Thread Number: 72913  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
Old car radio
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Post# 963298   10/19/2017 at 02:16 by Stan (Napa CA)        

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Needed to do some work on the wiper motor (vacuum) on the 50 Plymouth, as some very need rain is coming, hopefully to put out these fires around here. To access and service the old vacuum motor..the radio need to come out.
Thought you boys would get a kick out of seeing the 10 lb thing. We've come a long way in auto sound systems since 1950

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Post# 963318 , Reply# 1   10/19/2017 at 07:28 by dermacie (my forever home (Glenshaw, PA))        

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wow that's amazing Stan.

Post# 963349 , Reply# 2   10/19/2017 at 10:56 by kenwashesmonday (Haledon, NJ)        

Unlike the car stereos in new cars, I'll bet AM actually sounds good on that one. Of course it would need an overhaul if it hasn't been serviced yet.

Post# 963350 , Reply# 3   10/19/2017 at 11:13 by johnrk (Houston)        
Radio content

Being born in 1955, I missed the days when people could tune in to network radio shows. I enjoy listening to some old radio shows now, and it seems that NPR is about the only station I ever listen to. All the rest is either alt-right crap or bad music.

My first car was a 1951 Lincoln with a superheterodyne radio that sounded so beautiful. Those old radios have a 'roundness' that modern electronics can't duplicate.

Post# 963363 , Reply# 4   10/19/2017 at 12:11 by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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Thanks for sharing this Stan. I’d forgotten how huge these old car radios were. Yours seems unique in that the speaker looks like its incorporated in to the radio. These old tube, car radios had a very rich, resonate sound. I loved the way they had to warmup and how the sound gradually became louder as they were doing so. I believe that this may have been what they were talking about in the lyrics of the song, “Coming To You From Out Of Nowhere”, because thats just what it seemed like with these old radios.

Post# 963366 , Reply# 5   10/19/2017 at 12:36 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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I'll add the radio that belongs in my '50 GMC to this thread -- it has a sort of cartoon-ish (or would that be cartune-ish?) look when not installed.  The post for the detached knob needs to be replaced.  JB Weld to the rescue?


John, what model was your Lincoln?  We had a '51 Cosmopolitan until late 1960/early 1961.  My mom said it steered like a truck.  I do remember the radio in that car, along with the '57 Premier that replaced it, would buzz while driving parallel to fat power lines, or past certain neon signs, and of course it would lose the AM signal completely in an underpass or tunnel.

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This post was last edited 10/19/2017 at 13:02
Post# 963372 , Reply# 6   10/19/2017 at 13:25 by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        

I have quite a few old car radios in my collection-oldest is ~1935 chevy.Most American radios switched to low voltage tubes/transistor audio output in 1957,but a 1959 Blaupunkt in collection is still vibrator type. Not sure,but I think 1961 chevy could be had with standard partly tube radio or deluxe "all transistor"radio option :)

Post# 963385 , Reply# 7   10/19/2017 at 14:50 by ken (Ulster Hgts, NY)        

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Those two radios are compact compared to my 37 Chevy. The control head is in the dash with two cables running from that to the actual radio which is a large box mounted on the firewall. One half of the case is removable for access. It has a latch like those found on old lunch boxes. Below that also mounted on the firewall is a large speaker. Just think; in the 50s the all in one units shown above would have been considered quite an advance compared to the units from the 30s.

Post# 963397 , Reply# 8   10/19/2017 at 16:33 by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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Hope you get some rain, Stan!

I'm curious if there's any indication of a manufacturer on the inside of your radio. I've read that Philco had most of the OEM market,for many years.

My 1964 Lincoln had an AM/FM all-transistor made by Bendix, surprisingly.

I've heard that Imperial in the late Fifties had the first all transistor radio, probably AM only.

Post# 963399 , Reply# 9   10/19/2017 at 16:45 by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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Fun seeing these old car radios!


Those old radios have a 'roundness' that modern electronics can't duplicate.


Probably the tube sound. Some high end home solid state amplifiers have (to some degree) a tube sound. But at the low end, you don't have that sound.


My 1964 Lincoln had an AM/FM all-transistor made by Bendix, surprisingly.


I have a partly restored Bendix radio in storage. (Home radio, from the 1940s.) So the name was used on radios. I'm not sure if it's the same company that made appliances, though.

Post# 963419 , Reply# 10   10/19/2017 at 18:58 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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IIRC, I got an AM/FM radio for our '64 Continental but it didn't work and I never got it fixed.  We let it go along with the car when we sold it.  I'm not sure of the manufacturer, but I don't see why it would be anything other than a Bendix.


The really elaborate radio was the AM/FM version for the '65 Continental.  On that one, the selector buttons were all labeled for either band.  To program, you pulled out the button and gave it a twist so the desired band was facing up.  You could have all buttons set (twisted) for FM or all for AM.  There was no band switch.  When pushed inward, the buttons automatically changed the band according to whether AM or FM was facing up, and the band indicator on the dial would also change.   I got one of those sets for my dad's '65, and it was impressive.  I'm pretty sure it was a Bendix too. 


The most ridiculous thing about radio R&R on the '64 and '65 Continentals (I think '61-'63 may have had a different configuration) was that you had to start the process by removing the sun visors -- I am not kidding -- and then work your way down to the dash.  You had to dedicate a good chunk of time to complete the whole operation.

Post# 963423 , Reply# 11   10/19/2017 at 19:27 by moparwash (Pittsburgh,PA -Next Wash-In...June 2018!)        

