Eric W

Rescue Me - '51 41D

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Y'all probably remember this one from the buy & sell forum. I said it would take a while, but it's finally arrived, after a roll-back, an 18-wheeler, and another roll-back. Now safely tucked away inside my garage. Roy's description was accurate but for one thing - while it was up on the transporter I looked underneath, and it looked even better than I expected. Darned phone was re-booting at that moment, so no photos. A couple of hornet's nests were found (and I don't mean just a figure of speech - real hornets). For now, my kids have named this one "Mater" for the patina. My daughter even asked, where's the tow hook?

It's going to be a while before I can really get into this, but the parking brake works (more or less), and I think the movements on/off the transports loosened up the wheels some, because my wife and I pushed it into the garage pretty easily (for a 3680-pounder). Just to see what happens, I've got it on a 6v trickle charger right now, though I don't expect much.

post-92541-143142118097_thumb.jpgThe interstate trucker got it to about here or maybe a little lower, got inside, popped it loose, let it roll back, stuck the parking brake, and it stopped in a parking spot, just like I asked. I didn't know how long it would need to be there, so I wanted it "casually" hanging out in a real parking spot. I'm not really even sure how he popped it loose - maybe set the parking brake, released the last chain, and released the brake? Anyway, he judged the stopping power of the brake pretty much right on.

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post-92541-143142118363_thumb.jpgThis guy was telling me about a '57 Buick wagon he used to own. He knew pretty well what he was carrying here.

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Valve cover cap is gone in this photo, but I found it later down the right side of the engine. Yes, that radiator hose is funky. Looking at photos of other cars, this isn't an original radiator - maybe not even Buick. Oh, and the engine is all black, so that might not be original either. Where's the engine number?

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Oh - here's the right side. That right front fender - might not have started with this car. The rust just doesn't match up well at all. :eek: You can see the start of a puddle of trans fluid...

No right side engine photo yet.

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Edited by Eric W
additional comment (see edit history)

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Eric, so glad this car went to a good home. Looks like a solid candidate for restoration. Or just refresh the mechanical aspects and drive the CRAP out of it!!:) I can tell you that the radiator is DEFINITELY not stock. I don't know what that one came out of but it doesn't look anything like it's supposed to. The engine is more or less supposed to be black after all these years of paint peeling. My engine was mostly black too with a spot of original turquoise here and there. I believe that Buick used a black primer on their engines. I have also heard the tale that Buick sent out replacement engines painted black but I think it would be rare to have a factory replacement engine. I think it more likely that they primered them with black.

The engine number is located on a flat spot on the engine block to the right of the distributor (see picture). I noticed your hood ornament was missing the ring for the bomb sight. Actually, from what I've seen, that is a popular "mod" that people did to these cars. Even Harlow Curtice had that done for his custom built 1952 Roadmaster limo. Love the "custom" glove box latch too! Lol. (I use tiny magnets on mine, shhh!, don't tell anyone:rolleyes:) You are very lucky to have what appears to be an intact mustache bar too. Talk about hard to find! Be careful with that thing. It is VERY brittle and fragile. Pot metal through and through. No welding that sucker back together if it cracks.

Keep us updated on your progress. If you do get her running, don't let it run for long! The longer it runs, the more sludge and debris you'll suck up into the oil passages. Gonna' have to drop that oil pan, trans. pan, and gas tank first thing for a thorough cleaning. I wouldn't even attempt to run it off the tank if you try to start it. I'd hook up a gas can with a cheap plastic filter between the pump and the carb. Anyway, good luck buddy and congrats on a great purchase! And thank you for saving another Buick from the crusher!

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Edited by shadetree77 (see edit history)

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...That right front fender - might not have started with this car. The rust just doesn't match up well at all.[ATTACH=CONFIG]206188[/ATTACH]

Eric,

Great car! From the photos she sure looks complete. Lots of fun potential here. :cool:

On that fender, maybe it is original but suffered some damage earlier and was repainted and thus the inequality of rust. Just a thought.

Are you in the Southern Arizona chapter of BCA? I'm in the Valley of the Sun chapter and we share a few events each year with the Tucson guys. Hope to see you at one of these events and maybe get an in-person look at your Buicks.

Dan

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Robert, I think the hood ornament "mod" wasn't intentional. I've already scored one with the ring from the universal supplier: eBay. Thanks for the engine # info. I've read your thread, and I don't plan on attempting a start without dropping the pan & some other clean-ups/clean-out's.

