kingrudy

My long build of a 1940 56S

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Hi Mike:

 

I am currently working on the doors of my '41, which have similar hardware to your car.  First of all, the injury to the vent window regulator that your car has suffered is very common.  So far, I have determined that two out of four of my doors have this injury.  (I haven't gotten into the other two doors yet.)   The regulator shaft is made of pot metal, and it's quite fragile and breaks easily if someone gets carried away with tightening the bolt that attaches the vent to the regulator.  Or it may even be possible to break the shaft if someone goes crazy with the crank trying to either open or close the vent.

 

As far as the problem of not being able to remove the regulator, can you post a photo that shows a wider view?  On my car, the vent regulators are secured with four bolts -- two lower ones like the one you show in the photo you posted and two upper ones which also secure the vent window frame to the door.  Here's a photo of one of my rear doors (the fronts are similar, but I don't have a photo handy).

 

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Or could it be that the vent regulator is stuck in place because the shaft from the vent is still jammed into the regulator?  Have you tried removing the vent window frame and the vent window?  Hope that helps.

 

Neil

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Thanks Neil for the quick reply.  I read the Body Manual once again and it does say to remove the screws on the body panel. I thought that it was just two screws. I will follow your lead on this one. Do you know if these regulators are used on any other years, or is this specific to 1940 and 1941? 

Thank you, 

 

Mike 

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As you can see from Ken's post, these vent regulators were used in Buicks for many years (in addition to Cadillacs, Pontiacs, and Oldsmobiles).  GM literally made millions of them.  There are two versions -- the shaft for the crank is either on the left or the right depending on whether the regulator is for a front or rear door and for the left or right side.

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Thank you both Neil and Ken for the quick reply.  I read the Body Manual once again and it does say to remove the screws on the body panel. I thought that it was just two screws. I will follow your lead on this one. Do you know if these regulators are used on any other years, or is this specific to 1940 and 1941? I will work on picking up these parts as soon as possible. 

Thank again, 

 

Mike 

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Had a great day yesterday working on the car. First I was able to find all four of the small carriage bolts (see pic below) used to connect the cowl vent to the frame under the dash. I will post pictures after this is complete. With the pile of nuts, bolts and washers that I received when the car was returned to me finding these small parts sure picked me up. The second success was getting my brake lights working. I had the car rewired in California and when the car was delivered in January the brake lights did not work. I have some basic electrical skills, but I am by no means an electrician. I found voltage at the pressure switch and jumped this across the switch, no luck. I tried testing the continuity from the switch to the tail light. There was no continuity (getting close). I purchased an inexpensive cable tracker and connected the power to the pressure switch, after I disconnected the battery. I switched the power source to "tone" and started at the switch. I didn't have to go far. just underneath the dash I found a disconnected wire, connected the wire and toned it all the way to the brake light. I disconnected the cable tracker and jumped across the brake switch and brake lights work great. It sure seems like the little things that kick your butt.

 

Mike 

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Brake Lights.jpg

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Hooray!  Having bought a totally intact, properly running, and more or less correct car, I can only imagine your frustration at this point!  That sounds like a great day, indeed.  I'm confident that you are going to have your beautiful Buick in great shape very soon.

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Good news and bad news...... the cowl vent is installed and works great. the small carriage screws  provide some adjustment, front to back when the vent is closed and this takes a little bit of tinkering. Also the base of the handle used to open and close the vent is a bit of a challenge to secure while you are standing on your head, but all is in and adjusted properly. The bad news came when I removed the ignition key and re inserted it and turned on the ignition. I smelled smoke and the cable that attaches to the coil was very hot (this is bad). I let it cool down and removed the coil cap and the total ignition, making sure that the two wires leading to the ignition were marked. I found the coil wire (looks original) insulation had grounded out to the coil cap. On the bright side, good thing this happened in the garage. I sent the part to Doug and he will rebuild the switch and run a new wire from the ignition to the coil cap. The rest of my car has been rewired, this is the last piece.

                              This is the original style coil hard steel cable in my hand attaches to back of coil. Wire is junk and grounded to coil case. Below is the ignition inside the car, black cable goes through the firewall.

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Edited by kingrudy
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While waiting for the ignition to come back from the shop, I looked at the rear quarter windows and I do not have a clue as to how these are sealed. Can someone provide some pics of an existing, unmolested car? 

