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  1. The '55 Buick Master/brake booster unit has a curved breather tube. It is supposed to have a hose on the tube presumably so it does not breathe in dirt or water. Does anyone know how long that hose is or exactly how and to where it is routed?
  2. Oil for the ’54 Brake Vacuum Pump Ken Laytin BCA #30473 For those of us whose ’54 Buicks have a Moraine or Trico vacuum pump designed to supply the power brake booster with vacuum should the engine quit while the car is moving, a question comes up over and over. What kind of oil goes into the pump’s little reservoir? If you have disassembled one of these units, they are quite simple. The electric motor rotates a shaft inside the pump chamber, which is just a short, out of round cylinder. On that shaft inside the chamber at 180 degrees from one another are two vanes, looking like small generator brushes. Each vane can move in and out, but is spring loaded so that it is always pushed out against the wall of the chamber as it rotates around the chamber. Since the unit is out of round, the size of the chamber the vanes create gets larger and smaller as they go around. This creates the vacuum. But something needs to lubricate the vanes so that they do not get rapidly worn away as they scrape the chamber wall and something needs to help them seal against the wall as they go around. That is the job of the oil. The reservoir mounted above delivers oil into the pump chamber via a wick, dripping tiny amounts in, very slowly. The Buick parts book appears to say that the oil is “Stanotorque oil”. The problem is that finding any of this oil is like winning the lottery. It was apparently made by Standard Oil of Indiana, long since incorporated into other companies and now BP. No help there. With the original oil no longer available, I’ve seen discussions suggesting using motor oil, 3 in 1 sewing machine oil or air compressor tool oil in its place. No one seems to know for sure which is correct. A few years ago I decided to research it. The pump in my Buick was made by Trico. Long story short, I actually tracked down two old-timers who had worked for Trico in the 50’s and 60’s. They both remembered the pumps, but not the oil that went into it. Dead end. More recently I was asked the question about the oil once again, this time by a fine gentleman and club member in NC named Conrad. I decided to resume my research. Besides the question of what type of oil, there was the obvious question of what weight or viscosity oil. Since it enters the pump via a wick, oil too thin or too thick would mean too much oil or too little oil. I started by talking to companies that make wicks, not for candles but for vacuum pumps, since some modern pumps still use a wick delivery system for lubrication. Everyone I talked with tried to help, but basically explained that they were experts with wicks, not the oil. Then I thought perhaps I could spare a little of the original oil still in my pump and have it analyzed to find out what it is. I came upon a company that analyzes oil, that oddly enough is called Trico Corporation. The company is in Wisconsin and not at all related to the company that made the pumps originally or makes today’s wiper blades. They just have the same name. Trying to be very helpful, they transferred me their chemical engineer, Weston Griffis. On the phone, Wes gave me a lubrication 101 course and thought he might be able to find out what that oil was. But he said that if not, his research would determine what we should use in the pumps as an equivalent. He knew what composition the oils of the 1950’s were and what the requirements of our pumps would have been. He explained that the oil needed to be slightly compressible or contain additives that were so that the vanes would seal against the pump body. He promised to get back to me. Sure enough, a couple of days later Wes called me. The answer he provided is Mobil DTE Heavy oil. It is a mineral based oil 100 ISO grade with additives like phosphate and zinc to do the sealing. He says it should be fully compatible with any original oil still in the pump. You can find this oil online. Although we only need a few onces, I could only find gallons. The best price was at Walmart, for about $28. per gallon. I haven’t tried it yet and obviously none of us want to risk destroying these rare and rather odd brake vacuum pumps. There is of course no guarantee that he is correct. But after talking with him, his expertise was obvious. He left me impressed and confident about which oil to use. He also left me very appreciative. It’s interesting how many fine people there are who are willing to use their time to help us keep old Buicks on the road. Two other (non-oil) recommendations related to these pumps. They have a tendency to seize up if not run often. When the vanes have not moved in a while, the oil causes them to stick to the pump wall and refuse to rotate. That can burn up the motor very quickly. Sometimes a gentle rubber hammer tap on the pump body when the key is on gets it going. If not, just disassemble and reassemble the unit. But a better plan is to turn the key up (without starting the car) and run the pump for 10 seconds every week or two, if the car is stored. It’s also a good idea to put a switch between the pump and the fuse panel that allows you to temporarily disable the pump if you are working on the electrical system and need the key on. The pumps have a small motor that can burn out since they were not designed to run continuously for long periods.
