Diseasewithnocure

1940 Buick Special 40C - Need help identifying engine year/carb type & getting running!

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Hi everyone,

 

First off - let me say what a great forum...I have been silently creeping on the sidelines to get info here and there when needed and it's totally different from any other forum(s) I'm a part of.  I can't say I can contribute a lot (yet) but look forward to being a part of the community.

 

Long story short, a good friend and I am in the process of getting my father's oldest prized possession back on the road and running for him to use and enjoy as he's turning 80 in the near future, and hasn't been able to do so.  It is a 1940 Buick Special convertible 40C.  It last ran and drove about 15 years ago and has been parked in a climate controlled garage ever since; I have some memories back then riding in it when I was young (7-8 years old) so I'm really hoping to get it back to driving state to enjoy....well once Wisconsin thaws out next spring.

 

Between here and Bob's Automobilia (which I don't know if that's viewed as gold or rubbish on this website, maybe someone can comment on that too) it has been easy to get the basics figured out, at least to my knowledge of thinking.

 

So far:

 

1) Removed the rear differential cover, cleaned out, new gasket, filled with fresh oil (SAE 140 GL-4).

2) Drained transmission fluid, new gasket, and filled with fresh oil (SAE 140 GL-4).

3) Pulled the oil pan, cleaned oil pickup filter, new gasket, and filled with fresh oil (SAE 30 non-detergent).

4) Replaced a lot of suspension related bushings and really anything that was easily available and easily replaceable "while we're underneath it" kind of thing.

5) Drained and cleaned the fuel tank, flushing the lines, replacing the fuel filter (a simple in-line paper type), and verifying clean gas is coming up through the line.

6) There does not appear to be any type of fuel pump (vacuum or "old style") anymore on the car, nor can my father remember having one...a "friend"/hack of my father's fitted it with a electric fuel pump but considering it was 12V goes to show the level of knowledge he possessed.  So it now at least as a functioning 6V pump on it and provides adequate pressure I believe.

7) Replaced the battery with a new 6V (3EH).

8) Replaced all plugs with new ones R46S equivalents from Champion, and have verified that timing and spark is there.

9) Verified timing and spark is there

 

With that, I'm looking for some help on the following:

 

1) Identifying if the motor is indeed a 1940 or if not, exactly what year.  I believe these should have been grey in color (correct?) originally, mine is black.  So I would like to identify if mine is either the original motor (but painted) or from a different year.  How would I go about doing this?

 

2) How can I identify the carb type?  I would like to rebuild the carb as well...right now it has Stromberg and 7-74 stamped into it.  I'm hoping someone can provide some clarity on year/model of carb regarding a rebuild kit.

 

3) It is turning over and "sputtering" but won't stay running on its own.  It appears that the only way to get it to run for considerable time is by pressing the throttle down ALL the way, for quite some time, and then finally it will run for a very brief time but very poorly.  Feathering the throttle doesn't seem to have an effect on its time to stay running or anything - even when I quickly hold the starter relay (near the carb) up so that is no longer engaging and has the chance to grind.  I will try to upload a video later today or tomorrow to show how it is running.  I know it could be a million things, but getting some ideas on these old(er) cars would be great since I'm not too familiar.

 

4) Lastly, the heat tube (running from the exhaust manifold to carb) was completely rusted out (near the exhaust manifold)...how critical is this?  And it seems like a difficult part to find, can you make and flare your own replacement out of brake line, or any other ideas?

 

Thanks in advance - I really appreciate the help.

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Welcome,

  My dream car when I was a young man. I am same age as your Dad.  The way to Identify your engine is fairly easy. Post some good pictures of the engine.  The engine number is stamped on a pad just in front of the distributor.  Correct that 1940 engines were grey. Seems like all Buick engines of the '40s and '50s were black under the colored paint. The black outlasted the grey, red '41, and turquoises of later years. Will it stay running if gas is dribbled into the carb? The heat tube is necessary for proper operation of the choke.

 

   Bobs Automobilia is good.  Cars, Inc , I have had good luck with. Some have not. 

 

  We LIKE pictures.

 

  Scroll on down to the Buick forums. Some of those folks never come up here. 

 

  Ben

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I can't help you on your questions. However, everything you have heard about using non-detergent oil is wrong. It is bad for your engine. The engine will fill with dirt, everywhere - in the oil pump, in the oil ways, inside the crankshaft, in the ring grooves, inside the timing chain or timing cover area around the gears and so on, limiting oil flow. Put in a 5W or 10W-30. For maximum zinc, use a CI-4 rated diesel oil. To minimise wear, use a synthetic - ANY synthetic oil is better in this regard than ALL mineral oils.

