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Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe
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Powerflite
Posted 2020-03-16 4:44 PM (#595649 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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I was completely astounded to find out that it really was that easy. I was able to adjust it out with about 1/4" of adjustment to spare. Luck must be on my side today.

I couldn't find the piece of angle iron that I used the last time to make the brake light switch mount, so I decided to make it simpler with a thick, flat section from an old piece of brake hardware. I will weld this to the pedal frame to position the switch on the pedal. I used a Duralast JA411 stop light switch from an early to mid '80's Nissan because it is all steel construction and was a whole lot cheaper at Rockauto than the plastic GM versions. The only drawback to it is you have to tap the bracket to a 10mm size, but that's not a big deal. I will install it on the car once this blasted rain stops.....

Edited by Powerflite 2020-03-16 6:10 PM




(58FF Brake Light Switch.jpg)



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netparts
Posted 2020-03-16 10:04 PM (#595657 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe


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Nathan... Just bought another 58 Desoto. It's a Firesweep 2 door hardtop. White car with red spear and top. Excited to get it out from the tangle of trees that had the car completely covered after 40 years of sitting.

Edited by netparts 2020-03-16 10:07 PM




(1958 Des 2 Dr HT.jpg)



(1958 Des 2 Dr HT4.jpg)



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Attachments 1958 Des 2 Dr HT4.jpg (172KB - 44 downloads)
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Powerflite
Posted 2020-03-16 10:39 PM (#595659 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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Wow, that's quite buried in there! Hopefully the rust monster hasn't gotten to it yet.
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Powerflite
Posted 2020-03-17 7:40 PM (#595693 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: RE: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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I got the brake switch setup installed and took the seats out to take out the nasty carpet and clean up the floor. I inspected the floor more fully with everything out and it looks remarkably good, but not as good as I had first thought. For some reason, there was a lot of dirt packed into the front-most floor brace that rotted it out on both sides of the car, along with the floor above it. The floor above the seat mount is bulging from rust underneath it, as is typical, and there are a couple of small rust holes by the removable floor panel. Overall, really good and I didn't see any other issues on it. The round dips in the floors that are almost always rusted out are perfectly fine so it's odd that the braces were packed with so much dirt & rusted out so badly.

I also clearanced the bottom of the air cleaner to make it work with the '60-'67 carburetors that have the choke valve on them. That setup interferes with the bottom of the air cleaner quite badly and it's painful to swap out the entire choke setup to use an older style on it. So I decided to make the air cleaner work with either style. The later carbs flow better with larger throttle valves, so that's another reason to make it work.



(58FF Floor Rust.jpg)



(58FF Air Cleaner Clearancing.jpg)



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Attachments 58FF Floor Rust.jpg (240KB - 44 downloads)
Attachments 58FF Air Cleaner Clearancing.jpg (251KB - 46 downloads)
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Powerflite
Posted 2020-03-24 1:06 AM (#595942 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: RE: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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The brake master has 10mm connections to the remote reservoir so I originally ordered 10mm hose to mate up to it. But once I received it, I found that it slid off the ports quite easily and it was difficult to get it to seal on there. So I ordered another 3/8" hose instead. That one fit much better and I was able to use more common English size connectors as well. I painted the master with brake fluid safe cast iron gray paint from Eastwood so that it won't rust and look nasty over time. Make sure you use shielded clamps on this hose as it is very pliable and I think that regular clamps would damage it.

I finally received the new hose on Saturday so I put it together today. I bench bled the master on the car and then connected it all up. The outer line on the reservoir was wanting to collide with the wires coming out of the firewall so I used a 90 degree connector on that side to avoid issues. The ballast resistor was originally mounted in this location, but that is going away soon so I won't miss it. I found that the '58 iron steering box is a lot smaller than the '57 aluminum box that I had used for my mockup. I should have anticipated that, but it slipped my attention. So I had to bend the line in closer to the steering box after mounting it. That made my front loop a little more loopy than it should have been. Oh well, not as pretty as I had hoped, but it works. After bleeding the brakes, I have a very solid pedal! It should be good to go, although I noticed that the rears were holding the tires a little even after releasing the brakes. Hopefully they loosen up with a little bit of driving....we'll see.