  3. Has anyone tried a disk brake conversion under Kelsey Hayes original wire wheels? Do the calipers fit?
  4. My '54 is very happy with Shell's Rotella T oil. It has additives more like the oils intended for the Buick, including good amounts of the zinc needed to protect the valve guides.
  5. Has anyone found a source of magnetic engine oil drain plugs that fit the 322 oil pans?
  6. Contact [TABLE] <tbody>[TR] [TD]Jenkins Antique & Classic Auto Restoration Auto Repair & Service [/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Location:[/TD] [TD]102 Chestnut Street North Wilkesboro, NC 28659 336-667-4282 [/TD] [/TR] </tbody>[/TABLE]
  7. Anyone with experience converting the canister oil filter on a '54 or '55 to a modern spin on unit using an oil filter adapter?
  8. Check out these unusual Buicks Rare Buicks
  9. Very, very dangerous. You can easily be killed by the spring. When I was a teenager and mentioned to the mechanics I knew at a Buick dealer in NYC that I was going to replace the front springs in my '55 Super Conv., they lined up to say good-bye to me. They would use the lift to release an A frame, while squatting down, hiding behind another car for protection. You will need to release the lower A frame at the pivot bolts. You must use a spring compressor - not to do all of the work (see below) but for added safety. Removal of the spring does not require the weight of the engine, but without the weight, the floor jack will not lower the A frame. Instead, what will happen is that the body will jump up and uncompress the spring dangerously fast. So in addition to using the spring compressor, you can replace each of the four A frame bolts ONE AT A TIME with very long ones or threaded rods with doubled nuts at each end. You can then loosen them each a little in sequence, using them to control the rate at which the spring expands or help to compress it on reinstallation, along with the spring compressor. Using both the very long bolts or threaded rods to gradually lower the A Frame (or gradually compress the spring by raising the A frame) adds redundancy in the control of the spring, and thus increases the element of safety. I'd never trust the floor jack alone and it will not compress the spring enough without the weight of the engine. The front end will just lift instead of the spring compressing. VERY VERY dangerous.
  10. The 56 Dynaflow will bolt to the 53 engine, but that is not the only issue. The transmission mounts and crossmember may not be the same. The tail of the Dynaflow and torque ball must be the same. You could check part nos. in the Master Parts book to see. But then there is another issue. The 55 and later Dynaflow had a variable pitch stator in the torque convertor, allowing for kickdown. I'm a '54 expert, not a '56, but I believe that there is a throttle linkage/switch arrangment on the '56 for the kickdown that the '53 does not have. Then one other issue to look at - the transmission oil cooler. By '57 the transmission oil went to a cooler at the radiator, instead of cooled water coming to the Dynaflow. Make certain that is not yet the case for the '56, or you will need a different radiator as well.
  11. Steve, your terms are still a bit off. The stovepipe has no 'position' of open or closed, it is the heat riser (with the flat spring) on the driver's side manifold that can be open or closed. Unless there was a big change from '54 to '56, the stovepipe comes out of the passenger side exhaust manifold, and simply lets hot air rise thru it into the choke control on the carb. The stove pipe does go in a bit and far enough to stay in place. If it won't go in much, a broken off (rusted off) piece may still be in there. Hope this helps.
  12. Has anyone come upon a simple software program for tracking our NOS and spare car parts?
  13. Has anyone come upon a simple software program for tracking/organizing all of our NOS and spare car parts?
  14. Without a doubt, your best bet is Rhode Island Wiring. The did every single harness in a '54 Roadmaster Conv. for me. All were exactly correct. The instructions they provide make it no harder than rewiring a lamp and they could not be more helpful.
  15. I'd suggest Jenkins Auto Restoration in Wilksboro, NC.
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