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56 Rum Runner

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About 56 Rum Runner

  • Birthday 08/18/1965

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  1. Several things. First you DO want to disturb any crud that has built up over the years... that's the whole point of rebuilding the carb. Go to the parts store and buy a can of carb dip. It's the same size as a paint can. Disassemble the carb and put the components in the dip bath overnight. Get a couple of cans of carb cleaner, an old tooth brush, a small pick (or paper clip) and a air nozzle on you compressor. Get EVERY bit of material that isn't metal out of the carb. You have to put pressurized air through the small ports and gallies. The smallest bit of crud in an internal passage can make the whole carb act up. While your cleaning everything make sure you soak your accelerator pump in some clean gas. This helps "condition" the leather band and assure it expands evenly. Next... I have had check ball seats that were out of round. When everything is clean put the check balls in; put a small amount of clean gas on top of them. If the gas leaks past them you'll need to reshape the seats. I've never used the method of striking the old ball into the seat to reshape it. I took an old phillips screw driver and ground it down to the correct size then GENTLY, very gently "reamed" the seat. Do this a little at a time. Turn it a couple of times then clean with carb cleaner. Put the balls back in and do the leak down test again. Repeat until no gas gets past the balls. You'd be amazed how the tiniest leak past those balls will affect your carbs performance. Lastly... take your time. It took 50 + years for that carb to get dirty and it'll take some time to get it clean, but if you take your time and do it right it'll be another 50 years before someone has to do it again.
  2. I recently had a local mechanic who's very good (he's been working on these cars since they were new) rebuild my carb and clean / braise and line my tank. He used Red Kote to line the tank. After I got the car back I put about a hundred miles on it and it just stopped running. After troubleshooting on my own I determined it was a carb issue. I pulled the carb back off and took it to him. When he opened it up it was a mess. The steel check balls and butterfly plates had turned black. The body was full of super fine rust (like powder) and the brass float arm had been corroded. Carb cleaner wouldn't touch the black and he had to use a media blaster to get it off. I pulled both fuel filters off and they were nearly clogged with the fine rust. I drained 12 gallons out of the tank and the fuel was red (like grape fruit juice). I filled an old pickle jar and let it set. There's a very thin "milky" layer at the bottom with the rust powder in it. I read on Red Kote's site and they said that fuel with a ethenol content greater than 10% can leach the red die out of the liner (which doesn't affect it's performance) so that probably explains the color, but I don't know what's in the fuel that could've attacked the carberator like that. I trust Tom when he says he followed the directions and I know he's lined lots of tanks. I've seen the results of an improperly lined tank that didn't dry and it had globs or strings of red material in the fuel. Any ideas? :confused:
  3. MIne isn't working, but the odometer is so I know it's the head unit. I checked and it was around $250 to get it fixed. Since I run 17" tires and a rebuilt speedo would be off anyway I just opted to use my Garman when I'm running down the road and am concerned about exactly what speed I'm going. Mostly I just "go with the flow" and don't worry about it.
  4. I have a '56 Special with a stock 322. The original radiator was ready to give up the ghost so I bit the bullet and had a custom aluminum radiator made for it. I took the time while waiting for it to pull the petcocks and flush the block. I put the new radiator in yesterday and took it for a drive. It was 96 degrees outside. I let it idle in the driveway for about 15 minutes to check for leaks and to get the thremostat open then drove it for about 30 minutes at 50 - 60 mph. The temp gauge never got higher than halfway between C and N. I'm certainly impressed with the performance of the new radiator! My question is should I put a 180 degree thermostat in to let the engine get warmer? I know if it's running too cool it's not running as efficently as possible. Any input? Thanks.
  5. Guys and Gals, If you own a 56 Special you either already know how "special" our manual brake master cylinder is or you will in the future. Since we all know that rebuild kits are nearly impossible to find that left us with the three rebuilders (CARS, Kanter and White Post), all of whom thought that our master cylinder was special enough that they could gouge us for nearly $600. I've got another option for you. When my master gave up the ghost (on a drive home) I thought I was going to have to garage the car until I could come up with the blood money the three above wanted. One of my wife's coworkers suggested contacting one of the businesses in town called Precision Rebuilders. I knew they did large industrial stuff and doubted they'd want anything to do with it, but I called anyway. I spoke with Tim (their lead technical guy) and he told me that they worked on masters and to bring it by. He looked it over and after confirming that it was indeed a "unique" design he told me that he thought