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1949 Buick Super Sedanet (56S)


Wilf Sedanet
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I don't know the condition of the frame exactly but the previous owner said there were a few chassis mounts rusted out. I haven't assessed the situation myself yet. But you know how strict the Dutch DMV is so they should be in orderly fashion.

That's why I also will need new lights (sealed beams have almost always horrible light image), new gaskets (leaking exhaust manifold) and check carb (CO and NOx). Also I am wondering if a non functioning speedometer will pass the test. I guess it can when using a tomtom or something as speedo.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Does anyone have good experiences with these conversion kits? I am actually not thinking about converting to 12 volt but I do need an electric motor. It's a bit insane to have vacuum controlled wipers; one needs them the most when driving down the road, when vacuum is at its lowest. Maybe using a 12v converter?

http://www.classicbuicks.com/12_volt_electric_wiper_motor_conversion_kit.html

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Wilf,

Congratulations on getting the 49 started! Beautiful car! My 49 had an exhaust leak as well, but due to loose nuts holding the exhaust pipe to the manifold. Have you checked those? I did not convert my system to 12 volt - it does not need it. The sealed beam lights work well and the starter produces enough torque to start the engine.

Concerning the vacuum wipers, mine work well. Buick augmented the manifold vacuum with a vacuum pump to compensate for loss of vacuum during acceleration and increased pedal going up hills. My wipers did not work at first, but I traced the problem to an open in the vacuum lines, which also caused the hesitation I experienced at initial acceleration. Once I replaced all vacuum lines, the problems went away. The systems on these cars, from drum brakes to vacuum wipers work well when properly adjusted and all components are intact.

I am hoping you get the DMV certifications completed and get on the road soon! The 49 is superb on the road and people love it!

Geoff

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Hello Wilfred,

First congratulations on your Buick 49. I was reading your story and it seems I have similar problems (speedo, battery, solenoid switches...) on my Buick 49. Then I saw you are

situated in the Netherlands (I live in Belgium) and thought it might be interesting to interchance our experiences. I will surely follow you on this forum and if you want to get in touch

don't hesitate to contact me.

Johan

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 5 weeks later...

Hi Wilf,

Any update on the 49? Did you sell the DeSoto?

I made a new engine wiring harness for my 49 and had a body shop paint the dash and all interior metal parts (they did a great job at a reasonable price). I am cleaning the instruments before installing them and hope to have the dash in and the car running this weekend. I will start a thread on the project in the next few weeks - I took a lot of pictures and notes.

Geoff

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks Geoff!

Bob has sharp prices too, I saw a copper gasket from BEST on eBay that cost $60,- but I guess this is the same..?

http://bobsautomobilia.com/shop/exhaust-system/exhaust-manifold-gaskets-copper-eg-360c.html

i really do want the best one (best as in most good, not a brand name per sé) because I want to do it once and good. :)

i also have have to think about how to get the engine running on its own when cold. Right now I need to idle it in neutral for a good 5 minutes before I can drive or else it will stall. Is this a mere choke problem I can fix with adjusting the choke/carb or should I order some more stuff in advance? The carb looks rebuilt (in the not so distant past) so maybe the components are good but not tuned..? I already had to adjust the idle screw because it was running quite high when idling hot.

Oh man, how I'm longing to get this car perfect and road legal now, YEAH!!!

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Wilf,

I know what you mean! I began the process of removing the engine/instrument wiring harness and dash in March. I should have it back together this weekend and on the road after almost 5 months. Too much travel and other things to do, plus, I was learning as I went through this project. I am happy with the results though.

I agree with you concerning good parts - they do not cost that much more and the job is done once.

Regarding the problems with the engine, have you checked the vacuum lines to make sure the system is closed?

Geoff

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I haven't checked vacuum yet but it's a good point to start as I noticed the wipers weren't really enthusiastic.

Shipping costs of the gasket are more than the price of the gaskets so now I'm thinking of ordering more stuff to compensate shipping costs. What will be a must? A seal for the torque tube (I read a lot about ATF entering the diff) or a carb kit, just in case.?

