MCHinson

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

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The transmission cover bolts and the firewall pad were the hardest to break loose on my car.  They were both flat screwdriver fasteners rather than hex bolt heads.  

 

Great progress!!!

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I think the hardest bolts to remove on this car so far were on the fenders. The fact that this car was abandoned outside in Massachusetts for over 20 years did not help anything exposed to the weather. The windshield molding screws were very difficult to remove. Those fasteners with hex heads on both the bolts and the nuts are certainly easier than those with screw heads. The front hood trim bolts would not come off. I had to grind them off. This evening, I removed the front license plate bracket from the front bumper. Those nuts were so rusted away, that I just used the angle grinder to remove their remains. I sprayed down the bumper bracket bolts so they will be soaking in solvent over the weekend. I also sprayed down the muffler and tailpipe clamps with solvent. Hopefully I can get those bumper brackets and muffler clamps off on Monday.      

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Matt;

Your project is coming along very nicely.  By FAR the hardest bolts to remove were the bumper bolts and the body bolts.  

The Bumper Bolts were the very first thing I removed and I was thinking "this is going to be a tough job"!

The Body Bolts were one of the last I removed, and i thought, "still kicking my *ss"!!

 

They do go back in place MUCH easier!!

Keep up the great work!

Gary

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I started out this morning by climbing into the body (on the body dolly, so I can now confirm that the dolly will hold 200 lbs more than the body alone) and removing the back window moldings. I also removed all of the muffler and tail pipe clamps, although I think the muffler and tailpipe might stay on it until we are doing the sandblasting. Next I removed the brackets from the bumpers, so the sandblaster can blast the bumpers. I am not yet sure if I will reuse the bumpers or replace them. I took quite a few photos that I think will help me reassemble the bumpers and bumper brackets correctly. 

 

This afternoon, I stopped by and picked up my friend's truck and trailer. I had some other things to do today, so it was about 8 pm (and dark) when I got around to loading for the sandblaster trip in the morning. With the fenders, bumpers, and a few other parts still sitting on the chassis for transportation, I rolled the chassis out of the garage and out into the street behind the trailer. I used a 2 x 4 board as a lever to move the chassis around since there is not a good place to push on the chassis and it is difficult for one guy to move it around. I then used a cable comealong and a couple of chains to pull the chassis onto the trailer, after removing the extra parts and placing them onto the flat bed of the truck. I secured the chassis to the trailer with 4 straps and then used some smaller straps to secure the spare parts to the bed of the truck. I loaded up a few tools so I can remove the wheels for the sandblaster tomorrow at the appropriate time. I took some photos of the project on the Truck and Trailer but it was too dark to get good photos. 

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Yes, 

 

The best information that I have leads me to believe that the engine only has about 1,000 miles on since the car was put in excellent condition. Due to it being left outside for over 20 years since the previous owner's death, the body is in bad shape but the engine does not appear to need much more than paint. I will open it up and do some checking before I am done, but I think that the engine will escape significant work. I plan to replace the front engine mounts but even the rear engine mounts look like they are good. 

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Last night, I finished loading the chassis and other parts about 10PM. Today was a long day for me, but I did less work personally on the car today than most days. My day started at 6AM. After taking care of a few things that I had to do at home, I delivered the project to Sam Thompson with Blast It at 8AM. We taped up the engine components that we wanted to protect from blasting. For the next Several hours, I mostly watched Sam and Joey work. We unloaded the chassis and they pressure washed it and blasted it. My only significant work there was to remove and replace the wheels, as well as winch the chassis back up onto the trailer, so that Sam could finish the lower portions that could be reached easier while it was on the trailer. They also blasted the front fenders, hood, front nose, and the best rear fender. I decided to skip blasting the bumpers and the other rear fender since I actually think that they will be replaced with better parts. After the loose parts were blasted, I loaded them back up. 

 

I got home a little bit after 1PM and we had lunch. After lunch, my good friend Stafford Brister of Classic Memory Lane Hot Rods and Classics and I unloaded the project and then we went to buy the painting supplies. I became the paint mix guy as well as continuing my role as wheel remover and reinstaller. Stafford did the real work of priming the chassis. We finished about 7PM and after a much needed shower, I took my wife out for dinner. 

 

Tomorrow's plan is to apply the Chassis Black paint to the chassis.

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I will be the first to tell you that I am not the painting expert. I am sure you guys are right. We had good ventilation set up, and Stafford is the experienced paint guy so I did not try to tell him how to do what he does.

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That's the first time I've seen this all done with the car still together.  I guess you can get it all done at once that way though, and depending on how they charge, that may make a lot of sense.  I don't see how you could ever get all the sand out of the cracks and crevices though with it still put together.  Do you know how many bags they went through?

 

I too let painters use whatever safety equipment they choose.  I'm not going to tell them how to be safe as they are the "experts," not me.

