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Thread: Bringing Dad's 1951 Roadmaster Back!

  1. #51

    Re: Bringing Dad's 1951 Roadmaster Back!

    Took yesterday off from working on the car. Back to it today.
    Put the plugs back in after checking gaps, and had my daughter crank it while I dribbled a little gas in the carb just to see if she'd fire, but no luck there. Didn't really push it -- don't want to damage anything, and I suppose there's so much oil in the cylinders that firing may be impossible. But it did have spark, so I know that's working!

    Decided it was time to get the back up off the ground, get the tires off and check our the rear brake situation. The fella who had it stored said they had to "torch a brake drum" to get it free so the car would roll when they had to move it to the other place. Certainly NOT what I imagined (see photo below) Basically cut off the whole front of the drum, leaving a circle of sharp edges with the outside of a drum securely attached to the shoes. Got the brake hardware off, but still no dice getting it all free as the wheel cylinder is still connected to the line, because of course it won't come undone without twisting the line off, and I don't really want to do that even though I'm probably going to replace all the lines to play it safe. Then I suppose it'll be hung up on the emergency brake cable too. Couple hours on the garage floor and my out of shape body is pretty sore!

    The tires on the back were HUGE. Now, I don't know a lot about old tires, styles and sizes. These are both marked 8.00-15. One is substantially bigger. Both are just about worn smooth (see photos). The car has tires described as 8.15 or 8.20 - 15 on the front and they are a LOT smaller. Makes no sense to me. Anyway, I'm gonna get the old tires off and get the rims blasted or whatever and paint 'em so they at least don't look like they've been to Hell and back. See tire photos.

    Ordered a fuel pump, master cylinder and rear brake drums today.

    First time I got a good look at the underside of the car. Everything is quite solid. Some rust in the rockers but the rest is solid as heck. Floors are good, frame, etc. So I was encouraged about that!

    I'm gonna do another post in a minute, after scanning a coupe more slides of Mom with the car back when it was new.

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    timinbovey

  2. #52

    Re: Bringing Dad's 1951 Roadmaster Back!

    I keep digging through the mountains of slides -- Dad was quite the shutterbug and he took 99% slides all the time! Found a couple more of Mom that I had never seen before. The shot of Mom IN the car shows that Dad did nearly almost always had seat covers on the car, these are different than what's on it now. Must have been the thing back then, eh?
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    timinbovey

  3. #53

    Re: Bringing Dad's 1951 Roadmaster Back!

    Those tires look like Maypops. They may pop. They may not!

    My dad was a big slide guy as well. Same decade as your folks. I have slides by the hundreds. He put them all on DVD. Great to have.
    Chris Gossweiler
    1954 Buick Special 48D. It is a 264 and nothing more.
    BCA#-46800
    I adore my 54!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jWYdKAIQX4

  4. #54
    Ben Bruce BCA# 44599 First Born's Avatar
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    Re: Bringing Dad's 1951 Roadmaster Back!

    Very pretty!! Car is ok, too.
    All, please take note of white wall widths. Not the WIDE whites so many use today.

    I am getting butterflies waiting for it to start the first time.

    Good luck.

    Ben
    1995 Park Ave
    1950 Super Mod 52
    1950 Special Mod 41D Second owner

  5. #55
    Sr (grey-haired) Member Rob McDonald's Avatar
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    Re: Bringing Dad's 1951 Roadmaster Back!

    Mom's a babe, all right, but what are the chances of catching two Kaisers in the background? Well, maybe the black one's a Frazer - I don't know them well enough to say. That's the thing about old photos - the foreground is great but what's behind can be pretty historic, too.

    I wish my parents were as fond of photos as yours were/are. A total of four family cars appear in my old albums - a Whippet from about 1928, a '39 Plymouth, a '53 Chev, and a '56 Pontiac. There were scads of others but they never stood still for pictures, I guess.
    Rob McDonald
    1957 Buick Roadmaster model 73A, owned since February 1973
    1962 Valiant Signet
    1967 Valiant 100, daily driver

  6. #56

    Re: Bringing Dad's 1951 Roadmaster Back!

    Tim I have been looking for this thread all over! Glad to see your getting started on it right away. Keep us posted on how its coming. Iif you run into any problems give me a call. I would love to see her go down the road.

