Beemon

Me and my beautiful 1956 Buick

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4 minutes ago, Bloo said:

As for the volume circuit, this is the best I can come up with. The triode section (preamp) in the 12bf7 can be looked at as a voltage amplifier. The impedance of the grid is extremely high. That impedance, in parallel with that volume control circuit, is the input impedance of the amplifier, more or less. The pot should be audio taper. Since doubling the voltage doesn't get you anywhere near double the perceived loudness, the pot needs to be logarithmic in order to seem linear to the user. Otherwise the control would happen over just a few degrees at one end.

 

Since the pot is logarithmic,  it's overall resistance affects the perceived linearity too, too high and the change will seem to push to one end.

 

Thanks for the reply and insight, very grateful! This is exactly the issue I'm experiencing. Turn it on, it's extremely quite right before off, then sub-medium volume all the way up until the last 3/4 of the dial where it gradually gets louder. I still cannot find the 820kOhm resistor parallel to the pot, it must be wired near one of the adjustment towers.

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Your radio is revolting and choking on that modern music(?).  A steady diet of Hank Williams or Benny Goodman will have is playing correctly in no time :D

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Today was pretty cool. One of the guys in the Electrical Engineering labs on campus, while I was communicating with my  circuits professor, overheard I had an old car from the 50s. He had a complete set of Sun accessories that he recently picked up but didn't work. It's an EB-7A for a 6 cylinder car, with an RC-50 5000RPM tach and a short cup, plus 2 NOS batteries. And he passed them on to me to have because they didn't work. Talk about being in the right place at the right time.

 

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From the invoice in the box, the transmitter was returned faulty with the kit for repairs, but the kit was over 10 years old at the time and they must have boxed and shelved it. The invoice is dated 1968, and while I can't find any date codes on any of the pieces, the invoice says they are 10 years old so that would date these for 1958. I tested the tach with a AA battery and it sweeps and returns to zero just fine so I think I'm good there. I've been researching how to convert the box to 8 cylinder and I've concluded that the only difference between models is the capacitors. The wiring diagram is pretty straight forward, too.

 

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This is for the EB-9A, as the 7A model only has one battery. Note that it only has two capacitors, however every model I've seen has three. The capacitor off the battery is actually two capacitors in series, with the one bridged capacitor between ground and distributor lead (my bridge capacitor was under the board).

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I found this wiring diagram here. Apparently it uses two rechargeable AA batteries at 1.2 volts with a jumper cable to the ground circuit so it pulls a load and continuously charges when the engine is on. There's also a diode at the positive terminal (to keep from discharging when the car is off) with a resistor to ground. If they went through the trouble, I'm not sure why they bothered adjusting the circuit to accompany the batteries when they could just reduce the voltage with a series of resistors to the required 2.7VDC but to each their own. I guess it's to keep a stable voltage? Anyways, this circuit is pretty straight forward and easy to work with.

 

The original model guts seem to be okay but they are far different from the EB-9A. From my own research, the EB-9A has a 70uF 1000VDC and .075MF 200VDC capacitors in series with what looks like a .04MF 200VDC bridge capacitor.With that settled, finding a suitable voltage source is the only hard obstacle. The article linked above went from a 125Ohm resistor to a 1000Ohm resistor to get a correct reading. This should give me a project to focus on this semester that won't blow the bank so I don't spend that paint money. The best part is, I don't need to rely on that awfully big 8000 RPM tach I installed and I'll have a period correct piece to talk about, working or not. And I can cover up the holes on the driver inner fender I drilled when I added that remote fill reservoir for the master cylinder conversion I threw away.

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The forecast last night said "expect 8 to 10 inches" and I started to sink. I thought we were behind this already, moving into spring with fresh chutes in the fields. Well, turns out apparently 8-10" over here is really a meager 2". Seriously people told me it dumps here but I guess this winter has been very lacking. Still nice to look at, though. I figured I'd go to the Cenex station down the hill from campus and drop $20 in just so there's fuel in the tank. Read a quart low, so I went over to the auto parts store. Got a few looks, one "You're driving that thing around in the snow? If that was my car, it would be garaged!" Sorry sir, it's not your car. Enjoy!

 

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Don't worry Ben I get the same reactions almost everytime someone learns I daily drive mine..I like to use what I collect otherwise it's no fun to me😊

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4 hours ago, Beemon said:

Got a few looks, one "You're driving that thing around in the snow?

