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Riviera Owner Once Again!


TonyJ

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Hello all. Just recently acquired (via a gift from my wife) a new project car. A 1970 Buick Riviera. This is my second go round in ownership. It's going to need some work, but it's mine.

8789t-1970riv6.jpg

So I thank anyone and everyone in advance for the much needed advice I'm sure I'll be asking for in the months to come.

A little background on this car. It's been sitting for a couple of years and initially was thought to have a seized engine. Previous owner could not turn the engine manually. Nor could I when I went to view the car. I got her on a really good deal because of this. Got her home and pulled the plugs and gave each cylinder a shot of PB Blaster and let it sit a day. I turned the key and just heard a click then nothing. Another shot of PB and another day and then had my son turn the key and the starter engaged and the engine turn a quarter turn. Then just clicked.

I pulled the starter with the intention of rebuilding it as it was pretty worn. But I discovered a short between the armature and the commutator. So I opted for a new starter. Installed it today along with all new connections for the wiring leading to the starter; battery reading 13.00 even on the meter. The engine turned 2 and half turns then stopped. The starter seems to be straining. So I immediately stopped trying. I'm feeling a total rebuild coming on (something I have always wanted to learn) but I figured I'd find fellow owners and appeal to your knowledge.

Has anyone every had this happen? A motor is generally seized or not. This 455 seems to be somewhere in the middle?

Thanks again!

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Welcome to the forum Tony and congratulations on your 70. The best money you can spend up front is purchase a 1970 Buick chassis service manual and membership to the Riviera Owners Association.

As for your engine if you can't turn it over by hand using a socket and a 1/2" drive ratchet or breaker bar on the crank bolt, its seized and don't bother trying to use the starter. Even if it moves a little and it continues to be tight, if you force it to rotate it could do more harm. Its one thing to get it to break loose and have it rotate freely afterwards, but another if it remains tight after breaking loose. Most likely it has rusty cylinder walls. If you know anyone who could lend you a borescope you could stick it through the plug hole and see what it looks like.

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As a last attempt, you could fill each cylinder full with Marvel's Mystery oil, replace plugs, and let it sit a few days. Then, with plugs removed, use a breaker bar on the crank, and slowly turn the engine around and back. If it starts to free up, slowly continue until it seems to be normal. If need be, refill with crank in a different position, and try again. Once it seems free enough, use the starter to turn engine over to expell the oil from the cylinders, replace with new plugs, and try to start.

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Welcome to the forum Tony and congratulations on your 70. The best money you can spend up front is purchase a 1970 Buick chassis service manual and membership to the Riviera Owners Association.

As for your engine if you can't turn it over by hand using a socket and a 1/2" drive ratchet or breaker bar on the crank bolt, its seized and don't bother trying to use the starter. Even if it moves a little and it continues to be tight, if you force it to rotate it could do more harm. Its one thing to get it to break loose and have it rotate freely afterwards, but another if it remains tight after breaking loose. Most likely it has rusty cylinder walls. If you know anyone who could lend you a borescope you could stick it through the plug hole and see what it looks like.

Hey Jason thanks for the advice and the welcome. I am definitely going to put the service manual on my list, along with ROA memebership. I will ask around with some of my local parts stores if they have a borescope to rent as well. Thanks again for the response!

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As a last attempt, you could fill each cylinder full with Marvel's Mystery oil, replace plugs, and let it sit a few days. Then, with plugs removed, use a breaker bar on the crank, and slowly turn the engine around and back. If it starts to free up, slowly continue until it seems to be normal. If need be, refill with crank in a different position, and try again. Once it seems free enough, use the starter to turn engine over to expell the oil from the cylinders, replace with new plugs, and try to start.

HI Rob thanks for the feedback. Using MMO was my initial plan, but I fell victim to a terrible crime here in Canada...They don't sell it anywhere! They use to but stopped about 4 years ago. I am reaching the point where I feel I should check the timing chain and then pull the heads. Part of me is telling me to pull the motor and rebuild it and I can spare myself some worries down the road. I've never done a complete rebuild before, just some top end changes. But I've always been one to learn how, so this would be a good winter project and look at getting her running next year.

