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Thread: RUST DOES SLEEP, ACTUALLY (life with a '57 Roadmaster)

  1. #26
    Senior Member Caballero2's Avatar
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    Re: RUST DOES SLEEP, ACTUALLY (life with a '57 Roadmaster)

    I have been eighteen years on my Roadmaster project. When I first started, I too had a NOS set of ball joints but only the upper ones had the seal. I figured that if I was ever going to have new ones for the lower I was going to have to reproduce them. So after drawing them up based on the tattered remains of an old set, I came across a NOS set so that is what I used on my project. In the meantime, I finished my engineering career and bought a small farm and retired there to persue an interest in hobby farming along with '57 vintage cars and tractors. I have yet to restore a tractor even though I have a '57 Oliver Super 55 and a '57 John Deere 3010. The John Deere has an after market wide front. On the front suspension tie rods there are heavy rod ends. The rubber seals are strikingly similiar to those of the Buick ball joints. I will probably use these on my next project a '57 Buick Super two door hardtop.

    I will be happy to forward a CD with the original Autocad drawings in release 14 to you. PM me with a mailing address and Merry Christmas. - Dan

    P.S. I can also email the files to you if your prefer.
    Last edited by Caballero2; December 18th, 2010 at 17:46.

  2. #27
    Senior Member 1957buickjim's Avatar
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    Re: RUST DOES SLEEP, ACTUALLY (life with a '57 Roadmaster)

    Dan and Rob, Let me know about those cad files, I have access to a molded rubber manufacturer that I rep. We could get a quote on seeing what it would cost to get the molds cut and low volume parts made for fellow restorers, similar to what TG is doing with the fuel doors. Just a thought if you would like to follow that route. Let me know.
    Jim
    1957 Buick Riviera Estate Wagon - 49D -WIP (work in process)
    1957 Buick Special - Model 48 2dr Sedan (BCA Gold Senior)
    1969 Pymouth Road Runner 2dr HT- 440 4 Speed
    2005 Ford Mustang Convertible
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  3. #28
    Senior Member Caballero2's Avatar
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    Re: RUST DOES SLEEP, ACTUALLY (life with a '57 Roadmaster)

    Jim: Let's wait and see what Rob wants to do. If there are some changes he would like we can then persue that.

    Thanks - Dan

  4. #29
    Sr (grey-haired) Member Rob McDonald's Avatar
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    Re: RUST DOES SLEEP, ACTUALLY (life with a '57 Roadmaster)

    JIM, I wonder how much demand there is for these parts. The (obscenely expensive) rebuilt ball joints from Kanter Auto Products are modified to use modern factory-sealed joints, so that the original seals are no longer required. Is that typically the route taken by restorers of '57 Buicks?

    On a low-mileage car that hasn't spent a hard life on gravel roads, maybe the joints are still good but the rubber seals are broken down. That's probably the potential market for reproduction parts, along with us few lucky dogs who've found an incomplete NOS set.

    What I'm hoping to learn from Dan's drawing is that currently available parts will do the job. That way, I can publish the part numbers and anyone will be able to go down to their local bearing supply shop - or John Deere dealer - and order a set. My car will serve as the guinea pig for fitting up whatever I find that seems to fit. Happily, these ball joints aren't hard to remove and reinstall, as I recall.

    I'm still waiting for US Mail to pass Dan's CD over to Canada Post but am enjoying the Christmas anticipation for a few more days.

    I should reiterate some advice that I read somewhere else on this forum. If you find that your Buick's ball joints have some slop in them, don't panic - they were built that way. They're just telling you it's time for some more grease, which takes the clunk out of them again. It makes for a messy undercarriage as the grease leaks through but that's how the bottoms of cars used to look. The surgical cleanliness so admired at car shows is just weird and not really authentic. "Shiny side up, greasy side down" is how old cars are meant to be.

