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New Driveline


Last fall I decided that I wanted to get rid of the old ball and trunion joints in the driveline.  I had previously rebuild the old joints and replaced one of the rubber boots, but it still had some vibration.  Along with the vibration, the new rubber boot didn't last more than about 3000 miles and was already tearing and letting dirt into the joint.

I did some research on the Spicer website, and some measuring on the car, and found the correct part numbers for the pieces needed to convert to modern u-joints.

There are several parts needed for the conversion, click on the bill of sale below to see the complete list with part numbers.  I had this driveline made by Six States Distributors in Twin Falls, Idaho

New driveline
Fixed end with flange mount
Slip yolk end with flange mount
Driveline installed


Parts list


12 Volt Heater Motor


During our road trip to Tulsa, we drove through hours of rain with the defroster on full speed to keep the windshield clear.  I had the original 1950 6 volt heater blower motor  wired to 12 volts to get some speed and air flow out of it.   It didn't seem to do much on 6v power.  It ran fine this way for several years of intermittent use  But on the trip to Tulsa, running for hours on end, it finally gave up.  I took the motor apart and cleaned it out, and found that the windings had gotten hot enough to melt the solder connections where the brushes contact the rotor.  I tried to repair it with new solder, and it worked for a while, but died again.

I searched the internet for a new 6v motor, planning to run it on a voltage reducer, but the only motors I found were either used, or rediculously expensive.  So, I looked at a bunch of motors on ebay, and found one for a '86-'97 Dodge van that looked similar and had similar overall dimmensions.  For $12 dollars, I took a chance and bought it. 

When the motor arrived, I compared it with the factory motor, and found that it was almost a perfect match.  The shaft size was the same, and the mounting system was the same as well.

The numbers on the motor are:  Unimotor 14560  12V   01134

I looked up this motor on the Napa Auto parts website (1990 Dodge Van w/out air conditioning), and it appears to be part number
BK-6551083.  Double check before ordering!

The only difference was that the motor housing has a hole in the side, and is not sealed like the factory motor.  I used a piece of dynamat that I had laying around to cover the hole in the new motor, and installed it on the heater. 

I'm was very happy to find a direct replacement 12v motor for the 6v unit, and plan on buying another for the defroster motor under the dash.

heater motor
heater motor
heater motor
heater motor
new motor with original motor
new motor mounted with fan cage
New motor mounted with fan housing
installed on heater box

heater motor

New motor


Powder Coated Wheels


I had my wheels powder coated to get rid of the rust and scratches.  They look great now....

Original wheels powder coated


Visibolts bumper bolts


I was missing a few bumper bolts, so I installed these as a "third" brake light.  These bolts have red LED lights in them that come on with the brake lights.
Visibolt bumper bolts


Front Suspension and King Pin Replacement


The front suspension was a bit sloppy on the car, and was completely original with 86,000 miles when I bought the car.  I put another 10,000 miles or so on the car before doing anything with the front end other than new shocks.

I had taken the car in for an alignment and wheel balance a couple of weeks before our cross-country road trip to Tulsa, OK, and found that there was excessive play in both the king pins and the upper excentric chamber bushings. 

So I ordered a front end rebuild kit, that has all the parts for a total rebuild.  Since I was running out of time to get the car on the road to Tulsa, I only changed the king pins/bushings, the chamber bushings, and all of the tie rod ball joints. 

I worked until wee hours in the morning to get everything back together for the alignment shop appointment the next day.  The upper and lower control arm bushings are OK for the time being, but will eventually be replaced as well.

I borrowed a king pin bushing reamer and bushing tools, which made it very easy to replace the bushings and get them to the right size.

After replacing the worn parts, I took the car back to the alignment shop.  Picked it up later that day, and was suprized to find that the car drove much, much worse that before.   The guys at the shop tried again and again to get the car to drive without darting all over the road, but they couldn't get it anywhere close.

They recommended that I try a set of radial tires, figuring that the bias ply tires that had an extablished but subtle wear pattern from the worn suspension were causing the problem.  All of this was happening the day before we were scheduled to leave for Tulsa, a 3,000 mile round trip.  I had resigned myself to cancelling the trip because I didn't want to herd the car down the road for so many miles.

We put on a set of new tires, and I took the car for a spin up the highway.  I couldn't believe the difference!  It drove like a new car, no darting or wandering.  Apparently, the slop in the front end was hiding most of the darting from the tires.

I drove the car home, threw in the bags that we had already packed, and we hit the road that day for Tulsa.  The car didn't miss a beat on the trip, 3,302 miles.

