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55 Century Convertible project


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Sure. It's no problem at all and I have a cheap Chinese stand. Raise the engine a few inches to take the strain off the stand. Clamp a 2 X 4 to the stand in front and screw a 2 X 4 verticly to it to support the front of the engine. A gallon can on the ground for fuel. A couple of Fernco fittings with adapters for garden hose fittings (any hardware store). A battery. A few wires with alligator clips (radio shack) and you are good to go. I've done it lots of times with all my engines with never a problem. Just don't go bat s**t with the throttle. I usually run them at least for 30 minutes. Mainly to check for a rear seal leak which is not uncommon and is the LAST thing you want to find after everything is bolted together. Oh, leave the thermostat out so you have free water flow. The shop that does my engine machining also builds race engines and they do it all the time. One more thing. Make sure the Ex manifolds are on. Some folks say without them the valve stems could warp. Don't know if it's true or not but why take a chance. Don't forget ear plugs..............Bob

Bob,

Any pics of this setup??

I'm past this phase and will have to take my chances at this point but I'm always collecting info for the next project.

Thanks,

Rich

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Sorry Rich, no photos, but there is no trick to it at all. Use C clamps to clamp a 2X4 to the front "axle" iron of the stand. Use your engine hoist to lift the engine a few inches to take the strain off the back stand support. Measure from the front oil pan lip or timing cover, whatever. Place a 2X4 of that length, or a bit shorter, vertically between the pan lip (or cover) and bottom 2X4. When you lower the engine it will sag and tightly wedge the 2X4. That is your front engine support or mount. I use drywall screws and attach a plywood gusset plate to the bottom and verticle 2X4's to make sure they stay together at the bottom. Takes about 10 minutes.

The engine is now quite solid in the stand. I've never had any indication it wants to roll over when running but of course I'm quite gentle with the throttle and mostly just run at a fast idle or just a bit faster. It's almost orgasmic when it starts right up and you stand there with your ear plugs and feel and watch it run.

It's a great way to make sure of oil pressure and valve timing. If you are off a tooth on the cam or the rear seal is going to leak nows the time to find out.

If you need more info on fuel, cooling, or electricals let me know. Nothing special there just a rats nest of hoses and wires...........Bob

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I have a question for everybody, maybe Jon will chime in. After looking at Bob's setup I realized I haven't thought about the carb rebuild (OK, it is laying on my workbench, but I am ignoring it). When I rebuilt my Special's two barrel, I just cleaned up everything, but didn't get anything replated or paint anything.

I have seen people get the various parts replated or buy the Eastwood paints. What are your thoughts on just cleaned/ buffed vs. plated vs. carb paint?

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Depends on how persnickity/spendy you want to be. What I do is clean and bead blast as required then reassemble. Most of my cars are Grand Nat firsts. But none of my carbs were real bad to start with. I've seen some things painted with Eastwood cad and in my opinion they looked like they were painted with Eastwood cad............Bob

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Enough about me and my silliness, back to the show!

Back to the silliness.

Thank you Mike for the latest and greatest video on my iPod.

I am very impressed with your arm curls at the beginning. (Can I say that without getting threatened with physical harm?)

Back to the show.

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Those arm curls are done for lovin' not fightin' !

I told Willie the story behind that video. That was the band I toured the world with, playing 44 states and 13 countries from 1989-2000. We got back for a reunion at SXSW music festival here in Austin. I hadn't touched a drumstick in 1 1/2 years before that show. We just got up, without rehearsal (who could tell?) and pretended it was 1990.

I'm going to remove the link, upon further review, anybody who is reading this and wants to see what we're talking about will have to PM me for the link. While it was a part of my life for years, I realize it is a bit, shall we say, "not car related".

I looked at my carb on my Special after asking the previous question, and while it looks a bit dirty after 12,000 miles, it looks better than if I had sprayed the fake cad on it, IMO. I have been spraying some parts with fake plate like the engine pulleys, but you really will never see them once they are installed in the dark engine compartment with generators, fan shroud, etc., so I believe I will just stick with natural finish on parts that are more visible, like the carb and fender mounting bolts, ya know, the parts that reek of fakeness if they are done wrong.