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I've been tinkering with the Buick yesterday in a free time slot I had in between projects (paid work). I wrote down and photographed as much as I could about all things I want or have to repair / swap. Luckily it's not really much but enough to order some parts at Bobs Automobilia.

I also looked in to any vacuum leaks and I found a loose vacuum hose running from the wiper engine into the cockpit through the firewall. I connected it again. It didn't help much though. What happens when the engine is cold is this: The engine will start quite easy but it will slowly slow down until it stalls. That is except when one gives a bit of gas just before stalling. It will then, again, slowly turn slower. This ritual takes up about three minutes until the engine is warm enough to idle on its own. Then I can put it in gear and drive.

I have to say that the exhaust manifold is leaking really, really bad so maybe that has something to do with it too (as in the same time the engine warms up the leak also becomes less; at first the engine sounds like someone hitting a piece of hardboard with an iron hammer, after a while it sounds more like a sowing machine (leak is still there but less).

Then there are some other small things:

- I cannot lock the doors

- The left door hinge is hanging a bit and the mechanism engages late, thus carving into the laquer of the door. It's also a bit damaged. Are these hinges one side only (left different than right) or can I just buy one?

- The hood latches on the hinging side (any witch way) sometimes pop out, scaring the sh#t out of me since the hood is then balancing on the center pivot

- The Dynaflow fill tube is a bit loose

- The battery pole will sometimes not handle starting -> The original braided negative cable to the engine is quite green so I'll swap it to a thicker, modern shielded cable (sorry purists).

- The antenna cannot be fully pushed in (last segment is bent) -> I'll order only the three segmented antenna at Bob's

- The foot brake seems to be defunct

- The speedometer is stuck at 49 MPH

- The interior mirror has major craquelé; when looking in it one tends to think it's a classical painting in stead of a safety device. I don't know if it's the original. Can someone show me how an original looks like (Google does not help)?

- The radio does not work -> I was thinking about updating it to FM, but that won't last long too since nowadays there is digital radio and analog FM is disappearing, just like AM did. So maybe I'll go the digital radio route, or only use the original radio as a tube amp, hiding an iphone input and building into it a basic digital radio receiver. How I'll go about this I will think of later as this is the least important part of the car; the engine sounds like music when that is running as it should.

- The glove box can only be opened by putting in the ignition key and pushing inwards. I cannot turn the key though. Should there be another key, should it be possible to open it without the ignition key?

- The battery isn't hold down by anything

- The clock doesn't work. I would like it to work but preferably with a backup battery so I can safely remove the battery without freaking out the clock (with the original clock one has to go through a long procedure until one can rerun it - I would like to be able to remove the negative every time I park (with a knob).

All these things are, I believe, quite easy to fix and I'm looking forward to do just that.

Edited by Wilf DeSoto (see edit history)
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Cool, thanks! It's the same as mine. Except for yours looks a lot more like a mirror. ;) I've read it's possible to resilver the mirror (professionally). It may be costly but buying an old mirror is too and it's harder since the original design is hard to find. And since I love all the details the designers put in to these cars I do not want a billet repro from china or india that looks cheap and out of place.

By the way: The body plate is probably not original since the rest of the car really is verde green beneath the new paint job and the new paint also is found on the bulk head, and guess which part is the only one there without any paint? Right, the body plate. So it's a verde green car and the body plate is a fake, probably from a donor sedanet some time in the past, seeing the body plate also says the car is from Kansas but the VIN says it's from Flint.

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Hi Wilfred and Buick friends

I'm driving a 1949 Buick Super Convertible, assembled in Switzerland after 2ndWW by GM Biel. Lately I'm encountering problems with the starter/solenoid. However, all 6 volt cables have been replaced by new ones so it's not a question of electrical power. If I press the starter button you hear the typical 'klick' sound but the engine doesn't start, only after the 5th or 10th attempt. On the other side, the engine sometimes starts right away.

