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Posts posted by Jeff_Miller


    GM of Canada used it's own paint codes.  For 1935-1955 the first digit of the paint code is the same as the last digit of the model year (leading zeros not used for 1940 and 1950) and the remainder of the code indicates the paint job combination.
    759 = Steel Blue
    Unfortunately I don't have any mixing info for that year, perhaps you could try GM of Canada's Vintage Vehicles Services;



    Sorry to steal the thread but I wondered if you could decode the paint code from my 1936 McGlaughlin.  The paint code is 611 so the 6 seems to correspond to 1936 but what color was 11?





  2. When I bought my 1936 McLaughlin it was running, driveable, and complete minus one hub cap and I paid about $10,000 U.S. complete with delivery from Toronto to MN. I have already sunk another almost $5,000 into it replacing wiring, fixing the starter, tires, brakes, and I'm not sure what else over the last 4 years. It came with old and bad paint which I still haven't gotten around to so I figure I'll easily spend as much restoring a solid car as I did buying it.

    I'm really surprised that car went for that much and it makes me wonder if perhaps I should put mine on the market.

    BTW: yes, many of the U.S. Buick parts fit the McLaughlin Buicks but it is maddeningly difficult to find trim and other things. I even got surprised when I had a new wiring harness made only to find that the US version had the regulator on the starter and the McGLaughlin has it on the firewall - that really busted my bubble.

  3. Jeff- Thanks for your reply. I have stared at the front end of this car for several days.. I think not modifying the suspension is the way to go. I have a shop manual ordered, but I am having trouble getting the old shocks off to get get them re-manufactured. Do you have any clues? Thanks!

    Magic juice, heat, a big breaker bar, and a lot of patience.

    The shocks are only held on with something like 4 bolts and they all have pretty good access if you have enough deep well sockets. I did skin a number of knuckles getting mine out but it was pretty straight forward.

    Once you get the shocks out be sure to replace the bump stops while you are at it.

  4. Question. What will you do to the floor pan to aid in filling the reservoirs?

    Great question; I wish I knew the answer but I'm still working on that.

    For a long time I was going to go the route of remote reservoirs that were designed to work with a wilwood cylinder. That cylinder was ultimately too long and when I gave up on that cylinder I gave up on the remote reservoirs.

    This new cylinder sits much higher and has bigger holes to pour fluid into so I don't expect to have as many problems with it as I did with trying to fill my old master cylinder but I still need to be able to get access to it.

    I happen to have good access to the cylinder if I remove the entire floor panel under my feet but I'm adding carpet and attaching the carpet such that I can retain that ability is going to be a challenge.

    I have two current thoughts.

    1) Is to have carpet made that has a permanently installed section from the seat to the back of the compartment. The front section would be attached permanently to the firewall area but from where the floorboards become horizontal would only be attached with something like hook and loop tape or possibly some other modern automotive connector. Doing this should allow me to flip the carpet up to get access to the panel under my feet to fill the reservoir. Unfortunately it makes it difficult to finish on the door jam. I'd probably overlap the back with the front and put the back section under the kick plates and then have the front section bound and have it lie on top of the back section. I'm a little concerned about how this might cause issues with binding and bunching when I move the seat.

    2) Is to make the carpet a permanent installation. It is easy to conceive of as carpeting everything and then cutting around the opening for the floor panel. In practice I'd cut the floor portion to overlap into the area the floor panel sits. I'd then capet the panel separately and overlap it to the sides as well. Most likely I'd need to cut the panel a bit smaller to address the overlap but the intent is to make the fit fairly tight so as to keep dust and noise out. Now being able to secure the panel as well as easily extract it is the challenge that I'm working on. I could see adding something like a flush pull that would sit in the carpet and lift up to extract the panel. If I could find something like that with a latching mechanism that I could adapt that would be my ultimate solution.


  5. Well after several delays from FedEx delivering my package to the wrong place, work, emergency shower demolition, and illness I just finally got a chance to try bolting things together today.

    It was a serious struggle to try to get bolted in (have I said yet that I sure wish I had a lift?). Tolerances are also extremely tight but it does fit, is aligned, and has full travel.


    The donut on the end of the pushrod is a bit wider than the last push rod so I might need to drill another hole in the brake pedal pin to be able to insert a cotter pin.

