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1952 Buick Super Straight 8 - Know nothing and just getting started!


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Sounds like a stuck thermostat. I would recommend filing the radiator, then starting the car cold without the cap. If the thermostat is stuck the coolant will be regurgitated from the bottom of the radiator. You can usually hear it and can stop the engine immediately without a lot of spillage. But sometimes a prior boil over will resolve such an issue.

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I'll second John's suggestion as a first step. Also, did you do a flushing on the cooling system? Its' possible that a lot of old rust and scale have come loose and plugged up the passages in the rad.

The torque convertor seal will be the main potential for leakage at the front, and they should of changed the rear one, as that has to be removed to get at the torque convertor, and the rear is the most common spot for leaks an a Dynaflow.

So, the point is that very likely you will have a good Dynaflow for a long time.

Keith

Edited by Buicknutty
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Buick Man,

I'm almost at the stage to begin the cleaning that you gave me tips for back in November. The Orange Citrus cleaner makes sense, so will start rounding that up. I bought a can of gunk off....would you think trying that on the engine, or just donating it back to somebody and sticking with the orange cleaner is the better course? I'm confused on that for the paint versus the 0000 grit and just wet rubbing it that others have suggested, or was the orange cleaner meant only for the frame and engine bay? Next, however it's best to clean it, use the Mystery Oil over the whole outer body - or multiple coats of wax? You'd think by now I would start to have more confidence, but everything I'm learning from everyone is truly a "my first time" deal. Will be back more often as the weather lets me get back on it!

Dale in Kentucky

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Second post-thanks guys for the help on the radiator. I'll flush it again shortly, and have a new cap on its way. I don't want to pressure test it yet, if a good flush and new cap help me, but have made friends with the radiator shop guys, so I'm ready for plan B if necessary.

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My '49 tranny was toasted by not installing cooler hoses properly. Make sure your transmission cooler receives water or tranny fluid will overheat and friction plates will warp. Someone overhauling tranny in the first time forgot to add cooler back and my tranny lasted 2000 miles :D first overhaul was done before my ownership and I drove it to death not knowing about it. Fortunately I found good repairer who did it just to see why it is supposed to be hard to fix. He doesn't repair th350 etc. trannies because everyone can do it in their home :D

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update...but for some reason not having luck uploading pictures, so will keep trying. Radiator shop thinks the tranny is getting flow, and will look it over further after they rebuild the core. Taking it off in the next week or two, and another project on its way. Hubcaps are beautiful....and color on the center badge almost new....a blessing! Got my next question for the group ready! I drove it down to the radiator shop, no problem. Driving it back, it stalled out 1/8 of a mile from the garage. Fuel lines should be clean, and if the battery hadn't been run down so bad, I think I could have gotten her started again. Any ideas though of what would cause it to just die like that? I am wondering if maybe it wasn't getting enough fuel....keep reading about installing a second fuel pump....but not a clue if that's needed. The local police and AAA are becoming first name buddies....but I'd rather just wave for a change instead of calling the wrecker! Thanks guys....for the support and the continued advice! Pictures coming soon I hope!

Dale

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Dale;

Take the air cleaner off, hold the choke valve open, and then pump the gas, you should be able to see, and smell gas when it squirts out of the jets. If there's no gas, the problem is likely the fuel pump. If you are running the original, not rebuilt fuel pump you will need to get it done. The likely culprit is the modern fuel most of us have to use, ie the ethanol content, it attacks the rubber in pump diaphrams but it takes a while to happen. The final test would be to give it a small bit of gas down the carb and try to start it, it should fire briefly. I always put the air cleaner back on when I do this for safety, in case of a backfire.

You can get the fuel pump rebuilt using materials designed to resist the ethanol in most modern gas, also many people use an additional electric pump mounted on the frame back towards the gas tank to reduce vapour lock, and in case the other fails, usually wired so that you can switch it on by demand.

I was let down in the very same manner in my '41 the first day I had it licensed on the road. Personally, I don't use an electric on my old cars, just the original pump, rebuilt, but many people feel that an electric is a useful upgrade.

Hope this helps.

Keith

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post-95021-143142451948_thumb.jpgHere's how my hubcaps turned out....Four of em all good, but could only figure out how to get one to show from a size issue. Ready to start cleaning the engine, while I hunt for a windshield vacuum motor gasket kit. My teacher said the fuel pump was easy to rebuild....we shall see! To thank another friend, Eric caught an ebay treasure for me (GOOD chrome trunk emblem), and had to thank him in public...lol.