he could fix it. I took him my shop manual so he could look over the brake section (I made him a copy of that section for his records). He found a source for the seals and had their machine shop fabricate a new stainless steel rod (all of the internal parts are new). It was cleaned inside and out, media blasted and recoated. It looks like the day it was put on in '56. I was up front with him about what the others wanted for their service; he said he couldn't charge that and have a clean concience. He asked me not to tell anyone "exactly" what he charged me so I'll tell you this, it was roughly one third of what the others wanted! I waited to post this until I'd put about 500 miles on the car just to make sure I was happy with the work and I'll tell you it feels like a new master cylinder should. The car stops perfectly. I couldn't be happier. If you're in the need for a master cylinder give him a call (636) 629-1444. I hope this helps one of you and saves you some money.
  6. One thing that may make it more difficult to troubleshoot your specific situation is that the car has been lowered. If I recall one of your earlier posts you said the guy you got it from had lowered it by cutting one coil off each side on the front? Do you know how precise he was in his measurement? How was the rear lowered? When you start changing suspension you affect steering geometery.
  7. You really need to open the petcocks. I say this to save you a second trip to the radiator shop. My upper tank was full of junk so I took it to the local shop and had it cleaned ($70). Put it back in and ran it for a week or so then it began overheating again. I looked in the tank and saw it was full of junk again. I pulled it and took it back to the radiator shop. The owner asked me if I'd flushed the block before putting the cleaned radiator back in. I told him I'd run water through the thermostat housing with the thermostat out. He told me that if I hadn't opened the petcocks I'd left alot of junk in there, which had just made it's way back to the top tank. Another $70 "down the drain". When I got home I opened mine and had good flow on the right bank, but nearly zero flow on the left. I removed both petcocks from the block and was able to get a good deal more out. Use a pair of pliers and gently turn the petcock to get it free (it won't take much effort), then use your finger and thumb and turn it all the way until it stops. You can pull the whole thing out of the engine block without much trouble; I think it was a 9/16 wrench? You're this far in don't short cut it now.
  8. My wife and I went to the Magic Dragon car show at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri this Saturday. There were right at 1000 cars there. We walked the entire route and only saw two 70s era Rivieras (beautiful cars) and one 56 Super. That was it for Buicks! We had carb problems on Friday night and couldn't get it corrected in time to take ours, but I thought I'd surely see more than three! There were more Belairs than you could beat off with a stick, lots of Corvettes and many Fords. It was a good show and we really enjoyed ourselves. We will definately make it next year and represent the Buick brand.
  9. follow this link. It is a very good picture and it compliments Leif's troubleshooting. It is for a '56, but I believe it will work. http://www.teambuick.com/reference/years/56/images/56_vacuum_lines.jpg
  10. Everything shrinks with age
  11. JohnD1956, We really like the way it looks too. They're 17" American Racing wheels with 235/70s. We had to pull the axles and stud them, but it gives it a beefer look. If you like meaner, follow this link: The trunk lid says "Tailgaters will be Torched". This is set up to only work while the car is in Park and I have my wife stand to the side in the rear to make sure no one gets close. I've got it putting out 5+ foot flames now.
  12. I use the name Rum Runner because when we pulled the light switch to turn the lights on we didn't have any power to the rear lights. After much troubleshooting we found a seperate switch mounted under the dash. You have to pull it out to turn on the rear lights. With it in there are no tail, turn or brake lights on. We figure a previous owner must have been up to some mistif to warrent rigging it up. I think we'll leave it that way... just preserve some of the history of the car. Mike
  13. Bob, you were right. the lowest bolt (almost under the torque tube). Pull it and it drains. My brother in law is a veteran mechanic and suggested using 80w90 so that's what I'm going with. Thanks to everyone for your suggestions.
  14. MrEarl, We're calling her Roberta in honor of my father in law (Robert) who passed away. My wife says he would have just loved this car. She has very found memories of helping her dad work on the family cars when she was young. Now she and I are enjoying working together and getting our two sons interested. BTW I'm originally from northern Michigan so my wife had to explain the fourty-leven thing to me Ben, We live in St. Clair on I-44. Is that your dad and brother in the photo with you? I'm using the name Rum Runner because this car has a seperate switch under the dash to cut out the rear lights (no tail, brake or turn signals). You have to pull it out to get the rear lights on. Talk about a headache trying to figure out why there was no power to the rear lights with the regular light switch pulled out. Someone must have been up to something back in the day.
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