Monthly Archives: September 2013

The little things start to add up

I had a really excellent day today.  Liam and I cruised down to Rochester for my Uncle Marvin’s surprise birthday party.  We got to hang out with the family for awhile and then had to go home. We got some delicious cheese on the way home and then I got the little bugger to bed.

After bed I finally got around to cleaning my actual house and doing some laundry.  Seems that when you avoid those things, they don’t just go away.  Hrrrmm.

Well, I might as well go to the garage anyways.  Can’t hurt.

I glanced at the dodge and found that the driver door window was starting to crack in another place from opening and closing the door so often.  Sad.  Most of the glass needs replacing anyways, but anything not vital is best saved for later.

I then realized that it is getting cold out, and I still don’t have a driver vent window(as you may recall, it flew off in transit, shattering into pieces on the highway.  So I started to clear out the what I assume was once rubber around the window frame and prep it for a temporary plexi replacement.

This is when two of my friends Zach and Jenny phoned me up and wanted to know if I wanted company.  Sure!

So neither of them have seen the car yet, so I better give them the tour.  Here’s this, here’s that…  go ahead and sit down.  Now my friend Zach is an electrician, so I just assume he is good luck.  He opened the passenger door and the dome light switch kicked on the dash light for the first time ever.  What?!!?  I thought this was insane, him just being near the car has caused another piece to operate correctly.

I tell him that there is a dome light in the rear, and it has a good light, but the switch does nothing.  I show him by wiggling the switch….

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Dome!

Never mind…. that light works just fine.  I guess the switch just needed to be put into the non existent middle position.  Zach, you are a magician.

Now all that is left is the spot light.

Anyways, I went back to my plexiglass after showing them the rest of the car and giving it one good late night start.  Still sounds great with the exhaust patched up.

We ended up doing a pretty decent job of cutting up some plexi and fitting it into the window frame and then siliconed it into place.  Certainly not show car quality, but should keep some wind out of my face.

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6 volts of powerful light illuminating the yet to be fully cleaned cloth interior.

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Plexiglass vent window in place, hard to see, but on the top of the other door window is a newly formed group of cracks.

Well, I thought I’d finish things off by doing an a/b comparison of the blog’s cover photo versus one I took tonight.  It’s not as dramatic as a change as I would have liked, but I blame the flash on my photo.

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close enough for government work

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Categories: 1947 Dodge Club Coupe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stuff, I reckon.

I’m still trying to figure out how Apple’s Photostream feature on my Windows computer stopped working.  This has caused me to stumble with new posts.  I mean, its not like uploading photos is more difficult than it was.  I just have to use an old fashioned cord now, instead of radio waves.

Anywho.  The visit from Myrna and Donald yesterday got me motivated again, despite an annoying and lingering cold.

We tried a new fan belt, nope, wrong size.  We bought some flex pipe for the exhaust, nope my hack saw wasn’t going to cut it(pun intended).  Seems the only real accomplishment was the oil change  yesterday.  That’s ok.  It was a great day indeed.

I forgot to mention Donald brought over some really old magazine ads for 1948 Dodge coupes.  These were gifts from our friend Tim Asleson.  They’re so awesome.  He  found one for me and one for Myrna.  Along with a half dozen Jeep ones for Don.  Reminds me of the first time I found an old advertisement for my 1980 Celica.   So fun to see how companies advertise their products.

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Classic ads.

Don also had tucked away at his home a large box of valve rings and main bearings for the 1947.  These will be very important if and when a rebuild is required.  But that will definitely be saved for another day.

Friday was another day spent recuperating from a cold and not really trying to overwork myself.  But something had to be done.

I acquired a reciprocating saw which used the same battery pack as my weed whip(hey if its good enough to whip my weeds into shape, it must be good enough to cut sheet metal.)  I then tackled the exhaust leak.

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Two or more pieces of exhaust pipe combined with a standard water pipe.

I tore through the old pipe and finally this giant hole combined with pipe fell from the car.  It appears that the exhaust in this car consists of a muffler from … something,  a piece of standard home metal pipe, coat hangers and a lot of luck.  The luck has been keeping everything together for all these years, but mixed in with all that luck were a lot of fumes.  Mostly entering through the gaping holes in the floor boards and going straight into the noses of the passengers of the car.  And being the mechanic that I am not, I just cleaned out a path and attached a nice foot long portion of flex pipe between my two cuts and clamped them in place.  I finished off the task by dabbing the muffler with some muffler sealer and wiped my hands clean of this situation for the time being.

