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About Str8-8-Dave

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  1. Today I got the final answer on whether or not my radiator shutters were set up and working properly. See pictures below... Clearly not the right spring and one end of the spring is attached through a hole in the top of the shutter frame making shutter open under spring pressure. If the spring was attached to the pin on the right side of first picture the shutter would close under spring pressure. I'm sure the original spring was designed to produce a certain force VS travel curve, without an original spring installed correctly on the 2 pins the force VS travel curve won't be as designed.
  2. So Steele doesn't have the top seal either, they have sides and base seal which are same as what Bob's has because he Bob gets his seals from Steele. I'm not real sure there actually is a top seal, Dave39MD has one of these cars that has never been apart and his doesn't have a top seal, except I sent him a piece of the 3m whisker seal I found. The paint on my car is new so installing the top seal was a snap because there is a nice smooth surface for the adhesive backing on the 3m seal to adhere to. The seal also features a 1/2" wide by 1/8" thick plastic substrate which bends across the 1/8" thickness but is very stiff across the 1/2" width. I basically threaded the seal over top of the wiper blades, peeled back an inch of the release tape on the adhesive and pushed the seal up into place at the starting end, then just shoved it up into place as I went across the windshield pulling the release tape off as I went. When I was about a foot from the other A-pillar I cut the seal to it's final length, shoved the last foot up into place between the windshield and the sheet metal header and pulled the tape off. I inserted a soft vinyl body filler squeegee in at the start of the seal between the whiskers and glass and pulled that across the length of the seal to finish setting the adhesive and that was it. 10 minutes tops. What I really like is it has such low friction on the glass you can't perceive any change in crank effort to raise the glass. I'm not too worried about the fit of the hood to the cowl lace, it will look fine when I get some hood latches on the car. I will get around to painting the hood feature line moldings black to match the rest of the car. I just painted the radiator shutter black on the car and then figured out the guys that put the radiator assembly back in the car have the shutter return spring installed backward, it opens the shutters wide open when the thermostat link pin is removed. The spring is supposed to close the shutters all the way when water temp drops. It is intended to put a 14lb preload on the thermostat bellows to collapse them back down in an orderly fashion as the water cools. I just pulled the radiator and shell off the car and have it on the bench to fix a myriad of things that are either not serviceable or not correct. That will be another post when I'm done. As for the silver cutout relay, I'm hoping to replace it with an original Delco Remy cutout which were painted black. Thanks... Dave
  3. The fact these front shutters all fail closed is probably because the opening of the shutter through it's linkage is caused by expansion or lengthening of the thermostat. These thermostats are filled with some alcohol or formaldehyde solution that expands as heat is applied. The thermostat can produce pretty decent force in expanding and probably needs a little help contracting when the heat is removed. If the spring in the shutter causes the shutter to open the thermostat will surely open the shutter but it's doubtful it has enough force to overcome the shutter spring that is trying to hold the shutter open when the thermostat starts to contract because the water temperature has dropped. Whatever, I just came in from the garage for the day and my radiator and shell is now on the floor leaning up against the car. Later today or tomorrow I will remove the radiator core from the shell and fix the shutter spring. I also hope to get the thermostat out of the top tank to inspect it and make some kind of assessment as to whether or not it is viable. The Buick Specs and Adjustments manual says at 135 degrees a 14lb weight should hold the thermostat in it's fully collapsed condition and at 145 degrees it should produce enough force to lift a 14lb weight. I'm aware you can destroy one of these if you throw it in boiling water with no load on it. I will remove it from the water when my dial thermometer hits 150 and the thermostat will be weighted and in it's cup housing.
  4. The answer is right in the Specs and Adjustments manual on pg. 17 if I would just slow down and read. It says under "Thermostatic Radiator Shutter Control" second paragraph "When the water in the engine reaches a pre determined temperature, the thermostat begins to expand, and by means of a lever, connecting link and bell crank causes the shutters to open from their normal closed position. As the engine temperature rises the shutters continue their opening until a water temperature of 135-145 degrees is reached and maintained. Should the cooling effect of the air coming through the radiator tend to lower this temperature, the thermostat will at once contract, partially closing the shutters and again raising the engine temperature. This contraction of the thermostat is hastened by the action of a closing spring which pulls against the expansion of the thermostat." Hmmm, I should learn to read I guess...
