little money while you wait for the bigger stuff.

Anyway, enjoy the honeymoon period.  

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  • 1 month later...

Hey Folks,

 

I've been hard at work since I last checked in here...if you enjoy stories and videos about middle aged guys goofing around with old cars, read on. 

 

Today was a mostly good day. Short version: my '48 DeSoto (not '47, as I was told) moved its own carcass out of the garage. Play-by-play provided by my very patient wife. 

 

 

This is kind of where the fun stopped. More on that soon.

 

Leading up to this awesome achievement, I rewired the starting circuit, the ammeter, ran fresh wires to the transmission relays, and disconnected everything else, so as not to set my car and garage on fire. New plugs, wires, battery cables, and battery. 

 

I rebuild the carburetor--or more accurately, two carburetors. I reset the float several times before getting it right, so it didn't flood the intake with gas, and leak out the throttle shaft onto the manifold and everywhere else. I discovered that you absolutely shouldn't put these BB carbs in an ultrasonic cleaner using Simple Green and water, because, as it's clearly stated in the Chrysler repair pamphlet that I didn't read before rebuilding, BB carbs exposed to water will oxidize rapidly, creating "oatmeal like" crud that covers everything and is impossible to stop. Oops. Good thing I had a second carb to rebuild. I learned that teflon tape is good for sealing up gas line threads. I rebuilt the fuel pump once, then discovered that I hadn't engaged the pump lever while tightening the screws as I was supposed to do, so it wasn't doing its pumping thing. I learned that you can completely destroy the fuel pump casting by overtightening the fuel line connector. Thankfully, I also had a spare, rebuildable fuel pump. I think I had the fuel pump off and on 6 times. Finally, after some weeks, I ended up with a carb and fuel pump that didn't leak fuel all over the exhaust manifold, garage floor, or dump raw gas into the intake. 

 

Still, it wouldn't start

 

After lots of hair pulling and forehead smacking, it turned out to be a spark plug wire not fully pushed into the distributor cap. This leads us to the short victory lap up the driveway. 

 

Couple questions:

I noticed a lot of water coming out of the tailpipe, and as you can see, a good amount of grey smoke. Is this normal for these engines? It was at least 34 degrees F, don't know if that has anything to do with it. 

 

It idles pretty nicely. But, as you can see here, it stalls when you open the throttle.

 

 

I remembered later that I have the accelerator pump linkage in the middle hole, rather than the outside hole for winter, don't know if that might have something to do with it. I still haven't dealt with timing. I've also got generic NAPA wires on it, that have a resistor symbol on them, don't know if that would effect much or not.

 

And then the fun stuff. Radiator became incontinent, so I had to quickly drain the whole system before it all ended up on my driveway...really should've anticipated that. One of the lines from the oil filter is leaking a lot, at the brass connection to the engine block. Finally, I couldn't keep the damn thing running without stalling, so when the front tires hit the half-inch bump of the cement garage pad, it would quit. Snow and rain is coming tomorrow, it's getting dark, and I have half my car sticking out of the garage. I discovered that I'm strong enough to push a '48 DeSoto into my garage by myself. I guess that was fun...? Seriously though, I'm learning a ton, and I can't thank you all enough for the advice you've all given me. That's all for now...

 

 

 

 

Edited by ratbailey
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Welcome to the S-11 DeSoto club!  I've owned a business coupe since 1980!  Right now I'm doing a body off restoration.  I'm just about ready to jack the body off of the frame.  

The outdoor picture was taken in San Diego in 1988!  As you see, not much done from then til now.  I hope to change that soon.   

img019.jpg

deso49.jpeg

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I was taking the body off today.  I thought I got all of the body bolts out, but the rear tires were coming up as I tried to jack the body up.  Turns out the rear frame cross member has two more bolts in it besides the ones in the corner.  The heads are rounded and were covered up with undercoating.  I saw the two nuts when I crawled under the car.  They were also 9/16" nuts and now I can jack the body up.  

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Interesting about the carb. Everyone I've ever done was soaked in carb cleaner and then rinsed well in a bucket of hot water. Then sprayed dry with compressed air. So was it the length of time or the simple green that wrecked yours?

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20 hours ago, MarcDeSoto said:

Welcome to the S-11 DeSoto club!  I've owned a business coupe since 1980!  Right now I'm doing a body off restoration.  I'm just about ready to jack the body off of the frame.  

The outdoor picture was taken in San Diego in 1988!  As you see, not much done from then til now.  I hope to change that soon.   

img019.jpg

deso49.jpeg

Nice, Mark! Looks to be the same color as mine, though my color doesn't match the code on the plate. 

