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Mild custom '48 Club Coupe, with work log


FarmerJon
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23 hours ago, FarmerJon said:

Also with them lower it doesn't leave room for the stock style reverse light. I will have to see if car is wired for one, but I would like to have something to indicate to others I am moving backwards

 

I came to the same conclusions regarding a back up light.  I found an NOS switch from Roberts Motor Parts and while looking about for the light assemblies, or something that would look appropriate to me anyway, I found a license plate frame that incorporates LED backup lights into it.

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15 hours ago, FarmerJon said:

Certainly have enough wires going into the turn signal assembly. Then they go into this...

 

 

Found were horn relay wire goes- broken off bottom of steering box. May have enough to reconnect it... 

Also all the connections at the generator are in poor condition.

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Wow...what a mess!  😃

 

Here is how I connected the signal switch to the harness in my '48. I also rewired the rear lights so I have three brake lights.

 

Enjoy your new ride!

 

turn-signals-2.jpg.e0d0e67a86902b1d0a1553d471578c02.jpg

Edited by Sam Buchanan
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I didn't get a chance to do any of the wiring today, due to that pesky thing called a job, but I did get a little work done. 

The package shelf behind the rear seat had been covered in black vinyl when the car was restored in the mid-late '90s. Rear window gasket looks to have been replaced at the same time, but had split at the bottom middle where it had been bonded together, and leaked. This ruined the cardboard under the vinyl. 

I took it to work and was able to whip up a fresh cardboard card for it, plush it up with some sheet packing foam, and get the vinyl wrapped back around it. It seems that one of the layers was possibly the original cover, it was a light colored, woven fabric with a soft fuzzy feel to one side. I left it out, due to how deteriorated it was.

Got it installed when I got home, and filled the gap in the rear gasket filled with some black RTV. 

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  • FarmerJon changed the title to New owner of a '48 club coupe, with work log

Went and picked up the spare engine/trans that came with the car. Unfortunately, no overdrive other major goodies, but has a clean carb on it, all the oil filter tubing and bracket I was missing, and a very clean fuel pump. Cylinder head is cast in 1952, #1405849-10 but engine number is p15 798272, scratched into the pad. It doesn't look like the number stamping on the other engine. Engine is painted silver, but in the grime under the valve covers the block is blue, oil pan is black.

Can anyone tell me where I can look to ID the casting# from the head?

I would assume that a 230 would have a different casting than a 218 so that compression would stay the same?

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Edited by FarmerJon
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  • 4 weeks later...

Made some progress this weekend. Still no thermostat that fits. I have tried 11, including a new Napa 155, none fit or are missing the rubber seal.

Bought a NOS Napa one. Hopefully it works or I will modify the housing to accommodate it.

Also have a 4 core aluminum radiator on the way. I put everything together so I could get antifreeze in the block so it wouldn't bust during this cold spell. I will just run it as is till I can get some other stuff caught up.

While I had everything apart, I took the time to clean and scrape off a lot of the scruffy red paint and repaint it with the stock silver. Looks a lot better. When I have to oil pan off I will do the same to the underside.

 

Waiting on my fuel pump rebuild kit, and now that I moved the coil, I have no spark. Coil is dented and ancient, plug wires are ratty old lacquered cloth, and distributor cap looked like the rotor has been grinding the hell out of it.

Grabbed the distributor from my spare engine, a '53 unit, IAT-4101. I found a NOS Dyna-Flite dual point conversion kit and a pair of NOS autolite points for it, and have them on the way. I still need to figure out what coil will perform best.

I know most of y'all wouldn't mess with points, but if I wanted electronics, I would drive a new car.

 

I also made 'conceptual' progress- I came across a early '50s custom that gave me a lot of ideas for how I want the car to turn out: the Bob Alexander coupe.

I am not planning on the front end mods, just the shaved handles, deck lid and modified trim. May fill and peak the hood down the road.

