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Complete noob to the Spitfire. Have a handful of questions.


Sienile
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Vehicle is a '48 Chrysler Highlander with the Spitfire straight 6. When the guy brought me to see it, it had absolutely no interior, no wiring, and most of the engine accessories are gone. Guy also owned another that was surprisingly in even worse shape, but had a few things the first was missing. So you know, it's not my car. The owner wanted it restored because his parents had one like it when he was young. If it were me, I'd hunt for one in much better shape. But he's already had the engine internals rebuilt and the body painted, so he's already invested in this one.

 

Biggest things I need to know are with the engine electrical... Something I never thought I'd say on something this ancient. :P There are 2 wires on the carb, even though it's a manual choke. One attaches with a flathead bolt, the other has a wire crimped directly to a different component. Completely slipped my mind to take a picture of it. Can anyone tell me what these components are and what they should be wired to? Will it be fine to hook them to 12v, since the main thing they want done is modern 12v wiring?

 

I've read on other sites that the distributor requires conversion to operate on 12v, but the site only referenced dead links and missing pictures so I know nothing other than it needs to be converted. I assume this is a pretty common thing to do and a guide must exist somewhere, but I've come up empty trying to find it. Did this on a Chevy of about the same age, but it was so long ago and I'm not certain if the same parts and process would work.

 

Somewhat less important is the wiper motor. Both cars had smashed ones. Guess the dashes were pulled with crowbars and sledge hammers. 🙄 I've found a few sources for engine parts, but I'm not seeing many body or interior components. I'd appreciate any leads on where to find it.

 

And last of all, and this is just for aesthetics any trying to keep at least the interior as original looking as possible, the dimmer switch. First body didn't have one and the second one had what seemed to be a pretty obvious aftermarket one that was shoved through a jagged hole in the floor. It looked like a miniature football with a threaded rod sticking out. I found one on a site, but since it doesn't specify the exact models, I'm not sure if it's right. This is the one I found: https://www.oldmoparts.com/parts/k_electrical/dimmer-switch/ Is that right for a '48 Highlander?

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Looks like I got some reading to do on old Chrysler tech. Thanks for giving me the names.

 

I looked up the sission choke and found this thread: 

The one shown looks somewhat different. I'll have to get pictures of it tomorrow. But the solenoid can on top is not on the one I have. There is a insulated pin there that must connect to something inside, but doesn't look like it ever had anything outside, and the other terminal is the one with the wire crimped to it.

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First thing that you show have is the service manual on this car model. The service manual should also have the electrical wiring harness and wil tell you where each wire goes to which part on the car.  If the owner does not have this then ask him to get you the service manual.  This is the first piece of literature youwill need and then also a parts book for this car.

 

I have lots of info on the sisson choke and how to set then up to work and also how to test them.  When switching over to 12 v from 6v and you have fluid drive and there ae dashpots you have to be very careful on how you wire the car. If you are not experienced to do this work and do not fee 100% comfortable then I would not take on the project.  There are resisters and ballast coil and other components that you will need to use and hook up correctly.

 

So you be your own judge of your talents. Since there is not wiring then you are going to have to get a wireharned completely made for this car. Also with alot of the missing components it is going to be a deep money trip for the owner and also for looking for all of the parts. Might get NOS but also get used and then have to fix the issues.

 

Also you need to have an understanding with the current owner on how much they are willing to spend to restore the car. I would also get something in writing that both you and they sign to protest you and them.  Also suggest that they wire you a specfic amout of funds for start up fees and then you keep very detailed documents on the time and hours you spent on the car. Sending them the reprot each week so they know where you are in the restoration and when you will need furthur funds to continue the restoration.

 

You might even try to come up with some initial costs such as paint and body repairs, interior cloth and cost to recover the seats and door panels.

 

So just protect your interest and do not make yourself a liability.

 

Just my hopeful input for you.

 

Rich HArtung

Desoto1939@aol.com

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14 minutes ago, desoto1939 said:

First thing that you show have is the service manual on this car model. The service manual should also have the electrical wiring harness and wil tell you where each wire goes to which part on the car.  If the owner does not have this then ask him to get you the service manual.  This is the first piece of literature youwill need and then also a parts book for this car.

 

I have lots of info on the sisson choke and how to set then up to work and also how to test them.  When switching over to 12 v from 6v and you have fluid drive and there ae dashpots you have to be very careful on how you wire the car. If you are not experienced to do this work and do not fee 100% comfortable then I would not take on the project.  There are resisters and ballast coil and other components that you will need to use and hook up correctly.