  5. My 31 8-66S Special Coupe was partly restored when I got it so did not get to see some of the assembly. One area I'm concerned with is whether or not the radiator front shutter linkage return spring is hooked up properly. When the thermostat link pin is removed my front shutter moves wide open or to the max airflow position under the tension of the return spring. Is that correct or should the return spring hold the shutter completely closed?
  6. Hello to all; I've gotten a couple of things done on the car since the February 23 installment so thought I would post an update. Item 5 in the list includes installation of a correct Buick oil supply branch fitting that screws into an oil supply fitting at the right rear crankcase and connects the inlet side of the oil filter and the oil pressure gauge. At first I thought this was mostly cosmetic but that fitting is a metering device that restricts oil flow to the rocker arms and generator front bearing to 1qt./min. at 25 mph according to the spec's and adjustments manual. This flow restriction preserves oil pressure at low rpm which is intended to assure main and rod bearings get what they need to stay healthy. The "Buick" logo is cast on the fitting. I also salvaged the original oil pressure gauge line which I found corroded on the outside, plugged on the inside and rolled up in a ball in a box that came with the car. Rather than do a long writeup I will list what has been done then post some pictures... 1: Added a top seal to the windshield. I found some soft fuzzy seal on a stiff self adhesive substrate that is 1/2" thick, adds very little friction to the windshield, is effective and easy to install and even available in a light tan material that makes it really difficult to know it is there. See pictures 1, 2 2: Replaced sheet metal screws that attach the cowl lacing with correct split rivets. Haven't done the radiator shell lacing yet but will get to that soon. See pictures 3, 4. 3: Painted the firewall matte black, installed Buick body tags. See pictures 5-7. 4: Pre-wired current limit relay with left/right main cowl wiring harnesses then installed cowl insulator, relay and cowl harnesses. Note that the long insulator bolts will be cut off with a bolt cutter as they did in the factory but not until I'm sure I'm done having to pull the insulator away from the firewall to attach something I missed. See pictures 8, 9. 5: Replaced incorrect oil filter cannister and plumbing with correct filter brackets, repro horizontal filter (hides spin on filter) and original clamp bands. Installed correct Buick branch fitting, fabricated brass lines, routed original oil pressure gauge line and KS Telegage fuel gauge line into passenger compartment. See pictures 10, 11. 6: Repainted ignition coil, wired coil and generator cutout relay, installed starter terminal cover. See picture 12. 7: Wired headlight switch including headlight harnesses and reconnecting rear near perfect original rear body wire harness, added restored tail light connecter to rear harness, installed tail light. See pictures 13-15. 8. Corrected horn and Klaxon equipment tag orientation on mounting bracket. Fabricated my own 3 hole oval firewall grommet since both Bob's and Steele Rubber grommets listed in their catalogs are totally incorrect (too tall/ too narrow to even fit the hole in the 31 Buick firewall), wired horn. Fabricated manifold vacuum line for wipers and connected to wiper tube inside the car. See pictures 16-18. 9: Installed cowl lamps and wired. See pictures 19, 20.
