Jump to content

Recommended Posts

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.

post-92541-143142118358_thumb.jpg

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.

post-92541-143142118371_thumb.jpg

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?

post-92541-143142118375_thumb.jpg

post-92541-143142118089_thumb.jpg

post-92541-143142118101_thumb.jpg

post-92541-143142118367_thumb.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

post-92541-143142118416_thumb.jpg

Edited by Eric W
additional comment (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

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!

post-75106-143142118437_thumb.jpg

Edited by shadetree77 (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites
...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

Link to post
Share on other sites

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).

Link to post
Share on other sites

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...

post-92541-143142144947_thumb.jpg

Edited by Eric W
Added photo (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

post-92541-143142144959_thumb.jpg

post-92541-143142144951_thumb.jpg

Edited by Eric W
added photos (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

post-92541-143142144963_thumb.jpg

Edited by Eric W
added photo (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

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...

post-92541-143142144969_thumb.jpg

Cleaned up...

post-92541-143142144974_thumb.jpg

Battery out...

post-92541-143142144977_thumb.jpg

Edited by Eric W
added photos (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

Throttle was stuck on the carb, so no point in leaving it on the engine.

post-92541-143142150994_thumb.jpg

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...

post-92541-143142150988_thumb.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

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!

post-75106-143142151003_thumb.jpg

post-75106-143142151014_thumb.jpg

post-75106-143142151023_thumb.jpg

post-75106-143142151033_thumb.jpg

post-75106-143142151042_thumb.jpg

post-75106-143142151052_thumb.jpg

Edited by shadetree77 (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

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?

Link to post
Share on other sites
....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.

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Link to post
Share on other sites
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.
Link to post
Share on other sites
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.
Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yay! Another '51! (See my thread on Bringing Back Dad's '51). According to Pop (who bought the Roadmaster I'm working on new in '51) those rings for the bomb sight hood ornament were often broken off by guys who used them to make bracelets for their girl friends. Don't know how that would work out as I haven't looked at it close enough, but Dad was always very protective of his and watched for hoodlums out to impress their "chicks". That what he says anyway, and he was there at the time!

Anyway, gonna be fun watching another '51 being saved.

Tim in Bovey

Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Good to know. Interesting. I would agree a high quality paint would suffice for 99% of us and would not cause a point deduction. One could argue, that modern high quality paint would be superior to original cad plating. I also thought Eastwood offered Cadmium paint.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Decided to try cleaning up some screw heads and other little parts, since I'm waiting for the rebuild kit.

post-92541-143142165845_thumb.jpgScrew heads clean up pretty nice, and quick too. Did this hold-down clip on the starter switch as well.

post-92541-143142165849_thumb.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Did about all I can think of on the carb while waiting for the rebuild kit. Will post the source info for them when I see how the kit goes, but they are supposed to be one of the largest suppliers of vintage carb parts. A little more $ than some, but not by much.

Pulled the hood completely off. Was switching the open side from left to right and the right release cable broke. On closer inspection, the cable had been hanging by just a strand or two for a while now (big fray near the forward end of the cable). At least the left side had 1 more "open" left in it, so it wasn't too hard to pull right side lever by hand with the hood open to the left. With my father-in-law's help, we set the hood on the roof (on some blankets - wouldn't want to scratch the rust - uh, disturb the patina).

Started removal of the fuel/vac pump. Going to get that to Then-and-now for rebuild as the difference between the parts kit price & their rebuild service isn't enough for me to do the rebuild myself. They'll get it cleaner and know what they're doing.

