Jim Cannon

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About Jim Cannon

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    '63 Riv Tech Advisor

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    : Houston, TX (winter) Hiawassee, GA (summer)


  • Biography
    I learned to sail when I was 10 years old. I am an Eagle Scout. I have always had The Knack for repairing things mechanical and electrical. I learned Spanish on the streets of Miami from the children of Cuban refugees. I can tread water for hours with my hands and feet bound. I am a recognized expert on the 1963 Buick Riviera. My hands work independently of each other, allowing me to do two things at once with them (such as remove or tighten nuts or bolts).

    I once constructed a "bicycle built for two" with the riders sitting back-to-back, just to show it could be done. I spent a week traveling up the Amazon River by boat. I swim with piranha. In my spare time I build model bridges with wooden match sticks. I love to teach science to Second Graders, and tutor Physics and Calculus to High School students. I played golf twice and decided it was not very challenging, so I dropped it. I cook award-winning Churrasco.

    I collect music from the 20s and 30s on original 78 rpm records and play it on my three vintage Victrolas. I don't perspire. I can throw playing cards across the room with deadly accuracy. I was the 11th caller, and I could name that tune. Jimmy Carter and I built houses together all over the world. I successfully kept hummingbirds in my aviary; zoos consult me on their care.

    I restored my first horseless carriage when I was 14 years old, something that I enjoy to this day. I learned to drive a car with a clutch on a 1929 Ford; the car sits in my garage to this day. I'm completely ambidextrous, which allows me to paint a house in half the time. Despite rumors to the contrary, I have never infiltrated a secret Russian air base outside Moscow. I hunt quail on the pampas of Uruguay. My work was instrumental in understanding how much damage had occurred during the accident at Three Mile Island. To entertain myself, I recite Burns aloud. I am no longer welcome at the Palms in Vegas.
  1. To remove and replace the big spring, push nails in between multiple coils until the spring comes off. Attached are 2 photos of Mark Uhlig's original, low miles '63; look at the springs.
  2. Vacuum gauge reading on 401

    This is a problem on the '63 Riv with an original AFB carburetor. The vacuum port for the distributor is "ported". So it is not open to full manifold vacuum at idle. (Other later Rivs are not; this is one of the little differences between '63 and other years that drives the novice crazy.) So vacuum at the distributor port will not be correct (it will be very low). There is no little port on an original '63 AFB with unported vacuum to connect to. The little vacuum port on the front of the intake manifold for the A/C system has a check valve in it. You can't use that. I hate messing with the power brake vacuum line, but you could temporarily connect there, if you wanted to. So the easiest place to pick up full manifold vacuum is on the PCV line off the back of the carby. Use an adapter to "Tee in" a vacuum hose size that your vacuum gauge will connect to. Keep the PCV valve connected (so that idle mixture and RPM are not impacted by your gauge). At idle, you might see 18-20" Hg, but you don't need to see more than 17" Hg. Depending on your cam, you may only see 16". More important is to look for a steady needle at idle and up, at higher RPM, to indicate all valves are moving freely and sealing well. Reading and interpreting vacuum gauge readings is a bit of a learned art. You can do a lot of diagnostics with one, once you learn how.
  3. Carburettor kit for 1963 Riviera

    Rodney- I can help you with the adjustments via a FaceTime-type video chat over the Internet. Let me know when you are ready to do it. Ed is correct, lots of good guidance in the Shop Manual.
  4. Carburettor kit for 1963 Riviera

    Look at RockAuto.com for the carb rebuild kit. Standard Motor Products. They ship to Australia. I do not think they have the choke coil. Do you plan to convert to electric choke? A good used choke coil may be your best bet. Usually it is the little vacuum operated piston inside the choke housing that gets all plugged up with carbon and sticks. The coil is pretty simple and only needs to be replaced when it breaks. Be sure to use the stainless steel plate between carb base and gasket. Not included in kit. I don't remember who sells them.
  5. Ed and all- In that thread I later posted in #8 that my comment only applied to 1963 models, not later models. I do not know how to date later carbs.
  6. A/C tag???