 

It was realised early on that the oils of the day had some serious problems. They were thick on startup (=more wear) and water thin at temperature - i.e. they didn't hold their viscosity as the temperature rose. They turned to sludge, fairly quickly. My 1930 Dodge oil change intervals are 1500 miles because of this, as well as the break-down of the oil in use. There are many reasons to NOT use "non-detergent" = non additive oil. Search these fora to find many, many discussions on this.

 

Good luck getting the car running. Remember to check out the brakes too; they will need work.

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1 hour ago, carbking said:

Stromberg 7-74 is a good number for Buick, and should be sufficient to acquire a rebuilding kit.

 

Jon.

 

Thank you Jon - greatly appreciated.  Anything to watch for or watch out for while doing the rebuild?  At first glance the carb. seems relatively simple but I know (exterior) looks can be deceiving.

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10 hours ago, Spinneyhill said:

I can't help you on your questions. However, everything you have heard about using non-detergent oil is wrong. It is bad for your engine. The engine will fill with dirt, everywhere - in the oil pump, in the oil ways, inside the crankshaft, in the ring grooves, inside the timing chain or timing cover area around the gears and so on, limiting oil flow. Put in a 5W or 10W-30. For maximum zinc, use a CI-4 rated diesel oil. To minimise wear, use a synthetic - ANY synthetic oil is better in this regard than ALL mineral oils.

 

It was realised early on that the oils of the day had some serious problems. They were thick on startup (=more wear) and water thin at temperature - i.e. they didn't hold their viscosity as the temperature rose. They turned to sludge, fairly quickly. My 1930 Dodge oil change intervals are 1500 miles because of this, as well as the break-down of the oil in use. There are many reasons to NOT use "non-detergent" = non additive oil. Search these fora to find many, many discussions on this.

 

Good luck getting the car running. Remember to check out the brakes too; they will need work.

 

Interesting! I specifically went out of my way to find, buy, and use non-detergent oil from a few posts I read on here..."luckily" I haven't been able to put any miles on it (for not so lucky reasons hah), and I don't want to open up a new can of worms with detergent vs. non-detergent.  Given that even once I get this car running, it will only probably see about 100-150 miles max per year, is there any recommendation on oil brand/type?

 

Thanks again!

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13 hours ago, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

Welcome,

  My dream car when I was a young man. I am same age as your Dad.  The way to Identify your engine is fairly easy. Post some good pictures of the engine.  The engine number is stamped on a pad just in front of the distributor.  Correct that 1940 engines were grey. Seems like all Buick engines of the '40s and '50s were black under the colored paint. The black outlasted the grey, red '41, and turquoises of later years. Will it stay running if gas is dribbled into the carb? The heat tube is necessary for proper operation of the choke.

 

   Bobs Automobilia is good.  Cars, Inc , I have had good luck with. Some have not. 

 

  We LIKE pictures.

 

  Scroll on down to the Buick forums. Some of those folks never come up here. 

 

  Ben

 

Hi Ben,

 

Very nice - I will double check and see if I can find out engine ID now that I know where to look.

 

There is plenty of gas getting to/into the carb (I believe) as it is pooling up in the "intake manifold" and probably 1/16" or 1/32" in height of a pool in there.  The "V" jets are also dumping a solid stream of gas into the chamber too when you step on the pedal, so I think the gas is definitely getting in there.

 

My next plan was to rebuild the carb, fix the heat tube, and then try again...unless based on these photos (which I will send more of) and video, someone has other ideas of where to look.

 

Thanks again.

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3 hours ago, Diseasewithnocure said:

is there any recommendation on oil brand/type?

 

No. Just find a CI-4 oil of 5W-30 (or 10W or even 0W). I use a semi-synthetic - I buy it in 10 litre packs to make the 6+ litres for a fill.

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Nice looking car!!  I seem to remember a post that said replacement Buick engines were all black.  The engine number stamped into the flat on the block should be a big help in this area.  I would also be concerned with the fuel system. The carb may need cloeaning or a rebuild and the electric fuel pump very likely will have to high a pressure which will lead to over fueling issues.  Jon, Carbking, is the man that knows what is what and what is required for proper operation.  Welcome to the asylum :) .