 

I wonder how he thought people got around in 1956.... :lol: 

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No pictures this time, but I just got back from my 3-day weekend at home. Valentine's was last week as we all know, and I had to make up some lost time with the GF and since she offered to pay for gas, I couldn't refuse. The planets must have aligned for me, because Snoqualmie Pass was clear on the way there and on the way back. Despite an uneventful weekend with raised blood pressure, I was saddened to find that one of my W2s had not come in the mail - not that that was the real reason for going home or anything... :ph34r: In any case, Interstate 90 and Highway 26 were absolutely clear. It wasn't about until I hit Washtucna that the tailpipes started smoking like a chimney. At first I thought I was in for some serious trouble, but then I noticed the car in front of me was doing the same. Turns out as the sun went down, the temps dropped into the teens and before I hit Colfax, it was 2 degrees. And boy those guys in Colfax must be sadists, because through town it was compact snow and ice. The Dynaflow is one hell of a transmission, too. Never once touched the brakes. Dropped in Low and let the engine do the work for me. This Buick is probably the best car I've ever driven in the snow, just because the variable torque characteristic of the transmission just has a really low drive range until 40 MPH. It probably also helps that the only tires in the right size I could get over the counter were A/T Mud + Snow tires. And of course, as my dad told me, the snow looks best in the mountains - I'm definitely not looking for trouble here and prefer not to drive in the snow, but when I do, I seem to run circles around modern cars on campus here. Is it because they're kids fresh out of high school? Who knows, just glad to finally be off the road.

 

And despite losing a quart of oil every 150 miles, the car seems to be chugging along flawlessly. While at home, I hit my little bird behind the throttle with some more WD-40 White Lithium, as well as the door jams and hood hinges, I think my squeaks will be good for a while. I might be able to actually reach Colorado this year if I don't run into internship issues.

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7 hours ago, Beemon said:

And despite losing a quart of oil every 150 miles, the car seems to be chugging along flawlessly.

 

As my Dad used to say, "I'd hate to have to walk back from as far as that car will take me when finally she breaks down!"

 

Safe and happy travels.

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5 hours ago, old-tank said:

Leaking or burning?

 

Leaking for sure. No blue smoke like my last engine but there's always an unhealthy pool of oil below the rear main. At least I can chalk this one to old age and not negligence. My plan for now is to keep it running as I don't have the time or space to pull the pan and pull the rear bearing cap to see how bad it is. 

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2 hours ago, Beemon said:

 

Leaking for sure. No blue smoke like my last engine but there's always an unhealthy pool of oil below the rear main. At least I can chalk this one to old age and not negligence. My plan for now is to keep it running as I don't have the time or space to pull the pan and pull the rear bearing cap to see how bad it is. 

Before I fixed my leaking rear main seal, it would quickly lose 2 quarts like yours especially if driving in hilly locations (my theory was that oil sloshed back to the seal and leaked).  After 2 quarts it would stabilize.  That engine holds 7 quarts and will not be hurt if 2 quarts low...I would add 1/2 quart when it got 2.5 quarts low on the dip stick.

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I have not checked to see if it will hold 5 quarts or not, always scared to try especially on a 240 mile road trip across state. Maybe around town I'll monitor it here and see how we do.

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Great car and great stories about your experiences on the Palouse! I had my 1949 Super in Pullman for twelve years.  It was original unrestored in those days (1980s/90s). I've since done some engine work and installed a new clutch.  (I've owned the car for forty years.)

Storage in Pullman originally presented a challenge until I met some local wheat farmers at My Office Tavern.  Over the years, I stored the car at many locations, including a pea combine warehouse and a barn.  I worried about rodent issues with the barn until the owner pointed out the owl up in the rafters.  That owl became my car's guardian angel, so to speak, keeping the mice at bay.

These days I get the Super or my 39 Roadmaster out for a drive most weekends.  In fact, I plan to take the Roadmaster out today, since our mini snow event here in Portland is now over.

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Ben,

This post is not about your '56 but since you have shared about some of your school experience and my son has gone through what you are now, thought I'd share what he is planning to do.

He came home one day this week and asked if I could give him a hand?

Went out and saw this metal frame stuffed in the back of his truck and asked what's up?

