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About merrillcrosbie

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  • Birthday 03/27/1956
  1. Two possibilities. First and easiest, check the fuse. Do you have schematic of the fusebox under the dash by the steering column? It is an easy fuse to check and replace. I have had this fuse fail several times over the years usually when the trunk is heavily loaded. Second is tougher. There is a relay in that same fusebox for the compressor. Shorting out the compressor to pump up the shocks bypasses this relay as you have done. The relay is just a plug in so it is easily replaced...if you can find one. Mine failed several years ago and finding a new one was really difficult. I got help from the ROA on this, but when I finally found a new relay it was hugely expensive. Back when these cars were new these relays cost about $6. I paid over $100 for a NOS relay, and that has been over 10 years ago. So, check your fuse first. If it isn't blown, try to find a new relay. At least it sounds like your compressor and shocks are working.
  2. Yeah, I agree. Cut your losses. Donate the car to the kidney foundation and take the tax deduction for the value of a healthy Riv. Then go find something else to love.
  3. Thanks all for the kind comments. I can only imagine the technology that Buick would put on a new Riviera halo car if they would just build one. But for now, these two Buicks will do me just fine. BTW, have you guys seen the little 2016 Cascada convertible that Buick is bringing over from Opal? Doesn't seem worthy of the Riviera moniker, but it looks like a fun little car.
  4. But it's the closest I could find.... I just bought a new Buick!! This new LaCrosse is loaded with Nav, HUD, buzzing Alert Seats (weird but effective), Lane Assist, Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control (really cool in annoying stop/go traffic!), Emergency Brake Assist (Really works!), rear cross traffic alert, heated/ventilated seats, heated steering wheel, remote start, programmable instrument cluster, power rear sunshade, panoramic sunroof, programmable (sport/touring) Hiperstrut suspension, and 20 inch wheels. I am sure I have missed a bunch of features, but the point is this is the most technologically advanced car I have ever owned. I am loving it! There is just something about a big chrome toothy waterfall grill, a chrome delta wing trim emulating fins of a 59 Electra, and a sweep spear character line down the side like a 57 Roadmaster or 70 Riviera with faux chrome ports in the hood that gets my blood pumping and nobody does chrome better than Buick. Okay, I am old, The designers did a great job pulling in subtle styling cues of my favorite past Buicks. To me, it is major coolness with a bag of chips. And, with the noise cancelling technology and computer controlled suspension, nobody does a quieter smoother ride at any price. Nobody.
  5. I really enjoy these shows. Watched them from the beginning. This one is one of the best. This season is the first I have seen that he lets his guest drive.
  6. The bottom line: Does anyone have a suggestion of how to thread the cruise control wire down a tilt wheel steering column when the original wire is no longer there to use as a pull? Here's why: Years ago my cruise control button failed. When I went to the dealer, they no longer made the chrome turn signal stalk, but they had a replacement in black plastic. I had no choice but to install the black plastic. I tied a wire to the old cruise control wire and pulled it up out of the tilt wheel column, then used the wire to pull the new cruise control wire back down. It has worked fine for many years and no one has ever noticed it was black instead of chrome. But, recently I found a chrome turn signal stalk on, so I ordered one. My black stalk worked fine, but I wanted to get chrome again. I installed it using the same threading procedure, but when I got down to plugging the wire in, the connector didn't fit. My cruise control uses a 3 wire configuration, and this new one had a 4 wire connector. I called RockAuto and after some research it was determined that the 4 wire connector was for 1984 and subsequent and should never have shown as compatible with my 1983. The actual stalk was identical, just the 4 wire connector was wrong. So, Rockauto refunded my money. But, that left me to reinstall my old black stalk. When I pulled the wire on the chrome stalk back out, it got caught and the thread wire came off. So, now I don't have a way to pull the cruise control wire back down the tilt wheel column. Any ideas? I really don't want to pull the steering wheel off. I don't have the tools to do that. I futzed around trying to thread a piece of weed wacker wire down the column, and at one point I thought I had it, but I couldn't get it through. I have given up in frustration. If you have an easy solution, I would appreciate the help. Otherwise I will probably have to take it to a garage because pulling a steering column apart is beyond my ability and tool set. Thanks!