  7. Thanks Wayne; I have your E-Mail and will contact you if I haven't gotten one by then. Dave
  8. Looking for a good speedometer cable assembly for 1931 Buick model 8-66S. This cable connects to the AC 90mph rotary drum speedometer via a square drive and has a right angle brace. Transmission end has gear with 24 teeth. Lands on the transmission adapter measure 0.872" dia. See pictures. Same cable for other 1931 Buick series 60/80/90 may be identical except have 22 teeth or 21 teeth on the driven gear at the transmission end and would be considered. If you have one of these you would sell please e-mail me at or reply to this thread. Thanks. Dave
  9. Looking for a good speedometer cable assembly for 1931 Buick model 8-66S. This cable connects to the AC 90mph rotary drum speedometer via a square drive and has a right angle brace. Transmission end has gear with 24 teeth. Lands on the transmission adapter measure 0.872" dia. See pictures. Same cable for other 1931 Buick series 60/80/90 may be identical except have 22 teeth or 21 teeth on the driven gear at the transmission end and would be considered. If you have one of these you would sell please e-mail me at or reply to this thread. Thanks. Dave
  10. Looking for a good speedometer cable assembly for 1931 Buick model 8-66S. This cable connects to the AC 90mph rotary drum speedometer via a square drive and has a right angle brace. Transmission end has gear with 24 teeth. Lands on the transmission adapter measure 0.872" dia. See pictures. Same cable for other 1931 Buick series 60/80/90 may be identical except have 22 teeth or 21 teeth on the driven gear at the transmission end and would be considered. If you have one of these you would sell please e-mail me at or reply to this thread. Thanks. Dave
  11. Hi John and thanks for the tips on the pinstriping. If you saw the next to last picture in my post you know the stripes are already on the instrument panel. They aren't perfect but for a first try and no experience they are passable. I won't try to redo them now but will probably use the fine line tape and Sign Painter's paint if I have occasion to do any more. Again, appreciate your comments... Dave
  12. So I recently was reminded that the road draft tube is supposed to be secured by a clamp that attaches the lower tube to the top of the oil pan rail on the left side of the block. I didn't even know there was a second clamp that attaches the fuel overflow drain tube from the air cleaner to the road draft tube. There was a restored road draft tube and the clamp that attaches it to the block listed on E-Bay and it had been there for awhile so I asked if the seller would just sell me the clamp which he would not. So then I posted in the Buick Buy/Sell forum and got a response from another member that he probably had the clamp. That's when I discovered the second clamp for the fuel drain tube. I bought the clamps and a hard to find oil line fitting. The parts arrived lightly sand blasted and some of the rust pits were pretty deep. I was going to just make new clamps from the original pieces but didn't have the right thickness sheet metal. Instead I traced the formed bends, flattened the clamps on a bench anvil and massaged them on a belt sander. Then using the tracings I bent the clamps back to their original configurations, primed and painted them and cleaned up the original screws. They were so pretty I decided I should remove the road draft tube, which extends down through a hole in the splash pan too small to pass the clamps through, and slide the clamps up from the bottom. of the road draft tube. That was easier said than done, I wound up removing the air cleaner, disconnecting the carburetor fuel line, then separating the carburetor from the heat riser to get enough clearance to get the road draft tube off it's mounting stud on the engine and fish it out of the car. The other item was I had to replace one of the oil pan bolts with a long bolt that extends above the oil pan rail to attach the road draft tube clamp to the engine. This sounds like minutia but I'm still interested in having a complete car representative of the original. Included in the pictures below are pictures of the clamp installation on Dave39MD's original 8-66S car down in Georgia... Pictures 1, 2: These are pictures of the road draft tube clamp on the bottom of the tube and fuel overflow clamp above. The road draft tube clamp is installed upside down and incorrectly below the fuel overflow clamp in these pictures compared to the next pictures of the clamp installation on Dave39MD's car. Pictures 3-5: These are pictures of the clamp installation on Dave39MD's original car in Georgia. Pictures 6-8: Pictures of the restored clamps installed on my car.