Here's a few pics-

fuse block
rebuild kit
king pins
king pins
front suspension before cleanup several years ago
Box of parts from Kanter
King pin bushing reamer
New bushings, reamed

king pins

New king pin test fit



I bought several vintage tachometers for the car on e-bay, hoping to find one that would have the right look, and would work at the same time on a six cylinder 12v system.

 The first two that I bought, and Airguide, and a vintage Sun, did not work.  The wires on the Airguide were so sun faded that the colors on the wires were all the same, and no matter how I hooked it up, it would not work.  The vintage Sun tach seems good, but has the remote sender that requires a mercury battery that is no longer available.  These senders can be converted, but the conversion is very expensive. 

So I kept my eye on e-bay, and lucked out on getting a working vintage Sun tach that has an internal sender.  I bought a new chrome cup for the tach, and moutned it on the steering column.  It works great, and looks right in the car.

Here's a few pics-

Sun Tach
Sun Tach
Sun Tach
Sun Tach
vintage Sun tach
Tach in new chrome cup
Tach mounted on column
Driver's view

Sun Tach

Dash lights at night

Wiring with the EZ kit...


I'm in the middle of rewiring the car now, with an EZ Wiring company wiring harness.  This kit is a 21 circuit fuse block for 12 negative ground cars.  All of the wires for the car are pre-wired into the fuse block at the factory, so half of the connections are already made.  I will have extra circuits for future use, like AC, power windows, electric wipers, etc, if I ever find the need.

I mounted the fuse block to the firewall right above the clutch pedal.  There wasn't much room on the firewall to mount the block because the factory heat duct takes up most of the room above this location.  The fuse block isn't visible  however, when standing next to the car looking in with the door open.  You have to bend down to see it.

The wires in the kit are grouped into sections, front, dash, and rear.  Theoretically, the groups of wires simply need to be pulled to their respective areas, and attached where they terminate.  Of course, it isn't quite that simple.  And to further complicate it, I'm using a MoPar alternator, GM HEI, and stock steering column with no switches.  The turn signals are a column mounted aftermarket unit, and the other modern column related switches like the headlight dimmer are elsewhere.  It would certainly be easier if all were GM, as this is what most kits are designed for in the street rod world.

The only issue I have thus far with the kit is the instructions.  They are marginal at best, and when you mix and match from various manufacturer's stuff like the alternator and distributor, you have to take bits and pieces of info from different diagrams to make it all work.  Out of frustration with the provided instructions (about 8 pages of usefull info), I did a search on the web for an alternator wiring diagram, and found that the Painless Wiring brand has their instruction manuals in PDF for free downloading.  I'm now using their 35 page book as a suppliment.

I have replaced all of the bulbs on the car,  for the 12v conversion.  The rear tail lights were dual fillament bulbs from the factory, but the bulbs had pins that are not staggered like the standard 1157 bulbs are now.  I found that the straight across pin type dual fillament bulbs are still available, and in 12v too.  I am using these bulbs in the front park lights now too, after changing the wiring in the socket to a dual wire with an inexpensive kit I found at a truck stop.  These front park lights will now function as turn signals too.

The turn signal switch is an inexpensive colum mount unit from Rod and Custom Supply.  The wiring diagram that came with the switch is erronious...  The left front and rear turn signal wires are mis-labled, and are backwards.  When I tested all of the wiring, the front turn signal came on with the brake instead of the rear...

For the dash lights, I soldered new wires into the old sockets, the old wires were falling apart.  I will be using all of the old dash switches since they all work.

I wanted to use the factory ignition switch, but didn't want the old wire that was inside the armored theft prevention cable that used to run to the firewall.  The plastic back of the switch is held in place with crimped tabs on the case, so I removed these little tabs with a file and dill, and pulled the switch apart.  I removed the armored casing, and soldered a new primary wire into the original location, wraping it with a length of heat shrink tube for protection from rubbing.  See the photo below.

The alternator that I'm using is a MoPar '70 and up three wire unit.  It requires an electronic voltage regulator, which is pictured below.  The three wire alternator is a better choice over the one wire alternator type, click this link for more info: 


The alternator's three wires are easy to connect, and provide remote voltage sensing from the fuse block to the alternator to ensure that you have enough voltage at the fuse block.  Single wire alternators produce a constant voltage at the alternator, but there is typically voltage drop in the wire to the fuse block.  The remote sensing will compensate for this voltage drop.  You also have the ability to use a dash warning light that will come on when there is a problem.

