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1969 GS 400 Convertible


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Here’s where I made mistake two. I failed to read the original paint scheme, meaning the color of the base coats of primer. I used a single stage urethane paint for the top coat and I should have put a coat of black primer. But after this coat of red oxide I rushed to complete the top coats without the black primer. The result is the rear quarter is a step brighter red then the rest of the car. But overall I was satisfied with the job and decided to move forward.

My practice is: Day 1, put three coats of paint on.

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Day two AM wet sand day ones paint

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Day 2 PM, three more coats.

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On Day one I parked the car so the paint would be done in the sun. This was mistake three. I was blinded by the red, and on day two I parked the car so the painting would be done in the shade. Much better.

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I wet sanded the paint again after a few days. This time I tried to match the wet sanding to the rest of the car. I wanted the entire car to look uniform in shine. Then I polished it with a 2500 rpm polishing wheel using 9" pads.

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The fog in the pics is condensation on the camera lens.

In the end I know it's not anywhere's near perfect, but its acceptable and didn't cost me $800 either. The rest of the car still needs work and when-if I do it, I'll fix this panel again.

I held off posting anything about this because I wanted to see if the repairs would hold or not. I am happy to report that they have held so far, and I am not afraid to have that side of the car shot in pics anymore.

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Nice work, John. I've found that good body work is mainly a matter of time and patience, lots of sanding out, reapply, sand, etc., etc.

Before I got into welding as much as now, I did a similar (non-welded) repair on the lower part of my '56 in 1996, and it has held up fine. When I do a complete repaint on it I'll cut it out and mig a proper patch in, but in the meantime it does just fine.

Keith

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It looks great John. I wouldn't worry about your repair. Modern repair shops glue panels all the time, and your car won't be in service the same way as a modern car. It also won't be driven often in bad weather. Third is that with mig welding, weld can rust too.

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I hope so Keith, each patch is pretty small and each is held tightly in place. Plus I've already put a few hundred miles on it since then and nothing has shook loose. So I'm pretty confident that it's okay for now. But it is a driver, so if it breaks I'll worry about it then.

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It looks great John. I wouldn't worry about your repair. Modern repair shops glue panels all the time, and your car won't be in service the same way as a modern car. It also won't be driven often in bad weather. Third is that with mig welding, weld can rust too.

As long as it is not structural. In the past I have used fiberglass and 'kitty hair' bondo on my 51 F-1 and 30 years later it is still serviceable in daily use. By the way I got a close look at that car and can say that you do good work!

Willie

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John,

Very nice! I just read your whole post. I hadn't even noticed that it was yours before. Duh! You do very fine work, my friend. It's really nice seeing everyone tackling these issues. Preparing for the 3-6" of snow tonight.........might get out in the garage tomorrow......hehe. Matt:D

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  • 3 weeks later...

John, all I can say is WOW!! You have done some great work there, my friend. Beautiful vehicle and fantastic job on the details and photos of what you did all along the way. I have been keeping my eye out for that Black Nissan SUV. Haven't seen it yet!

But I digress. You really did this car proud. Will you be bringing this one to Charlotte?

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  • 1 year later...
  • 3 years later...

Oh man, last post here was Feb 2012.  Trying to think of anything I have done to this car since then but al that comes up is a set of tires and the proper 69 rally rims. A set of wires and a vacuum advance unit.   Otherwise I had the radio refurbished adding a headphone jack input device.  Otherwise I have just driven this car.  I referred to it as my Happy car in another thread because every time I wanted to drive it, it was ready to go and just seemed to enjoy the ride as much as me.  

 

But over the years another annoying aspect of this car was what seemed to be a lack of testosterone off the line. I went through various things listed above, and nothing really seemed to help.  Essentially I think this car ought to be able to burn rubber off the line by just stomping the gas pedal.  But it doesn't.  I didn't know if it was mechanical or emotional.  I still have problems just stomping the gas pedal.  I'm always afraid I'll break something I can't afford to fix.  But in the last year I have gotten a little more aggressive and it will break the non posi rear free if I manage to overcome my fear and get the gas pedal down far enough.  Yet, it just did not seem right.  So one day I popped off the distributor cap and rotated the crank manually to see how much slack I had in the timing chain. It seemed to me that there was a good half inch movement of the breaker bar before the rotor would move.  So for the last year I have driven it conservatively while getting ready to change the timing chain.

