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Fred Zwicker

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Everything posted by Fred Zwicker

  1. Thanks for all of the great advice and pictures. I found a full section of black cardboard in my stash at work that has very little grain (black) and should be perfect for both the package tray and the front kick panels. In fact have enough material to make one package tray and enough left over to make four of the kick panels, as sometimes they don't come out perfectly the first time. I will not be using the masonite piece that was in my parts car, as based on help on this forum, do not feel that it belongs. For the kick panels, Mr. Earl mentioned that they should have some insulation attached to the inside, which I will do. I hope to start on the carpet next week. Things are moving along nicely with a few kinks as expected. I am in hopes that I can post some pictures. but even though others do not have this problem, am unable to drag the pictures into the area below, as in the past. I can highlight the pictures and they turn blue when checked, but will not load up. I have no problem with posting pictures on the AACA Forum or elsewhere. Fred
  2. Progress Report We had good results in removing the knob yesterday, per Willie's advice. We put the metal part of the handle in a soft jaw vise, and heated the center of the stem from the back side, pulling the knob off using a pair of welder's gloves. It took more heat than expected, but it finally pulled off perfectly. We did only one so far, but got it right on the first try. There was no damage to the knob - now have to be sure we don't lose it, so I attached a piece of masking tape to the black knob to be sure it will show up later. A plastic zip lock bag would have been better, but I did not have any in the shop yesterday. Those who have done full restorations will know all about losing small components. I then called my plater and sent him the handle for his testing. The problem is that the smalll stem attached to the handle must still swivel after plating, so hope that he can come up with a good method. I don't see a problem in reattaching the knob and think it can be done without heat; instead using some bonding glue that we have at work. We wlll experiment with one first. I know that plating is more expensive than buying new handles, but in this case is necessary, since no one reproduces these handles in their exact form. Once I hear from my plater, I will find out the cost of plating the 4 window handles and two door handles and will post this information. This should be in a week or two. Thanks to all who have contributed to this thread. Fred
  3. Progress Report We had good results in removing the handles yesterday, but not exactly as others recommended. Instead of heating the plastic handle (afraid of melting it), we put the metal part of the handle in a soft jaw vise, and heated the center of the stem from the back side, pulling the handle off using a pair of welder's gloves. It took more heat than expected, but it finally pulled off perfectly. We did only one so far, but got it right on the first try. there was no damage to the handle - now have to be sure we don't lose it! I then called my plater and sent him the handle for his testing. The problem is that the smalll stem attached to the handle must still swivel after plating, so hope that he can come up with a good method. I don't see a problem in reattaching the handle and think it can be done without heat; instead using some bonding glue that we have at work. We wlll experiment with one first. I know that plating is more expensive than buying new handles, but in this case is necessary, since no one reproduces these handles in their exact form. Fred
  4. Thank you Dr. Earl - Half the work (and fun) in doing a restoration is checking out everything in detail and I am big on double-checking just about everything that I do. I sure have had a lot of help, and have met a lot of nice friends on this and the '54 Buick Forum. Once in awhile I get a difference of opinion and that is when our painter (Bob Darney) tells me that different plants sometimes did things differently. Sounds reasonable to me. However I am still trying to figure out if the masonite section for the shelf package tray that was in my parts car was used as a backer for the cardboard? It definitely had been in the car for a long time, as had stains and water marks. Thanks again, Fred
  5. Today I checked all of my handles and I have plenty of original door handles and will send a pair to be plated. I also have plenty of window handles, so will experiment with one to see if the plastic knob can be removed, following directions furnished by Willie. If so, I will send the window handles to the platers, I have only one of the correct small vent window cranks - the others have the grooves. But I think I have a pair of non-grooved vent window cranks on my Pontiac Safari, so can do some switching. We won't get to this until next week, but I will post as report at that time. Thanks for so much help on this. Fred