Bob-alexander-1948-plymouth-5.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Got my dual point conversion kit, found it is missing some small pieces. Got the old grease cleaned out of it and the distributor it will go in pretty well cleaned up, but have a bad vacuum advance, so off it goes to Terril machine to be rebuilt.
Since that will take at least a couple months, and I am still hunting a couple small components to install the kit I figured I would pull the distributor out of my car, clean it, and fix whatever was causing the rotor to hit the cap.

Turns out it is a different model than either of my other distributors, and was in total shambles. Vac canister totally blown out, advance plate locked up. Weights sticky and covered with rust. Points covered in carbon. Connecting wires inside wrapped in tattered electrical tape.

I managed to save the points and condenser, and one cap clamp. Everything else went in the parts bin. What I had been calling my parts distributor I cleaned up, fit the salvaged cap clamp it it, and reassembled. It takes a different cap than what I have, so I will pick up a cap tomorrow and get it back in the car. Hopefully that and a new ignition coil will get my spark back. Should drive a little nicer with a functional advance and one less vacuum leak.

 

Fuel pump rebuild kit is here, going to put that together tomorrow, and hope to have the car back running Friday. 

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Edited by FarmerJon
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Friday got fuel pump on, thermostat installed, (oh yeah, '90s Napa 155 fit fine) and plug wires run.

Wouldn't catch, even with fuel pump primed, gas poured in float bowl, and starter fluid.

It was about dark, so called it a night. Once inside I had the thought to check my factory manual. Sure enough the diagram I had pulled up online for the firing order showed the distributor turning counter-clockwise, but I had watched it turn clockwise. DOH!

Saturday morning swapped wires around and it fired right up. Until the carb ran dry. Damn.

Ran a milk jug of gas just below the fuel pump and it ran fine. Oh no, the fuel tank must be full of trash and plugged up!

About to give up and go buy a car cover, I figured I would say least LOOK in the tank. Pulled the fuel level sending unit. New.

About 1" of gas in the tank. Well gauge read 3/4 and PO said it was right, but I could see the pickup. Above the fuel. DOH.

Got gas in it, warmed it up ( MUCH faster now it has a thermostat!) and dumped the crude oil it was using as lubricant, and gave it some fresh 10w30.

Tried to set the timing but found it has no timing pointer.

It drives so much better already.

Next weekend I am hoping to get it up on a lift and replace all the other fluids, and plan on pulling the oil pan and adjusting the valves. I will knock the dents out of the pan and wipe it out as well.

Then onto getting wipers and heater 100%.

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Got out to the shed yesterday, got heater switch, defrost switch, wiper motor and linkage pulled to clean up and refurbish. Switches had no wiring to them, so unsure how they hookup. Defrost is more of a mystery- what is electrical that it can control, vs the fan switch?

 

Wiper will be cleaned and checked, likely rebuilt. I am thinking that while I am working under the dash I am going to install a vacuum reservoir for the wipers, at least until I get my dual action pump rebuilt. Think the little plastic pill shaped can will be adequate?

 

Did I mention how awesome my neighbor is? They are letting me park the car in their shed/garage (dirt floor garage from the early 1900s) all winter for free.

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Went to take the coupe to my friends place to put it up on a lift. First time I got up to 60- ding, cling, bing, click, ding, like a bell getting kicked all over the engine bay, then quiet... Looked in rear view to see a plume of smoke so I hit the side of the road, expecting some bad ****.

Got the good open, water dripping from everything. Not water, coolant. Especially the starter. Right above it, a round rusty hole in the side of the block. It had ejected a core plug!

After a quick round of swearing, and a brief explanation to my wife, who I had following me, and have had an idea- expanding core plug. Like the ones I have never understood why anyone would use. Off to the store and sure enough they saved the day!

I guess between the new T-stat and new, higher efficiency water pump, the block saw more pressure than it had in years. Question now is - how do I trust the rest of the plugs?
I am going to do a compression test tomorrow, and make a determination.
I have a spare engine. If I have poor compression, maybe I will see if I can do a quick re-ring and freshen up that instead of installing new core plugs on the engine in the car.
I do not want this car to go full project, but want it daily driver reliable. Thoughts?