  7. #57

    Re: Bringing Dad's 1951 Roadmaster Back!

    Been a little slow on updates! Mostly waiting for parts to arrive. I have two rear brake drums, new master cylinder, complete set of brake lines and hardware coming from Kanter. Fuel pump being drop shipped from the rebuilder, and all the tune up stuff (points, plugs, condenser, coil, cap rotor, etc) and the rest of the brakes (new wheel cylinders, shoes, etc) all on the way special ordered to my FLAPS. Hopefully things will be arriving tomorrow so I can do something constructive over the weekend. Got the hood hinge figured out (the rear pass side the rivets in the hinge were broken leaving no pivot) I'm just going to drill out the fender side of the hinge a bit bigger and install a 5/16" rod with cotter pins in the ends.

    Still trying to figure out tires. It was suggested that the L78-15 Coker Classics would fit and would save me $160 over the Coker 8.00x15 which is the actual size the car came with. Diameter is only about 1/4 inch taller, but section width is about a half inch wider. Seems like they should work, but if I'm wrong the re-stocking fee and return shipping costs would really stink!

    So that's where I'm at today.

    timinbovey

  8. #58
    Senior Member old-tank's Avatar
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    Re: Bringing Dad's 1951 Roadmaster Back!

    L-78/15 was the first wide white tire I used on my 55 back in the mid 70's, because that was all that was available. They looked good and performed about as well as the 7.60-15 tires I later used. I may use them again, since I don't do car shows anymore and the correct tires are so dang expensive!
    Willie
    http://forums.aaca.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=30648&dateline=124664  3804
    55 Centurys: 63; 63; 66C
    1951 Ford F-1 with 264 nailhead
    1976 Olds Delta Royale
    People who use tools bleed a lot!
    Nobody has too many friends!
    BuickRestorer

  9. #59

    Re: Bringing Dad's 1951 Roadmaster Back!

    I'm pleased as punch to announce that the engine runs! At least, on a spritz of starting fluid anyway! Replaced all the ignition parts this morning (except for plug wires). The wife cranked it while I gave it a spritz of starting fluid and she fires! It would run for a few seconds on a spritz, enough to determine that the oil pressure gauge comes up off the zero peg, and the charging gauge shows a charge, so the basic vital statistics show some life! Hopefully the fuel pump arrives next week, and the carb turns out not to be a complete mess, and maybe it will run off a can of gas (I'm not going to try the gas tank for a while). Very encouraging to know that at least the basic engine fires and runs!

    Also, my hood hinge repair seems to have worked out perfectly, so I can cross that off.

    Picked up nearly all the brake parts at my FLAPS on Friday. Waiting for the hardware kit and rear brake drums to arrive next week. Also have a full set of new brake lines coming. Everything in the brakes from the master cylinder to the wheels will be replaced. Did I mention I hate working on brakes? Used to make my Son do it, but since he moved away, I've gotta do it!

    Little bit of progress!

    timinbovey

  10. #60
    Senior Member JZRIV's Avatar
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    Re: Bringing Dad's 1951 Roadmaster Back!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sweepspear View Post
    This is one of the best threads on here in quite some time.
    Yep no question about that. In fact, I can't remember any thread that holds my attention and offers such anticiption on every new post as this one.

    Thank You Tim for the very well written posts and huge amount of detail. All the background info really built a foundation for the story. Keep up the excellent work!
    Jason Zerbini
    (Near)Pittsburgh PA
    ROA 775 / BCA 29707
    Board President, ROA
    Check out ROA right here http://www.rivowners.org/

    "Buy Once - Cry Once" "The Quality remains long after the price is forgotten"

  11. #61

    Re: Bringing Dad's 1951 Roadmaster Back!

    Big day for deliveries. Post office delivered brake hardware. UPS brought a fuel pump. FEdEx brought two rear brake drums and a master cylinder. And me? I took a nap! I suspect a busy day tomorrow!

