MCHinson

1938 Buick Century Model 61 - Four Door Touring Sedan - Trunk Back

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The problem with sharing your restoration work online is any little silly mistakes you make are broadcast to everybody. Today is one of those days... 

 

Today, I had too many other things going on to be able to do much on the Buick. This afternoon, I did get a few minutes to look at the top radiator hose leak. When I installed the radiator, I used a level to get the radiator totally vertical. When I was installing it, I positioned it where I thought it should be and then used a level to determine if it needed to be moved. I had to move it slightly and then I tightened up the radiator hose clamps. Apparently with my attention focused on the level, I did not notice that one of the radiator hose clamps had moved slightly when I slightly moved the radiator. Today, I loosened the top radiator hose clamps to reposition the hose and clamps. As soon as I started to loosen the bottom clamp, I realized why it had been leaking. The clamp was not totally on the water outlet neck. The clamp had slid up so that it was only partially covering the neck. In that position, when it tightened down, it was pulling the hose at an odd angle which is what was causing the leak. As soon as I positioned the hose and clamp correctly, the hose clamps now both tighten down like they should. It looks much better and I trust that the leak is solved.     

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1 minute ago, MCHinson said:

The problem with sharing your restoration work online is any little silly mistakes you make are broadcast to everybody. Today is one of those days...

Yes, it takes more courage than I have got to broadcast what you are doing. But mistakes to date are minor! Good going.

 

While I was trying to free stuck valves, the number of times I pressed the starter with the crank handle still in .... Clang! another chip in the cross member paint. Grrrrr.

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Yesterday, the grabber green paint arrived. Today, I had a few minutes so I painted the main part of the jack that is supposed to be grabber green. I still have to find or make the hook portion that goes on the top of it to hook under the bumper bars. It is an unusual color of paint but my research shows it to be correct. When we see black and white photos of the period, it is difficult to image some of the vibrant paint colors used back in the day.

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Right now, there is a 1939 jack on eBay painted that color.  I thought it was vibrant for a jack.  item 312119923121

 

Its priced well considering they can be difficult to find.

Edited by 39BuickEight (see edit history)
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This morning, I decided to install the switches for the heater, defroster, and fog lights. I had recently received three NOS switches and although they will have to be removed from the dash rail briefly and then reinstalled when I install the dash assembly, I wanted to go ahead and get them wired up. I wired and installed the three switches but soon discovered that one of the heater switches was defective. Whenever the switch is turned to the rheostat position, the rheostat shorts out and blows the fuse. I switched the heater and defroster motors from one switch to the other to diagnose whether it was a defective switch instead of a motor pulling too much current. The lighted switches look good when lit up, but the light switch apparently has a brighter bulb in it than the heater switches. I might check the bulbs later and see if I can figure out a way to get the bulbs to illuminate more consistently.

 

Later this afternoon, I realized that I did not paint the jack base when I painted the rest of the jack assembly. I primed it and later painted it with the same odd looking, but correct, grabber green paint color.  

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The 1938 Buick project did not get any attention today. I had a lot of other things to do and errands to run today in preparation for a trip to Auburn, Indiana for the upcoming 36-38 Buick Club tour and an AACA Meet after the tour. Today, I picked up the truck that I will be taking to Auburn. Tomorrow morning, I have to pick up the trailer that I will be using to tow my 1937 Century to the Auburn. I will be leaving Sunday morning and should arrive in Auburn on Monday.  It pays to have generous friends with trucks and trailers. I was seriously considering buying a truck, but a local fellow AACA member convinced me to take one of his trucks instead. It is a much newer and nicer truck than I would ever be able to afford to buy.  

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That is a long drive! If we started in Wellington at the southern end of the North Island of NZ and stopped at the northernmost point (Cape Reinga), we would still be c. 250 km short of the distance you are going to drive. It is hard for us in a small country to grasp some of the distances you people drive.

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It is a long trip. It is interesting to note, however, that trip is less than 1/3 of the total distance across the United States. The US is a big place!

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I took a few minutes to do a little bit of work on the Buick project today. I received a toggle switch that I had ordered today so I wired up the electric fuel pump circuit with the toggle switch and temporarily installed the switch in one of the predrilled holes in the dash rail, near the steering wheel. I also took an old heater switch faceplate that I had and sanded the "HEAT" letters off of it. I then engraved "DEFROST" on the switch faceplate and then filled the letters with white paint to match the other switches. The photos show the results of the steps to paint filling the engraved letters. I will polish it a bit after the paint has had plenty of time to dry.

