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About JBP

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    Alberta, Canada

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  1. Thanks Aaron and Beemon. Unscrewed the switch and had a look inside. It was pretty dirty, so cleaned the contact areas up and zapped her back on the car. No issues with starting (but I still have the push button on standby, Ben). A shout-out to Al M. who kindly emailed me the exploded diagram from the parts book. Also installed a fully rebuilt correct generator, which was the last piece to complete the engine bay. Generator came from a shop outside of Boston, and they did a great job on it.
  2. Ironically, I removed the push-button last year that the previous owner had installed.
  3. 1953, Stromberg carb. Will grab some shots when I take it off the car.
  4. Whilst motoring about the city last week (and feeling a small sense of satisfaction over the disapproving looks from Prius and Smart car drivers), the Buick became suddenly (and intermittently) balky when I would go to start her up. At one point, no action at all from the starter, but power to all lights and accessories, then keyed off and back on, and started up without issue. A pal correctly diagnosed it as the carburetor starter switch, which we confirmed by using a clip lead. I cleaned the fine mesh screen last year, but understand that carbon and dirt can build up on the inside and cause the contacts to get dirty and cause the starting issues that the car is having. Did a search on the forum and saw a thread with the switch apart, but didn't see it explained exactly how that's done. Does the metal base pry apart from the (bakelite?) upper section? Just wondering about the best way to get it apart and clean it up.
  5. Thanks, Aaron! I know most old cars have some leakage, but this is a bit too much (not only from an environmental standpoint, but also a cost perspective). I use a product called CAM oil (made by the Collector Automobile Motor oil company), which is a great oil. However, it’s not cheap, and as our cars are a bit oil-thirsty anyway, I hate to see the extra drips on the ground as it’s such a waste.
  6. The repair place estimated about $400 to repair my speedometer, citing rarity of parts, etc., as the reason for the price. I said “no thank you,” and reinstalled it. Strangely enough, the bit of cleaning and light lubrication he did has quieted it down significantly. I have a clockmaker who cleans and repairs my railway regulator clocks, and I had him rebuild the clock for the Buick a few years ago. He did a great job. I’ll have him rebuild the speedo this winter, as I’m certain he can track down gear trains and springs that will be able to work as replacement parts. On another note, since having the head redone, the cork valve cover gasket no longer really bonds well to the engine surface, and there’s some more oil leaking out under the gasket. I’ve tried roughing the surface up a bit before applying the adhesive, but it doesn’t seem to have worked well enough. Anyone have a sure-fire trick for getting the valve cover gaskets to sit and seal?
  7. I pulled the speedometer this weekend, as I’ve had enough of the faint grinding noise and watching the needle bounce up and down as if the car were cresting 8 foot swells at sea. The cable’s been replaced and greased, so I ruled that out as the likely cause. Took it into the shop that services instruments of this vintage, and waiting to see what the estimate will be. Had a quick scout around the Internet, and don’t see a repair kit being offered for these instruments. Is there a good kit offered that I missed?
  8. Thanks Aaron. This is my 5th summer since I bought the car, and it’s nice to see the repair list get shorter each year (until there’s new things on it to fix). While my car is just the basic sedan, and there are things about it that aren’t correct, it’s been great to work on and I love to drive it.
  9. Found a fully rebuilt correct Stromberg carburetor for the Special and installed it on Friday. It was like the car woke up! Very responsive, lots of power, smooth and quiet. Considering I live at an altitude that’s 3400 feet above sea level, the Buick now pulls a steady 15 inches of vacuum, which is great. The new carb was the last large piece needed to complete the puzzle. While I was road testing, I ended up behind a guy who was towing a small trailer loaded with grass clippings and small bits of lawn debris. After a few minutes of getting this stuff blown onto my car, I had enough. Passed him, while going up a long hill and pulled away, holding 65 with ease (which I could not do before on an uphill grade). The expression of surprise on his face was terrific. I foresee many, many tanks of gas this summer......
  10. Spent a few hours today with a friend dialling in the valve lash, and we got it running smoothly and quietly (funny how the manual is so casual in the description of how to do it, not really mentioning that you’ll be tightening and loosening set screws on a piece of rapidly moving machinery). Engine went from sounding like a muffled typewriter to a quiet sewing machine, very responsive to the throttle and running strongly. Will do some minor carb adjustments and fine tune my distributor, but overall very happy with how it’s performing. It’s a great feeling (that people on this forum can relate to) when you’ve worked toward something with your car, and you see the end result has made a vast improvement. Makes all the minor annoyances and setbacks fade away.
  11. Changed the oil this morning, refilled the coolant, checked all the lines and made sure the bolts were all cinched. Engaged the starter, and after a few cranks, the engine fired and ran! Was really happy to hear that sound! Valves were clattery, but let her run for about 20 minutes and made sure everything was warmed up and adjusted the lash. It quieted down quite a lot, but think I need to give it some more attention. Took the car for a short drive for a few blocks; the difference in power was quite noticeable, and I was amazed to see how cool the car runs now. Even after warming up and the drive, the temp needle was well below the “N” and angled down closer to the bottom of the gauge. Thinking that the flushing of the block and the cleaning of the head must have opened things up substantially. I’ll continue to tune the car this week.
  12. Installed the window frames today, and did some finishing assembly on some of the last pieces to go back on the block and head (water pump, new upper and lower rad hoses, copper manifold gaskets, new tappet cover gasket being torqued down a bit by the cover in the second photo, etc.). Aiming to light her up tomorrow morning. Anyone have any tips or advice on what to do or expect? Will have to adjust the lash tomorrow, but while I know (and hope) the engine will sound and behave differently now, not certain if there are any other hidden landmines to be avoided before I press the pedal on the mighty Fireball 8.
  13. Had my window frames blasted and powder coated, so I bought a new length of window channel “fuzzy” material and spent a few hours today cutting, shaping, and installing them. As the staples were trashed when I pulled the old strips off before sending the frames to be powder coated, I used stainless steel aviation wire, twisted the ends, snipped them short and tucked the ends under the frame. Worked really well. Kept the strip tight to the frame and looks like a staple.
  14. Accomplished a lot today, which was great. A friend came over to help me hoist the head back onto the block and the operation went well. I found a NOS head gasket unopened in the original packaging, unbent and in perfect condition. It was almost too nice to use......almost. Head went back on fairly easily. New lifters oiled up and inserted into place, and the push rod cover installed.