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Probably the biggest "gotcha" on that Stromberg carb would be the aftermarket electric fuel pump. Don't misunderstand me, electric pumps do have a function, but important with any aftermarket pump, mechanical or electric, not to push too much pressure at the carburetor. Stromberg suggested 5 psi. I would NOT wish to exceed that value.

 

The internal carb "gotcha" is not to interchange the power (economizer) valve with the pump valve. When you disassemble, the power valve has an external plunger, and the pump valve an internal plunger.

 

That carb is virtually bullet-proof. A good kit, a good cleaning, and it should be good for another 100k miles, assuming you keep the filters clean.

 

Jon.

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10 hours ago, Spinneyhill said:

 

No. Just find a CI-4 oil of 5W-30 (or 10W or even 0W). I use a semi-synthetic - I buy it in 10 litre packs to make the 6+ litres for a fill.

 

Spinney' !!!!!   SPINNEY' !!!!!!!!!!!!    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHGGGHHHH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Spiiiiiiiyiiiiiyiiiiiiiiyiiiiiiyiiiiiiiiiyiiiiiiiiinnneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey' !!!!!!!!!     A what !!! A what kind of a synthetic ? A WHAT !!!?????? 

 

No.  NO.  NNNNOOOOOO !!!!   Say it ain't so , Dr. Spinneyhill !!!!  I must be DREAMING !!!!  PLEASE   SAY   IT  AIN'T   SO !!!!! 

 

Semi ???? SEMI !!!!!  WHAT ????  Semi.  Do , ummmmm................. ,  do you mean Synthetic blend ????? 

 

To misquote "The Shake'" by paraphrase and indecent liberties :  Et tu Spinney ? Then boil , Cadillac Carl , in a vat of scalding dinosaur lard ! aaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHOWWWWWWOOOOOOOOOOWWWOOOOOOOO !!!!!! Man ! And I thought you were a fellow disciple of Richard Widman !!!! Say it ain't so. Please ! A blend ? 'Round these wild and "dog eat dog" remanants of what was once HRM's far flung Empire , a fractured and diluted part of which your enlightened Nation still remains , around here in this ruggedly individualistic camp , 'round here , I believe a blend is only required to contain a very small percentage , perhaps only 5 or 10 , of the isomeric polymer so favored by the cognoscenti. Sounds like you and I might well benefit by a Widman refresher. I shall leave it to you to introduce our new friend , Diseasewithnocure , to The Truth , by way of expiation.   Your friend ,  Cadillac Carl

Edited by C Carl
In haste and dismay , forgot to sign (see edit history)

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Carl, are you off your meds again?? :-)  But you've retained you estimable language skills...

 

Great minds will sometimes disagree, and this Journeyman Geezer remains on the side of dino oil, albeit diesel 15W-40 for my climate, for my fleet.

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3 minutes ago, C Carl said:

maybe that is why they call you Grimy ?

Carl, I've been on the forum almost 17 years, and you're the first to ask!  At Ft Holabird MD 1969-71, I spent many evenings at the Auto Craft Shop working on (among other things) my 1939 Cad 75 that I'd driven from Califunny, AND my middle name is Grimston.  So the soubriquet "Grimy" was assigned to me and engraved on my organizational mug.

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Sorry Carl, I bought three bottles of this stuff early on and the car hasn't gone enough to use it. It is still CI-4 and 5W-30 or 40, so I am comfortable with that. It was on special...

 

Yes, diseasewithnocure, you would do well to read Richard Widman's paper about viscosity, zinc and so on. It is available at

http://www.widman.biz/Corvair/English/Links/Oil.html

 

There is lots of information out there about oil, but it is hard to sift the good stuff from the rubbish. I am very disappointed that The Filling Station still peddles non-detergent nonsense.

 

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Not an expert on oil!

 

Have quite a bit of experience with high mileage vehicles (my last shop truck had 440,000 plus before it rusted out the third time due to the *&^%$#@ MoDot puts on the roads in Missouri in the winter so inferior drivers can continue to be on the road; the cylinder head was never removed). Still ran very well, but tired of fixing the rust!

 

So, in my experience, synthetic, non-synthetic detergent, and non-detergent oils all have their place. :)

 

Synthetic - used in November through February in the one vehicle that absolutely HAS to start. 20 below zero and the engine still turns over like it was 70 degrees. NO starting issues as cold as 30 below (F.) with a non-garaged vehicle. :)

 

Non-synthetic high detergent - used in all my other vehicles all the time, and the one mentioned above March through October. :)

 

But where does that leave the non-detergent oil??? Take good pictures of the new old stock can, and offer it on Ebay. There will be someone that believes that it will work better in an old car and pay big money for it! :P

 

On a more serious note, have ALWAYS changed both oil AND filter at 2500 mile intervals OR LESS. I never paid any attention to the 7500~9000 mile claims for the synthetic.

