Information On Your Imperial's Trunk

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Question from Rex (trunk release history):

I have an historical question regarding an Imperial accessory. When was an electric or vacuum trunk opener first offered as a factory installed option on Imperial? I would like to add this option to my 1960 as I drive to and from the airport a good bit, and it is very nice to pop the trunk without turning the car off. I am hoping that an opener from a slightly later model (61, 62 or 63) would fit my car. Any answers or suggestions about be appreciated.


From Tony:

I know that this option was available on '63 models. A friend of mine has one with a trunk opener fitted. I am sure a retro-fit would be possible. My memory is bit hazy but I believe the unit was electrically operated.

From Paul:

I really thought that the first year it is was offered from the factory was on 1964 models. I don't remember seeing it in my 1963 sales literature, although I will admit my memory isn't what it used to be. I'll have to take a look in my '63 to see if it is referenced in the owners manual. If it is there I will stand corrected.

I know that dealers were able to add many things that the factory didn't offer. Potential buyers would often trade in their Cadillac or Lincoln and want a single feature that Imperial didn't yet have.

My '55 Imperial has an "Autronic Eye" which was used to automatically dim the high beams when an oncoming car was approaching. This accessory is installed so absolutely perfectly, that it would have to have been done when the car was new. I am certain that it was not available as an option, and was probably added by the dealer, or I would assume if you paid enough money, Chrysler might have installed it before the car left the factory. Even the wiring and connectors match the rest of the car.

Question from Allan (Flitesweep option):

As the official "old Mopar resource" for local 20 something's - I was embarrassed by my lack of knowledge about the Flitesweep decklid option. I was quite sure that it was definitely offered 1957 - 1959. The direct question was "when did they actually make that cool trunk lid?" So - membership, was this option offered through 1963? Was it continuous 1957 - 1963? Please help me maintain my "Mopar guru status."


From Bill:

I know the Flitesweep deck lid was an option from 1957 through 1961, but I get a little hazy as to if it was also offered in 1962 and 1963. I've never seen a '62 or '63 with a Flitesweep deck lid. I checked the year by year section of the club site, and found no pictures of the lid on the 1962 page, so I assume it was either no longer available, or not as popular an option.

From Elijah:

That "cool trunk lid" was available on the Imperial from 1957 through 1961, and again for 1963. The actual designs vary by year.

The Flitesweep decklid was NOT available for the 1962 Imperial, but you'll often see '62s with it anyway. Usually these are decklids that have been "borrowed" from '61 or '63 Imperials.

Question from Charles (1957):

On my new ('57 Imperial) the trunk won't stay up by itself. Do you have any ideas?

Reply from Philippe:

There is an adjustement on the 2 torsion bars: 3 elongated holes. The solution is to remove the bar from the hole and put in another. With the weight of the trunk it's very difficult. You must support the trunk when you adjust it. And beware, the torsion bar can easily jerk and cause injuries!

Question from Clay (1960):

Would anyone know a current bulb number that would work for a trunk light bulb?  My knowledge at troubleshooting electrical problems is proven again. The reason the trunk light doesn't work on my '60 Custom is because there isn't a bulb in the socket.

Reply from Tom:

I just changed my bulb in the trunk of a '62 Imperial and I used a GE1003 bulb that I bought at ACE Hardware.

Question from Bob (1962):

I'm looking for a specific rubber gasket for the '62 Imperial. This is the trunk spear gasket; it's about 3" long by 1-3/8", and fits under the latch end of the trunk spear, and is shaped like a capital "D", elongated.

This gasket is exclusive to the '62. The trunk lid is without the flight-sweep deck option.

I am looking for a re-manufactured gasket, as all the originals are brittle and are easily damaged during removal of the trunk spear. Andy Bernbaum (Massachusetts) says he could make the part, but has no interest in doing so, as demand is low. Gary Goers doesn't list it in his catalog, and I probably won't live long enough to ever see the part if I did order through him.

Reply from Paul:

The gasket is not currently being reproduced. I went through a detailed search last summer and finally decided to make one myself. I combined the best of two old originals that I had to make one. Yes, it is brittle, and no, it isn't perfect, but it works.

