Gary W

1937 Model 48: RESTORATION HAS BEGUN! (Photo)

Recommended Posts

Jim, I am glad that you did not take offense at my questioning your cotter key point.  Sometimes it can be hard to convey thoughts on the written page.  I look at this story that Gary is telling with excellent photo documentation as a learning experience for anyone who has this era of Buicks.  Don has a great point also - when they were putting these cars together on the assembly line there just wasn't all the time in the world to do everything up precisely like the modern day restorer will do things.  My thinking is the cotter key was inserted in the easiest manner and if one leg got bent around - that worked and we were on to the next task at that assembly station.  Gary, you are doing a fantastic job with this Buick and I love your photo documentation.  You are spending a considerable amount of time just taking photos and in the end this will work to your advantage.  You can always go back and refer to the photos if a question should arise in the future.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gary,

If you find that rebuilding the master and wheel cylinders is not possible or practical, I would like to recommend "Karp's brake service" in Upland, Ca.

Mine were so pitted that they could not be honed. I sent them out to Bob and for what I thought was a VERY reasonable cost, he sleeved them each with 304 stainless tubing. Today 5 years later, no drips or leaks, and she stops on a dime.

I did travel out there for business and made a point to visit Karp's shop. I was quite impressed......

 

Mike in Colorado

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the fun things about this kind of photo documentation is that you can "re-live" the fun you had while doing the job.

 

The cars I have restore & worked on have all been original - no rebuilds or restorations. In reality, often we over restore. Many of the details we fret over just were not important to the factory. For instance, the engine on my "38 Roadmaster looked as if the paint had just been thrown at it with runs and  nearly bare spots. On my '18, the firewall clearly showed the brush strokes of the hand applied varnish. Things we typically would not tolerate today in a restoration.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wednesday, March 22:  Today I mounted the engine back into the frame!  Started by pushing the chassis outside, hoisting the engine up with the crane, and then pushing the chassis under the motor.  After positioning and slowly lowering the engine, everything lined up beautifully!  All my motor mounts were re-vulcanized, and I replaced the three shims that came out of the right rear motor mount.  

 

Went on to install the freeze plugs

Honed and rebuilt the master cylinder

Installed master cylinder and pedals

Moved to the rear and removed the rear leaf springs.  That was a tough job!  Broke one shackle bolt in the process.  Everything is just rusted together.  

 

ENGINE INSTALL:  Just some photos of the engine install.   Check out the last photo of the front right motor mount.  Huge change over the last two months!

 

(Next post for the rear springs)

 

DSC_0129.jpg

DSC_0133.jpg

IMG_8791.jpg

DSC_0134.JPG

DSC_0143.JPG

DSC_0265.JPG

DSC_0270.JPG

DSC_0259.JPG

DSC_0153.JPG

IMG_8803.JPG

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rear Leaf Springs:

Removed the rear shock Links and the rear stabilizer bar the other day so they are already off the lower spring plate.

Removed the 4 "U" bolts by removing the 8 nuts (Which were rusted/frozen).

The rubber bumper and it's plate come out with the "U" bolt closest to the backing plate

Removed the shackle bolts from the shackles to free the spring.  (This was the hardest part of the job.  I broke one bolt and still have one in there. The other three came out)

Removed the spring and placed it on the workbench

Removed any remaining shackle bolts

Removed the spring center bolt

Pried open the metal spring covers and completely removed them.  This revealed three broken leaves!  Amazing how nice the car rode with such a bad spring under it.

(Last photo shows what 80-year old springs look like!)

 

Removed both shock absorbers, cleaned them up and filled with oil.  They work beautifully so I simply reinstalled them onto the frame.

So now I have a little more chassis cleaning and painting before installing the new springs.  

Hopefully I'll be installing the new rear leaf and my new front coil springs Saturday.

 

DSC_0158.JPG

DSC_0159.JPG

DSC_0177.JPG

DSC_0170.JPG

DSC_0162.JPG

DSC_0166.JPG

DSC_0225.JPG

DSC_0209.JPG

DSC_0206.JPG

DSC_0235.JPG

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This has been a nice post and your working quickly on the project.  

 

 Even though the engine ran fine you should have done 3 things to it.  1. New cam bearings.  2. crank ground with new rod bearings (.0008-.0018) specs in one of my motors manuals and plastic gage isn't as accurate as a bore gage and mics.  3. bore job with new pistons.   Cutting ridges and honing cylinders isn't the same as the cylinders can be tapered and if you cut a ridge then your flirting with clearances.  

 

Save yourself some trouble and buy new or resleeve the master cylinder and wheel cylinders.  Honeing old nasty cylinders might net you a few years before your doing it again as they are leaking fluid.  

 

Are you getting the springs from Eaton spring?  

 

Nice thread and I'm nitpicking from experience.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to disagree with Janousek.