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The 1956 Chryslers and Imperials had the first transistor radios, made by Philco (before they were bought by Ford)


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Post# 963435 , Reply# 12   10/19/2017 at 20:35 by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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My sisters '58 Impala had that Town & Country button with another big bar that clunked to one of 3 local stations with the first automatic seek the next station I ever saw. Now I got 9 zillion stations on seek all playing FM garbage. My '63 Rambler, first car, had an instant on transistor radio on AM but got great reception after dark for popular stations on the East Coast. Those were the days.

Post# 963440 , Reply# 13   10/19/2017 at 21:34 by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        
one year only transistor radios

the article linked in reply #11 was very interesting-Chrysler dropped their 1956 all transistor radio and GM also dropped their 1957 Cadillac all transistor after just one year partly because low voltage signal tubes had been introduced and eliminated the noisy(just a quiet hum actually) vibrator.I have one mechanical signal-seeking GM "wonder bar"radio in the collection:~1967 oldsmobile AM/FM mono-a big solenoid tensions the needle and a clockwork mechanism controls the speed, a small solenoid actuated pawl stops a gear when station sensed.A 1975 Chrysler seeker radio I saw once was motorized-tuning knob spun until station found.

Post# 963448 , Reply# 14   10/19/2017 at 22:47 by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        

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I knew that Bendix made home radios and maybe some early TVs, but thought they'd dropped out of the marketplace by the Sixties. My impression was that the Aviation Corporation (Avco) had sold its Bendix and Crosley divisions to Philco around 1956. But the Bendix Corporation was still doing other things and they must have kept their auto radio business.

Yeah, taking the Lincoln radios out was a job. The stainless trim pieces between the front doors and the windshield had to be unscrewed, too, IIRC. On the plus side, nobody ever stole your radio!

Post# 963470 , Reply# 15   10/20/2017 at 03:21 by johnrk (Houston)        
'Kennedy' Continentals

I always wanted one of those sixties Lincolns but never got one. I had the same girlfriend growing up for a bunch of years; her father owned 4 appliance stores. When I was in elementary school he had a '63 Continental, the shorter wheelbase with the curved side glass. Even to a kid like me, it seemed really small. I think it was the inward slope of the glass. When I went into junior high her father traded that one for a '65, gold with black vinyl roof. It seemed enormous inside, again because it had straight side glass and the roof was nearly a foot wider. That '65 had the AM/FM radio you speak of with the flippable buttons. Her mother got a beige '66 Cadillac Calais 4-door hardtop and it had the signal seeking radio. I wasn't old enough to drive yet, but as a passenger they were pure heaven. We had a lady down in the town where I grew up who drove nothing but purple Continentals for about 20 years; her husband was the president of one of the banks.

Post# 963471 , Reply# 16   10/20/2017 at 03:21 by Stan (Napa CA)        

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I never thought to look for a manufacture name. Since my repair on the wiper motor didn't work out, I'll be removing the radio again so I'll look and take pics of the guts.
The radio dose work and it dose take a few seconds to warm up, but I hardly ever use it.
The idea of having to remove the wiper motor again and re install... Well it's hell for me to work under a dash anymore.. but I can't ask a mechanic to work on a vacuum wiper motor! So I'll have my head in it at least once more.. Damn it!

Post# 963482 , Reply# 17   10/20/2017 at 07:15 by kenwashesmonday (Haledon, NJ)        

I believe a 1950 Plymouth would have a Mopar 807 also known as a Philco D-5007, but I think some of them might have been Motorola sets.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO kenwashesmonday's LINK

Post# 963522 , Reply# 18   10/20/2017 at 13:07 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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Stan, let me/us know what you find out about your wiper motor.  The one on the GMC is sluggish at best, and the vacuum checks out OK.  I've had it apart a couple of times over the years and have lubed the paddle, but yeah, even with good clearance under the truck's spartan dash panel, it's still a PITA to work under there.  Even worse is accessing the linkage, which is where I think the current trouble lies in the Jimmy.  The motor works fine when disconnected from the linkage, but once it has work to do, it slows down or stops altogether mid-swipe.  I think that more than anything, the sluggishness results from lack of use.



Post# 963523 , Reply# 19   10/20/2017 at 13:11 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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Let's not forget about the foot-controlled scan function.  Our '57 Premiere had that feature and it took years for me to figure out how the radio (with a Town/Country switch as mentioned above) seemed to be tuning itself because Dad would never let on.  The scan was mainly used in outlying areas where few, if any stations could be pulled in, so it was a phenomenon I remember from childhood road trips.

Post# 963580 , Reply# 20   10/20/2017 at 23:08 by Stan (Napa CA)        

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I'll let you know what I find out.
Your right.. The motor itself isn't too hard to remove, it's reattaching the linkage!
I finally took the cowl vent out so I could crawl on top of the car and work from the top down. In the past, I've taken the motor apart, but this time I didn't really want to... So I used a baby booger snatcher to add about a tsp of brake fluid in the vacuum hole while operating on the vacuum stroke. Felt like I had smooth operation. After attaching vacuum line, the motor worked, but not after attaching linkage.
So maybe I have a small vacuum leak? or maybe switching the arms of the linkage? If that doesn't work, then the motor has to come apart, and a new kit installed.

Post# 963585 , Reply# 21   10/21/2017 at 00:54 by johnrk (Houston)        
'57 Lincoln

That '57 Lincoln was the most amazing restyle of the year. It managed to look so ery different from the '56! When I was a little in the late 50's our next door neighbor had a 4-door in pink with a white roof. I was always captivated with those taillights--and of course they were at my level. I'll bet those lights are scarce as hen's teeth now because so many customizers used them.