My goal is a somewhat daily driver I can drive with a good measure of confidence. A rebuild would give me a picture of what going on inside.

Maybe I have an overdose of ambition..lol.

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Tony, I had the exact thing happen to me just a few weeks ago. The engine would turn over but just barely. I tried a new battery and was about to buy a new starter. But then I realized the water pump was frozen. This was keeping the engine from spinning easily. I got the water pump freed up and the car started. Before you do anything drastic, remove the belt on the water pump and see if it makes a difference.

BTW, I just purchased a 1970 Riviera myself. It needs work, too. I have found another 1970 Riviera parts car nearby. Stay in touch.

Roy

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Welcome Tony from another '70 owner!

Looks like a fairly solid and complete car. Is it a bucket seat car? Post up some more pics when you can.

Hope you get it up and running soon! :)

Hi Rob, and thanks for the welcome! Thanks for compliments on the car. Initially I passed this car up because of the mechanical situation, but it wore on me as Riviera's are pretty rare up here. So I hustled back and bought her at a great price. Congrats on your find as well! Nice that you found a parts car too. I haven't been looking for a parts car as they are hard to find, I have had an ad up locally for a few weeks looking for the full skirts as mine had been removed somewhere in it's history. Hopefully I will get a call.

At any rate, I created an album with all of the photos I took of my 70 the day it came home. I also threw in a photo of my '65 Riviera that I took the day after it was rear ended and was about to be towed to the shop. It never returned as the damage was too extensive and was totalled.

Thanks again Rob and post some photos of your car, I'd like to see!

ImageShack Album - 44 images

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Tony, I had the exact thing happen to me just a few weeks ago. The engine would turn over but just barely. I tried a new battery and was about to buy a new starter. But then I realized the water pump was frozen. This was keeping the engine from spinning easily. I got the water pump freed up and the car started. Before you do anything drastic, remove the belt on the water pump and see if it makes a difference.

BTW, I just purchased a 1970 Riviera myself. It needs work, too. I have found another 1970 Riviera parts car nearby. Stay in touch.

Roy

Thanks for the advice Roy! I will follow that advice this week sometime and hopefully see if this is the problem. Though I am going to eventually rebuild the engine, it would be a relief that the problem was external.

I'll keep you posted!

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At any rate, I created an album with all of the photos I took of my 70 the day it came home. I also threw in a photo of my '65 Riviera that I took the day after it was rear ended and was about to be towed to the shop. It never returned as the damage was too extensive and was totalled.

Thanks again Rob and post some photos of your car, I'd like to see!

ImageShack Album - 44 images

Rob? or Dale?

:P

Some of my '70 at various stages. Still working on sanding and buffing paint when time permits, which is a rare commodity these days. I sometimes wonder if I will ever be driving it. lol!

'70 Riviera - a set on Flickr

I notice in the pictures of your engine it appears to be using a mechanical fuel pump instead of using the electric in tank pump that both '69 & '70 used.

Another interesting thing is the rear wheel openings appear to have been modified, and had trim added around the edge, instead of using either style of fender skirt.

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Rob? or Dale?

:P

Some of my '70 at various stages. Still working on sanding and buffing paint when time permits, which is a rare commodity these days. I sometimes wonder if I will ever be driving it. lol!

'70 Riviera - a set on Flickr

I notice in the pictures of your engine it appears to be using a mechanical fuel pump instead of using the electric in tank pump that both '69 & '70 used.

Another interesting thing is the rear wheel openings appear to have been modified, and had trim added around the edge, instead of using either style of fender skirt.

LOL Sorry Dale, I was so busy responding to everyone I got all twisted with whom I was talking to. You know it never occurred to me that 70's do have an electric pump, but I read tonight that converting it to a mechanical pump is relatively simple. Honestly I never noticed. I'll have to go over everything this weekend.

I did ask the previous owner if he had the skirts and he said it never had skirts. I know he was not the first owner, because I found some receipts from a muffler shop back in 74 with another name on it. I don't know how long it was before the change of hands or how many hands. None the less the skirts are gone. The trim you see is just those adhesive door guards someone shaped around the skirt opening. I am looking for a set of full skirts for the car as I actually love the look of the on the car.