    I learned this clearance tip from a long-time GM mechanic, at the 1980s swap meet where I found my NOS ball joints (paid $300, just to rub it in). I was concerned about the loose fit and asked my old friend Ron Mattison to come over and check them out. He'd started his wrenching career at Edmonton Motors Chev-Olds-Cadillac in 1955 (Ron still drives the '56 Chev 210 station wagon that he bought new). No problem, he said, they all fit like that. He recalled that it caused some unnecessary replacements "back in the day".

    When the joints are dry, up to 1/16" free play is within factory specs, according to Ron. Unfortunately, I haven't found backup for this advice in the Buick Service Bulletins but I'm okay with believing a man who was there.
    Rob McDonald
    1957 Buick Roadmaster model 73A, owned since February 1973
    1962 Valiant Signet
    1967 Valiant 100, daily driver

  5. #30
    Senior Member 1957buickjim's Avatar
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    Re: RUST DOES SLEEP, ACTUALLY (life with a '57 Roadmaster)

    Rob, I am not sure about the demand either, and I think your approach is a lot less costly if you can find an alternative for the boots from another application. You are very lucky to have found those babies at that price..another thing from the "back in my day" book.

    You are right about the "show car" vs. "the way it was /is" bottom / top statement. I have greased the heck out of my ball joints and yes, they look sloppy, but they work rather well and I don't seem to have too much play in them. The car only has 18,700 miles on it, so they shouldn't be too worn out.

    As owners of these classics, we should also understand that the steering / suspension on these are not like today's vehicles that we drive every day. That is an unfair comparison because of advances in materials and technologies since our cars were built.

    Let me know what you would like to do once you get the CAD data. Who know's - maybe we can become a cottage industry and get correct repro parts vice the out east operation!
    Jim
    1957 Buick Riviera Estate Wagon - 49D -WIP (work in process)
    1957 Buick Special - Model 48 2dr Sedan (BCA Gold Senior)
    1969 Pymouth Road Runner 2dr HT- 440 4 Speed
    2005 Ford Mustang Convertible
    BCA #45059

  6. #31
    Sr (grey-haired) Member Rob McDonald's Avatar
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    Re: RUST DOES SLEEP, ACTUALLY (life with a '57 Roadmaster)

    My year-end week off is almost over and I can report that I did get out to the garage several times. However, it was for a lingering new house project - privacy glass in the borrowed-light windows of the kids' bathroom. They've been stuffing pillows in the holes for four years now but the cats keep pushing them out - just because they can. My 12-year-old daughter has been remarkably patient about this but the time had finally come.

    At least I was working alongside the Buick, which has also been very patient. It's much easier to imagine the restoration tasks that lay ahead of me, now that I'm feeding off this forum. The challenge of freshening up the grille was incredibly well informed by the thread led by Jim in the last week. Where else could one get first-person, real-time advice like that?

    Watching Jerry's '56 Buick emerge piece by piece in its new livery of Coral and Cream has been exciting. His daunting chore of buffing up chrome trim, which was purposely sanded down to look Rat, came with excellent instructions on how to do it right. I especially appreciated the comment in the Caswell website that Stealthbob linked us to, "For the workshop where only the occasional piece of work needs to be buffed, an economic alternative to purchasing a special machine is to simply adapt a bench grinder."

    THANK YOU BOB! Not only did this wisdom save me some money, I also didn't know where I could possibly mount yet another single purpose power tool. A wise word to those of you contemplating a new shop: Never, EVER, build a garage that will be smaller than the one you're moving out of.
    Rob McDonald
    1957 Buick Roadmaster model 73A, owned since February 1973
    1962 Valiant Signet
    1967 Valiant 100, daily driver

  7. #32
    Sr (grey-haired) Member Rob McDonald's Avatar
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    Re: RUST DOES SLEEP, ACTUALLY (life with a '57 Roadmaster)

    WELL GUYS, it finally worked. This Forum has motivated me to don ratty clothes and head out to the garage. You've caused me to open my toolbox (cue spooky creaking sound) and lay wrenches to my old car. It felt good on the weekend, so I'm going out there again tonight. Hope to make a habit of this. Please look for technical details at http://forums.aaca.org/f115/57-buick...ly-292843.html
    Rob McDonald
    1957 Buick Roadmaster model 73A, owned since February 1973
    1962 Valiant Signet
    1967 Valiant 100, daily driver

