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Morgbass

ROOKIE ALERT, 1951 Buick Special

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Good day everybody, I am really happy that I discovered this group. I have been following a number of threads, and have learned a lot. Some of the journeys that these vehicles have traveled to get where they are is truly inspiring. Unfortunately, I am a stone cold rookie, so I won't be able to offer much in the way of new wisdom. I hope it is okay with you folks, but for a while at least, I will be asking for help much more than I will be able to offer any. My story starts with my first purchase of a 1951 Buick Special off Ebay. The seller turned out to be a great car guy, and I ended up with an awesome deal. Unfortunately, there were some issues with transit. I contracted Alpine Auto to ship her from Knoxville to Port Gibson, MS. She left Tenn. on 8/13 and was due to be delivered the next day. However I got a call from the driver that he apparently hit some road debris in Birmingham, and had to wait till the next day to have repairs done and was going to be delayed. He got back on the road on the 14th, and I started to get excited again. I learned, Never get excited till you see her coming down the road. That evening I got another call from the driver, telling me he broke down in Mathiston, MS, and parked the trailer with my baby in a restaurant parking lot while his truck was towed to another town 30 miles away for repairs. To make a long story short, the dealer took till 8/21 to get the truck running. To top it off the driver was out of state, and by the time he got back to his truck, it was too late to deliver the truck that was on the trailer behind my 51. Delivery was finally accomplished on 8/22. (Of course, while she was stranded, I drove 3 hours to see her and took some photos that I am having difficulty uploading.) Thanks again for your time, I'll be asking questions very soon.post-96049-143142163531_thumb.jpg These are photos I captured off Ebay, I don't believe the seller will mind.

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One more thing, I am a little embarrassed by the steller condition that I am starting at compared to some of you masters out there starting from a rusting hulk. My goal is to take her to the next level for the purpose of a daily driver, with some minor modernization.

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Greetings. Looks like you did the right thing buying the best car you can find. Do not fear that this will be looked down on by this group. There is great value instarting with a beautiful Buick like yours. Good luck with this 51. Can't wait to see more pictures.

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I am a little embarrassed by the steller condition

MORG, no, it's us who should be embarrassed to have started with junk, when we all know that "the right thing [is] buying the best car you can find". This is one suh-weet Buick! Fear not, it will provide lots of opportunities to skin your knuckles and scratch your puzzled head, in the process of achieving dependable roadworthiness. Ditto on more photos, please. Pretty sure this is gonna be real eye candy for us.

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Cool car. Great story. Are you a member of the BCA yet, I would encourage you to join.

Your car is from the era where there are MANY experts to help you out.

Frankly, a so called rookie could probably give quite a few of the rest of us some wisdom!!!

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Thanks Rob, I'm already scratching my head over the electrical system. It's easy to become accustomed to the little things that always work, until....

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Thanks Wildcat, is that the Buick Club of America. I just found it after your post. I'll definitely sign up, along with Team Buick. I am really impressed with the character of people you have on these sites.

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One more thing, I am a little embarrassed by the steller condition that I am starting at compared to some of you masters out there starting from a rusting hulk. My goal is to take her to the next level for the purpose of a daily driver, with some minor modernization.

Beautiful car! Might we suggest getting it roadworthy and enjoy for a while before thinking modernization?? You May decide it is fine just the way it is.

In another post you mention electrical problems. Care to expound? Bet we can help.

Enjoy

Ben

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Ben, you're not the first person to advise me to hold of on any modernization. My thinking along those lines is mainly for safety issues like the brakes, and the suspension isn't very forgiving. The more I drive it the more I lean away from that decision, because I'm getting used to the quirks of how it handles. As far as the electrical issue go, when I first got her off the trailer, she turned over slow but fired right up. I drove around for about 20 minutes, and noticed that the volt meter would jump from normal to charge and back again. Very seldom was it consistent, even when I did not change speeds. Later that evening the headlights were very dim and the running, brake lights, and turn signals were hardly visible. I attached a 6V-6A charger and left it on for almost 24 hours. When I came back it was still pulling 3 amps. I cranked it up and the starter spun up a little faster. The turn signal indicator on the dash flashed and the lights were better but not sufficient in my opinion. Rear lights still not very visible and blinker slow. Now, some of these things may be normal for a vehicle built in 1951, and in that case I may look to modernize, strictly for a safety measure, because I plan to have her on the road. Anyway, I put her back on the charger for another 23 hours, with only a 20% improvement. I'm probably just dealing with a bad battery, but I didn't realize the lights were so dependent on a fully charged battery to work correctly even when being driven.Tomorrow I have a buddy coming by with his meter to help me check out the battery, generator and wiring as far as we can. As a novice, I want things working properly, but the process is just as fun.