    Yesterday all we did was clean out the car a bit. We hadn't even so much as wiped off the dash yet, but I had the shop vac out yesterday so figured I'd have at the car. My Grandpa was the Phillips 66 dealer in my Dad's small hometown of Holland, MN. Either Dad or Grandpa had taken Phillips 66 advertising store display cardboard signs and cut them up to make perfectly fitting trunk floor covers, covering over all the original trunk mats. Removed all that and cleaned up all the other stray trunk debris and mouse poop. Vacuumed out the insides, removed the back seat and sucked out mouse nest remains, etc, and gave the insides a quick Windex job. Much better inside. So, not a lot of progress over the weekend except for finding out the engine can run on Saturday.

    Side note: If you look at the photos from a while back there's a shot of the dash, and stuck to the glove box door is a small calendar. It's from the Toggery Cleaners in Pipestone, MN and it's from 1961. Turns out they're still in business. I'm gonna send them a photo of the car and the dash with a bit of the story just for the heck of it. Maybe someone from the family is still involved and will remember Dad or Grandpa. Trust me, Dad is the kind of guy people would remember.

    Managed to do the paperwork to transfer the title to me today. Of course Mom couldn't find the original title, so I sent for a duplicate, and the same day that arrived Mom found the original, but had to use the updated one. Had to fill out a gift affidavit since I didn't buy it from Dad, otherwise the State would "appraise" the car and make me pay sales tax on the value they determine. About 7 years or so ago, my Son bought a 1949 Chevrolet cheap (one his "learning" cars) and since there was no title, the State got to determine value, and placed it at about $5,000 and made us buy a bond policy to protect the State in the event of someone coming forth and claiming the car once we got a new title. Anyway, they decided a 1949 Chevrolet with rust, no brakes, no electrical, exploded motor, etc was worth that kind of cash. I can only imagine what they'd value a one owner Roadmaster at! Anyway, we had all the paperwork in place and no problems getting it all turned in. First time the title has been in someones name other than Dad's!

    timinbovey

  12. #62

    Re: Bringing Dad's 1951 Roadmaster Back!

    Just for the record -- the new fuel pump is in. I've got to buckle down and get going on the brakes. Back is in the air, drums are off, everything from the damaged drivers side is removed. It's ready to go back together in the rear, but I HATE doing brakes. Still waiting for the new lines to arrive, but I have everything else. Gotta decide on tires so I can order them so I'm ready to put it back on the ground when brakes are done!

    timinbovey

  13. #63
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    Re: Bringing Dad's 1951 Roadmaster Back!

    Sounds good, I'm real anxious to find out how she runs! Keep up the good work!
    Keith

  14. #64
    Sr (grey-haired) Member Rob McDonald's Avatar
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    Re: Bringing Dad's 1951 Roadmaster Back!

    TIM, since you're asking - sort of - go with the authentic tire size if they're not outrageously more money than the L78s. You'll be surprised at how long you'll own these things and someday you might become more purist-minded. Mind you, I've had my Remington L78x15s for 30 years and still don't care. They hold the wheels off the garage floor and have acquired a lovely yellowed patina.
    Rob McDonald
    1957 Buick Roadmaster model 73A, owned since February 1973
    1962 Valiant Signet
    1967 Valiant 100, daily driver

  15. #65

    Re: Bringing Dad's 1951 Roadmaster Back!

    Great story on this survivor. Clean it up, drive it, and preserve it.

    I'd like to know more about the '52 fins and if they showed up on any other '51s from the dealer.

  16. #66

    Re: Bringing Dad's 1951 Roadmaster Back!

    Don't know how I missed this story - just found it tonight and read through everything. I agee, this is one of the best threads we've had. Terrific story. Very anxious to hear more about the car and to see it on the road.
    John_Maine
    BCA #35851

  17. #67

    Re: Bringing Dad's 1951 Roadmaster Back!