Edited by Powerflite 2020-03-24 1:19 AM




(58FF Remote Brake Master.jpg)



(58FF Remote Reservoir.jpg)



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Attachments 58FF Remote Brake Master.jpg (169KB - 46 downloads)
Attachments 58FF Remote Reservoir.jpg (145KB - 44 downloads)
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mikes2nd
Posted 2020-03-24 2:33 AM (#595946 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe


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isnt that brake setup llike 500$? thats a wilwood remote setup?
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Powerflite
Posted 2020-03-24 10:54 AM (#595960 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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No, not even close. The master is from a '87-'04 Mitsubishi Fuso "FE" truck with front discs & rear drums and is cast iron. It cost me $65 at the time. Part number is Dorman M630742 and sells for $56 on Ebay. I had to machine the mounting holes to a slightly larger opening to fit a mopar, but it is made with 4 mounting holes that almost fit on the old mount so no adapter is required. The reservoir is the most expensive part, but is necessary because you need one that will fit in the available space. It is from Classic Industries and cost about $150. I didn't even have to mess with the adjustable pushrod. Just adjust it a little shorter and it works great with it.

Edited by Powerflite 2020-03-24 12:37 PM
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mikes2nd
Posted 2020-03-24 1:25 PM (#595967 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe


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hah wow that's a weird find. I just bought the adjustable pushrod(40$) and the hemi offset brake mounting bracket 80$...

I thought my reservoir fit? Ill do a quick video of test fitting. I may have to do what you did with the remote. I don't like that shiny machined brake reservoir though looks too modern

I tried to avoid it but obviously couldn't... now i have a chrome alternator and all kinds of polished crap maybe i can scuff it...

Oh i better paint my "Chrysler Firepower" black lettering also... i just noticed it looks wierd without it... like I "forgot" something...



Edited by mikes2nd 2020-03-24 1:30 PM




(enginehinges.jpg)



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Powerflite
Posted 2020-03-24 1:32 PM (#595968 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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I thought the same way, and figured I would anodize all of them with black color. But installing it on my black New Yorker, it wouldn't look as good in black so I became accustomed to the aluminum. I figure it will dull with time on its own. But I may annodize a couple of them for certain cars. I guess I could paint it cast iron gray like the master....

Edited by Powerflite 2020-03-24 1:33 PM
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57burb
Posted 2020-03-24 6:45 PM (#595974 - in reply to #595946)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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It's no big deal, but you might try disguising that brushed aluminum with gray or black paint. It draws your eye instantly.

I really like your master cylinder and fill solution. Dealing with the stock Mopar power brake arrangement in this era is such a pain in the butt. Personally I don't care much for the enormous factory vacuum canisters they hung on the inner fenders. Has anyone tried to fit an aftermarket vacuum reservoir inside the fender? Seems like that space could be used to hide one - and then hope it never rusts out.
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Powerflite
Posted 2020-03-24 8:46 PM (#595977 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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Once you put a silver motor in there, it doesn't look so out of place. The main reason it does now is because the previous, previous owner of this car loved to make EVERYTHING black. That, and everything else is filthy except for these new parts. The problem with this master is the downward pointing brake line on the front port. That could be a pain to deal with on a hemi motor. I haven't scoped it out completely, but it'll be pretty tight with those wide valve covers under it. You could hide the vacuum reservoir under the battery tray like they did in 1960. Maybe get one from a '60 and see if you can fit it under there. I don't really mind them on the inner fenders except when you have auto pilot as well. Then things get obnoxiously crowded. So on my '58 New Yorker, I am tempted to try it too.