Post# 963586 , Reply# 22   10/21/2017 at 02:57 by tolivac (greenville nc)        

Remember old car radios-they had GREAT sensitivity.Used them in the house-connected to an old EICO 12V "battery Eleiminator" supply.The radios I liked best had the vibrator power supplies and the 6X5 or 0Z4 rectifier tubes.I had a Cadillac radio that had a PP 6V6 output stage-sounded GREAT when connected to a good speaker-was a good DX radio.These got lost in a flood-Bought them for a buck each in the late 60's from a place called "Jalopy Jungle" in Rapid City S.Dak.Learned a lot of electronics from those old radios-the hybrid and early SS radios weren't as good as those old all tubed ones.Had a few hybrid radios-RF sections tube-the tubes would work off the 12V no vibrator step up supply-the output stage for the speaker was SS.A hybrid radio makes a loud thump when turned on-after the RF tubes warm up-then you hear the station.

Post# 963626 , Reply# 23   10/21/2017 at 08:50 by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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I have that exact same radio in my '50 Plymouth Special Deluxe. I bought it used and not working in the 90's, and replaced the vibrator as well as all the capacitors. It works now, but I think I may have gotten the values of some of the square caps off when I replaced them with cylindrical ones.

IF you could please take some detailed photos of the existing components under the tube section, with shots of all the caps, esp the square ones, and post it here or email it to me, I'd be extremely grateful. It could help me identify now which caps are off and need to be fixed.

The radio works OK but the volume is fairly low, and some stations don't come in too well.

Thanks in advance!

Post# 963736 , Reply# 24   10/21/2017 at 21:11 by Stan (Napa CA)        

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Will do.

Post# 963818 , Reply# 25   10/22/2017 at 03:10 by dartman (Portland Oregon)        

The reason many car radios had better reception back in the tube days is most used 262mhz if stages plus a tuned rf stage on the tuning capacitor. It made them much more sensitive and they had tighter tuning and close channel rejection so they picked up just the channel you were trying to hear. I used and still have a mid 60s Zenith small plastic table AM radio that has 6 tubes and that third tuned rf stage on the tuning variable capacitor. It also had a big 6x9 speaker and a modern ferrite rod antenna built in that was directional so I could turn the radio to pull in weak signals. I used to shoot skip with it and it was better then a few dedicated short wave radios I had and could really pick weak signals out of the mud.
There was a reason back in the day Zenith radios were very sought after and old ones are collectable. They sounded great and usually had a better tuning system with all the latest advances except for dedicated high end military and short wave radios where cost was no object.

Post# 963823 , Reply# 26   10/22/2017 at 06:13 by tolivac (greenville nc)        

Oh yes-the 262Khz IF in those old radios-you remined me of that.I was working with those something like over 40 yrs ago!Kinda wished I had one of those radios today!In time on my DX radio took out the vibrator and just ran the thing off a large 6V surplus filament transformer-IMPROVEMENT-no more vibrator noise!

Post# 964100 , Reply# 27   10/24/2017 at 02:24 by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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Thanks, Stan.

The problem I ran into was reading the values on the square capacitors correctly. And the place I was going to for help (Al Lasher's electronics in Berkeley) was no help in that. They just kind of thought it was a joke, I guess. Anyway, I read the color codes as I would have on a cylindrical cap, but I later learned (from the internet, years later) that I'd gotten things off by perhaps a factor of ten. Or, who knows?

Here's a reference. What I'm talking about are the three dot and six dot capacitors. These look like little dominos and apparently have a rather arcane coding scheme. The colors are the familiar BBROYGBVGW format, but the arrangement and what the values actually mean (percent? farads? watts? volts?) is a bit strange.

Unfortunately I didn't take photos before I replaced them. I probably kept the old ones (somewhere!) but I have no idea today which ones on the circuitry need to be replaced with correct values.

This is a photo from the link below:


Post# 964101 , Reply# 28   10/24/2017 at 02:28 by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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PS-I didn't bother to rebuild my vacuum wiper motor. I bought a rebuilt one from a place I found in Hemmings. It works pretty good. Although come to think of it, I may have reassembled the rubber flapper valves in the vacuum pump under the gas pump incorrectly. But the wipers work fine everywhere but going uphill at slower speeds. Typical, I understand. One of these days I'll pull the gas/vacuum pump and see if I can get it to work better. I may also have purchases a vacuum motor rebuild kit; where it is today would take a lot of searching. One thing I learned: these little vacuum motors are deceptively powerful. Don't get your fingers in the way of the levers and linkages!

Post# 964110 , Reply# 29   10/24/2017 at 06:35 by johnrk (Houston)        
vacuum wipers

The amazing thing to me is how long vacuum wipers existed here in the US. Chrysler went to electric wipers on all their brands in 1950; for most of their cars, though, they were single-speed and people didn't like that. But Ford kept them in at least some cars (including Lincoln) through at least 1960! At one point in college I had a stripper '61 Biscayne wagon that was really a stripper. It even had the recirculating heater instead of the fresh air one. And it had one speed wipers--but they were electric.

And American Motors used them at least through 1969 on some models! When I was a kid in the 60's my father had a 1960 Rambler Classic wagon for his 'work' commuting car. It had vacuum wipers and I remember them slowing down just when you'd need them the most. My mother had a '60 Bonneville and it had at least two speeds, and they were 'clap-hands' wipers that met in the middle.