Ben, it's most likely going to compete for the "rustiest" award for a while... It's not gonna change much out here with average year-round RH of 11%.

Dan, I haven't looked into the SAz chapter of BCA yet. The blue '55 will be at Freddy's, SE corner of Orange Grove & Thornydale most Thursday nights (Northwest Cruise-In).

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Ok, it's not much, but it's everything - engine number matches the title. I didn't really have a reason to doubt, but at least now I know. Other than that, it's going to be slow as I'm working a major garage re-org to make way for this project...

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Edited by Eric W
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Couple of little things - cleaned the back window glass. Looks good! Got the oil filter open. Oil was lower viscosity than I expected - not sludge at all. The oil filter on this car doesn't have the filter housing drain shown in the shop manual - I guess they figured it was ok to recirculate the quart or so that's left in the filter housing (not change it with an oil change). I'm going to get that old oil out of the filter housing with something, though. Put an oil-based space heater under the engine for about 2 hours this morning to get the engine & oil good and hot. This space heater does not have any exposed electrical elements, and isn't hot enough to light off any grease that might drip down. With the engine nice & hot, got the old oil out - just like it had been driven. Flowed real fast. Got about 5 quarts out of the engine, so I figure that's nearly all that was in there. With that good result, I'm not going to worry about pulling the pan at this point.

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Edited by Eric W
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I once found a syringe type tool in the $3.00 parts bin at the NAPA. Use it every year to suck the brake fluid out of my master cylinder. If you consider doing that I would buy two of them and keep one just for the brake fluid.

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I stopped at the grocery store today and found a baster. Same idea - about $3, and it did a fine job on suctioning out that filter housing. Also got the air cleaner, plug wire cover, and valve covers out of the way.

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Edited by Eric W
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Cleaned up the plug wire cover nuts with a vinegar soak & scotchbrite scrub, and did a bunch more cleaning on the glass all around. There's an almost tree-sap like substance on the inner side of the glass. A lot of it has spots with runs, like it condenses on the glass then melts and runs down. Started with a razor blade, then decided to try a solvent - alcohol. That's the ticket - dissolves most of it right away, and the larger spots take some rubbing. Anyway, the glass is in really good condition.

I took the '55 out for a drive to remember what's this all about...

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Cleaned up...

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Battery out...

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Edited by Eric W
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Throttle was stuck on the carb, so no point in leaving it on the engine.

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Started taking things off of it. Used the shop manual for the clues to some things. Lots of words, but it makes a LOT more sense when the hardware is right there.

post-92541-143142150998_thumb.jpgGot the throttle working nice and smooth. The float was stuck. Got that unstuck. Other parts were stuck and/or gummed up. Got it pretty well cleaned up. Now need a gasket set / rebuild kit. Was considering sending it to a rebuilder, but this hasn't been as hard as I thought. Probably got that thought from just reading the shop manual before getting the thing apart on the bench...

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It's really not that hard when you have all of the parts laid out in order and follow along in the manual. I rebuilt mine (identical to yours) and I had never even taken a carb. off of a car at that point, let alone rebuilt one. Mine works great. One thing I wish I had done though is to have painted all of the bits and pieces before I put it back together. Eastwood offers a gold carb. paint. From my research and from what I saw on my original carb. these Carter's were plated with a gold-ish coating with silver-ish plating on the linkages. Hope you took lots of pictures. If not, let me know. I took a ton and I can send them to you if need be. Here are some scans I got somewhere of a Carter rebuilding manual for these carbs too. Maybe it will come in handy for you. Good luck!

EDIT: By the way, if you do decide to take on the rebuild yourself and you want to take apart the throttle plates on the base of the carb., please let me know. I have a tip for you that could save you from making a big mistake like I did!

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Edited by shadetree77 (see edit history)
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Thanks for the Carter doc - I'll check that out. I was debating whether I should go for the touch-it-once strategy as in get it all to final desired finish, etc., or the get-it-going strategy of making it functional but not necessarily as pretty as can be. Going down the TIO strategy had me looking at the soda blaster rig from HF, then the Eastwood coatings you mention, etc. I'm leaning towards getting a blaster at some point, but maybe not now.

Today I'm leaning towards get-it-going. Clean off the mud dauber nests and rodent hair, general metal brush & solvent sort of clean, but not to bright metal. Taking that to the point of getting it running, it would look maintained, but not restored.

