Gary W

1937 Model 48: RESTORATION HAS BEGUN! (Photo)

195 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Front End Disassembly:  I tore down the front brakes completely (including removing the backing plates) and Removed the front coil springs.   It was all done together, not necessarily brakes then springs, but I'll display the brake sequences together then next post for the coil spring removal.  

 

Here goes!

 

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The front end project started by first pushing the chassis out of the garage, spinning it around and pushing it back in so the front end was easily accessible.  

 

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I jacked it up, supported the frame with stands and blocked the rear wheels to prevent movement.  Once the front tires were removed, I was ready to go.

 

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Ready to start the brake teardown

 

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Pry off the dust cap

 

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Remove the cotter key

 

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Then unscrew the large castellated nut, flat washer, outer wheel bearing and race.  A magnet helps get this stuff out.  The front left wheel has a left-handed threaded nut.

 

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Using a "spoon" to loosen the brake shoes by turning the adjuster.  It helps ease the drum removal.

 

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Pry off the drum.  I used two screwdrivers 180 degrees apart to finally free the drum from the shoes.

 

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The inner bearing comes out with the drum

 

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Slide off the inner bearing race

 

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Remove all four brake springs

 

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Then remove the shoe retainers.  I used a pair of pliers to push in on the keeper, and turn it 90 degrees and it comes right off.

 

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Remove the brake shoes

 

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Use a 1/2" wrench to remove the two bolts holding the wheel cylinder to the backing plate

 

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Remove the wheel cylinder

 

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Remove five screws that hold the dust shield in place and remove it.

 

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Once the dust shield is out, remove the lower cotter pins, and begin removing the four nuts that secure the backing plates.

 

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When these are removed, there are two metal felt retaining strips that will also come out.

 

 

 

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Remove the backing plate and the brake is ready for scrubbing, wire wheeling, degreasing, cleaning, sanding and painting of every component.

 

Coil springs next!

 

 

Edited by Gary W (see edit history)

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FRONT COIL SPRING REMOVAL:

 

I removed the coils quite easily.  I was concerned with the safety factor of these large springs, but by going slow and careful, it worked out fine.  Just so you know, the right spring i placed my jack directly under the spring to support it while the lower control arm was disconnected from the front crossmember.  When I did the drivers side, I placed the jack on the control arm shaft, between the two mountings, and that position work out very well also.  

 

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Passenger's Side jack location.  Directly under the spring.

 

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Driver's Side jack location:  Placed directly on the lower control arm shaft between the two chassis mountings.  I wanted to try this position only because in my mind this seemed like I would have a little more leverage on the spring.  It really didn't seem to matter much.   Once the spring is supported by the jack,.....

 

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Remove the four nuts, bolts and lock washers that secure the lower control arms to the frame.  YOU MUST KNOCK THE BOLT COMPLETELY OUT BEFORE LOWERING THE JACK!

 

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All nuts removed, ready to knock the bolts up through the crossmember

 

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Slowly begin lowering the jack.  You can see the mounts begin to drop free of the frame.

 

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Lower the jack and the spring literally falls right out onto the floor.  

 

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Finish the front end disassembly by removing the cotter pins, castellated nuts and bolts that secure the heavy plate that houses the rebound rubber and the front stabilizer bar to the lower control arms.

 

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Once that plate is removed, the rebound rubber had to be pried off and scraped clean.

 

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Finally, remove the last couple of bolts to release the heavy spring plate from the control arms.

 

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The finished project.  At this point, every part was scraped clean of rust, grease and scale.  Everything was scrubbed with acetone using sand paper and a scotch brite pad.  Then a nice coat of POR-15 gloss black was applied.  So nice to get in and out of all those tight spots when it is all apart like this.  Then, many, many hours to wire wheel the spring plates, the stabilizer plates, dust covers, felt retainers, backing plates and brake drums.  All got a nice coat of gloss black.  Then on to the smaller brake parts..... retainers, springs, nuts and bolts, all wheeled and sprayed.  All ready for reassembly tomorrow morning. 

 

Also:  When everything was hanging loose, I used my grease gun to be sure every grease fitting was clear and grease was free to flow through the fittings.  

And:  BE CAREFUL not to "twist around" or "rotate" the mounting shaft of the lower control arm.  If it is rotated, it will affect the alignment of your front end.  It is threaded to make adjustments so just be sure it goes back up in the position it was removed.  

 

 

 

 

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Spent Thursday and Friday cleaning every front end part.  Then painted them and got everything ready for the big Saturday morning install.  Here is the preparation work leading up to the build.

 

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Spring plates as removed from the car.  

 

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Everything wire-wheeled clean, and painted gloss black

 

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Backing plates and drums also prepared

 

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Chassis cleaned, scrubbed with acetone and painted with POR-15.  Much easier to get those hard-to-reach spots when it's all opened up.