FYI, there was no Flightsweep Deck Lid option in '62. Due to popular demand, however, it was back in '63. '62 Imperials that are equipped this way either had it done by the dealer, or it was added later by a subsequent owner. The '62s that I have seen with it all seem to have the '61 version of it, although I think '60 and '63 would also fit.

I wonder if anyone truly asked for that in '62 and complained that it wasn't available anymore, or if Chrysler simply decided to use up their stocks before discontinuing the body style altogether. Interesting!

Question from Rodger (1963):

I have a '63 Le Baron with the OEM Flight Sweep trunk lid and the OEM electric release. My question to all that have this option is, what do you have located in the center of the ring?

Reply from John:

There is a plastic medallion located in the center. Repros are available from Emblemagic. You can go to their website to see a photo of it. You'll also notice that the 60 & 63 medallion are nearly the same except the ridges in the plastic & some of the coloring. Either one will fit, since everything else is the same on both years.

Question from Greg (1965):

By late summer, I hope my '65 Crown convert. (Sequoia Green Metallic) will be headed to the upholsterer. He will be installing the beautiful leather seat covers (Patrician Gold) Gary Goers crafted as well as the carpet and top. The carpet is sort of caramel color and the top is Sierra Sand (correctly grained). I have researched this color combination and according to Chrysler records, they were all available together as a body/interior/top color choice. My question is what color should the well liner be behind the rear seat? My car originally had a black top and the well liner was black. I do not care for the black top with the dark green ext. color so I opted for Sierra Sand. I really would like to do this part of the restoration correctly but am in a quandary as to the correct well liner color with the combination I have chosen. Should the liner be Patrician Gold vinyl or Sierra Sand vinyl or just plain ole black? Any suggestions?


From Chuck:

I have had a number of convertibles from all manufacturers and in a number of body and top colors and, without exception, all top wells have been black. I have also observed any number of convertibles owned by others and their top wells have also all been black. This would lead me to believe that they are not made in any other color. Wells of a different color were possibly done as a "custom" touch by their owners. However, the bottom line is that it's your car so do what pleases you.

From Mark:

I'm not the expert, but I think the well liner was the same color as the top. Hopefully, someone else will know more definitively.

From Dick:

I have had several different convertibles including Mopars and the well liners have always been the color of the top.

From Chris:

Yours is a very good question - one I have no answer to. But one I would like to know.

My suspicions are that it was always black. I only say that because that is the only color I have ever seen on a Mopar, and black is also good at visually minimizing the appearance of the empty top well and top mechanics visible through the back window. A light color would only highlight it

From Jeff:

I do not have a '65 but I have a white with blue top '66, a Forest Green with black top '66 and a Gold with black top and all 3 of them have a black boot. So, I would guess black like Chris suggests.

Question from Don (1967):

I'm finishing up refurbishing of my trunk on my '67. I purchased from Gary Goers new rubber bumpers with "pull through" type protrusions to go through clearance holes in my trunk lid. Try as I might I have not been able to assemble these by pushing them (no access to pull these protrusions through). Lackiing a special tool which I suppose would aid in pushing these on, how have others assembled these?


From Elijah:

I've always had good results using a very small slotted screwdriver to gently ease the tabs through the holes. Obviously, you have to be careful not to damage the rubber, but with a little time and patience, you should be able to get them in there.

From Dick:

Use a little silicon grease on these (and any other rubber products you are trying to work with, including keeping weather-stripping in good shape). Then push the rubber buttons through using a very rounded off, dull small regular screwdriver. Be sure it is really rounded off, so that you don't cut the rubber. The silicon grease not only preserves the rubber, it stops any noise from motion at that location, and it makes the rubber slip though holes that you would think are impossibly small.

Silicon grease is available at NAPA stores, and probably other auto parts places. Keep a tube on hand!

From Bob:

I've had some success by using a small, thin (but blunted) flat screwdriver pushing just under the "lip" of the portion that inserts into the hole. You have to make sure the screwdriver is dull, otherwise you'll slice part of the end off. I use an old small screwdriver I blunted for just this purpose. A cut down ("v" shaped") popsicle stick might also be used.

Also, like Elijah recommended, use a touch of rubber lube.