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    Proud BCA Member buick5563's Avatar
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    Re: RUST DOES SLEEP, ACTUALLY (life with a '57 Roadmaster)

    Woo Hoo!
    Mike Middleton

    http://www.midtownrestorations.com
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    Senior Member jackofalltrades70's Avatar
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    Re: RUST DOES SLEEP, ACTUALLY (life with a '57 Roadmaster)

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob McDonald View Post
    WELL GUYS, it finally worked. This Forum has motivated me to don ratty clothes and head out to the garage. You've caused me to open my toolbox (cue spooky creaking sound) and lay wrenches to my old car. It felt good on the weekend, so I'm going out there again tonight. Hope to make a habit of this. Please look for technical details at http://forums.aaca.org/f115/57-buick...ly-292843.html
    Continuation of a past era.... Looking forward to hearing about your progress and more pictures as you go.

  10. #35
    Sr (grey-haired) Member Rob McDonald's Avatar
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    Re: RUST DOES SLEEP, ACTUALLY (life with a '57 Roadmaster)

    Back from the living dead...

    My long slow project is back in gear. I've just purchased the factory-correct interior materials from SMS Auto Fabrics - picked it up at their shop, in fact, and have an upholsterer lined up to do the seats. This is the last expensive stage of the job. The rest is all my labour and, truly, I have nothing better to do.
    Rob McDonald
    1957 Buick Roadmaster model 73A, owned since February 1973
    1962 Valiant Signet
    1967 Valiant 100, daily driver

  11. #36
    Satisfied Driver JohnD1956's Avatar
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    Re: RUST DOES SLEEP, ACTUALLY (life with a '57 Roadmaster)

    Looking to see if you'll be bringing it to SouthBend next year.

  12. #37
    Sr (grey-haired) Member Rob McDonald's Avatar
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    Re: RUST DOES SLEEP, ACTUALLY (life with a '57 Roadmaster)

    No, South Bend is not realistic for me. It's not the distance so much but rather the number of months remaining. The 2014 BCA National Meet in Portland, Oregon is my target.

    Don't be fooled, guys, I've misled this Forum before. I've just gotta hope this time the spark catches.
    Last edited by Rob McDonald; October 14th, 2012 at 00:37.
    Rob McDonald
    1957 Buick Roadmaster model 73A, owned since February 1973
    1962 Valiant Signet
    1967 Valiant 100, daily driver

  13. #38
    Senior Member 1957buickjim's Avatar
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    Re: RUST DOES SLEEP, ACTUALLY (life with a '57 Roadmaster)

    Rob,

    As therapy, I would suggest re-reading my thread on frame on restoration. All you need are the parts (good, bad and ugly) and the time and inclination to lay hand to wrench without getting stuck in the procrastination loop. Remember, it ain't going to get done by itself!! You are the engine to complete that job. Also, it helps to take a day or two to list out in minute detail all the tasks that need to be done. I did that with my car and ended up with a list of over 250 separate tasks to the project (and a lot more, just only broke down the tasks so far)..but the list becomes your approach to tackling the job bit by bit. Just keep checking them off, one by one, and pretty soon, Mr Rust Never Sleeps..becomes the Beautiful 1957 Roadie that you have in your minds eye. The process is fraught with challenges, especially working alone, but the journey, my friend, is worth the effort.

    Now go get those tasks written up, the wrenches at the ready, the Blue in the fridge and the music from your 8-track in the garage ready to crank some Rush and Neil Young ! Go my man and JUST DO IT!!!
    Jim
    1957 Buick Riviera Estate Wagon - 49D -WIP (work in process)
    1957 Buick Special - Model 48 2dr Sedan (BCA Gold Senior)
    1969 Pymouth Road Runner 2dr HT- 440 4 Speed
    2005 Ford Mustang Convertible
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  14. #39
    Satisfied Driver JohnD1956's Avatar
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    Re: RUST DOES SLEEP, ACTUALLY (life with a '57 Roadmaster)

    Quote Originally Posted by 1957buickjim View Post
    Rob,

    .

