A Couple of Headaches Along the Way

As part of the ‘Lets Wire Stuff Up So I Can Start The Engine’ sub-project, I decided to install the battery before things got too carried away. Way back a long time ago I decided that I would have to move the battery toward the outside of the inner fender panel if I was to have any hope of clearing the radiator inlet hose. So I took the time to cut out the inner fender panel and provide enough of an offset for the battery to clear the hose inlet. I did a pretty nice job of fabricating the area, then promptly forgot all about it and why I did it.

When I decided to mount the battery a few years later, I ordered this really nifty battery box from Speedway. Less than $30 and really well made, probably strong enough to hold the battery in a sprint car. The 1st thing I noticed was the two mounting plates that they provided to bolt the box to a frame were too wide to fit in the space that I had, so out comes the plasma cutter and no more mounting plates. I then made a couple of new mounts to use to bolt the box to the inner fender. It looked great, very industrial and very strong looking, I was very happy with it and took loads of photos of how nice it turned out…

On to the next project, putting the radiator and fan back in and bolting it up to the core support. When I originally made the shroud I had just enough clearance between the fan motor and the belt system on the front of the engine. Hummm … seems like nothing fits like it did. Okay, I didn’t get the power steering pump pulley beat onto the shaft all of the way. Pull the radiator and fan out and beat the hell out of the power steering pump pulley to get it aligned with everything else. Put the radiator and fan back in and the belt clears but now the fan motor is touching the water pump pulley. Looks like the fan shroud is too low and needs to be shimmed up at least 3/16 of an inch. Pull the radiator and fan back out again and modify the lower shroud mount and put a 3/16″ spacer in, put the radiator and fan back it bolt everything up and everything is just wonderful.

Feeling flushed with success, I run over to Wal-Mart and pick up one of their Maxx Group 24F 750 Amp cold cranking guaranteed 3 full years with totally free replacement battery if it fails – battery and drop it into the nifty battery box – oops, the battery is now sitting in the middle of where the water inlet hose goes. There is no way in hell that the battery box will ever work unless I chop a larger hole in the inner fender and move the batter box further outside where it would probably interfere with the front tire.

So the cool battery box ends up on the scrap pile and I go over to O’Reileys and buy a cheesy battery hold down that looks like hell, but it holds the battery down and the hose will fit. Oh, and there is just enough room to route the power steering return line back to the pump. I am still not happy with the hold down and will probably fuss with it some more.

Oh, and to add insult to injury, I finally noticed that I had forgot to paint the upper radiator mount, so the damn radiator and fan have to come out yet one more time and then go back in. I think I have set a record for radiator installs/uninstalls on one simple project…. šŸ™

Battery Box/ Radiator Follies

On his last trip by the shop, good friend Paul Nolte, mentioned that when he tried the windshield wiper that was in his ’56 Plymouth, it didn’t work and he had to hunt up a replacement. Since I was getting ready to bury the firewall behind the dashboard and evaporator, I decided that I better pull the motor out and check to make sure that it would still go wipey – wipey. The ’39 Ford has taught us the necessity of having windshild wipers if you live where it snows, trust me they are important!

So out comes the wiper motor along with its transmission. I read in my 1956 Dodge Repair manual that the wiper motor was a new design for 1956 which featured a new motor and control system that allowed for variable speed and on the glass self parking… I could hear the warning bells starting to ring in my head … Okay motor on the bench, switch connected to motor, battery connected to switch; turn motor on – silence, no movement, nothing nada. Check everything over and try again, again nada. Got out the ohm meter and checked the dash switch all seemed good. Checked the motor coil winding, hummm open, definately not good. checked the switch on the motor gear box and found it to be shorted, not good again. I pulled everything apart and found that the little spring steel wobble washer that operated a set of contacts to park or run the motor was broken into two pieces and when it broke it had been in the park position, which locked the motor from turning and since the power was still applied burnt out the winding in the coil of the motor. Basically it was a door stop.

So, I get on the internet and started searching for a replacement. Nothing nada again. So I started calling all the folks that make vacuum wiper replacement motors – nothing that would fit. I found a guy that had a wiper motor for a 1956 Plymouth on the Foward Look forum, but it didnt work either and from what the guy told me it had failed like mine had. I did find a new old stock motor for a 1955 Dodge, but of course it was 6 volt and they wanted an arm, leg and other major body parts for it. Finally after a day of beating the bushes, I remembered that Desert Valley Auto Parts in Casa Grande had a number of old MOPARs in stock so I gave them a call, lo and behold they had a used one for $75, done deal ship it. I got it a day or so later and found it to be one of the old fashion on-off-park no fancy varible speed version. I hooked it up and it worked, but was a bit noisy so I pulled it apart to clean and grease the transmission. While I was taking it apart I noticed that the old cloth insulation on the wiring was falling apart so I replaced all the bad wires, checked cleaned the brushes and put it back together. Totaly quiet when it runs, starts, stops and parks like a new one! Happy Dance!

Windshield Wiper Woes

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