Seems this is what is left of his SAE school competition car he and the team worked on three / four years ago. The Competition was in Michigan held at the Michigan International Speedway with 115 teams from all over the world. They placed in the top 25 there and met some fantastic designs and people! :)

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The University dismantles each car as the same car can not compete, as you know in the next years competition so Mark asked if he could have the chassis.

He plans on resurrecting the car with the support of a fellow grad and running it in Toronto when completed. (Has this idea that he will clean up against Porches because the track there doesn't require restrictor plates...) 

So... there it sits in my shed which I'm trying to clean out and move for access to my back yard but because of his enthusiasm and enjoyment especially with the fabrication part of the process, guess that's what Dad's are for. :unsure:;)

 

Have you completed a car and competed yet?

Hope you don't mind the diversion on your thread.

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Thanks for sharing! No we haven't completed this year's car yet. We're horribly behind schedule and probably won't have it rolling until mid March. I am hoping to go to Michigan this year. We have a reputation to up hold, win or lose Cougs still booze.

 

Thats really cool though! All our old cars get cut in half and mounted on walls. I don't think anyone has ever bought a chassis and rebuilt it. Having no restrictor would be really cool as I know these motorcycles are deadly fast. Keep me posted on the cars progress! 

 

This weekend I came home for spring break. At my half way fuel up in Vantage, WA, the car threw up. I'm starting to wonder if the car isn't getting fed up to and when it's shut down, the pressure goes through the rear main. The photo was after I shut the car off at the gas station. I'm not sure if highway pressure has anything to do with it. I also found metal on my dipstick so it looks like we're on our way out. I need to find myself a late 60s Riviera soon so I'm not left without a Buick if I have to dig into this engine. 

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Tonight I rotated my tires for the 5000 mile anniversary of them. Since I had the wheels off, I pulled the drums, too, to inspect and clean behind the backing plate. The same drum that overheated last year had more problems this year! Pulled the drum and the shoe was in disarray! Hundreds of micro cracks and a large portion of material missing. The piece on the ground is the piece I removed by hand without effort. The other piece was no where to be found... good thing I had a spare set of shoes on hand! Tires rotated, brakes adjusted, bearings repacked and I'm on my way. I'm looking in the next day or two to do an oil change. 

 

The rear driver side backing plate gasket is leaking some axle lube. Thankfully it's coming out of the weep hole and not dripping on the drum and contaminating the shoes. That can wait though because I just found the right 3.36 rear gears! So when they come in, the 3.23 gears will be my back up set if/when they ever need to be used. The 3.36 gears I found look to be in better shape than I recall the 3.23 gears. I know its not a significant change, but the Buick engineers felt it was necessary for high compression 4 barrel cars and that's good enough for me. The pick up off the line will be back, too, as I've missed that with the 3.23 gears. On top of this, ill be getting two straight torque tube strut rods, so hopefully my rear end won't be sprung anymore. 

 

Tomorrow or Wednesday I'm hoping to setup a home made alignment shop at my grandfather's and spend some quality bonding with the Buick. Since all these tire shops are hopelessly incompetent if the car is not in their computer (just asking for a tie rod alignment here, throw me a bone), I'll be wrapping four jack stands with twine and trying my best to triangulate the wheels with aluminum pie plates under the wheels. Should be pretty easy, however with the amount of play I have in the wheel, it will be a bit difficult to find dead center on the gear box. 

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Edited by Beemon (see edit history)
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Trash bags (folded up) make pretty good turntables to put the wheels on. Jack stands do work great for the string. You will need to space the strings out from the wheels with something because the bodywork will be in the way. I used oil cans, but they don't make the right kind of oil cans anymore. You'll need to find something of a predictable size.

 

It really helps to know ahead of time that your wheels run true.

 

2 cans per side at the back and careful positioning of the strings will show you if the rear axle is pushing straight, and if it is the toe can be measured from the strings. You can also put 4 more oil cans up front and realign the strings if you want. Most cars have a slightly narrower track in the rear, so with the steering straight ahead you should have equal gaps at the front cans on the back wheels, and more equal gaps at the front cans on the front wheels. Toe in for most old cars is specified as a linear measurement of "total toe" in inches instead of degrees per side. Don't forget to add the sides together. It really should be measured up at half the tire height, but short of making a giant makeshift caliper to measure it directly, (not a terrible idea) you may have to fudge this a little.