    Now go get those tasks written up, the wrenches at the ready, the Blue in the fridge and the music from your 8-track in the garage ready to crank some Rush and Neil Young ! Go my man and JUST DO IT!!!
    Oh yeah!

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  15. #40
    Sr (grey-haired) Member Rob McDonald's Avatar
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    Re: RUST DOES SLEEP, ACTUALLY (life with a '57 Roadmaster)

    Lists? Man, have I got Buick to-do lists. Lists at home, lists at work, and Franz Liszt on the garage iPod dock. Really, though, I'm more of 3B's kind of guy - Bach, Beethoven, and Brubeck. I dropped out of pop music shortly after high school and never did own an 8-track player. Furthermore, the freakin' pills I take don't play well with beer. Or life.

    So, there's my True Confessions - can I still stay?

    Autumn finally blew into town today, reminding me that because my stupid little car didn't sell, I need to take it out to the storage barn soon. That will clear "my" half of the garage again. Before I bring the Buick back in, I have to go through my many boxes of loose parts, sorting what goes back on the car and what's extra. Over the years, I've done this several times but it gets all scrambled again when I change garages. I've probably left a trail of small and impossible to replace parts, as this project has moved from place to place to place.

    When the Buick does come home, task number one is to remove the seats and take them to the upholsterer. I showed him photos of TG57Roadmaster's identical interior, installed by none other than Lew Jenkins. He sniffed, "That's pretty good. Yours will be better."





    Tom's interior, my interior (with stupid little car)
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    Rob McDonald
    1957 Buick Roadmaster model 73A, owned since February 1973
    1962 Valiant Signet
    1967 Valiant 100, daily driver

  16. #41
    Sr (grey-haired) Member Rob McDonald's Avatar
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    Re: RUST DOES SLEEP, ACTUALLY (life with a '57 Roadmaster)

    Well, that was filthy. I've just hauled down and pawed through about a dozen boxes of random '57 Buick parts, mostly trim and secondary systems like wipers, lights, and heater controls. It's not as chaotic as I thought it'd be. I'd already sorted them by Keepers and Traders, more or less. Even found some NOS trim bits I'd forgotten about and plenty of Notes To Self, reminding me how certain things came apart.

    Really, there's not so terribly much left to be reinstalled. I still have to sort through the stuff that's stashed in the car itself but I'm quite certain that's all Keepers.

    Eventually, I'll post on "Buick - Buy/Sell" a list of all the spare little doodads that I'll be happy to give away. Living as I do on the frozen tundra, no one's going to pay shipping across the continent to get a "free" bumper or a Dynaflow (I do have a spare one of those but thankfully it's at a friend's barn, not in my attic). Therefore, my freebees will be limited to what Canada Post can handle.

    A simple restoration task that I can handle right away is prepping and painting the loose interior metal trim pieces, which I've now gathered all together. They're all slightly scratched or a bit rusted from minor leaks or condensation. They include the wide band that goes over the rear window, as can be seen in the photo of Tom's car. It's a pretty big piece to be painted with a rattle can but I'll give it a try - can always have it done again by a pro if it doesn't turn out.
    Rob McDonald
    1957 Buick Roadmaster model 73A, owned since February 1973
    1962 Valiant Signet
    1967 Valiant 100, daily driver

  17. #42
    Sr (grey-haired) Member Rob McDonald's Avatar
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    Re: RUST DOES SLEEP, ACTUALLY (life with a '57 Roadmaster)

    Baby steps…

    With the help of many kind neighbours, I got my Buick back into the garage on Sunday. It was a week later than planned because of a flat tire and 10 inches of snow (excuses, excuses). Yesterday I pulled the seats out and will take them to the upholsterer later this week.

    Jeepers, it’s like a dance hall in there without the seats! There’s plenty of working room for me to re-install all the fussy bits of painted and stainless trim. I’m surprised to see how many pieces of vinyl were glued-in to cover exposed body surfaces.