Your 70 is absolutely stunning! It will be a long time before I get to level where you are at! I am floored by the work you put in Dale, congrats on your work there!

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As Dale so aptly dubbed it - the 'redheaded stepchild' of Rivieras !!

According to the '70 dealer brochure, all '70 Rivieras came with fender skirts, iether the 'full' version, which completely covered most of the rear wheel opening, or the 'high profile' version, which left a portion of the rear wheel exposed. The '70 Riviera could also be ordered with, or without, the colour matched body side sweep spear molding. While I was never a fan of '70 Rivieras, I have come to appreciate the distinct styling features found on the '70 model.

Do enjoy your '70 Tony, a big 'welcome' to the forum ,

and keep us posted on your progress !!

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I did ask the previous owner if he had the skirts and he said it never had skirts. I know he was not the first owner, because I found some receipts from a muffler shop back in 74 with another name on it. I don't know how long it was before the change of hands or how many hands. None the less the skirts are gone. The trim you see is just those adhesive door guards someone shaped around the skirt opening. I am looking for a set of full skirts for the car as I actually love the look of the on the car.

Your 70 is absolutely stunning! It will be a long time before I get to level where you are at! I am floored by the work you put in Dale, congrats on your work there!

Hard to tell for sure by the photos, but it looks like the part of the quarter panel (the lip) the skirts attach to was removed from your car?

Thanks for the compliments!

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As Dale so aptly dubbed it - the 'redheaded stepchild' of Rivieras !!

According to the '70 dealer brochure, all '70 Rivieras came with fender skirts, iether the 'full' version, which completely covered most of the rear wheel opening, or the 'high profile' version, which left a portion of the rear wheel exposed. The '70 Riviera could also be ordered with, or without, the colour matched body side sweep spear molding. While I was never a fan of '70 Rivieras, I have come to appreciate the distinct styling features found on the '70 model.

Do enjoy your '70 Tony, a big 'welcome' to the forum ,

and keep us posted on your progress !!

Thanks Randy for the welcome! What sparked my appeal to the Riviera was my Grandfather. He had a late 60's Riviera (I believe it was a 68) and I loved riding in that car as kid. He would take me to Hollywood Park in it to place my Grandmothers bets on the horses all of the time. They would pack me a lunch and I would stay in the Riviera while he went into the park. I'd eat lunch and then pretend I was driving it..lol. When I was in my 20's I managed to find a 65' (in my gallery) I loved it as well. The photo in the gallery was day after it was totalled so I snapped a photo before the flatbed took her away. The 70 was not admittedly what I imagined getting one day. But like Dale pointed out, Red Headed Step Child and all...just made me want one more. I appreciate the styling and dig the skirts! Unfortunately, as you can see in my response to Dale, skirts probably won't be happening on my Riviera. Thanks again for the welcome and Ill keep you posted!

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Hard to tell for sure by the photos, but it looks like the part of the quarter panel (the lip) the skirts attach to was removed from your car?

Thanks for the compliments!

Dale you were correct on all points! Yes, my car is running a mechanical fuel pump. I'm not sure if that is a good thing or not. So many opinions on that subject.

The second bullseye was the rear fender modifications. I have links posted here with closeups.

Here is a photo of 70 at CTC Auto Ranch, BTW for those of you looking for the short skirts, I saw a photo of another 70 with them on and look pretty good. Clearly now I can see how the skirts were mounted.

1970buickrivierapartsca.jpg

Now here are closeups of my fenders.

1970rivwells3.jpg

1970rivwells1.jpg

1970rivwells2.jpg

So it is apparent to me now that all of the sheet metal which the skirts would mount to has been removed from my Riviera. Which is unfortunate because I REALLY wanted those skirts. But, I can live with this because I am happy to own a Riviera once again. I suppose I could come up with another way of mounting short skirts as they do not have to be removed when changing the tire. But I don't think there is anything I can do for the long skirts which I prefer.

Thank again for all the help Dale, much appreciated.

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