Post# 964116 , Reply# 30   10/24/2017 at 07:26 by kenwashesmonday (Haledon, NJ)        

AMC used vacuum wipers into the early 1970s on the Gremlin and Hornet. Ford Broncos also had them as standard equipment until about the same time.

I've had at least 8 Ramblers over the years, and I can tell you that when all is right, the wipers don't slow down much at all when you stomp on the gas. They're also quiet, and don't cause radio interference. They also don't get damaged if someone shuts the car off before a winter freeze without first parking the wipers.

Looks like Steve Johnson has a download of the Mopar 807 radio schematic for $7.50 (see link below) It is very important to replace the buffer capacitor on the vibrator with the exact value and a high voltage rating.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO kenwashesmonday's LINK

Post# 964145 , Reply# 31   10/24/2017 at 12:26 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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Rich, the "black beauty" capacitor in your picture above is notorious for causing problems.  I've only seen a grand total of exactly one person ever dispute this claim, and I'm pretty sure it was someone on this web site.  If you do nothing else, make sure you at least replace that one.

Post# 964147 , Reply# 32   10/24/2017 at 13:35 by kenwashesmonday (Haledon, NJ)        

The black plastic cap with the stripes?  If if makes a clunk when it hits the trash can, it's bad.

Post# 964151 , Reply# 33   10/24/2017 at 14:44 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        
Yes, that black one.

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Has anyone ever tossed a good one into the trash to find out how it sounds?   I don't know that I'd be able to tell the difference. 

Post# 964209 , Reply# 34   10/25/2017 at 03:15 by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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That photo is from the text link I posted. It's not of the components from my '50 Plymouth radio.

And the "Black Beauty" does not look familiar anyway. I do recall replacing the vibrator that hiked 6 volt positive ground to whatever higher frequency voltage the radio itself needed. That was relatively easy and worked just fine. In any case, I replaced ALL the capacitors so if there was a defective one in there, it's long gone.

No, the problem I encountered was with the square or rectangular caps, the ones with three dots or six dots. I simply couldn't find any explanation of how to read the dots; the electronics store was no help, so I took a best guess. The radio works but the volume isn't what I think it should be, and the reception could be better, too. So my suspicion is that the performance has been affected by capacitors with the wrong ... capacitance. Once I know what the values should be, it would be a relatively easy process to replace what I put in there in the mid-90's with the correct values.

Post# 964444 , Reply# 35   10/26/2017 at 22:32 by Stan (Napa CA)        
Will be

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Pulling the radio sometime this weekend (pics for Rich) and will see what I'm able to do with the wipers.

Post# 965455 , Reply# 36   11/1/2017 at 19:56 by Stan (Napa CA)        

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Sent you pics of radio, not sure if they show what you need. Let me know if you get them or need better ones. Posting here as well.. More eyes on may help.
Got the wipers working without taking the motor apart. With better light I found that I had previously mounted incorrectly.
Watch when it rains.. I'll bet the SOBs won't work LOL

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Post# 965460 , Reply# 37   11/1/2017 at 20:04 by Stan (Napa CA)        

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I'm having trouble with the rear turn signals bulbs , and front running lights!
Service manual dose not indicate bulb numbers. I think 1157 for running lights? (Double filament) and tail lights?
Can't find out turn signal bulb numbers (ones there have the numbers faded or rubbed off)
Think they are listed in owners manual, but can't find my copy.
What next

Post# 965491 , Reply# 38   11/1/2017 at 22:09 by Stan (Napa CA)        
Found it

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Also some specs for radio

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Post# 965506 , Reply# 39   11/1/2017 at 22:29 by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
I know one thing!

Those older radios will pick up stations at night you can only dream of getting on a new radio.

Post# 965521 , Reply# 40   11/2/2017 at 00:05 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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Stan, it doesn't look like we've established whether you're working with a 6 or 12 volt system.  From what I can make out on the SAMS radio specs you posted, it appears to be rated at 6 volts.


If that's the case, then 1157 isn't the bulb you want for rear stop/tail lamps because that's a 12 volt bulb.  I just replaced the after-market tail light assemblies on my GMC with 6 volt originals that take two separate bulbs for stop and tail.  I can probably dig up one of the old 6 volt dual filament bulbs and give you the number off of it.  I also have aftermarket turn signals up front, and those are single filament bulb #1129 which is probably what you need for yours, unless they are double duty parking/signal lamps, in which case they'd be the same as the dual filament ones I removed.


Let me know what type you need and I'll get back to you with numbers.  I basically have bulbs for all possibilities here, be it dual filament front & rear or single filament.

Post# 965528 , Reply# 41   11/2/2017 at 00:20 by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
a 50

Would be 6 volt positive ground, unless it has been updated.

Post# 965718 , Reply# 42   11/3/2017 at 03:26 by Stan (Napa CA)        

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You are correct 6 volt positive ground. Not converted to 12.
Ralph.. Found my owners manual..
1158 is the stop/tail light duel filament. 63 is for turn signals for front and back. All can be had at the local auto store. Think part of my problem with these lights is that the sockets are very worn, and are loosing their ground connection. And someone has dicked with them in the past.
Only way I can figure a way for these to work properly is to get new sockets, new bulbs, and mount them where the manufacture intended them to be.

And just like I thought.. Wipers stopped working..don't notice a vacuum leak in the vacuum hose? Kits mounted correctly, linkage looks good...Guess I have to crack the vacuum motor, and see what's up.
Only one thing good from all partner likes seeing me laying on my back in and under the car.. Having a lurker doesn't help me but..guess he gets charge out of it?