    The floor is scruffy but it doesn't need wheeling down to bare metal and painting. The few perforations that existed have been properly repaired and touched-up. I’m installing new window and door seals, so the floor should never get particularly wet again and it'll all be covered with underlay and carpet. I’ll just give it a good cleaning, along with the insides of the doors and inside the dashboard. I thank Buick for providing a removable cover for that.
    Rob McDonald
    1957 Buick Roadmaster model 73A, owned since February 1973
    1962 Valiant Signet
    1967 Valiant 100, daily driver

  18. #43
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    Re: RUST DOES SLEEP, ACTUALLY (life with a '57 Roadmaster)

    That will be great to see it together! Have you changed oil, fired up the engine again, and had it moving under its own power?
    lancemb
    57 Roadmaster 75 4dht
    58 Limited 4dht

  19. #44
    Sr (grey-haired) Member Rob McDonald's Avatar
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    Re: RUST DOES SLEEP, ACTUALLY (life with a '57 Roadmaster)

    LANCE, no, I didnít fire it up. Muscle power brought this big car home again last week. Iím reluctant to run it again before I tackle a major Dynaflow leak. Weíve all read ShadeTreeís and BuickJimís recent accounts of how much fun thatís going to be!

    I donít think itís advisable to run an engine without filling the transmission because the front pump spins, whether the carís in gear or not. Running it may cause overheating, when itís seriously low on fluid. Thereís no point in topping it up with gallons of the red stuff and then having it all ooze out again.

    For now, Iím just going to putter around with some easy chores in the bare interior. There are a couple of mouse holes in the headliner, which Iíll try to repair with excess material from behind the mouldings. The mice are long gone but no doubt their abandoned living rooms will need clearing out. I know, I know: ďwear a dust mask and spritz with waterĒ.

    Iíll be taking the last three weeks of December off work, during which Iíll tackle re-sealing the transmission and torque tube. Not exactly a Cuban beach but itíll be my winter holiday.
    Rob McDonald
    1957 Buick Roadmaster model 73A, owned since February 1973
    1962 Valiant Signet
    1967 Valiant 100, daily driver

  20. #45
    Sr (grey-haired) Member Rob McDonald's Avatar
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    Re: RUST DOES SLEEP, ACTUALLY (life with a '57 Roadmaster)

    Today I ordered a Dynaflow overhaul kit from Auto Tran near Boston. The parts should be here in 2 or 3 weeks. I had this transmission thoroughly rebuilt in 1973, immediately after buying my Buick. I just found the invoice again. The work included new bands, a new drum, clutches, front pump, and several bushings. Cost me a whopping $325, which is like $1700 today. Actually, thatís not bad and it came with a lifetime warranty. Unfortunately, the lifetime of the transmission shop was short; they closed at least 30 years ago.

    Now that I know how much was replaced back then, having driven the car only a couple thousand miles since, I feel very good about doing just gaskets and seals this time.
    Rob McDonald
    1957 Buick Roadmaster model 73A, owned since February 1973
    1962 Valiant Signet
    1967 Valiant 100, daily driver

  21. #46
    Sr (grey-haired) Member Rob McDonald's Avatar
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    Re: RUST DOES SLEEP, ACTUALLY (life with a '57 Roadmaster)

    I received a carefully packed box from Auto Tran today, right on schedule. Oh my, there are a lot of gaskets and seals to find homes for.

    It's warmed up here, with highs of around -9C (16F) expected for the next week or so. I have a good heater in the garage but I need to leave wifey's car outside while I tear into the Buick. She goes to work at an ungodly early hour and isn't keen on stepping out into the -20C we've had recently.