 

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All the internal brake parts from one side.  This is after soaking in thinner for two days.  Everything is wire-wheeled clean, then...

 

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Every part gets an acetone bath to be sure all grease and oils are removed for paint.

 

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All the parts set up for painting.

 

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All parts painted and allowed to dry completely overnight

 

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Meanwhile, I cleaned all the bearings, races and related parts so they look nice and clean:

 

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Ready to be greased and installed!

 

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Front stabilizer parts also painted up and ready for installation

 

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Early Saturday morning.  I like to set up the parts so everything I need is readily accessible.  When I stay organized the job goes so much better.

 

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This is all the parts to assemble the right side.

 

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So, Saturday morning, I installed the first part.  The upper rubber bumper.  I sprayed it with silicone to make it a little easier.  

 

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Once the lip grabs, tip it and twist it into position. 

 

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First part in!  It is also the last part that required no tools!  My next post will detail the front end assembly process.  Coil springs, Brakes, front stabilizer, finalize the brake system and bleed it and finally install the clutch equalizer rod from the block to the chassis.    Lot of work accomplished in the last few days!

 

 

 

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Looks like that front end was taken apart once before.  I believe the bottom coil plate was riveted to the lower control arm at the factor.   Even thought you did not take everything apart  and  tried very hard not to disturb the front end setting, I would still get the front end aligned.  Just being off by a degree or  1/16" inch will wipe out a set of front tires.  Just did the front end on a 42 Buick and giving you the same advise that was given to me.

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Saturday Morning, April 22.  I started setting up and organizing early so the front end rebuild and the brake install goes as easy as possible.  

This first set of photos details the installation of the Coil Springs and the front stabilizer  bar.  (Brakes in the next post)

 

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All the parts needed set up and organized for the installation.

 

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1. Install the upper rubber bumper using silicone to help ease the installation

 

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2. While the shock arms were still easy to move, I filled them with hydraulic fluid and pumped them up and down until the chamber was completely full.

 

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3. Begin installing the spring plate onto the lower control arm by setting the bolts closest to the center of the car first.

 

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4. Slide the lower bumper rubber into position into the retainer plate / stabilizer plate assembly

 

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5. Install the lower rubber retainer plate, tighten up the castellated nuts

 

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6. Cotter pins secured into position.  The lower arm is ready for coil spring installation now.

 

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7. We applied a light coat of grease to the top and the bottom of the spring to help eliminate squeaks if the spring moves a little.  Push the spring up into the chassis.

 

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8. Raise the arm up with a jack, nice and slow, guiding the mounting holes into position.  We had the punch ready to help the alignment.

 

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9. The punch is the most valuable tool here.  Once lined up, set one bolt and then get the other in place.  I had to push very very hard to the outside to align the mounts.

 

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10. Once one was in place, the others lined up fairly easy. a little tap helped it get through the newly painted holes.

 

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11. Right Coil Spring installed  (Front view)

 

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12.  Right coil spring installed.  Rear view

 

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13.  On the left side I placed a piece of wood between the chassis and the vertical arm.  By doing this, when we jacked up the arm the holes lined up much easier!

 

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14.  Left Coil Spring installed

 

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15. A lot of silicone and you can push the stabilizer bar through the rubber mount

 

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16. Using a piece of wood for leverage, push down on the stabilizer when all those rubber parts are assembled while a helper tightens up the nut.

 

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17.  Front stabilizer bar installed.

 

Now on to the brakes!

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Step - By - Step front brake installation:

 

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Install the wheel cylinders to the backing plates

 

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Attach the brake hose to the wheel cylinder

 

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Slide the backing plate into position and run in the four bolts

 

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Slide the felt dust shield over the four bolts 

 

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Place the felt retainers in position over the felt and over the four bolts.

 

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Upper bolts use lock washers, lower bolts have castellated nuts and cotter pins.

 

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Install the five screws and lock washers that hold the baffle in position over the felt

 

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Baffle screwed in to positon

 

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Install the plungers into the wheel cylinders and push the retainer pins through the back of the plate.

 

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Prepare the adjusters with a little oil and a smear of grease over the threads and over the nipple end

 

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Install the bottom spring.  Criss-Cross the shoes and fit the adjuster into position.  Be sure the adjusting wheel is at the right side so it aligns with the adjuster opening.

 

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Shoes with adjuster installed ready to be installed in the backing plate

 

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Place shoes into position so the slots in the plungers fit in nicely and the retainer pins come through the holes

 

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Install the spring loaded keepers.  Mine had a flatter base, then the spring, then the outer keeper has to be depressed and turned 90 degrees to lock in place

 

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Install the remaining three brake springs

 

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Internal brake parts are all assembled

 

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Clip the brake hose to the chassis support

 

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Hold the hose steady with a 5/8 wrench while tightening up the brake lines.

