High Desert

My father's first car, 1957 Roadmaster Convertible, makes it to my worshop finally!

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Here is what to expect when you get the right-front quarter off.  By the way, next time you visit Denver or Cheyenne,  give me a PM, I have a decent fuel tank for a fellow 76C.   -  Dan

Thanks!

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The engine is now clean enough for partial disassembly. It was so filthy that I had to soak, scrub, and power wash six times.

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Awesome!  I am considering pulling my engine to clean and detail because the paint is so baked off.  I am short on time and space though; this is helping to inspire me!

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The engine is now clean enough for partial disassembly. It was so filthy that I had to soak, scrub, and power wash six times.

 

It may have been greasy, but it looks like it was well preserved. 

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More good news today. Early last week I contacted the Kansas Department of Revenue in an effort to discover all who owned the car prior to my grandpa. I sent them a check for $25, and they performed a microfiche search. Turns out that the car was brought into Kansas, used, from Missouri in January of 1963. They sent me grainy copies of all title transfers starting on that date. One includes the name and address of the last Missouri owner. Tonight I contacted the Missouri Department of Revenue in hopes they can help me trace the owners back to new. I'll keep my fingers crossed that they have a similar program.

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Thanks to Lancemb for selling me a nice set of 1957 wheel covers. They look great! I have new plastic inserts on order to really make them pop.

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Finally obtained an engine stand today. Once the engine was firmly mounted, I began the processes of removing the heads. I was hoping to see just the damaged distributor drive gear, since I bought a new camshaft and lifters. I found slightly larger problems as soon as I removed the valve covers. One intake rocker on the right bank was broken. The related intake valve was frozen. I saw no problems under the left bank valve cover.

I removed the valley pan to find a bent pushrod to another intake valve on the right bank as well as a destroyed lifter with pieces everywhere.

Now I will need to get the heads redone and find a replacement rocker, which I hadn't been planning on $.

Inspections of the cylinders left me optimistic about the state of the bottom end. One cylinder had slight rust, but nothing deep, and I saw no scoring in any.

Here's my theory of what happened to this engine. The car sat long enough back in the 60s for the fuel to go bad. Dad,or someone, tried to start it with the bad fuel and coated the intake valves thoroughly with old fuel in the process. It didn't start, so he gave up for a few days, weeks, or months. During that time the old fuel froze two intake valves into the guides. The next time he tried to start the car, the pushrod bent and parts from a damaged lifter flew into the distributor drive teeth, breaking them. The pushrod on the other stuck valve didn't bend, but broke the rocker instead.

This would also explain why the carburetor was so frozen up even though it appeared pretty clean on the inside.

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Edited by High Desert (see edit history)

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It will be interesting to see if you find more evidence of that.   Hopefully you can salvage the guides since, as it has been widely reported, the original guides are already hardenend and it is not a good idea to replace them.

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Don,

Your theory about trying to start the car, leaving it for some time after soaking things down internally with gas (fresh or old) and not starting may indeed have been the start of the troubles. How do I know?

That is exactly what happened to my 58 Limited! I put the car in storage in running condition and the building owner where it was is a car guy. He liked my car and at times started it up thinking it would be better for the engine and keep the battery up. Guess the very last time he tried it she would not fire and he just left it and didn't bother to tell me.

Mind you this was over about a three year period by the time I was ready to get at the car. However, had he told me what had gone on, I would at the very least have gone out, pulled the plugs and poured oil into the cylinders and down the open carb to coat things!

I had to remove the motor and dismantle it in order to get things moving again. Fortunately, I do not have quite the damage you are finding but has put off driving what was only a 57,000 mile car......

Good luck on yours. LOVE THE LINES!

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... it has been widely reported, the original guides are already hardenend and it is not a good idea to replace them.

John, I have never heard of this before.  Can you explain further or references.  Maybe start a new thread to avoid hijacking this one.

Willie

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John, I have never heard of this before.  Can you explain further or references.  Maybe start a new thread to avoid hijacking this one.

Willie

I assumed he was talking about the valve seats, which I understood were already hard enough to run unleaded without replacement and replacement isn't recommended anyway due to the likelihood of cutting into adjacent coolant passages during the machining process. Aren't the guides made of iron?

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Did I call this wrong Willie?  Last I remember the talk on this site was that the guides were made with high nickel content and compatible with unleaded fuel.   

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Technical discussion and knowledge is available from; http://nailheadbuick.com/

Also, a trip to Colorado may be in order.  I have a couple of assembled '57 engines and one dissembled.

The replacement valve guides should be cast iron.  Don, you are right about the valve seats.

 

Dan

 

'57-76C "Bertha"

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I was considering stopping teardown at this point. I was cleaning carbon from the tops of pistons and doing my best to keep cylinders clean and lubricated in the process. I noticed that two of the pistons weren't scraping the cylinder walls clean on the way down while rotating the crankshaft. In my mind this is an indication of stuck rings, so teardown continued. Sure enough, cylinders 3, 5, and 7 had stuck rings. 7 had 2 stuck rings.

The main bearings showed signs of contamination, with the 2nd from the rear being the worst. The rod bearings didn't look too bad.

The pistons are in good shape, so I'm thinking I'll check the cylinders for out-of-round, give it a good honing, and install new std rings.

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Edited by High Desert (see edit history)

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Are you pulling the core plugs to rinse out the water jackets?

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Are you pulling the core plugs to rinse out the water jackets?

Yes, though I am more concerned with the oil passages.
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Wow, too bad about all that valve train damage but it sounds like you're on the path to getting it right again. It'll be great if you can reuse your pistons in the original bores. Please keep the photos coming.

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Are you sure you don't want to just replace the one piston? I have even seen NOS ones out there if that is easier.

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Are you sure you don't want to just replace the one piston? I have even seen NOS ones out there if that is easier.

 

 Unless you intend to drive it a LOT, I agree with lancemb. You can always rebuild later, if needed.

 

  Ben

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Are you sure you don't want to just replace the one piston? I have even seen NOS ones out there if that is easier.

 

That's a good idea! I was planning on checking the weight of each before reassembly anyway. If I get another piston, I could adjust the weight of it or the others so they all still match.

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Some photos of my broken piston. This may have happened during removal since I didn't remove the cylinder ridge first. None were difficult to get out, but who knows.

I also have been working to free the severely stuck manifold valve. It finally budged tonight, and now moves freely. It was able to take a little more heat than the carburetor butterflies. Seems like stuck things are theme with this car.

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Regarding that heat riser valve, may I ask if the slot on the end for the spring aligns with the plane of the butterfly? 

 

Thanks

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