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Am I thinking clearly? Or should I step back and relook what I want to do?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by xxwelderxx, Jun 14, 2009.

  1. This is my situation.

    I own 53 Plymouth...Im currently working on it. frame off custom deal going on. Wont be on the road for awhile. Most likely next year, I hope.

    Anyway, my daily is a 91 Dodge Pickup. Great truck...I just dont want it anymore. I have replaced almost every computer driven part in the damn truck. Im done...seriously stick a fork in me.

    Now I have come across a sweet 53 Dodge PU and it has the standard flathead 6 and 4 speed tranny. 1st being a granny gear. It runs and drives. And it looks pretty solid. etc etc.

    My drive to work is an hour and on a 45mph highway. Am I being completely crazy replacing my current truck with a 53??

    I just really hate working on trucks with computers. :rolleyes:

    Any advice?
  2. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 8,317


    get something that you can drive
    a 53 dodge truck aint gonna get it
  3. junkyardroad
    Joined: Oct 3, 2007
    Posts: 410

    from Colorado

    No you're not crazy. I think its a great idea. The flathead may be problem in today's commuting environment. My 54 F250 had a ohv 6 and 4.88s and could only do 45 and was a real pain on the road. Maybe adapt a later motor, check the rear gears, and steering, rebuild the brakes and go. Many of your fellow commuters will be jealous. A simple tool bag will be all you need.

    Go for it.

    By the way, I used a 700r4 and man I wish I had kept that t-18.
  4. Torkwrench
    Joined: Jan 28, 2005
    Posts: 2,461


    Drive to work what you enjoy driving. If that is a 53 Dodge, so be it. There's no reason why a well maintained old car or truck, that is in good condition, can't be reliable. After all, what did people do with these old cars and trucks, (especially 1950's and 1960's models), when they were new? Myself, I drive a 59 Chevy everyday .......with a tri-power 348. :D:D:D Doesn't quite get the milage like it had with a 235 though. :eek::eek::eek:
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  5. Do it you will never regret it. Yeah you may have to work on it every now and then,not a lot of special equipment needed either, but didn't you say your tired of working on your 91 model truck.
  6. I should have said Im sick of working on trucks with computers in them. Its absolutely amazing what the coolent temp. sensor throws off.

    OH yea....I dont like automatic trannys either.
  7. 50dodge4x4
    Joined: Aug 7, 2004
    Posts: 3,535


    My concern would be if the brakes are up to the demand of the way people drive these days. They were marginal back then and I think they would be scary in this day and age. If its in good shape the flat head 6 would do OK, not a power house, but would get you there and back, IF its in good shape. The rear axle gears are going to be pretty low, I think.

    I drive my 50 Dodge pickup daily, but its on a more modern chassis with disc brakes and a modern drive train, and I don't drive it an hour to get to work. Sounds like you are starting something that will turn into another project. Gene
  8. Do it ! I drive a '53 F100 as my daily. I thoroughly enjoy traveling around in a time warp!
  9. joebuick
    Joined: Nov 9, 2007
    Posts: 584


    Just do it. I've got a 60 dodge dart as my only car (in cali at least) the brakes are stock and bias ply tires and it's not nearly as much of a problem in modern traffic as people would lead you to belive. Mine has a 225 slant 6 with a 3 speed, it tops out at 75 on a good day with a slight down hill. As far as handling traffic I've never had any incident on the road even with cali traffic that I would have avoided with a late model car. Plus it's so simple to fix that with the jack and socket set in my trunk I can pretty much limp home from anything and it's cheap to fix. Buying an old car as a daily driver was about the best descision I ever made.
  10. flat34pu
    Joined: Jun 9, 2007
    Posts: 453


    definitely no computor on the '53, and my best friend that helps me find parts for my '34 ford is named google, and can find almost anything.

    im am sure their are a few fello owners that are HAMBers and can also help.

  11. I got tons of flathead 6 stuff. plus a running flathead 6 engine I just took out of the 53 Plymouth.

    Im not worried about parts. I just want to hear what others who drive old cars to work have to say.
  12. shooter54
    Joined: Apr 25, 2006
    Posts: 5,192


    thank god, i thought you were going to say that you wanted to put your plymouth body onto your 91 dodge chassis......
    go for it, that old truck will get the job done.
  13. KooDaddy
    Joined: Oct 16, 2006
    Posts: 755

    from Wis.

    Lets see 1 belt, a generator, a carb ,spark plugs you can reach. Life is good.
    Junk that 91 pc of shit you'll be glad you did!
  14. 53dodgekustom
    Joined: Jun 18, 2006
    Posts: 879


    Swap that 3.54 Rear end in there I sold ya and it will cruise 60 all day. 65-70 tolerable. But 60's perfect!!! DO IT!! And I liked your 91, but yea computers suck!
  15. Johnny1290
    Joined: Apr 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,834


    Ah I love these threads, full of people that say how great it is to drive a '53 pick em up to work everyday on the freeway, no less.

