Today was another Thursday Dodge Work Day for me. I only had a couple of hours free but headed over to Joel’s early in the afternoon to see if there was anything I could do to help with the Dodge.
After seeing lots of progress in the first couple of weeks now it seems like things are moving pretty slowly. Joel reported that he’s been feeling kinda frustrated at times with what feels like a lack of forward movement with the project. I, too, looked at the Dodge and wondered “uh, what were we thinking?” because the project just seems so big. I mean, there are holes in the floor! The Dodge only sort of runs. The interior needs to be redone.
On a good note, however, the carpet Joel put in the Dodge covers most of the holes. The Dodge sort of runs when it didn’t run at all a month ago! And at least there aren’t any dead rats in the headliner any more!
So on Thursday we weren’t exactly sure what we were going to work on but we went out to the garage to take a look and see what we should do.
I noted the oil stains on the garage floor. Joel had a hunch as to where the oil was coming from but I decided to get under the car and take a look and see for myself so scootched myself under the huge Dodge and found oil drips on the bottom of the oil pan. Joel knew where the oil was, really (the oil pan back by the transmission or possibly a rear seal), but I thought it would be fun to look anyway. I mean, I was dressed to work, I might as well get dirty!
It was kind of fun to look at the Dodge from underneath it. Joel crawled under the Dodge, too, and we both had a look around at the oil drips. Then we took a good look at the exhaust system. It has a couple of pretty big holes in it so that it currently vents exhaust up through the holy (as in full of holes, not saintly) floorboards so that anyone riding along in the Dodge gets a good dose of exhaust fumes during their ride. We took a look at the fan belt, which is badly frayed, and at a few other things.
Under the Dodge
You can barely see the fan belt near the top of the picture. It is in pretty rough condition but it still works okay. I’d say there’s a good amount of grease and grime covering the underside, don’t you think?
I am still pretty daft at knowing what all makes up the Dodge’s flathead straight six engine (flathead, that’s the top of the engine. It’s flat. The top of it is called the head. Six means six cylinders. Straight means the cylinders are all in a row, as in a straight line) but I CAN find where the oil is coming from, am not afraid of getting dirty and am decent at helping assess what is going on with the Dodge when we have her running. So, while I’m not a true “car guy/gal,” I sure am learning a lot about our old car in no small part because Joel takes time to answer my questions.
Joel under the Dodge finding the source of the oil leak
So while the two of us were looking at the Dodge’s underside and then listing to her run and looking under the hood, I’d ask Joel questions.
You know, really technical questions like, “What’s that little round thing down there?”
“That’s the fuel pump,” Joel would say.
And I’d respond , “Oh, yep, that’s the thing that Harold (our friend who rebuilds car engines) said gets clogged on these old cars that haven’t run for a long time.” And Joel and I would talk about how we might replace the old fuel filter with a modern fuel filter. Then I’d point out something else and Joel, patiently and without making me feel the least bit silly for asking, would answer my questions. And we’d talk more about car parts and what they do. And I’d learn things. Things about our old car. Things about Joel and how much he’s learned about our old car in a handful of weeks. I think it’s safe to say I’ve even learned a thing or two about myself.
It’s kind of interesting to note – I grew up with a Dad who knows everything about cars and an older brother, Don, who is a mechanic. I had two great teachers who would have taken time to show me just about anything about cars when I was younger. But I guess I wasn’t ready to learn about cars then. Dad doesn’t work on cars very much these days. He’s slowing down a bit. Don is probably quite willing to teach me things if I take the time to ask. But, because we had the crazy idea to buy this old Dodge and fix her up, it’s my little brother who is teaching me about cars now. And for that I am very grateful. Thanks little brother! I think, though, the next time I see Dad (likely this Saturday) and my brother, Don, I’ll start asking them questions so I can learn even more.
Exhaust hole number one. Doesn’t look too bad until you look on the other side and notice…
…exhaust hole number two. You don’t need a red arrow pointed at it to notice this hole!
After looking at the Dodge for awhile, Joel, my nephew, Liam, and I headed to the auto parts store to get some stuff. We picked up an exhaust repair kit to fix the holes in the exhaust. We found some 6 volt dash light bulbs, tiny little things to make the Dodge’s clock light up in the dark. “Six volt?” the guy at the auto parts store asked. I believe he thought we were crazy for wanting a 6 volt light as cars run off of 12 volt systems these days. “Is this for a really old car?” We assured him that yes, the bulbs were for a really old car. He found two for us (and now the clock light works) and another salesperson found us a new fan belt (even though we brought in the old belt, we still didn’t get the right size. We’ll try again.) and we got another thing or two then headed back to Joel’s.
Back at Joel’s, we unloaded our purchases. Liam, who had fallen asleep on the way to the store, slept on in his car seat. I swept out the garage while Joel started working on the Dodge. And soon it was time for me to head home.
It was another good Dodge work day. I’m already looking forward to the next one.
p.s. if any of my car talk above is incorrect, which is entirely possible, it’s not because my brothers or Dad told me the wrong information about flatheads or cylinders or volts or fuel pumps or anything else. It’s because I’m still learning.