I did make it to the shop, and got a number of maintenance things done, and am heading over there now to finish up.

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The thermostat wouldn't matter.  The water pump wouldn't make that much difference. Did you put a modern radiator cap on?   They are too high on pressure rating. Surprised me but I think the proper ones are 4 psi.   I read other posts a few months ago about people using modern caps and it swelling the top of the radiator.

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Nope, haven't swapped radiator or cap yet. Car had no thermostat in it for years and years. The couple times I drove it out could run an hour or more and not get to 140*.

 

Water pump went from nearly seized 2 vain pump to modern 6? Vain type.

 

As a note, the 1 3/8 - 1 1/2 expanding plug is the one that fits, if you scrape out the rust in the hole. I plan on keeping one or two in the "get home" tool and part kit. 

Edited by FarmerJon
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  • FarmerJon changed the title to Mild custom '48 Club Coupe, with work log

Check what type of cap is on it. Maybe before you got it someone put the wrong one on.   I'd fix the plug, check the cap and carry a few jugs of water with me.   Pressure Testing Non-Pressurized Cooling System - P15-D24 Forum - P15-D24.com and Pilot-house.com  I really don't think the modern pump would cause it.  Just a badly installed plug.

 

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16 minutes ago, Bryan said:

The thermostat wouldn't matter.  The water pump wouldn't make that much difference. Did you put a modern radiator cap on?   They are too high on pressure rating. Surprised me but I think the proper ones are 4 psi.   I read other posts a few months ago about people using modern caps and it swelling the top of the radiator.

 

these radiators are not sealed at the radiator cap with overflow tube.  The expansion chamber is constant vent to the atmosphere at the little top hat off to the side of the filler cap....the pressure cap did not come along until mid 1950.   

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My philosophy on core plugs if that if one of them rusted thru, the others aren't far behind.

 

But in your case, it appears one popped out not rusted out.  I had that happen to me once on a 413.  To shorten a long story, a chunk of RTV prevented my thermostat from opening so the coolant got hotter and hotter, the pressure built and built till boom goes the plug.  Lost a good 413 that day.  But your system shouldn't be pressurized?   Those type plugs can be finicky to seat as well.  I'd just put a new one in after you cleaned it up well.

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I will clean out the system and replace it once I am caught up on more pressing stuff, and the weather is warmer. As a note, plug hadn't shown any sign of leaking, and motor wasn't over 180 when it blew. 

Oh well.

 

Didn't do the compression test today, I got caught up burning my hands, I mean, adjusting the valves, and trying to diagnose a VERY hard to turn rear wheel. Maybe sticking brakes, maybe bad wheel bearing. Didn't get the drum to pop off the hub, so couldn't really make a determination..

Got a lot of fittings greased, fresh oil in the diff and trans. Figured out why the trans only had 1/2 a pint of oil- it leaks like a sive, from front and rear seals. Somehow the shift linkage hardly drips. I guess I will go get my spare trans and see what shape it is in, reseal it and swap it in.

 

I will put my vacuum wiper motor back together Monday, and NOS heater switch is on the way.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Got a moderate amount done this month, even drove it to work all last week. 

Got rear axle bearing moving free without pulling the axle. Maybe next winter I will rebuild the whole rear end, especially if I can find some 3.55 or 3.73 gears.
Wiper motor leaked vacuum, it is on the way to the Trico wiper guy.
Got brake lights working.
Ordered Brockmans mellowtone steel packs and some pencil tips, have an appointment march 7 to have them installed.
Installed a pair of Aerostar springs, with one coil cut. Found out my shocks were now two piece...got new ones ordered.
Oh, and " Precision Springs" are made in USA # SP08160
Found a pair of the GIANT DeSoto drums for the front. Going to get them all cleaned up and rebuilt. Thanks Loren for the advice!
Got a good deal on the cluster and second gear to rebuild my spare trans with "fast second" 1.55 1940 ratio, vs 1.83 1941-56
Going to send the trans guts and my wheel bearings to New England Gear polishing to be REM polished. Supposed to really slick up the shifts, as well as reduce power lost to the drivetrain. We will see.