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Again, not trying to be a know-it-all, but I would strip the frame down before I painted it with the final black.  Once you're down to the bare frame, you are going to find areas that the blaster missed, mainly under the parts you will remove.  Leave that rust under there and it will bleed out over time and stain the painted frame.  Everyone has their own way of doing things, so this may not be the way you want to go, and that's fine.  Just trying to pass on a few lessons I learned when dealing with the same problem.

 

As far as the paint issue, take a look at this.  Not everyone reacts to things the same way, just like everyone who smokes doesn't get cancer, but this may make you think.

 

https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/bad-urethane-experience-need-info.308529/

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To answer your question, the purpose of this was to blast the majority of the frame and engine. There are certainly parts that still have to be removed and those areas will be properly cleaned, derusted, and painted at that time. For example, the front end will be totally disassembled, but I certainly preferred to have the major dirt, grease, and rust removed by a professional sand blaster, so that I will only have to deal with small amounts of that crud.

 

Stafford is not a morning person. This morning, while waiting for Stafford  I removed the push rod cover to take a peak and clean out a bit of sludge. It was not nearly as bad as I might have expected for a car that had been sitting for over two decades . I also removed the spark plug cover and got rid of the spark plug wires. While I had those two covers off, I went ahead and put a quick temporary coat of paint on them by brush to get a bit of an idea of how the engine is going to look. I removed the Generator in preparation of rebuilding it.

 

UPS delivered a few packages today. I recently purchased a rebuilt carburetor for this project as well as two wheels from a fellow 36-38 Buick Club member. I am happy with the new parts.  I can't take a good photo of it, but one of the oddest things about this car is that the inside of the gas tank appears to be almost perfect. It appears to be shiny steel inside but there was something obviously sliding around inside the tank. I was able to shake the tank around and was able to shake out three pieces of lead. I can only guess this was excess lead inside the tank from a lead repair of the tank inlet pipe in the past. Upon close examination, it looks like there is a small crack in the lead around the inlet pipe to me. 

 

Stafford came over this afternoon and we finished priming the fenders that we did not prime yesterday. After that, he applied the Chassis Black paint to the chassis. We left it to dry overnight and called it a day. The black paint certainly looks good on the chassis. Unfortunately I did not realize that the batteries were dying in my flash unit, so the photos get darker as the day goes by. I took the last four photos with the camera's built in flash after I realized that the flash batteries had died. 

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Wow, a lot of work, bet you are glad the blasting and painting is pretty much done on the chassis. I understand what you are saying about working on a clean chassis. I've seen it done both ways - blast the whole chassis together like you have done, versus taking everything apart, painting each piece, and reassembling. Painting each piece separately is very time consuming.

 

Looking forward to more updates.

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Today was a day for me to catch up on a few non-Buick projects and tasks so I did not accomplish much on the project today. This morning I did reinstall the wheels and lower the car back onto the wheel skates. I cleaned up and swept the garage. I rolled the project back into its space in the back of the garage, and organized the current storage location for the project parts.  I got a little bit more space in the garage this afternoon when a recently sold engraving table got picked up this afternoon. 

 

UPS arrived with a recently purchased 1937 Buick Radio. It is looks much better than the radio that I took out of the 1938 Buick. I am not sure if the 1937 and 1938 Buick radios are interchangeable or not. They are very similar, but I have to do some more research to see if I can use this radio in the 1938 project or not. If not, I have been wanting to replace the aftermarket radio in my 1937 Century with a correct radio, so it will end up in one car or the other. 

 

This afternoon I dropped the Generator off at a local shop that works on Starters, Alternators, and Generators. I am not sure of its working condition, but they will check it out and should produce a nicely working Generator that looks correct.  

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Matt,

37 radios have a square hole in the dash for the dial, 38's have a round hole...so (I think) you can and thus need to interchange the dials so you are literally not trying to put a square peg in  a round hole!

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1 hour ago, 38Buick 80C said:

Matt,

37 radios have a square hole in the dash for the dial, 38's have a round hole...so (I think) you can and thus need to interchange the dials so you are literally not trying to put a square peg in  a round hole!

 

Thanks. I know that one of the knobs is broken off of the radio from this 1938. Hopefully it can be fixed and I can just put the new radio in my 1937 Century. If it can't be fixed , I guess I need to find a 1938 Radio now, so both cars will have a radio. In any case, if I find either for a good price, it probably would not be too bad to have a spare or two around anyway.

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This morning I took my 1937 Century to our AACA Chapter's annual display at the Wilmington Christian Academy. Each year,  their 5th grade students study automotive history as part of their regular history studies. Each year, our local Chapter takes cars from different decades, today we had cars from the teens to the 80's on display for the 5th graders. We line the cars up chronologically and the group goes from car to car for a brief presentation from each owner followed by a chance for questions from the students and answers from the owners. 

