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Car guys help!!

Thunderbolt

One of the Regulars
Messages
114
Location
McChord AFB, WA
Gee, there should be a section for cars etc. on the lounge! Anyway, I've got some questions. I have a 1948 Oldsmobile 2-dr coupe. It's 6-volt with a flathead 238 c.i. inline-six with 100 hp @3400 rpm with a three-on-the-tree. It has been sitting for about twelve years or so and the engine is frozen. I put in some anti-seize products in hopes for freeing up the motor and even had the car towed around the neiborhood trying to slip the clutch to free up the motor but no luck. I think I might have hurt the clutch or tranny or something doing this as when I put it in gear, the car rolled instead of dragging the locked-up tires like it did at first. It also started making a whineing sound. Should I pull the motor out and see if I can have it re-built or put in a new engine like a 350? Should I try and find a replacement 238, or try to find a Rocket V-8 from the 1950's? I've been looking for rockets on the internet but they always want to include a car. I found rocket appearance kits for 350's that will make it look like a rocket with engine block paint, valve covers and air filter housing. When the rocket came out in 1949, was it still a 6-volt? When did rockets first become 12-volt? I am trying to get this car back on the road. Its in great shape, but it just needs engine work. I am planning this build to be very classy. I am trying to be as period correct as possible and using parts made in the U.S.A only. I see this car with white walls some day. It is currently sitting low with cut springs and mag wheels. My dad and I rescued it from a street rod butchering. Please give me advice and knowledge!
 

scotrace

Head Bartender
Staff member
Messages
14,337
Location
Small Town Ohio, USA
Now you're talking my language.

It's a matter of personal preference, of course, but I think it's always better to stick with bone stock. There are very few engines actually seized up so tight they can't be freed. You'd need a big wrench and some muscle, but keep squirting the jugs down with oil and try hand-turning it gently. That's the way to free it safely. It'll take a few weeks of daily fussing. And LOTS of oil. Be patient, don't force anything.

12 volt came out with the '53 Oldsmobile models. In my personal experience, unless you want to hot rod it and install a modern stereo, stick with 6-volt. A well-tuned 6-volt can be just as reliable as a converted-to-12. Plus you'd have to scare up a 12-volt starter. Not so easy to find.

If you're feeling that street rodding it was butchery, I think shoehorning a rocket 88 into it would be further butchery.

Save that six, I say.
 

Maj.Nick Danger

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,469
Location
Behind the 8 ball,..
Maybe some penetrating oil like WD-40 sprayed liberally into the cylinders? Then let it sit for a day or so, and just like Scot said, be very careful.

(And by all means lose those silly non- vintage mags!)

Good luck with it.
 

The Reno Kid

A-List Customer
Messages
361
Location
Back in the Biggest Little City
If you're very lucky, you only ruined your clutch. I would try to get some professional advice to find out if the motor can be saved. If it can, by all means, keep it in the car. I will admit up front that I am a traditionalist, but I like to keep everything as original as possible. I am currently in the process of replacing the tube shocks on my '39 with original levers. (The tubes were installed by a previous owner.)

If the motor is shot, my first choice would be to find a replacement 238. Also, a 6-volt system will work just fine. In any event, be gentle with her.

Good luck.
 

wackyvorlon

One of the Regulars
Messages
100
Location
Sarnia, Ontario, Canada
Never never never try to free a stuck engine that way!!! Almost guaranteed to break something, or gouge cylinders!

An engine that has seized needs to be torn down. The cylinder bores have to be inspected for rust. Any that is found has to be cleaned out - if it's left behind, the bore in the cylinder will be scored. Once you know how badly seized it is, you can make a plan for freeing. Mostly involves soaking with penetrant(Kroil is not cheap, but the best - ATF works in a pinch), and tapping the connecting rod with a hammer to see if she moves. Do not hit the top of the piston with a small punch! If you must hit the top of the piston, use a block of wood that covers as much of the piston as possible. A small punch will crack the piston, rendering it useless.