    Plumbing will be the next task. The cylinder has 1/2-20 fittings but it came with 3/8-24 adapters. The residual valves I got also have 3/8-24 fittings. Will it be ok to go from the 3/8-24 adapters at the cylinder, through the residual valve and than to up to 1/2-20 to match up with the rest of the brake fittings? I was disappointed with this at first but then realized that the hole in the bore of the cylinder is probably even smaller so there is already some increase in volume as you leave the cylinder.




  6. I'll add my 2 cents on this issue. Why not build your own harness?? John Brillman can supply you with Modern wire with the correct cloth material woven on the outside. He can sell you all the connectors needed as well as asphalt coated loom. It's not difficult to cut wires, and solder connectors on the wires. You can add additonal wires and increase wire sizes as desired. Cost wil be way under the purchased harnesses. You will get the harness done a lot faster and enjoy the project.

    I like saving a $1,000 and and have the satisfaction of doing my own work.

    Bob Engle

    When I did my harness I considered making my own but after getting a professionally built one I'm really glad I used their services instead of trying to learn yet another craft.

    When I priced out the cost differential it wasn't $1000 but more likely a few $100 difference.

    The big issue with cost is that I wanted to have true color markings for every wire. Doing so meant spending a lot for lots of different colored wires and gauges. Adding period correct terminations also added greatly to the cost.

    If you have a lot of time and you like to learn new crafts go for it. For me, I factored in that this would have been my first harness from scratch and the realization that many of my "firsts" often took longer to accomplish than I wanted and often resulted in a lot of learning experiences that showed in the end product. Of course, you can fix those learning mistakes by spending more money and time :(

    Time was a huge factor in my case and for some reason I believed the time estimates my harness maker gave me. I didn't think I could order, figure out, learn, and accomplish building a harness in the 3 month time frame I was working in. Of course, my harness maker lied and although I didn't have nearly as much pain as Larry DiBarry I did end up missing an entire summer of driving because of this. Had I known how long it was going to take my harness maker my decision might have leaned more toward making it myself but in the end, I'm still glad I went with a professional.

    If you can get the original harness out to use as a pattern that would probably make the attempt a lot easier. If your harness is as decrepit and oil/grease stained as mine then the tracers will be worthless and wires will break as you take them out. That means a lot of labeling as you take it apart and hopefully remembering how to put it back together when you get done. Watch out for the oil/grease to make sure you don't get your new harness filthy before you get it back in.


  7. In addition to adding the turn signal wires I would also upgrade the gauge of the wires to the headlights.

    In addition to the many suggestions for additional wires I also added a wire for an electric fuel pump and fan. Th fuel pump is used to address vapor lock and is only used for priming; I still drive on the mechanical pump. The electric fan is just insurance.

    One of the big issues with headlight switches is that they create a significant voltage drop which can lead to dim headlights. With so much current going through the switches it can also lead to switch failure. For these reasons I elected to build a relay board that I mounted up near the vent (and hopefully away from any water). I was able to reroute wires from the standard harness to the relay board and add jumpers from the board to the headlight switch. This allowed me to reduce the current on the switch and reduce voltage drop through the relays and those fatter wires to give me much brighter headlights :)

    I struggled with the high beam wiring but never did figure out a way to use a standard wiring harness in such a way that I could separate the the driver side high beam so that it would only go on with the dimmer switch. At least not without cutting into the harness and after spending big bucks for a harness I didn't want to do that.

    Here are a few words of caution regarding what I learned when I did my harness.

    • Definitely talk to and get advice from the guys building your harness. Use RI, Naragganset, Y&Z, or perhaps some other manufacture I don't know about but avoid the resellers like Cars, etc. You want to go to the source on this one if for no reason other than to make sure that any mods you want are addressed correctly; adding the middleman is just asking for confusion.

    • Be prepared to wait. More than likely it will take at least twice as long as you want; in reality it will probably be three to four times as long as you want. If they tell you it will take 6 weeks, be prepared for at least 12 weeks. Also be prepared to nicely check on the status on a regular basis so that your build doesn't get put behind some other guy.