Post# 965807 , Reply# 43   11/3/2017 at 13:49 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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Glad you found the numbers, Stan.  63 sounds like what the GMC uses, but I'm not familiar with 1158.  I have issues with some of the sockets on my GMC, but usually giving them a tweak, like extending the spring to provide more pressure and/or using something like a flat blade screwdriver to alter the surface of the contact point(s) of the bulb helps.


Best of luck with the wipers.  I guess you'll be needing them starting today.  I pulled the motor from its mount on the GMC to test it with linkage detached and it ran smooth as silk and at a good clip while sitting there in my hand.  That leads me to believe it's the linkage that's bogging it down.  You might try a similar test to isolate the problem.

Post# 965831 , Reply# 44   11/3/2017 at 16:37 by Stan (Napa CA)        
Thanks Ralph

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I'll try that (again) with wiper motor. I've had them running, only to have them not the next day.
Back to the lights..the manual dose not give a bulb number for turn signal lights. Says bulb 63 for parking lights. Think it's because turn signals where optional then. Says bulb 88 for dome light. I'm wondering if the same socket can be used for either? If so I could use bulb 88 for Signals (brighter)
Fur sure the suckers need to be mounted better.

Post# 965836 , Reply# 45   11/3/2017 at 17:29 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        
EDITED with new info

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Stan, yes, now that you've mentioned it, 63 provides typical tail/parking light brightness which is only 3 CP.  Stop and signal lamps are usually 21 CP.   If your turn signal lamps are single filament, 1129 (21 CP) should work.  If they function as both parking and turn signal, then 1158 should work.  BUT -- read on.


I checked the bulbs in the after-market tail lamp assemblies I pulled off the Jimmy.  They're dual filament, but instead of 1158, they're 1154.  I investigated, and 1158 has what's called "in line" posts on the side of the bulb base (to twist and lock into the socket) and 1154 has offset posts (one higher/lower than the other).  Otherwise, I presume CP is the same for filaments on both.  So, if the slots in your sockets are in line, use 1158, otherwise go with 1154.  I'll have to check one of the 1129s I have sitting around here and see if its posts are in-line or offset. 




OK, the 1129 has in line posts.  I couldn't find anything about a single filament bulb with equivalent CP and offset posts, but such a bulb might exist, unless the offset treatment is only found on dual filament types.  I have a feeling that your Plymouth has a dual purpose parking/signal assembly and would take either the 1158 or 1154, but if parking and signal lenses are separate, then 1129 (or its offset counterpart) and 63 should work.



This post was last edited 11/03/2017 at 17:09
Post# 965859 , Reply# 46   11/3/2017 at 20:17 by Stan (Napa CA)        
Thanks Ralph

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Was thinking that I might take out the house and repaint whir or metallic silver better brightness

Post# 965896 , Reply# 47   11/4/2017 at 00:05 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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I did that with the added turn signals on the front and rear of the GMC.  I painted the insides silver.  It helped a little, but the lenses themselves are the rounded cone shaped running lights intended for night use so they still don't light up well when it's sunny.


I've been looking for old school add-on turn signal assemblies with flat lenses, but haven't found any yet that will work without a lot of modification.


And P.S.


I'm down with your partner.  What's not sexy about a man on his back while working under a car?

Post# 965900 , Reply# 48   11/4/2017 at 00:23 by diesirae7 (Illinois)        
Vacuum antenna

When you mentioned radio and vacuum, made me think of my 1954 Cadillac Fleetwood radio. The antenna is vacuum powered, a vacuum switch is built into the volume knob, push in to raise the antenna and pull out to lower it. Amazing what they did with vacuum power in those days.

Post# 965904 , Reply# 49   11/4/2017 at 00:28 by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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Thanks for posting those photos and emailing me same.

As I discussed, as I recall the components of interest are soldered on the opposite side of the circuit board from the tubes. So the radio would have to be further disassembled to reveal the "goodies".

However it's also been about 23 years since I worked on my '50 radio, and while I seem to recall the capacitors and resistor were tucked away underneath, I can't be 100% sure of that until either you or I pull our radios and do some wrenching.

I also have a schematic, but when I got mine some years after the radio was updated and put back in the dash. And I'm not positive the schematic I have is for the right radio.

I might be able to pull my radio this weekend to check out the particulars.

Post# 965905 , Reply# 50   11/4/2017 at 01:09 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

rp2813's profile picture

I think our '57 Lincoln had a vacuum operated antenna. 


It was a beautiful car, but also the world's biggest lemon.  Every major component imaginable failed at least once.  My dad bought that car a couple of times over.  If the antenna ever worked, it didn't do so for long.

Post# 965943 , Reply# 51   11/4/2017 at 08:35 by kenwashesmonday (Haledon, NJ)        

At the cab company where I worked we had a fleet of aging Checker cabs. When the light bulb sockets got tired and no longer contacted the tips of the bulbs well, they would add a little blob of solder to the contacts on the base of the bulbs.

Post# 966247 , Reply# 52   11/5/2017 at 18:17 by Stan (Napa CA)        

stan's profile picture
If it helped "a little" I'll take that.
Ken. Thanks for the tip.
Rich. Here's some pics of the radio out.. looks like the front cover can be removed to begin access to where your trying to get.
5.5mm socket seems to fit the best, your application may be different? If you go that far, post some pics!
I also decided to service the defroster motor (was laying there anyway) but noticed how heavy it was.. Decided to weigh it and this little guy weighs 2 and 1/2 lbs
It's back in, and running good.