(57NY 392 Hemi Installed.jpg)



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ToMopar
Posted 2020-03-25 8:44 AM (#595991 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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Nathan, sometimes I can not follow on which car you work at the moment,- and in which thread I am at the moment....
Is this 392 in the turquoise '58 Fireflite in whose thread I am into at the moment?
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mikes2nd
Posted 2020-03-25 9:44 AM (#595995 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe


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He has FWL attention deficit disorder... Im showing signs...
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Powerflite
Posted 2020-03-25 12:28 PM (#596006 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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This picture is from my black & white '57 New Yorker.
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Powerflite
Posted 2020-04-08 8:12 PM (#596599 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: RE: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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I drilled out the ignition lock and got the switch to be able to turn, then I started testing all the electrical parts. Almost nothing worked except the ignition & the headlights. I spent a day rewiring the generator to undo some of the unreliable connections in its harness and extended the front park light wiring to the junction block because they had been cut off previously. I also polarized the generator and the pulley turned so that tells me it is working as it should. The front left park light gave me a lot of trouble because the bulb housing wasn't making a ground connection to the lamp housing that it was connected to. I tried crimping it and cleaning it, and it works now. But if it gives me any more trouble, I will solder a wire directly to the bulb housing and ground it directly.

Now all the exterior lights work including the brake lights, but for some reason, the turn signals won't turn on at all. When I send power on the front post and turn the signal lever in the proper direction, the rear will come on, but they won't flash. I'll have to see if there is something wrong with the flasher unit. But without manually adding power, they don't do anything, even with the key on.

I also changed out the mangled cross-bar support in the front. I'm very glad I have a replacement and don't have to restore this one. That would be quite a chore!



(58FF Bent Support.jpg)



(58FF Bent Support Comparison.jpg)



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Attachments 58FF Bent Support.jpg (165KB - 44 downloads)
Attachments 58FF Bent Support Comparison.jpg (222KB - 44 downloads)
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Powerflite
Posted 2020-04-15 12:18 AM (#596860 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: RE: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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I pulled the speedometer cluster today to work on the wiring issues and removed the old ignition lock. The dash lights weren't working and the turn signals weren't working either. All the bulbs were good, but the flasher wasn't getting any power. I tested the flasher and it worked, but was really slow so I replaced it with an electronic version in anticipation of using LED bulbs in the taillights.

According to the wiring diagram, the black wire on the flasher should get its power from the ignition switch, and it's shared between the fuel & temperature gauges. Those wires have power at the ignition switch, but don't have power at the flasher. Supposedly there is a junction point somewhere in the harness, but I can't find where it is unless it combines on the back of one of the gauges, but it didn't look like that's how it worked. But, by manually connecting power to one side of the flasher with the green jumper in the picture, I was able to get all the turn signals working with the new flasher. I will spend a little more time trying to trace down the bad connection, but if I can't figure it out, I will cut the wire and connect it directly to the ignition switch.



(58FF Turn Signal Disconnect Bypass.jpg)



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Powerflite
Posted 2020-04-15 12:29 AM (#596861 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: RE: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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The dash lights weren't working because of the typical problem: a corroded dimmer contact in the headlight switch. While I was pilfering through my garage, looking for a set of locks I may have purchased, I stumbled on this brand new headlight switch I had. I had forgotten that I purchased it. That will save me from having to open up my old one right away. This one looks to be a newer manufacture of the old switch as it has a plastic connection for the dimmer wheel. I'm also posting pictures of the wiring connection on the back of it for future reference.



(58 Dodge-DeSoto-Plym Headlight Switch.jpg)



(58FF Headlight Switch Wiring Side.jpg)



(58FF Headlight Switch Wiring.jpg)



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Attachments 58 Dodge-DeSoto-Plym Headlight Switch.jpg (150KB - 39 downloads)
Attachments 58FF Headlight Switch Wiring Side.jpg (156KB - 40 downloads)
Attachments 58FF Headlight Switch Wiring.jpg (143KB - 41 downloads)
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ToMopar
Posted 2020-04-15 6:15 AM (#596863 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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Hello Nathan

here are some pictures of my 57 headlight switch,- maybe it helps



(Wire Internal Switch Light 2697b.jpg)



(Wire Internal Switch Light.jpg)