 

If you have radial tires you might want to run less toe than stock anyway, maybe half or so. The whole idea is you never want to be toed out at speed. The toe in compensates tor tire drag trying to toe the wheels out by loading the steering linkage and suspension. Radials drag less, and need less compensation. If you use less toe and the car doesn't dart all over the place at speed, you are fine, and the car will roll easier, and the tires will last longer (it should drive fine with the stock setting if you prefer).


Getting the toe set is pretty easy. Centering the steering wheel is harder. Even with an alignment rack it often takes more than one try. Just get the toe right, then make identical and opposite changes (and drive it) to center the wheel. Recheck the toe to make sure it didn't change.

 

Camber is just how far the tire leans in (negative) or out (positive). You can quick check it with something straight (like a level) and an angle gauge.

 

Caster is a bit more difficult. Magnetic caster gauges are great if you know anyone who has a set. They stick to the front hubs. You turn the steering 20 degrees each way to make the measurement. The gauges do this by measuring the camber at 20 degrees in and at 20 degrees out, and then calculating. It is also possible to measure camber at +-20 degrees and calculate it manually.

 

If you are setting any other angles, do toe last. Good luck.

 

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Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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5 hours ago, Beemon said:

The same drum that overheated last year had more problems this year! Pulled the drum and the shoe was in disarray! Hundreds of micro cracks and a large portion of material missing. The piece on the ground is the piece I removed by hand without effort. The other piece was no where to be found... good thing I had a spare set of shoes on hand!

 

Spare parts are good :)(ask me how I know...).

 

I'm sorry, I didn't look back but that overheating, did you not change the brake shoes after that incident?

By the looks of the thickness of that piece you picked off there was sufficient material. I would have thought heat wouldn't break down the lining like that especially being riveted on vs. bonded. That's what brakes do, generate heat (to a point obviously) :unsure:.

Just curious here not criticising (no mechanic here).

Presume those shoes were new when they were first put on right?

 

As always, safe travels. 

Edited by dei (see edit history)

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Those pictures of your 56 in the snow remind me of the 4 years my 55 spent in winters in Potsdam NY.  Got the same crazy looks from people when driving it on snowpacked roads and sub zero weather.  Will hunt down some pics.

 

Had a set of Firestone Town and Country studded snow tires on it and an 80 lb bag of salt over each wheel in the trunk.  That car went through anything the great white North threw at it.  I can remember pushing snow with the front bumper on the way home from a Springsteen concert in Syracuse in a blizzard.  No weather reports on an iPhone back then and a paper map under that goofy little map light.  Somehow those vacuum wipers went the distance.  One of a few memorable winter adventures.  Thinking back, not quite sure how we got home sometimes and didn’t end up backed into a snowbank.  Sure  glad the car knew what the heck it was doing.

 

The Dynaflow having less startup torque in D on a slick snow packed road was always an advantage on startup.  Once it got moving - it kept just going.

 

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On 3/13/2018 at 5:47 AM, dei said:

 

Spare parts are good :)(ask me how I know...).

 

I'm sorry, I didn't look back but that overheating, did you not change the brake shoes after that incident?

By the looks of the thickness of that piece you picked off there was sufficient material. I would have thought heat wouldn't break down the lining like that especially being riveted on vs. bonded. That's what brakes do, generate heat (to a point obviously) :unsure:.

Just curious here not criticising (no mechanic here).

Presume those shoes were new when they were first put on right?

 

As always, safe travels. 

 

Doug, sorry to be getting back to you so late! No, I did not change the shoes before - they had looked fine. They were also New, the Ultra Premiums from NAPA instead of the base Proformer (they were impregnated with metal). Kinda sad they went out like this but oh well, car seems to stop pretty good with these other, unknown pads.

 

Speaking of, if anyone has been watching my override spring topic, I found the correct spring to be NAPA part number UP80579. I was pretty happy about that. With the self adjusting set up right, the brake pedal has a nice firm feel versus the manual way of things. Maybe I'm too lazy. :P

 

Tomorrow I plan to do my alignment, thanks for the tips Bloo! I already know my rear end is sprung slightly since one of the torque tube arms is bent. I've also been put off schedule. I went to repack the bearings in the front and find the inner bearing race free floating in the hub. I'm using the National bearings from RockAuto and have had no complaints. I know there has been fear. regarding the plastic cage, but they have not broken on me yet.  Anyways, I mic'd out the bearing race with another I had and they are the same. These hubs on the car I got from an eBay listing that I got my Roadmaster backing plates from. When compared to my original hub, the insides were off by a thousandth,  so I'm not sure what happened there. I drilled out the rivets on my old drums and extracted and swapped hubs. Driving back home from dad's shop  (and full after a cooked back strap dinner), the shimmy in the front at 65+ was gone. The ride was so smooth I couldn't believe the difference. Also not sure I'm doing this right, but I was told for ball bearing to preload by tightening the nut until the bearings are seated, then backing off and tightening by hand to the nearest cotter pin hole. 