Not every engine needs to be completely rebuilt. If a detailed inspection reveals that everything is within specification, then an overhaul like this will be just fine. It also depends on how much the car will be driven. Condition is everything. Also, there is a horrendous difference in the cost of the two types of jobs.

On the brake cylinders. I have had experiences on both ends of the scale.

When I restored my '38 Roadmaster 35 years ago, I just honed all the cylinders and installed new cups and used silicone fluid. They are syill working just fine.

However... When I did my '38 Special I did the same thing and had trouble. I ended up having the cylinders sleeved.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Springs are from Eaton.  Very nice people there and they know their stuff.

I disassembled each leaf, and sent everyone out (except the main leaf with the threaded bushing) to be powder coated "mirror black".  The front coil springs are also powder coated and i'm hoping to install them this weekend.  I'll do all chassis paint touch-up work at the same time.

 

When the leaves come back (Saturday morning), I'll paint "Slip-Plate" dry film graphite lubricating paint on every rubbing surface.  Then assemble with no grease as the Slip Plate does not wash away and it bonds very nicely to the clean springs.  Then when the new shackle bolt arrives, I can do the install and touch-up to the rear of the chassis as well.  The main leaf is simply painted with POR-15 high gloss black because I don't want to take a chance of getting powder in the threaded bushing and ruin the leaf.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, DonMicheletti said:

I have to disagree with Janousek.

Not every engine needs to be completely rebuilt. If a detailed inspection reveals that everything is within specification, then an overhaul like this will be just fine. It also depends on how much the car will be driven. Condition is everything. Also, there is a horrendous difference in the cost of the two types of jobs.

On the brake cylinders. I have had experiences on both ends of the scale.

When I restored my '38 Roadmaster 35 years ago, I just honed all the cylinders and installed new cups and used silicone fluid. They are syill working just fine.

However... When I did my '38 Special I did the same thing and had trouble. I ended up having the cylinders sleeved.

 

 I am on your side, Don,

     I overhauled a lot of cars in the '50s that way. For myself and others.  I drove my '50 Super convert another three years and it was still good to go when I traded.

 

  Gary, I am envious of your expertise.  Looking great.

 

  Ben

Edited by Ben Bruce aka First Born (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 I have no doubt that engine should last a long time,  but 30 bucks a hole for a bore and insert bearings are cheap on top of a crank grind.   I guess it would be peace of mind for myself if it was mine especially since my book shows the rods slightly out of spec.  

 

I have 4-5 cars a year roll through for new wheel cylinders.  Restored cars where guys put kits in a honed cylinder.  Restorations are usually 3-10 years old.   The surface finish on the new stuff or brass sleeves far exceeds what the average hone can produce so the rubber pucks last much longer.   Doing a 50' chevy right now with original wheel cylinders stuck on a nicely restored car.  I don't think these guys even bothered with a hone.  Just a kit on a muddy cylinder.   Nobody is saving money doing things twice.  

 

Those rear springs are a mess.  Are you putting the tin shields back on the new ones?  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can only speak from my own experience. I do my own work and I have never seen prices for parts and machining anywhere near that cost.

 

Anyone with a total rebuild, please speak up on costs. I need to be updated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just did our 42' Cadillac last fall.  I'll have to look it up but seems like parts were around 2k and machining another 1000.  But it needed 3 sleeves, some stitch pins, block acid dipped, all surfaces decked.

So not a real good comparison.  The bill will give me a break down of machine work.  Oil pump rework/modification with new idler gear was another grand. (Cadillac flathead problem).  

 

A new Kanter book came yesterday.   It has main bearings at $209 and rods at $117.36.   Cam bearings 94$    So roughly 420.00 in bearings.  To me that not a lot for peace of mind.  But.. every budget is different.  I'm not a wealthy person but I do the best job I can when I have something apart.  My luck with old cars is everything I don't throughly restore bites me in the butt.  

 

I know around here a rough rule of thumb from the shops is a grand a hole.  8 cylinder= 8 grand.  This is for complete jobs without unforseen extras.   Now that is hard to swallow.  I think most of those services include a rebuilt carb,fuelpump, generator, starter.  Years ago I had a shop like that converty our 31' Buick to  insert bearings.  I just had the machine work done but the bill had all kinds misc. fees.  Almost like a utility bill.  That one hurt but it's given over 8 thousand trouble free miles.  If I was to go back I probably would have just re-babbited everything.  

 

I thought I'd share some numbers that I know of.   It's nice to see Gary restoring this Buick.   I once had an old timer Chevy guy say a Buick is just a Chevy with lock washers but after having this 50' Chevy in the shop it's nothing like our 48' Buick 46s.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Janousek, that 'Old Timer Chevy Guy' was none other than the World Famous Pinky Randall.  He told me that in Flint back in 2008 at the GM 100th Anniversary Parade.  He came down and looked at our '22 Buick and uttered those words to myself and Barbara and just laughed.  When he got ready to walk back to their Chevrolet he stopped and quite seriously told the both of us that we had a very nice Buick there.  Coming from him that was like God coming down and blessing the car.  We will never forget that conversation with him.

