Posts Tagged With: repairs

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

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….



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.


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


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.


close enough for government work

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

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)

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Please don’t break the brakes!

I made a quick list of things that the car required to get on the road.

Water, and brakes.

I made quick work of flushing the coolant system and making sure the hoses at least somewhat held water.  Check.

I then got under the car and reached for the brake master cylinder.  I grabbed at the push rod that goes from the pedal to the hydraulic system.  It fell out in my hand, along with what remained of a piece of rubber.

Broken Pushrod and 'rubber' seal

Broken Pushrod and ‘rubber’ seal

A complete tear down of the master cylinder was always one of my plans, it was even more obvious right then.  What I soon learned was that the push rod was not a part easily found in stores, nor was it repairable.  Thank goodness for Within 12 hours a nice gentleman in the metro area told me he had the part, that I could stop by any time to pick it up.

The cabin of the car, sans access panel, carpeting and front seat.  Spacious!

The cabin of the car, sans access panel, carpeting and front seat.

Here the Master Cylinder mimics his favorite scene from Return of the Jedi.

Here the Master Cylinder mimics his favorite scene from Return of the Jedi.

After about 10 hours in the garage(intermixed with a great visit from the Sister and Nephew and a rad car show) and a lot more tear down than I really wanted to do, I rebuilt the cylinder and had it back in the car.

Monday.  2:30 pm.

I start the car, let it warm up for a minute, press the brake pedal to make sure it still has some pressure.  It does. Barely.

I slide the car into gear and proceed to inch out of the garage.  And then I stop the car.  It stopped! After pumping the brake about five times, that is.

I drove the car around the block, each turn pumping the brakes about five times.  Wow, this is amazing!  This car is actually going down the road.  It drives!  This igloo cooler I turned into a seat isn’t really making me confident in the road worthiness, and these brakes are subpar at best, but I am actually driving this car!

I decided to bleed the brake system and inspect the brake shoes, starting with the driver side.  This is where it gets interesting.  I have never serviced drum brakes.  This could take awhile.

And it did.  Two nights in the garage and I got one wheel done.  Only problem is I left the old shoes in, as I didn’t have the proper hardware to mount the new(20 year old) shoes that my Uncle Marvin had purchased for the car.  Oh well, I’m a pro at front wheels now.  This will only take 9 hours next time.

I bled the brakes and pumped away.  It stopped, it felt good… but I still have 3 wheels to go.  That didn’t stop me from pumping the brakes until I sprung another leak though.

Oh well.  Time to learn how to do rear brakes on a 1947 Dodge.

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