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Finally on the road...but some questions


JonathanC
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My car finally made it onto the road yesterday. Due to its long layup and the need to get a new windshield made to get an Ontario safety inspection (required when a car is registered to a new owner), it took a few weeks. The car is in its new home just in time for its 81st birthday on Friday (how do I know that? Read on!).

 

My first outing in it after buying it over the winter was 15 km of city traffic through a downpour to get home from the shop (on the plus side, I know I can count on the wipers). Driving it, though, was an experience that did not disappoint. It felt like piloting something substantial, and the car goes down the road very nicely. From my limited experience driving older cars my expectation of braking is about right. The steering takes some effort at low speed, but not too bad (it's got Coker 6.00-16 radials on it).

 

My granddaughters are amazed at the idea of turning a crank to lower windows, and at what ashtrays might be for (in a car, or even in general...how times change).

 

There are a couple of kinks that probably need a bit of working out:

 

1. The Vacamatic transmission seems to shift about like it should (although there's no real audible indication of the shift happening, on some I've heard a click which I've been told is more "ideal" than a thump), but the Fluid drive seems a bit draggy and the engine stalled out or nearly did a couple of times when slowing down, which I didn't think it should do. I am wondering if the first thing I should do is check and consider changing out the fluid. I'm not at all sure when it might have been done before (people do take these things for granted nowadays). I have read James Douglas' post on Fluid Drive fluid (and saved it, and printed it), so my plan would be if the fluid seems incorrect to get the Mobil DTE Light circulating oil. Anyone else here have any tips about that? Is it possible that I'll need to have a flush done? Other things I thought about that might contribute is the idle being a bit too slow but I have read that there's a "sweet spot" you need to be in for the transmission shift to work.

 

2. The passenger door lock displays some odd behaviour. I can't seem to unlock it from the outside. I can open the door from the outside by putting the key in and giving it about 3/4 turn, but it won't turn all the way and let me withdraw it to leave it unlocked as the manual indicates it should. I have to turn it back to take the key out, and then the door is locked again (so the key is needed every time you want to open the door from outside). From inside it seems to work OK. From the manual and the way the driver's side door works, it seems I should be able to put the key in, give it a full turn, and the door will lock or unlock, depending on direction. What do you think? Should I just replace the locks, or have a lock guy look at them? I think it's not original (the pass. side lock does not use the ignition key), maybe the wrong lock was put in?

 

Thanks for any advice you can offer.

 

Also, during the winter I got the build card (Thank you, Danielle at Stellantis), which is how I know the car's birthday. It's interesting but I'm not sure how to interpret some of the data on it...anyone know of a good guide to this? According to it, I read the following:

 

-Build date of June 24 would be very late in the model year. That jibes with having body number 10,065 out of a total production of 10,830 1941 Royal club coupes. 

 

-The car was shipped to Syracuse and doesn't seem to have strayed far from there in its life, before making it to an auction in Toronto with about 29,000 miles (it's now just under 34,000). Ruslerholtz & Rossell advertised themselves as the largest Chrysler dealer between New York City and Chicago.

 

-It looks like the car was built with a clock (not standard on Royals) but without a radio. When it came out of a long slumber in 2013 and was acquired by the previous owner, it had a radio but no clock. Now it has both (neither functioning). There is an extra blank plate in the glove box. My intention is to dig around the dash and see what model of radio it is first; maybe it was a retrofit but it certainly looks like a Chrysler radio of that era.

 

-I'm guessing that the "3" and the punched hole at Trans refers to the Vacamatic. Not sure what the 1 and hole at "Gear ratio" means.

 

-Lack of a punched hole for "Cyl. Head." likely means that it has the standard head (112 horsepower) and not any higher or lower compression option Chrysler might have offered at the time.

 

Lots of other interesting things with holes punched in them, too, but at different locations on the card.

 

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Wow, Jonathan, that car is an absolute beauty! Living vicariously through your driving experience--I don't have a lot to do on mine to get it roadworthy, but life and responsibilities are unfortunately dragging things out.

 

Regarding locks, I have two single keys. The older one works fine in the ignition and door, the other, only in the ignition, and not well. They appear identical, but they're not. I think whoever did the key cutting was not so good at it. Is your key a newer copy? Maybe the doors never got locked, and the ignition tumblers wore more than the door? It's not difficult to get the lock cylinders apart, and poke around with a micrometer, just don't lose the springs, or mix up the tumblers. 

 

I don't know if you have same or similar lock cylinders as my '48 DeSoto, but  1/4 turn to the right locks it, 1/4 to the left unlocks. Also, when the lock cylinders are removed, the square drive part that engages with the locking mechanism needs to be oriented correctly when they're reassembled. Maybe if someone replaced or messed around with the cylinders, they didn't put it back together correctly?  I can't remember the details of getting it right, maybe someone else can chime in, but it took me a few tries to get it correct, taking it out, reorienting it and replacing it to get it to lock correctly. 

 

I gotta get me one of those visors! 

Edited by ratbailey
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hi ,i have a 1941 Windsor convertible with vacamatic ,seems to me like the dash pot on your carb may not be helping ,rebuild the carb including the leather dash pot and adjust the idle ,should cure most problems .In my experience of fluid drive ownership its most unusual for them to need flushing and new fluid ,simply topping up has always worked for me. my key for the ignition unlocks both doors. Ive had the car 6 years now and after rewiring and fettling it runs like a champ, mind you the triple carbs ,twin exhausts and headers do help!

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3 hours ago, ratbailey said:

Wow, Jonathan, that car is an absolute beauty! Living vicariously through your driving experience--I don't have a lot to do on mine to get it roadworthy, but life and responsibilities are unfortunately dragging things out.

 

Regarding locks, I have two single keys. The older one works fine in the ignition and door, the other, only in the ignition, and not well. They appear identical, but they're not. I think whoever did the key cutting was not so good at it. Is your key a newer copy? Maybe the doors never got locked, and the ignition tumblers wore more than the door? It's not difficult to get the lock cylinders apart, and poke around with a micrometer, just don't lose the springs, or mix up the tumblers. 

 

I don't know if you have same or similar lock cylinders as my '48 DeSoto, but  1/4 turn to the right locks it, 1/4 to the left unlocks. Also, when the lock cylinders are removed, the square drive part that engages with the locking mechanism needs to be oriented correctly when they're reassembled. Maybe if someone replaced or messed around with the cylinders, they didn't put it back together correctly?  I can't remember the details of getting it right, maybe someone else can chime in, but it took me a few tries to get it correct, taking it out, reorienting it and replacing it to get it to lock correctly. 

 

I gotta get me one of those visors! 

Thanks. I wasn't "sold" on the visor at first. It came with the car and my initial thought was to go more "Plain Jane", in fact I thought I would look for a 4-door. But it's growing on me. I might want a traffic light viewer, though.

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1 hour ago, Cannuck said:

Sorry I can't help but I love your car . More pictures please

 

 

If you're in Renfrew you might get to see it in person. I live in Nepean. I noticed there's a cruise night at Odi's King Burger in the summer. I remember stopping there to eat on the way up to a camping trip near Algonquin Park about 25 years ago, and I've been meaning to get back there.

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Jonathan....thats a real nice car you have there........re the sun visor.....I wasn't that keen on them myself for a while but ended up getting this one for the Plymouth Coupe I had and installed it with a stronger centre bracket as I worried about it flipping when passing cars or trucks went by.......lol..........anyway got more pics of your Chrysler?......we all love pics....lol...........regards from Oztralia......andyd 

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