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I forgot to mention that I did some investigation concerning the bulbs in the illuminated heater and light switches. The bulb that came in the heater switch is labeled 24 volt 5 watt. The bulb in the light switch is labeled 534F. I have no idea exactly what these bulbs are, but I plan to replace all of the bulbs with appropriate 6 volt bulbs which should make the switch illumination consistent. For the moment, I swapped the bulb out of the defective defroster switch with the bulb out of the light switch, so both of the current switches are illuminated the same for now.

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It has been an interesting but fun day in spite of an unexpected vehicle failure. I started out today on the way from home to Auburn, Indiana for the 36-38 Buick Club's annual tour and the AACA Auburn Meet. I was driving a friend's 2014 Ford F250 Super Duty truck, towing my 1937 Buick Century on another friend's trailer. While in the Raleigh area, we enjoyed a great lunch with our daughter. Unfortunately,  the truck experienced a major brake failure near Raleigh. I was able to limp the truck to a Ford dealer in Cary NC and drop it and the trailer off for them to fix the truck. I unloaded the Buick and transferred all of our stuff to the Buick. I have driven the Buick about 1/2 of the distance to Auburn, a little over 300 miles. Beverly and I are spending the night in Charleston WV, and will finish the trip to Auburn tomorrow, another 300 or so miles.

 

I typically use navigation with the "avoid tolls" option. In the future, I won't do that when I am driving a 1937 Buick in little mountain towns of West Virginia. When the navigation takes you off of the interestate to avoid a toll onto a small dark tree lined narrow black top with no center divider painted on the asphault, running next to a twisting turning creek or river with constant hills up and down, the headlights are not really very helpful since the road is either up higher or lower than the headlights. I am sure that locals who know the road do well with it. For a non-local, that few miles was a very entertaining experience. As soon as I got back to civilization, I changed my navigation settings to avoid that experience again.   

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2 hours ago, MCHinson said:

 

I typically use navigation with the "avoid tolls" option. In the future, I won't do that when I am driving a 1937 Buick in little mountain towns of West Virginia. When the navigation takes you off of the interestate to avoid a toll onto a small dark tree lined narrow black top with no center divider painted on the asphault, running next to a twisting turning creek or river with constant hills up and down, the headlights are not really very helpful since the road is either up higher or lower than the headlights. I am sure that locals who know the road do well with it. For a non-local, that few miles was a very entertaining experience. As soon as I got back to civilization, I changed my navigation settings to avoid that experience again.   

 

The money you are saving using non toll is spent with fuel, brakes and nerves by driving on such narrow roads.

It's a shame that such a recent truck has  such brake failure. Lack of maintenance?

Edited by Roger Zimmermann (see edit history)

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Here's wishing you a safe uneventful adventure in your '37 Buick. Back roads are fun, but you MUST drive slowly, that is part of the fun. Get a crack of dawn departure, and avoid driving at night. Night driving is more dangerous, even a modern car. In an ancient CAR : FORGET IT !   GOOD LUCK !     -  Carl 

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Good Luck, Matt.  A few more hours and you will be on the prairies.  Gary

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Why is it that whenever you borrow a friends _________________ (lawnmower, leaf blower, snowblower, car, truck, hammer, t-shirt.....) SOMETHING ALWAYS HAPPENS????

 

Matt..  Safe trip!  Enjoy the tour!  Looking forward to photos when you return.  Gary

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It was a great trip. I will be able to post a few photos later. We are about to go to the tour opening banquet.

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The internet service here is not what I am used to. Rather than repost the comment and photos, please check out post 2241 on page 90 of the following link for more information on our trip: 

 

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In the past 10 days, I drove my 1937 Century over 950 miles.  We enjoyed our 702 mile drive to Auburn Indiana after the borrowed 2014 Ford F250 Super Duty truck died 2 hours into our trip to Auburn. We had a great time on the 36-38 Buick Club tour. We enjoyed an extra day in the Auburn area after the tour, and had a great time at the AACA Meet in spite of the rain. The owner of the 2014 Ford, brought the trailer and another 2014 Ford F250 Super Duty to Auburn, so I was able to bring a truck load of his auction and swap meet purchases home and was able to trailer the 1937 Century home. 

 

The 1937 Century performed flawlessly for the entire trip. The only issue with the car is that another 36-38 Club member told me that my brake and tail lights were not as bright as they should be. In Auburn, I cleaned up the contacts on the tail light/brake light wiring and got them working better. Today, I disassembled them and using a wire wheel on my bench grinder, and a dremel tool, I was able to do a better job of cleaning up the hardware and wiring connectors. The light are much brighter now. 