    • My harness came with incorrect sockets for all the instrument lights. The "schematics" said that the manufacture of the harness didn't supply the correct ones but this wasn't known to me until the harness showed up. I ended up scavenging the sockets from the old harness and having to use shrink wrap instead of the period correct insulators. Definitely ask your manufacture about this so that you aren't surprised like I was and if they expect you to solder in your own sockets make them send the insulator material.

    • When you get your harness be prepared to study the "schematics" for a long time. Also have a continuity checker available to sort things out when they aren't obvious. The "schematic" from my manufacture were likely for building the harness and only had a slim resemblance to the schematic from the manual. With a bit of patience it wasn't hard to figure out but I guarantee you will be scratching your head a few times.


  8. Well it is going to be tight but I think it is going to work.

    Here is the cylinder shortly after I unpacked it. A big issue for me is the length and if you look at the pushrod you can see that I was already experimenting with trying to thread it further in to try to solve that issue.


    This image is after I cut off the ear and threaded the pushrod. The tape is close to where the rubber boot will end on the rod but it is also just about where I need to have a 3/8" eye connected to mount to the pedal. The plan is to cut the pushrod to be closer to the cylinder so that when I thread on the capture nut the nut will be entirely within the boot. The eye will connect to the nut and I'll be able to screw it in and out a bit for some adjustment. I verified there is going to be sufficient travel in the cylinder to depress the brake fully and that even if I thread the nut on fully there is still enough clearance for the rod to swing as much as it did normally.


    These next two pictures show the cylinder mocked up on the bracket that held the original cylinder. I still need to fabricate spacers and cut the pushrod but otherwise these modifications are complete. Total impact on the originality of the car are two extra holes in the original bracket and different lines connecting the cylinder with the rest of the brake system.


    In addition to looking for stock to make spacers out of I'm still looking for an end to put on this thing. I ordered an end from JEGs that I knew was too large of a diameter but I thought I'd be able to find a bushing locally to cut the 5/8" inner diameter down to the 3/8" that my pedal requires. After several plastic bag hardware stores and big box improvement centers I now realize the folly of that approach. I found a steel end rod at McMaster Carr that I might order as well as this extra pricey option from JEGs that looks very appealing.


    The tolerances are extremely tight and if I had much more than 1/4" of maneuvering room I'd be surprised.

    The lesson learned on this effort was that you do not put the pushrod into the cylinder to mock things up. I did that to get better measurements and to help guide me in lining things up but as soon as it popped in I realized I'd screwed up. I could not get the rod out again no matter what I tried so that led to doing fabrication and threading with it in the cylinder; what a pain! I really want to get this thing into the car to verify all is well but after the first issue with the pushrod I figure I'll wait until I figure out the end portion so that I can play with everything on the bench instead of while standing on my head in the car.

    Thanks to everyone for you input. More pictures to follow after it gets in the car.



  9. Jeff,

    I urge you to contact my friend and Buick expert Doug Seybold in Ohio. His email is 40BuickGuy@gmail.com, and his phone is (440) 835-1193. I believe your 1936 is essentially identical to my 1937 (mine is a Roadmaster). Doug is extremely well-versed in all of these cars, and specializes in restoration of 1940-41 Buicks. His Restoration shop is located in Westlake, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. I'm certain that Doug can supply you with an already rebuilt unit - and rod if required, or can get yours right. Tell him I gave you his name. They don't call him 40BuickGuy for nothing!

    Good luck, and please let me know how you make out.


    Thanks for the encouragement and contact. If the parts I ordered don't work I'll be sure to give Doug a call.


  10. Hi Tom,

    Ok, so that is the same cylinder, you just bought the version with the brackets.

    I previously looked at those pictures of the brackets but it didn't dawn on me that I could derive the width measurement that I need (DOH!). Thanks for pointing this out.

    Looking at the diagram I think the 1.75" from the center of the pushrod to the outside ear of the mounting tab is probably correct and a bit too large for my needs. However, as you point out, if I take advantage of the side mount option and grind off that ear I should be able to get the 1.25" that I need.

    It was the side mount option of this cylinder that put it on my radar. I'm really glad you helped me see that with a bit of modification that this will likely be the solution I need. The only other option I had left was the Wilwood 260-7563 but that would require a bit more fabrication to make it work.