 

So you be your own judge of your talents. Since there is not wiring then you are going to have to get a wireharned completely made for this car. Also with alot of the missing components it is going to be a deep money trip for the owner and also for looking for all of the parts. Might get NOS but also get used and then have to fix the issues.

 

Also you need to have an understanding with the current owner on how much they are willing to spend to restore the car. I would also get something in writing that both you and they sign to protest you and them.  Also suggest that they wire you a specfic amout of funds for start up fees and then you keep very detailed documents on the time and hours you spent on the car. Sending them the reprot each week so they know where you are in the restoration and when you will need furthur funds to continue the restoration.

 

You might even try to come up with some initial costs such as paint and body repairs, interior cloth and cost to recover the seats and door panels.

 

So just protect your interest and do not make yourself a liability.

 

Just my hopeful input for you.

 

Rich HArtung

Desoto1939@aol.com

I saw your guide on the choke posted in the above mentioned thread and will be reading through it tonight. I'm confident in my abilities, I just need the knowledge. This Chrysler is WAY more complex than the similarly aged Chevys I've done. Those I could have cranked on a stand with only power to the starter and coil. Actually, they also had hand cranks, so starter was optional. :D This is the first time I've seen a carb with multiple wires coming from it. :P Know a good source for the manual? Stuff this old isn't even on AllData's radar.

 

Owner knows it's a money pit. Apparently he doesn't care. He just wants it for pure nostalgia. He's one of those types with a 4 car garage in his backyard and a 2 car attached to the house. The guy that's doing the interior reupholstery is the one that brought me on and he gave him a price that he's fine with. Other guy bailed after stripping everything down. I'm only there to do the wiring and get the engine going and you can (or at least could a couple years ago) buy a decent used car for the price I gave him for that work. If the parts put the project overbudget, that's between him and the owner. And it might... that choke alone is $295, the cheapest price I've seen. 😮

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I did have a pic of the engine before I started. I forgot it had a carb on it, but it was seized up. Anyway, I do see that the part I was talking about is not the choke. I see that on the manifold. The parts I'm talking about are on the actual carb itself. This is a horrible picture of it and I'll get better ones tomorrow. One of the parts is partially visible at the very top of the pic. That rusty oval piece on top of the carb. That's the one that had the wire crimped directly to it.

20220808_113856.jpg

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Getting it running won't be so much different than a cheap old Chevy. The electrical components on the carburetor generally have to do with maintaining rpm when the transmission is put in gear, and allowing kickdown into low gear for passing. You can ignore them for now. Personally, I think converting to 12v is a wasted effort, but that's a huge debate. 

 

A service manual isn't hard to find; they are being reprinted. I just checked and there are plenty on eBay right now. They're well written and have decent photos/diagrams. Get to know some of the vendors that specialize in these cars, like Roberts Motor Parts, Andy Bernbaum, moparpro.com. Keep in mind, they may be "just" an old flathead six, but they were very up to date for their time, ahead of some of their competition. (back to Chevy again...)

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19 hours ago, Sienile said:

Owner wants to be able to put in modern accessories, so the decision to go 12v was already made before I became involved. It's only a headache once. :P


With the above in mind and condition of the engine, might be best to look at swapping to a more modern engine and Transmission. That will give you the 12v, overdrive and more ponies. The option for a/c is also available. 

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I was told the engine was rebuilt a year or two ago but has never been ran since the rebuild. First task was to make sure it wasn't locked up. Hooked a battery box to it and had to crowbar the solenoid since it was seized. It spun, but it was slow. I figure the oil dropped out of the rings, so it will get a good oil soak before the next crank.

 

A different engine isn't going to cut it for this guy's desires. The whole reason he wants it done is because his parents had one when he was little, so the sound of the engine is going to be a big thing to him. Plus he already spent on rebuilding the block.

 

He does want A/C, which is beyond the scope of the work I'm doing. I know that's going to require custom brackets to make work with this engine, and I am not a welder. I could probably handle the rest of that task, but all I'm supposed to do is run the wiring for it.

 

I got a few pictures of the carb, trans, and a few other things of interest. Got to do some downsizing and multi-posting to get them all uploaded.