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Attachments Wire Internal Switch Light 2697b.jpg (114KB - 39 downloads)
Attachments Wire Internal Switch Light.jpg (128KB - 41 downloads)
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Powerflite
Posted 2020-04-15 10:39 AM (#596867 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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Thanks, I'm surprised your switch is completely different. It's more like the Chrysler switch, but not even the same as that one. My '58 DeSoto switch is the same as the '58 Dodge & Plymouth, and that is one of only two to be used across brands ('57 Dodge & Plymouth is the other one). Most of the headlamp switches are specific to the brand and year. For instance, the '55-'59 Chrysler all use their own specific switch. Not very smart of them, especially when '57-'59 Chrysler fit in the same space and shape. But it looks like your wiring color code is very similar to mine.
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ToMopar
Posted 2020-04-16 2:09 AM (#596913 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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I am sorry Nathan, that my picture doesn't help. I've seen that too, that the switch is different, but I post it anyway.....
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Powerflite
Posted 2020-04-17 2:08 AM (#596983 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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It's interesting that my switch is labeled similar to yours, namely that the dimmer switch line is labeled as IN. The port that you have labeled IO is labeled IG on my switch and is basically another park lamp post that goes on only with park lights and turns off when the headlights are on - maybe for the light on the ignition switch?

I finally found the problem with the turn signal power. The power line had broken off the connector from the fuel gauge and was dangling. But the connector was no where to be found, so that was odd. I soldered another connector onto it, and plugged it into the back of the fuel gauge and solved the problem. My new headlight switch has a lot of issues apparently. The tail lights are connected to the constant pink line, and the pink line is disconnected from the power. Additionally, the dimmer doesn't work. What a piece of junk. So to fix it, I would have to tear it apart and see what's going on with it. So I just used my old one. But I decided that I didn't care about dimming the dash lights, so it wasn't worth it to tear it apart to fix it. I just connected the orange dash lights to the tail lights and used the multiple connector on it to plug everything in. I also connected the front park lights to the tail lights so now they are on when the headlights are on too. Works great, and with the standard bulbs in the dash, it is the perfect brightness. I may have to fix the dimmer when or if I change to brighter LED's, but right now, this works well.

Edited by Powerflite 2020-04-17 11:46 AM
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KcImperial
Posted 2020-04-17 12:18 PM (#597004 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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That's a great idea to bypass the dimmer instead of tearing the switch apart and rebuilding it. Don't know why I never thought of that? Going to do it on one of mine now, thanks!
The Imperials are just as crazy with the headlight switches. on the 57-58's they basically changed from female connectors to male connectors. The main stem is slightly different too. That stem alone requires each year to have a completely different dash frame that would otherwise be interchangeable
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Suddenlyits1960!
Posted 2020-04-17 12:21 PM (#597005 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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You’re lucky “Powerflite”,I too am envious. I’ve wanted a 57-58 DeSoto coupe for years and have never seen one come up for sale locally. That’s a great color combination too. How come I get neighbors with modern plastic crap cars in their driveway? Lol.
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Powerflite
Posted 2020-04-18 12:54 PM (#597047 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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Yeah, I'm surprised that the engineers were allowed to make custom 1 year/model only parts like that. I really like the color on this car too, it's kinda similar to Chrysler's parade green, but a little different shade.

I checked out the speedometer while I have it removed and noticed that I couldn't turn it at all. I took it apart and cleaned out all the dried up grease and still couldn't budge it. So I removed the whole thing and had to take a hefty wrench to it after soaking it in oil and was barely able to get it to move. I didn't think that dried grease could become that hard! After working it and soaking it in sewing machine oil for 2 days, I finally have it freed up, but I fear that I may have stripped the transmission gear because of how immovable this thing was. Hopefully, I can get it working again.