    Here's my 2 cents. Unless you work on a farm, you're nuts to drive that pu to work. It's a half step up from a tractor, never intended for extended freeway use.

    Who are you guys kidding when you say that truck *stock* is in any way a practical freeway vehicle? Gears, trans, brakes, engine, electrical,cooling,steering, are all not up to snuff in 2009 freeway driving. Other than that it'll be great!


    Give it a try for a month. If it works and you can stand the horrible gas mileage, ride, tiring steering,poor brakes, and engine revving like hell, hey, there's your answer.

    When I did it, it suuucked and was completely exhausting.

    Rebuild/update everything on the truck and maybe you can do it without hating life everyday.

    Now, back to 'These cars were built to drive!' responses.
  16. MIKE47
    Joined: Aug 19, 2005
    Posts: 987

    from new jersey

    I always drove older shit for daily drivers. No problem. But man, I would now miss my a/c after a long day at work while sitting in traffic. If you work inside it may be different. Only other thing is when you want to go somewhere farther away. Will you be able to go there comfortably? Computers suck to work without the right tools but they do allow you the comfort and reliability on longer trips.
  17. 50 is going to be about your max speed. What about slat on the roads? are you going to drive it in the winter. I personally would buy the truck and a $500 dollar winter beater and for when the truck doesn't start in the morning
  18. streetfreakmustang
    Joined: Nov 30, 2006
    Posts: 307

    from Ohio

    An hour each way in a '53 model truck? You are not thinking clearly. Buy a later model truck as in a 2000 or up model.
  19. That was going to be my question, what do you drive from November to April when it's snowy and shitty and the roads are covered in salt and crap?

    You'd have to blow that '53 Dodge apart and coat everything six ways from Sunday to keep it from rotting right out from under you.

    Plus it would really need a rear gear swap to make it more highway friendly.

    If you just want a simpler late model beater it's hard to go wrong with a truck with a throttle body injection system on it. I don't know that much about the Dodges, I had one but only for a few months, but the Chevy set up is pretty simple to deal with. Of course the newer they go the more complicated they get, but the 87-91 or so trucks are pretty simple.
  20. missysdad1
    Joined: Dec 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,941


    Sounds good to me...but keep in mind that the stock early truck will require almost constant maintenance if driven 100 miles a day. And don't forget the joys of breaking something major...or even something minor...when you're a long way from anywhere and gotta be somewhere on time!

    I drove my '48 Plymouth coupe daily with the stock gear for a while - chopped coils and relocated front shocks, but otherwise stock (see photo). The good days were great...but the bad days convinced me that it should be a backup, not a primary least not like that!

    But what I actually did was upgrade the running gear to a 318/automatic/9-inch/disc brakes and drive the poop out of it while I smoothed out the body and built the interior. It still broke once in a while, but there's an O'Reilly's in every town in America.

    This might be a good way to go on your truck...

    Good luck! :)

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 15, 2009
  21. Phil1934
    Joined: Jun 24, 2001
    Posts: 2,703


    90 mile round trip. That's a 22K mile yearly commute. Gas will be $3 over the next year so the difference between 10 MPG and 17 is 900 gallons or $2700.00. Add in 3K oil changes vs. 7500 and that's 4 more at $20 plus tuneups at 20K instead of 100K so let's just round it to an extra $3000 per year. But it is nice to drive an old one. I ran my '66 PU until speed limits were ignored and it just would not do 70 comfortably. I did have to upgrade brakes for traffic.
  22. southpark
    Joined: Aug 2, 2007
    Posts: 712


    well true hot rodders should drive 50's cars every day!!!
    fuck computers there so stupid!!
    blah blah blah!!!!

    your an idiot if your actually thinking of driving an hour to work each day with 55 year old technology. it would be cool, for about the first week, then youll get over it. trust me. had a 52 chevy truck was a blast on the weekends but only took it to work ( 45 min each way) once and said fuck that.
  23. teisco
    Joined: Mar 25, 2008
    Posts: 171


    I had a PT Cruiser for a couple years but I missed a real car so I sold it and bought an '82 S-10 with a 350 transplant to drive dailey...The PT was a mass of hoses and wires and no way I could fix that thing if it went south,,,the S-10 is fun to drive, reliable, standard carb and stuff and simple and easy to fix with parts avialble everywhere..
    If I was going to drive a 50's truck I would update the brakes, stick in a small block and a 700r and you could go anywhere.
    Oh, I am having blast driving an everyday hot rod and not a cookie cutter pillow on wheels.
  24. Yeah man thats what I'm thinking.