  13. Hello to all; I'm working generally toward getting this car ready for installation of a complete reproduction wiring harness. We had a few weeks of real winter here in Port Huron with temperatures below zero which means the home heating system is taxed enough it doesn't make sense trying to heat a cold 3 car attached garage by opening the kitchen door to the garage. One of the major projects on my list was resurrecting the instrument panel which was scuffed and scratched and improperly painted red, the faux wood trim panel that spans the width of the panel and the instrument cluster which was loaded with instruments that were not usable. With the cold weather I thought why not pull the panel and bring it in the house to work on so one cold day I went to the garage and removed it. Once in my hobby room I removed the cluster and started taking inventory of all that needed attention. The panel itself needed to be repainted gloss black and needed to be pinstriped. It was also missing the Fisher VV decals that go on the top corners of the air dam. The faux wood insert was scratched and had one tiny chip through to the metal. I removed the cluster assembly and found the chrome surround, bezel plate, speedometer lamp brow and back pan were all held together with strategically placed pieces of duct tape. The surround has a perimeter crimp rail that is supposed to hold it all together. The bezel plate, once wood grained, was painted red. The back pan was thoroughly coated in white paint which I suspected was epoxy based, including the instrument lamp socket attachment ears which cannot be painted because they are the ground circuit for the instrument lamps. All the gauge unit attaching screws were painted white probably while still loosely installed on the back pan. There was no sign of the instrument lamp sockets and wiring. Eventually, through pictures of another panel which I eventually bought, I figured out the instrument lamp switch was missing. The dial glass backing plates on the back of the bezel plate were also taped, the glass backing plates were originally riveted. One of the toy tabs was broken off the speedometer lamp hood. Later I discovered the heat control lever was from a later car with a different design. The speedometer instrument was dirty but intact. The ammeter gauge face was badly bent and the needle was stuck and missing paint. The King Seely Tele-gage gas gauge was dirty, the glass column tube was broken off just above the capillary tube joint to the glass, the temp gauge was pegged at 200+ degrees. Later after adjusting the gauge to read at the cold end of the scale, when tested, turned out to be inoperative. What I found that was good was gauge dials that were legible, especially the fuel gauge had a nice dial with clean markings, and the bezel surround and instrument dial trim inserts had been re-chromed. Also the choke and spark cable assemblies were very nice with no major kinks. Other than that it was what it was. I wasn't sure where to start with the cluster assembly but eventually started sorting the gauges. I started with the speedometer by opening it. I discovered it was really in not too bad shape, just really dirty. I cleaned the dial drum carefully with warm soap water applied with Q-tips. I used petroleum based solvent and some artist brushes to remove the old grease, then replaced the grease and oiled the dial drum and other small pivots with synthetic clock oil. I cleaned the housing, bezel and glass, cannibalized a missing seal that seals the odometer reset stem to the housing can from another speedometer and carefully crimped it back together. Next I straightened the sheet metal ammeter dial face and freed the needle which I carefully re-painted. After an hour of fiddling with needle height and adjustments to the dial face I got an ammeter that read zero at rest and it moved to end of - to + scales without needle bind. Then there was the gas gauge. I carefully removed the dial and discovered the glass tube had broken off cleanly with no missing chips and the break was below the line of sight masked by the dial. I cleaned the tube with vinegar and a clockmaker's pivot cleaning stick, re-attached the broken off tube with industrial epoxy, replaced the white background panel, leak and flow checked and re-assembled. It turned out nice. The oil pressure gauge needed next to nothing, I re-painted the red needle tip and brushed the back place clean with a brass bristle wire brush. I sent the temperature gauge to Bob's Speedometer in Howell, MI and for the princely sum of $225 they replaced the sensing bulb and capillary tube, charged it with formaldehyde and calibrated it and sent it back to me. I got it back yesterday. AACA member Dave39MD has an original 31 Buick 8-66S down in Georgia and as noted in my previous posts has bee a great source of pictures and information from his car. I told him what I was dealing with regarding the instruments and cluster housing and he wrote that he had a spare cluster in a box somewhere in his shop that he bought for spares. He found it and sent pictures of the assembly to me and I asked if he would sell it. He had the complete cluster housing assembly that had never been apart, it still had a part number stamped on the back of it. He also had the gauges but decided to keep those for his car. Eventually we struck a deal and I bought the complete housing with all the mounting screws for the gauges and it had the original Delco instrument lamp switch and lamp sockets with toasted wiring that would have to be replaced. The original wood grain was still there on the bezel plate but was just bad enough to not be usable. There was no doubt this housing had never been apart as base pan, bezel and surround were held together by the original crimp job. I carefully photographed the assembly then disassembled it. I learned a lot about the original construction and found the assembly I had was also missing two green acetate lamp filters and their attaching clips for the outboard lamps, a gasket that goes between the speedometer lamp hood and the bezel plate and 2 anti-crush support tubes at the choke and spark cable ports. I decided not to disturb the rivets that held the individual gauge bezels, dial glasses and backing plates