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1940 Special Problems


Ken Sogge
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Problems I am having with my 1940 Buick Special.

I like to resolve things on my own, partially because I am on a limited budget.

A very significant problem with exhaust manifold cracking was successfully resolved, largely with advice I got here on the PWD blog. I published a memorandum on that resolution here.

[*]Draining the engine block -- Numerous attempts have failed. The block drain was just a threaded hole when I got the car. I poked around many times with a wire and only got a greasy wire. I applied 80 pounds of air pressure (after opening and draining the radiator) and had no result. I was hoping for some bubbling sound, but got no sound at all.

[*]Reinstalling the door handle lift spring -- I replaced some broken glass on the driver’s door. A coil spring associated with the door handle fell into the door while removing the handle. I retrieved it. Removing the door upholstery does not allow me enough access to replace the door handle lift spring. The door handle works fine, but "slumps" in rest position. Is dangling the spring on a thread the approach I should take? Which way should the spring cog be facing?

[*]Calibrating the speedometer -- I needed to replace the backing templates on all gauges. The speedometer needle kept falling off and eventually got lost. I made one from some sheet plastic and a hollow rivet. I can make it read fairly accurate at 40 MPH. When it goes over 50 it has a mind of it’s own and easily rolls up to 80 MPH (I’m guessing I am going less than 60). Is the weight of the needle a factor here? Adding weight seems to make no difference. Would dissembling the whole mechanism and cleaning it help? Is sending it to a rebuild shop (expensive) the only resolution?

[*]Non banjo style horn button assembly --

My Special does NOT have a banjo style horn button. The spring inside of the steering column does activate the horn. Many of the parts are present. The rubber seals are cracked and brittle. No sign of any spring or cushioning apparatus. The horn button comes off without any provision for keeping it in place. I cannot find information on what parts make up this horn, or where I can find parts that are missing.

Edited by Ken Sogge (see edit history)
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