 

Today I started disassembly.  ( to be continued)

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Before I get too greasy to use the social media device, here's two pictures to show how loose the chain was.  Nice to see all the nylon. Also nice to find all the small bolts holding the water pump to the timing chain cover are free.  Note, to the best of my knowledge, this car right now has a little less than 58K on it.  Lots of cleaning today.

GS original timing chain 10_6_160001.JPGGS original timing chain 10_6_160002.JPG

Edited by JohnD1956 (see edit history)
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I don't know the answer to that Ben.  I am assuming that the nylon has worn down a little after all these years and that the chain has stretched a little too.  But it looks like it was pretty close to a no start situation.  It has been cranking longer than the "twist of the key to start"  that I'm used to in my cars.  My past experience has been that the day of failure, the engine will start, cold. then after it warms up it will stall, only to run anew after changing the chain and gears.  I figured I did not want that to happen on the next long trip.  

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Looks like this repair has lead to the edge of that slippery slope Ben mentioned.  Yesterday I found that the rope seal in the kit was 1/2 inch too short before it was pressed into the channel.  Also discovered the oil pump cover was cracked.

 

DSC04370.JPG

 

Today I concentrated on the battery cable.  Note to self:  If this car needs another positive cable, I'm sending this thing out to a garage for that procedure.  Basically this engine is stuffed into this frame so tightly, I had to drop the trans inspection cover, to drop the starter, just to get to that second bolt holding the channel to the block.  This is where the slippery slope comes in.  If it had been any garage I'd be driving again by now, but no, Instead it took me 7 hours just to get the old cable out, clean a few parts, and put the new cable in.  And regardless of the cost and assurance the new cables would be exactly the same as my original cable, well, that didn't happen.

Extracting the wire channel:

DSC04376.JPG

 

And not a day too soon either.  Another potential road hazard

 

DSC04377.JPG

 

The old vs new. That plastic housing has no opening to get the old cable out. The cable must have been fished through before the ends were put on.  But regardless of how they got it in, it definitely was not moving out! 

 

DSC04378.JPG

 

 

 

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Now at first I thought I would just lay the new cable into the metal channel.  I figured that's why that black insulation was on there.  But that metal clip on the new cable was not loose.  It was fixed, and it provided insulation right where the A/C lines traverse. So after agonizing over this while prepping some parts for paint, I finally decided to cut the old cable out of the channel. So out comes the Dremmel.

 

DSC04387.JPG

 

It's not pretty, but the cable is out.

 

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And it's still not pretty, but it's functional:

 

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It did take quite a while to get this all back together. The hardest part was twisting the end at the starter once it was in the car.  It's not just a straight run it. It took an S turn to get it aligned.  I just do not have the strength to do this much more.  But I got it done and reinstalled the trans inspection cover:

DSC04391.JPG

For now it's down off the jack stands.  Next week I have to dig into my spare parts to find my extra oil pump cover. Hope I can find it.

 

BTW, you may recall that I purchased this vehicle in 2003 from someone who parked it in their garage for six years, facing into their dryer exhaust vent.  Here's a picture of the lower pulley which is covered with the lint I could not get off with the wire brush!

DSC04382.JPG

x

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For a simple method of removing rust and getting everything down to good metal, try a 1:9 ratio of molasses to water.  Just let it soak.  Molasses at your local feed store costs way less than Evaporust.  And you delute it rather than using it full strength.  One gallon of Evaporust vs.ten gallons of molasses solution, no brainer.  Check it out on YouTube. 