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Dear Mike:

For the rest of you, see Mike's request at post #149. Mke is asking me about what I refer to as "The rule from God." What it is in reltion to a Buick's engine color is simple. If you look at the engine outside, anything that's attached by a bolt that goes thru a GASKET joint will be engine color, since it has to be there to test run the engine.

RULE: For many years, it was a discharge offense for anyone at an assembly plant to move or remove a bolt that had been signed off on at the engine plant by the engine tester. (Engine were Flint only and shipped to the assembly plant.)

This can lead to strange color schemes. as Buick invented that double ended bolt (head in the middle) for exactly this purpose. If you look at the generator strap on an early Buick V8, the bolt is green, the strap is black, the lock washer is unpainted or plated, the nut is plated, and the very end of the bolt is still green! Similar schemes involve power steering brackets where the front is green and the back is black. The ruile is simple, the application is easy and the results lead to some odd, but logical color schemes.

Regards, Dave Corbin

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Well, it looks like my restoration is gonna take a back seat for a few days...

BUT, the good news is that I got a paying gig. A buddy of mine just bought a 1956 four door Chevy wagon that he wants new carpet, new side glass, and a few other odds and ends taken care of. I did a bunch of cool detailing on his 60 Electra a couple of years ago, so I guess you could call him a repeat customer.

I have a carb kit on order from our buddy Jon, so hopefully I will get this Chevy out of here before I have Buick parts waiting!!!

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I gotta get this Chevy out of my garage! I have to install seatbelts, then I'm back to the Buick.

I got a carb kit from our friend Jon in Missouri. He said the Carter is a relatively easy rebuild. He is getting six bills for a full restoration and the wait is thirteen months. I can't wait that long. My axle seals showed up from Bob's and I got an oil filter from Napa. Boxes are piling up waiting their respective turns.

Should be able to get the axles in tomorrow then get the rear end back on wheels.

Yee.

Haw.

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Holy smokes,

Rebuilding a fuel pump is taking me forever. It took me an hour just to get the fuel pump diaphragm to hook into where it needed to be. Also, just a heads up. When using Then and Now, you need to know the pump number NOT the application i.e. 4690 not a 55 Buick. I have been back and forth for weeks trying to get the proper sized valves and fuel cover diaphragm. They have been helpful, but I want to order parts and be able to install them today, not a month from now!

Also, anybody sealing their rear differential should make their own gasket. The replacement is 1/16" instead of 1/8" making it leak. Even with pookie on both sides of the gasket and in the screwholes.

That will come back off today...Grrr! More fun. I'm getting used to doing everything twice on this car.

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In a very odd series of events...

I got my wallet back today! There was no cash in it, but the credit cards and drivers license were there. At least I know there was no identity theft. I paid the pseudo-homeless guy who returned it $20. That was worth it for piece of mind. Hell, how many Busch tall boys can you buy for twenty bucks?

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Holy smokes,

Rebuilding a fuel pump is taking me forever. It took me an hour just to get the fuel pump diaphragm to hook into where it needed to be. Also, just a heads up. When using Then and Now, you need to know the pump number NOT the application i.e. 4690 not a 55 Buick. I have been back and forth for weeks trying to get the proper sized valves and fuel cover diaphragm. They have been helpful, but I want to order parts and be able to install them today, not a month from now!

Also, anybody sealing their rear differential should make their own gasket. The replacement is 1/16" instead of 1/8" making it leak. Even with pookie on both sides of the gasket and in the screwholes.

That will come back off today...Grrr! More fun. I'm getting used to doing everything twice on this car.

I did that a while back...made a write up. I totally agree, attaching that shaft was pure luck as it is done completely blind. You will love this Quote from that write up as I know your feelings about the subject:

I purchased the rebuilt kit from CARS...it had everything I needed.

hehehe

......here is the link for the story and pics

Edited by stealthbob (see edit history)
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A friend brought his automobile obsessed 10 year old over today, which made the Woodster want to help out also. We got the wheels back on and the differential installed.

I also let them try out the bead blaster on a couple of old pistons so they could have the coolest pencil holders on the block.

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Get mounts made by Steele. After ordering samples from them and many of the others, theirs were the closest in dimension and durometer to the original. Your favorite supplier is probably a reseller...makes the shipping more tolerable.

