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Technical New to the custom world, need help making car safe and cool

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by young_gun2000, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. young_gun2000
    Joined: Jan 11, 2019
    Posts: 11


    Hi there, I'm new to H.A.M.B. and new to the world of custom cars. I figure I should start out with a little about myself. I'm Gabe Gochenour. I'm a senior in high school, engaged, and preparing to attend Ball State. Now to the part y'all probably care about. I've always owned old cars, but nothing pre-1963. I've had a few Corvairs, a '72 F-250, and a '65 Mustang. I recently purchased a 1950 Plymouth Coupe. It's a completely stock car with a flathead 6 cylinder. I purchased the car knowing that it ran last summer but the motor is now stuck. I pulled the plugs and there is no water in the cylinders, and the oil looks fine. I am wondering what the best method is for going about unsticking the motor. Also I would love to know what some nice, period correct mods are to make the car my own. Probably the most important thing is I want the car to be safe because it will be the car that both me and my (soon to be) wife commute in about 80 miles a day. I have a budget of roughly $10,000 to do all of this if that makes a difference. UPDATE! I know I called it a Dodge but It's actually a Plymouth, my bad!
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  2. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 8,134

    Bandit Billy

    It ran last summer but maybe not last fall. Engines don't freeze up 6 months unless something nasty happened. Have you tried leaving it in gear and having your buddies over for a little tackle dummy practice? Sometimes rocking the car in gear will jog it's memory.

    Where are you located? Indiana?
    porknbeaner likes this.
  3. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,199


    If you've had a few Corvairs, then the Dodge in stock condition will be quite safe! :)

    did you see it run last year, or did the guy you got it from say it ran? there's a big difference.

    I would not spend too much time trying to get it unstuck, without pulling the head and see what's up. Head gaskets are available for a reasonable price.

    The brakes are so-so on old Mopars, you can rebuild them, and if you drive with some care it should stop ok. Disc brake conversions are not quite as easy or affordable as on other old cars, unfortunately. And the basic design of the car is not very safe compared to modern cars. Still, I drove my family all over in a modified 39 Chevy for several years when we had babies around.....and we all survived. You're the only one who can do the risk analysis for yourself.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  4. young_gun2000
    Joined: Jan 11, 2019
    Posts: 11


    I've had a breaker bar on it and with me and my Dad, who are both pretty big guys, we couldn't get it to budge. And yes I'm in a town a few miles west of Lafayette

  5. Ran when parked. :D :D :D

    Try dumping a mix of coka cola and transmission fluid down the cylinder and letting it set over night than rocking it back and forth as @Bandit Billy has suggested. If that does not work I know where I can lay my hands on a 413 and transmission. LOL

    Period custom touches. Hmmmnnnnnn well for a 50s mild custom it would have been lowered and nosed and decked. Maybe some skirts. Wide whites and Caddliac hub caps.

    As for safe you are not going to break any land speed records if you keep the stock mill so just make sure that the suspension is up to par and the brakes. Lap belts will keep you in the seat. Even with a more modern engine I would probably not go crazy with the brakes. if they are in good shape you'll be just fine.

    Here is something to think about. We run drum brakes on this old T. It goes through the lights north of 130 and always gets stopped.

  6. Petejoe
    Joined: Nov 27, 2002
    Posts: 11,146

    from Zoar, Ohio

    If it is in fact just stuck and not related to a mechanical issue
    Put some diesel fluid in it and drop the car (with breaker bar attached to a wooden block on the floor. Let the weight of the car slowly turn the engine for a long time period)
    Repeat if necessary.
  7. wvenfield
    Joined: Nov 23, 2006
    Posts: 5,400


    This reads like a letter to one of the Hot Rod mags in the 70's. :)
  8. Remove the spark plugs while trying to break it loose. HRP
    flatford39 likes this.
  9. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,980

    from SW Wyoming

    It is very likely that the valves are stuck. You can pull the cover off the right side of the motor and check, but be warned, they put everything on that side except the distributor.
    Bearcat_V8 likes this.
  10. Frankie47
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 1,878

    from omaha ne.

    You've got to remove the head it will tell all.......
  11. 'Mo
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 7,431


    Marvel Mystery Oil is a time honored "un-sticker". Pour some in the cylinders, and try it again tomorrow.
    (With the spark plugs out, as was mentioned.)
    oliver westlund and Torchie like this.
  12. Rckt98
    Joined: Jun 7, 2005
    Posts: 1,053


    Regarding the brakes and safety, always keep in mind you can't drive an old car with drum brakes the same way you drive a modern car. If you ride the brakes you will quickly get brake fade and a heavy car with no brakes is not fun.
  13. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 3,053

    from Alabama

    First things first.
    Use common sense make sure the car is chocked (secured) on level ground. These will kill you if they fall on or roll over on you.
    Make sure the car is not in gear.
    Make sure the clutch works....the clutch could be stuck.
    These use a transmission mounted driveline (drive shaft) mounted brake. If the car is in gear and the is brake on or stuck it will lock it up.
    Remove the starter, then try to turn the engine by hand.