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 3         View Full Size
Post# 966328 , Reply# 53   11/6/2017 at 01:41 by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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I wound up fighting a sore throat/cold most of the weekend, lots of sleeping, and didn't get around to pulling the car radio.

Nothing on a '50 Plymouth would be metric, however, 5.5 mm works out to about .217 inches, which in turn would be close to 7/32 (.218). Generally fasteners are made slightly smaller than nominal, and sockets and wrenches are made slight larger than nominal. Your socket set may not have the 7/32 size, but it's a good idea to have a 1/4" set that covers that range as well.

My defroster motor stopped working last winter (when I actually needed it). Turned out the ground wire needed to be relocated, and more firmly attached, after which it resumed normal operation. Yes, like most components on that car, it's heavy, but that it's lasted 57 years should tell you something. Chrysler tended to put the same accessory components (other than obvious differences like engines etc) on their smallest cars (Plymouth) as on their biggest cars (Chrysler), which means the smaller Plymouths got quite a reputation for reliability, since their accessories were somewhat overbuilt. Unlike later years when small often meant cheaper, lighter, and flimsier all round.

Post# 966468 , Reply# 54   11/6/2017 at 19:44 by Stan (Napa CA)        
You could try

stan's profile picture
the 7/'s what I reached for first, but oddly the 5.5 mm was better for me.
Still trying to get the old girl ready for dark cold and rain. Heater, defroster, and of course the lights

Take care of the sore throat

Post# 966565 , Reply# 55   11/7/2017 at 10:11 by Stan (Napa CA)        

stan's profile picture
BTW where did u move ur ground wire?
Mine is attached the the screw that holds the heater control to the dash.
Do you happen to know where the manufacture intended for it to go?

Post# 966680 , Reply# 56   11/7/2017 at 19:06 by Stan (Napa CA)        

stan's profile picture
got lights working for the time being..
Will tweek later..But wanted to let you know that bulb 81 can be used in place of the 63 with more CP.
Found this by returning the 67s they gave by mistake, for the 63s. The girl at the part store gave me a 81 and said it was 6 volts with higher CP than the 63. Now that I've treid..I may exchange them and switch out 63s for the 81s.
If I do, I want to see if there is a 6 volt dual filament that has a higher CP than the 1158s that serve as tail and brake lights.

Post# 966708 , Reply# 57   11/7/2017 at 21:35 by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

sudsmaster's profile picture

Sorry, the cold medicine seemed to have addled my brain a bit.

The blower that stopped working for me a while ago was the blower motor for the whole heater. It's attached up front near the radiator. Can't remember where I moved it, there were several points to choose from. I think it just got a little loose, and when I rebuilt the engine I repainted everything, and the ground wire was attacked to one of the bolts on the radiator frame - as I recall. I repositioned that wire and made sure it had good contact with bare metal. Did the trick. But that was after I took everything apart, naturally. LOL.

I worked yesterday but overnight the sore throat returned with a vengeance so I stayed home today. Tomorrow is probably 50/50.

I don't recall ever fooling with the defroster blower. Can't even picture it at the moment.

On the 7/32 bolt... I have noticed that the hex heads on fasterners on this car seem to be closer to nominal dimensions than modern fasteners. In other words, sockets and wrenches fit tighter on them than they would on a newer fastener. Which is generally a good thing, as long as one can get the tool on it and off it without having to bang it on.

I'll probably discover what's the best wrench/socket for that fastener when I pull my radio. You might also get a set of calipers and measure across the flats on the hex.

Post# 966810 , Reply# 58   11/8/2017 at 11:13 by Stan (Napa CA)        
Defroster motor

stan's profile picture
Mounts under the dash. Squirrel cage is held on with an Allen screw. Would imagine heater blower is similer, maybe biger These motors don't move a lot of air (like a new car) but as long as the ductwork is as airtight as possible they get the job done. (Just takes longer)
@Rich..You mentioned vacuum gas pump..up thread in relation to the wipers. Can you explain further. Don't think I have such?

  View Full Size
Post# 966842 , Reply# 59   11/8/2017 at 13:33 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

rp2813's profile picture

Hey Stan, thanks for the info on the #81 bulbs.  I'll look into getting a couple for the tail lights on the Jimmy.   It sounds like parts stores carry them from the experience you described.


I looked up a chart that shows the difference between a 63 and 81:

63:  7.0 volt, .63 amp, 3 CP, average life 1,000 hours

81:  6.5 volt, 1.02 amp, 6 CP, average life 500 hours.


I wonder if the 81 would be compatible with the existing wiring.  I also notice that with 12 volt bulbs, they are often rated for 14 volts, which is IIRC what's usually provided while the engine is running and generator is at maximum operation.  I don't know if a 6 volt system kicks up similarly while the engine and generator are running and whether that might blow out a #81.   I guess it couldn't hurt to try.  Seems to me that when all lights are on, it would be unlikely for more than 6 volts to be powering the bulbs.


I don't really need anything brighter for the front parking lamps.  They're almost never used, and the added-on turn signal lamps take the larger base single filament #1129, which seems bright enough.

This post was last edited 11/08/2017 at 14:00
Post# 966901 , Reply# 60   11/8/2017 at 19:25 by Stan (Napa CA)        
Existing wiring

stan's profile picture
Can't see why it wouldn't be compatible ? It's a 6 volt bulb, and used in my case as turn signals, so that they won't be running continually. We'l see. Id really like to get brighter lights for the stop/tail lights,1158 in my case, but may have to live with it, unless I can maybe modify a flashlight reflector to the light assembly or some such mess as that ? LOL

Post# 966934 , Reply# 61   11/8/2017 at 21:41 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

rp2813's profile picture

Stan, yeah, I think I was getting carried away with the wiring thing.  I had occasion this afternoon to talk with a guy who specializes in auto electrical work, including vintage.  He said he saw no problem with switching out a 63 for an 81.