(58FF Speedo Repair.jpg)



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Attachments 58FF Speedo Repair.jpg (160KB - 39 downloads)
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Powerflite
Posted 2020-04-21 12:48 AM (#597166 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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The speedometer seemed to work well on the bench after I got it cleaned up and re-lubed so I put it all back together and took some pictures. I didn't hook up the radio because the wiring to it looked scary, so I left it off. I also disconnected the clock power line so it might not drain the battery just sitting there. I got the ignition lock to turn freely, ground off the pin and put it back in so I could use it with a screw driver until I swap it out. I also got the dome lights working but left them disconnected so I could leave the doors open without draining the power. I left the tail light wiring as stock because I didn't have any 1156 style LED's to connect them all together. I'm debating if I should have all three go off during brake & turn or just the upper & lower like on my other '58 DeSoto. I've never understood why car companies turn off the front park lights when the headlights are on. It looks better if you leave them on, to me, and it isn't hurting anything to leave them on.



(58FF Dash at Night.jpg)



(58FF Taillights.jpg)



(58FF Park Lights.jpg)



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Attachments 58FF Dash at Night.jpg (133KB - 41 downloads)
Attachments 58FF Taillights.jpg (100KB - 42 downloads)
Attachments 58FF Park Lights.jpg (113KB - 43 downloads)
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22mafeja
Posted 2020-04-21 1:56 AM (#597170 - in reply to #597047)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe


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I had a similar case with my 58 firedome speedo. I was surprised that it works perfectly now. Got to have patience..
Could you keep your fingers from resetting the odometer? My fingers never stays away from that...I never remember how to do it but the fingers know...
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ToMopar
Posted 2020-04-21 10:29 AM (#597179 - in reply to #597166)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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Powerflite
I'm debating if I should have all three go off during brake & turn or just the upper & lower like on my other '58 DeSoto.


I like to see how it looks with all three, please share the electric scheme in case you do it.


I've never understood why car companies turn off the front park lights when the headlights are on. It looks better if you leave them on, to me, and it isn't hurting anything to leave them on.


Me, too. but I wonder because on my 69 Polara the park lights does't switch off when you switch on the headlights.
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57burb
Posted 2020-04-21 12:02 PM (#597183 - in reply to #597179)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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The purpose of parking lamps was to be able to allow other motorists to see the vehicle in situations where a car was in a dangerous place and could not be moved, but without having the headlights on, which would kill the battery quickly. They basically serve the same purpose as "hazard" lights on more modern cars. Remember that most roads and parking lots were DARK back then!

Your dash is looking really terrific, Nathan!

Edited by 57burb 2020-04-21 12:02 PM
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The Adventurer
Posted 2020-04-22 5:03 AM (#597209 - in reply to #597166)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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Very excited seeing you get this car sorted out slowly ! Keep up the good work ! You are doing what I was dreaming of doing and can’t anymore ! Good work
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Powerflite
Posted 2020-04-22 11:12 PM (#597241 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: RE: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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Ralf: No, I just left the odometer alone. but I can see the temptation in changing it.
Tom: I will use some power diodes so I don't have to change to dual filament bulbs. I am even considering hooking up a sequential lighting module that lights from bottom to top. Kinda like a Jacob's Ladder spark machine!
Danny & James: Thanks, hopefully the gauges work too. At least I know that the ammeter works, and the oil pressure doesn't (because I disconnected it).

This car was driving me nuts because it ran really well at higher rpm, but had almost no power at low speed. It didn't miss, it just had no power. It ran so poorly at low rpm that I couldn't really get the rpm down low enough to adjust the timing on it. I got the inclination to check the intake bolts and found that half the ones on the passenger side were quite loose. I tightened them, and it seemed to want to start easier, and then I pulled the vacuum line off the distributor and it suddenly ran really well. Now it will idle nice and I can put it in gear with the brake on and not have it die on me. I'm not sure why it didn't like the vacuum advance on it. However, now there seems to be something in the torque converter/bell housing area that's occasionally making a cyclical scraping noise that doesn't sound healthy, so not sure what that will end up being. After I had polarized the generator as I previously described, now it charges the battery perfectly fine so that's nice. Not sure why it needed to be polarized, but it was an easy fix. I put the car in drive with the wheels up, and the speedometer didn't work. It's making a clicking noise down at the transmission end. Maybe the cable broke from when the car was moved before, or the gear stripped on it? I tried to time the ignition, but my timing light was too weak to see it in the daylight so I have to do it at night. The car's getting closer now and I feel better about it now that I can move it around easier, despite it's issues.
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57burb
Posted 2020-04-22 11:15 PM (#597242 - in reply to #597241)
Subject: RE: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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Maybe the vacuum diaphragm in your distributor is ruptured, causing a leak? Just a thought.