    BTW: It looks like I'll need to order an eye nut or something similar to connect the rod to my pedal. I see JEGs has options but I wondered if you had to do that as well. Also, is there anything on the cylinder to capture the pushrod or does it just float on the cylinder and gets captured by aligning the brake pedal with the cylinder?

    Thanks for all the help.


  11. Tom,

    Looking at your pictures and knowing that you ordered from JEGs it makes me wonder if you are using the "JEGS Performance Products#555-631405" cylinder.

    I looked at that cylinder and exchanged a number of emails with them and it sounds like a close fit. JEGs indicated that the distance from the center of the pushrod to the side of the cylinder was 1.75". Unfortunately, when I measure the current cylinder it is only 1.25" from the center of the pushrod to the side that mounts to the bracket in the frame. I think a 1/2" deflection over 4" is too much so it sounds like I'd have to replace the bracket or cut away some of it to use that master cylinder.

    If it is convenient and this is your cylinder, could you verify the measurement that JEGs provided?



  12. Slotted washer :confused: I think I too must be the beneficiary of some previous owner modifications. My washer has no slot in it. The pushrod itself is also suspect as I believe it is too long.

    Ever since I got the car I have been unable to figure out why I could not adjust the brake stop so that when the brake was released it didn't clobber the floor board. After taking things apart this time it became more obvious that the pushrod was more than a little strange. Perhaps I too have been experiencing leakage because of the way the PO put this thing together. I guess that is even more reason to swap out the cylinder for a new dual setup.

    I haven't made much progress on getting a new master cylinder mostly because getting specific dimensions from what I see online seems to be like pulling teeth. I looked into power boosters but after taking the pedals out to measure it is clear that trying to get a power booster and master cylinder in that space isn't going to happen. I'm not really sure how the vendors claim it is a bolt in replacement but I sure wish they would share some of whatever it is they are smoking. Hmm... I wonder if they are located in CO?

    I'm now looking at three potential manual dual master cylinders but getting specific dimensions is like pulling teeth.

    Warning, minor rant below:

    I've contacted JEGs, Summit, a number of lesser known suppliers, manufactures like wilwood and strange engineering, and of course numerous e-bay vendors. I'm using email because it is convenient and I don't really have good access to sit on a phone during normal working hours. As such, it seems to take several days for one exchange of communication. I have had multiple vendors simply not bother to answer questions until I ask a second time. When they do respond they seem to answer only part of the questions I asked.

    When I contact vendors I am looking for their expertise or at least a little effort to dig out the dimensions I asked for. One "expert" vendor simply reiterated what I thought I needed and steered me toward a more expensive solution that was less attractive because it needed additional residual valves. I searched their site and found that they sold a master cylinder with the same bore, built in residual valves, and a built in remote reservoir for less but somehow the "expert" missed that - coincidence? Of course he didn't bother to offer any dimensions for the solution he provided but he was good at giving me lots of part numbers.

    Other vendors simply point me to the manufactures website. Some of those websites have more details but not all the details I want. The strange engineering site had absolutely horrible information and they don't respond to questions. Wilwood's site is better once you figure out that you need to click a navigation tab that isn't obvious and then click on the "i" icon but it frustrated the heck out of me trying to get to the info the first time. Some vendors actually quoted me back information that was just plain incorrect.

    It seems that in my trials I've amassed more knowledge about the theory of this then all of the vendors I've talked to and that is just plain scary. Unfortunately I still can't get the dimensions that I so desperately need. I'm down to 3 possible cylinders now and I figure I'll try to sort this out for one more week. If I'm still left hanging I figure I'll have to order stuff so that I can measure it and then send it back if fabrication will be too invasive on the existing structure. My fabrication desires are to try to limit things to additional brackets being bolted on with only a small number of additional drill holes. I do not want to have to cut frames or weld onto it. The reason is so that if either I want to or some future owner wants to, the car can be converted back with minimal effort.


