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58 firesweep sportsman
Just about to really start to dive in on my old girl, the story behind this car is quite one, I’ll tell ya, but that’s for another day.
Sadly the car has been sitting poorly in my care for far too long, but finally have some time coming up to start to bring some life back into this beautiful piece.
I’m curious, looking at the car, what would you do? Here’s my current list of items to take care of. (The car was running when parked in the current location)
1; sand down, and primer the car.
2; remove any cancer spots
3; replace the brake system (is it wise to go disk?)
4; pull the engine apart to clean it out
5; cooling system.... (lost here.. replace? Repair?)
6; interior.... (also lost here...)
I know there are many holes, and I know some of these items are long and/or costly.
Everyone will have their own opinion on what to do and at the end of the day, it's really your decision. If it was me (and I'm speaking from experience on a car that is definitely a constant work in progress to upgrade, as well as one that is a frame off restoration), if you think you can get it started and running again, I would go through everything mechanically and get the car roadworthy. I can't see the underside in the pictures, but it looks like the car is in decent enough shape to do all the work needed with the body on the frame and in smaller stages. The benefit to getting it running and driving first is that you can enjoy it as you work on it. The biggest restoration catastrophes come when people take apart a car and lose interest or don't have the funding. By doing the restoration in stages while you enjoy it, you should be able to avoid both those pitfalls. My list would be something like the following:
1) Get the car started, even if it's off a gas can. There are several precautionary steps here like an oil change and priming the engine that should be done before firing it. The extent of what you will all need to do partially depends on how long it sat.
2) Do a full tune-up, clean out the fuel system, rebuild pumps/carb, replace hoses, brakes, tires, etc.
3) Make sure it's electrically reliable - you don't want a fire.
4) Seals and gaskets to stop leaks.
5) Floor work and interior.
Just my $0.02. Others will have different opinions. Would you also be able to send me a private message with your VIN and data plate information? I maintain a tracker for all 1958 DeSotos and I would greatly appreciate adding your car to it.
Appreciate your response, and definitely noted!
The car is located back home in New Mexico at my parents whilst I am currently located in LA.
My biggest concern right now is that the entire thing is just rotting from the outside in, and I want to do some preventive work to preserve the piece until the next time I catch time like this. I’ve got almost a month through December that I can work almost solely on the car.
I want to preserve.
I don’t think it’d take much to get it running again, carb rebuild, drain the tank, top oil, probably a new fuel pump, an oil change, and some spark plugs. I think she started in 2015, but I really don’t remember.
I would love to do a frame off, (and.. kinda what’s in the back of my mind) but I’m only one person, and currently have a budget of $800-1000... nothing to bring this car back, but the most time and money I’ve had since receiving the car to dedicate in that direction.
I think you’re very right that having it moving under it’s own power would be very beneficial to the process, but my current enjoyment is going to be pulling the thing apart, and remembering all my grandpa In rebuilding it. There are many legal hoops that I’m currently having to jump through that will hinder it’s road worthiness, and a large reason why it’s been sitting. My great grandfather never put the car in his name, and he bought it in 96. He died less than a year after giving it to me, so, here we sit without the immediate ability to register the car.
Having heard this, would you still proceed in getting it running first?
Again, thanks for your response!
I’ll have to get the VIN when I get home for thanksgiving, the title was recently misplaced by a secondary DMV service that was in the process of starting the legal work. (Sad face)
Though, that is the license plate from the previous owner if you wanted to try and dig.
i largely agree with David.
If you're concerned about the car rotting away, then find suitable storage (family friend, rental garage, store-it-yourself place). The good news is that New Mexico is a dry state. My Desoto came from outside of Las Vegas, NM.
The worst thing you can do to the car is sand off all the original paint and spray it with primer. The original paint acts as a barrier coat for the metal. Removing that and spraying it with rattle can primer invites rust on a large scale. DON'T do it.
Just FYI...cars rust from the inside out. Trapped water causes floorboards, rockers, quarters to rust out.
If you have a small amount of money to spend right now, I would put one or two ounces of Marvel Mystery Oil down each cylinder. Wait a few days, then put a breaker bar on the crank shaft nut and see if it will turn. Rock it back and forth. If you don't get any movement, wait a day, then try it again.
Also, change the oil and filter. Then do a full tune up.
After you have done that, check back in here and we'll give you more ideas.
That’s the kind of response I’m looking for!
I do have access to a paint gun, and could easily primer and put Basic paint on it, and have also been wanting to learn, so felt like this was a good opportunity.
The car was originally red, my great grandfather painted it this Cadillac blue without removing the original paint. I’m fearful that the paint is now becoming too thin to last much longer.
I’m looking to accomplish as much as I can with time vs with money, and figured that trying to handle the rust was the best means for that.
I’m pretty sure I cranked it in late 2016 just to turn the engine, and that it did crank, but didn’t try to start it. Would you still recommend pouring that stuff you speak of and trying to crank it, or simply draining the fuel tank and putting some good fuel in it to see if it magically cranks? I was planning on cleaning the fuel lines beforehand, but??
Honestly, I’m most concerned about sludge. Should I be/not be? The oil was last (definitely) changed in 2004, I think I changed it again in 2009, but it’s been so long that I really can’t remember.
I recommend following what I wrote and don't try to 'crank' it. Try to turn it with a breaker bar. But do the oil and filter change first.
1st day of working on the car completed
Despite having some mice that chewed through some ignition electrical, we got her to start with priming, so she runs
A lot of the body does look to be in recoverable shape
The tires all held air
Have locked in a space to work on the car and store it
The horns work (lol)
Floor pans are toast
The bottom behind the rear tire looks rough, and that looks like some tough metal shaping
Getting the title in my name is proving ever more difficult
Tomorrow is dedicated to cleaning out the space where the car will soon call home (and probably the next few days on top of that...)
Any suggestions on the floor pans? Was looking into a rotisserie, or a two post auto lift as a possibility of separating the car and the frame for the restore. Are there any other options?