Though access to the pump on the engine isn't so great. Any hint how to get the fasteners that hold it to the engine? Is this one of those things that is supposed to be in place before the engine is on its mounts?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Using a crowfoot on an extension, got the pump bolts loose enough to angle an open-end wrench in there, then finished them off by hand. On the plus side, here's some evidence that this engine does still have some blue on it.

post-92541-143142183263_thumb.jpg

post-92541-143142183249_thumb.jpg

post-92541-143142183254_thumb.jpg

post-92541-143142183259_thumb.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Carb sitting back on the manifold. Taking it one circuit and passage at a time, I got every needle & check valve cleaned out. When I first started, I didn't know what all was in there. The check valve for the acceleration pump over-fill was a little tricky. At first, I didn't realize there's a ball in there. Then I didn't realize there's an extremely fine spring in there with the ball... But I think I got it all back together ok.

post-92541-143142183281_thumb.jpg

post-92541-143142183271_thumb.jpg

post-92541-143142183277_thumb.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted this last night but the Syrians decided to erase it :mad: so I'll try to remember what I said. Here goes.

Regarding your fuel pump, I'm beginning to wonder if Buick mixed and matched the pump types across the various models. According to the service manual there were two types of pump. A smaller type to go on Specials and Supers with the 263 engine and a larger type to go on the Roadmasters with the 320. When I removed my pump it looked very similar to the one you have. I sent mine to Then and Now to have it rebuilt. I then found out that it was the incorrect type for a Special. Then and Now graciously traded me for the correct pump. Anyway, the Roadmaster pump was supposed to be a slightly more efficient pump in that it had an "air dome" attachment that better regulated fuel flow. But mine (and yours) have had the air dome removed and a fuel fitting installed there. The end where the fuel fitting should be has been plugged. Then and Now informed me that this pump would work with my 263 as long as the pump arm had been retro-fitted to work with my engine (which it had been). In the end, I wanted to go for 100% authenticity so I opted for the correct type.

If Buick did not mix and match fuel pumps, I wonder if the original owners of these cars got sold by shady mechanics into buying a larger "more efficient" pump? Little did they know that in retro-fitting the "more efficient" pump to fit their cars the mechanic removed the air dome thereby rendering any improvements nonexistent. Just a little something I've been wondering about and seeing your pump on there has shown me that it was a common practice one way or the other. Here are some pictures showing the two types of pump. The first one is correct for our Specials and the second shows the Roadmaster pump.

post-75106-143142184778_thumb.jpg

post-75106-143142184782_thumb.jpg

post-75106-143142184783_thumb.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Robert for the heads-up. My car is piling up some evidence that it's been worked on at some point. The pushrod cover on the right side has hi-temp (red) RTV bulging out, and the thermostat fittings were also sealed with red RTV. The reducer fittings in the photos of the fuel pump also have red RTV from when they were serviced or added. I will take a closer look at the fuel line to see if it's been re-bent. The group of 3 lines (vacuum, distributor advance, and fuel) that are clipped together along the top left side, across the front, then down the right side of the engine look as though they've always been together. But there isn't much to say they originated with this car.

On the plus side, when I took the upper heater line loose from the pump, there's still coolant inside the defroster. So it's possible the under-seat heater, trans cooler, and defroster are all still holding fluid. I haven't opened the bottom of the radiator yet to see what falls out, but there's some ominous looking green flaky build-up on the bottom third of the radiator (to let me know where to expect the hole)...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking at the fuel line - it doesn't look like it's been re-bent. May have been replaced, but the clips that hold the 3 lines together look original (3 clips, very tight). Studied Robert's engine photos - looks like I'm missing the clamp at the top end of the breather tube - that would explain the piece of wire I found between the tube and the battery hold-down bracket - the wire was keeping the breather tube from falling down. Here are the thermostat housing parts. Smaller one was ~30 hours in vinegar. Larger one was ~36 hours or so. Is this about the level where POR15 would work, or should I soak or wire brush them some more?

post-92541-143142190834_thumb.jpg

post-92541-143142190827_thumb.jpg

post-92541-143142190831_thumb.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks - I don't have a can of coating that I'm just burning up to get on some metal (yet). I'm working on a blast setup. I'll just set these aside until I can run them through that. At this point my tool collection is specialized to working with new aluminum, not old steel. But that will be changing. New aluminum? I had been making airplanes until recently. Here's the one I sold that got me into the vintage automobiles:

post-92541-143142190947_thumb.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...