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...and when finished, use the residual to add to your morning coffee.  Sweetens your cup o' Joe and provides your body 1000x the iron found in a case of spinach!  ^_^

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More cleaning and prep work today.  Found my spare oil pump cover.  Also found I need two of the long timing chain bolts, the ones that go through where the water pump is. I hope I have those, but that's gonna take some serious searching.  Meanwhile, while it's already out, I brought the radiator for a boil and clean out and any possible repairs.  I have not had any trouble with this radiator since I had it re-cored with a 4 row core back in the mid 2000's,  but I just don't want to take it apart again.

Heard from the cable manufacturer.  I was thinking that the cable may have been made with aluminum wire, which I only noticed as I was hooking up the end to the starter.  So I e mailed the service address.  The answer I got was the cable is made of copper 2 gauge, and the end by the starter is dip soldered, giving it an aluminum look.  At any rate I slathered the Oxyguard on it when putting it together, so that should just be insurance.  Now, to find those darn bolts!!!

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After digging through to the last can of miscellaneous vehicle hardware I've kept, I finally found two of the long water pump bolts.  Enough to get through this job, but they really did not look much better.  So off to the local hardware stores.  The one parts book I have identified these bolts as 5/16th- 18 X 4 3/8.  They are flanged bolts too.  What I did not expect is that they are #8 bolts.  After two stops I was directed to a Fastenal Store, where I got some #8, standard hex cap, bolts 1/8th inch longer, and appropriate sized washers. I'll change all 4.  I also picked up a tap to clean up the threads before reassembly.  So just waiting on the FelPro people and my radiator. If I can't get the proper length rope seal, the local NAPA can get me a rubber front seal in a day, so there are alternatives.

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Looks familiar- my 68 GS400 convertible was built with all great parts, but felt el sluggo off the line.  I predicted the cam was retarded from optimum.

Pulled apart and found the 3 keyway gear was indeed in 4* retard position.  Ended up in the 0* position; but with cam having 4* advance it was right on and sure makes a difference.

The Seat Of Pant-O-Meter showed a 99% improvement.

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I want to believe in what you report Ted.  Of course, in this case I am dealing with the original timing chain set, not an indexed one. 

 

Today I mounted the new chain set.  Now, I can't really tell where this set is made. But here's a picture of the label. 

10 171 16 GS timing chain mount0008.JPG

With not much else to go on, I'm assuming at least the box was made in the USA.  But the gear set seems to be a decent composition and finish. And I do have this same set in the Electra, which seems to run excellent!  Anyway, just for my own curiosity I measured across the cam gear.  I wanted to see if the nylon was worn down:

10 171 16 GS timing chain mount0004.JPG

 

10 171 16 GS timing chain mount0002.JPG

 

I was surprised to see the new gear was .004 smaller than the nylon one.  This indicates the slack was all in the chain.   Anyhow, the new gear seems to be at least as substantial as the original one.

Mounting the assembly I discovered that the cam gear and cam shaft flange were off just a smidge.  I could get one bolt to make about 3/4 turn.  Rather than drive that bolt in, I decided to rotate the crank shaft.  Well, that turned into the need to loosen all the spark plugs, cause I just did not have the strength to fight the 10.25-1 compression ratio.  It was at this point that I realized this engine has no business being in this small compartment with a factory a/c unit!  To be honest with myself, I knew this from before, but now that I'm ( a'chem) more mature, I guess I am just annoyed with having to have an assortment of extensions, ratchets and universals to address the front and rear plug on the passengers side.  Add to that the battery cable situation and it's obvious this is a shoe horn fitment job!  But it is a sweet one just the same.  I decided it was just a good excuse to put a fresh coat of dielectric grease on the spark plug boots!

 

10 171 16 GS timing chain mount0006.JPG

 

So, without any further ado, as soon as the seal in here, I'll be wrapping this situation up.   By the way,  note the 2nd chain link from the bottom on the left side of the crank.  USA made!   No offense to our Buick brothers in other parts of the world, but I found this comforting.  Hope I get a chance to road test this before the snow flies.