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Hello and welcome to the forum! Beautiful car you have there sir! I'm looking forward to more pictures as well. You'll find plenty of ready and friendly help around here. My car wouldn't be where it is today without the help of the guys on this forum. By the way, I wonder if you might do me a favor when you find the time. I would like to see some close-up pictures of how your exterior sun visor is attached. Specifically the middle bracket in the area of the radio antenna. I seriously considered putting a visor on mine before and from what I understand it takes a special bracket that fits around the antenna. I've seen pictures of the bracket but I've never seen a picture of the bracket installed on a car. By the way, if you're still having trouble with your pictures uploading perhaps they are too big? Try going to the following link for help with that. Good luck with your car and I look forward to seeing more!

http://forums.aaca.org/f115/re-sizing-pictures-forum-use-355876.html

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Your battery may be bad. But just as likely is corroded connections. Pull the ground cable , both ends, and clean well. Then pull the positive cable, both ends, and do same. Replace cables. Starting at the Generator, do the same. By the way, the positive battery cable should be as large as your thumb. You may have a 12v cable, which can not carry enough amps.

Enjoy

Ben

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Welcome, Morg

Ditto on what FirstBorn said; plus taking a simple points file to the the

contacts in the regulator can do wonders sometimes .... esp. if she's

been sitting a lot.

Bullet proof grounding is Always a necessity, too!

Lastly, a thorough inspection/cleaning of all electrical connections

has the side benefit of enlightening you on how all this stuff works!

Have fun!

mike

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Thanks First Born, Roadmaster75, The process will start in earnest this evening. Last night after work, I cranked her with ease and drove around for about 45 minutes. The charger had been on for another 24 hours. This morning the starter was sluggish but it started and ran well. I took the long way to work to make sure it got up to running temp. Now as I was trying to run an errand, I get nothing, not even the normal winding up noise. The interesting thing is that the voltmeter showed it charging as I drove to work. First Born, the positive cable does not look near as substantial as you suggest. Unfortunately I will have to wait to get it home to start pulling and cleaning. Shadetree77, your post is one that got me interested in this group. Looking forward to page 36 and so on. Hopefully these photos will help.

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post-96049-143142165013_thumb.jpg

post-96049-143142165027_thumb.jpg

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Looking forward to page 36 and so on. Hopefully these photos will help.

Thanks. Me too! :) The photos are great. Exactly what I wanted. I've seen that bracket before and I could imagine how it might fit but as I said, I've never gotten ahold of any actual pictures of it installed on a car. I've had quite a few guys ask me about it too. Now I can provide pictures. Thanks again.

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Well, I'm back after a long weekend out of the area. As far as my electrical goes, I tested everything under the hood. The battery was reading a solid 6.3 volts while off, and 5.8 while cranking, and 7.8 while running. It appears the battery and the generator are okay. After messing around and eating supper however, I tried to restart the vehicle and got nothing. No lights, no gauges, nothing. We discovered that the quick release on the negative pole was creating some issues so I took it off and attached the ground directly to the battery pole. Since then no more problems. The tail lights and blinker are still a little dim in my view, but they work. I have also noticed that it appears to be starting a little better. Not saying much, but the starter doesn't feel as if it is dragging like it was. I drove her about 30 miles, one-way to do a little shopping, and after my second stop, I noticed the temp gauge almost pegged in the hot. I know there is no auxiliary fan, so I took a chance and drove her to get the air flow, and she cooled down to just above the Normal range. From a layman's perspective, I imagine that big old cast iron block retains a lot of heat, which explains some of the rise in temp, but it didn't feel normal. The coolant level is normal, so the question is, is the increase in temp after stopping normal, and if not, how can it be corrected. I have gotten into the habit of letting her idle for about 30 seconds before shutting it off, not knowing whether or not it is helpful. (boy, I use "normal" a lot)

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EYE CANDY-Rob McDonald [ATTACH=CONFIG]212486[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]212487[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]212488[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]212489[/ATTACH]The interior photo isn't real clear, but the gauges and radio glass is spotless. You can't tell from the photos, but I was running out of light, and I don't like using a flash.