Glad to see all the progress on this one!
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Powerflite
Posted 2020-04-23 11:31 AM (#597255 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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I didn't even plug the line when I pulled it off, so it wasn't because of a vacuum leak. It probably just had too much timing, and fixing the leak at the intake was likely the thing that fixed it. Either that, or the mechanism inside the distributor was doing something funky.
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Powerflite
Posted 2020-05-02 7:48 PM (#597662 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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The motor started giving me a lot of trouble again. I couldn't get it started, it would just keep sputtering at me. Finally I checked on the starter and noticed that it was sparking. The main wire is tight, but internally, it somehow became very loose. That's probably the main cause of my trouble. When it shorts, it probably eliminates the voltage at the ignition too, preventing it from starting. Because of how much trouble this starter is to get in and out, I vowed that I would replace it with a mini-starter if I had to do it again, so I ordered a new one for it.

I have also been contemplating if I should replace the whole roof or just patch it along most of the sides. I have this replacement roof from a 300D that would work on it, but it sounds like a lot of work to replace it with how much inner structure is required to be dealt with. Also, I'm not sure how strong it would be afterward compared to the factory install. So I am leaning more towards using this roof to patch mine rather than replacing the whole thing. What do you think?



(300D Roof For Parts.jpg)



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56D500boy
Posted 2020-05-02 9:00 PM (#597667 - in reply to #597662)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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Nathan: Tough choice on the roof. The existing one has lots of rust for sure (photo below from Pg. 1 of this thread):

As for the starter, you might recall that my 56 Dodge starter had an issue where one (or more) of spacers that kept the armature from banging into stuff had disintegrated, causing all sorts of hard starting grief. Once that got sorted, it starts like a dream (instead of a nightmare).

This thread (pertinent photo below): http://www.forwardlook.net/forums/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=70560&...





Good luck

Stay safe



Edited by 56D500boy 2020-05-02 9:01 PM
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22mafeja
Posted 2020-05-03 3:08 AM (#597675 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: RE: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe


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At least I would patch up the old roof. Because of that the roof is curved in that area I think it will succeed well with a lot of patience.
I would prefab the patches so it would be just one long patch per side.
Good luck!
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Powerflite
Posted 2020-05-09 10:31 PM (#598018 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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I received my new mini starter today so that will be going in as soon as I can get to it. The trunk lid on this car is completely rust free, but had been beat with an ugly stick all along the back end of it. It also had part of the inner structure cut and poorly welded back together, as well as a suspicious bondo section next to the license opening. After looking it over, I decided that it would take far more work to try and fix this thing than it was worth, so I played a game of musical trunk lids today. I removed 3 '58 Chrysler lids from other locations and swapped them around. I originally wanted the black one on the Fireflite, but it was too small for the opening! I couldn't make it work. So I swapped the white one that I purchased from Gary Grossich onto it. After removing a broken bolt from it, it bolted onto the car without issue. The black one also fits well on my '57 New Yorker so that was good, but I was surprised that they were so different from each other. The lid I had on the '57 went to my '58 New Yorker because it's a spring special Chysler lid with the horizontal bars that really belongs to the '58. I will now cut up the green Fireflite lid to create repair panels for others, and use the sheet metal from it.

Edited by Powerflite 2020-05-09 11:00 PM




(58FF New Trunk Lid.jpg)



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Powerflite
Posted 2020-05-14 4:21 PM (#598273 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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I have almost 4 yards of '56 Fury fabric that I don't have a use for. The camera can't capture how beautiful this fabric is, as it really gleams with gold in the light. Should be enough to use on 2 cars. I am considering sewing it over the top of this black vinyl in the original Fireflite pattern to make the seats look better, but not sure it would be worth the trouble. Might be better to sell it to someone else who could use it on a couple of Furys.