together because the wood grain was not quite good enough to use. As I worked to clean 88yrs worth of rust and dirt off the back pan, instrument lamp sockets and switch of the donor cluster housing I began to formulate a plan of how best to combine parts from the 2 cluster assemblies to get a pretty authentic cluster to put back in the car. I decided an economical way to have nice woodgrain on the cluster bezel was to veneer it with real rosewood. I bought a sheet of paper backed 0.040" thick rosewood veneer on E-Bay that was big enough to do at least 3 bezels. I cut a piece to size using the surround to get an outline of the required piece of veneer and contact cemented it to the red painted bezel plate from the cluster that came with my car, thus preserving the original wood grained part I got from Dave's cluster. Working carefully with an Exacto knife and a fine 1/2 round miniature file I trimmed out the gauge openings, then gave the veneer 3 coats of clear acrylic lacquer. It looked really nice in a temporary buildup of the bezel plate, gauge bezels, glass and the chrome bezel surround. The next day I started a careful re-assembly of the cluster housing now consisting of the re-chromed bezel surround, the speedometer lamp hood from donor assembly because the toy tabs were intact, the veneer wood grained bezel plate from the cluster that came with my car and the donor back pan carefully cleaned without disturbing the part number still clearly stamped on the back. I used brass wire to hold the backing plates that secure gauge glasses and gauge bezels to the bezel plate because original bras tube rivets are not available. I included the acetate instrument lamp filters, clips, instrument lamp switch, cable support tubes and heat control parts from the donor panel along with the nice original gauge mounting screws. After carefully crimping the assembly all together with the surround crimp I made new gaskets for each of the gauge units and assembled all except the temperature gauge which didn't come back from repair for a couple of weeks. I replaced the instrument lamp wiring with correct cloth covered 16ga wire and rewired the sockets to the switch. I bought NOS Tung Sol #63 bulbs to replace a hodgepodge of old corroded bulbs that came with the donor cluster. I took the choke and spark cables apart and cleaned and lubed them. All the knob faces were re-painted. Now I had a cluster that looked authentic and should be fully functional. The other part of the project that was going on it the background was re-painting the instrument panel in the correct for 31 gloss black. I found reproduction Fisher VV Windshield decals at Bob's Automobilia and installed them in the original locations on the brow of the panel air dam. The hardest part was coming up with a pattern for pinstriping the left and right ends of the panel. I looked at a million pictures on the internet of other people's 31 Buick instrument panel pinstriping schemes. The layout and colors varied. I decided to make an overlay of geographic locating points on my panel and mailed it to Dave who agreed to trace the outline of the pinstriping on his car and mail it back to me. Eventually I made a stencil template of the layout. I couldn't decide if I should just attach the template to the panel with magnets and spray the pattern or tape the panel, trace the template pattern onto the tape, cut the openings in the tape with a hobby knife and paint the stripes on with a brush. I finally chose the hand-paint method which came out ok, but not great. I almost sanded the hand striping off to do it over by the spray method but came to the conclusion that this is an amateur restoration and will probably have a few signs of such so I left the striping as is. The panel was clear coated after pinstriping and installation of the decals. I used a clear lacquer touchup bottle sponge brush to fill in the scratches on the faux wood grained trim panel, then polished it up with 3M Finesse It polishing glaze and save for the fact it should really have a pinstripe around the perimeter (don't look at me for this job) the trim panel turned out pretty nice. I don't expect the instrument panel to go back in the car anytime soon as it's easier to work under the dash without it. The next big milestone is to re-paint the outside of the firewall black. It is currently incorrectly painted in the red paint the rest of the body wears. Then I will work from the inside of the car out. I just took a million #6 sheet metal screws out of the cowl lacing and replaced them with split rivets which look correct under the hood and don't stick into space the firewall insulator will occupy. I will install firewall tags, insulator and under dash pieces of the new wire harness before the instrument panel goes back in. I'll cover that in another post. Best regards... Dave Picture 1: This is an old picture of my car as I got it and shows the starting point for the instrument panel. The instrument panel was painted red and was scuffed, missing pinstripes and Fisher VV windshield decals , the faux wood trim panel was scratched and the bezel plate on the cluster was painted red instead of wood grained. The ammeter and temperature gauges were pegged at the high end of their scales. The fuel gauge glass tube was stained and later turned out to be broken off. The oil pressure gauge looked pretty good, the speedometer was dirty and the painted bezel was scratched. Picture 2: A picture of the cluster housing that came with the car. It