  7. Okay, I have been researching new tires for my Riv, but I wasn't terribly serious because I thought my tires could make it through the summer. Today we had beautiful convertible weather and I took my Riv out for a joy ride and picked up a nail. Ruined a tire. Now tires are immediately required. So, I had been going the rounds over ordering a GT-Radial with 1.3" WW in 205/75-15, or sticking with the wider 225/70-15 on a Gremax 5000 with a skinny whitewall. After researching them both I discovered they were both manufactured in China. I don't know if that is good or bad, but it was an unknown. So, I have gone full circle back to the Uniroyal Tiger Paw in a 205/75-15 and a 3/4" whitewall (although I read they may be manufactured in Indonesia...ah, go figure). I ordered them from for $72 with free shipping. They are shipping them to my local Firestone dealer for installation. So, all my noise about wanting to stay with the bigger tire and a bigger whitewall was for naught. But, I remember that the Tiger Paws I had before were an excellent tire with better gas mileage and longevity than any tires since, they just looked a little scrawny. I am told I will be the only person that will notice that, as well as he skinny whitewall. I guess I will squint when I get in my Riv from now on.
  8. Hi Johnny, thanks for that info. I went to their website and found the Uniroyals for the price you quoted. But while I was there I also found these tires that have the wider whitewall in the same 205/75-15 size. The customer reviews confirm that the whitewalls are over an inch wide. I have never heard of this GT-Radial brand, but I am going to research it further.
  9. 225/75-15 is way too big. I did find those Uniroyal tires in 205/75-15 at a local Ford dealership called "Quick Lane". So, I am having them research the WW width. Still wish I could find Tiger Paws in 225/70-15.
  10. On the load leveling 30 years I have had multiple fuses blow. There is a dedicated fuse for the compressor. Check that first. The one other failure I have had was the relay, which also plugs into the fuse box. That is a tougher problem. Mine failed about 10 years ago and finding another one was a real chore. Barry Smith was the ROA coordinator for this model year back then and he found a dealer for me with a NOS relay sitting on his shelf, but it cost me dearly. This relay was a $6 part new, but the dealer charged me $100 plus shipping. Both the fuses and the relay failed when I had the trunk loaded for vacations, so the compressor was cycling constantly. The compressor itself never failed, just the fuse and the relay. Yes, you can run direct 12V to the compressor to make sure it works. I never did that to inflate the shocks. I just did it to troubleshoot what needed to be replaced. On the fuse box and wiring diagram, I went to a public library 25 years ago and copied them from one of their repair manuals. Don't know if you could still do the same. On the Code 14, see if this link is useful to you. It explains Code 14 and the possible solutions. Hope this is helpful.
  11. Yes Dave, that is a great find! I have been looking for Uniroyal Tiger Paws for a long time! Johnny, you are correct. The two tire sizes that were OEM were 205/75-15 which was the base tire, and 225/70-15 which was an upgrade and usually only put on S-Type, T-Type and turbo Rivieras. I bought my Riv new and it came with Uniroyal Tiger Paw Royal Seal tires. The whitewalls were wide, I believe 1.6", and had the Royal Seal embossed in the whitewall, I always felt like these tires were too small for the car, and they would squeal like a pig when making the most modest of turns. So, I upgraded to 225/70-15 when the Uniroyal tires wore out...which was a long time because they lasted 60K miles! My gas mileage suffered when I went to the bigger tire. So, now I am considering going back to the original size. My only reservation on the tires Dave found at Town Fair is that they do not say they are Royal Seal, so the white wall is probably not as wide as the OEM tires. I am posting a picture of my car when it had the original tires and you can see the Royal Seal embossed in the white wall...also I am about 28 years old in that picture....30 years ago. No more brown hair.... I am going to call and ask about the WW width on these tires. That is an outstanding price. I was expecting to spend $1K for new tires for my Riv, and they wouldn't have been the Tiger Paws I want...I just hope the WW is the correct width.