(56Fury Fabric.jpg)



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mikes2nd
Posted 2020-05-14 4:39 PM (#598274 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe


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patch the roof... nightmare replacing the whole thing...
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ToMopar
Posted 2020-05-17 8:10 AM (#598384 - in reply to #598273)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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Powerflite - 2020-05-14 9:21 PM
but not sure it would be worth the trouble. .


Thats the daily question with our hobby
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Powerflite
Posted 2020-05-17 1:43 PM (#598399 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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Yeah Mike, I decided the same thing. I cut up the spare roof, so I can't change my mind anymore. It'll be used to fix a number of vehicles that need repair sections on them. As for the fabric, my wife and I decided to just leave the black vinyl as it is. There would be limited benefit to sew new fabric to old vinyl, and the work involved would't be much different than re-doing it all.

I spent the last part of the day yesterday removing the old starter & installing the new mini starter. My days of removing the throttle linkage & master cylinder to pull the starter up out of there are over. I had to grind the side of the round adapter on the new one to match the profile of the original starter, but even then it wouldn't seat properly for some reason. Eventually, I got it to seat, but never figured out what the problem with it was. I removed the adapter from the motor and that helped make grinding it easier to do, and I tried re-clocking the starter to make it fit better, but ended up at the same location that it started with. To mount it, you have to use a longer bolt with a nut on the top mount - a little harder to assemble than the original, but not bad. I had to reconfigure the wires in order to get them to reach down there, and after it was finished, the starter relay stuck on for some reason. A little whack on it freed it up, but by the time I got the car ready to go, it was quite late in the evening so I didn't get a chance to try to start the engine yet.

Edited by Powerflite 2020-05-17 1:51 PM




(58FF Mini Starter.jpg)



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Powerflite
Posted 2020-06-13 7:12 PM (#599634 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: RE: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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The new mini starter I put in lasted about 30-40 seconds of cranking trying to start this motor before it smoked and died. It's a different design than the one I put into the '60 New Yorker, and apparently not as robust. I was cranking it so long because this motor just has a lot of issues trying to run right. That experience put me in a such a good mood that I didn't touch the car for another 3 weeks. But I eventually put the old starter back in after changing out the bad solenoid on it for a new one, and I began to suspect that there was something not quite right with the internals in the distributor to give me the intermittently crappy results I was getting.

So I pulled the known good running distributor out of my '58 Firedome to swap into this car. Inspection revealed that my current Fireflite distributor had both rotational springs installed (purple & orange) and everything looked new. Whereas my good old Firedome distributor had one spring missing and was quite greasy. What the? Anyway, I put the old Firedome distributor in anyway and the car fired up immediately without any hesitation and runs great. What's going on with it? Are these things supposed to be missing a spring on them or is the newer electronic timing settings a whole lot different than what is required on the old motors? Anyway, missing a spring or not, I am just glad that it consistently works now.

Soon afterward though, my starter relay suddenly stuck in the on position and insisted on cranking the motor over even when I didn't want it to. So I disconnected it and will need to purchase a new one or tear it apart to try to fix it.
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Powerflite
Posted 2020-06-14 1:21 AM (#599644 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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With the new distributor, I drove the car for the first time with brakes. It went well until I applied the brakes hard, when the left rear locked up on me. I never even touched the rear brakes so it's not a big surprise. Probably missing or broken hardware in there, but I'll find out how it looks tomorrow. My puller pulled the drum off in literally 10 seconds once I had it attached. Great tool.