came apart easily because it was taped together. The wood grain on the bezel was replaced by red paint and the back pan was painted white inside and out including instrument lamp socket receptacles through which the lamp sockets are supposed to be grounded. There were lots of missing internal parts and the instrument lamp switch and sockets were missing. Picture 3: These are the instruments plus an extra ammeter I got with the car and minus the temperature gauge which I sent for repair. This picture was taken after numerous repairs to gauges described in the main body of my post above. Most of the gauges have pretty decent dials, the ammeter I settled on is the upper one and has the worst dial paint but the dial is not as bent up and it has the most legible scale. The ugly paint is not as noticeable in the cluster. Also in the picture are the new gaskets I made. Pictures 4, 5: The donor cluster housing doesn't look that impressive at first blush but had never been apart and was complete with all the parts my housing was missing. Note the wood grain on the front, part number stamped on the back, original lamp sockets in unpainted receptacles for grounding with toasted wiring which is connected to the Delco instrument lamp switch on the left that my housing did not have. Picture 6: First time apart for the donor panel, note the inside of the back pan IS painted white but the back of the pan is bare steel. The round green things in the top picture are the instrument lamp color filters missing from my back pan. The sheet metal pieces on the back of the bezel plate hold the individual instrument bezel trims and dial glass in place and were riveted to the bezel plate. The back of the speedometer lamp hood has a gasket also absent from the cluster housing I got with my car. Picture 7: The original wood grain on the donor bezel plate was not salvageable. The little tubes are support tubes the prevent the bezel surround, bezel plate and back pan from collapsing from clamping force produced by tightening the attaching nuts on the backs of the choke and spark cable housings. The speedometer lamp hood from the donor panel wasn't as shiny as the re-chromed one that came with my car but the donor hood had both attaching toy tabs intact where one was broken off the re-chromed piece. The heat control lever from the donor panel is correct for 31 so I used it in place of the shinier but incorrect later model re-chromed lever that came with the car. Pictures 8, 9, 10: The original bezel plate now has wood grain courtesy of a piece of real rosewood veneer. In picture 8 the veneer has not been clear lacquered, and is shown with the bezel plate temporarily installed behind the chrome surround. Picture 9 shows the bezel plate after lacquer and heat control labelling. The brass wire was used to hold the sheet metal plates that attach the individual gauge bezels and dial glass. The attaching plates are visible in picture 10. Pictures 11, 12: Pictures of the now assembled and crimped cluster housing without the gauges. Pictures 13, 14: Pictures of the cluster with all gauges installed except the temperature gauge. The oil pressure gauge is installed in the wrong opening in picture 14, it later moved one slot left in car and the temperature gauge was correctly installed in place of the errantly place oil pressure gauge. Picture 15: Now the lamp sockets have been re-wired and installed with NOS Tung-Sol bulbs made in America. Pictures 16, 17: I made a translucent parchment paper overlay of the right end of the instrument panel that indexed to cluster opening on the left and panel mounting holes on the right and mailed it to Dave39MD in Georgia. He then indexed the overlay on his instrument panel, traced his pinstriping onto the paper and mailed it back to me. By indexing to features on the panel I not only got the pattern of the pinstripes, I got the location the pinstripes occupy. Picture 18: The instrument panel is finally painted black. Picture 19: I made a template of the pinstripe layout which was used to trace the pattern onto masking tape applied to left and right ends of the panel. The tape was then cut out with a hobby knife. The openings in the tape were brushed with 3 coats of white acrylic lacquer touch up paint. Pictures 20, 21, 22: The result of the pinstriping effort is shown in picture 20. The pinstriping is far from perfect but hey, I'm a card carrying amateur, never did this before. Pictures 21, 22 are reproductions of the original Fisher Body VV Windshield decals, patent numbers on the left, VV trademark on the right ends of the air dam brow. Pictures 23, 24: The finally completed cluster assembly now has a temperature gauge and it and the oil pressure gauge are now installed in the correct original locations. Picture 25: This is the final product shown with the faux wood grain trim panel installed temporarily. The trim panel is missing a pinstripe around it's perimeter but if that ever gets added someone who knows how to pinstripe will get the job. Picture 27: This is the instrument panel in Dave39MD's original 31 8-66S.
  14. Does anyone know why 1931 Buick body tag that shows the year and model then has "Mo Day Year" stamped on the same tag with no date information? Did they stamp the build date on the firewall sheet metal below the tag? Thanks... Dave
  15. I'm going to need a complete set of running board moldings for my 31 8-66S and found L&L Auto Trim. 31 moldings are unique and they have em, might have roof trim you are looking for.