 

IMG_20220822_184449.png.5ca44062c67c293a3b3c74c03516e8ed.png

 

On 8/22/2022 at 12:45 AM, joecoozie said:

Lockout assembly or Anti-stall mechanism for the Fluid Drive transmission

 

I'm guessing there's a switch somewhere on the transmission that I haven't seen yet for this to hook to?

 

IMG_20220822_184521.png.0431391a4229c963ec179ed1a1e05d02.png

 

In my digging around for info I heard of something like a startup choke. I'm guessing this is it since the other is for the transmission. The post said it goes to one of the small terminals on the starter, but didn't say which. Does it matter? If so, which one: block or fender side?

 

I know going with 12v I will need to step down the current going to both of these. Will they operate on reverse polarity? If possible, I was going to wire everything up as negative ground.

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The tube coming off the carb on both engines was not connected. This seems like it is the same tube. Is that correct?

 

image.png.dcddcf4fc7690cbc7afc12fcd44197d7.png

 

And here's the transmission.

 

image.png.2816add1156e31595ef5c3525f2e7218.png

 

Stamp on the right of the bellhousing says: 868751-5 W9

 

image.png.35f1294ec4c283f4a08c83c1fd3a92be.png

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image.png.8b9282d07a6a83724bace7ca2e88d781.png

 

These things had brake pressure switches? Just amazing how technically advanced this car is for its time. But I think for reliability and easier replaceability I'll make a pedal switch setup for it. Last thing he'd want is that diaphragm leaking.

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1 hour ago, Sienile said:

The tube coming off the carb on both engines was not connected. This seems like it is the same tube. Is that correct?

 

image.png.dcddcf4fc7690cbc7afc12fcd44197d7.png

 

And here's the transmission.

 

image.png.2816add1156e31595ef5c3525f2e7218.png

 

Stamp on the right of the bellhousing says: 868751-5 W9

 

image.png.35f1294ec4c283f4a08c83c1fd3a92be.png

The "tube" from the carb is a vacuum line that gets hooked up to the distributor vacuum advance.

The "tube" in your picture, I believe, is for the oil pressure gauge. It runs up the side of the engine block and then gets connected to a rubber line, approx. 5-6 inches long, which then connects to another "tube" that comes through the firewall and that is connected to the oil gauge.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/143360940286?var=0&mkevt=1&mkcid=1&mkrid=711-53200-19255-0&campid=5338590836&toolid=10044&customid=900c5ac296aa1d1e16a539c610dd0fc6

 

Keep the questions coming......

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There should be a Transmission Relay on the left inner fender.  It looks almost like a voltage regulator, but has five posts.   

The BAT post gets power from the live post of the coil, which gets power through the ignition switch. 

The SOL post powers the Anti-Stall pot on the carburetor, for certain phases of operation. 

The TH post is wired to the Kickdown Switch at the carb, to force a downshift. 

The PRI post is wired to the coil, to short out the coil momentarily, to slow the engine for making a shift.

 

There is a separate wire from the starter solenoid to the Sisson choke, to activate the choke when the engine is cranking. 

 

A lot to learn.  You may find yourself delving into the wiring diagram and transmission chapter'

 

I'm presently studying "Diagnosing the Hydraulically Operated Transmission", 1948  Edition, an available download from the Chrysler Imperial Club, to see why my transmission  doesn't always want to downshift when it should.   

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3 hours ago, DonaldSmith said:

There should be a Transmission Relay on the left inner fender.  It looks almost like a voltage regulator, but has five posts.   

 

Well, crap... More missing parts to hunt down. Between the 2 cars, only 1 had inner fenders and, aside from a battery tray I would not trust to hold my coffee cup, they were bare.

 

Got a link to that book? I searched through their site and couldn't find it. Nevermind. Found it here: 

 

 

6 hours ago, joecoozie said:

The "tube" from the carb is a vacuum line that gets hooked up to the distributor vacuum advance.

The "tube" in your picture, I believe, is for the oil pressure gauge.

 

Very glad I asked, then. :P I seem to have the complete engine bay side of the oil tube, but it looks like it's been repaired relatively recently because the hose looks almost new.

Edited by Sienile
found ebook
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Yeah, I know the starter itself is fine with 12v negative ground. That's how I test cranked the engine. Only concerned about the carb and distributor with reversing the ground. He's getting a full custom gauge set, so all of that is already made for 12v. And lights don't care what you feed them, except for his headlights which will be 12v LEDs. 

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