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Newbie...Just saying hello and seeking a little advice


Tim Floyd
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Hello everyone. Newbie here with a quick question. I recently got my dream car, 63 Riviera. I have obsessed over these cars since was 16 years old, and finally at 36 I found the car for me. The car is complete and in pretty solid shape, especially considering what I paid for it. It turns over and starts and will run on its own. Seems held back for lack of a better word? when I tried to drive it, So I have not driven it for more than a couple of yard lengths. I know the car sat for quite some time, and has the original 401 in it. It has had a valve job a few years ago according to the owner, and I found the reciept for the work. Does anyone know of a good, RELIABLE resource in or near SW Missouri that I could take the car too for a thorough look over? I don't want to hand this off to just any "Joe Mechanic". I have owned some early 60's Chevys, but the Buick is a new animal to me. Thanks!

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Welcome to the Forum. If no one posts a reputable shop in your area you can try going to a local respected auto parts store such as NAPA and ask them if they know someone who works on the older classics. I say NAPA because around here many shops use them as their primary source for parts. If you can wait until cruise/show season another option is to visit them and network with other people who have old cars. You are correct in thinking you don't want to take it to the average shop. As simple as these cars are being they've largely been absent from the roads in any great numbers for 30 years generations of mechanics grow up not having exposure to them.

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Welcome to the Riviera Forum, Tim!

You will find many helpful people here and lots of info.

I am the ROA Technical Advisor for the 1963 Riv, your new best friend. Please join the ROA.

Even if you are not doing the work yourself, learn all you can about your car. You will probably have to loan your shop manual to your mechanic.

If your car has been sitting for a while, you want it safe before you hit the road. That means a tune up, check the brakes and clean or rebuild the carb. Everything after that can be done as you have time and money. Don't tear the car apart. Drive it. Take some small thing apart, fix it, put it back and drive again. The more you drive the car, the more motivated you will be to fix more stuff.

When you have a minute, please post a photo of your data plate above the power brake booster.

Thanks!

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Welcome, I was 30 when I bought my '64 Riviera and had wanted one since I was 14.

It will be hard for you to find anyone to service and maintain the car any better than you. Buy the shop manuals and any basic mechanic books where your experience is low. Don't give your car to some local urban legend who will charge you $100 per hour to learn what you can learn yourself. Go through the brakes first, next get a needle grease gun adapter and check and lube all the driveshaft joints. Change all the fluids. Clean and check all the front suspension joints. Change all the cooling hoses and belts. Don't tear the car all apart. Don't try to do more than one job at a time. If a component needs rebuilding take it off yourself and carry it to the rebuilder. Don't leave your car somewhere for service. NEVER say "There's no hurry."

There's 36 years of Riviera ownership in a paragraph. It's that easy; and it ain't that easy.

Bernie

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^^^^

THIS!!!

Listen to Bernie!

Half the fun of owning these cars is the satisfaction of working on them yourself.

You don't have to know how to rebuild a carb. But you can remove it from the car, work with the rebuilder to get it how you want it, and then put it back on the car.

Do this component by component and you will get to know your car quite well.

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Welcome to the forum and Riviera ownership. You picked one of the most beautiful GM cars ever built, only slightly modified from a car show dream car and the last totally unique GM car with none of its design shared with other divisions. Great advice above from Jim and Bernie, don't be afraid to learn everything about your car and dive in slowly on maintenance and repairs. Anytime you hand your car over to a shop you lose control of the situation so don't go there unless absolutely necessary. Post some more photos when you can. Good luck!

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Jim,

I wish someone had given me the enjoy and drive talk when I got my car and tore it down immediatley. The good thing is after 15 years I am 1 transmission build away from being able to enjoy and drive. lol I just purchased my second resto project and I fully intend to drive it, fix little things and enjoy before doing anything major to it.

Merry Xmas

Bob

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Thanks everyone for the warm welcome, and good advice. My goal is to do exactly as some of you stated, small jobs at a time once I have studied up on exactly what I need to do, but never biting off more than I can chew. I just want a nice respectable driver that I can enjoy. I have nothing but respect and admiration for the guys that do full blown restorations with every nut and bolt new and correct, I just know for my situation, that will never be. I am just thrilled to have one haha. This membership was a gift from my Mother-In-Law so I am just learning to navigate and check every thing out. Look forward to talking with you guys in the future. Merry Christmas!