  6. Thanks Jim, Good idea - I will make a good pattern of this piece, although I previously made a pattern from scratch, as did not have the parts car at that time. Even though others have said this shelf was cardboard, the same as used in front of the front doors above the carpet, I do not feel that this is the case. Reason: Cardboard is slippery and easily scratched. Also CARS has a reason for recommending their package shelf material, which is a back-door way to make a textured finish. The masonite piece that I have from my parts car has such a finish (very fine texture) on the one side and I feel that this textured side was facing up, due to all of the water marks and stains (no damage however). The smooth side of this masonite is relatively clean and has no stains, so was undoubtedly facing down. The way that it fits and was cut looks to be a factory job - not done later with a sabre saw. Hopefully someone will have an original package shelf and describe it. Remember that over the years, this shelf material was probably changed by a trim shop if doing any interior work or even installing seat covers. In that case, probably would have been cardboard or covering the old shelf material with vinyl. My textured masonite piece had a little warpage, which we took care of by spraying water on the surface and placing it overnight on flat cardboard on the floor, with weights on top to make it level. This same method works when putting a curve in the two sections of cardboard that are in front of each door. (Spray back of cardboard and secure in a curved position overnight to hold the curve - it works every time). I do all of my own carpet and trim work and have picked up a few tricks along the way. Fred
  7. I have a 1954 Buick Special and have a similar question. In CARS Catalog they sell a fabric mesh material (black) for most all Buicks, which they call "Package Shelf Material". Description: "Woven straw material duplicates the texture and appearance of the original. Comes in 18" x 64" roll. It can be applied to hardboard with Spray Adhesive, then trimmed to fit. Paint to match. All models as required. Color is black. $59.00.for the roll. I bought a roll and was getting ready to glue to a piece of masonite or lightweight plywood, with the idea of painting it black (my car is Gull Grey with Black Top and my interior is black and red waffle material, as original). I previously planned to cover the masonite with black vinyl, but then read in the Buick Judging Manual that there is a 3 point deduction for incorrect package tray. In the process, I checked my '54 Buick parts car and there was a perfect original piece of the masonite material - smooth on once side and with a fine texture on the other. The textured side looked pretty weathered with water stains, etc. so I felt that was the upper side. The only thing that I could not figure out is that the color of this tray was a tan/brown natural color - appeared to be unpainted. The parts car that it came from was black. I do not feel that the black cardboard material sugggested by others was used originally for this package shelf, as it does not have texture, other than the leather look. I am thinking that the texure of my piece from the parts car is original (textured side up), but it will need painted (black?) to match my interior and go well with the exterior. Option #1: Glue on the material from CARS to the smooth side of the piece from the parts car (it is pre-cut from factory and fits perfectly) and then paint it a flat black. Option #2: Provided the textured side of my piece is original, think that using that piece with textured side up (painted flat or semi black) is the way to go. Piece must be painted anyhow, as is full of water marks, fading and some stains. Does anyone know what was used originally and can the material used be described? Thanks, Fred
  8. I am getting to the interior next week and have slightly pitted door, vent and window handles - all without grooves, except one small window handle, which has grooves. My crank handles are black, without the center being chrome. In checking with CARS, Bob's and other sources, here is what I found: Bob's Automobilia: Door and Window Crank Handles: - "1954-57 Replacement Style, Chrome. Not Exact" Picture is not too clear, but it appears that there are grooves in all of the handles. $10 each. The window cranks handles (in picture) appear to be black with chrome centers. Door handles may have grooves, but picture is not too clear. Bopb's new catalog does not list handles for the 54 Buick, but their old catalog did so as described above. CARS: Door Handles for 1954-1958 Special, Century, Skylark. Chrome Plated 5" Drumstick Style. Part DH-542. $26.50 each CARS: Window Cranks for 1954-1958 Special and Century - Replacement Style with Chrome Knob: WC-548R (Window Crank) $26.50 each. VC-548R (Vent Crank) $26.50 each. Picture does not show whether grooves in window handles, but door handle appears to have grooves. FUSICK: Catalog shows Window and Vent Crank Handles for 49-58 Olds - look good, but crank handle is all chrome. $26.50 each. Also stocks 49-53 Door Handle 5-1/2" long cast chrome. Hard to tell in picture if it is the same as the '54 Buick. $24.50 each. PONTIAC Sources: Most stock similar handles, and most crank handles have black knobs with chrome centers, but all have grooves in the stem part of each. Ames has some really nice ones of that type - probably what I used on my Safari. As they have the black window crank handles, this might be the best choice at about $30 per pair. Door handles are $24 a pair, but have about 4 grooves in the handle stem. Ames also offers quick delivery from stock in most cases. Having my existing handles plated is possible, but removing the crank handles prior to having plating done looks to be more than difficult, and may not even be possible. Considering the high cost of plating of pot metal and difficulty in removing the handles, feel that my best bet is to purchase a replacement set. For judging, is this a problem if not a 100% match? (repro handles will undoubtedly be different from the original). Any ideas on which source would provide the most original looking handles? I bought a set of repro handles for my '55 Safari and they were very nice, with black handles on the window cranks with chrome centers, but with grooves. It is my understanding that '54 Buick handles had black knobs, but did not have grooves in the stem portion of the handles. Often when a car is being restored and exact replacements are not available, reasonable replacements are acceptable. I also posted this thread on the '54 Buick Forum, as need some advice soon. Thanks, Fred