 

 

 

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Fel pro people sent me a new gasket kit with the proper sized seal.  So I went to pull off the cracked oil pump cover and immediately found I could not budge the first bolt.  So I sent the kit, and both covers to the Mechanic I use when I just don't want to deal with something.  Turns out three of the bolts on the factory cover broke, and one took another chunk out of the original cover too.  I was glad I brought it to them to begin with.

GS Project0001.JPG

 

So, today I moved forward.  Primed the oil pump with Vaseline.  Right up to the port on the block:

GS Project0005.JPG

 

Ran a coat of grease around the crank seal, also put a coat on the balancer where it meets this seal.

 

GS Project0004.JPG

 

While I was advised I could put  the gasket on dry,, as long as there were no imperfections on the cover or block surfaces, I just put a thin layer of form-a-gasket

2B around the water jacket holes.  I really do not want to pull this apart again.

 

GS Project0002.JPG

 

Black RTV at the oil pan to cover/block joint

 

GS Project0003.JPG

 

And on it went.  Two other things.  I sacrificed a piece of cardboard to paint the bolts.  This allowed me to keep them in their original position. 

 

GS Project0007.JPG

 

Also, considering how much trouble I had getting some of these bolts out, I used a 5/16 drill bit by hand to clean all the bolt hole passages, and then out of an abundance of caution, each bolt received sealer on the threads and antisieze on the shaft, to help if this ever has to come off again.

 

GS Project0009.JPG

 

Here's where it's at when I stopped today. 

 

GS Project0012.JPG

 

Not much left for tomorrow, so I hope to start it up soon,  just in time for the cold weather this weekend.  Ugh!

x

 

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The kit included a piece of gasket for the front of the pan.  It's not visible in the picture because I cemented it to the bottom of the cover.  I had a bit of trouble getting that aligned when  I did this job on the 72, so this time I glued it in place.

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On 10/17/2016 at 7:40 PM, JohnD1956 said:

I want to believe in what you report Ted.  Of course, in this case I am dealing with the original timing chain set, not an indexed one. 

 

Today I mounted the new chain set.  Now, I can't really tell where this set is made. But here's a picture of the label. 

10 171 16 GS timing chain mount0008.JPG

With not much else to go on, I'm assuming at least the box was made in the USA.  But the gear set seems to be a decent composition and finish. And I do have this same set in the Electra, which seems to run excellent!  Anyway, just for my own curiosity I measured across the cam gear.  I wanted to see if the nylon was worn down:

10 171 16 GS timing chain mount0004.JPG

 

10 171 16 GS timing chain mount0002.JPG

 

I was surprised to see the new gear was .004 smaller than the nylon one.  This indicates the slack was all in the chain.   Anyhow, the new gear seems to be at least as substantial as the original one.

Mounting the assembly I discovered that the cam gear and cam shaft flange were off just a smidge.  I could get one bolt to make about 3/4 turn.  Rather than drive that bolt in, I decided to rotate the crank shaft.  Well, that turned into the need to loosen all the spark plugs, cause I just did not have the strength to fight the 10.25-1 compression ratio.  It was at this point that I realized this engine has no business being in this small compartment with a factory a/c unit!  To be honest with myself, I knew this from before, but now that I'm ( a'chem) more mature, I guess I am just annoyed with having to have an assortment of extensions, ratchets and universals to address the front and rear plug on the passengers side.  Add to that the battery cable situation and it's obvious this is a shoe horn fitment job!  But it is a sweet one just the same.  I decided it was just a good excuse to put a fresh coat of dielectric grease on the spark plug boots!

 

10 171 16 GS timing chain mount0006.JPG

 

So, without any further ado, as soon as the seal in here, I'll be wrapping this situation up.   By the way,  note the 2nd chain link from the bottom on the left side of the crank.  USA made!   No offense to our Buick brothers in other parts of the world, but I found this comforting.  Hope I get a chance to road test this before the snow flies.

 

 

 

What does the gear measure between the teeth.  Isn't that where the chain rides; not on the top of the teeth?

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