I wasn't going to take the throttle plates out now, but yes, I would like to know how to do it. Those little screws are "staked" pretty strongly - like they hit them with a slotted screwdriver 3x, or maybe with some sort of star-shaped punch. They don't look like they would come out easy - more like strip the heads or just break the heads off. Then what?

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IMO, if the throttle valve shaft moves freely and has no play I would not take the plates off. Clean and soak to remove grime. Make pretty. Put it back together.

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....more like strip the heads or just break the heads off. Then what?

Exactly my friend. Then what? Then you take your throttle plate assembly to a local carb. shop and get charged $100 (seemed a tad bit high) for them to drill out and re-tap your screw holes. D'oh!!!!!

Very observant of you to notice that they were staked. You'd be surprised how many people I've talked with that had no idea. I always try to warn people. In my case, I had no idea what a staked screw even was. I had never heard of "staking" a screw. Guess that practice kind of lost popularity when stuff like Loctite came around. Anyway, I FORCED mine out (you can cringe now) which mangled the threads. Then, I tried to get a "new" screw that I found at the bottom of a junk drawer to go back in there and promptly broke it off. Yep, completely "screwed" myself over on that one. So I took it to a carb shop and got "screwed" a second time by the shop owner to the tune of $100.

I have since learned that you must GENTLY grind down the ends of the screw flush with the surface and then remove it. Also, and this is just as important, you must get replacement screws from a carb. shop. Those screws are specially made brass screws. Much tougher than your average junk drawer screw. When you put them back in, use Loctite. Don't try to stake them again. Although, Chris has an excellent point above. Don't do this if it's not completely necessary.

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Eric, I am glad you are happy with the car. I tried to be as honest as I can in describing the car, although I only had it it a short time. What I knew is that it was all there, and the rust was only on the surface. I didn't think it would take much to get it back on the road. Keep us posted on the progress. I enjoy it.

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Neat car, enjoy........

Now if it were MINE, I would drop a 502 in it, clear coat the body, rebuild all the suspension, and get my kicks when I am gassing it up, and people start asking questions. Then LIGHTEM up as you head up the on ramp.

I'm happy for you, DO IT YOUR WAY.

Dale in Indy

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Any hints on getting the fiber gaskets off the carb? Got the paperwork done. Guess they made the plate in '77 and haven't needed to make more since. Real copper, all the way through.

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Guest BJM
From my research and from what I saw on my original carb. these Carter's were plated with a gold-ish coating with silver-ish plating on the linkages.

EDIT: By the way, if you do decide to take on the rebuild yourself and you want to take apart the throttle plates on the base of the carb., please let me know. I have a tip for you that could save you from making a big mistake like I did!

Robert, do you think it was painted or is that metal without paint. In other words, if a carb was bead blasted what would it's original texture/color be? I can't see Carter painting a carb but I may very well be mistaken.

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Guest BJM
Any hints on getting the fiber gaskets off the carb? Got the paperwork done. Guess they made the plate in '77 and haven't needed to make more since. Real copper, all the way through.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]210425[/ATTACH]

That's a nice looking historic plate.

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Robert, do you think it was painted or is that metal without paint. In other words, if a carb was bead blasted what would it's original texture/color be? I can't see Carter painting a carb but I may very well be mistaken.

From what I've been told, the carb. was originally plated with some type of special gold-colored metal coating. As were the linkages, albeit with a silver coating instead of gold. I can't remember what those coating were called. Cadmium and zinc maybe? I really don't remember. They weren't painted originally but you can find some paints on the market now that mimic the colors of the original plating. They don't last forever but they are a good option for someone that's not doing a concours restoration. Of course if you are doing a high dollar resto. you could always send them off to a metal plater to be re-coated. Most of these carbs have lost their original plating over the years and if you dip it in cleaner it loses 100% of it. Under the plating is a dull grey metal.

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Need to add another photo. The disassembled photo above is maybe a bit more than halfway there. Took apart the starter switch & cleaned that all out (in the main butterfly valve casting of the carb). Took apart the choke - man, a lot of soot in there. The float bowl - the photo above was with it soaking in mineral spirits. Got some B-12 chemtool to really get the sticky & residue out. Chose B-12 from the carb cleaner shelf because it had the most dire-sounding warning label. So it's got to be good, right? Ordered a rebuild kit. Probably have half the stuff that I bothered to clean off in it. Cleaned off the gaskets from all the housings. No magic here - just a zillion little scrapes with a knife + some of that B-12.

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