    Oh god no!! I would never do that.

    I'm a welder and work in a machine shop. Anytime out of my cowhide jacket is a welcome. Plus I haven't had a/c in a car or truck in 5 years.

    I was planning on driving it through the winter like did with my 53 Plymouth. It was the only car I had for 2 years. I was going to spray the entire under belly with rubberized coating. And as far speed goes I have a 3.54 rear to throw in the truck. Plus thought about 16" wheels instead of the 15".

    If anything I wouldn't go past 1965. Maybe a 60s Dodge Power Wagon. Dual cab would be nice.
  25. crackerass54
    Joined: Jun 1, 2009
    Posts: 364

    from dallas

    I drive my 54 two hours a day to work and back 5 days a week and all over on the week ends my old ladys god a new mustang she goes to work and back the rest is in the 54
    they are just cars they are supposed to be driven, now i'm not saying i don't have a few problems now and then but they are aging vehicles, just stay on top of the upkeep and you will be fine i would rather be stranded in my car than drive my wifes car
  26. crackerass54
    Joined: Jun 1, 2009
    Posts: 364

    from dallas

    I reread every one's replys and the average is that your trying to talk him out of driving a good truck to work everyday and just drive it on the weekends????????? interesting very interesting "hey if your only going to drive it on the weekends don't do that either would'nt want to have a flat or change a fuel filter on the side of the road heaven forbid,,,, just get a trailer and a new f350 and you don't have to worry about anything!!!!! Do you see what direction your pushing him now?
  27. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 4,591


    glad to see someone here is using their brain. I don't know where some of you guys live, but here in NJ, your morning commute to work is a step below a NASCAR race. Ducking and weaving, hard acceleration, 80 mph cruising, panic stops... all part of the norm. Throw bad weather into the mix. Do you guys REALLY think a stock 53 dodge pickup is gonna get the job done? get the fuck outta here. Try merging onto 287 at rush hour with your whopping 110 hp and see how that goes. If the question was, can I daily drive a 53 dodge truck, with a SBC or SBM, overdrive or at least modern auto, electronic ignition, radials, disc brakes, electric wipers, etc...totally different story. I've daily driven old cars, and often still do. But there is nothing like getting essential, non-pleasure driving done in ease in my Mustang GT, with my stereo blasting, erasing miles with overdrive and getting 25 mpg while doing it. I know it sucks working on computer run cars. But it REALLY sucks getting run off the road, engine screaming at 55 mph, getting shitty milage and getting bounced around on old suspension. It's not even a practical old car. Forget it
  28. From the time I was 16 until I was 24 I only drove old cars everyday. Mostly old pickups. I had a 1960 Ford 1/2 ton 2x4 with a 6 and a three speed. Did OK, had repairs every once and a while but nothing that I couldn't fix. The shitty part though were the winters. Driving a 2 wheel drive truck around here in 2' of snow is worthless. Throw in the fact that it's old makes it even more worthless. Barley a heater, vacume wipers, scrapping inside of windows while driving, dim lights, leaks, etc.

    So what did I do? I bought a 1960 Ford 1/2 ton 4x4. Same truck, but went everywere. At 55 miles per hour. Went everywere in the winter, but still had to deal with the heat, lights, wipers, parts failing.
    Now I have my slew of old cars, along with a Subaru outback and a 1994 F-150. Now I pretty much drive anywere, anytime and tow anything. It is nice to be able to jump on the freeway and set the cruise at 75 no worries.

    So, I think if you really want to do it, try it. If you hate it, jump on Craigslist and get something different. Maybe buy a "junker" newer car/truck for days were you don't feel like being beat to hell on the way to/from work, or when something breaks when your pulling out of your driveway late for work.

    Oh yeah, and a 1991 Dodge P/U is OLD and about the point in it's life when parts start failing.
  29. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,565

    from Garner, NC

    No you're not crazy. I miss my 59 Chevy/GMC everyday, I sold it and have an '06 Dakota, it's quickly turning into a POS after 3 years and the 59's replacement a 60' International is not done yet. I put a saginaw 4 speed and a Caprice rear in the '59 and it was a dream to drive. It's gonna take a little work and updating to make it a more friendly drive but it's worth it.

    You must have a free supply of Haterade. You like nothing these days. :rolleyes:
  30. teddyp
    Joined: May 28, 2006
    Posts: 3,197


    hate to say it but your rigrt joe i drove my 58 ford for 3 years as my daily driver in nj it,s nuts with the taffic but a nice dream but get the truck and drive it just no your every day driver

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