 

After working on the lights, I pulled the car out of the garage and washed it. I then drove it a bit to get it up to operating temperature and then drained and changed the oil. I probably need to pull the wheels and repack the wheel bearings and check the brake system. Nothing appears to be wrong with any of these but it is probably about time to check them due to mileage.  I am including a couple of photos from the tour. 

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I was not 100% happy with the 1937 brake lights after yesterday's work so this morning, I opened them up again and cut the crimp on wiring terminals off and replaced the wiring terminals with soldered on terminals and also replaced the wiring terminals on the brake light switch. That seemed to brighten the lights up a bit more, so I think I might be done with the 1937 Century Brake lights for now.  I might still do some more looking into the wiring harness and find where the two brake light wires connect to the main brake light wire of the wiring harness and see if there are any terminals there that might be able to be improved. I am also thinking of purchasing some 6 volt halogen brake/tail light bulbs in the future. This evening, I drove the 1937 Century to our local AACA Chapter's Annual Picnic. The weather has been stormy for the past few days and the forecast from the past few days was looking like we would have thunderstorms this evening but it cleared up and the weather was cloudy and comfortable for the picnic. With the original weather forecast, we had less than a dozen antique cars, since most members chose to drive modern cars in case of the stormy weather that luckily failed to happen. 

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2 hours ago, MCHinson said:

I am also thinking of purchasing some 6 volt halogen brake/tail light bulbs in the future.

 

 

I would use LEDs instead of halogens, Matt. I buy them from www.superbrightleds.com and have been more than satisfied. They fit with no modifications, are SIGNIFICANTLY brighter, use less current, and don't make any heat. I put them in my '41 Limited with very noticeable results, I have a set for my '29 Cadillac that I haven't installed yet, and even put some in Melanie's '56 Chrysler wagon, which, while 12 volts, saw a notable improvement as well. They use so little current that my brake lights no longer register on the ammeter in the '41. They also illuminate faster than incandescent bulbs, which can buy you precious seconds in a rear-end situation.There's really no reason not to use them. The standard brake/tail bulbs (1157) were less than $4 each. (https://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/led-vehicle-replacement-bulbs/1157-led-bulb-dual-function-19-led-forward-firing-cluster-bay15d-retrofit-car-classic-car-bulbs/508/)

 

I'm not shilling for the company, but they exchanged a defective bulb without questions in about three days. I have been very pleased. Be sure to buy red LEDs for use behind red bulbs.

 

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Brake lights (LED on left)

 

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Taillights (note standard bulb in turn signal on right)

 

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LED turn signal on left

 

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)

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Thanks. That sounds like an excellent choice. I have a set on the way now. It is sort of funny how nobody told me my brake lights were dim for the past 4 years, but now that someone has mentioned it, I am obsessing about making them the absolute best that they can be. 

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Matt Harwood, thanks for the real-life info and pics on these LED taillights. I've been looking at the various options and companies that have these available. My '54 Studebaker needs 6V, and my '64 Studebaker needs 12v which SuperBriteLEDs can supply. I think I'll get them on order today.

 

I've already ordered a 6v LED 3rd brake light from J & L Enterprises (http://jandlenterprise.com/products/brakelighter.htm) but it just came a few days ago and I have not had time to install it.

 

EDIT: Unfortunately my '54 Studebaker takes a 1154 bulb which superbrightled does not offer :(.  Matt Harwood, what bulb number did your '41 Buick Limited take for the rear?

Edited by r1lark (see edit history)

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This morning, I actually got back to trying to work on the 1938 Buick project. I got interruped by a few small engraving jobs, but I removed the "Heat" lettering and engraved the "Defrost" lettering on the switch plate that came with the replacement defroster switch. I had previously done an old switch plate and could have used it but the color of the old switch plate was enough different from the new switch plates that I thought I would prefer the new one. I got that done and paint filled and was happy with the switches. The heater switch felt a little bit loose but everything was working. I decided to let the heater and defroster run for a little bit as a test. After a while, I noticed that the heater switch started acting strange. Apparently the spring that holds the contact on the rheostat was a little bit too loose. It got hot, the spring compressed even more, the bulb's solder contact started to melt and the switch stopped working. I pulled the switch out, disassembled it, and using the spring and insulator from the first defective defroster switch, I was able to build a working switch. Now I only need to get a set of matching correct bulbs for the switches and I think that the switches are finished. Sometimes the little jobs can require more time than you would think, but at least I did finally get something accomplished on the project.

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