    What I'm getting at is there could be other factors....locking it up. Clutch, starter bendix, shift linkage, parking brake....
  14. Sorry I can't add to the advice above, but welcome to the HAMB.:)
    INVISIBLEKID and lothiandon1940 like this.
  15. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 3,053

    from Alabama

    You are behind the 8-Ball big time.

    Let's assume your Plymouth was like new. Could it do the 500 miles weekly? Could it do 24000 miles yearly? Would it be reliable?
    The answer is yes it could do these things in new condition but within the limitations of a 1950 Plymouth.
    Along that line "1950", it's not really a '50s car. 1954 was the big year. Pre-54, Post 54....big difference. Really a 50 Plymouth is a 1930s car with a somewhat updated body.
    It would love 50MPH.
    It could handle short bursts at interstate speeds from time to time. Long interstate trips on the other hand will tax it's ability and ultimately the longevity.
    There was a reason for the 2 stall garage service stations in nearly every neighborhood back then, these cars required constant maintenance. They needed service regularly. If not maintained, things begin to fail.
    With 3 point belts properly done it's as safe as anything from the 50s to the 90s. That's assuming the body and frame are sound. Again, with the car as good as new, it's solid.
    A rusted rotten car is a weak rotten car....Nightmare scenario.....In a wreck, half of the rusted car goes one way....the other half goes the other..the occupants are scattered in between.
    Not only does it need to be mechanically sound, more importantly it needs to be structurally sound.

    Unfortunately your car is not new.

    These can have rust in the floors.
    These were known to have chassis rot or rust out at the frame front crossmember.
    Sometimes these will rust around the rear spring hangers.
    To have a viable car, all of this needs to be sound.
    From bumper to bumper the car will have to be renewed. It will have to be made like new again (All systems!) to do the task you are asking for it.
    Unfortunately, Mopars of this era are not easily updated. Engine, transmission and brake up grades are not as easy as other makes.
    The following are more viable cars from the same period in my opinion....
    48 up Cadillac
    48 up Oldsmobile 88 and 98
    49-54 Chevy....51 up Bendix brakes
    49+ Pontiac
    51+ Chrysler early Hemi cars (these can have very complicated 6V systems)
    Hudson Hornet
    Top picks....
    54+ Chevy
  16. 4woody
    Joined: Sep 4, 2002
    Posts: 2,108


    oliver westlund likes this.
  17. For what it's worth I have had much better luck with stuck motors getting them to brake loose by turning them in Reverse rotation. Generally speaking a Chucked rod hung between the block and crank isn't going to move, however turning it backwards will let it go almost a full rotation before finding the stop point again. Same with a bent valve however being a F head that's probably not going to be your issue. If it happens to be from a leaking head gasket and coolant it will let the rings drop down instead of trying to push the grunge up. This often means getting to the Ring Gear and turning from there, plus it's better leverage than the Bolt in the end of the Crank.
    The Wizzard
    loudbang and INVISIBLEKID like this.
  18. Latigo
    Joined: Mar 24, 2014
    Posts: 671


    Check out
    Those guys live and breath out Mopars and flat sixes. Many are daily drivers. You’ll find some kindred souls over there.
    Welcome and good luck.
  19. ol-nobull
    Joined: Oct 16, 2013
    Posts: 1,653


    Hi. I have a 50 Plymouth I purchased last June. It is pretty good shape and ran well but a freeze plug let loose while driving a couple of months ago & engine overheated & apparently toasted the rings as it lost compression. We are just about to pull the engine down to see what all needs repair from this. Nearly all parts are easily atainible if you know where to look. I found lots of needed parts at . Contact them and they will also send you a paper catalog. Also a lot at .
    Before the freeze plug incident it just purred down the hwy at 55 MPH. Remember that this was the normal speed limit in most states in 1950 and that is what the cars were designed to cope with. Jimmie
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  20. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 8,091


    Welcome ! to the HAMB. Post some Pic's. The engine stuck part is covered, Safety IMO, brakes, tires, suspension parts, steering, headlights, you can get 6 volt bulbs halogen that are stock appearing, better tail light bulbs, halogen or led insert, (Seat Belts A MUST HAVE) Do you have any family members, car enthusiasts to help or advise ? A 50 Plymouth is a pretty simple straight forward type old car, parts are available I believe. Good Luck with your adventure and if your girlfriend puts up with this, she's keeper. One last comment, IF you were my son I would not recommend a 69 year old unrestored/repaired car as a daily driver, especially for a 80 mile daily commute, for $6/10K you can buy a 100K or less mile late model import that will be safe/economical/my kids ran this type of car for 200K+ miles, one hit 300K+. But as a kid I drove old fixed up junk and survived it, so I get where you're coming from, Very Kool to see a young man interested in the Hobby.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
  21. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 5,130


    F-One was very tactful in his reply, I will be more to the point. You have got to be out of your friggin mind to think that a 50 Plymouth with a currently stuck engine is going to do what you're asking it to do. Even if you could turn it into a halfway decent daily, 24K a year is a lot of miles to put on even a new car, let alone a 69 year old car. My wife and I both drive about 35K a year, and it's constant maintenance on my fleet just to avoid major trouble. It is what it is.