A brief starting of the car was rewarding as suddenly the car roared like a lion, instead of the previous sound of a herd of cattle being chased by a P-51 Mustang.

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Artist Representation – no bovine harmed during the creation of this image.

Well, I did my work thing tonight and when I got home I had to do something else.  So I decided to try my hand at upholstery cleaning.  The upholstery that remains is original and in different levels of light actually looks pretty awesome.  Aside from the rips and the sun fading some of it is quite salvageable.  At least for patterns and ideas.  I used a mixture of hot water and patience and ended up with a waste container that was pleasantly dirty as dirt.

Go Bissel Go!

Go Bissel Go!

Well, time to call it a night.

Categories: 1947 Dodge Club Coupe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Super Rad Sheet Metal!

I’ve mentioned before that the Dodge lives in Joel’s garage instead of at my house. This is the perfect arrangement because Joel is the main person working on the Dodge plus he lives near our big brother, Don, who is a mechanic and stops by often to help out. Still, it’s kind of a bummer that I live 30 some miles away because I don’t get to work on the Dodge that often. But I don’t end up feeling that left out because Joel sends me text message updates on his progress several times a week.

Last Sunday evening, my iphone told me I had a text message from Joel. I looked and found a picture and this message:  “Super rad sheet metal.”

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“From mom and dad?” I texted back. I figured the nice piece of sheet metal came from our parents – in part because I recognized our Mom’s shoes in the picture and our parent’s family room carpet but also because Dad knew that we desperately need some sheet metal to patch the Dodge’s rusted through floorboards. And Dad pretty much has one of everything in his garage so it only made sense that Dad would have found some sheet metal to send home with Joel. Dad is nice like that.

“Yep,” was Joel’s reply. What a great gift! And Dad sent Joel home not just with one shiny piece of sheet metal but two!

I found it interesting that Dad happened to give Joel sheet metal that day because the night before I dreamed that one of us found some sheet metal. In my dream the sheet metal fit in the front of the car perfectly with no cutting or bending required (Hmmm, interesting. I’m having Dodge related dreams now) and we were able to patch the rusted floor.

Well, these pieces of sheet metal are flat and it’s going to take some doing, and the proper tools which Joel does not have, to get the metal cut and shaped to fit. We’re a ways away from actually having a patched floor so that we can drive the Dodge and not see the street through the holes.

But having the sheet metal for the project is more than a good start.

Thanks, Dad!

Categories: 1947 Dodge Club Coupe | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Another Good Work Day

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.

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Under the Dodge

Underside

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 assessing the oil leak

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 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!

…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.

Categories: 1947 Dodge Club Coupe | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Weekend update.

This week had it’s dodge ups and downs. Earlier in the week I got the car licensed and took it for a nice legal afternoon drive. It then started acting up and stalled a few times. I was able to limp it home though, so that was nice. Added some seafoam and gas and called it a day.

The next day was spent grinding and painting a few pieces. Air filter box, throttle spring bracket and battery top to be exact. All three look better, but I rushed them all. No biggie, paint can be removed, pieces can be done again.

I then decided I needed to service the oil pressure relief valve. It’s stuck in the open position constantly. Well, a solid night of work and I accomplished nothing.

Today the siblings stopped by and we mostly just shot the breeze on an excellent Thursday afternoon. Myrna and I hit the parts store and Donald brought over a box of new old engine parts.

I finished off the evening by flushing the oil system and replacing the oil a second time. I sure did get a lot of sludge out. Hopefully in a month I flush it one more time, preferably with a new oil pan gasket and call it a first successful season.

Car still needs an excessive amount of love, but my garage isn’t insulated and winters get mighty chilly up here in Minnesota, so I am basically prepping the car for winter right now.

Well. If I do anything else fun, I’ll be sure to tell you.

The car doesn't have collector plates, as this seemed more wise at the time.

The car doesn’t have collector plates, as this seemed more wise at the time.

Freshly painted air filter, probably looking to convert this to an actual paper air filter in the future.

Freshly painted air filter, probably looking to convert this to an actual paper air filter in the future.

Categories: 1947 Dodge Club Coupe | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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