Dale

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Keith, I'm getting gas flow in the carb, but it's stalling out when I have to stop in traffic sometimes. I may simply need to adjust it, which I'll be trying shortly. The friend who helps teach me the steps said rebuilding the fuel pump was fairly simple, so I'll probably order the kit when we find common time. Thanks!

Next-I took my windshield vacuum pump off, cleaned it up, but as careful as I was, the gaskets didn't survive intact. I may go buy the material and an exacto knife, but any suggestions or spare 52 super gaskets for this out there? I talked with Old Buick Cars, inc. and they are very helpful, BUT, they don't have the gasket kit, and want $118 for a rebuild. Since I need a couple of $2 cardboard gaskets, I am not seeing an alternative that I like here. Any guidance? I'm not that steady, so not sure I can cut my own, but willing to try if there's not an obvious suggestion.

Dale

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Dale;

It's hard to say without being there to hear it run, but off hand, if it was running well before, I wouldn't think a carb is going to go out of adjustment that quickly. Not that couldn't be out of whack, but it would be wise to check the distributor points for adjustment and condition, also the engine timing too, but that's also something that doesn't change quickly, unless the bolt on the base of the distributor is not tight enough. Checking and setting the points is a bit of a tricky thing, so if your friend can help, that would be good. Really, what I'm suggesting, is go through all of the basic stuff, plugs, points, condenser, and such.

This is what's covered in a minor tune up, and basics will do you in every time.

As to the windshield vacuum pump, is this the fuel pump? As these are a dual pump, one part for the windshield wiper, the other for suppling fuel to the carb. Those gaskets are not too tough to make, but carb gaskets as generally too hard for a regular guy like me to do, and you'd need a kit. If you place a wanted ad on the forum here, you might be able to have some success. Making gaskets takes some careful cutting, and yes, an exacto, or similar is what I've used.

I don't know if you or a friend or family member could post a short video of it running, and/or stalling in the driveway, might help us "armchair mechanics" to diagnose the problem.

Anyway, I hope that this helps.

Keith

Edited by Buicknutty (see edit history)
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On the fuel/vac pump, I went with Then and Now Automotive in Mass. for the rebuild. They rebuild with parts compatible with alchohol-blended fuel. The pump spent more time in transport to/from than it did with them. Seriously, they rebuild your pump within a day or two. I think it was about $175 with probably about $40 of that in the shipping both ways. Their own fee isn't a whole lot considering how much a rebuild kit alone costs. I don't have their website handy because they've got their web pages under another company's domain...

Good luck with that trunk emblem - I hope that was a reflection & not a bunch of rust...

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Well, if I'm lucky, I'm going to just have a misdiagnosis. We were checking the wiring as Keith had suggested, and low and behold, the distributor rotor was pretty much toast. I've got a rebuild kit and new spark plug wires coming, so we'll see if it was electrical and not the fuel pump soon. On another note, I took my radiator to the shop as it was leaking, and these guys are both good and fair. However, the $570 price for a modern one, and $645 for one that has the honeycomb look....kinda took the steam out of me. Is that an appropriate price for a core rebuild? I had anticipated under $300....so shopping Yogi's and some other places...but 52 Supers seem to be a hard to find item. I don't have a choice but if anybody has any suggestions (or a rebuilt they'd consider parting with?), I'm all ears! Thanks!

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It sounds steep but the last radiator I had recored was the one for my '51 Cadillac in the late 90's. I think it wasn't more than $250 for the original type tubes and fins.

I don't think your Buick originally had a honeycomb type radiator. I would think it had the same kind as my Cadillac.

Here's the type mine had.

fins.jpg

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When I had the core done for my '41, it cost me $500. and that was 5 years ago, but sometimes prices are higher here in Canada, as a lot of this stuff comes from the US, so there's extra shipping and sometimes another middle man. Also, I went with the modern high density core, for better cooling, as I intended mine to be a driver, and not a show car. Io of got my core done in honeycomb, it was going to be quite a bit more, can't remember how much though.

Keith

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Honeycomb is definitely wrong for '52. The guys at Wizard Cooling in Buffalo, NY claim to have your radiator. Search ebay for "1950 Buick Radiator -fits -hose -cap -cover" and give them a call. I determined that they do NOT have a radiator for the Special. Special needs a 2" thick core and 2" (or less) bottom tank. Their design uses 3" tanks top & bottom. I believe they are offering 3 versions - one they call "for the V8" (huh?), one "for the straight 6" (double huh?), and one "for the V8 with automatic trans" (triple huh?). The one "for the V8" would be for the 8 with the Dynaflow. The one "for the straight 6" would be for the 8 with the manual trans. The one "for V8 with automatic trans" would be if you had converted the car to a more modern, non-DF trans (it has a separate trans cooler matrix built into the radiator). The one for the V8 with Dynaflow I believe was recently priced at $499, and last month they had it "on sale" at $449. That's when I contacted them to see if this would fit the Special. If it fits in your car, even $499 would be a reasonable price, as an all-new radiator.