    As I recall, I had one of these glued to to top(?) of my evaporator box, under the glove box. It's been a long time.
  7. Happy to help. Some previous owner probably did not know about the button on the side of the headlight switch to release the knob/shaft, so they pried the knob off to be able to get the headlight switch off.
  8. Do not use mineral spirits as a prep cleaner. It leaves an oil residue. Use lacquer thinner and a clean rag. Be careful not to get any of it on any painted surfaces.
  9. JB Weld is fine. To remove the knob and shaft as an assembly from the headlight switch, you reach in and depress a small, spring loaded button on the side of the headlight switch (behind the instrument panel) with your finger while you pull the knob/shaft out. So gluing the knob on will not cause a future problem.
  10. Bob- I do not know of a source for the double diaphragm unit new. You could search on eBay. Put a saved search in the system and have it notify you any time one is listed for sale. Go by the GM part number. I have gotten NOS parts this way where the seller did not really know what they had. You can always get a used one off of a parts car. If you know you have a bad diaphragm, plug that vacuum hose with a golf tee or a roofing nail to stop the vacuum leak there until it is replaced. Look in the shop manual, page 11-72. Your lower diaphragm is identified as #4 diaphragm. This is the one that holds the recirc (fresh air) door open 1/4 when your A/C is on MAX cooling. If your diaphragm is not working, you are getting full recirc. This is what I actually did on my car for MAX cooling. I put my COOL knob all the way in all the time and move the fan from High to Medium speed if too cold. I would suggest you not change a thing. MAX cooling means you have the COOL knob is pushed all the way in on the dash. Anything less than that gives you 100% outside air going through the A/C coils.
  11. No, Bob... if you have ice on the line, leave it alone. It is normal, especially in a humid place. If you are running R-134a and you do not have ice, if the outlet temperature of the air is not too cold, lower the suction line pressure a few psi. You don't need to change anything, you are good.
  12. The "double diaphragm" (stacked diaphragms) under the blower motor allowed Buick to have the recirc door (or the "fresh air in" door, if that's what you want to call it) be fully closed when the system is fully off, part open when the A/C is on High fan speed and Max Cooling. This is as close to fully recirc that Buick offered. In all of A/C positions and in all modes with heat, the recirc door is fully open (i.e. full fresh air flow from outside). This is all in the shop manual. (In today's modern car A/C, they offer full recirc.). Personally, I like having full recirc on my A/C all the time, instead of cooling down the hot, humid outside air in Houston. So that is why I modified my system to be open for heat (all fresh air) and closed for A/C (full recirc) by having no vacuum applied to either diaphragm (or either port of a 2-port diaphragm, like you use on the plenum on the firewall under the hood). I don't use the partial open setting at all. The spring pulls the recirc door closed (full recirc -- no outside air) if no vacuum is on a diaphragm under the fan. Better than what Buick did for cooling. BTW, they were concerned about carbon monoxide poisoning. That's why they wanted to bring in the fresh air all the time. No cat converter on these cars, lots of CO. Be careful!
  13. Guys, frost on the outside of your A/C hoses under the hood is normal and GOOD. It means that your suction line is very cold, which is what you want. Having your A/C only blow in the 40's on max while driving is not cold enough. I see mid-30s with R-12 running down the road with it 110 degrees outside. When it is humid in Houston, I get fog blowing out of my center vent. That's cold! This is the main complaint of people with R-134a, not cold enough. If you have an STV, you can lower the suction pressure a few psi. If you are going to run R-134a, you need a condenser in front of the radiator that was designed for R-134a. The rest of the system does just fine.
  14. I troubleshoot my A/C vacuum system as follows: 1. Remove each hose from each actuator vacuum diaphragm nipple and label them. Plug each with a golf tee except for 1 at a time, the one you want to test. On that one, connect a vacuum gauge. 2. Attach a vacuum source at the engine intake manifold hose so that you do not have to run the engine. 3. Move the A/C and Heat knobs to each position and use the vacuum gauge to confirm that there is or is not vacuum on that line. 4. Move the vacuum gauge to another diaphragm line (move the golf tee over) and repeat #3. The shop manual is very clear on which diaphragm should have or not have vacuum for each A/C - heater knob position. The vacuum modulator (inside the car) is a common source of leaks and problems. You may need to isolate it to test other things in the system. The little vacuum switches also don't seal well sometimes. A shot of silicon in each end of a switch, followed by actuating several times with your fingers, will help get them working again correctly (for a while). I use a paint pen (available at a craft supply store) to run a colored stripe down each vacuum hose as it is identified and the operation is confirmed.