This is a game of patience. It can take months of soaking and banging with hammers to free it. Personally, I think replacing a flat head with a modern 350 would be a real shame - I really prefer the old engines.
 

Thunderbolt

One of the Regulars
Messages
114
Location
McChord AFB, WA
Thanks for the advice

I was getting help from my high school auto shop teacher. I've graduated in 2003, but we keep in touch. I've dumped several cans of penetrating oil in each cylender but got interupted in my project because I suddenly had to leave for basic. Oil has been sitting in it for almost six months now. I suppose I ought to try and start it up again when I get home and see if it turns over. It wouldn't crank before I left.
 

renor27

One of the Regulars
Messages
212
Location
Reno Nevada
if you are lucky you slipped the clutch

Have to agree with what others have posted here keep the stock motor.
As for trying to free it up the way you did with luck all you broke was the clutch and not the ring gear in the rear end. As for 6 volt personal thing there all up to what you wish to do with the car. Keep it as stock as you can. For a car that has been sitting for 12 years I would tear down the motor and rebuild it never try to get it running .
David
1964 Stock BMW with 1942 Stoye sidecar
1966 Stock VW type 1
 

wackyvorlon

One of the Regulars
Messages
100
Location
Sarnia, Ontario, Canada
Six months is good. But! Before you try to start it, pull the heads! Inspect the cylinders! I cannot emphasize that enough. If you start applying force without understanding what's going on inside the engine, you can do some very serious damage to it. This machine deserves better than a hamfisted approach.
 

VivianRegan

One of the Regulars
Messages
143
Location
Valley of the Sunstroke, AZ
Here's the perspective from a gal...

I have a '48 Dodge sedan (suicide doors!) that's been sitting idle for about 20 years here in the dry Arizona climate. Barely any rust, but here's why I write: what about the gaskets and ANYTHING rubber on your Olds? What shape is the wiring harness in? Where's it been stored? I imagine after 12 years, all of that stuff is pretty gone with dry-rot.

I agree with the majority of posters... keep it stock and rebuild. That's what I'm aiming to do. From what I understand with my Dodge, Mopar wasn't big on changing components for about 25 years, so I can run down to the Napa and pick up parts for it reasonably. That's one of the reasons I'll hang onto this thing... it's a good starter vintage auto. And it was free.

Have you got any pics?
 

Thunderbolt

One of the Regulars
Messages
114
Location
McChord AFB, WA
Sorry, no pics...yet

Being away from home seperated me from all my gizmos. But search for 1946-1948 Olds on a search engine and you'll see some nice pics of other people's cars. I am trying to keep it as factory as possible, however I want a strong running car that I can take trips to car shows in accross state lines perhaps. I hope the old six can go down the interstate pushing 70mph or so. I've never driven it so I don't know how it would handle higher speeds. I was about ten or so when my dad parked it and never started it again. His reasoning for doing this was because water was mixing with the oil so he thought by not running it, further damage (if damage was being caused) would be prevented. I think all it needed was a head gasket. He thought the block was cracked. I just dont see how such a boulder of Detroit Iron could possibly crack. He soon forgot about the car and got into motorcycling. He has pretty much left the car to me to do as I wish with it. He bought it as a means of investment. He thought the value would escilate then he would one day sell it reaping the increased value. Finacial mistake on his part. We've owned the car since 1993 and it hasn't increased at all. He also didn't have much interest in the car in the first place because he would rather have a late 60's muscle car. So the 48 olds isn't quite his style.
 

VivianRegan

One of the Regulars
Messages
143
Location
Valley of the Sunstroke, AZ
I looked it up on the 'net... that's a sleak-looking ride. I especially like the grill.

When you get the time, it should be a fun project.

I know all about Dad car tastes... mine traded my '65 T-bird (what a lead sled!) for an FC-170 Jeep pickup. It was to be my first car. Then, when I dragged the Dodge home, he took one look at it and declared it "ugly." And he wasn't just talking about it needing some cosmetic assistance... he thought the whole shape was bulky and hideous. I'm sure he'd rather have a muscle car parked in his backyard, too.