    Well, yesterday was "buckle down and put the darn rear brakes in day" It's been sitting on the jack stands with the drums off and the entire left side completely disassembled and cleaned, ready to go back together. Generally an uneventful process except that I hadn't done any brake work since 1993 (and that was on an Edsel, on a bumper jack, in the middle of a Minnesota January). I've obviously aged and grown in girth -- working on the floor sucks! The project did precipitate one trip to town for parts -- the links that come out of the wheel cylinders and engage the shoes for the right rear were extremely rusty and corroded and the slots were bent bad on one side (getting this side apart was nearly impossible -- for some reason only this brake drum rusted and corroded badly inside, and I don't think the torch work helped) and I didn't want to try and re-use them, and I knew if I tried to bend them straight the slot side would break off. Fortunately my FLAPS had one pair in stock! Got the left side done and stood back and thought "that sure looks nice". Started on the other side (already had the drum off) and figured this would be easy, since it wasn't all rusty and beat up like the other side. Yup, came apart just like it should. Went right back together with all new parts. In the process realized I did NOT put the anchor pin plate back on the other side before putting the return springs on, so went over, took the springs off, put the plate on, put the springs back on, and all is well. New drums also fit perfectly. New wheel cylinders, the works. I did note the replacement return springs have a slight bit larger diameter than the originals, preventing the second spring from sitting all the way down against the pin. I believe they're solid and will work fine, but seemed odd to me. Still don't know if the brakes will work as I'm waiting for new lines to arrive, and in the meantime have to do the fronts and the new master cylinder.

    I also picked up a fitting for the fuel pump co I can easily connect a fuel hose and stick it in a gas can to see if she runs on gas through the carb (rather than just a squirt of starting fluid which is all she's had in years) so that's ready to go, but by the time I wrapped up the brakes last night the I was pooped and the Wife didn't look like she wanted to come out and crank the car, so we'll try that later today.

    Took some time to poke around under the car a bit more. Still convinced it's all quite solid. However, I see I'm going to need a new front stabilizer bar and links. It's literally broken. And it's been broken a long time. It's snapped in two on the passenger side, maybe 16 inches to the left of center. The longer broken end had been tucked up by the radiator. The link on the drivers side is badly bent. It's obviously been broken for a long time as the ends where the break are are seriously rusted -- like end of a dinosaur bone looking rusted. Although not critical to driving it around the block someday, this is obviously going to have to be replaced. How the heck does someone actually BREAK a stabilizer bar? Nothing else under there seems to show any damage. No evidence that the car drove over something or hit anything. I'm guessing (and totally guessing here) that in it's 35+ years of storage at some point someone had to move it and put a tow strap, chain, etc around that bar to move the car and snapped it? I'll see if I can't post a couple photos later. So, where does a guy find a stabilizer bar for a '51 Roadmaster? I'm guessing none of the parts places have new ones in stock and no one is reproducing them!

    Well, today's only scheduled project is to see if she runs off gas, through the fuel pump and carb. Or if I just get a shower of gas through a carb full of bad gaskets, leaks and debris!

    Oh, also I found it curious -- I'm leaking transmission fluid front and back. This car has been sitting 36 years. At least. Hasn't really been driven since the 60's. How can it have anything left in it to leak? Also there's a very slow drip coming off the front drivers corner of the radiator now, too. Again, it hasn't leaked in 35 years. Kind of keeping with my policy -- if things are OK, don't jiggle it! I figured the Dynaflow is going to need work, seals, gaskets, etc. Which is WAY beyond the abilities of me, my equipment, or the teeny shop area I have to work in. But I've been scoping out the old timer shop guys around here that are familiar with Dynaflow. It's one of the things in the car that we're already budgeting for.

    timinbovey

  18. #68

    Re: Bringing Dad's 1951 Roadmaster Back!

    Seals dry up and shrink over time. Often introducing the fluid that they were made to stop leaking will be revitalized and work as designed. Sometimes not. I would suspect a new set of seals is in order for the dynaflow.
    Chris Gossweiler
    1954 Buick Special 48D. It is a 264 and nothing more.
    BCA#-46800
    I adore my 54!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jWYdKAIQX4

  19. #69

    Re: Bringing Dad's 1951 Roadmaster Back!

    OK, most exciting things first! It Runs. On Gas. Through the carb! With NO leaks. And a nice idle! I put a clear gas hose on the inlet of the new fuel pump, shoved it in a can of gas, let the Wife crank it while I gave it a shot of starting fluid, and after about three short runs, it kept on running off GAS! And it idles! OK, it smokes a lot, but we have been pouring oil in the cylinders for years, and I'm sure it's due for a rebuild, but it RUNS! Gauges show pressure and charging, so this is good. We didn't run it long, maybe 5 minutes. Put it in drive, the rear wheels went around! It's still on the jackstands with no tires on the rear. But this means, to me anyway, that the transmission at least transmisses a little bit! All good news. Short video:


    Also below are the photos of the broken front stabilizer bar. I'm going to need the bar, links, bushings, the works. Not a priority at this point in the game, but never to early to start looking for something probably not easy to come by.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    For now I think it's on the front brakes and getting some tires ordered and getting the ancient tires off the rims and getting the rims cleaned up and painted. All while waiting for new brake lines to arrive!