Do you have any idea what problem it may be? Or should I replace the starter and the solenoid? And where can I get both parts in good condition?

Greetings from Berne, Hans

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Hello Hans,

It does sound like the starter engine does not get enough power or maybe the starter motor is dying a bit (or the solenoid is stuck). My buick sometimes has the same but I still have that woven minus cable (will be replaced by a 50mm2 tomorrow) and the resistance of this flimsy cable corrodes the battery posts. When I clean them again it will fire right up.

I also had start up problems in the beginning. The starter relay on the carburetor (which one engages with the foot) was a bit stuck from sitting still. But if I read it correctly you have a starter button installed? That makes it somewhat more difficult to diagnose since the system is not stock. It could be the starter relay too.

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I have removed the mirror because it was not working anymore. I have cleaned all parts and it looks much, much better now, only I really do need a new mirror glass or refurbish this mirror glass because it's too far gone.

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Here it is in parts, cleaned:

post-98358-143142674813_thumb.jpg

I also cleaned the air filter. I was empty! When cleaning I got a suspicion why: There is a screw in the bottom of the bowl. I don't know if that's stock or that someone thought it was a great idea to make the draining easy, but it is leaky so I have to think of a good solution for it (maybe fluid gasket?).

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Some time ago this probably was the washer fluid system… Could this also affect vacuum of the engine?

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I also tried to remove the clock and radio but I wasn't sure about the right way to remove everything (isn't really clear in the work shop manual). I did remove the knobs and the four screws below the face. But what should I do/remove next? Can the wire in the radio, just like the antenna, be removed by pulling it out? I didn't dare to pull too hard. I thought if I removed the big screws on the left and right the radio should be able to be removed, right? And the face, how is it still stuck?

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The last thing I am still wondering about: I bought the telescoping piece of the antenna but how can I remove the old one and install the new one? It looks like there is a pin in the base of the telescope, but is that a pin one can pry out?

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Thanks Wilf

We will move out the starter and the solenoid next week and have a close look.

Your dashboard is identical to mine so it's great to know that someone has almost the same car not too far away from Switzerland. I'm member of the Swiss Buick Club but couldn't find anyone with a 1949 Buick.

Question re Forum: How do I post a thread so everyone can read it?

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Please bear in mind my reaction was purely from experience the last ten years with old american cars and the reasons why they wouldn't start. :)

To post a new thread by yourself you can click on "Post new thread" above the forum. I don't know if one has to earn rights to do this like on some other forums.

Today I installed the new minus cable made by Specialpartz (a supplier from The Netherlands). The cable is very flexible. I also worked a bit on the ventilation ports, I tried to lubricate the cables because the ventilation button doesn't close fully when pushing in. I also lubricated the hood hinges and reinstalled the cleaned air filter. The engine started and ran very very fast and like a champ! It cranked even before the starter engine could finish half a turn!

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On a slightly down note: the blinker lights stopped working. They worked yesterday. I cleaned up the fuse and the relay pins but it didn't seem to work. I hope it's just the relay.

post-98358-143142676318_thumb.jpg

Edited by Wilf DeSoto (see edit history)
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Yesterday they made a mirror for me and I assembled the whole thing. Upon installing I noticed they used the wrong thickness even though I explicitly told it. Luckily the glass was 1mm too thin so I solved this by placing another piece of cardboard in the back of the mirror. When reinstalling again I did chip the silver layer a bit but it's mostly hidden from view as the chip is behind the holding clip. So it's not perfect but it is road legal and looks like the stock part. In the previous pictures I had already cleaned the chrome (which was very dull but after cleaning became a better mirror than the real mirror) so the improvement of the whole set seems less dramatical but the difference is big!