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I have a pile of receipts from Hancock Automotive in Nevada MO. left from the previous owner of my Riviera. The car had $7800 dollars worth of receipts in a two year period (99-00). The majority of which was Hancock. Everything they did is holding up (motor and tranny rebuild plus many small jobs). I know Nevada isn't super close to Nixa. And alot can change in a business in 15 years.

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Greetings Tim & Merry X to all, It's always heartwarming to see someone rescuing another one of our babies, I say our because I think most of us feel like they all belong to all of us in some little way. Hopefully one day all the Rivs will find their way into the arms of true Riv lovers. I couldn't restore mine with such fun & ease without the help of everyone on this forum,not only the really smart guys like Bernie, Ed, Jim, Etc., but even the guys like myself who ask all the right "dumb" questions. If you haven't already you need to get a factory shop manual & body manual, get your latest issue & as many back issues of the Riview as you can get, some catalogs from Riv parts suppliers like Cars Inc.,Clarks Corvair, Classic Buicks, etc.,& check out Ebay regularly. And to pass along some advice Ive gotten from more than one forum contributor,"buyer beware"…. don't buy anything questionable or expensive without checking with the forum first. Someone here may have a better deal on a part your looking for or may have had a bad experience with a supplier. Also you should get Classic Motorbooks "Buick Riviera 1963-1973"a photographic history of the Riviera for the interesting story of the design & development of your car. And if you can figure out how, send pictures & let us know how you did it. Drew"RIVNIK"

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I have a pile of receipts from Hancock Automotive in Nevada MO. left from the previous owner of my Riviera. The car had $7800 dollars worth of receipts in a two year period (99-00). The majority of which was Hancock. Everything they did is holding up (motor and tranny rebuild plus many small jobs). I know Nevada isn't super close to Nixa. And alot can change in a business in 15 years.

Hey that is a good lead and I will look into that. Believe it or not I was in Nevada yesterday cutting across from Fort Scott KS to Eldorado Springs to visit in-laws for Christmas. I will have to see if I can trace that shop down. I travel a lot for my work so I get to a lot of areas in Mo and some in KS. I like to go to the KKOA show in Salina KS every year, it is my sure thing every year for the last 4-5 years. I really appreciate the tip!!

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If anyone ever has an issue with a parts supplier or service provider that advertises in The Riview, you need to let Ray Knott in the ROA office know. He will intervene and try to sort it out. He does not want any ROA member to have a bad experience with anyone that advertises in The Riview.

Another benefit of ROA membership.

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So here are some pics of my 63 I acquired late this Summer. Hoping to possibly start devoting some time and money to her this Spring. It is a little rough around the edges, but something about the car grabbed me and would not let go. I can literally just go out and look at it or sit in it and never get tired of it. There is a lot of misc cleaning, polishing, replacing small parts etc that I have been toying around with until I am ready to start going through the mechanicals, just leaving it be until I find the right person for that job. I am not experienced with the nail head motors and would like a professional to let me know there opinion. Will get the pic of the firewall tag soon, once the holiday madness slows down.

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Nice riv-if you want to read up on your motor go to -nailheadbuick.com-info russ martin has provided on the nailheads(great info).how about a pic of body tag above your brakebooster jim asked for.Clean looking car with nice options-cast wheelcovers-powervents-etc.T.Nugent roa 12969...

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Tim, that is a great looking car, you don't have to worry about paint, chrome, or interior right away, much nicer than my car was at purchase. How many miles are on it?

Hey thank you sir! I am not exactly sure of the true mileage, but I believe it is showing around 90,000? One of the things that grabbed me about the car as the condition of the trim. Once I got the car home and REALLY got to give it a good looking over, I was shocked on how straight and brilliant the trim is. So do you currently have a Rivi at the moment? It looks like you had a list of cars going.....wish I had the space to start a collection haha. I always tell my wife that if we ever become rich, our garage will be twice as big as our house haha.