Thanks, 

Mike 

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Well I sent the ignition out and I thought that would come back quickly, but I was wrong. So I started working on the trunk. This is a pic of what I found under the mat. Floor is pretty, but I found some surface rust and general discoloration. All seems solid, so I lightly sanded, vacuumed out, steel wooled and vacuumed again. Then I took a tack cloth to all metal surfaces. I started out with a Rustoleum product  that they claim is a rust converter. I always to get rid of as much rust as possible by sanding and cleaning, finally using steel wool and then using the rust converter for the last little bit. The second pic is after stage 1 with all above steps completed. Tomorrow I will start applying the Rustoleum oil based gloss black, by rolling it on the flat surfaces and brushing on the corners and cracks. More info soon

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Finished with phase two having sealed all trunk surfaces. Painted all metal surfaces under the trunk lid and the wooden back of the rear seat. The next step will be to sand and seal the lid for the small compartment behind the seat (I left the original burlap liner). I figured that it had been part of the car for almost 80 years and it was intact. Also, I need to replace the wooden luggage tray and figure out how to make a wooden cover for the tool compartment at the front of the trunk, then carpet with appropriate material.

 

On a separate note, I received a bumper this morning after searching for the past two years. This bumper was already plated and I didn't have to pay an arm and a leg. My mission is to complete this car while still keeping to a reasonable budget. It can be done. 

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Side Note here, I was in Ohio yesterday and I stopped by to see Doug Seybold. He spent some time with me touring his shop and the collection of unique cars that he has. I asked him some technical questions regarding some repairs that had me stumped and he showed me examples of what I was trying to achieve. Real nice guy and I appreciate the time that he spent with me. 

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Received a previously owned door lock mechanism from Greg Johnson today, see pic below. This is the fourth one that I have worked on for the car. The drivers side was my learning experience that took me three hours to figure out how to remove and install the tapered screw that holds the door handle in place. Now I know not to rush the process, apply plenty of lubricant to the screw and gently work the screw a quarter turn at a time while holding the door handle torqued just a little bit to line up the screw with the hole at the edge of the door. There is a very good chance that if you are looking for one of these parts the person removing the door handle will not be very gentle. Pay him extra to use a little patience and finesse, because if you don't the brass piece that receives the door handle shaft will be turned to junk. I have been down this road.

 

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Today I worked on trunk trying to duplicate the cover that fits over the section that holds the jack. I first made a template tracing the contour of the rear of the car inside of the trunk. Thanks to Ken Green who supplied a picture of what an original trunk should look like, this helped a lot.  I used the template to cut out a piece of 3/4" plywood and thought I had it going pretty well until I tried to install it in the car. After sever minor alterations, I figured out that I was way off track and looked at the picture again and started over with the original template. Cut the piece out and with one small alteration to the opening for the "spoon" that holds the spare tire in place I came up with a good fit. One thing that threw me off is that the ledge is one inch deep on the ends and two inches deep in the middle. See pic below for final result, more work on the trunk to follow.

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Does anyone have additional pictures of the 1940 Super, or Roadmaster trunk? Thank you.

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Warning this will try your patience. This is the beginning of making the templates to install the side panels in the trunk. I started out using a large cardboard box and clamping pieces to the horizontal brace to get the contour of the trunk correct. There are two tabs on the support for the trunk lid brace (two forward and two rear. I am using foam board for the complete template, it is cheap and rigid enough so it tolerates numerous fits to get this right. The left side of the middle picture shows (not to well) the shelf the covers the small compartment at the rear of the luggage compartment. I'm hoping one more session to complete the two piece template. I am stuck as to what to use for the final product. I need a material that is somewhat rigid and about 1/8" to 3/16" thick. If you have any suggestions I sure would appreciate it. Plywood does come in 1/4" thickness, but I think that it is too rigid. I included a picture (far right) of an original trunk from a '40 Roadmaster that Ken Green sent me, this is my goal. I almost forgot, I found the original material that was used in the trunk lining under the compartment at the rear of the trunk.

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It looks like the picture from Ken does not show side panels, but just fabric covering the inner wheel wells.  Considering the cu ft space of this model, you stand to lose some valuable trunk space with the side panels.  But if you are going to go ahead, I would recommend the panels that they use for inside door upholstery.  I do not know what the product is called, but  I thought it was available from specialty suppliers.

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Thanks for the reply John,

I agree that it appears to be no side panels on the photo that Ken sent, but  if you notice the tabs on the trunk lift support below this leads me to believe that the car may have come with side panels for  a more finished look. These tabs exist on both sides of the support and there is a strip of wood on each side of the back of the rear seat which doesn't seem to serve a purpose. Unless this strip of wood is used to attach the side panels in the rear of the trunk. I wish I had additional pictures  of a finished trunk, but I'm working with what I have.

 

It's an awfully deep trunk, with space under the rear compartment and beside the spare tire, so I don't think that I will miss the space. 

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You are probably correct.  I see your car has two lift supports for the trunk while the vehicle in the other picture has only one.  Your's being a model 56S it may have had a higher trim level, but I am not an expert on the various models of this vintage.

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Thanks for the reply John,

I am going to forge ahead with this plan. I have searched the web for trunk pictures from this era with very little luck. I will follow your advice and try to contact an upholstery shop  for the panel material. I found one place online, but it looks like they want to sell a minimum of four sheets. I figure one sheet should do it.