 

Jon.

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11 hours ago, carbking said:

Probably the biggest "gotcha" on that Stromberg carb would be the aftermarket electric fuel pump. Don't misunderstand me, electric pumps do have a function, but important with any aftermarket pump, mechanical or electric, not to push too much pressure at the carburetor. Stromberg suggested 5 psi. I would NOT wish to exceed that value.

 

The internal carb "gotcha" is not to interchange the power (economizer) valve with the pump valve. When you disassemble, the power valve has an external plunger, and the pump valve an internal plunger.

 

That carb is virtually bullet-proof. A good kit, a good cleaning, and it should be good for another 100k miles, assuming you keep the filters clean.

 

Jon.

 

Jon,

 

That completely makes sense...right when we got started we had the car actually running fine (or at least semi-smoothly) off a fuel pump with the hose hanging into a 5 gallon gasoline fill tank.  After doing all the bushings, brakes, oil pan, etc. we tied the 6V pump into the actual gas tank and filled it 3/4 full with gasoline.  It wasn't until after that which we started to get no/poor running results.  Is it safe to say for now that with the 6V pump tied into the tank (with a lot more pressure on the inlet side than "pulling" it up & out of a 5 gallon jug) that too much pressure is forcing fuel past the float and needle valves?

 

After doing some research, it appears that there is no longer any factory fuel pump (or anything that looks like this fuel pump) on the vehicle anymore.  Would you recommend buying and installing one like that, or adding a 1-4 PSI regulator to the fuel line inlet (after the pump)?  At this point, originality is lesser concern of frankly getting the car running and driving (but in a proper way, without at risk of mechanical failure or short/long term damage).

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37 minutes ago, carbking said:

Not an expert on oil!

 

Have quite a bit of experience with high mileage vehicles (my last shop truck had 440,000 plus before it rusted out the third time due to the *&^%$#@ MoDot puts on the roads in Missouri in the winter so inferior drivers can continue to be on the road; the cylinder head was never removed). Still ran very well, but tired of fixing the rust!

 

So, in my experience, synthetic, non-synthetic detergent, and non-detergent oils all have their place. :)

 

Synthetic - used in November through February in the one vehicle that absolutely HAS to start. 20 below zero and the engine still turns over like it was 70 degrees. NO starting issues as cold as 30 below (F.) with a non-garaged vehicle. :)

 

Non-synthetic high detergent - used in all my other vehicles all the time, and the one mentioned above March through October. :)

 

But where does that leave the non-detergent oil??? Take good pictures of the new old stock can, and offer it on Ebay. There will be someone that believes that it will work better in an old car and pay big money for it! :P

 

On a more serious note, have ALWAYS changed both oil AND filter at 2500 mile intervals OR LESS. I never paid any attention to the 7500~9000 mile claims for the synthetic.

 

Jon.

 

Hahaha so is the general consensus to drain the "special non-detergent" out and replace it with something different?

 

Seeing that this car will get driven 100-250 miles/year max and most likely (and unfortunately) sit the remainder of the time - is there any recommendation (or should I say, general and common consensus ;)) on an oil type to use?

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Concerning the electric fuel pump:

 

If my vehicle, I would wish to know WHY the electric was installed? Vapor lock issues? Flat camshaft? Why?

 

I have installed electric pumps on my collector vehicles (both of which are performance V-8's, and can, when driven in "anger", require large amounts of fuel). But I worked the carbs on both to accept up to 8 psi, and I use a 110gph Carter pump on each with no regulator. The wiring gets to be interesting - please look at the link: http://www.thecarburetorshop.com/Electric_fuel_pumps_and_old_cars.htm

 

My reasons for using electric pumps:

Vehicle 1 - (2) Carter AFB carbs (dual quads). Fuel will evaporate VERY QUICKLY from the aluminum carbs, producing empty carb bowls and prolonged cranking.

Vehicle 2 - Wild camshaft and power brakes. Have a custom "fuel pump" which actually is a vacuum pump running off the camshaft instead of the stock fuel pump. Provides vacuum for the brake booster.

 

As to draining the non-detergent oil: as stated in a previous post, I am not an expert on oil, but if my vehicle, I would drain it. Will be interested to see what others think of this question.