 

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2 hours ago, Young Ed said:

Interesting about the carb. Everyone I've ever done was soaked in carb cleaner and then rinsed well in a bucket of hot water. Then sprayed dry with compressed air. So was it the length of time or the simple green that wrecked yours?

Yeah, me too...I did literally thousands of carbs in my dad's small engine shop, just by dunking them in a can of LEADED gasoline (the lead levels in my blood must be off the charts...never used gloves, and we also washed our hands with it), and blasting with compressed air. Could've been the length of time, I'm not sure. I got pretty excited about zapping the crud off with my cool machine, I let the parts sit in there for a couple hours, at least. Learned my lesson.

Edited by ratbailey
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Congrats on getting her running !!!

 

Answering your question about the exhaust. With an engine that's been sitting along time, and old exhaust pipes and muffler etc; I'd not be a bit surprised at a lot of moisture being expelled from the engine and so on, it should dissipate as it gets heated up and dries out. Gray smoke ? White smoke is usually an antifreeze leak, blue is usually oil burning, black is an overly rich idle mixture or flooding from a float level that's too high.

 

When I got mine running I was worried the fire department was going to show up, there was such an immense cloud of smoke for an extended period of time (20 minutes). But afterwards she ran and continues to run clean as a whistle.

 

Did you replace the points and condensor ? I had a new condensor fail in short order, poor quality new parts....Your plug wires are fine.

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17 hours ago, Dartgame said:

Congrats on getting her running !!!

 

Answering your question about the exhaust. With an engine that's been sitting along time, and old exhaust pipes and muffler etc; I'd not be a bit surprised at a lot of moisture being expelled from the engine and so on, it should dissipate as it gets heated up and dries out. Gray smoke ? White smoke is usually an antifreeze leak, blue is usually oil burning, black is an overly rich idle mixture or flooding from a float level that's too high.

 

When I got mine running I was worried the fire department was going to show up, there was such an immense cloud of smoke for an extended period of time (20 minutes). But afterwards she ran and continues to run clean as a whistle.

 

Did you replace the points and condensor ? I had a new condensor fail in short order, poor quality new parts....Your plug wires are fine.

Thanks! Yeah, it may be too soon to ask questions about smoke color, I don't think I even got it up to full running temp without it stalling. Does it look white? When you say antifreeze leak, you don't mean "cracked block", I hope 😬? It looked like normal, grey exhaust to me. I'd go with moisture being expelled. When I pulled the pan, there was no glycol or water in it, and until the rad blew, it was staying full. The liquid out of the tailpipe was clear looking water, but more than I'm used to seeing, and the fluid in the rad was glycol green. My new oil still looks fresh on the dipstick.

 

I didn't replace the points or condenser, they looked good (famous last words). I have a set, I'll throw them in. One of the reasons I didn't put the parts in is the reason you mention, I've read bad things about new parts, and it kind of ran when I got it--I didn't want to introduce new problems. I may have gapped the plugs at .030, which is too much. Old lawn mower mechanic habit. I'm leaning toward vacuum advance and timing, which I haven't checked. Pulling the distributor and making sure everything moves free probably wouldn't hurt. I'm not going to start it again until I deal with the oil leak at the oil filter, check the oil pressure relief valve, and fix the cooling system. I'm going to take the opportunity to replace the water distribution tube with the rad out, and see how many new combinations of cuss words I can come up with.

 

-Art

Edited by ratbailey
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Good idea to take the distributor apart. You may find the vacuum advance has failed or something else is stuck like the advance weights etc.

 

Regarding the coolant question - you don't have to have a cracked block for a leak, could be a head gasket or a head bolt. But I doubt it's the reason for steam (gray/white "smoke") & water dripping from exhaust. 34F is cold enough to show normal steam from the exhaust, and the water is probably normal as well before the pipes etc get hot enough and dried out. It sounded like it was running pretty evenly so I doubt there's much wrong with it other than ignition or something simple like that causing it to stall out. I don't recall what the spark plug gap is supposed to be. It's been a while since I gapped mine. Specs should be someplace on this website.

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34 minutes ago, Dartgame said:

I don't recall what the spark plug gap is supposed to be. It's been a while since I gapped mine. Specs should be someplace on this website.

I've got two DeSoto shop manuals and a Motor's. The '48 edition says .025, the '50 says .030, and Motor's says .025.  It's easy enough to regap and see if it helps, I guess.

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