(58FF LRear Brake Pull.jpg)



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1960fury
Posted 2020-06-14 5:27 AM (#599648 - in reply to #599634)
Subject: RE: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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Powerflite - 2020-06-13 7:12 PM



So I pulled the known good running distributor out of my '58 Firedome to swap into this car. Inspection revealed that my current Fireflite distributor had both rotational springs installed (purple & orange) and everything looked new. Whereas my good old Firedome distributor had one spring missing and was quite greasy. What the? Anyway, I put the old Firedome distributor in anyway and the car fired up immediately without any hesitation and runs great. What's going on with it? Are these things supposed to be missing a spring on them


I don't know but all HP Mopar Performance Big Block distributors with vacuum advance have only one spring.
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Powerflite
Posted 2020-06-15 1:12 AM (#599681 - in reply to #599648)
Subject: RE: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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Thanks for the info. Big blocks are relatively new to me so I don't have a lot of experience with them. I'll have to look into it further to make this other distributor work, but I was surprised that it wouldn't even really run with it.

When I removed the left rear drum, I found that the brakes had no hold-down springs on them. Why am I not surprised? I dug through my parts stash and found an extra set and installed them. I also replaced the broken speedometer cable and adjusted the right side T-bar up higher. It was sagging on the right quite a bit for some reason, even when the rear axle was on even jack stands. The left rear tire is a little bigger right now, so it will cause it to sink on the right front anyway, but the front was definitely adjusted too low on that side too.

Then I took it for another spin. The new brakes worked amazingly well, and the motor has plenty of power. Very impressive. But the power steering pump wasn't quite working anymore, and it isn't due to the belt. The pump looks to be a newer replacement and seems to have just died on me. The transmission was about a quart low when I went out, but it started belching trans fluid out of the dipstick all up and down the road for some reason. No, no! Bad DeSoto! I don't know what it's issue was. I stopped the car and measured the fluid level and it was way overfull. I ran it through the gears without moving the car and measured it again, and it was quite low now. So I filled it back up to the proper level and went for another spin. This time the trans worked perfectly. I even did a spirited burnout in the dirt without any belching. Maybe it had an air bubble in it or something? I hope it fixed itself so it doesn't do this again, but I need to replace the power steering pump next.



(58FF Driving.jpg)



(58FF Spewing.jpg)



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Powerflite
Posted 2020-06-21 12:29 AM (#599931 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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The power steering pump from my gold Firedome looked like it should work (unlike the red one, that looked like it was cooked), so I cleaned it out, swapped it into the Fireflite and filled it up. I also installed a pair of fender mirrors, repaired the starter relay & replaced the oddball left rear bias ply tire with a new radial from the front of my gold Firedome (thanks Kurt!) that happened to be the same size as the other rear tire.

I went to take it for a drive, and had brake fluid dripping from the same left rear wheel. I saw it weeping before, and I should have addressed it then, but thought it might be OK. Wrong. So I took it back apart, replaced the wheel cylinder & the line to it, and cleaned it all up. I also replaced the brake shoes with good used ones because these were soaked & filthy. Maybe baking in the hot sun for a year will fix them Afterward, I took the car for a spin and everything worked great! No belching, no brake problems, good power steering & I can start & stop the motor from inside the car! The only thing now not up to cruising spec is the fuel tank. So far I have been running it from a fuel can in front of the radiator. I don't want to mess with the tank until I am sure I am going to be driving it regularly. I could do that now, but I don't really drive anywhere right now so I'll probably wait on it and work on other stuff for a while.
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Powerflite
Posted 2020-06-27 12:47 AM (#600158 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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I had to give back the fuel injection emblems that I borrowed quite a while ago, but I recently purchased my own set. When these were mounted on the car, I assume they also remove the "Sportsman" emblem? It looks like it will collide with it, unless I have it in the wrong spot. But I think that's where it was on the Adventurer...



(58FF Fuel Injection.jpg)



(28397398496_0a0501e521_b.jpg)



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57burb
Posted 2020-06-27 1:46 AM (#600161 - in reply to #600158)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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The only EFI Desotos were Adventurers, which don't have the Sportsman emblem.
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Powerflite
Posted 2020-06-27 9:28 PM (#600209 - in reply to #590547)
Subject: Re: Turquoise '58 Fireflite Coupe



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Interesting. I never realized that they left them off of there. Even the '57's didn't have the Sportsman emblem so it wasn't just to provide room for the EFI option.
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