Willie

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Or.........You could make them from a piece of 1/2" think quarry belting. Use a couple of correct sized hole saws to cut them out. Work fine and save a bunch of bucks. I haven't bought a body mount yet for any of my cars..............Bob

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Can you use that stuff for tailpipe hangers, as well?

Sure can. I've made any number of them. As for finding the stuff any quarry or stone handling operation usually has literally tons of the stuff laying around free for the asking. I use it for body mounts, hangers, pads, etc and lay it on the cement floor in front of my machines and work benches.

For mounts that are square I cut it with a razor knife and put the hole in with a hole saw. For round ones I cut them out with a large hole saw then use a small hole saw for the center hole.............Bob

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Get mounts made by Steele. After ordering samples from them and many of the others, theirs were the closest in dimension and durometer to the original. Your favorite supplier is probably a reseller...makes the shipping more tolerable.

Willie

In case people do not know Bob's can get anything in the Steele catalog even if it is not listed in their (Bob's) catalog. They just need the Steele part #. I find this convenient as I am usually ordering more often from Bob's then from Steele and like Willie says the shipping cost less (some times so does the part).

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GUYS, I'm really enjoying this conversation, especially the banter among people who might never actually get to meet. And I'd forgotten how much work young guys can get done in the garage, as long as wifey cooperates.

Stepping back down the thread a bit:

It's funny how Buick seems to have waffled between real engine-turning on dashboards and applying look-alike Dynoc. Someone in this forum said that the real thing was used in the first Centurys in the late '30s. In '53, Skylarks used Dynoc (repro now readily available) and all the senior cars used it again in '57. Well, all except the Roadmaster 75, which had shiny chrome all the way across. Must be a nightmare in the sunshine.

MIKE, I love how you're fussing about the assemblers' chalk and crayon marks on the body and frame. Can you imagine what the guys on the line would have thought about us taking this so importantly, half a century later? "Jeez, I wish my penmanship had been better."

Regarding the debate about paint colours for your Century, of course it's totally your choice but thanks for letting us chime in. Most of us only get to make this decision a couple of times in our lives. With new cars the choice is easy, "You want which shade of grey?"

I think that's half the reason that SmartCars sell at all - lively colour choices and two-tones. It's amazing though that they haven't sourced the Buick colour chart from 1955 (1955 Paint Charts and Codes). Windsor Grey Metallic (Code D) and Cameo Beige (Code C) would be smashing on a Smartfortwo, don't you think?

Come to think of it, put that down as my vote for your convertible's finish coat, with a black top and Trim Code 12S (black and ivory) leather interior. ~Rob

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Thanks Rob,

I'm having a ball with this one. My wife is the greatest, I worked on cars all day while our son played with a friend and she just putzed about.

We are all friends here on the forum, even if we don't see eye to eye all the time politically, etc. I have indeed met a lot of these folks and shot the breeze at the Buick Nationals. I would recommend making a trip sometime. It's a blast and all Buicks.

Out of curiousity, where did you see the 12S interior? Is that a Roadmaster only trim code? I have only been able to find black with yellow available in a Century, but black and white leather would look great with my planned Condor yellow with Dover white exterior color scheme. Black top, just to mix it up...

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So, today I finished up the Chevy wagon. Woody helped me install the seat belts. Man, little hands help a lot at times. Plus, when I needed to bolt the inboard belts, I was able to climb under and he could ratchet them from the top. As an added bonus, since I was billing for the job, I paid him a few bucks...hey, anything to keep him in the garage! Actually, he has already claimed the model A for his first car. That'll be the next project.

Prior to working on the car, Bill Stoneberg and I went to check out a 1929 Buick for a friend in Massachusetts. It was a really nice and complete driver quality automobile. While I am not necessarily a pre-war nut, the car was a perfect entry level car and if I was not in the midst of this restoration, I would have tried to beg, borrow, or steal ten grand.

I also spent some time today blasting the emergency brake cable so I can finish the rear brake assemblies. Just waiting on my motor mounts so I can install the engine and trans. I've decided not to pre-test the engine, but wait until it is installed in the frame, but before the body goes back on.

I am very happy with the progress even though I got distracted by the Chevy, which will provide a much needed cash injection. YAY!

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