  9. I am getting to the interior next week and have slightly pitted door, vent and window handles - all without grooves, except one small window handle, which has grooves. My crank handles are black, without the center being chrome. In checking with CARS, Bob's and other sources, here is what I found: Bob's Automobilia: Door and Window Crank Handles: - "1954-57 Replacement Style, Chrome. Not Exact" Picture is not too clear, but it appears that there are grooves in all of the handles. $10 each. The window cranks handles (in picture) appear to be black with chrome centers. Door handles may have grooves, but picture is not too clear. Bopb's new catalog does not list handles for the 54 Buick, but their old catalog did so as described above. CARS: Door Handles for 1954-1958 Special, Century, Skylark. Chrome Plated 5" Drumstick Style. Part DH-542. $26.50 each CARS: Window Cranks for 1954-1958 Special and Century - Replacement Style with Chrome Knob: WC-548R (Window Crank) $26.50 each. VC-548R (Vent Crank) $26.50 each. Picture does not show whether grooves in window handles, but door handle appears to have grooves. FUSICK: Catalog shows Window and Vent Crank Handles for 49-58 Olds - look good, but crank handle is all chrome. $26.50 each. Also stocks 49-53 Door Handle 5-1/2" long cast chrome. Hard to tell in picture if it is the same as the '54 Buick. $24.50 each. PONTIAC Sources: Most stock similar handles, and most crank handles have black knobs with chrome centers, but all have grooves in the stem part of each. Ames has some really nice ones of that type - probably what I used on my Safari. As they have the black window crank handles, this might be the best choice at about $30 per pair. Door handles are $24 a pair, but have about 4 grooves in the handle stem. Ames also offers quick delivery from stock in most cases. Having my existing handles plated is possible, but removing the crank handles prior to having plating done looks to be more than difficult, and may not even be possible. Considering the high cost of plating of pot metal and difficulty in removing the handles, feel that my best bet is to purchase a replacement set. For judging, is this a problem if not a 100% match? (repro handles will undoubtedly be different from the original). Any ideas on which source would provide the most original looking handles? I bought a set of repro handles for my '55 Safari and they were very nice, with black handles on the window cranks with chrome centers, but with grooves. It is my understanding that '54 Buick handles had black knobs, but did not have grooves in the stem portion of the handles. Often when a car is being restored and exact replacements are not available, reasonable replacements are acceptable. I also posted this thread on the '54 Buick Forum, as need some advice soon. Thanks, Fred
  10. For sure I don't want my nice new trunk material all scuffed up, so will order one of the Jack Storage Bags for $2.75 (sounds like a great deal to me). I am hoping that I can get a light brown one to go with the trunk lining, but I guess other colors were offered. If Buick is out of stock, I heard there is some old guy in Ohio who makes these up, but he is expensive and gives slow delivery! As for the body bolt, I have seen pictures of some with this bolt going through the upholstery on each side and some without. In fact the picture posted in my previous post shows an (old) original '54 trunk (with Jack Storage Bag) and I cannot see any body bolt/nut/washer going through the trunk lining. So far mine is without, as didn't want to do any drilling until I was doubly (make it triply) sure of what is correct. Any ideas on this? When I take the car for judging, don't want to miss anything such as this. Now when I get my Jack Storage Bag, I am thinking that the angle bolt that goes through the spare tire wheel is held in place only by a 2" long hex nut and not through the bottom plate of the jack, as there is a compartment in the top of the Jack Storage Bag for this - at least that's what it seems to be. I also am of the opinion that the whitwall spare tire should face towards the center of the trunk, but there is a lot of difference of opinion - something like deciding if the end of a roll of toilet paper comes off the top or the bottom - no one has the answer! Part of the jack in my car was broken and in the process of trying to figure out what it looked like, have determined that I do not have an original '54 Buick jack, so am now looking for a replacement. Are there any out there? Here are a couple of pictures of my '54 - Gull Grey with black top. Since these pictures were taken, we have installed the front fenders, hood, grille, front and rear bumpers. Hoping to start on the interior in about another week. Fred
  11. Thanks Mike, I see that you have the whitewall facing towads the inside of the trunk, which is the way I prefer, but some say it should be facing the inside of the right rear fender. Now I am wondering if the '54 did not have the spring to hold the jack, where was the jack stored without tearing up the trunk lining? I know that Buick sold accessory jack storage bags, but maybe they also included one with each car in 1954? Attached are some pictures of my trunk in process, as well as a picture of an original 1954 Buick trunk, which has the original Jack Storage Bag. Whether this bag was included with the car when new, or if purchased as an option I do not know. It seems to me that since there was no designated area to store the jack, it just might have been possible the Buick furnished a Jack Storage Bag when car was new? Maybe others can figure this out. Fred