  13. I'll try to catch up with comments from all the above.

    The car I was riding in that had failed brakes was definitely an issue of maintenance and no, it was not my car. That said, even maintaining my car I was disappointed to find that the master had leaked twice and a wheel cylinder was weeping after I initially redid all the brakes. None of that should cause an immediate catastrophic failure but left unattended or possibly whilst in the middle of a very long drive I could see that such leaks would eventually compromise the braking system with air leaking in. As such, having a dual is really an attractive notion. Checking the reservoir on this car is not an easy thing to do so inspection after every drive is not practical, and if necessary, would likely mean I should relegate the car to a trailer and short parades instead of a driver and I'm not willing to do that.

    Looking around for rebuilt master cylinders I see brass is actually used in most of the ones I've located. I suspect that the very small lines are indeed where the weeping is coming from but I'm somewhat surprised as they are much less significant than some of the stuff I found when I honed my wheel cylinders and they were holding. Tom, thanks for the tip on brakeplace.com; I'll have to look into them.

    As for a dual master I would be happy to have either a manual or a power setup. I have not been able to locate a manual dual master cylinder that I thought could be easily adapted to my car but given Tom's experience with JEGs I'll have to give them a call. The dual setup I found was for a 7" power unit that comes with either a single or dual diaphragm. I believe the single would be sufficient for my car; the dual seems to be something that is needed when disk brakes are involved. The seller hasn't provided very many specifics but my research seems to indicate these types of units require 16 inches or pressure to work and the Buick manual says the car is set to deliver 18 to 20 at idle so I think this would work. Unfortunately, the more I look at the power dual master cylinder the more it looks like it won't work. I think it is really setup for a rodder that replaces the drive train with something that has an automatic transmission in it as I really don't see how the current clutch would mount. I have email into the seller and hopefully I'll get more specifics about the unit. I'll be glad to pass on the good/bad news when I get it.

    I do understand that I would need to separate the front lines from the rears and of course the junction on the frame just in back of the current master cylinder is where that would happen. I was thinking I might be able to use the existing junction block for the front brakes by removing the single rear line and plugging that hole. I would then extend the rear brake line to the other output of a dual master cylinder. I wondered about proportioning valves and I decided that since there wasn't one in the car originally that I'd go without if I stick with the manual brakes. However, if I happen to get a power system I'll likely add proportioning valves if for no reason other than to help tune the system. A rodder buddy of mine put power brakes in his 1938 Ford panel delivery and with all the extra vacuum from the built engine and no valves that thing became incredibly twitchy and prone to lockups.

    Thanks for all the comments.


  14. I took it apart (again and I sure wish I had a lift) and now I remember the sins of the past that I uncovered earlier. Sometime long before I purchased the car the master cylinder had already had a brass sleeve inserted in it. The sleeve still looks good except for a few small scratches near the push rod end that are so minimal that it is difficult to feel them even running a finger nail across them. The rebuild parts that I put in are in excellent shape so I didn't obviously mess them up when I put them in.

    So why the heck is it leaking again??? I wonder if the brass might be out of round, wore oddly, or that perhaps the rebuild kit doesn't match up as close as it should. The fit of the cups and plunger certainly seem tight enough and are likely closer tolerance than the wheel cylinders that I rebuilt and that don't leak.


  15. I have rebuilt my master cylinder twice already and I just found that it is leaking once again. Obviously I'm doing something wrong and/or it may be beyond a simple honing and rebuild kit.

    Instead of trying again I think it is time to have a professional look at it and possibly do something like line it with a sleeve. I'm unclear what the costs of this might be but I suspect it would likely be close to the $200 that places like Kanter charge. Doing this should restore the single jar setup of the car and allow it to stop as well as any 70 year old car with manual brakes.

    But now the blasphemy vs. good upgrade question. For less than $200 it appears that I can get a power assist dual master cylinder brake assembly that has already been modified such that it is a "bolt in" assembly for my car. After riding in a single jar car that blew a rear brake line and left us waiting for the ride to end I really like the idea of having a dual master. The idea of being able to stop with a little more confidence is also appealing.

    Does anybody have any experience with these types of bolt ins? Any constructive concerns that I should be aware of?


  16. Yes, the inverter is a great idea especially if you want to run a modern radio in your car.

    I was powering my radio with a 12v jump battery but when I added the alternator I figured I had enough power to run an inverter to power it instead. I now have an additional 12 volt fuse block that is fed by the inverter. I only have the radio on there for now but if I decide to add something like a power port for charging things it should be straight forward to add a wire to the fuse block.


