Bill Newland

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About Bill Newland

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  1. Bernie, I soaked the breaker plate assembly in 30 W oil overnight. It now takes 19 oz to rotate it, still 27% over the Max called for in the manual. I'll try it as it is rather than trying to figure out a way to reduce it further. Thanks. Thanks Old Tank. I'll use a roll pin. Bill
  2. I am in the process of restoring the distributor for my 1955 Buick Roadmaster Convertible. The engine in this car is a 1956, but it has a 1955 distributor in it. That's not good because in 56 Buick changed from a steel camshaft to a cast iron one and so the oilpump/distributor gear is cast iron also. So what I have now is a steel gear (1955 distributor) running on a cast iron gear (1956 camshaft). This incompatibility can cause the camshaft gear to wear faster than the distributor gear, which is the opposite of what you want. Fortunately, the engine only has about 2000 miles on it since it was rebuilt. I contacted the previous owner about this and he gave me the 56 distributor that was previously in the engine. The first thing to do in disassembly is to remove the distributor gear from the shaft. This is done by grinding off one end of the staking pin and driving it out. Reassembly may present a bit of a challenge. I'm thinking of using locktight on the shaft and gear ID and positioning it longitudinally on the shaft so that the .002” to .007” end clearance specified in the manual is achieved. Then, after the locktight sets up, I would drill a new staking hole 90 Deg to the existing one, making a staking pin on my lathe with about .0005” larger OD than the drill size, installing it, and peening it over on both ends. Upon disassembling the distributor, I noticed it was full of dirt and trash. I also noticed that the wiring was very brittle, which would be expected after 64 years. Therefore, I ordered some “BNTECHGO” high strand ultra flexible 16 Ga wire from Amazon. The wires inside the distributor flex when the base plate (Fig 1-52 of the 1955 Buick Service Manual) moves in response to the changing vacuum advance. Due to all this flexing, the wires can fail in fatigue and break (or be on the verge of breaking). I will be replacing these wires using the same terminals (after using a dremel wire brush on them) to solder on to them. Before removing the distributor shaft, I checked the side play and could not feel any. After removing, I found that the maximum wear on the shaft was .0004” and occurred at the lower bushing. Measuring the bushing ID and shaft OD I get .0009” clearance at the upper bushing and .0017” clearance at the lower bushing. The manual simply says, “check for excessive looseness” . The upper shaft to bushing clearance would be the most critical since excessive looseness would cause erratic point gap and timing. I will be leaving the bushings as is and not replace them. Replacing them would require a 6” long piloted reamer. I disassembled the “breaker plate parts” as shown in Fig 10-52. I would suggest placing the breaker plate assembly in a large clear plastic bag to remove the spring “retainer washer” so that it doesn't fly away and get lost. I noticed the cork that Bernie refers to in another post (the 55 manual calls it “felt”). Unfortunately, it went into the parts clearer tank with everything else, and pretty much dissolved. I was lucky to find a NOS breaker plate assembly on ebay and obtained it. I'm reluctant to disassemble it because I have yet to figure out how the small “side spring” is installed (Fig 10-52). I did check the friction between plates (Fig 10-54) and it requires 25 oz to move the breaker plate (manual calls for 15 oz Max). This was after oiling it with light oil. I don't know what to do about this. I am experiencing the “kick back” (due to too much timing advance) Bernie refers to after starting the engine again shortly after it was previously running with the distributor that is presently in the engine. This problem with the base plate not returning to retard (and probably not advancing correctly either) seems to be an inherent or design problem. The only thing I can think of to do is to use a weaker “tension spring” (Fig 10-52), if one can be found. The manual says to check the distributor cam for scoring or excessive wear. There is no scoring, but the manual doesn't say how much “excessive wear” is. I measured across the lobes where the point block rides (4 places) and I get .9955” with not more than plus or minus .0001” at the other three locations. The measurement at the ends of the lobes is .9963”, This would indicate .0008” wear on the lobes. I'll be using the existing cam. Comments and suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks, Bill
  3. I certainly agree that "95% of carburetor problems are electrical" (to quote an old saying), however I don't detect any misfiring of the engine. Still a possibility I guess. I do see a hint of black smoke coming from the tailpipe after the engine is warm, choke is wide open, and exhaust by-pass valve is open. This car has an electric fuel pump (with no pressure regulator) with the mechanical pump bypassed. The thought occurred to me that the electric pump may be supplying to much fuel pressure and overwhelming the float valve system in the carburetor. My next thing to do is to put a pressure gauge on the fuel line and see if the pressure is within the 4 - 5 psi spec. The P.O. told me he thinks the 1956 carburetor with the 1956 intake manifold on the 1955 engine is incompatible somehow. If the exhaust by-pass routing is the only difference between the two intake manifolds, I don't see how this could make a difference - especially after the exhaust manifold heat riser valve opens. I noticed that the 1955 Rochester carburetor has a different part number than the 1956. Can anyone tell me what the difference in the two carburetors is? Thanks to all for their comments and suggestions.
  4. I have a 1955 Buick Roadmaster that I recently acquired with a 1956 322 engine in it. The 56 engine has the 1955 intake manifold and 1955 Rochester carburetor. I have heard that this is incompatible in some way. Can someone shed some light on this? The engine is running ok, except for very poor gas mileage and running rich.
  5. Our newly acquired 1955 Buick Roadmaster Convertible. Lovin it!
  6. "For that car, just remove the end plugs to remove from the car. Disassemble, clean and inspect. About the only thing that goes wrong is broken springs. When adjusted according to the service manual there will be some "play" due to compressing of the springs". Old-Tank, would that apply to a 1955 Roadmaster as well as a 1956 Special?
  7. Howdy – my name is Bill Newland. I live just outside of Fort Worth Texas. I have been working on old cars since I was 14, was an aircraft ground support equipment mechanic in the Navy, went to school to become a mechanical engineer, worked for a diesel engine powered equipment company and then a helicopter company, and am now retired. Since my wife and I acquired our 1955 Buick Roadmaster Convertible about three weeks ago, I have been lurking on the technical forum. In fact, I perused all 274 pages and copied the links which were of particular interest to a file. A wealth of valuable information here, thanks to The Buick Man, Old-Tank, NTX5467, Bhigdog, Mr Earl, and many others. Our “new” 55 does have some issues, and I will be asking questions on the Tech forum. I have other classic and antique cars – a 1929 Model A Roadster (AACA Senior Award), a 1956 Ford Victoria (a “high end driver”), a 1930 Model A Town Sedan (almost finished), a 1956 Chevrolet 2 door sedan (85% done), and a 1955 Buick Special (needs total restoration except for the engine which was rebuilt). We plan to sell all of these in order to pay for the 55 Roadmaster Convertible and reduce the car population around here. The previous owner of our 55 Convertible also resides in North Texas and was a BCA member I believe, so others from this area may recognize it.