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Hey thank you sir! I am not exactly sure of the true mileage, but I believe it is showing around 90,000? One of the things that grabbed me about the car as the condition of the trim. Once I got the car home and REALLY got to give it a good looking over, I was shocked on how straight and brilliant the trim is. So do you currently have a Rivi at the moment? It looks like you had a list of cars going.....wish I had the space to start a collection haha. I always tell my wife that if we ever become rich, our garage will be twice as big as our house haha.

I sold my 63 back in 2009, I mention my departed cars in my signature because I have shared them on the AACA forum. My car had about 92,000 miles when I sold it. I did have to rebuild the dynaflow but the engine ran great. I actually bought that car because the chrome was perfect like yours, I was able to salvage the original paint but I had to replace all the seat upholstery and carpet with repros from Clarks. I also installed a new A/C system from Vintage Air.

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Hi Tim - Welcome to the forum. I too recently bought a '63 Riviera after wanting one forever, a mostly original Teal Mist w/white leather that I'm first going though with a deep cleaning just so I know what I have. Other than a repaint in the 1980s that is nicely coming back to life with some 2000 grit paper and Autoglym compounds and polishes, it's complete and has a good history file from the original owner and his family. I also have a 1960 Electra sedan and a 1967 (Series 1) Jag E-Type coupe. Being a BCA member for more than five years, I can tell you that the BCA forum is an invaluable resource when it comes to solving problems big and small, and there is a good group of owners and tech advisors here at the ROA who know theses cars inside and out. I fully agree with 60FlatTop's response - first thing I did was buy the shop manuals (available on eBay and elsewhere). I'll add that I also bought a laminated, color-coded wiring diagram from www.ClassicCarWiring.com on Rivnik's advice - thanks, Rivnik! I joined the ROA right away because clubs like this need to be supported. The folks here will save you a lot of time, $$, and frustration, and you'll get a great education as well!

Again, welcome!

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I sold my 63 back in 2009, I mention my departed cars in my signature because I have shared them on the AACA forum. My car had about 92,000 miles when I sold it. I did have to rebuild the dynaflow but the engine ran great. I actually bought that car because the chrome was perfect like yours, I was able to salvage the original paint but I had to replace all the seat upholstery and carpet with repros from Clarks. I also installed a new A/C system from Vintage Air.

WOW I absolutely LOVE that, that is a nice looking car. I love that color combo!

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Hi Tim,

Welcome to the ROA site! As Bernie, Jim and others have mentioned, enjoy your car. Do it the way you want. Members here are eager to help anyway possible. They are all fantastic people and love the Riv more than anyone else.

I share some similarities in that I've always wanted a Riv since I was probably 10. I finally got one about 4 years ago. I am doing what Jim and Bernie have suggested, by not dismantling the whole thing at once, and enjoying it all the way. I originally bought it from a museum about 150 miles from my house, and I actually drove the car home when I bought it. Obviously, it must have been in good enough condition to drive a long way.

I've been basically taking one part (or a few) at a time off and working on them. I use this forum and the marvelous people here for help when needed; and consulting all of the shop manuals and literature as necessary. My wife and children really enjoy taking drives and going to shows. This past summer, we drove it 900 miles to Lexington and back for the ROA National Meet. You don't need to have a 400 point car to show it off. Therefore, I just tell people that it is a "driving restoration". I try not to have it down for too long while a part is being worked on. I equally enjoy working on it and driving it. I think that driving it after working on a part is the best therapy.

Enjoy your car. Join the ROA. Enjoy your car. Get a set of shop manuals (paper or CD). Enjoy your car. Ask questions and post pics (we love 'em). Enjoy your car. :D

Below is the day I bought her from the museum. Love that old gas station! The seller parked it there so that I could get a nice photo shoot of it.

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Hi Tim,

Welcome to the ROA site! As Bernie, Jim and others have mentioned, enjoy your car. Do it the way you want. Members here are eager to help anyway possible. They are all fantastic people and love the Riv more than anyone else.

I share some similarities in that I've always wanted a Riv since I was probably 10. I finally got one about 4 years ago. I am doing what Jim and Bernie have suggested, by not dismantling the whole thing at once, and enjoying it all the way. I originally bought it from a museum about 150 miles from my house, and I actually drove the car home when I bought it. Obviously, it must have been in good enough condition to drive a long way.