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Edited by Wilf DeSoto (see edit history)
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Does anyone know the exact sizes of the oil drain plug gasket? One can buy a new oil drain plug with gasket at Bob's but his shipping costs start at $40 and Rockauto has $22 shipping costs, so that's both a bit steep. When ordering a few more parts at Rockauto they also calculate different shipping costs for different storages (which I find absurd - it's their company, I'm dealing with them - I should not be paying for their different storage locations) so a few gaskets and oil drain plug, worth a few bucks, adds up to $120 shipping costs.

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That sounds like so much cost (mostly shipping) for just an oil plug gasket - I would just take the plug to your local auto parts store next time you have it off and have them size up a new one. If the oil isn't ready to be changed, I might just drain it into a collection pan, get the new plug gasket, then put the oil back in. Nice job on the mirror - that looks really good! (My cars need this job as well...)

My car runs ok (1951 263 engine) with vacuum leaks. I know because the windshield washer hose is hanging down by my feet, and I can put my finger over it to close it off and the engine doesn't know the difference.

Sounds like the ground cable made the difference for your engine running.

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The biggest problem is the intake and exhaust gasket for to get it running properly now. The engine actually never ran very bad (except for the leaking gasket) but the extra oomph by the new cable does help a lot and prevents the sulfurisation of the pole.

The oil pan is leaking a bit at the plug and the oil smells a bit sharp (I think it's due to it running a bit rich and percolation when hot - it smells like raw fuel badly in the interior when the engine is shut off when hot). So I'd rather have the gasket before draining so I can change it directly after draining and filling up. The previous owner gave me a new oil filter along with the car so that makes it all a bit easier.

This is the engine running after it had some time to warm up (the gasket then closes somewhat better):

th_00007.mp4

Edited by Wilf DeSoto (see edit history)
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Wilf,

Clock removal: 1 electrical lead, two nuts and it comes out, back and then down.

Radio: remove electrical lead (mine was loose, so I do not know what the terminal is), antenna lead, knobs and securing nuts, then two bolts on side braces inside dash (be sure to support it when you get here), back slightly then down and out. See link to Old Car Manual Project below.

Door locks: easy, but requires patience. A hole was punched in the latch end of the inside side of the door panel for access to the screw securing the door handle shaft to the mechanism. Also, look for the 4 screws holding the latch mechanism itself. A sheet metal tab in the same area slips out and the lock mechanism can be removed (I believe the lock bezel must be removed first (2 screws)). Removing the interior door panel and sheet metal access panel allows you to reach up into the door to facilitate removal and replacement.

The lock is actuated by a tab on the latching mechanism - you will see immediately how it works. It may be broken off. I repaired the passenger side mechanism (different problem) - there is enough material to attach an improvised tab if necessary. Getting the latching mechanism back in requires patience.

Antenna: remove the interior knob and find the securing nut. Go to Old Car Manual Project ( http://www.oldcarmanualproject.com/manuals/Buick/1948-49/ ) for a detailed illustration of the assembly. Email me and I can help with a number of other things you might need.

Geoff

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Slowly but surely more parts are trickling in. I bought a spare speedometer. This one seems to work, as opposed to my original one (mileage works on the original but not the speedo). The spare one is from a 1950 and is more goldish/brownish than my original and the chrome bezel on the spare has more pitting, so now I have to decide if I will swap out the original for this one, or try to disassemble the spare, clean it and install it, or cannibalize the spare to make the original run. Any thoughts on what is the wisest decision?

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I'd go with the better looking face and bezel. It should be easy to transfer the working mechanism, once you get the indicator needle off. The difficult part might be removing and replacing the needle, depending on how tightly it is pressed on. You could also use the working spare as a reference to help you diagnose and repair the original. Try to preserve the odometer value of the original if possible.

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Thanks Wheelnut, the odometer value was indeed my biggest concern. The option to use it as a guide is very smart and crossed my mind too, I forgot it somewhere down the line I guess, thanks for the reminder.