Shadetree77, the more I look at that bracket, I'm not sure that the visor is mounted to factory specs. It appears that the visor is too far out to couple directly with the center bracket. [ATTACH=CONFIG]212492[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]212493[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]212494[/ATTACH]

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I am glad it is better. You do not say if you pulled the battery cables and cleaned them. And the battery post. Really well. If not SHAME on you. And the large cable is really necessary. Not an option. Cheap fix.

I have driven my '50 many miles with the original brakes. Work for me. Stops well. Suspension is original. There is a procedure in the shop manual for checking ride height, effectively proving spring condition. Mine, with 96000 miles, are well within the specs. The sway bar will probably need new rubber bushings. Just a few dollars. My King pins were even ok. Surprised me on that one. But I had to replace nothing else. Nothing. These Buicks were[are] known for their ride. I doubt you can improve on that.

Your car. You Will do as you wish. I just hate seeing you, or any one, spending money that in all probability will not improve anything.

The overheating. Pretty normal. Radiator may be, probably is, dirty.

Now, replace that small 12v cable , if that is what you have, with a large 6v cable. Clean all connections and check back.

Enjoy

Ben

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As for the over heating, can you clarify:

Were you driving the car and noticing the temp guage in the hot zone?

Or

Was the car turned off and you noticed the temp guage went into the hot zone?

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I think I know what he means John. My car did the same before I got the radiator professionally cleaned out. Tell me if this sounds familiar Morg....you start the car and go for a drive and the temperature is fine. You pull in somewhere and shut off the engine. When you come out and start the car the temp. gauge is right above normal or thereabouts. You go down the road and she cools back off. You make another stop, come back out and start the car and she's pretty high above normal. Going down the road cools it off somewhat but it remains higher than it should for the rest of the trip. Upon returning home you shut it down and the gauge promptly pegs. Any of that sound familiar? If so, I'm sorry to say but you're going to have to pull the radiator and take it to a shop to be rodded out and/or cleaned. I also had to replace my water pump and thermostat and flush out the block. You wouldn't BELIEVE the crap that came out of my engine. Ever since, she runs as cool as a cucumber. There are several other things that might be able to put a bandaid on the cooling issue (new fan with more blades, installation of an electric fan, taking out the thermostat, etc.) but I really don't suggest those. Bandaids don't last forever.

Also, make sure that you take your radiator to a reputable shop. I had a very bad experience with a shop in my town. They tried to screw me over to the tune of $300 by trying to say that my radiator's core was bad and needed replacing. Long story short, after weeks of delays, excuses, and differing stories, I ended up going to get my radiator and discovering that they hadn't even LOOKED at it let alone tested it. I took it across town to another shop that rodded it out and said it worked just fine. Cost me around $40 I think.

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EYE CANDY [ATTACH=CONFIG]212486[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]212487[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]212488[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]212489[/ATTACH]

MORG, your photos aren't coming in. The ones from a couple of days ago, of the visor, are fine but these show up as Attachment212486Attachment212487... etc. Not sure how to fix that, except to suggest uploading the images from your Desktop, rather that from an outside source, like PhotoBucket. No clue if that's how you did it but I've seen it cause problems previously.

By the way, there probably are no factory instructions for mounting a sun visor. If Buick had thought they were a good idea, they'd have built the cars with an extended roof. I've never seen one in a Buick brochure and no continental kits, either. Lots of dealers slapped them on, due to customer demand, but I suspect they were all after-market accessories.

Of course, an owner can bolt on whatever they want but, in my opinion, old cars can rarely be improved from the way the factory built 'em. That goes for fuzzy dice, too.

Edited by Rob McDonald (see edit history)

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Rob, what a beautiful car! I'm working on a 52 buick super, and having a ball!!! I got mine running this past weekend, but when I saw sparks coming out of what I think is the volt meter....and radiator fluid out of the defroster core...figured I better upgrade a few more parts before I even dream about driving her! Not much time online, but hope to keep up with your thread.....she is beautiful my friend!

Dale in Kentucky (Dale's Buick)

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