 

Mike 

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This is the last template, very close to being finished. Note the two tabs on the support for the trunk lift and there are two additional tabs on the floor of the trunk near the wood covering the tool compartment. I found an upholstery vendor near by and I will buy the backing from him at the end of the week.

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I will post the conclusion of my trunk restoration tomorrow, but I had to share my good fortune of acquiring two vent regulators off of ebay. See the photos below, both regulators appear to be new old stock. I don't think either of them have ever been installed in a vehicle. The seller of these parts stated that he bought them some time ago for his LeSalle  and no longer needs them 

. The regulators were produced from 1937 through 1948 for Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Chevrolet and Cadillac and are made of pot metal, so they are prone to failure if someone tries to open the vent without disengaging the latch. The part numbers are an exact match to mine T-77123 and T-77122. I am very close to having all of the parts for this car, finally!

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The trunk is very close to completion, today I will finish the tool compartment cover and do some work on the mat which the spare tire sits on.

 

  When I started this project the only pictures that I had to draw from were from Ken Green and a picture from the 1940 Buick sales brochure. I did extensive research to find photos of a finished trunk from this year and there just is not a lot of information. So it came down to forensic research and letting the car talk to me to figure out what had been there in 1940 when it came off the line. There is a compartment that is located right behind the rear seat that had the original material in it (see below). While the fabric was soiled, it was in tact with a layer of burlap underneath and insulation beneath that to provide some sound insulation over the differential (I'm guessing). I was told that the car did not have side panels in the trunk, but the car told me something different when I noticed the tabs on the trunk support (both sides). So my conclusion was, against my wife's statement "it's just a trunk" that I needed to forge ahead and do this right.

To begin with I started with the back of the rear seat. I used the existing 1" strips that run vertically and the metal strip at the top of the trunk (where many of us in our youth mounted a speaker) to secure the material. The bottom of the material is secured by the 1" strip  that holds the lid for the small compartment at the very rear of the trunk. The lid of the compartment was wrapped in fabric and  fastened with 1/4" staples underneath.

 

The next step was to make templates for the front and rear sides. The most difficult was the front, as I had to fasten a piece of cardboard to the horizontal brace that begins at the back of the rear seat and ends at the trunk lid support. Then use  a compass to trace the curve of the rear of the car onto the cardboard (lots of patience needed here). The bottom of the template I made 1" below the compartment lid, so this section did not need to be exact, but there is a metal strip 2" wide that separates the compartment from the rest of the trunk, so this had to be notched and back to the compass to trace the bottom of this section.

 

The next section, shown on June 12 was an easy one except the upper front of this section is not defined. So there is a small strip of metal that separates the spare tire area from the tool compartment. I figured that when the cover for the tool compartment needs to be removed it cannot interfere with the side panel. So I stopped the side panel just short of that strip. I then broke out the compass again to trace the upper section curve as it slopes down to the tool compartment on a piece of cardboard  that I fastened to the tabs on the trunk support. The bottom was done in the same way and it curves a bit downward and then slopes to the tool compartment. 

 

I completed this by cutting two pieces of 3/4 plywood to length and drilling them for the appropriate sheet metal screws and machine screws, then wrapping them with fabric

 

I was puzzled as to what kind of material to use for backing, so I visited an upholstery shop down the road and spoke to the owner, James. James showed me some 1/8" plastic which could be painted, cut with a jig saw, sanded, bent and was waterproof. This was the answer to my dilemma. I purchased two 4' x 8' sheets and used all of one sheet and a little of the second. I will use the rest for the kick panels inside the car. 

 

I cut out the templates out of the 1/8" plastic and stapled the fabric on the back side. I considered using spray adhesive, but it is messy if you are not real careful, so I fastened the fabric by wrapping it around the plastic pieces and stapling on the back side. Installation of the panels went smoothly except the back edge of the front panel and  the upper front edge of the back panel. There is no where that I could find to secure these points. The car had stopped talking to me at this point, so I improvised. Using the horizontal support that originates at the trunk support I fastened velcro at the edge closest to the back seat and pressed this in place. For the pieces closest to the tool compartment I fastened one small piece of velcro at the upper corner closest to the rear of the car.  

 

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Edited by kingrudy
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Rough day, I started on the electrical most of which is complete. I got a copy of the wiring harness instructions from Y n Z as I had purchased this from them seven years ago. I also have the repair manual, so between the two I was pretty confident. The car runs and all of the running lights, stop lights, head lights, turn signals etc. work. The dome light was never wired, dash lights, cigar lighter and glove box lights were not done. The wiring harness does not provide for these as best as I can figure. So after doing much homework on what was done and what needs to be done, I will pick out the appropriate color 16 gauge wire and start putting it together tomorrow. 

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