For adding a reflective surface in your tail, parking and/or signal lamp assemblies, before you buy paint, try one of those shiny metallic pleated baking cups (for cupcakes).   I've read on an old car forum that they're quite effective.

Post# 966941 , Reply# 62   11/8/2017 at 22:15 by Stan (Napa CA)        

stan's profile picture
Certainly worth a try, can't hurt!
I might be getting carried away too, with my thoughts of cannibalizing flashlights! LOL

Post# 966954 , Reply# 63   11/8/2017 at 23:39 by Supersuds (Knoxville, Tenn.)        
Vaccum fuel pump

supersuds's profile picture
Stan, AC (and maybe others) made a double diaphragm fuel pump that helped provide a vacuum boost to the wipers when the car was pulling hard and the manifold vacuum was low. I never had a car with one, but I've heard it was a poor substitute for electric wipers, though better than nothing.

Post# 967081 , Reply# 64   11/9/2017 at 20:34 by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

sudsmaster's profile picture

The vacuum gas pump combo can be identified by having two lines coming off it. One is a line from the lower part carrying gasoline to the carburetor, the other is a line from the upper part to the vacuum wiper circuit. It's supposed to add vacuum power at times when the intake manifold has low vacuum (such as low speed uphill open throttle). I'll have to take another look at how it's plumbed in.

When I rebuilt the motor in the 90's, I also rebuilt the gas/vac pump. The gas pump works fine, but I think the vacuum part may need some attention, since the wipers can slow down quite a bit uphill. I could probably service it without removing it, but to do anything one must jack up the passenger side the car, remove the front wheel, remove a splash shield, and remove a heat shield over the combo pump. I need to replace the exhaust manifold gasket anyway so I'll probably combine those two repairs when I get a round toit.

This post was last edited 11/10/2017 at 01:44
Post# 967939 , Reply# 65   11/14/2017 at 16:25 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

rp2813's profile picture

I got a few #81 bulbs through NAPA.  They make quite a difference.


I took the attached picture after switching out only the left tail lamp.  This was in a shaded area during the day, and you can easily see the difference with the left lens (81 bulb) being fully lit while only the bottom half of the right lens (63 bulb) is lit.  These lamp assemblies hold two separate bulbs -- one for stop and the other for tail.  The tail bulbs are at the very bottom of the assembly and the stop lamps are pretty much right behind the round portion in the center of the lens.  This is why only the bottom half is lit on the right.


At night the entire lens will light up, even with a 63 bulb, but the 81 is twice as bright and brings the illumination up to more modern standards.   This should provide a major improvement on your Plymouth.

  View Full Size
Post# 967944 , Reply# 66   11/14/2017 at 16:52 by ovrphil (N.Atlanta / Georgia )        

ovrphil's profile picture
..interesting thread that I haven't finished reading, but ...I just inherited some old parts. One is an unused Motorola 2N176 Transistor with a date marking of 152 (1951, the 52nd week).

The link below was also helpful...and within a week, this thread appears.

Thanks for putting this out, Stan -cool old radio and new to my eyes. Tubes!


  View Full Size
Post# 967967 , Reply# 67   11/14/2017 at 20:14 by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

sudsmaster's profile picture
One thing: Most LED lights (bare bones) will run on 6 volts just fine. I added some small blue lenses to the tail-lights on my 50. They fit perfectly into hole that the unlighted red reflector once resided. I added a white LED behind each one, and they glow dimly (back in the 90's, bare bones LED bulbs were relatively low power/lumens. I could probably revisit that and put in more powerful LED's today. But I kind of like the subtle purple glow they give at night.

Post# 967996 , Reply# 68   11/14/2017 at 22:30 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

rp2813's profile picture

Rich, those blue dot lenses are popular among customizers.  I do tend to see them on GM cars more than other makes.  I don't know what their purpose is, but I do notice when I come up behind a car with blue dots, the lens appears to light up pink.


This is the best example I've found (on a '56 Chevy):


Image result for blue dot tail lights


They make the type that would fit on my truck, but the only custom thing about that beast is its patina.  Plain red is fine.  I ordered glass lenses but they're way too dark.  Even with an 81 tail lamp bulb they'd be insufficient, and when stopping, only the round section in the center lights up.  I'm sticking with plastic, and with those the entire lens also serves as a reflector.


Image result for blue dot tail lights

Post# 967997 , Reply# 69   11/14/2017 at 22:36 by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

sudsmaster's profile picture
Well, Ralph I know the blue dot lenses are very popular with hot rodders. They are also marginally illegal, since only law enforcement vehicles are supposed to display blue lights to the rear. While I've never had a cop pull me over in the Plymouth, it is a reason why I haven't been too anxious to add more illumination to the blue dots.

Come to think of it, I didn't use LED's behind the blue dots after all. Just 6 volt wheat bulbs. I've *thought* of going the LED route, but it would't be quite vintage, would it?

