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About Grapeman

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    Napa, CA.
  • Interests:
    Cars, vintage slot machines and wine!

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  1. If you look at the post I did On May 19, 2017. It is titled 1963 Riviera lowered springs. I explain the experience I had with the custom springs I had made that dropped the car 3" all way around. Depending on how your exhaust is currently done, you will most likely have to tuck it up. There are several posts dealing with that. I did it that way and it is perfect.
  2. OK, here is an update ( 1 year later) on above post on May 19, 2016. The above pics reflect the car when I purchased it with the 20" rims. Those went and I put some wildcat rally rims on it. And then I lowered it 3" all around. The car rides extremely nice for a lowered car. It is a little bouncy, but the suspension handles it nicely. I ended up putting on 215/75/15 tires. No rubbing problems at all. I had the front end aligned as in my original post. Handles and steers perfect. I did replace the rubber bushings on the rear panard bar and it made a substantial improvement in handling and steering. A big improvement! I used the stock Monroe shocks. No need to get different shocks, even with the 3 in drop. The front shocks, in my opinion, could be improved upon by being a bit stiffer. I think it would improve it degree of bounciness a bit. It's not bad at all, and it is what you get with a lowered car. I like the ride. I used the stock spring insulators that were on the car. Work fine. No metal to metal noise. The car height is about 6.75 inch to the bottom of the rocker panel all the way around...front and measured from behind the front wheel and in front of the rear wheel. The front crossmember , which is the lowest part of the frame, is 4" off the ground. And no, I do not scrape. I drive the car a lot and I don't baby it. Regarding the exhaust, I tucked in up along the frame rails, removed the 2 mufflers and put an 1800 series Flowmaster mounted crossways in front of the rear end. 2 in and 2 out, with a nice set of chrome tips barley showing below the rear bumper. It sounds super cool....sort of a Harley rumble and Chris Craft mixed. No drone on the road either. The Riv puts a smile on my face. I enjoy the 401 and dynaflow combo. I have a few more tweaks to do, but for me, working on the car is a much fun as driving it!
  3. Well, after a lot of research and phone calls speaking to Transmission shops I made the decision to have the old guy in Napa ( as above post) do it. The shop is Williams Transmission and Automotive on Soscol Ave in Napa Ca. The old guy, who is the owner, Lee did the actual rebuilding of the trans. He had his guys pull it out. He disassembled it and showed it to me on the bench. He said it has well over 100,000 miles on it. The clutches were shot, worn pump, etc , etc, etc. He was surprised that it worked as well as it did. Anyway, I had him do a complete rebuild. I am extremely happy with the results. It is like a new transmission, well, I guess it is. Smooth as silk. Nice. The cost was $4000. A hell of a lot more than I wanted to spend, but I am comfortable that it is done right. And that is what was really important. The cost....well, if we were all concerned about the money we put into these old cars....then we wouldn't do it. But we do! Gotta love the Riv.
  4. Regarding 63 Riv recently started to develop symptoms that lead me to believe that there was a problem with the transmission. Shutter on take off, slipping a bit then engaging the gear, worse going up steep driveway, etc. I could tell something was not correct. I recently bought the car and was told that the trans had been rebuilt....for whatever that was worth. Anyhow, I asked around about was familiar with these transmissions. I found a local shop in Napa, ca. that was familiar with them. I took it to them and the old guy, I'm guessing around 80, knew all about them. He owned a transmission shop and had been in the transmission for 60 years. He took it for a test ride and said it felt as if it had several problems. He really spoke as if he knew what he was talking about. Anyway, for the shop to pull and rebuilt he said no less than $2000 and no more than $4000. I have been hearing that shops will rebuilt the box on the bench for around $1500 or more. I spoke to another shop and he said $3800. It seems like a lot to me. However I believe that it is important to get someone to do it who has had experience with these units. I do know that parts can be difficult and expensive. I would probably be comfortable in the $2000 range, but getting near $4000 is scary. He said the price would be determined by what he found when he opened it up....
  5. I would like to change/modify my stock equipped power antenna to one that will retract all the way in. I would like to retain stock dash switch. Any suggestions? Thank you.
  6. Yes, you need to run spacers, at least 1/4 inch. I am using 5/16 so the rim will sit flat on the brake drum. The spacer I used in the uni-lug 5 on 5 spacer. On the holes on the spacer that are not used for the lug bolts fit nicely over the protruded "rivets" that are on the drum. I am using the later rally rims. They have no center ring on the rear. These are called the 895 rims. As far as I can tell the only difference between these and the early rims is the backspacing. The early rims have 3 3/8 back spacing and the newer rims have 3 7/8 backspacing. I did not find it necessary to use longer wheel studs because I am using the "acorn" style lug nuts and they work fine.
