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Beginning of a journey...and instrument panel question

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Hello all,

This is my first post on this forum, and it looks like a wonderful resource with many great people. As you can tell from my username I have a 1940 Super 56S that I just purchased. :D I got a pretty good deal so I was not surprised that it needs quite a few things. BTW, I want to use it as a driver for fun, maybe a few car shows as a do not judge, but no time or money to take it to a 98 point car (although you could, all the pieces are there).

Here is where I am:

Paint and body "OK" (10 footer), colors not original but idc

Several Naugas died to cover the seats, doors, and headliner, but it looks good (if not original)

Carpet rotten, I got it out, original rubber/fiber still extant, will likely get that ripped out next Spring and put in new carpet

Plastic bits in door and window handles missing or broken, other plastic trim bits on doors are there and OK

Needs new gasket on windshields and new vent wings and front door windows, gaskets, sweepers

Tires good

Brakes good, no scraping or pulling

Engine overhauled right before I bought it (upper only)

Steering very loose, appears to be in the box, hope I can delash

All rubber weatherstrip on body shot but trunk, I have replaced cowl gaskets and am waiting on door strips

Starts hard, will overhaul carb this coming weekend, will also check out ignition parts

Needs a battery

Gen looks OK

All gauges function as well as speedo, lights/turn sigs also work

Dash looks good but someone painted over the nice woodgrain :mad:, but engine turned panels look real good

Clock is not working but I can fix (I also do clock repair)

Wipers are OK but v e r y s l o w

No radio, I want one :P (I can fix/overhaul, I specialize in working old tube gear, I am an EE)

Engine overheats, looks like I have to pull radiator - yuck

Grinding noise in first gear when moving :eek:, second and third are quiet

Clutch engages at very top of travel, will see if any adjustment left

Shocks and ride seem good for car of this vintage, but don't corner too hard!!

I have worked on old cars before - did engine/clutch/tranny work on a 1953 41D when I was in college (40 yrs ago!) as well as doing all of my own repairs and maintenance until the late 80s and I miss being able to actually work on cars rather than just take them to dealers. So we will see if I still fell this way in a few months!

So my first of what will likely be a quite few questions (will keep to 1 per thread) is: I have a few inst panel lights out. Is it easier to pull the dash/panel rather than try to snake your fingers back there? And what is the procedure for pulling the dash/inst panel? The shop manual is most unclear on this.

Cheers and thanks,

Dave Stovall

Rockville, MD

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Guest Grant Magrath

Welcome Dave!

Plenty of 1940 guys here to help you. With regards to your instrument lights, probably easier to pull them out of the back of the gauge cluster with it still in place. And we love pictures!



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Guest Grant Magrath

No worries Dave.

My father gets me to contort myself upside down looking up under the dash to do stuff. Even though I'm 47, is it still child cruelty????!!!



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Guest joser

Hi there I have a 1940 Buick model 46s, I had to pull the dash out,and to do it correctly you have to remove the front windows. The screws that hold the dash on top are under the rubber that goes around the bottom of the windows.their are also screws on the corners of the dash at each end before you remove windows you have to remove the moldings. let me know if their is anything l can help you with I know the 1940 Buick 46s and 56s, 76s. joser 1940 Buick 46s.

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Dave :

Your adventure is beginning. Sounds quite a bit like my first experiences with my 1937-41 which I bought in 1987. Except that I blew the clutch on the way home from where I bought it in Hollidaysburg Pa. 57 miles of driving bliss then catastrophy! Fast forward 25 years of efforts to find the right combination of time, enthusiasim, skill, parts and money,

I had it sent to a shop in Glenn Rock Pa to get it to be a reliable driver. Rebuild front end, new wiring harness, radiator redone, new tires, exhaust etc. No new paint or uhpolstery no new chrome. I had the bumpers done by Lebrandi's at $1,650 about 5 years ago. So this stopped my desire for any more shiney chrome. At this point I will have over $20K into a car that even if I put annother $20K into would not be worth $15,000. So I have to cut my losses. If you can do most of your own work that helps greatly.

Keep us posted.



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Welcome Dave,

We can't have too many Dave's.

When you get a chance it would be great to see some pics.

Also, This Saturday, 8/11, the BCA local Metro Chapter is sponsoring the All GM meet at the Montgomery College Rockville campus parking lot. My '28 is currently up on jack stands so I won't be driving it but I'm going anyway. It would be good to see your Buick out there. It kills me when there are more Oldsmobiles than Buicks and it's our show.


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I will take some pix when I get the hood back on after I get the radiator fixed. Hopefully in a few weeks. I will try to come by on Saturday. What time does it start? I only live a few blocks away from MC. Unfortunately I won't be able to bring the '40 until after I get the cooling done - it would not make it up there without a boilover.

Cheers, Dave

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Thanks for the encouragement. Yes, I can do a lot of the work but some things I will have to send out. For example, I may need to get a rebuilt trans and I will pay someone else to pull the rear end and replace tranny and clutch. I did that myself on my old 53 when I was 20 but not now.

Cheers, Dave

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After pulling the rear axle, trans, clutch, springs 24 years ago I went through a hase of adult responsibility and occasionaly was able to steal some time to work on the Buick. In January 2012 I saw that the 37's needs were way beyond my ability to cope with them. That is when I decided to contract out some of the work. The only problem was before they could take the car I had to replace all those drive train parts I removed to get it rolling again. All I know is that a much "younger man" took all that stuff off. Putting in transmissions, rear axles and such while lying on a creeper on a make shift plywood floor could not be defined as fun.

With the 1925 Buick I bought as a "driver" I have tried not to get caught in the same trap. I have tried to take care of jobs that I could get done in less than a week. Since we bought the car last October it has not been laid up for more than 3 weeks not running or driving. Of course I did not say all was running or driving well.

Good luck:




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