    That flathead was underpowered when it was new, let alone in modern traffic with modern cars. When discussing safety, let's just assume you mean "safe for what it is", since even a brand new 50 Plymouth isn't nearly as safe as virtually any modern car made within the last 15 years. To be safe, you have to go through all of the brakes and steering. If you're pressing an unrebuilt engine into that kind of duty, let alone an engine that is currently stuck, you'd better buy stock in AAA. At bare minimum you'll need a complete engine rebuild. Then factor in the transmission, rear, the fact that those are 6v (positive ground if memory serves right)... and assuming all is right with the car, you'll be able to ramble along at around 60 mph, a virtual pylon on the road to douchebags like me.

    You might as well be saying in this thread, "I bought a 49 Chevy truck with a 216, and I'd like to use it to tow a 24 foot enclosed car trailer. I have a budget of $10k. What can I do to the truck to make it do that?" This sounds equally ridiculous. Could you do it? Sure, anything is possible. We shot a man to the moon, so I'm sure we can make a 50 Plymouth a reliable daily driver that can polish off 24K miles a year. But there wouldn't be much 50 Plymouth left, and there's no chance in hell you stick to that $10K budget, and even if you did. you'd still have a $5k car. But that's a whole different story...

    Here's my suggestion. Go buy a regular ass daily driver car that does what you need it to do. I just bought my wife a 2009 Ford Fusion with 74K miles on it for $4200. It's cheap, safe (important since my wife and daughter are in it), economical and not an embarrassment. Then take the rest of the money and work on your Plymouth and make it a car you take to work on occasion, and enjoy in your time.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
  22. brigrat
    Joined: Nov 9, 2007
    Posts: 5,451

    from Wa.St.

    The thing that catches my eye is the fact that you are a senior in high school, engaged, getting ready for collage AND HAVE TEN K burning a hole in your pocket, a lot has changed in 70 years..................

  23. I took notice of the
    statement also and was impressed. To bad in today's world 10K is about the same as 1K was when I was a Senior in High School. Yes friends, things have changed but not really.
    The Wizzard
  24. young_gun2000
    Joined: Jan 11, 2019
    Posts: 11


    Yeah I'm a little ahead of the curve I guess. I've grown up fending for myself most of the time so it's just a way of life
    s55mercury66 likes this.
  25. young_gun2000
    Joined: Jan 11, 2019
    Posts: 11


    It's probably not the smartest adventure I've ever embarked on but it's definitely not the dumbest either. I'm the kid who, at 17, drove a '63 Corvair from Indiana to California and back with a dead cylinder. And my fiance is definitely a keeper. I'm lucky I found someone who grew up around the same thing I did and who I'm not worried about driving an almost 70 year old car around.
  26. young_gun2000
    Joined: Jan 11, 2019
    Posts: 11


    I figure I should've mentioned this at the beginning but I'm the grandson of the man I bought the car off of. My Grandpa got the car from his Dad, who bought it new. About 4 years ago the car was gone through top to bottom and given a complete mechanical overahul (Brakes, rear end, transmission, and engine). The cosmetics are the only thing that haven't been touched.
  27. falconsprint63
    Joined: May 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,359

    from Mayberry

    My .02. If you're plannig this as a daily driver, have 10k to spend and the car is not a rust bucket spend the money and put a new motor/trans and disc brakes on it. I did a sbc swap with a buddy on a 50 years ago. It fits, but barely. There may be better options (hemi?).

    Mosy of all have fun with it!

    Sent from my SM-G950U using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  28. CAHotRodBoy
    Joined: Apr 22, 2005
    Posts: 409


    Well, good for you taking on an adventure like that! I too was going to give you the "old man" lecture about getting engaged at such an early age but sounds like you and her may be exceptions to the general rule. I'm assuming you live out in the country somewhere. Your profile doesn't list your location.
    Cool that the car is staying in your family.
    I've been thinking about picking up a '50 Plymouth two door that has been in my buddy's family since new. See this thread:

    A lot of good info has been posted here. If you have to commute 80 miles a day and you have a $10K budget, I'd recommend buying a cheap but reliable commuter car for like $3K to $5K and then using the remainder for this car. That mileage is going to kill the Plymouth.
    RRanchero Rick likes this.
  29. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 8,536


    Stay away from scarebirds stuff. His parts did not fit my car without grinding on my spindles and I sure didnt want to do that!
  30. nailhead terry
    Joined: Mar 23, 2008
    Posts: 1,458

    nailhead terry

    WOW ! lets see how fun low dollar car be . They built flat head dodge 6 cylinders for a while. My advice is scarebird disc brakes a dual master cylinder and s 10 5 speed petronix ignition clean the radiator new hoses and drive the piss out of it I had a dodge m37 drove it to work a lot flat head 6 just a buzzing !! just put some zink in the oil and go with straight weight oil

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