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Special vs. Limited rear axle


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I found a Limited parts car fairly close to home that I can get for scrap price. I will probably get it for some parts and scrap the useless parts.

The question I have, and I'm pretty sure I know the answer but I thought I'd throw it out there for guys who know, can the limited rear axle be used in the Special? I found out today that my rear axle has been lubricated with water for what looks like some time and it hasn't turned out too nice. Although the axles turn very smoothly there is considerable rust. I looked through the shop manual and it looks like axles are very different but it there a way to use the Limited's axle? Are the torque tubes different lengths? Or if the Limited's axle turns out to be in good condition is anyone have a Special axle to trade?

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In my very limited knowldege Limited & Speical diff - torque tubes are vastly different. The Limited has a longer wheel base - torque tube. The Limited has a lower ratio (bigger number) so more engine rev's per mph. Don't even try.

A Limited parts car will have more than its scrap metal value:- just buy it to make a few dollars and help series 80 & 90 guys. Please do not send any parts to scrap. See this recent thread for example. http://forums.aaca.org/f165/1937-buick-roadmaster-1937-limited-280353.html

Edited by 1939_buick
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At least in 1936 WB with Special is 118'' and Limited 138''. So torque tube is much longer. Also REAR TREAD: Special 57½'' Limited 62½''. ½'' comes for wider rims(?) but still... Rear ratio in Special 4.44, Limited 4.55 and 4.62. Brake drums Special 12'' Limited 14''. And Limited axle is MUCH HEAVIER. Nothing is equal. Well, maybe oil and wheel bolts but nothing more. In 1937 measurements are not exactly same but pretty much like.

-Harry-

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In my very limited knowldege Limited & Speical diff - torque tubes are vastly different. The Limited has a longer wheel base - torque tube. The Limited has a lower ratio (bigger number) so more engine rev's per mph. Don't even try.

A Limited parts car will have more than its scrap metal value:- just buy it to make a few dollars and help series 80 & 90 guys. Please do not send any parts to scrap. See this recent thread for example. http://forums.aaca.org/f165/1937-buick-roadmaster-1937-limited-280353.html

I'm with you, I can't see any old iron going to the scrapper if there is any useful parts, just take a look at my Special. I think most would think of it only as a parts car but I just couldn't see scrapping it. I've bought Ford trucks in about the same condition as the Buick that I parted out but I don't see as many Buicks so I feel it's worth more.

I am making arrangements to pick up the Limited. In just last day I have found out there isn't much on the Limited that can be used on the Special but I have already started making arrangements for a deal for some Special parts for the Limited. I just need to take a look at the Limited to make sure it's not a total useless rot bucket.

Harry,

You brought up an interesting fact. When I got my Special it had wide 15" wheels but they look like that accept '37 Buick caps. These rims are noticably wider than the '40 16" rims I have. The '40 rims have brand new wide white wall tires so I'm going with them. I wonder if some one swapped wheels from a larger Buick. Do you know if you could order the wider tires? My car also had side mounts in the front fender, another item I've been told were an option on a Special.

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If you have 15'' rims from 1937 Buick only possibility is 15'' x 5.00'' rim with 15'' x 7.00'' tyre from 60 series Century. That will show little wider than 40 series original 16'' x 4.5'' rim / 16'' x 6.00 tyre setup. BUT what i couldn't found out now is rim center hole size? I thought 40 series hub is smaller than 60-80-90 series ??? No any mention about optional tire size either from part list. But if that center hole size is correct in both cases ... why not ? "Factory lowrider". :-) Maybe different gear for speedometer also then ... couldnt found that either.

-Harry-

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Both sets of wheels have a center hole of just under 3½".

Just curious, why do they have smaller wheels on the larger cars? Are they suppose to give a better ride ? I would think with the lower gearing they'd want bigger wheels. I guess they weren't as concerned with fuel economy back then.

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Buying the Limited is a good idea....... as they are much lower production than the Special and you should be in a position to trade Limited parts for Special parts. Take some good pictures and post them.... someone here might see something they need.

I don't know much about the wheels but the bolt pattern/circle was the same for many years.

Your wider wheels could be from the 50's. I don't know where the information could be found but Buick and Cadillac both used the 5" bolt circle for many years. Not sure about Pontiac and Olds. Chevy used the 5" on the full size cars, I think until the rear drive Impala died. Later cars did not have the locating pin.... check your wide wheels to see if the pin hole has been drilled after they were produced. There may also be some stamping on the back to give you some clues.

Here is a wheel reference site, the problem I see it does not go back earlier than about 1960 and that is only on some cars.... also I believe there are some errors..... 127 mm = 5 inches

http://www.discountedwheelwarehouse.com/Vehicle_Bolt_Pattern_Reference.cfm

Edited by Barney Eaton (see edit history)
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I'll be picking the car up this weekend. I might have a deal in the works to trade the Limited for parts for my Special. I've only seen a few pictures of the Limited and it doesn't look too bad, I won't know until I get to see it in person. Even if it's a complete rust pile I'll still be able to get my money back out of it.

I'll post pictures after I get it home.

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In your case, 1937 it was possible to swap rims between Century and Special cause lug pattern ( 5 x 5 '' ) and center hole ( 3½ '' ) was the same. So it was possible to use 15 '' or 16 '' "original" buick wheels. But NOT in 1936 cause Century, Roadmaster and Limited used bigger lug pattern ( 5 x 5½ '' ) and bigger center hole ( 3 -7/8 '' ) than Special.

- Harry -

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Good to hear about the '37 wheels. I have the original crusty set that was on my '37 when I got it and I need to use them for the Liimited because it doesn't have any.

I find it amazing, and very irritating, that Buick seemed to use different parts for every year and even model within the year. I have a lot of experience with '48-52 Ford trucks and while there are some parts specific to '48-50 and '51-52, most parts are interchangeable between the five years and even beyond. From what I have been told Buick might have standardized some of their parts after the war. I would understand this because the cost of retooling for every new model year had to be enormous.

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DANG!!! I didn't fully comprehend your first post about Special vs Century. I got mixed up with the models, thinking Centurys were one of the larger models. I busted my butt getting the weathered tires off the crusty rims, cleaning the them and mounting a set of used tires. The crusty rims are pretty much junk, they have deep rust pits I filled with JB Weld just so they would hold air to get the car on the trailer. I have a torch and can modify the rims to fit. They don't have to be highway safe, I just need to roll the car onto my trailer and I can use them later for winter storage wheels.

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In simple terms the Century is a Special with the bigger 320ci engine and longer wheel base. A real street Hot Rod in their day. Bodies are the same. In 1939 Centuries had wider brakes

The 80-90 series are very different with different chassis and bodies (and the 320ci engine). Not a lot in common with the smaller Century and Specials

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The 80-90 series are very different with different chassis and bodies (and the 320ci engine). Not a lot in common with the smaller Century and Specials

Yes, unfortunately, that is what I have found out. I'm hoping to trade the Limited for much needed Special parts.

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Great pictures, what a treasure. I wonder what stories this car could tell.

As a former 39-90 owner, I can see there are quite a few unique 90 parts still on this car. I am pretty sure most of the running gear is for 80-90 only, including brake drums, spindles, shocks, suspension arms, springs.

Some of those fenders look like they could be saved, they are very hard to find if you need them.

You might be able to sell some of this stuff on e-bay if you're patient.

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I personally hate scrapping any old iron if there is a chance it could still be used. I'll save what I can.

This car must have been something when it was new. I thought my Special was a sharp car but this one just oozes class. Too bad it was left to rot away.

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