  7. If anyone is considering replacing LF wheel studs on Gen 1 Riviera, I just did it. I purchased standard Dorman studs # 610-441, pressed out the old studs and pressed in the new right hand treads. I am running a 5/16 " spacer because I am using "newer" rally rims. They work fine and there is no problem. Upper is stock left hand thread and lower is new dorman.
  8. Just wanted to share some info. I recently did some headwork on my 401. After putting it back together, it would not idle and would hardly run. Symptoms were like vacuum leak, rough idle, misfiring, etc. Upon checking everything, I posed the question to the forum and was told to check the installation of the intake manifold gasket. Well, as it turns out, I did have it installed incorrectly and as soon as I removed/replaced in the proper manner...problem solved. According to the Buick Service manual it says to "install manifold gasket so pointed end off each gasket is "in" toward center of engine" Well, what does that actually mean....I used Fel-pro MS 9411 SH gasket. Look at below picture and you will see what the pointed end is. There is a pointed end on each end of the gasket. So it you installed with "pointed" end "in" you will have done it correctly.
  9. OK, I installed NEW intake manifold gasket and it solved the problem. I did have them installed incorrectly. Running smooth as can be....And the soft plug was intact. There was a "cover" that came off the soft plug, but it did not compromise the plug at all. I did butter it up with JB weld to make sure it would not leak. All is good.
  10. Tom Based on your explanation, it appears that I have them installed incorrectly. Can I re-use the gaskets or do I need new ones? They are the fel-pro steel gaskets.
  11. Tom Thank you for your input. Can you be a bit more specific on how to determine if intake manifold gaskets are installed correctly? How do I tell by looking at them? The service manual says to have the points on the gasket to face in (toward motor). Looking at my installed gaskets, I believe I have the points facing out. I have attached a pic of my installed gasket. This is on passenger side. Is the pointed part of the intake gasket the one that the service manual is describing? If so, then I believe I do have them on incorrectly? your thoughts?
  12. I have read much about the intake manifold soft plugs on the 401. I recently had my engine apart for head work. Upon putting it back together, I realized that I did not re-install the large soft plug in the manifold. Now, the motor runs very rough at idle. I have checked the usual, dwell, timing, wires, points, etc. My specific question is: What is the purpose of the soft plugs? If they are leaking or not installed, will that effect engine performance....more specific...idle? I have plugged the exhaust channel that was used to pre heat the carb as it is not necessary in Calif. Also, I understand that a standard dorman 2" freeze" type plug will work. Anyone familiar with these and there functions...?
  13. So I went to remove the front brake drums so I could replace the left hand studs with right hand. The manual said to turn star adjuster up to loosen. I did that, how I realized too late that was actually tightening them. Now they are so tight, I am unable to turn the star adjuster down to loosen. It just won't move. Any suggestions?
  14. I know that there has been a lot of discussion on this topic and I have read most of what I could find. Just some feedback and a few questions. I just spoke to Perry at Coil Springs Specialties in KS. Very helpful and very knowledgeable I have a stock 63, no AC, stock Rally rims, and I am going to get 225/70/15 or 225/75/15 tires. I ordered the heavy duty 3" dropped springs. Perry suggested the HD springs, because the have a 10-15% stiffer spring rate than the stock springs. He said that with the 3" drop, the stiffer spring rate would prevent the car from scraping the road in a lot of conditions over the stock spring rate. Regarding the "donuts" or washers that go between the springs and the mounts, he suggesting using them because with the shorter spring, there would be less travel and it could tend to make a metal to metal scraping sound. He said if not available, just cut a piece of heater hose and put on each side of the lower and upper coil and it will do the same thing. When they squish down, it will not affect the spring height. However, they are available and can be purchased from OPG. Regarding shocks, Perry said that the rear shocks should be fine, however he is unsure if the fronts will require new shocks...shorter. Does anyone have any experience with this and if so, what kind of shocks are recommended? Also, would like some feedback on any experience anyone has had in getting the car aligned after the shortened springs have been installed. I am going to have the castor set at positive 2-3 degrees and the chamber set at 1/4 positive per the suggestions of Russ the Buick guy in Grass Valley, Ca to improve the handling with the radial tires. Has the alignment presented any problems to anyone who has dropped the car 3"? Any feedback would be appreciated. Also, regarding Coil Spring Specialities, they were very helpful. Turn around time on the springs is 2-3 weeks. They will custom make them, but said that they do a lot of Riviera's so it is not a problem. Cost is $205 for fronts, $192 for rears and $70 shipping to Calif. I will take some before and after pics and post them when the car is done. Ken Nerlove ROA# 15041