    Because I'm pulling the engine and transmission as a unit, I don't need to raise the car way up, as is required to pull the Dynaflow out the bottom. I probably won't have time to remove the rear axle this time around but I will change the torque ball seals.
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    Rob McDonald
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  22. #47
    Grease Monkey shadetree77's Avatar
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    Re: RUST DOES SLEEP, ACTUALLY (life with a '57 Roadmaster)

    Rob, I don't suppose there are any labels on those gaskets huh? Might be kind of hard to figure out what goes where. Seeing as you are probably going to get yours done before me, do me a favor and take plenty of pictures if it's not too much trouble. I think I've almost completely decided to forget about the rebuild and replace the seals. I'm afraid some unknown mechanic would mess something up on it. It was working fine before the leak developed so I don't want to crack it open if I don't have to. Good luck and keep us updated!
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  23. #48
    Sr (grey-haired) Member Rob McDonald's Avatar
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    Re: RUST DOES SLEEP, ACTUALLY (life with a '57 Roadmaster)

    ROBERT, the parts in the overhaul kit are not labelled but Auto Tran's webside has an exploded view of a Dynaflow, showing where each seal and gasket goes. The illustration appears to be derived from the parts manual, so together with the shop manual, there should be enough information that I won't end up with too many leftover parts.

    Yes, I'll be taking lots of photos and will probably post them as I go along. At the end of it all, I'll put together a How-To thread, "Dynaflow Seals For [and by] Dummies", in the manner of Buick Man's posts on hydraulic lifter cleaning, oil/vacuum pump assessment, dashboard crash pad restoration, and barn find engine startup.

    I spent most of my garage time yesterday reinforcing my wheel skates, which are caster-wheeled steel dollies that allow a car to be rolled around the shop, in any direction. Years ago, I bought these at Costco, to maneuver my MG into winter storage at the front of my former, much bigger, garage. First time I used them to scoot the Buick tight to the wall of my new garage, 3 of the 4 skates collapsed. The manufacturer claims they're capable of supporting 1000 lbs each. Apparently, the extra 114 lbs at each tire of a senior Buick is too much. I straightened the bent platforms and screwed 1 1/2" steel angles onto the weak edges. Today's work will test my alterations.
    Rob McDonald
    1957 Buick Roadmaster model 73A, owned since February 1973
    1962 Valiant Signet
    1967 Valiant 100, daily driver

  24. #49
    Sr (grey-haired) Member Rob McDonald's Avatar
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    Re: RUST DOES SLEEP, ACTUALLY (life with a '57 Roadmaster)

    I got all the easy stuff off the car today. Bought some small parts bins to organize the fasteners for each task, with a Post-it note for each. These will become my screws, nuts, and bolts organizer when I'm done this project. It'll save me hours of searching in the future.

    Quickly running out of floor space for the parts that are coming off, so will be taking them up to the attic this evening. Tomorrow I'll set the car a bit higher on jackstands and start the tough work, lying on my back. Must stock up on Motrin (for muscle and joint pain). I may invest in a better creeper - mine is old, cheap, and hard to roll around. Thankfully, the underside of the car is clean, so I won't have a lot of crap falling in my face.

    My reinforced wheel skates are holding up fine, although I haven't tried moving the car around on them yet.
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    Rob McDonald
    1957 Buick Roadmaster model 73A, owned since February 1973
    1962 Valiant Signet
    1967 Valiant 100, daily driver

  25. #50
    Sr (grey-haired) Member Rob McDonald's Avatar
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    Re: RUST DOES SLEEP, ACTUALLY (life with a '57 Roadmaster)

    Had to run to Sears for more tools yesterday (Chinese-made now? Who cares - they have everything I need, just ten minutes away). Nothing like working under a car all day to focus one's attention on what will make a job go better. Hoping for more progress today.

    For a long time, I've puzzled over my car's paint code - C0. C is Dover White but there's no 0 or O listed. I figured maybe 0 meant a single colour, with no 2-tone. Looking again yesterday, I realized there's a blob of paint on the ID plate. It really says Paint CD, which is Dover White over Starlight Blue metallic. That's how it appeared and how I had it repainted. Finally then, it's confirmed - the blue wasn't shot on at the dealership or some time later, it was factory. A little victory on an otherwise difficult day.




    Sadly, Craftsman no longer makes the special Working-Under-A-Buick wrench
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    Last edited by Rob McDonald; December 18th, 2012 at 13:11. Reason: add tool
    Rob McDonald
    1957 Buick Roadmaster model 73A, owned since February 1973
    1962 Valiant Signet
    1967 Valiant 100, daily driver

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