I've been basically taking one part (or a few) at a time off and working on them. I use this forum and the marvelous people here for help when needed; and consulting all of the shop manuals and literature as necessary. My wife and children really enjoy taking drives and going to shows. This past summer, we drove it 900 miles to Lexington and back for the ROA National Meet. You don't need to have a 400 point car to show it off. Therefore, I just tell people that it is a "driving restoration". I try not to have it down for too long while a part is being worked on. I equally enjoy working on it and driving it. I think that driving it after working on a part is the best therapy.

Enjoy your car. Join the ROA. Enjoy your car. Get a set of shop manuals (paper or CD). Enjoy your car. Ask questions and post pics (we love 'em). Enjoy your car. :D

Below is the day I bought her from the museum. Love that old gas station! The seller parked it there so that I could get a nice photo shoot of it.

Hey thanks for replying, and WOW that is a beautiful car! I also appreciate you, and everyone else being so kind and giving good advice. I also especially appreciate what you said when you said "do it the way you want". I am in a good position with my car because it is far from perfect, and I am actually liking the car sporting its blemishes. I like custom cars, yet I do not have the heart to hack a classic all to pieces, or do crazy modifications. Also, when it comes to the Rivi's....What could you do to improve them?? They are gorgeous cars as they sit from the line. With my car I plan on getting the mechanical aspect gone through front to back. Do some heavy detailing/ cleaning, and switching out to possibly a chrome reverse with wide whites....maybe air bags or lowered, andjust drive and enjoy it. Maybe as I get older I may want to do a full resto at some point. I kind of live between the world of liking the all original cars, but liking the slight touches to give that personal individuality, yet not going to crazy to change an already beautifully designed car

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Tim-

Good, clear picture. Thanks. Your body was made in the 4th week of December (12D).

This is right around when the 425 CI engine was being made available.

Please look at the engine code on the top surface of the block and see if it is JT plus some numbers, or something else. I'd like to see if you have a 425.

Does the VIN on the block match the stainless steel plate on the cowl?

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To find the JT (or JW if it's a 425) here's a link to show you where the numbers are stamped - not cast - on the block. You're looking for the 'production code number' as pictured. Only the two letters are needed, the three numbers are unnecessary for ID purposes. Don't pay any attention to the text, just the top picture.

The 'engine serial number' should match the VIN for your car.

http://www.teambuick.com/reference/ident_engine_where.php

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I double checked the number on the block, and it is a JT code, meaning it is the 401 if I understand that correctly. The ID number on the block does match the VIN plate on the cowl so I believe it is the original motor. The only obvious thing on the motor that is not original is the carb, someone has put an Edelbrock on it which does not have a proper choke set up. PERSONALLY I do not know how fond I am of after market carbs. I have limited experiences with them, and have never had trouble with original/ rebuilt carbs, but HAVE had some issues with a Demon, and also an Edelbrock in the past. Everything else seems to be original, and shows no signs of anyone tinkering or tampering with things.

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Tim,

If you want the original Carter AFB with the appropriate linkage for the kick down, you should be looking for a Carter 3578. But in a pinch, probably any Carter AFB from a 401 that was backed up by a Dynaflow will work for you.

On my '64, I replaced an Edlebrock AFB with a '64 AFB from a 401 rather than one from a 425. When I compared the specs in the '64 chassis manual, the only difference I could see was perhaps .003 larger secondary jets. I don't think that I'd be able to tell one from the other. There's an AFB on ebay right now advertised for a "60's" Buick. It's for a '65 401 which has linkage for a ST400 trans w/ the switch pitch converter. The linkage would be all wrong for your car. You need a carb that works a manual kickdown; starting in 1964 all kickdowns were electric.

Ed

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I double checked the number on the block, and it is a JT code, meaning it is the 401 if I understand that correctly. The ID number on the block does match the VIN plate on the cowl so I believe it is the original motor. The only obvious thing on the motor that is not original is the carb, someone has put an Edelbrock on it which does not have a proper choke set up. PERSONALLY I do not know how fond I am of after market carbs. I have limited experiences with them, and have never had trouble with original/ rebuilt carbs, but HAVE had some issues with a Demon, and also an Edelbrock in the past. Everything else seems to be original, and shows no signs of anyone tinkering or tampering with things.

Thanks for checking. It was worth asking. My earliest known 425 engine, then, appears in a 12E car (the week after yours).

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