 

I have set in motion a plan B to my hub problem. A year ago I bought 65 Riviera aluminum drums to upgrade my brakes, but turns out they will not fit the stock backing plates - 57 to 60 aluminum drums are different from 61 to 65 aluminum drums and the earlier years are the ones that fit. So I did the same as my stock drum, drilled out the rivets and separated the hubs from the drum. Once I solve the back spacing issue, ill have far superior tapered roller bearings that I can buy over the counter at half the price of ball bearings. Hopefully. 

 

Among other things, I have found slop in the drag link. When I do the alignment tomorrow, I plan on tightening that up as well. Hopefully it will reduce some slop at the wheel. 

 

Im also doing an oil change, and since ill be detaching the idler arm from the frame, I feel this will be a good chance to drop the pan and check the innards/ clean out any sludge. I'll also be able to install the windage tray I bought from Matt for that 100+up bolt on mod. I've also got gaskets for the valve covers as I want to check valve stem and rocker wear, as well as valve spring condition and do some top end sludge cleaning. Hoping all goes well! 

 

No compression checks planned, I do not want to disappoint myself! 

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Edited by Beemon (see edit history)
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Hey, Ben!  How are the aluminum drums different from early to late?  I never paid attention... and am not sure which ones I have on my '54.

 

When doing my project, I found that the shoes did not fully engage, with a little lip of shoe hanging outside the drum.  I ground the Roadmaster brake plates down at the outer lip for some extra clearance, set some heavy washers behind the plates to bring them in a bit, and then the shoes were in like they should be.

 

To double check, put some machining blue on your drum and spin it around with the shoes adjusted out some, so as to be sure they have full contact and are not hanging out.  The blue should rub off onto the shoe, all across the width.

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The early aluminum drums have the same backing plate stamp as the 54-56 Buicks, while the 61 and up are the thin stamped sheet metal. The channel between the fins and cast iron liner is deeper so you don't have to machine the backing plate down. You can tell the difference between the two by the absence of lug studs and the use of ball bearings - the hubs are completely different. 61-65 45 fin are also 2.25" thickness while 57-60 are 2.5" thickness. That's where the deeper pocket comes from. 

 

There's a lot of misinformation out there on the 45 fin drums. 

Edited by Beemon (see edit history)
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 So no alignment.. I did however get the pan out. Crankshaft stopped at the right spot, I didn't have to turn it at all.  The pan also separated of its own weight.. looking at it, it had massive amounts of fluid bypass and the cork gasket was brittle and cracked all along the pan. In the bottom of the pan was the pickup screen.. I found the two screws in the sludge at the bottom (it was actually really clean!) No gasket in sight. Thankfully, my grandfather was gracious enough to donate a RaisinBran box top. The pickup is now securely attached to the oil pump! The windage tray also went in no problem, as it should. I reinstalled the pan with black rtv on the pan to gasket and weatherstrip sealer from the gasket to the block, like I did my other engine. This gasket was half fused to the pan and block, but I did this procedure on my other engine and it sealed up great and completely separated the gasket from the block without mess when I had to tear it down. I don't have the luxury of waiting 24 hours to cure, however there was no signs of leaking after the oil change. Oil coming out could have been better to say the least.. some flakes. Checked cylinder walls, clean and shiny except for some piston slap. They look a bit tapered, as to be expected from a 60 year old virgin. 

 

I wanted to swap exhaust manifolds and pull the valve covers after the alignment, but I'm at the end of the road. Next break I have, I'll be sure to make time for me and not everyone else, scrambling to get everything done at the last minute. Still, I'm glad I found these issues and solved them. Even if I didn't cross everything off my list, I'm still happy. :)

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Edited by Beemon (see edit history)
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8 hours ago, Beemon said:

In the bottom of the pan was the pickup screen.. I found the two screws in the sludge at the bottom (it was actually really clean!) No gasket in sight.

 

Am I understanding this right?  The pickup was not attached to the oil pump? 

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