Question from Marc (1967):

My car has developed a !@X&$#$ trunk leak I have isolated it to the area around the passenger side rear area in the vicinity of the tail light. It leaks while the car sits in its covered stall and the rain blows in. The rubber gasket is in perfect shape and the water comes in in copious amounts. Anybody have an idea where the weakness might be in this ' 67 coupe ? The guy who worked on my brake lights took the rear lenses off in the process. HELP


From Phil:

It may be time again to do the old newspaper in the flange trick. If you can shut the trunk on the newspaper and still move it, you've found the area where the flange gasket isn't sealing. This is usually caused by something being dropped, like the spare tire, onto the flange and bending it slightly. This causes the gasket not to seal as tightly as it should. Yet it is usually very hard to see just by looking, that anything has changed. I'm not sure how similar the 67 is to my 68, but check any places where bolts protrude into the trunk as well. The factory often uses some sort of material as a seal, maybe some simple caulking would do the job. But I've just got a feeling that the trunk flange is bent down somewhere, it's really hard to see until you start looking for it. A few whacks upward with a big rubber hammer, or a big hammer with a piece of wood for cushion, will usually do the job, good luck!

From William:

Since the Imperial's trunk is cavernous anyway, have someone shut you up inside of it with a flashlight and spray some water on the car. That is a body man's trick.

From Joe:

I would suggest having someone close you in the trunk (someone you trust) and let your eyes adjust and look for where the light shines through. A strong flashlight aimed in the area will help too. If it's coming in a lot, it ought to be easy to spot the opening.

From Roger:

I'd look to the taillight assembly.

Question from Demetrios (1968):

I am having problems figuring out what is wrong with my trunk release. Should it work with the engine on and off? Also, has anyone added a modern trunk release mechanism to their Imperial?


From Bill:

I have several 1968 Imperials with the vacuum trunk release, it will work with the engine and key off, but only about two or three times, before you must start the engine to build up more vacuum. If you know you are going to open the trunk, do it before you shut off the engine, then you have a reserve of vacuum in case you need to open the trunk several times without starting the engine again.

From Carl:

I have added an aftermarket trunk opener and I love it. I just added a power trunkrelease to my car, it just bolted right in. The powerbucket is also great although it took some blood, sweat and tears to figure out taht reliable operation needed a good ground. The remote trunkrelease was a lifesaver, I typically get in, start the car, then I need to kill the car to use the key to open the trunk for stowing the carcover. Now I don't have to, a little switch and "thunk" the trunk pops open. There might be a vacuum tank under the passenger front wheelwell.. and it probably leaks if you don't have vacuum with the engine off.

From Chris:

It should indeed work regardless of key position as it is a purely vacuum-operated system with no electrical elements. The system runs off the intake manifold (no surprise there), and there is an accumulator tank about the size of a soup can that I am pretty sure is up under the inner fender lip at the right front corner of the engine compartment (symmetrically opposite the windshield washer reservoir). The tubes run over the right front fender arch, across the firewall (with one of the tubes heading down to the back of the intake manifold and then routing back to the firewall. They then travel through different openings through the firewall into the cabin and to the trunk button in the glovebox, then under the dash pad and along the driver-side rocker panel. From there, they follow the left trunk hinge and go across the trunk lid to the release diaphragm. A leak anywhere in all that rubber hose could cause the accumulator to lose its "charge" quickly after the engine is shut off, as could a leaking accumulator or a leaking diaphragm. Chances are you have a very small leak somewhere since the system works with the engine running. A major leak could also cause a rough idle just like any other big vacuum leak. I am fortunate that mine holds a charge for months on end. Once I used it about twenty times with the engine off before it stopped working, and then all it took was a brief run of the engine to restore its function. The ambition and disassembly it would require to troubleshoot all the hoses and such is probably not worth the effort if you can live happily with it working only while the engine is running. Then again, it might be worth inspecting the hoses at the more obvious and visible places, like near the trunk hinge where the hose has to flex every time the trunk lid is opened. By the way, it's covered in the Body and Frame section of the FSM, and with pretty good pictures. The text in my '67 manual says that the accumulator is mounted at the rear of the engine but the diagram pretty clearly shows it where I described it. If you'd like, I'll take a look at my car this week and report back.

From John:

What's really surprising is that the '63-'66 Imperial trunk release is in fact electric. The later ones such as on my '69 are vacuum.