 

And after reading your last post, GUESSING your electric fuel pump is not overdriving the carb, but hooking the pump to the tank allowed garbage in the tank to move forward, clogging the carb. Once you rebuild the carb, install a new modern fuel filter to protect your rebuild BEFORE reinstalling the carb.

 

Jon.

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Hi Diseasewithnocure,

 

There Are several fuel pumps available on ebay right now that may work for you.  Bob;s Automobilia is a good source as well, but since you don't have a core, the price may be a little high.  The correct fuel pump may get you closer to solving the issues at hand! 

 

ebay - 1940 Buick fuel pump

 

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=1940+buick+fuel+pump

 

Vic

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1. Yep, get that no-additive oil out.

2. It is a lot easier to work with what was there originally (AC mechanical pump) than to hot rod it (electric fuel pump) if you are uncertain about things!

 

Notice carbking said the synthetic oil engine cranks in low temps. as if it were 70o. That is because the additives make it behave like a thinner oil when cold, but still hold its viscosity when hot. This way, the engine gets full lubrication quickly on cold start, minimising wear. Remember, most wear occurs on cold startup.

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7 hours ago, Diseasewithnocure said:

 

Hahaha so is the general consensus to drain the "special non-detergent" out and replace it with something different?

 

Seeing that this car will get driven 100-250 miles/year max and most likely (and unfortunately) sit the remainder of the time - is there any recommendation (or should I say, general and common consensus ;)) on an oil type to use?

 

There is an oil which as a design parameter , had corrosion protection during lay up periods considered. Amsoil Z-Rod is what you want. That is a period at the end of the previous sentence , by the way. It is among the VERY MOST Synthetic of all Synthetic oils offered. There is quite a range of syntheticity over different brands. Widman writes of this. Z-Rod is available in 10W/30 , and 20W/50 , or mix to needs. Half and half yields 15W/40. Z-Rod is formulated with the correct amount of zinc and phosphorus for our old engines. I think if I were in your position , since the oil in your engine is new now , I would get the engine running well first , then get it up to full operating temp , and then fully drain and change. Now for the disclaimer : neither Richard Widman nor myself represent or market Amsoil in any way whatsoever. I just like to use the very best lubricants available , including synthetic grease which you must use also. If I could find a better oil for my old cars , I would switch to it at next change. Amsoil Z-Rod is what you want , period

 

Welcome to AACA forums ! We are very happy to have you with us ! You have been seeing how valuable we are to one another here , and how much fun we have as we all become real , true , lifelong friends. It is so incredibly pleasant to be among people who are generously giving of their time and knowledge. If only the outside world could be so.......................    - Carl

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Hello everyone, made some further progress (I think) on the matter - even if it's just identifying.

 

After a lot of hunting (even though I knew where to look, it kind of blended in until it jumped out and now sticks out like a sore thumb) I found the block stamping.  According to my eyes it appears to look like 4 39183 _ 1 but I second guessed myself for some time.

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Based on what I found here (Buick Engine ID <52') it is a 1940 model 40, 263 (because of the stamping location, and the valve cover length of 30-3/4"). 

 

I also made some other assumptions or conclusions:

 

1) The 4 (which shows very faintly) was originally cast into the block, and the remaining numbers were stamped - is that correct?

2) The 'Starting Engine Number' of 4-3786214 was the "first" 1940 40 to get made in 1940, then 4-3786215 being the second and so on...until mine of 4-39183 ?1 was made 132,086 later?? (assuming my unreadable number was a 0 for easy math)

3) Were they drunk, lazy, or simply really sloppy while stamping these numbers onto the block?  I doubt anyone on here worked on the line that month (I could be wrong though!) but figured I would ask.

4) This could be the original motor or is there any reason for me not to have that hunch?

5) Any idea what that 'U' shape might have been or happened there?  (Aside from a clumsy mechanic somehow hitting it with a punch along the way) I didn't know if some how they did this for some reason in its 77 year life along the way...

 

Once I can confirm this is a 1940 motor, my plan was to purchase a fuel pump (here) and get to work installing it.  The next question foolishly is...where does this even go?

While we are on the  topic, and since everyone loves pictures - here are some more just for fun.

 

Was the plate covering or sealing a hole on the passenger side (towards the front of the engine, in front of the crankcase breather) where an oil filter once went?  Or what goes here exactly?

 

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Thanks again for everyone's help and input...unfortunately born in 89' makes me unfamiliar with a lot of things related to this car/engine, but it sure has been fun learning from all of you guys.

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