I had them send me their layout drawing so I could check measurements. This won't fit in a Special - there's a little too much of it below the bottom side-mounting-rail fastener, and it's too thick. But it might be worth a try for your car. By the way, the Special has EXACTLY 3" between the radiator mounting flange and the engine fan, so a 3" thick radiator would be shredded.

I have recently run across a small custom radiator shop in/around Chicago that I plan to contact for the radiator that I need. They have made some dies to press top/bottom tanks that have the same shape & ribs as the old Harrisons. Right now, they offer a couple of designs for '55-'57 Chevy's, but their tanks might be adaptable to a Buick configuration. The radiator from Wizard looks all squared off in new shiny aluminum. They are NOT trying to make a replica. The guys out of Chicago sell their '55-'57 Chevy radiators for WAY less - about $250. But they've probably got some volume sales on their side, and they claim they keep cost down with ZERO advertising.

For comparison, EXACT replicas in Aluminum (with dies for tank pressings) sell in the $1000 range. And that's for cars that are popular enough to sell a BUNCH of replica radiators. (See Griffin's "Exact Fit" line, and look at the stuff for the 1930-1950's era cars, not Mustangs)

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  • 1 month later...

post-95021-14314253283_thumb.jpgWell, been a busy time, but with a 3 day weekend, finally got enough progress to post a few more updated pics! Robert and Eric both warned me about cleaning and scraping, and I've got enough busted fingers to understand their forwarning. I've been used a rust inhibiting primer.....although I wish I'd known it came in BLACK before I did as much with the grey! Anyway, we're getting there. My mechanic mentor has been tied up for a couple of months, so I've only been working on what I felt comfortable enough to not mess up....ie; taping up all my electrical wiring, scraping and rustproofing, etc. He wanted to help me paint the actual engine, so have held off on that task so far.....given it will be a Surf Blue (looks like teal to me), I don't want to get it wrong. If you can tell from the pictures above, does it look clean enough yet to paint? The power washer I have may not have enough 'umpfh' to get much more off. Also....I've been using the citrus degreaser.....keep using that, or would it be a bad move to try the regular degreaser on the engine and manifold? I'm wanting to make some progress on getting her back on the road....so I can concentrate more on chrome and interior.....things I can do and get done alone.....so finishing the painting so I can put the ready to go breather/fan/radiator back on. Another side note....all of the instruments (except radio) were working pretty well for awhile....but have given up. The fuses looked ok at first blush, and I was pretty careful on the rewrapping, so will be taking them out and checking shortly as well. I owed our group some pics and updates.....anything anybody wants to see? Bodywise, nothing new to see at this point. Thanks all......suggest away!

Dale in Kentucky

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  • 4 weeks later...

Updates-the engine "may be done!" Got everything put back together last weekend after painting everything I could get to. While I still need to fill the new radiator and make sure it's not leaking, it was running! Today's goal is to set the points on the distributor (ok so I don't know how to say it) and fill the radiator and put on the rebuilt wiper motor. If all goes well, first drive in many months. Body work starts next, so I'll be re-reading everyone's posts again on how to start wet sanding, etc. Here's some pics, and while I never could stay inside the lines coloring as a kid, I'm pretty happy with the results here. Thanks friends!

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The test drive was short but wonderful. Engine fired up easily, although the brakes were making a funny noise when I drove it around the apartment complex where I work on it....so didn't take it out on the road just yet. I expected the paint to smoke when I got it warmed up...especially the manifold, but other than just a few wisps of smoke, never did anything other than just run! Other than putting on the wiper motor this weekend and hoping it runs, I"m ready to start working on the instruments (they worked at first), the chrome, and the paint. I'll be hitting up many of yo'all's posts on tips....but will more likely ask as I go.....always good to get your fresh insights. Back soon with questions, and more pics. Thanks for keeping me moving forward friends!

Dale

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Dale, do you live in Kentucky? I think you signed one of your posts "Dale in Ky". Just curious. I live in Bowling Green and just bought a car just like yours. Mine is all original but will likely see life as a 50's era mild custom by the time it's said and done.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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dog, as a matter of fact, West end of the state too! I'm at the Lakes, so only about 2 hours from you.....and you can figure we will have to get together sometime and check out each other's cars! Just don't park yours too close to the Corvette Museum! Glad to meet a new neighbor!