I hope you get that thing on the road! I hope I get mine on, too...
 

Pilgrim

One Too Many
Messages
1,719
Location
Fort Collins, CO
I've been working on my own cars since 1968 and have seen 6v - 12V conversions. Here are my thoughts:

1) Working on cars of this age is quite easy. The systems are simple and it's merely a matter of taking your time and checking your work. you CAN learn to do it on this car.
2) Keep the stock motor. But after 12 years, and knowing there is a water problem, you NEED to pull the head before proceeding. No kidding, no messing around. Chances are that one or more pistons are frozen in place by rust. Iif the motor doesn't turn over I think you should pull it out, tear it down, disassemble, check clearances and re-assemble. Chances are that you'll need to soak the cylinders and pistons with penetrating oil to get them free without damage. BUT - this is actually very easy to do. I could recite the steps from memory. IMPORTANT: If you hve penetrating oil in that motor in any quantity, it will dilute the motor oil and damage the engine if you start ir. If you decide not to tear it down (major mistake) and it turns over, them before starting it, turn it over enough to get the extra penetrating oil out of the cylinders. To do this, turn it over with the plugs out and it will spray out the extra. (You ARE doing this, aren't you??? There is no point to leaving them in at this point.) Then drop the oil and filter befoer attempting to start it.
3) Once the motor is out, damage to the clutch is almost immaterial. You'll have access to anything you need to work on, and all you need is parts.
4) As part of this process, change the gear oil in the transmission and rear end. They also have been sitting for 12 years and you don't want to take chances. Also check all the brakes, rebuild the wheel cylinders (that's only an afternoon's work) and flush the brake lines thoroughly with denatured alcohol. Refill the brakes with silicone brake fluid (DOT 5) which won't draw moisture. (This is what I did with my 1958 Fiat after it sat for 20 years. The brake master cylinder was OK so I got away with just rebuilding the wheel cylinders.)
5) Replace the brake rubber lines that go from the body to the wheel backing plates. Chances are they're original, and you can't trust them any longer. If you lose a brake line in this car, you have NO brakes.
6) Check the car tank carefully; drain it completely to get the old gas out. With luck, you'll have no holes or significant rust. If you have either, consider dropping the gas tank and having a radiator shop clean and re-seal it.
7) You can convert this car to 12V eventually if you want. It's a matter of replacing lamps and stepping down the voltage for a few accessories. I'd have to do research on stepping down the voltage to the fan, radio, etc.

Seriously, you NEED to pull this motor and do it right. I sincerely doubt you'll get it to turn over without a teardown. With luck, all you'll need is a gasket set and maybe new rings, and then you can put it back together. That should run less then $300.

Feel free to PM me about details - such as using Plastigage on the rod and crank bearings to check clearances, and using Lubriplate on all bearing surfaces when re-assembling the motor. This may sound like a huge job, but taken a step at a time, it's not that bad.

You have issues of safety (brakes) and mechanical reliability in this project. It doesn't have to be a killer, but it's not a case of firing up the engine and driving it.

OH - and comb Ebay and automotive specialty sites for a shop manual. The shop manuals from this era of car are extremely basic, clear and easy to follow...and you will absolutely need it, or a comprehensive manual from the same area that covers a series of cars.
 

Thunderbolt

One of the Regulars
Messages
114
Location
McChord AFB, WA
Thanks

Thanks for the advice everyone! The front fenders are called "fusalage fenders". I'm sure it needs every gasket imaginable replaced. Back when it was running, after a drive, parking it in the garage it would leave drops of oil about four inches appart accrossed the driveway! The procedures we took for trying to get it re-started went against my better judgement. I was short on time because my parents were moving and we were hoping to be able to get the car to the new house under its own power. We ended up haveing to trailer it though. The guy who owned it before choped the springs so it sits really low. Backing it off the ramp on the trailer the front bumber guards (the two vertical bumper pieces) on the front bumper hung up and bent! I managed to bend them back into shape so they look fine but they don't quite fit right anymore. Can't seem to get them to fit snug up against the bumper and they rattle. I need to work on those a bit more but I had to leave suddenly for the Air Force. Everything was so rushed it made me sick! My stang needs some new struts and shocks so the Olds will have to wait a bit longer. The Mustang is my daily driver so it takes priority.
 