    An exciting Day!!

    tiinbovey

  20. #70
    We have bigger avatars! Smartin's Avatar
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    Re: Bringing Dad's 1951 Roadmaster Back!

    Love it!!!!
    Adam Martin
    BPG# 1358
    BCA# 39765
    1958 Buick Roadmaster Four Door Riviera
    http://www.antiqueautomotiveservice.com/images/logo_top.gif

  21. #71

    Re: Bringing Dad's 1951 Roadmaster Back!

    It's alive!!!! Click image for larger version. 

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    Nice work!
    Chris Gossweiler
    1954 Buick Special 48D. It is a 264 and nothing more.
    BCA#-46800
    I adore my 54!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jWYdKAIQX4

  22. #72
    Senior Member wmsue's Avatar
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    Re: Bringing Dad's 1951 Roadmaster Back!

    Great job and Congrats.
    Bill
    BCA - AACA - WOKR
    Kinsman, Ohio
    65 Buick Electra Conv.
    95 Ford Ranger 2WD
    13 Mini Cooper Conv.
    Looking for next project...

  23. #73

    Re: Bringing Dad's 1951 Roadmaster Back!

    [/QUOTE]Also below are the photos of the broken front stabilizer bar. I'm going to need the bar, links, bushings, the works. Not a priority at this point in the game, but never to early to start looking for something probably not easy to come by.
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    For now I think it's on the front brakes and getting some tires ordered and getting the ancient tires off the rims and getting the rims cleaned up and painted. All while waiting for new brake lines to arrive!

    An exciting Day!!

    tiinbovey[/QUOTE]


    This is a common rusting spot for sway bars in general. Moisture does collect under the rubber bushing. It erodes the metal.
    Chris Gossweiler
    1954 Buick Special 48D. It is a 264 and nothing more.
    BCA#-46800
    I adore my 54!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jWYdKAIQX4

  24. #74
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    Re: Bringing Dad's 1951 Roadmaster Back!

    Hi- For the front stablizer put a ad in the wanted section of the forum section. Do you have any local junk yard in the area that you live I would check them to see if they have a parts car with one in it. You are doing very well with the fixing of your Dad's car keep up the good work.

    Al Storrs

  25. #75

    Re: Bringing Dad's 1951 Roadmaster Back!

    Quote Originally Posted by timinbovey View Post
    . . . . . So, where does a guy find a stabilizer bar for a '51 Roadmaster? I'm guessing none of the parts places have new ones in stock and no one is reproducing them! . . . . . timinbovey

    Good used parts shouldn't be too difficult to find. A 1928-1954 BUICK MASTER CHASSIS PARTS BOOK lists the following:

    STABILIZER SHAFT,
    Group #7.241, Part #1319823, all 1948 thru 1952; 1953-40 series (Specials) Buicks
    STABILIZER SHAFT BRACKET, Group #7.242, Part #411142, all 1948 thru 1954 (front) Buicks, Oldsmobiles, and Cadillacs.


    I would recommend new bushings and link kits; available from Buick parts houses or maybe even from your friendly local auto parts store.

    As a side note, it was interesting to read your post re: your Dad working for and then later owning ROLIG DRUG STORE on 13th Avenue N.E. in Minneapolis. Like I mentioned in a previous post I was born, raised, and lived in Nordeast Minneapolis for 29 years . . . . . just two blocks North on 15th Avenue N.E., the second house behind the iconic "MAYSLACK'S POLKA LOUNGE". Moved out of Nordeast in 1970. I want to say that he sure looked familiar when I first saw his picture in your first post, and now, I still want to say that I can picture him in his white pharmacy coat; we hung out at the soda fountain and spent a few dollar$ there. Small world.


    Al (Mack) Malachowski
    BCA #8965
    "500 Miles West of Flint"
    Last edited by 1953mack; August 27th, 2012 at 10:27.

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