 

After lunch, I removed the window moldings from the doors of the 1938 Century. I initially thought I would simply leave the old ones on the old doors and obtain new ones with the replacement body. I decided to salvage these, since all but one are actually in good shape. The replacement body is expected to be from a Special instead of a Century so the side window moldings will be different. The 1938 Model 41 and Model 61 body shells are identical except for the configuration of the front fender attachment points. Changing those will certainly be much easier than doing all of the rust repair on the body of my project car.

 

The window moldings all came out easily. I had previously applied solvent to the screws and every one of the screws came out easily using a common screwdriver. After removing  the screws, you simply have to tilt the top of the window molding away from the door and then lift up to separate it from the door. 

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8 hours ago, MCHinson said:

I initially thought I would simply leave the old ones on the old doors and obtain new ones with the replacement body. I decided to salvage these, since all but one are actually in good shape. The replacement body is expected to be from a Special instead of a Century so the side window moldings will be different. The 1938 Model 41 and Model 61 body shells are identical except for the configuration of the front fender attachment points. Changing those will certainly be much easier than doing all of the rust repair on the body of my project car.

 

Matt, I guess I missed the point that you are going to use a better body. Do you already have that on hand?

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I don't have the replacement body on hand so I am holding on to the old body until I do have a replacement. I have spoken with Dave Tacheny and he has a 1938 Model 41 in basically rust free condition that he is probably going to part out soon. He had a couple of people interested in buying the car but he gave them a deadline to buy it or he was going to part it out. That deadline sort of passed but he relented and gave one of them an extension. In another week or so, I should know if that one is mine or not. If not, Dave can provide all of the patch panels that I will need, but this body is more rust than steel, so it would be much easier to start with a better body.

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I spent most of this morning doing some reorganizing in the garage. I recently had one extra engraving table picked up by an ebay buyer. Unfortunately, a second machine that I had also sold on ebay looks like it is not going anywhere. The buyer failed to pay attention to the shipping details on the auction and backed out when he figured out what truck freight for a 150 pound machine shipped from NC to NM was going to cost. Hopefully I can find another closer buyer who will actually buy it to free up more space in the garage. I managed to free up some work bench space and one table top that should enable me to add a small table top sand blasting cabinet to the shop tools in the near future for this project. 

 

After finishing in the garage, I removed a bunch of screws from the dash in an attempt to remove the dash from the body. I either need someone to tell me the secret to removing the dash, or else it just needs more time for solvent to dissolve a lot of rust that is still holding it in. I also decided to pop the windshield out in case removing the windshield made it easier to remove the dash. It did not help.   I then decided to remove the sun visors. I was able to easily remove them but decided to hose them down and hang them on a fence in the sun to dry before adding them to the parts pile in the garage.

 

 

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I had better luck this morning with removing the dash. With some better light this morning, I was able to determine that a couple of aftermarket switches had to be removed from the dash before it could be removed. After locating the remains of a couple more half rusted away screws to remove and being able to remove the cowl vent handle attachment from the dash after it soaked in solvent over the weekend, I was able to remove the dash.  Some of the hardware could be removed with screwdrivers, some of it required vice grips, and a couple required an angle grinder.  I now have the throttle cable soaking in solvent in hopes of removing it from the dash soon. After removing the dash, I was able to remove the wiring harness connector that was behind the driver's side of the dash.

 

While I was in the area, I decided to remove the windshield wiper assemblies. They came out fairly easily. 

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This morning, I was able to remove the rusty nut holding the hand throttle cable to the dash. I put have placed the cable in a ziplock back with ample amounts of solvent in an attempt to free the cable up so that it might be reused.  I also removed the windshield wiper switch and the two small vertical bright trim pieces from the dash. The dash is now bare and in need of cleaning and replacement woodgraining.

 

Yesterday, I sent a 2 page list of parts needed to Bob's Automobilia. I just barely made the deadline for Hershey delivery. I am looking forward to picking up many of the parts needed to restore this car next week. After I have those parts, I should be ready to complete the restoration of the chassis. 

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Yesterday,  a regular doctor's checkup visit in the morning and several other things conspired to keep me from doing anything with the Buick. Today, I had a few other projects to work on, including helping another local friend with an issue with his 1937 Buick Coupe. These kept me busy today as well. but I did find some time to do a little bit on the 1938 Buick project today. 

 

Even though the shade will not be able to be reused, I removed the rear window shade from the body. I might be able to reuse the hardware if I don't find better examples. The interior light falls in the same category. I hope to find a better one, but could reuse this one if necessary. The four machine screws came out of the wooden interior light support without any problems, allowing me to remove it from the body. 

 

Wanting to do something more on the chassis, I removed the bypass valve assembly. The bypass valve looks good and seems to operate as designed. Now I will be faced with deciding if I want to keep the bypass valve assembly or do I want to do remove it and do the usual conversion to a freeze plug with a 1/4 inch hole in it instead of the bypass valve. 

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