If I looked correctly the only way to disassemble the unit is to gently pry away the front bezel, then gently disassembling the face plate and only then it makes sense to unscrew the two backing screws, right? I was thinking this because I saw that the back plate hold down by the screws protrudes inwards of the rest of the unit, thus cannot be removed by simply unscrewing it. But please do correct me if I'm wrong. :)

By the way: I don't have a battery hold down. They're for sale at Bob's, but without the hold down clamps. When googling / eBaying I cannot find any '49 hold down clamps, nor any picture of how they should look like. Only the later years are all over the internet. Does someone have any pictures of the hold down clamps?

Thanks guys, I'm really enjoying this trip to make it a full on working car again! I do have to wait for my garage to have some time for me on the bridge to change out the manifold gaskets, so until then I'm buying out eBay for all kinds of spare parts I can use.

That reminds me, one last question… Does anyone know which size (Allen?) key fits inside the antenna screw on the bottom of the base (holding the antenna in the base)? Geoff (thanks again buddy!) sent me some more information and I tried some Allen keys but because of a lack of imperial sizes (inch allens) and because I could not see if it's hexagonal or square and/or which size the antenna has not been replaced yet.

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Hi Wilfred,

Welcome in the Buick world . And a lot of packages to come . :rolleyes: I know how restoring a Buick lowers your bankaccount ..... lol..

I rebuilt (converted) a newer 49 Odo meter into a 41 . housing . Its fun to do. but don't brake the glass ...

its nice to see your progress Wilfred and we can not wait to see you driving overhere on the Dutch roads .

About the hold down clamps for the battery , there just two long bolts no clamps or nothing . (slotbouten m8 ,30cm en twee vleugelmoeren lang (in Dutch ) (sorry) ;) that will keep the battery hold down tight . just order them at your local hardware store.

cheers Paul

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The progress feels slow because I cannot do a lot to the car itself; it's not in the neighbourhood but near the garage that will make it DMV-ready and the garage doesn't have a lot of time right now. I'd really love to put on the new manifold, change out the motor oil and tuning the engine.

Thanks for your advice about the hold downs. I think I will order the hold down frame at Bob's and some more stuff (can you believe the hold down frame is $58 at Bob's and on eBay someone's asking $125 for it!). I've been sending all my recent orders (except for the speedometer) to a shipper in the US who will ship it bulk to The Netherlands. I hope this will dampen all those shipping costs.

It feels I've been completely buying out eBay. Every day I win more auctions, a lot of shelf stuff for who knows when (I hope I never have to use it since mostly these things are needed after an accident or something). But hey, I sold the previous car so I have a lot to spend :P

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Wilf, I believe that you need not remove the needle to remove the speedo from the housing - if it is like the '49, the mechanism and needle can be removed as a unit once the bezel is off. It looks very much like the '49, if not exactly the same. Also, if the bezel is like the one on the '49 it is crimped on in four places at the back and easily removed (and re-installed) with reasonable care. The mechanism would probably fit inside the '49 face.

Geoff

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If I read correctly the '49 and '50 gauges are the same. I thought that there maybe was a difference between Super and Roadmaster becuase some look silver/chrome like, some look golden. It turns out those gold looking have some sort of water or corrosion damage (but not normal rust corrosion) or the plastic that was used to seal the numbers has yellowed out or something, not sure. The bezel is crimped. But am I right when concluding I do need to remove the bezel in order to get to the mechanical part of the unit, right? It's not that removing the screws on the rear side dismantle the mechanics..?

What I've read the speedo mechanism is activated by a magnet, so maybe I can get the original one running again. Since the original unit is nicer and the odometer and trip meter do work that would be the best way to go.

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Yes, the bezel should be removed. Disassemble the original (49) speedo to understand how the components fit. The diameter of the actual speedometer is small, the size of the black dial face to which the needle is attached. Cleaning the glass makes a big difference, but don't bother with the black dial face - gently cleaning made no difference on mine.

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Nice job on the mirror. If you still have the original you may want to consider having it resilvered now, and then installed. The Glare proof mirror is thicker at the bottom and thinner at the top which is necessary for the day/night feature to work. I did my 56's a long time ago and it was only $12.00. but I realize that it may cost a bit more today.

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