Dale

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......and the second test drive left a lot to the imagination, but unfortunately nothing for the road. Fired up...let it warm up for a couple of minutes....then it died. Several attempts to restart....but none would last more than a few seconds. Will a car die if the battery is weak? It would crank enough to fire...but wouldn't maintain running....so I'm at a loss. I may have some carburetor adjusting to do....but it should have been perfect. Back as soon as I have a clue what's going on.....and thanks all!

Dale in Kentucky

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If the battery has enough power to start the car, it will stay running, even if its' not charging. The charge indicator on the dash should go to full to the right when its running at a fast idle speed.

As to why its' dying after a few seconds of running, it's had to say, but my thoughts are not enough fuel, possibly the choke is opening to soon, or the fuel pump could be weak. When completely cold, the butterfly should just barely close down when the gas pedal is pushed down. If you have a manual, it will show how to adjust it. There could be other reasons, but I'm thinking that some kind of fuel issue is the most likely.

Keith

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Keith, thank you...and that makes a lot of sense. I had the carb rebuilt, but it constantly sticks...so may very well be the culprit. I started laughing when you said to look at the charge indicator. All I know is the speedometer worked for the first week I worked on it...but pretty much nothing on the dash is cooperating anymore. Once I get it running, fuses and wiring get my next attention! (of course I said that about everything else I need to do too!)

Dale

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Dale;

If the charge indicator isn't working, you check if it's charging by checking the battery voltage. If you or a friend have a voltmeter, if it's charging, the voltage will be higher when its running. No load voltage will be around 6 V., or just a bit over, and running it should be around 7+. That at least will tell you if the generator and regulator are working.

Keith

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi everybody...

I'm Henrik and I have just received my Buick 1950 from L.A. I live in Sweden and are really a fan of old American Cars.

I have just started to dive into the beauty, and have discovered that I'm out of brakes and No transmission fluid in the gearbox.

But it does run, and it does brake...even if it only about 5% braking power left uuuhuu. So first things first - Better be able to get it to stop, before I get it to run properly!

(Think I read that here somewhere) :)

I found my way here, since I started to attack the break master cylinder. I cannot get the !!! cap to open up. I don't think that cap have been off for years. So I started to search internet for ideas.

And found my way here... reading from start to here... I guess I will follow your footsteps Dale :)

I guess that I too will start posting questions here :)

First does anyone have a great idea of how to get that cap off to the master cylinder of brakes. I don't want to hurt the cap. I can't get the size of that bolt on the cap to fit any normal tool...

I was thinking to first just add fluid...then see if there are leaks .....or how many leaks I find....then fix what need to be fixed :)

Have a great day

Henrik

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Henrik;

Welcome. Many great people with lots of experience here on the forum. I don't know what the top is like on your '50, but my '41 has a square head on it. I cannot remember the size, but its' something like 3/4 or 1", or 18-24mm. If you have an adjustable wrench, that might be the best way to get a good grip on it. Try to clean up around the top of the cap first, perhaps a bit of penetrating oil, but be very careful, as its' not compatible with brake fluid.

As to the transmission, you are very likely NOT out of fluid, but it just doesn't show on the dipstick. Are you aware that the engine needs to running and everything up to operating temp to check the fluid? If there is still no reading on the dipstick, add some, say 1/2 litre at a time, till you get a reading. Dexron the the fluid type that you need for it. These transmissions hold a lot of fluid, especially compared to modern ones, about 10 litres or so, and the dipstick only shows about 1 or 2. The Dynaflows are somewhat leak prone, so expect it to leak when you have it running, and even after it stops, it can still drip, so put something under the transmission area if you are concerned with leaks on the driveway, or wherever yo're working. If you are lucky, it will seal up somewhat after it gets some use, but one is not always so fortunate!

Keep us posted, and share some pictures with us!

Keith

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Henrik, If you're talking about the bolt cap (I don't know what else to call it?) at the top of the master cylinder, it was almost impossible to get that thing off! We wrapped the cylinder with something to protect it... like a leather glove or something..then put in a vice to lock it in. Then a pipe wrench on the bolt. Try putting some WD-40 on it before too, and see if that will loosen it up? Good luck and let me know how you're doing!

Dale

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OH...regarding Beulah not running....the friend that sold it to me came to check on it (even HE liked the engine paint!), said I wasn't getting any gas....as the filter wasn't filling up. Actually this is good news, as it took away a lot of other "what if's". The fuel pump is in the mail for a rebuild, so fingers are crossed. The windshield wiper motor has been rebuilt, but wasn't making much movement, and since the fuel pump on this model is also the vacuum for the wiper motor, I'm hoping both work great in 2 weeks when it gets back! Stay tuned!

Dale

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