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My 1964 Electra Project


trafalger

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Question for you all that have restored cars....

I'm curious as to what to do about my thin door trim. The worst part of the car cosmetically are the thin trim pieces that run along the doors and fenders on the sides of the car. Its really potmarked so I don't think it's fixable.

Can you just buy replacement pieces or do i need to hit the junkyards up?

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Hey guys,

So got the center bearing support fixed and that stopped the knock. I also went ahead and replaced the plugs and plug wires and rotor, pins and distributor because it was missing sparks. I had my mechanic do a pressure test on all engine and all came back great. Which is good news. It has a hell of alot more power now and I caught myself doing almost 70 today and not even really noticing it, whereas before it would really struggle to go that fast.

However now that i've done all that the sputtering and choking out at low speeds is back (this is exactly what happened when i first got the car) is it possible that with doing all these updates that I will need to readjust the choke again? If it's cold it has a really hard time starting up now and once started and warm it will idle fine but unless it's REALLY warm it will choke out as soon as you put it in gear unless you give it gas. I'm guessing I need to readjust the choke settings again

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I waited until Sunday when the car cooled overnight and was "cold" readjusted the choke and the sputtering stopped!

Finally after months of work and worry I was able to take it on it's first road trip. Decided to visit a friend who lives on a lake about 45 miles away. She made it there and back with no issues, spent a nice day at the lake. I found myself having to set the overspeed warning because when she gets on the open road it rides so smooth you have no concept of how fast your going.

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  • 3 weeks later...

HOT Light..

When I turn my key the cold lamp lights up and so do the other lamps, except for the HOT light. In the manual it says that the switch is grounded when you turn the switch on to force it to light up so you can test the light. I've crawled under the dash and tested the leads on the terminal and they have power, but the lamp never lights. I've tried moving the cold lamp bulb to the hot spot and it still does not light.

The book is not much help on this one...has anyone else ever ran across anything like this? Is there somewhere on the car I can test other than that bulb spot to make sure that the temp is working and it's not just the lamp. The cold lamp DOES go on and off like normal.

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A little piece of trivia many may not know...

Early production '64 Electras came with 2 vertical divider moldings in the taillamps. Someone once told me that they wre discontinued because they were not bright enough for Federl standards ? Very kool all the same...

post-58446-143141898347_thumb.jpg

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Water temperature sending switch on engine block ?

Well the cold lamp turns off fine. The problem is the HOT lamp never comes on and according to the book turning the key to start is supposed to illuminate all the lights on the dash (for testing) they all light except for the HOT lamp. It does this by simulating a ground connection which makes the lamp light up. I've gotten under the dash and tested the leads and all appears fine. So i'm not sure if the problem is with the lamp socket or with the ground mechanism.

The dash is a pressed control board so it's not just a whole socket you can't remove.

Anyone have any ideas what this could be OR have a work around. I'm not as worried about that lamp as I am just making sure I have a way to tell if I'm running HOT or not.

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Joseph, does the water temp sender unit on the engine have two leads or one? I'm thinking both since you said the cold light works. I'm also thinking I would start by cleaning the connector leads to that switch. Do you know how to get the wires out of the plastic cover where it connects to the temp sender unit?

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Joseph, does the water temp sender unit on the engine have two leads or one? I'm thinking both since you said the cold light works. I'm also thinking I would start by cleaning the connector leads to that switch. Do you know how to get the wires out of the plastic cover where it connects to the temp sender unit?

I do not...and the book is not much help with that one. But would that make the dash light not work?

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Joseph, does the water temp sender unit on the engine have two leads or one? I'm thinking both since you said the cold light works. I'm also thinking I would start by cleaning the connector leads to that switch. Do you know how to get the wires out of the plastic cover where it connects to the temp sender unit?

If you could point me in the direction of said sender unit that would be a huge help.

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It looks like my 63 225 except my interior is teal color. I recently had my front seat, headliner, wings and visors redone, as well as add seat belts. Fun project, but not cheap. it is fun to cruise around in. Good luck.

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That's it. I replaced the one on my 63 Cat and it still never showed hot on startup. I would be inclined to add an under dash or ashtray mounted gauge.
Do you have some examples and I'll take a look...is that a kit? I'd like to get that reading right before I take her on a big long trip.
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Yeah, just an under dash gauge from anywhere will work. The only bummer is that since the sending unit is in front of the engine, you will see the cheesy plastic tube. Piece of mind has a price. In all honesty, I took an infrared gun once when it was hot and was satisfied I wasn't going to overheat, so I just played dumb and pretended everything was ok unless I saw a boilover (which I never did).