  17. I used Narraganset but also saw a Rhode Island equivalent. Both seem like very good suppliers although if you wait until the spring you can run into some huge delays for them to make it. Whoever you order from be prepared to wait longer then they say it will take.

    I second OCMs suggestion of laying it all out and studying everything. The "schematics" that I got seem to be more of a build sheet than a schematic. Make sure to get a schematic for your car to match up with the wires and what comes from your supplier. You will use all of this when you sit down to study the wires. I also took my old wiring harness out so that I could lay it next to the new one for comparisons. If you do that, just make sure you label every connection so that you can back track against the rest of the documentation if something looks odd. After spending literally days studying I was able to install all the wire in the car very quickly.

    Also listen to Bob with regard to how many harnesses you need. Always talk to the supplier directly and don't bother going through the resellers like Car's. I got into a boat load of trouble because when I went through the resellers I wasn't sure what harness I needed and when I talked to them they really didn't have a clue. When I talked directly to the manufacture (Narragansett but I'm sure Rhode Island as well) they actually knew what to recommend and could also speak intelligently to educate me about some of the upgrades I planned. Talking to the manufacture allows those upgrades to happen a lot easier.

    I had two surprises with my harnesses. The first was that my car is a 1936 McLaughlin Buick instead of a US version. The two cars are mostly the same and I only had a schematic for the US version so I assumed they would be the same. Unfortunately they differed in where the voltage regulator was mounted and I ended up with some wiring that didn't fit. If you have any oddities about your car make sure you tell the manufacture so they can address them. Then, when the harness arrives, carefully compare them against your existing harness to be sure they are compatible BEFORE you do anything with the new harness. Most manufactures will take the harness back if you don't get it dirty or mess it up so checking BEFORE trying to install is really a necessity.

    The second surprise I had was that my harness came with some rather generic sockets for the instruments along with a note on the "schematics" to use the ones in the car. I'm not afraid of cutting and soldering but ultimately I really think they should have supplied the correct sockets or at least warned me before my harness arrived.

    Running wires to the front and under the dash was no big deal. Running wires to the rear was a bit more challenging just because I hate crawling around under the car (dang I need a lift). Getting the gas tank sender attached meant dropping the tank for me but that was ok for me because I was also installing a priming fuel pump and needed to drop it anyway. Also look at grommets in the firewall. I suspect you will want to replace these and I'll be you will be very surprised at how much they cost. I had to ultimately get most of mine from Steel because they actually had the correct ones instead of generic descriptions of something that might fit.

    Finally, I did do a number of mods to my wiring harness. I upgraded all the light circuits one gauge and added wires for turn signals, a fuel pump, and an electric fan. All of these wires run along with the main harness and look original even though they are extra. The biggest mod I did was to add a wiring board near the top ventilator that I could mount fuses and relays on. In that location the circuits coming off the headlight switch could be easily moved to terminate on the board without further modification. I then added new wires to/from the headlight switch and the board to activate the relays. All in all I really like having fuses in the car (none before) and I feel a lot better about switching the heavy loads via relays instead of the light switch.

    I mentioned that I messed up with not realizing the difference between the Canadian and the US versions. That led to another unintended upgrade. I wanted to keep the generator but I couldn't find a reasonable way to get the regulator wired in. I looked at fitting a US generator but the costs were pretty significant and I'd still be left with a weaker power source. I ended up switching out the generator for a one wire alternator and that allowed me to use the harness without modification as well as not having to worry about draining the battery when the headlight and/or fan were on.

    One last comment. Despite advise from the forum I resisted replacing my wiring for the longest time. I finally listened and when I went to take things apart realized exactly how bad 70 year old wiring was. If you have original wires in your car I highly encourage you to replace them.


  18. Mark, thanks for the pointer. I have to learn how to mine information off that site. It took me awhile but the index led to the torque tube publication from March/April 2003 and there I found the write up on page 22. The link to the torque tube is http://www.1937and1938buicks.com/The-Torque-Tube/Volume%20XXI%20Issue%204%20(March-April%202003).pdf

    Unfortunately the article still left me wondering if I installed mine correctly. Hopefully Tom will be able to make some sense of it.


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