On the '69, its on the passenger side inner fender. Its basicly a tin can with 2 vacuum hoses connected to it. When I got my car, it had a small hole in the can as well as one of the lines had come loose from the switch in the glove box. My car also had a rough idle & stalling as well. Fixing this, as well as a couple of other vacuum lines smothed things out.

From Dick:

Yes, there is an accumulator. I've noticed my 67's trunk release still works when I haven't run the car for months! I believe the accumulator is behind the right front headlight, between the front inner panel (AKA core support) and the right front inner fender. Your car must have a vacuum leak in the system , and it must be either in the accumulator (including its check valve), the trunk release valve itself, or (most likely), in the hose between them. The hose from the intake manifold to the accumulator, and the hose from the glovebox valve to the rear of the car cannot be the culprit, as this would not "drain" the accumulator. (Quotation marks due to the fact we are talking about vacuum here, thus the leak is really filling the accumulator with air, not "draining" it of vacuum).

From Peter:

My '70 LeBaron has two plastic vacuum reservoirs with check valves. Both are located on the back side of the radiator support, passenger side. One keeps the trunk release system happy; the other is for the Auto-Temp system. Vacuum source hoses come off a fitting at the back of the intake manifold, run along the cowl, then over the passenger side inner fender to the reservoirs. Vacuum lines then reverse direction and head back over the inner fender and pass through the firewall grommets. Your car may use the juice can reservoirs. They may be mounted to the inner fender or rad support.

Question from Mark (1971):

I have a '71 LeBaron. Over the past year or so I've noticed that the trunk leaks when it rains bad. If it's a light rain it doesn't seem to; only if it's a heavy rain.

Well, several months back I posted a msg. about this on the IML and someone suggested that I get inside the trunk and have a friend run a hose on the car to see where it's leaking. Today, finally, I got around to doing this. My neighbor, Joe Pesce, was glad to help out. I got in the trunk with a flashlight and had him put the hose at different points around the trunk & roof.

Nothing. Not a drip. The trunk is dry as a bone.

Okay, I was just kidding about my neighbor being Joe Pesce. But I felt a little like a mafia victim lying in the trunk like that! ("Yeah, yeah, we got a little piece of his whatchacallit? His hoof stuck in the grille.") Fortunately he let me out.

Anyway, I'm baffled. The weatherstrip around the trunk is in pretty good shape. It's a little dry but still pliable. I couldn't find any area that leaked. I also couldn't find any obvious areas of rust or leakage underneath. My neighbor thinks that leaves may have clogged the channel around the weatherstrip, causing it to overflow into the trunk, but I'm skeptical of that.

But I just know when it starts raining in about an hour my trunk's going to leak. Any ideas where I should go from here?



From John:


These years often leak around the back window or the lower trim where the vinyl & the paint area come together. My 69 does that when it rains hard. I was at a gas station one time a couple years ago with the 69 & someone stopped to talk to me & told me he used to have a 70 & said one of the main reasons he got rid of it was because of so much water leaking into the trunk. I've also seen these as well as other years collect a lot of condensation under the trunk lid & drip down to leave standing water on the floor of the trunk.


From Jim:

Do a search for Silica gel on "Google".  If the water gathers in a puddle, the silica gel would not solve the problem. If the moisture is condensation it may serve the purpose. I use the bags in my out side storage cars & it works well. Much freight from overseas has the gel in the containers. If you know some one at a company or warehouse that receives over seas shipments, that may be a source.

From Allan:

Sometimes when you direct the hose at the spot, it doesn't act the same as when it is raining. The only way that you might find it is by sticking the hose out a second story window and aiming it down on the car so it acts like rain. Just remember that the leak might not be from the spot you see in the trunk but could actually leak in on the right side and run along the metal until it drips off at the other side of the car. Have patience, you will find it eventually or suffocate yourself by being locked in the trunk for awhile.

From Phil:

I had a similar problem on a fuselage era Chrysler that I used to own, a 73 Newport Custom 4 door hardtop. I had a problem with leaks in the trunk, the trunk seal was in fine shape, and everything else was good. So I went around with a large rubber mallet and a sheet of paper. I stuck the paper in the flange area between the seal and the trunk lid, then shut the lid. I went around and anywhere I found the paper wasn't held tightly, I opened the trunk and gave the lip of the flange, a whack upward. I did this carefully so not to mar paint, but with careful testing for loose spots with the paper, I was able to eliminate the leak. This requires the trunk lip gasket to be in good shape. I later found that my uncle who used to own the car, hauled Christmas trees and several large objects in the trunk, and this may have been what warped the flange originally, even though it was something you couldn't see, just eyeballing it. I expect the same fix would work on a similar year or style Imperial.

