I very recently acquired a one-owner, two door 1960 Desoto Adventurer from my aunt. The car was purchased new by my uncle and has just over 56,000 original miles. She's been sitting in storage, being run minimally, since 1976. All in all, she looks pretty good and has potential to be a great car. Its 100% original, black with that great white, red and black interior. I can remember my uncle and aunt going out in the car when I was young. As kids we always called it the Bat Mobile because of he gloss black paint and killer fins - much like the car of TV show fame.
After moving her by trailer from PA to NC and sliding her into the garage, it was time to get her running again. My uncle drained the fuel years ago and the tank was bone dry until I fed a gallon or so of fuel into it. On trying to start her, I quickly found there was no fuel getting to the carb. I replaced the fuel pump and dismantled the original - a pretty cool looking piece of machinery in its own right - with an Advance Auto replacement that looks pretty cheap but I'm sure will help me work towards getting her back on the road. I'm really inclined to buying the kit to rebuild the original just to keep the car as stock and original as possible. The diaphragm in the original was torn almost entirely around from the inner metal plate on it. Unfortunately, still no fuel to the carb. Dumping a bit down the throat of the carb had her running silky smooth but only in short spurts.
Dropping the tank seemed the logical thing to do was a true breeze. To say that Desoto was thinking way ahead of its time, is an understatement! Draining the tank was amazingly easy with the 7/32 Allen head drain plug that came out with little effort. The fuel that drained out was a bit brownish in color, indicating some level of varnishing within the tank but no rust particles could be found in the fuel or in the bottom of the drain pan I used to catch it. The rubber gasket on the drain plug has seen better days and will be replaced. Likewise, the grommet in the floor of the trunk for the gauge wire goes through will also be replaced. I want to ensure there's no problems running her and had noticed a very little of bit of surface rust in the filler neck, so maybe there's some clogging the lines. The nuts came off the j-hooks/bolts pretty easily and the straps look in great condition, with almost no surface corrosion at all. I plan on running a scope into the tank to see what secrets the dark recesses of it hold. I hope I can find a reputable radiator shop to boil the tank out, instead of buying a reproduction. I haven't removed the sending unit yet, but I'm not holding out too much hope that it won't need replaced - a small price to pay for a working gas gauge. While the tank is out, I'll blow out the fuel line to make sure there's no old crud waiting in there to clog the inline filter my uncle installed.
I hope to have the tank back in very soon and the engine running with the car's internal fuel system in the very near future. Until that happens, a boat fuel tank sitting on a plastic crate next to her will probably be used for engine tuning. After the tank's back in, she'll get a much needed and deserved wash and buff before photos are taken to be sent it to share my new acquisition with the members here.
I'm open to any and all advice anyone can offer, so please don't hold back.
Posted 2019-08-11 4:35 PM (#585872 - in reply to #585869) Subject: Re: 1960 Adventurer Fuel Tank Removal
Location: northern germany
I would have removed the sending unit first. Chances are the sending units filter (still available new) ist gummed up and I would have checked if the lines to the front are not clogged or leaking. A vacuum leak will not necessarily make the fuel line leak fuel. Don't worry about the sending unit, they are simple, reliable and repairable. Post some pics!!!
Posted 2019-08-12 10:41 AM (#585899 - in reply to #585869) Subject: Re: 1960 Adventurer Fuel Tank Removal
Thanks for the welcome. Its greatly appreciated.
After the heat and humidity dissipated a bit yesterday evening, I pulled the sending unit from the tank. UGGH! The muck that was in the bottom of it was about a 1/2" thick and mud-like. The sending unit is shot, with the arm for the float being completely dissolved about 6" from the float which was found floating around separately. The pick-up was so fouled nothing was ever going to get through it. I flushed the tank with a bunch of Dawn and water. The muck flowed liberally from the filler and sending unit access when the tank was tipped up. A shop vac made the final cleanup of it pretty complete. Still I'm not sure its worth the hassle to try to salvage it, even though I'd love to keep everything as stock and original as possible.
I called a few radiator shops this morning looking for a quote on getting the tank boiled. I found it to be anywhere from $175 - $200. With a new (reproduction) tank running at $269, it looks like its the wiser way to go. I found a source for the sending unit at $124 but am definitely open to opinions on reputable vendors with whom others have done business. I really don't $400 to get the old girl back into running shape is too bad. Its a start!
Pics will be posted as soon as she is running and can move from the garage on her own power. She's not perfect but she is very complete and sound.
Posted 2019-08-13 2:09 PM (#585967 - in reply to #585869) Subject: Re: 1960 Adventurer Fuel Tank Removal
I learned a boatload today about fuel tanks for the 1960-1961 Desotos. I contacted Vans Auto Affordable Restoration Parts in Waupun, WI and spoke with a great member of the staff there named Duane. Duane informed me that they are the company from which others are buying their tanks. He also informed me that the only difference between the tanks for the 1960 and 1961 models is a 1/2" difference in the length of the filler neck. According to Duane, the tank for the 1961 will bolt up just like the original (1960) tank. That 1/2" shorter filler neck won't even be noticeable behind the license plate.
I hope what Duane was able to share with me will help someone else, too. I'm now looking forward to getting my Desoto back on the road and enjoying drives in a true American classic.
Posted 2019-08-13 3:21 PM (#585968 - in reply to #585869) Subject: Re: 1960 Adventurer Fuel Tank Removal
Location: northern germany
Forgot (a bit late), remove and install the sending units lock ring with a copper tool or something that can't produce sparks. Also keep in mind that most of the repro fuel tanks are the smaller units, I believe 20 gallons, while the 122"+ wheelbase cars, like your Desoto, has the larger 22 Gallon tank.
Posted 2019-10-08 6:42 PM (#588587 - in reply to #585869) Subject: Re: 1960 Adventurer Fuel Tank Removal
Location: Ramona, CA
As for your fuel pump, I had to rebuild the one on my 300F after I started driving it. The car hadn't been driven much over the years and the modern gas did a number on the pump and all the hoses. They have kits with modern rubber. Haven't had a problem with it since and I prefer the original pump.