Posts Tagged With: leaks

Two steps back

I think we’ve all heard that saying, “one step forward and two steps back.” Well, we’re living that saying with the Dodge right now.

It’s frustrating to say the least.

Here’s the deal:  Joel sent me a text late last night with a picture

Fuel Tank Holes

More than one hole – Bummer

and a text: “Gas tank is rotten.”

Followed by, “It’s almost as if the whole top of the tank was held together with dirt.”

Long story short, we need a new gas tank.

Okay. We can do that, I guess. We just need to find a tank. And some money to buy the tank 🙂 Pretty sure money grows on trees so we’re good to go!

Here’s the long story: Joel picked up an epoxy tank repair kit yesterday and planned to patch the “pinhole” in the gas tank after work last night (I mentioned this leak in the post from yesterday, Leaks and more leaks).  He was able to access the tank through the wheel well by removing a rear wheel  and get to the tank without having to do major gymnastics. That’s the good news.

Joel cleaned up the area to patch and….found more than one hole. He found several holes. He found that caked on dirt/grease was probably keeping gas in that tank more so than its metal walls. He found that the tank is aluminum foil thin in places and “basically rusted through. It’s sort of terrible 🙂 ” Joel said via text. It’s possible that the tank was patched long ago and the patch from the past was falling apart in his hands. It’s also just possible that the tank has numerous holes from sitting so long partially full of gas and condensation worked its magic and made many little holes over the years.

Fuel Tank Holes 2

And more holes to patch 😦

With many leaking holes and the epoxy patch kit, Joel worked as quickly as he could to patch as many  holes as he could. Joel said when he patched  a hole he’d get a good feeling  because the fuel stopped leaking on the spot. Instant gratification! A good feeling that quickly left when he looked at the next hole that needed to be patched.

Tank Patch

A successful fuel tank patch!

Joel also discovered  that when you put $20 of gas in the tank and have several leaks in the tank and a leaking fuel pump to boot you end up with, oh, $15 worth of gas on the garage floor by the end of the night. And you also find yourself very, very frustrated. After an hour or so of frantically patching leaks, Joel gave up, put buckets under everything that was still leaking,  headed in the house, and called it a night.

Leaky pump

And a leaky fuel pump 😦

We could try a couple more things to patch the tank. Or we could buy a new tank. We’re planning to get a new tank. And a new fuel pump. We never thought this project would be cheap. Or easy.

But we knew it would be an adventure!

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

Leaks and more leaks

Plenty going on with the Dodge lately but not a lot of time to write about it.  Here’s a quick update:

Joel reported today via text that he hoped to take the Dodge out for a quick spin but then discovered the gas tank is leaking. He put a substantial amount of gas in it for the first time last night and, low and behold!, if you fill the tank up you discover a pinhole leak 3/4 of the ways up the tank. Something new to fix.

In the process of tracking down the fuel tank leak, Joel discovered the fuel pump needs to be repaired because, guess what? that’s leaking, too!

Oh well. We planned to replace the fuel pump anyway. Eventually. Now it might happen sooner.

Joel also reported that the Dodge continues to drive okay and then stalls out after a bit. Joel figures this is related to the carb, which he rebuilt. He’s thinking  his rebuild (his first time rebuilding one) could use a little help from our  big brother, Don who is an actual car mechanic.

Still, Joel remains positive. Here’s his text to me about the leaks, “Yeah. I’m still time and time again impressed that this car runs as well as it does right now. These little things are inevitable.”

So more work to do. Hey, we never thought this would be easy. Just mostly fun.

On kind of a fun side note, my son, Ryan, had to bring a picture to school that describes something that happened over his weekend. The picture is then used as a writing prompt for writing class. So on Sunday night, Ryan went looking for a picture on my iphone and picked this one.


But why this picture of a car? I mean it’s gorgeous and all but what does it have to do with Ryan’s weekend?

Well, last Saturday, we were in Northfield after attending Uncle Marvin’s surprise birthday party and noticed that there were a couple of cool cars in the Witt Bros. Auto garage. So Ryan and I drove on over and peeked in the window. There was a ’64 Corvette and what I believe is a ’40 Chevy. We, being somewhat strange in that we get excited when we see old cars parked along the road, took a picture of the cars through the shop windows so we could show Joel the cool, old car (apologies to the Witt Brothers for peeking in your shop windows – it was too much to resist!).

I think it’s kind of cool that Ryan picked a car picture for his picture of the weekend. He’s rather taken with mini bikes and go carts and things that go lately and is pretty interested in the Dodge and other old cars.

I think he’s growing up to be a bit of a motorhead.

I’m pretty sure Grandpa Anderson is smiling down at us from up in Heaven at that thought 🙂

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


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 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

What’s been going on, anyways?