Edited by FarmerJon
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On 1/4/2022 at 1:22 PM, FarmerJon said:

I also made 'conceptual' progress- I came across a early '50s custom that gave me a lot of ideas for how I want the car to turn out: the Bob Alexander coupe.

I am not planning on the front end mods, just the shaved handles, deck lid and modified trim. May fill and peak the hood down the road.

Bob-alexander-1948-plymouth-5.jpg

 

 

I've always liked the look of that car.
Here are a couple of 1950s pictures of a P15 convertible with the same Pontiac tail lights, and it's also nosed and decked, with bobbed hood trim, shaved fender trim and sombrero caps, all similar to the Alexander coupe.
I've also attached a photo of an unknown coupe, again taken in the 1950s.
Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

1955 2.jpg

1955 1.jpg

Picture109.jpg

Edited by Robin (UK)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Got my mellowtones installed, really pleased with the sound and the look of the pencil tips.

On the drive to work this morning I found that it now surges above 50mph, getting worse if I speed up or go uphill. Not sure if my month old fuel filter has plugged up, or if the switch from turbo mufflers to the steel packs has made it run lean up top.

Meanwhile, been getting my DeSoto brakes cleaned up and ready to go to CH Topping for shoes to be relined/arched and drums turned.

Picked up a nice WA-1 414s carb to try, should be a bolt on swap, I will see if it runs better than the stock carb.

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  • 2 months later...
Posted (edited)

Been working on a number of things, trying to take this month to wrap up some of the things I have apart waiting for this or that.
My dual point distributor and WA-1 are both apart, clean, repainted, and awaiting some hardware nitpicking.
My DeSoto drums have been blasted, magnufluxed, repainted, and REM polished bearing races installed, waiting to go to CH Topping to be turned and drilled, but first I have to get my shoes free of the backing plates, so that they can ride along.
I plan on drilling the outside rib of the backing plate while the shoes and drums are being serviced, I can fit roughly 75 .250 holes around each. I have half a mind to send them off to be plated, but think they are too pitted to get a good polish on without major sanding. Not sure when chrome brakes started being a thing.

In the meantime, I got the wild hair to tear out my upholstery and fix several things that were bothering me, although stopped short of having the seats and headliner redone.
I started by adding sound deadening mat (Siless brand 50mil) inside the doors, then inside the body by rear seat area. Then I got a box of 80mil and did the floor, rear wheel wells and some of the trunk floor. I still have one tile, that I plan on sneaking up under the headliner. I then added a layer of "reflectix" insulation to the floor, and a layer of foam carpet pad before laying down new carpet. I also installed new rubber draft seals around the pedals.
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Here you can see how I made holes in the carpet for bolts, pedals and such. I used a butter knife for slots, a piece of fuel line for small holes and a piece of 1" conduit for the dimmer switch grommet.
I got the rear area back together today, adding heavy plastic between the body and the upholstery card, something that hadn't been done before, causing the door cards to get moisture damage. I also added a layer of the carpet pad to the inside of the upholstery card, and behind the rear seat back, to hopefully absorb some more sound. It isn't much, but I had a whole roll of it in my attic, so may as well use it.

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If the weather holds out this weekend, I will get the door panels and kick panels in, and be ready to pull back the headliner to put the deadening in, few layers of the reflectix for heat, and get the sun visors installed.

On the test drive around the neighborhood, I noticed it was running fairly hot, but without any signs of boiling, so I need to check the accuracy of the gauge (some aftermarket one, cut into the stock dash) but it may be time for me to flush my block and install the new radiator I bought several months ago.

Lots to do still, but starting to come together.

 

Edited by FarmerJon
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