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Ok here we go I think I have finally solved the mystery of the "HOT" lamp.

So here is where the temp sensor is on my car.

post-87476-143141899867_thumb.jpg

As you can see i've already taken it out.

And this is what it looked like....

post-87476-143141899873_thumb.jpg

GROSS...I'm assuming this was the factory one so it's been in this car for 50 years. Unbelievably it came out with no force at all.

Luckily my local NAPA had one of these left in stock.

post-87476-143141899875_thumb.jpg

So I rushed out and grabbed it to install. I installed it and turned the key and still only the "COLD" lamp would light. SON OF A ***** it wasn't the actual issue...but then I had a thought. Ok now I KNOW the temp sensor is good meaning I can trust it, so I broke out the book and looked at the dash section. It said that when you turn the key to on the dash will send a ground signal to the temp sensor to 'force' it to illuminate so that you can test the bulbs. Knowing that and knowing that my sensor was now definitely working, I decided to use my test lamp to ground the terminal for COLD. Sure enough it had power. So then I decided to test the terminal for HOT, as soon as I grounded the terminal with my test lamp not only did the lamp light meaning power was flowing to the lamp but the dash light came on!!

I think I know what's going on now, but just on a hunch I switched the terminals for COLD and HOT and sure enough the "HOT" lamp came on and the cold stayed off, I started the car and the "HOT" lamp came on (but remember in this case HOT is really COLD) so after it reached temp the HOT lamp went off.

So I switched the leads back and turn the car off again, this time just turning the key to ON I was able to verify at the bottom of the terminals that they were receiving power. But this time the COLD lamp did not light....hmmmmmm

Then it hit me...I know exactly what is going on now.

The problem was never my sensor per say, it was the dash all long, but it wasn't the dash lamp or the mechanism that makes the lamps light. It was the ground, sometime in my car's past life someone must have futzed around with the dash and as a result the dash no longer grounds the lamps when the key is turned to "ON" The reason the COLD lamp would light before wasn't because it was force grounded by the dash but because it was actually COLD. I had never noticed this until I tried to put the switch in ON again and noticed the COLD lamp didn't light. The dash never overrides the sensors to test the lamps, like the book says it does.

Even tho the HOT lamp doesn't light on "ON" I have verified that it does get power and can be turned on with a simple ground, meaning that I can now trust it's going to come on when it actually reaches HOT, which was the whole point of this whole exercise anyways. I just want to make sure I can trust the lamps on my dash, and now I can. I probably will never worry about fixing that ground since it would entail me taking the whole damn dash off and tracing out each wire which is a bit excessive for that. And even then if I really wanted to do it quick all I'd need to do is run a ground wire from the temp terminals to the body.

Either way HURRAY :cool: now at least I know I have a brand new temp sensor that works and will report on issues.

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Good job Joseph. I seem to recall a similar thread a LOOOOONG time ago about the same grounding issue. One of the speed nuts holding the gauges to the dash either had a ground strap or was uninstalled (I don't remember), and adding a ground between whichever nut it was solved the problem.

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Sorry I did not respond again yesterday. I only had a few minutes before an appointment and never got back to the forum before turning in last night. Glad you were able to get the information you needed and figure out what was happening.

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"And even then if I really wanted to do it quick all I'd need to do is run a ground wire from the temp terminals to the body. "

I was thinking about this and wondering, if you did just put the ground strap to the terminals, wouldn't the lights ( both of them) stay on all the time the ignition is turned on?

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Joseph,

The hot light is grounded through the ignition switch to light up right before you crank you the car. A dark green wires comes off the switch which connects to the hot light ground circuit. There is a black wire to the ignition for grounding.

Quick check will be to remove the lower dash access panel under the ignition switch, get an alligator clip, attach the clip to metal on the dash, touch to metal on ignition switch, and turn the key slowly and see if the light comes on. If not, pull the harness off the switch, and ground the dark green wire- see if it lights.

Could be a bad ground on the ignition switch, could be the terminal backed out of the connector, could be bad ignition switch.

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"And even then if I really wanted to do it quick all I'd need to do is run a ground wire from the temp terminals to the body. "

I was thinking about this and wondering, if you did just put the ground strap to the terminals, wouldn't the lights ( both of them) stay on all the time the ignition is turned on?

I'm honestly not sure but I know if I ground the terminals when the car is at temp the cold light does not come on.