Post# 968205 , Reply# 70   11/15/2017 at 19:52 by Stan (Napa CA)        

stan's profile picture
Glad the 81s worked for you.
Sounds like you have a different set up the me, and looks like you don't have turn signals on the back?
The 81s (formerly 63s) serve as turn signal for front and back on mine, and 1158s serve as tail/stop lights. The 81s will serve as running lights on the front (but haven't figured out why their not working..yet)
The women at NAPA looked to see if she could find a 6volt dual filiment bulb with more CP that would replace the 1158s but no luck.
So I'm going to try the cupcake liner next. I'll see if it helps. LOL

Thank for the info about the gas pump. Mine has been changed to a 6 volt elecric fuel pump.
Have you pull your radio yet? Also I'm curious to know if you have replaced your front or rear windshield gasket on your 50.
Its something that I need to do on mine, and wondering what I might be getting myself into.

Post# 968228 , Reply# 71   11/15/2017 at 20:44 by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

sudsmaster's profile picture

Havn't pulled the radio yet. It's on my list.

No I didn't replace the front/rear glass gaskets. Although they look easier than on most cars, since I'm guessing the interior fake wood molding actually holds the glass in place against the gasket (That is, squeezes the gasket over the glass). I suppose it's in the service manual.

About seven years ago when for some reason I was leaving the car exposed in the rain, I noticed the windshield was seeping water. A little silicone sparingly applied seemed to resolve that. But eventually it will need a new gasket, I'm sure.

All this discussion about bulbs makes me wonder what's in there. I remember getting 6 volt bulbs at Grand Auto or Kragen back in the 90's . Grand Auto is gone, now there's Auto Zone. No idea what numbers went where, but they all work pretty good.

Post# 968229 , Reply# 72   11/15/2017 at 20:46 by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

sudsmaster's profile picture
Oh, by the way. When I rebuilt the Plymouth radio, the tuning pointer fell off. I scrounged around and finally found that a little red tube from a spray can fit pretty well, so that's what's in there now.

Post# 968259 , Reply# 73   11/15/2017 at 23:54 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

rp2813's profile picture

Stan, my truck has after-market turn signals.  The rear ones are mounted up near the top of the tailgate and the front are on the flat area behind the front bumper.   They use a single filament bulb, and I have 1129 types, which are rated at 21 CP, in all of them.  I think 21 CP is common for 6 volt stop and signal applications.


If you're using 81s for your turn signals, I can see how those would still be dim, particularly during the day.   The 1129 is more than three times brighter than an 81, and seven times brighter than a 63.


When I had the set of after market tail lamps on the truck, they took a dual filament bulb with the same specs as the 1158, but with offset posts on the side of the bulb (1154).  They lit up well.   I guess the purpose of offset posts is to prevent the reversal of stop and tail filaments.



Post# 968804 , Reply# 74   11/18/2017 at 19:08 by Stan (Napa CA)        
Thanks Ralph

stan's profile picture
So.. You think I should try the 1129 for my signals? Just got the 81s that are better than I had.. But if 1129 will show up better during the day I'll try em. My posts are not off set?
Rich, I have to change the gaskets cuz they both leak. It's the rear window that causes me to pause.. The molding is more comlpex, and the glass is curved.. If I broke it, it'd be much hard to find another, where as the fronts are just two flats.
Guess this thread should have been titled "pre 12 volt cars"

Post# 968841 , Reply# 75   11/18/2017 at 22:59 by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

rp2813's profile picture

Stan, it just occurred to me that if your signal assemblies use 81s, the 1129 won't fit.  The 1129 base is larger.  It seems odd to me though, that Plymouth would have thought 3 CP (63) was adequate for a turn signal. 


Per NAPA's site, front and rear signals on a '50 Plymouth use 1158s.  Do you have more than one socket behind front and rear lenses?  I don't know why there would be, as one 1158 should serve as stop/tail/signal/parking on the rear, and signal/parking up front.  I'm puzzled about how a 63 or 81 comes into play.  If you can, post a couple of pictures here of what's behind front and rear lenses.   Otherwise, maybe Rich can share what's on his car.


Also, on a chart I checked, I noticed that modern 12 volt dual filament stop and tail bulbs aren't any brighter than a 6 volt 1158.  It seems 3 CP is standard across both voltages for tail lamps, and 21 CP or thereabouts for stop/signal. 

This post was last edited 11/19/2017 at 00:19
Post# 968848 , Reply# 76   11/18/2017 at 23:40 by Norgeway (mocksville n c )        
Re. Vacuum wipers

I'm surprised it doesn't have electric wipers. I thought all. Chrysler products did after 48. My 53 Plymouth did and my 53. Imperial had 2 speed electrics

Post# 968864 , Reply# 77   11/19/2017 at 03:34 by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

sudsmaster's profile picture
Technically the Plymouth is a Chrysler "product", but as with other advances, electric wipers hadn't trickled down to the smallest of the Chrysler product lineup by 1950. Similar for automatic transmissions - the Plymouths came only with manual transmissions. Which probably was a good thing, since what Chrysler had in 1950 was a hybrid manual trans with a fluid coupling called "Fluid Drive". Also known as a slush-o-matic.

From Wikipedia:

"Fluid Drive is the trademarked name that Chrysler Corporation assigned to a transmission driveline combination which replaced the flywheel with a hydraulic coupling inserted in and performed the same function as a modern torque converter, only without torque multiplication. A conventional clutch and three- or four-speed manual transmission was installed behind the fluid coupling. Fluid drive was used in many military vehicles produced for the US Armed Forces during the Second World War. It was offered for civilian use from 1939 through 1953 in Chryslers, 1940 through 1953 in DeSotos, and from 1941 through 1954 in Dodge models; a semi-automatic system was optional from Chrysler and Desoto from 1941, and for Dodge from 1949"

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