 

Terry Wiegand

Doo Dah America

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gary W,

 

Keep up the good work!  Great post and photos.

 

In the time I spend looking for a missing socket, that rolled to that hidden corner all sockets roll to, you rebuild a section of your car.

 

At the rate you are going, I expect to hear from you about attending the National Meet in Brookfield, WI and joining us on the PWD After Tour!  I'll make sure to hold you a spot.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Brian_Heil said:

In the time I spend looking for a missing socket, that rolled to that hidden corner all sockets roll to, you rebuild a section of your car.

 

Haha.  Good one! :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes Pinky can often be found at AACA Meets. He has made that same comment to a number of Buick owners over the years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cleaned up and cleaned out the differential housing:

 

DSC_0378.thumb.jpg.231aa580aa57b9004b4cc5238eb9eeea.jpg

 

Before

 

DSC_0448.thumb.JPG.2c89149ccfa80c1391ee887b8bff33f1.JPG

 

Scraping out all that old goop!

 

DSC_0542.thumb.jpg.f07c810f884568cea23fbd0d8603fe88.jpg

 

All clean!

 

DSC_0548.thumb.JPG.baacac617bf00c2f8884ec18483dd337.JPG

 

 

DSC_0560.thumb.JPG.6c096b33498746bea6993c6c6fb715c0.JPG

Scraped all the old gasket and sealant.  Sanded the outside, Painted it black.  Then I hit the holes down flush, block sanded it smooth, scrubbed clean with acetone, Used Permatex Ultra-Black and installed the new gasket.  

 

DSC_0578.thumb.jpg.673b634846473a4ec575a1de5e06287b.jpg

 

Done!

 

Edited by Gary W (see edit history)
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few little odds - and - ends today.  The most time consuming is wire wheeling all those nuts / bolts / washers.  Then they get a scrubbing in paint thinner, a final soak in acetone to strip all the residual oils then two coats of gloss black.  It takes hours to clean up all these small parts.

 

DSC_0354.thumb.jpg.48294d57aebf193a00f82c7c6d177175.jpg

 

Manifold Studs before

 

DSC_0369.thumb.JPG.2daef3612ad9bb3dc3c30704f6c95447.JPG

 

I have a vacuum hood that pulls all the rust / dust / debris through a triple fllter and i wrapped the whole thing in a trash bag so there is no dust flying around.  Keeps things pretty neat for the job it is.  

 

DSC_0383.thumb.jpg.2e90d917b0be223e1939c28c90870b70.jpg

 

Same studs after wire wheel and rinse in thinner

 

DSC_0433.thumb.jpg.cb61b854c901865af12de0c612c9e947.jpg

 

Sprayed with Rustoleum Automotive Gloss Black

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Installed the starter tonight with the newly painted mounting bolts.  Looks nice.  Want to finish the right side of the engine tomorrow.

 

DSC_0526.thumb.jpg.ca6733b2250640c2c329efa6f650e1e9.jpg

 

 

Began running my new "pre-bent" stainless steel brake lines.  So far they seem fairly close.  So much nicer working with clean parts!

 

DSC_0522.thumb.JPG.43dde2b019c2f1d6d14f8580448fd28c.JPG

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cleaner and SAFER , too. Superb job , Gary ! All that work at the pace you are doing it ! You will be putting many happy miles on it soon ! I have had a question swimming around in my somewhat empty head for a while. Did you raise the compression ratio ? If so , to what ? If not , why not ? In general , all you Buick guys , is this a routine procedure often done ? I sure wish I could significantly boost the compression on my flathead Cadillacs. With your O.H.V. Engines , I would think this would often be done , the better to run on modern 87 octane gasoline , and reduce EGT , etc.  -  Carl

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The two engine modifications are:

 

1.  I used 1938 "domed" pistons instead of the original 1937 "flat top" pistons.  There was enough clearance between the dome and the head/valves/spark plugs so I'm assuming that modification will increase the compression.  But by how much..........couldn't tell you.  

 

2. New valves.  The original exhaust (or intake?) was "bell" shaped, and now all the new valves are flat so I guess that will cause a slight compression increase also.

 

The bores are all standard, so I did not have the engine bored, just honed and installed standard size '38 pistons and new rings.

 

***** I only went with the '38 domed style because EGGE doesn't manufacture the flat top pistons anymore and the technician told me everyone is going with the '38 style and they work fine so the decision was made for me.  I wanted to use original style flat top pistons.  I really wasn't looking to raise the compression, or increase the performance.  I like the way she runs. Also, I was told (right or wrong?) that sometimes it's hard to get the car to idle nice and smooth if the compression is boosted too much.  Is that correct?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now