Section10

One of the Regulars
One more suggestion: If after all the soaking, the pistons still won't move you can undo the bearing caps and remove the crank so the pistons can be free to travel and take the spark plug out and fit the hole with a grease fitting and start pumping. Depending on where the piston is at it may take a lot of grease, but you can apply an awful lot of hydraulic pressure with grease and not be afraid of damaging the piston. If it's going to move at all, it will.

I suppose I ought to mention that if this is going to work, the valves must be tightly seated as well. It's something to try if all else fails, yet I have seen some VERY STUBBORN pistons free up from this technique.
 

Twitch

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,133
Location
City of the Angels
After you've had a go at the snake oil breaking loose the engine and if it is still stuck go to www.kanter.com and have them send you a catalogue. They have ALL the parts to rebuilt your and most vintage engines plus lots of other parts. Don't stick a 350 in it.

My 1950 Packard is original as can be and with properly maintained components a 6 volt system up to specification is fine. You must have a good starter and generator putting out max power and a powerful battery. I have an 875 CCI battery that has as much cranking power as the one in my El Dorado with the Northstar. Be aware that 12v stepped down with converters to 6v will not work well for all electrical components for all cars universally. One heater fan will run well and another will not.
 

Tin Pan Sally

Registered User
Messages
325
Location
Ahwatukee, Arizona, USA
dorky car indentification question

We do need a Classic Vehicles section, I agree.

OK, I would love it if one of you could point me in the right direction to identifying a type of car I've had my eye on. I would need to know more about them, but I've always wanted to try out one of those cigar-shaped three-wheeled cars from the early 30s. You know, the ones marketed as being highly maneuverable on tight turns. Not that Bugatti meant for race use, the style I'm thinking of is an everyday street vehicle. I can't find the kind I'm thinking of though. It was very long, enclosed and streamlined. This is the closest I've come so far: http://www.ccpc.net/~jaho/class3wheel.html
Any help from you grease-monkey car-club gearheads? Sorry to be so very vague!
 

Thunderbolt

One of the Regulars
Messages
114
Location
McChord AFB, WA
Not sure but...

I do know of a new three wheel type similar to those pictures. It's called the Merlin and it is powered by a Harley-Davidson V-Twin engine. The motor is cast aluminum and gets over 50MPG. It is a car but it's classified by the DOL as a motor cycle, and you can drive in the HOV lane! Unfortunatly, it only seats one. These are not vintage, these are new. I know they were produced at least two or three years ago and I betcha they're still being built.
 

The Reno Kid

A-List Customer
Messages
361
Location
Back in the Biggest Little City
:eek:
Tin Pan Sally said:
OK, I would love it if one of you could point me in the right direction to identifying a type of car I've had my eye on. I would need to know more about them, but I've always wanted to try out one of those cigar-shaped three-wheeled cars from the early 30s...
It was very long, enclosed and streamlined. This is the closest I've come so far:

Is it possible that it was one of these?
ee92367d.jpg

BMW Isetta

ee923679.jpg

Messerschmitt

Neither is from the 30s, but both look sort of like they could be. The Isetta is not actually a 3-wheeler but the rear wheels are closer together than the front ones, so it kind of looks like one.

My brother-in-law owned an Isetta once. It was a very unusual car. The entire front of the car served as the door. When you opened it, the steering wheel came out with the door. Also, the clutch plate was made of wood if I remember correctly.
 

Tin Pan Sally

Registered User
Messages
325
Location
Ahwatukee, Arizona, USA
No, it was longer and more narrow than most autos of that decade, with a hard top, not all windows like those. I've seen film footage of it driving around a traffic cop, parallel parking on a city street, etc. I have never seen the actual car at a show. Can't for the life of me recall what it was named or who made it. It's so frustrating.
 

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