  12. Trunk Decal: Does anyone reproduce a trunk decal for Jacking Instructions and/or Jack Storage? Bob's in CA does not list and CARS shows almost every year except for 1954. I called CARS this AM and they checked to be sure, and do not have such a decal or any such information at this time. If I could see a picture of such a decal, could have our art department reconsruct the details. Some say that the '54 Buick never had such a decal. If so, how would the owner know how to store the jack when not in use, so that it does not rattle around in the trunk? Jack Storage: I am wondering how the jack post, jack base plate, jack curved head and lug wrench were stowed when car was delivered. A Jack Storage Bag was available as an accessory, but I am not sure if this bag was included with every car in 1954? If not, how to store all of the above so that they do not rattle around or damage the trunk lining? Spare Attachment: My '54 Special has an angle bolt to hold the spare in place with a hex nut about 2" long, not a wing nut. I m almost certain that this nut is original. Does the angle bolt go through the large center hole of the wheel with the jack base plate attached, or through one of the lug nut holes with the hex nut to hold spare in place without the jack base plate? Placement: Also there are differences of opinion regarding the placement of the spare tire in the trunk. Some say the outside of the tire should face into the center of the trunk - others say this side of the tire should face the right rear fender. It seems to me that if spare was a whitewall, if it faced the fender, the whitewall would get scuffed against the metal plate on right side of opening. I posted the same questions on the 1954 Buick Forum and am getting mixed opinions. If anyone has an original 1954 Buick, please check and let me know. However 1954 Buicks had different models, so it is possible that not all had the same arrangemeents. Specifically my car is a '54 Buick Riviera Special 2dr. HT and we are just completing a one-year body-off restoration. Thanks, Fred
  13. Thanks to all for the great advice. We are tied up at work this weekend, but will take a look next week and try your suggestions.' Fred
  14. I am wondering if leaving the shocks to bleed themselves out or pumping up and down, should the filler cap be left tight, slightly loose, or removed? I have left them sit for about a month (car not driven) with filler cap on tight and they seem the same as when first refilled with new fluid. Thanks, Fred
  15. I have a 1954 Buick with lever arm shocks on the rear. They seemed OK when removed, but I decided to change the oil, using shock absorber fluid that I purchased from Kanter or someone (forgot source). After filling they now seem to have no pressure. In other words, they do nothing. Should they be removed and pumped back and forth to work the fluid into the shocks? I read somewhere that there can be air in the shocks. If so, how do you get the air out? I am hoping there is some way to get them working again. Thanks, Fred
  16. Quote: So, when will they make it so we can have a photo of our car on their card? My local credit union currently does this... Unquote. The AACA now has this in place - carefully read all of the posts on this thread and follow the directions. I did this and now have a picture of one of my cars on my new AACA Visa Card. Card has the VISA logo on the lower RH side of card and the AACA Logo in an oval on upper LH side of card, with picture of my car on the entire card behind these logos. I downloaded a digital photo from my computer and didn't even have to reduce the size of the photo. I believe the entire process took about 2 or 3 weeks. At first I had a little trouble, as their system timed out during the process, so I waited a few days and the second time everything went smoothly. Fred
  17. I am doing a body-off restoration of my 54 Riviera Special 2dr HT and am soon going to be working on the interior. I am wondering how to reconstruct the side panels in front of each door. My car has a red and black interior and the red on side of doors is a waffle pattern from SMS and is supposed to be same as original. The panels from the previous owner were cardboard covered with black Naugahyde, but I am not sure of the original construction from Buick in 1954. Here are some possiblities: 1) All black cardboard (or red cardboard). 2) Cardboard covered with black Naugahyde (or red Naugahyde) 3) Cardboard all covered with carpet (my carpet is black and is new). 4) Either 1 or 2 above with carpet covering the bottom area and up about 7 or 8 inches from floor to protect the cardboard. if this is the case, are the two sections just sewn together with an inside seam, or was there a piece of stainless steel molding between. Here are some pictures that I have showing this area of other cars, but am not sure if any show what an original should look like. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Fred