 

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Slide the inner bearing race into position

 

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Smear a light coating of grease over the bearing surface

 

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Grease the inner hub bearing

 

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Looking Good!!

 

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Slide the brake drum into position.  The inner surfaces were sanded with a 320 then a 600 grit to smooth out the braking surface.  

 

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Massage that grease into the outer bearing

 

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Insert the outer bearing into position

 

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Insert the outer bearing race into position

 

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Install the keyed flat washer and the large castellated nut.  Remember, it is a left hand thread on the drivers side.  Adjust so the wheel turns freely but there is no movement when you push on the top and bottom.  There should be no "rocking" of the drum

 

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Once satisfied that the drum revolves freely, line up the cotter key holes

 

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Key it

 

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and cap it!

 

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Tightened all brake lines, installed the brass block with a retainer clip, installed the brake light switch, filled the master cylinder and began to bleed the brakes.

 

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Doing one wheel at a time, starting with the left rear, I pumped the pedal until all the air was out.  Then held the pedal down while the bleeder valve was closed.  I added more brake fluid to the master cylinder before we started the next wheel.  Did all four wheels, checked for leaks at every connection point.  tightened a couple.  I have no leaks now and a nice pedal.  All in all a really nice day!

 

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fin

 

 

A recent post suggested a front end alignment.  I totally agree.  It's on the list once she's roadworthy.  Thanks guys and have a good night.

 

 

 

 

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On 3/30/2017 at 1:51 AM, Gary W said:

Gary,

The plate that is cotter pinned to the brake and clutch pedals, is it attached to the master cylinder? I will have to remove the clutch and brake pedals and it looks like the brake cylinder will be involved. Worn bushings somewhere, I think on the shaft that attaches to the frame.

Best,

Dave

Gary W,

Once again fantastic photos. They are going into my archives for future reference. So any concerns using the original washers for the exhaust/intake manifolds? They appear to be flat (like my originals and rusted as well) but the size is good (as it should be considering they are original). Do you think they will allow the manifolds to move? I am concerned about manifold cracking as the original manifold and washers were in my car and the exhaust manifold was a basket case. Not something you would even consider in a running car.

Dave

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In my opinion using the original springs is probably better than using the ones today that most likely come from China. Everything made that was original was made at a time when cost was not the overriding factor for each part, at least in Buicks case. In 38 cars like Buick were way overbuilt. The frames were massive, the shocks were good for airplanes, the springs were massive. Everything was made to last as best as their technology was at the time. Hydraulic brakes were a big step up at the time, Ford still had mechanical brakes in 38. These cars are now 79 years old and many are still stock and still run and stop. They can still be used as a daily driver if someone wanted to do that. My point is that they were overbuilt and that is why we still have them. Everything Gary has done to his car will work pretty good, at least as good as when it was almost new which is good enough to drive every day if he chooses to.

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9 hours ago, LAS VEGAS DAVE said:

In my opinion using the original springs is probably better than using the ones today that most likely come from China. Everything made that was original was made at a time when cost was not the overriding factor for each part, at least in Buicks case. In 38 cars like Buick were way overbuilt. The frames were massive, the shocks were good for airplanes, the springs were massive. Everything was made to last as best as their technology was at the time. Hydraulic brakes were a big step up at the time, Ford still had mechanical brakes in 38. These cars are now 79 years old and many are still stock and still run and stop. They can still be used as a daily driver if someone wanted to do that. My point is that they were overbuilt and that is why we still have them. Everything Gary has done to his car will work pretty good, at least as good as when it was almost new which is good enough to drive every day if he chooses to.

 

I agree with everything you stated and I would not want any Chinese parts in a vintage Buick either. But are all the brake return springs available today made in China? There certainly are spring manufacturers still in business here in the U.S.A. This is something that might be worth looking into, i.e., just what is the source of today's available springs. Also, when drum brakes were common on cars years ago, I always remember the springs being routinely replaced as part of a brake job. Must have had to do with metal fatigue and loss of elasticity over time.

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If you think about the action that a valve spring gets and compare it to the action a brake spring gets, I think youd agree that the brake springs are not over taxed.

I dont think i have ever heard of a brake spring failing. I'd think reusing the originals is just fine.

As long as the spring isnt overstretched, time isnt an issue

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Experience with my 37 has told me otherwise.  On my drive home with it in 1987 from Hollidaysburg to Chambersburg PA, I had a pull to the left when braking. The clutch went out 57 miles into the ride home with 38 more miles to go. Roll back home and then pushed into the garage. I put it on jack stands and started to do some work. 25 years went swiftly by..... When I started to get back to work on it the left front brake drum was seized up. After I removed the drum there were 3 broken springs. All new springs have been installed since.

