Spare Parts Storage

I have an older car, a 1947 Plymouth P15 Special Deluxe Convertible. I’m putting together spare parts to keep in a box in the trunk, against roadside emergencies. Spare generator, starter, distributor, fuel pump, v-belt, etc. So, two questions . . .

Any suggestions for ‘must have’ spares for the road?

How do I store a used fuel pump to preserve the diaphragm? It’s a late model unit, so should not be troubled by the alcohol in today’s fuels, but I’m thinking that without fuel on one side and oil on the other, the diaphragm may dry out . . .



I’m not sure you need to carry a spare starter or generator. It is easy to push start the Plymouth and there is no computer to stop functioning if the generator goes out. I don’t think the entire distributor would fail. Carry the v-belt, ignition pointts and condenser and possibly a fuel pump.

I would think keeping any parts with rubber components sealed in bags (Zip lock?) would keep out the ozone that degrades them.

Why store it? Why not just go ahead and change or rebuild anything that might be subject to deterioration over time, anything with elastomers or diaphragms? The absolute most critical parts would be anything related to the braking system. Cars were equipped with hydraulic brakes by '47, so I’ll bet you have some work ahead of you getting those in shape.

And you may want to evaluate the condition of the wiring insulation too.

The only “emergency parts” you really need to carry are an auto club card and a cell phone.

A little more history. Between dad and I, we’ve had this car since 1974. It’s always been garaged and driven off and on over the years; sat the last several. It’s time to get it out and do some driving and some cross-country hops would be fun. I’m wanting to be able to get on the road and not have to worry about parts I can’t walk into the parts store for. I’ve got the spares, so it’s little extra cost to carry them.

@Triedaq - It CAN be push started, but I don’t want to be a long ways from home and possibly have to do that for the remainder of a trip. I’ve had the bendix go out; sometimes you can thump it and carry on, sometimes it’s just dead. Driving at night without the generator is a short hop before you’re done.

@texasses - I was thinking along those lines for the fuel pump . . . wondered about spraying anything on the diaphragm to prevent drying out.

@the same mountainbike - Short answer, I’ve just dropped a new pump in, when it turns out the old one was still O.K. I need to store one, either in the trunk, or on the shelf. Brakes shoes and cylinders were replaced not horribly long ago and brake fluid replaced with synthetic, so that should help with extending the brake life. You hit the nail on the head with wiring. That’s one of the big jobs I’m going to have to tackle sometime. Along with all the rubber molding in the car. It’s all just a matter of time and money.

An auto club card and cell phone will get me out of an immediate jam, but may not let me finish a drive.

Thanks for reading my post!


If you haven’t already, look into one of the classic car insurances.
They are way cheaper than regular insurance, pay the agreed value and also give you free towing, should you ever need it.

Here’s a good site for P15/D24 vehicles:
It has been a wealth of info for me, having a 52 Dodge.

Yeah I kind of agree on the starter and generator but if it makes you feel better. What’s that waxed paper? Maybe wrap it in that and seal in plastic bags. On my 200 mile trip home from school one night with my 59 Pontiac, the generator went out. I got about half way and the lights were pretty dim. I just stopped at a truck stop and had the battery charged and a hamburger. They were getting dim again after the last 100 miles but how far from home are you really going to go in a '47?

Seems like a good idea to me. If the generator goes out, you can still drive the car, but eventually the battery will die, so it’s worth keeping a spare generator with you. If you are out in the boondocks it will be hard to find those parts and you’ll be delayed a day or two waiting, so you are on top of it.

I told a story here about my alternator which. The old one was going out, Icould tell from the intermittant blinking of the “idiot light”, but I was a student and had very little money so I had to get the entire life out of the old alternator first. I bought a new (rebuilt) one and put it in the trunk along w/the necessary tools and old work clothes. When the old one finally gave up the ghost, I pulled over to the side of the road and installed the new one! And away I went. I gave the old one to my brother, and he rebuilt it and sold it at a flea market and we split the sale between us. I used that dough to partially fund the price of textbooks for the next quarter. When there’s a will there’s a way I guess.

Spare battery.

Cross-country hops in a '47 Plymouth…To each his own…

Possible problem areas…

Brake hydraulic system including flex lines.
Wheel Bearings
Water Pump and coolant hoses.
The distributor and all it’s internal parts…

Stay off the interstates…