Where was I?  I don’t even remember.  So I guess I better recap on my progress

Dodge has

  • Engine is running
  • Brakes stop the car
  • Exterior lights are functional(aside from the fact that the headlights only work on high beam)
  • Interior half removed (mohair seats, door panels and 10 dollar IKEA rug make up the interior at this moment)
  • Carburetor rebuilt(although the Brother Don says he should rebuild it again, and I don’t disagree)
  • Dash lights operational
  • Turn Signal lights blink correctly
  • Radio removed, ready for servicing(but by who?!)
  • A lot of general clean up.  I’ve gone wild with the putty knife let me tell you

Dodge needs

  • Engine Gaskets, gaskets like crazy(water and oil exit the engine in all the wrong places)
  • Turn Signal assembly, the existing one literally crumbled in my hands, I salvaged the switch and improvised
  • Rebuild radio
  • Wiring, all the cloth wiring is crumbling like a dried out sand castle.
  • Brake shoes on the front and drums resurfaced
  • Rubber.  Every piece of rubber has dried up.
  • Interior
  • Paint(but that point is subjective)
  • License Plates

Today the Sister, Nephew, Son and I went down to Owatonna for a car show.  We parked the Passat and walked about 20 feet before I said “Oh, umm.. we have to go over there, there’s one here”

1948 Club Coupe, all original aside from exterior Paint and Dual Exhaust

1948 Club Coupe, all original aside from exterior Paint and Dual Exhaust

And there it was, the first similar car to ours I’ve seen in ‘like new’ condition.  And boy was it in like new condition.  It was all original, literally stored in a Dodge garage for half of its existence.  This car was a template for our car.  It even had a perfect paper tag in the trunk informing you how to operate the car jack.  Paper.  Original.

Myrna talked to the owner at length while I struggled with a wiggly four year old and listened to another gentleman who seemingly knew everything there was to know about 1940s Mopar.  I probably spent more time by that car all day than anything else.. and I learned a lot.

What a fantastic discovery.

The day went on and it only caused more inspiration for me, more goals and ideas.

Unlike a fine wine, aluminum does not improve with age.

Unlike a fine wine, aluminum does not improve with age.

I got home and tried to make the best of the turn signal mess, as I left the car last night with one hard to press switch extracted from a now shattered aluminum frame.  This single switch would allow one of four blinkers to blink.  That was great, but not great enough.

Tonight, I realized that the rear bulbs all operated, but that the signal assembly itself didn’t cause a blink effect.  I removed the bulbs and switched the dual contacted bulbs upside down.  I returned to my birds nest of a turn signal switch and what do you know?  A rear blinker now worked.

Another hour later and I had all four blinkers fully operational.

Another half an hour later I got the one non shattered Fog Light working(with a jumper wire, mind you)

Nearly all the electronics are in functional order now, minus a few bulbs and short circuits.  For example the fog

light switch turns on the tail lights.

Electricity?  Ha, you don’t scare me.

Maybe this winter I’ll buy a box of capacitors,  and try to fix the radio.

Then again, that could cause electricity to scare me again.

Scary radio insides

Scary radio insides


1948 Engine, dead center is a black bracket holding up the air filter and securing the throttle spring


sanded down, throttle spring / air cleaner bracket I found in the trunk

Anyways, that 1948 at the car show helped me realize what one of the miscellaneous parts found in the trunk of the car was actually very important.  So after a lot of wire wheeling and a little bit of sanding I got it looking pretty nice.  Once I get some black paint, it’s going to look great in there, plus it will eliminate a rope that I am using for the throttle now(a rope that my brother Don says reminded him of a repair my grandfather would have done, fitting I think)

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

The dodge lives! And leaks. But just a little bit.

The Dodge came to life today.  After an adjustment of the points and a change of motor oil I finally achieved the proper amount of compression and spark and she(he) just woke right up.

It was a fantastic day.

There was this one moment, when I got just the right amount of gas and starter fluid into the carb, it suddenly just took off.  And for the first time since it’s been in my garage, a giant stream of gas flew out of the fuel pump. And a big healthy backfire and there I was.

I reattached the fuel filter line to the carb and repeated what I just did, turned my camera on and just turned it over.  Not even a sweat this time, the car just started right back up.

Now comes the careful balanced juggling of throttle and choke to keep her alive.  I danced with the knobs and pedal for a few moments and let go the accelerator.  Idle.

It was idling.

Now at this point I still don’t have water running through the old engine block, so I shut her off.

That was too exciting.

I let it rest for a little bit while I immediately sent videos to Myrna and a couple friends.  I was beyond excited.  But oh no, I have to get ready for work.  So I let it relax a little bit longer and decided to turn it over one last time.  It didn’t even hesitate to start at this point and it was once again pouring white smoke into the garage, and making that oh so glorious kachug kachug kachug sound.

I work late, so by the time I got home I couldn’t turn her over again, that would cause a panic and a stir and at least annoy the crap out of the neighbors.  So when I got home, I went about reattaching hoses and bits and pieces.

I got everything back where it belonged and started filling the radiator up.  Woops, a leak, no its just a drain plug.  Drain plug fixed, moving on.  Ok, engine is getting closer to full, oh, now my thermostat housing is leaking, ok sort of fixed that.  Moving on. Oh I see all the old hoses are leaking, better buy new rubber.  Worry about that later.  Oh…. shoot.  There is a leak on the outside of the head gasket by the 4th and the 5th Cylinder.  Double shoot.

Nobody ever told me working on this car would be easy, or cheap.  And that’s just the way it’s going to be.  I opened up a few plugs to double check that there was no moisture in the cylinders and was in luck.  So it would appear my leak is just to the outside of the engine.  Relief.

Anyways, I figure I’ll refill her with water tomorrow, show the parents my progress and then proceed to start ripping the engine apart again, this time replacing every gasket in my way.  I also have a carb rebuild in my future and I’m going to take a crack at repairing the brake master cylinder.

I created an unrealistic but still not impossible goal earlier today to get it ‘road worthy’ in two more weeks time.  So lets see how I do.

Just add water.

Just add water.

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

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