  18. In today's depressed market, even if a car is a "no charge gift", it is almost always less costly to locate a restored same car (at today's prices), if such a car can be found. Your search should be nationally, not locally. I try to find vehicles within a 6 or 8-hour drive, as like to see them in person. I also find that it is better to buy a car from a car collector, rather than from relatives of a deceased former owner, as the relatives are thinking in Barrett-Jackson terms. In their mind, their 4-door sedan that has been sitting in a garage for years has almost the same value as a restored convertible that they saw going through the B-J auction last year or year before. You will be unable to convince them otherwise in most cases and your offer will often be taken as an insult, even though realistic. Restoration costs (especially chrome and paint) are skyrocketing to the point of no return, and unless a very special car (convertibles and 2-door hard tops are usually best with some exceptions of course), it is no longer economically possible to restore a car and be even close to today's values. However convincing the average person of this is highly unlikely. The problem is with sellers who are probably not aware of realistic pricing at present. My son and I have a small car museum in Canfield, Ohio www.tpcarcollection.com) and have purchased a few cars duriing the past year or so. We have done better at small local auctions, and in the last year have found some really nice cars at about half the price of just 2 or 3 years back. Buying from an individual who knows nothing about the antique car market and/or values is almost impossible. There is nothing worse than an uninformed seller. Fred
  19. See www.fzoldcars.com and click on "Technical Stuff" link at top of Home Page. Then down to the article on hooking up two batteries. There are plenty of pictures showing the correct way to hook up two 6-volt batteries in parallel (still 6-volts but twice the amperage). Older Cadillacs sometimes have hard-start problems when engine is hot and this does the trick. However, as others have said, be sure to check the battery cables, as often newer cables are substituted for the older cables. 6-Volt cables are about twice the diameter of 12-volt cables and the difference is critical. Here is one of the pictures from the above link showing how to hook up two Optima batteries in parallel in a 1939 LaSalle. Fred
  20. Thanks Ed - current tires have 1/2" whitewalls and dry-rotted sidewalls and the 1/2" whitewall looks skimpy. This car will be driven on rare occasions, but primarily will be on display in our car museum at www.tpcarcollection.com I am in hopes that the 6.50 x 13 bias tubeless tires with 1" whitewalls will look as original as possible, as was unable to find out much info on these tires. The rep from Coker said that this was what they showed for the car as original equipment, so I guess the 1/8" difference in whitewalls will not be a distraction. I ordered the tires from Coker prior to reading your post regarding Jeff at Corvair Ranch in PA. Car will not be judged, but we like to keep most of our cars original as much as possible. Here are some pictures of the car, showing the 1/2" wide whitewall and engine. Fred
  21. Thank you Ed, I called Coker Tire this AM and talked to one of their technicians, who advised that the original tires were bias ply tubless 6:50 x 13 and whitewall width was 1". They make such a tire in the exact size. I ordered a set of four of these tires at $160 each. Hopefully they are correct for this car. Fred
  22. My wife's '64 Corvair Convertible needs a set of tires. Any idea on the correct tire size and especially the correct (as original) width of the whitewall? Tires on car are now: P165/80R13 Goodyear Tiempo Radial Tubeless M&S 3 Plies, 1 Ply Sidewall. Thanks, Fred
  23. I waited about a week and the system accepted my application this time. I am looking forward to receiving and using this card. Fred
  24. My 1939 LaSalle Convertible does not have running boards, so possibly if you cannot locate running boards in good shape you may be able to locate the metal sides and stainless trim strips, but it won't be easy to locate these either. See attached pictures of my LaSalle without running boards, which was an original option in 1939. Many year ago I restored a 1939 4-door sedan and the rubber on the running boards was in poor condition. I located a product called "liquid rubber" which I applied in coats to build up the areas where the rubber had worn off or was missing. That product could be sanded after it dried and wet sanding was somewhat effective. While it was not as good as when new, it presented itself quite nicely. I don't think that "liquid rubber" is still available, but there may be alternate products. To my knowledge, NOS runningboards are not available and I am not sure if anyone is restoring them any more. If so, the cost might be staggering. Possibly others can offer some advice. Can you post a picture of your running boards in their present condition? If not too bad, it is likely that something can be done. I located a very old picture of the interior and running board of my 1939 LaSalle sedan, but the running board does not show any detail. What model 1939 LaSalle do you have? You may also want to post for some help at the Cadillac LaSalle Forum, as there are many 1939 LaSalle owners on that forum. At that site, you can purchase the "1939-1940 LaSalle Authenticity Manual", which will give you almost every bit of information you will need in restoring your LaSalle. I helped supply photos and information for this manual and I highly recommend that you get a copy. If you are not already a member, I also recommend that you join the Cadilac-LaSalle Club. Club members will often come up with some ideas and needed parts and components. Here is a link to the Cadillac LaSalle Forum: http://www.cadillaclasalleclub.org/forum/index.php Fred
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