The only gauge on the car that is electric is the fuel gauge.  I'm using a Runtz electronic voltage reducer that will drop the 12v to 6v, and prevent any voltage spikes that cold burn out the gauge.

More to come as the wiring progresses..


wire harness
fuse block
new wiring
new wiring
EZ wiring kit
Pre-wired 21 circuit
fuse block
Begining to pull
the wires
Fuse block mounted to firewall

new wiring
Factory ignition switch re-wired
Voltage Regulator,
pigtail, bulbs, and
voltage reducers
New lighting wires
for the guages
Runtz electronic voltage reducer

new wiring
pulling the new wires
signal switch diagram
new bulb wiring insert in original  socket
New headlight plug pigtail

Brakes and other bits...


The first step in the rear brakes was getting the drums off.  I picked up a heavy drum puller on ebay, and it worked great.  I had heard of all the horror stories of trying to bust the rear drums loose, but fortunately my luck held out.  Remember when you do this to keep the axle nut on because the drum fires loose with a loud pop and tremendous force, and could become a projectile if the nut weren't there to catch it.

I removed the backing plate from the axle for cleaning in a parts washer, sand blasting, and painting.  The backing plate is what holds the axle in the housing, there are no clips at the other end of the axles.  The outer grease seal is in the backing plate, and there is another inner seal behind the bearings.  To get the axles out, I used a slide hammer attached to the axle nut, and it came right out after a few good pulls.  I also used the slide hammer to get the bearing race and inner seal out of the axle housing.

The bearing race on the passenger side had a large chip missing from it, about 3/8" square, and about 1/16" deep.  It must have been making a helluva noise, but I don't remember hearing it now.

I re-assembled the backing plates with the same shims that were there, as I had no way to measure the end play and it "felt" ok.

Assembling the brake shoes was fairly straight forward, and I used the Ammco tool to adjust them.

I used a pressure bleeder to bleed the brakes after getting everything together, and only found two leaks.  One was the bleeder screw on the lower drivers front cylinder.  For some reason, the bottom of the hole was tapped too deep, and the bleeder screw wouldn't seat.  I ground the shoulder of the screw off enough for the screw to go in farther, and it cured the leak.  The other was a loose coupler fitting in the rear line.

I used DOT 5 brake fluid in the system.

I installed the freshly cleaned pitman arm and tie rods, which previously had about 10 lbs of caked on dirt and grease, and re-sealed the steering gearbox.  The tie rod ends will need replacing in the future because of a couple of torn boots, but they are tight and will do for now.

I also replaced the shocks, with a NAPA brand replacement.  They were a direct fit, and should be a great improvement over the old shocks, which appeared to be original to the car and had very little resistance left in them.


rear brakes
rear brakes
rear brakes
rear brakes
drum puller
Here's the axle prior to pulling
the dirty backing plate
lots of scraping later

rear brakes
rear brakes
rear brakes
the finished product
Pressure bleeder in use
bad bearing race
clean pitman



I've decided, for now, to keep the stock brake system for the car.  I was considering a disc conversion for the front, but had already purchased all of the stock rebuild parts when I bought the car.  Due to funds, I'm going to rebuild the brakes and run them for a while to see how they work when correctly adjusted. 
I have the Ammco brake adjusting tool, which allows you to align and center the shoes inside the drum.  After using the tool, I don't know how you could properly adust these shoes without it.  There is a lot of dicussion on the P15-D24 forum about the need for this tool, some don't think you need it and can adjust the shoes by "feel".  I disagree, it was hard to get the shoes right with the tool, with the brake drum off where you can see what you are doing.  Photos below show the tool in use.  The tool measures the inside diameter of the drum, then converts the measurement to a radius when mounted to the spindle, allowing you to adust the toe and heal of the shoes to match the diameter of the drum.  At the same time the tool indicates if the shoes are centered in the drums diameter.

I've also replaced all of the brake lines, with prefab lengths from the parts store.  The original lines had a spring like wrap in areas that were suseptable to rubbing, so I bought some stainless steel wire, and wrapped the lines to look like the original lines.

Next is bleeding the system.  I bought a pressure bleeder and have an extra master cylinder cap (courtesy of my ARCH RACE RIVAL, Don Coatney) to adapt to the bleader. 

wire harness
wire harness
fuse block fuse block
Ammco Brake Guage

guage in use on front brakes
ammco instructions

fuse block fuse block fuse block
ammco instructions
new brake lines, wraped with stainless wire like originals
front suspension before
pressure bleeder

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