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I have a set of the 1963 Buick Dealer Service Advisory letters. As we know, 1963 and 1964 dashboards are the same. The poor grounding and strange dash light and guage behavior was a problem when these cars were almost new. I came across a Dealer Service Advisory letter about that, and it blamed the problem on the then new plastic dashboard body for the gauges and instruments of '63 and '64, and advised service managers to run extra grounding wires, if necessary, from a metal part of the dash to the part that was giving trouble. Prior to 1963, the full-sized Buick dashboards are ALL metal and chrome. Not the case in 1963. The Wildcats and Electras have an aluminum trim panel that is glued over the plastic dashboard, so it may look all metal, but it isn't!

Pete Phillips, BCA #7338

1962 Electra 225

1963 Wildcat conv. 4-speed

1964 LeSabre 2-dr. hardtop (two of them)

and other years....

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If you swap the wires on the back of the lights, will the hot light come on? It can only be the sender or the bulb. The temperature sender bolts into a port on the head. On my 63 and 64 Rivieras, it's on the driver's side at the front. There is only one port for the sender in a head. If it's not on the front of the driver's side, it will be on the back of the driver's side.

I you want to try to get the lamps working and keep them and add a guage, you can use the other port for for the sender for your gauge. The only problem with that is the hottest water is at the front of the engine just before it enters the radiator. Water at the back hasn't been fully heated yet. BUT it will tell you if it's too hot and that's what you want to be aware of.

Why are you concerned with the engine overheating? Clogged radiator, bad water pump, old hoses, ???. If everything is in good shape, you shouldn't have any problems.

Ed

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Good morning all

Does anyone know about the cigarette lighters in the early 60s cars my cig lighter does not work and it looks like at some point something happened to the wires for it as I cannot see where anything would hook to it.

I would like it to work so I can charge my phone is there some way I can just rewire a new one easily? Straight to the battery or something? Would that even be possible?

The book isn't much help with this one.

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Somebody may have stolen the hot lead for some other use, thinking they didn't want the "lighter". I did that once and had to steal it back. :) If I recall correctly, it is a fairly large gauge red wire. Hopefully it is at least taped up, cuz that bad boy has 12v at all times!

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Somebody may have stolen the hot lead for some other use, thinking they didn't want the "lighter". I did that once and had to steal it back. :) If I recall correctly, it is a fairly large gauge red wire. Hopefully it is at least taped up, cuz that bad boy has 12v at all times!

Ok I found an L shaped plastic plug with a red wire coming into it with a female end. It looks like it's supposed to go on the male end on the back of the cig lighter. However the L plug also looks like it had a wire coming out of it at one time that was cut off right at the plug.

The wire is hot tho even with the key off.

I'm assuming there needs to be two wires tho, one hot and one ground or does it not work like that?

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I don't think the original had a ground wire.

I think it (lighter receptacle) grounded to the dash with just the metal of the socket. If you buy a new receptacle, you may need to use that ground wire and just run it to a metal spot on the dash.

Im glad I used to have a 63 Cat so I can actually answer questions other than for a 55.

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Both the cig lighters in my '63 don't work. But I never thought of there being a live wire not connected to it. Although in the Buick book I have it states both lighters work off a internal fuse, which I have yet to see. I have so many other things to fix/find lighters are on the bottom of my list.

While I'm here, any ideas on right shocks for my '63? I had some put in last week, but not feeling right to me yet. I know it takes a little time for them to settle in, but I have a feeling I may be changing them for something closer to original shocks.

Thanks\

Carlos

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Is it possible to replace the NOS cig lighter with a newer one, to bypass that fuse drama? All I need it for is to power my iPhone or would you guys suggest something else?

If so is there anything weird I need to know about hooking up the red (hot) wire to a newer cig lighter?

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Nothing weird that I know of. They have the receptacles at most parts places. They just screw together. Like I said before, there may be a ground wire attached (haven't replaced one recently). I would recommend whatever connection is on the new assembly, install a matching connection on your existing wire. I don't have to tell you to disconnect the battery, do I?

:)

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Nothing weird that I know of. They have the receptacles at most parts places. They just screw together. Like I said before, there may be a ground wire attached (haven't replaced one recently). I would recommend whatever connection is on the new assembly, install a matching connection on your existing wire. I don't have to tell you to disconnect the battery, do I?

:)

Haha no...

I was just checking to make it wasn't one of the "oh Buick tried something new that year and put in a cig lighter powered by fusion and in a triangle shaped hole, so no other cig lighter ever made can fit into that slot unless you find a NOS part...." issues that I see sometimes.

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