  12. The following is an excerpt from an article originally written by Jay Storer for Street Rodder Nailhead History Among the first engines built by Scottish born David Dunbar was an overhead valve one lunger at the close of the 19th century, so the cusp of the technology was associated with the Buick Marque from its inception. Conceived as a higher level car from the start, once the Buick name was established it was soon folded into General motors by William Durant, and several times (pre ww1) Buick was the biggest seller and the savor of GM. Little known trivia: the three shields that make up the Buick logo are actually representative of David Buick’s ancestral heraldry. Performance, dependability, and luxury were all successfully meshed in the Buick line’s reputation ‘that first attribute forged in racing competition, including taking checkered flags at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway even before the Indy 500 had been thought of. The dependability, at a time when automobiles were thought of as an amusing fad, was demonstrated by Buicks in numerous cross-country and cross continent, endurance events. The hot inter-marque sales completion the automakers in the 50s sparked rapid development of the engines that we take for granted today, these engines may seem technologically primitive compared to our fuel sipping, distributor less, computer, managed power plants of today, but they laid the OHV ground work for the modern engine we now enjoy in our daily drivers. For decades, the Buick line had been powered by overheads almost exclusively, when few other makes were so equipped. During what we affectionately call the flat head era Buicks were powered by a succession of OHV straight eight engines that were smooth and had the torque to handle heavier luxury-model cars. They were not that popular with hot rodders, but the few who bothered to take a 320-inch Buick eight out of a wrecking yard and drop it into a roadster with a recessed fire wall (as did AK Miller) found that they could prune off a hot flathead Ford time after time without even running hot. In 1953 , Buick introduced its first overhead valve (valve in head as Buick would say) V-8 engine in a 322 ci size, and with 236 HP, it received immediate notice , triggering a climb in Buick sales that didn’t begin to dim until the late 50s. That first “ nail-head” v-8 (so named derisively in reference to the relative small valve-head diameter in relation to the standard size, ie ,proportioned like a nail) was joined by a 264 ci version in 1954for the lesser “special” line, and in 1957 was superseded in the higher lines with a new 364 ci. That motor continued in the line through 1961, but sales were down by two thirds by 1959, the smooth power of the nail head motors was still praised by owners and auto writers, but according to industry observers , it was Buicks failure to read the mercurial styling trends of the late 50’s that killed their sales. Obviously ,car customizes didn’t feel that way, since they snagged all the toothy Buick grills and gracefully curved side trim they could get , to apply to plebeian makes like Ford and Chevy for an upgrade. In an effort to stimulate sales and keep up with the horsepower curve Buick introduced the fabled 401 ci V-8 in 1959 and it continued until the end of the nail head era in 1966. This and its 425 ci bigger brother (1963-1966) more than held up the highway performance image of the cars and Buick’s sales were recovering in the early 60s. These are the engines that made a reputation the nail heads enjoy today with legions of fans. While the design of the heads didn’t make for great high rpm breathing, they worked superbly at doing what Buick engineers were aiming at, making torque. So proud of their cruising torque was the Buick team that they gave their engines decals that referred to their torque rating rather that their displacement . Thus to the confusion of many Buick initiates , you pop the hood on a Buick wildcat and see decals that proclaim the engine as a “465” ,yet that is lb-ft , not cubic inches! That engine is actually a four barreled 425-incher (1963-1966). Buick went on to maintain its position at GM, and in the overall market place with innovations like an aluminum V-8 ,the first V-6 in the U.S., the fabled Grand National turbo cars, and with constantly reinventing styling. However, with the exception of a few nail head cars that ran in NASCAR in the early 50s and the super wildcats, Riviera Grand sports, and those turbo models of much later, the Buick name was not connected to a racy image.
  13. Transcript of Car and Driver Road Test published in 1983 Buick Riviera Convertible Bliss on Wheels is what it is. Here we are in the Eighties, an era rife with technical tumult – computers are calling the cadence under our hoods, the live axle is beginning to look like an endangered species, cars really are bigger on the inside and smaller on the outside, and all of them will go so far on a tankful that bathroom stops have become more urgent than fuel stops – yet what is the most wonderful new development in automobiling? The disappearing top, that’s what; the same thing that used to make motorists grin back in nineteen aught whatever, when engineers still weren’t sure how to make a universal joint that would last all day. The convertible top is an antediluvian device – normal automotive equipment in the period when the hinged door was looked upon as a great leap forward over what had come before, which was no door at all. In fact, the convertible is so old that it’s had time to go out of date and be heaped onto the pile of things they don’t make anymore. But now – pow! – it’s back, this season’s monster hit in the motor city. Nearly every carmaker in Detroit is stumbling over itself trying to schedule a convertible just as good as the ones they stopped building in the middle Seventies. Before we are overcome by the strangeness of it all, you should know that this is a road test of one of Detroit’s new convertibles. Not just any convertible either, but a Buick. Not just any Buick convertible either, but a pretty red one. And a fine thing it is. Red Buick convertibles were – and still are – made for the movies. Ford and Chevy convertibles were for kids and cruising – perfect for the prom, bitchin’ at the beach – but a red Buick was for celebrities and grand entrances. Cary Grant could ease up to the party entrance of the Beverly Hills Hotel in a red Buick convertible and the scene would be seamless. Nobody would know whether it was the movies or real life. It could be either, because a red Buick convertible has always been