From Dick:

If you find the water only after driving in the rain, it is possible that there is an open seam in the underbody that is letting water splash up into the trunk area from one of the rear tires.

You asked what you can do to avoid this sort of problem - can I suggest you consider moving to the southwest? It would certainly be of benefit to your cars.

Repair from Mark:

I think I fixed my leak. It's raining now, so I should know for sure tomorrow AM.

The leak was coming from a single hole in the trunk where the end cap is attached. There are 4 bolts there, arranged in a square pattern on a vertical piece of metal above the taillight. If you look at the 4 holes, it is the upper left hole-- the one at the top, nearest the trunk lid. When I removed the end cap, I noticed that a trail of water was flowing down the top of the fender directly into that hole, and that hole only. It's just a curious result of the way that fender is shaped on the fuselage cars, I guess. It's almost as if there's a "gutter" there from the roof down the fender to the taillight. In a heavy rain,
the water pours off the roof and travels down the gutter into the crack at the top of the end cap, where it goes into that hole.

I have never had a leak on the left side of the trunk, but I was going to gunk that side up too, just in case. But when I looked at it I suddenly realized why it never leaked on that side. The factory had put a big mound of rubbery stuff over that one bolt-- it kind of had the consistency of kneaded rubber, or maybe modeling clay. Evidently, at some point, the engineers realized the possibility of a leak at this point and put a gob of this stuff on there to solve it. (There is also a hole in the lip of metal that forms the bottom of the end cap, so that water can't get trapped in there.)

Before I bought my car, I think it was damaged on the right side near the end cap and whoever did the repair did not bother to put any gunk over the hole on that side.

The fuselage cars have a reputation as being leaky. Having seen the stuff they put around the bolt I feel a little better about the quality of these cars now. The leak was due to later meddling-- not the manufacturer's carelessness.

If any of you have a leaky trunk in your fuselage, check that bolt.

Question from Tony (1971):

My trunk leaks when it rains, it seems the rubber is worn and squished down, where can I get replacement rubber?


From John:

This is a very common problem on the 69-71 Imps. The water may not be coming around the gasket, but instead from around the rear glass or the edge of the roof. I have that problem with my 69. Moving to Arizona helped, since ir rarely rains here. Although it has for the past 5 days in a row. I met another fellow that used to own a 70 & he said that was one of the main reasons he got rid of it. I would suggest having someone help you by running water from a hose around it while your in the trunk & see if you can tell where the water comes in.

From Tony:

Try Gary Goers

Question from Mark (1971):

Can someone tell me if there is a lateral adjustment for the trunk lid? in other words, to move it side to side in the down position. I've noticed the gap between the lip & the fender is wider on the side with the leak. But, so far, all I've been able to find is an adjustment for the height of the trunk lid. The only other thing that would effect the position are the hinges, but I see no way to move them

Reply from John:

If you loosen the hinge bolts, you'll find they are elongated & likely adjust a bit side to side & forward & back.

Question from Zack (1974):

I have a 4dr. Hardtop 1974 Imperial LeBaron, and the car did not come with an electric trunk release, but I was wondering how hard it would be to put one in, and where I could get one? If anyone knows where I could get one, and/or how hard it would be to put it  in, I would appreciate any help.

Reply from Chris:

A trunk release is easy - a switch, wiring and an electric latch.

Interestingly enough, the Mopar trunk release used through the last rear wheel drive New Yorker / Fifth Avenue in the 80's will bolt in to most any Imperial from the early 60's onward. So tons of donors out there in the local Pick-A-Parts.

For authenticity, a unit correct for your year car will be necessary, but while you are searching, one of these newer units will function just fine. When you finally find the correct NOS or used parts it is a simple matter of swapping latches. The wiring will already be done.

Wiring is simple. one wire from a circuit breaker (always hot, or ignition-switch-activated, your choice) connected to the release switch in the glove box. The second wire from the release switch goes to the trunk latch. Done.

This page last updated July 15, 2004.  Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club