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5 hours ago, dibarlaw said:

Experience with my 37 has told me otherwise.  On my drive home with it in 1987 from Hollidaysburg to Chambersburg PA, I had a pull to the left when braking. The clutch went out 57 miles into the ride home with 38 more miles to go. Roll back home and then pushed into the garage. I put it on jack stands and started to do some work. 25 years went swiftly by..... When I started to get back to work on it the left front brake drum was seized up. After I removed the drum there were 3 broken springs. All new springs have been installed since.

 

While I'm sorry you had such a trying experience, I love the story.  It illustrates perfectly how the simplest of things can cause a setback, that can carry on for 25 years.

 

Buicks are heavy.  Brakes heat up, and springs can be weakened by this heat.  If they are available, it's cheap insurance to replace old parts like that with modern new springs.

 

The clutch in my 27-54CC stuck one day before going out for breakfast.  That was July 2013.  I am still working on it (it spawned a host of other projects on the car) and I am trying to avoid having it become a long hiatus as you describe also. .

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It seems to me that no matter how hot a brake drum or brake shoes got it will not hurt brake return springs. Maybe if the Buick was being road raced on a very long downhill stretch in the Swiss Alps the heat would get high but the brakes would fade before the heat could get to extreme and the car would crash losing the race but still with some good salvageable parts such as the brake return springs!  Also if any wheel has 3 broken springs something strange is going on. Possibly they were the wrong springs installed during a previous brake job. Possibly they were badly rusted before they broke. Possibly they were installed wrong. To break three springs on the same wheel tells me they did not all just WEAR OUT, there is more to it then that and there was a reason that may never be known. 

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Today I got the new, stainless steel exhaust system installed.  It took a lot longer than I expected.  It wasn't so easy getting every clamp and pipe to line up, but it finally all came together.  Then, to the front of the engine to install the water pump, thermostat housing, water outlet and the fan belt and fan.  I'm really looking forward to starting the engine soon.

 

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The manifold / exhaust pipe clamp fit perfectly.  The challenge was lining everything else up properly.  I had to use my original Buick clamps, simply because they fit correctly.

 

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It's nice seeing the original style round barrel muffler.  The previous owner had a generic Midas oval muffler.  I like the original design under there.  My only problem was that the new muffler is not labelled front / rear so I took a 50/50 chance and installed it.  Hopefully it won't matter much.

 

 

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Water pump going back into position.  I use Permatex Ultra Black for my sealant.  A nice thin coat with new gaskets will take up the roughness of the castings and creates a nice water tight seal.

 

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Install the Thermostat body / bypass valve unit. I installed a 165 degree thermostat.  Slip on the fan belt.

 

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Install the water outlet casting, again with black permatex and a new gasket.

 

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And finally, the fan is installed.  I also installed a 1/8" pipe thread plug in the oil pressure hole so I can start it without oil blowing all over the garage.

 

 

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JANUARY  18, 2017

 

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APRIL 27, 2017.  I'm so happy with the progress so far!

 

Questions:  1. Before  starting the engine, Do I have to hook up the voltage regulator?  Will the generator get ruined if it runs without a load or the regulator?

                   2. The radiator mounts to the front clip.  Besides the hoses, how would you support it so I can run the engine?

                   3. Anyone know the thread size of the water temperature gauge so I can plug that as well?

 

Throw out your suggestions.  Hopefully its running soon!!

 

 

 

Edited by Gary W (see edit history)
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2 things.  You might want to install a small oil pressure gage on the oil galley so you know your oil pressure. On my Special, I just mounted the radiator in its "yoke" and bolted it to the frame as originally. The stiff upper hose will be plenty strong enough to hold the upper end of the radiator in place

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We installed oil pressure and temp gauges temporarily when we first started ours.  We had a little home made gauge cluster zip tied to the frame.

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Gary, did you prime your oil lines yet?  I primed mine with a cordless drill with a cold chisel in the chuck.  You could use the long shaft of a straight-slot screwdriver too, but I didn't want to destroy a screwdriver and the cold chisel I used had a nice, wide blade.  Counterclockwise would be the correct rotation direction.  

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Yes, and thank you for the reminder.  Back in post #68 when I got the head on, I sacrificed an old screwdriver and spun the oil pump counter-clockwise.  The oil came right up to the rockers.  But that was a month ago.  Perhaps I'll give it another spin just before going live.  I feel like I'm very close to getting the engine running.  I ordered an oil pressure gauge to plug the hole and measure the pressure on start up.  

 

Today I had a great conversation with Jon, "The Carb King".  He is quite knowledgeable and extremely helpful.  The plan going forward is to forget the Marvel rebuild, and replace it with a Carter model 608-S.  I'll have to do a little work to retrofit the accelerator linkage but I think I'll be OK.  Jon is not a fan of the Marvel, and a rebuild is more costly than a NOS Carter so I'm going to make the change.

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