good enough for anybody and anyplace. And the 1983 Buick Riviera convertible happily continues the briefly interrupted adoration. Bliss on wheels is what it is. And there you have it, the nugget of bliss on this road test. From here on out it is going to be the nuts-and-bolts story of how Buick turned a coupe into a convertible, seasoned with some carping about how Detroit could ever have been so wrong as to abandon something as wonderful as the car with the top that goes down. The Riviera convertible is, in fact, exactly what it appears to be: a Riviera coupe with the roof sawed off. At least that’s the way it starts. But Buick had high aspirations for this car. It was designed to be a no-excuses convertible: no excuses for the lack of a back seat, no excuses for the lack of rear quarter-windows, no excuses for anything. As a result, the Riviera convertible really is every bit as good as the convertibles you used to take for granted. It’s just that producing them is a lot more complicated. The project starts at Fisher Body, which builds a Riviera sans roof. The body is then assembled into a car – as much as it can be, given its topless condition – at the Linden, New Jersey plant. From there it’s shipped to the American Sunroof Corporation in Lansing, Michigan, where all the convertible stuff is added. Then it’s onward to the Buick plant in Flint, Michigan, for a final laying-on of hands before shipment to the dealer. Making a convertible from a Riviera is not as difficult as the job is with most other Detroit models these days, because the Riviera is still of the old-style body-and-frame construction. Cutting off the roof doesn’t damage the integrity of the structure anywhere near as much as it does on a unit-construction car. In fact, very little structure is added in the conversion; just a set of gussets where the rear wheelhouses meet the rear quarter-panels, and a pair of cowl-to-fender braces under the hood. And, of course, the door wedges, if you want to count them. Door wedges are SOP on American convertibles. Each set consists of a pair of ramps, one of which is mounted high on the door-lock pillar, one in the corresponding spot on the door. Convertibles having no roof for bracing, are inclined to sag in the middle; with door wedges, the door becomes a prop, acting as a beam in compression to prevent sagging. That’s when the door is closed. Most people don’t drive down rough roads and fly over crests with the doors open anyway, but the structure does have to be strong enough to hold its shape sufficiently to let the doors be closed. In this regard the Riviera has no problems. There are a few other details in the coupe-to-convertible transformation. Harder rubber is used in the body mounts at the fire wall and at the rear frame kickup. Moreover, an extra mount is added at each side under the door, and area where no mount is necessary in the coupe. The result of this modest reinforcing is a very solid convertible. The cowl and the windshield move around a bit over wrinkled blacktop, but the Riviera generally seems more solid and rattle-free than the high-volume convertibles of Detroit’s past. Our most serious objection is to the lateral shake in the front seats, but even that seems a modest complaint, given the joys of open air motoring. One of the most commendable features of the Riviera is its no-excuses design. The top is power-operated by a button on the dash (the transmissions must be in “Park” first). The fixed-in place quarter-windows of the coupe are power-operated in the convertible (you are requested to lower them before raising the top). The power windows and the retracting mechanism inevitably take a bit out of each side of the rear seat, but the cushion is still wide enough to accommodate two adults in comfort (Buick says room for three, we say the three should be good friends), The backrest angle in the rear is on the steep side, and the cushions feel harder than those of the coupe, but otherwise there is no lack of hospitality in the coach section. The final mark of a good convertible, we think, is a glass back window, and the Riviera has one. It’ll never scratch or turn opaque as the plastic film ones do. And although it can be lowered separately from the top by un-Velcro-ing it, this operation is not necessary for lowering the top. We do have a complaint however: the bottom of the glass doesn’t extend low enough for good visibility to the rear. When parallel parking about all you can see of the car behind is the top half of its windshield. Probably the highest compliment we can pay to a convertible is that, were it not for the sun on the head and the wind in the ears, we wouldn’t know it was a convertible. The Riviera drives very much like the coupe from which it is derived. The convertible’s extra 167 pounds soften the performance of the 4.1-liter V-6 somewhat, making the optional V-8 a good call if you ever plan to hurry. The four-speed automatic is a fine thing with either. The suspension rates have been increased in the convertible, primarily as an anti-shake measure, but the handling is also crisper as a result. Four-Wheel disc brakes are also standard equipment. Buick hasn’t held back on the good stuff. Of course, given the price, you’d expect caviar; $23,983 is the number, plus the destination charge and all the other little ways Buick has to fatten the take. The convertible is about $7000 over the coupe. Buick says production is limited to 2000 cars, the capacity of ASC to make the conversion, but we expect the price will surely have a limiting effect all of its own. Twenty-four Gs is a heavy hit, even for a red Buick convertible. (White is the only other color choice, and red leather lining is standard with both.) Why is the price so high? Buick has plenty of reasons: shipping between all those assembly plants is not exactly free, and of course, ASC expects to be paid for its efforts. But from the customer’s point of view, all that is Buick’s problem. All the customer remembers is that in 1975, when the last Buick convertible was built, it cost a few hundred bucks over the corresponding tin top. Convertible technology hasn’t changed in the intervening years – the new version is not burdened by on-board computers, exotic alloys or environmental-impact statements – so why does it cost an extra seven grand? One tends to worry about an auto industry that can’t efficiently handle something new when the new thing in question is really very old. Putting aside the worry, we are pleased to report the continuation of one fundamental truth; a red Buick convertible is still a joyous mode of transportation. – Patrick Bedard