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Need help with my 1963 Riviera restoration


Guest Sal's63Riviera
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Guest Sal's63Riviera

I'm new to this site and looking for help getting a restoration project off the ground. I have a 1963 Riviera that is a family heirloom and looking to begin restoration after sitting for 20+ years. Any recommendations?

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Guest Bob Call

Go to the BCA forums below. Join the Buick owners club. Lots of Buick guys on here so post your questions in the Buick forums.

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I picked up the same type of deal, a 64 Riviera that had been sitting since 1980.

First, get it running, stopping and turning.. You will need all new rubber hoses, brake cylinders, water pump spark plugs, points etc. etc. No sense in doing anything else till that works.

Then drive it for a while, it will tell you what it needs and you will be able to enjoy it as it is. If you decide you like it, then spend the time and money to repaint and redo the interior.

My opinion but that is how I have done my Riv.

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We'd love to help you, so pics would be great. Also, stating your location could help as you may have somebody on here close to you.

Welcome! :)

Rob.

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I picked up the same type of deal, a 64 Riviera that had been sitting since 1980.

First, get it running, stopping and turning.. You will need all new rubber hoses, brake cylinders, water pump spark plugs, points etc. etc. No sense in doing anything else till that works.

Then drive it for a while, it will tell you what it needs and you will be able to enjoy it as it is. If you decide you like it, then spend the time and money to repaint and redo the interior.

My opinion but that is how I have done my Riv.

That is solid advise!

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One thing that drove me crazy on '63 when I first got it was trying to get it to do straight down the road and stop straight. An alignment did help some, and so did brake shoes up front. The biggest help though was when I put a set of four NEW matched tires on it. When I got it, it had two different brands of tires on the front and snow tires on the back; they all looked alike, but there was something different about them. After the new tires were installed, I never touched the front again for a number of years.

Along with the rubber hoses, look at all of the rubber bushings in the suspension as well as motor mounts and transmission mounts. The drive shaft is a two piece unit and there's a carrier bearing that supports it in the middle. Those go bad and create lots of problems that seem to come from somewhere else. You might also need to see how dry the gaskets are in the carburetor. You don't want any fires.

As Bill says, get it running first. Make sure it's something you want to continue with before you start with upholstery, paint, and the other "pretty stuff."

A couple of quick notes on the '63 that are different than most other cars. The '63 has left hand threads on the lug nuts. Don't break one off trying to loosen it when you'd actually be tightening it.

The Dynaflow transmission is like some of the modern day constant velocity transmissions. "it don't shift." It goes from 0 to 120 in one smooth process. According to the shop manual, L is to be used only for "getting out of mud or snow." Just put the car in D and drive it.

The radio has only one speaker; it's between the rear seats.

Make a list of things to do. Prioritize them. Do them one thing at a time. We'll help you through each step.

Just like any experiment you did in high school science class. Change only one variable at a time. You change two or more at a time and if something doesn't work, then you'll never know which one of the things you changed didn't work.

Don't try to cut corners and don't try to save a buck using lesser quality parts.

Stay in touch.

Ed

PS - We're a really friendly group here and enjoy calling each other by first names. Nothing to hide that way. CHeck out the link to the Riviera Owners Assn. in my signature block.

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The biggest help though was when I put a set of four NEW matched tires on it.

That is also sound advise. Tires that have sat in one position over a length of time will develop flat spots. You can hear and feel these going down the road, even if the tires look good and have the right air pressure.

My 63 was parked for 17 years, and had new tires (bias ply white wall) installed just before it was parked. Tires looked good, but I could hear and feel the thump, thump as I drove it after getting it running again. New tires cured this issue right up.

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Guest Kinmann

Hi Sal,

Glad ya found the forum! Congrats on your '63! I'm starting to restore a '63 myself. I cruised mine around for several months after purchasing it and really thought about what I wanted it to be and look like when I am finished.

I would first try to get it running if it would not be too much of an expense. Enjoy it for what it is currently. Join the ROA.... That will be key to the restoration for sourcing parts and the articles and write-ups are terrific!

Also, get a shop manual for both Chassis and Body for your '63. Around $45-60 for both and it truly is a must have!

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY- ANY QUESTIONS- ASK! These guys know there stuff and you are not alone!

Enjoy,

Kevin- Raleigh, NC

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