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1949 Buick Super Sedanet (56S)


Wilf Sedanet
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As John was saying about tire sizes, there are also other things that affect the speedometer. My experience has been that most of these speedo's aren't very accurate, I don't know if its' just old age, or if something else has been changed over the years. Tires are a good place to start, as the modern tire sizes are different from the old ones. 

 My two oldest cars, the '41 Roadmaster and the '56 Roadmaster speedo's were always out by quite a bit, esp. the '56. I first had to have that one rebuilt and the shop which did the work, "Scott Speedometer Service" in Michigan promised me that it would be accurate, and now it is as accurate as the modern cars. Then a couple of years ago the one in the '41 needed a rebuild and I sent it to the same place and when it came back it was nearly dead on as well.

Keith

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Very nice new pictures,in my opinion that is the best looking Buick ever made,that will stir up some members but I think a lot would agree,stunning and odd at the same time especially from the rear,although my Riviera comes in a close second for oddities.Nice work,keep us informed. 

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21 hours ago, JohnD1956 said:

So your temp gauge does not move at all?  Those can be rebuilt, but I imagine they are hard to get out.   Also, are you sure a head bolt is broken off?

Nope, the gauge does nothing. They are filled with a gas that expands when hot so any leak or kink renders it useless. A NOS one is quite expensive indeed…

 

The bolt is not broken off but is missing a gap. Like the apple logo on a mac computer the bolt has a round gap at the first bolt of the exhaust manifold. 

 

I guess when I want to do anything on the engine I'd be better off with a new head or engine altogether. 

 

Good point about the gauge! Although the wheels do no seem so much smaller the height of traditional diagonals is quite high of course. This would also explain the high revving engine and why I do not dare push it over 80 on the gauge; this would be quite fast for the car if the wheels were original. 

 

At first I was thinking slippage of the automatic could be a part too. So maybe I need real high tyres on the car or just drive real slow…? :P 

 

@RivRider I'm with you on that! The '49 Super sedanet ticks all the boxes of great design. Thank you Mr Earl! The '46-'48 Roadmaster sedanets are great too. Because of the longer back the 46-48 look best as Roadmaster and the 49, because of its sleeker design, looks best as a Super. 

 

Please notice I'm highly biased and subjective regarding this matter ;) 

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Today I had to spray paint Roadkill style (anything better than driving in base paint all the time). It was a dry day so I wet the floor to keep the dust to the bare minimum. 

 

I also checked the tyres today. I've got El Dorado Golden Fury GFT P225/75 R15 right now. I cannot find the correct bias tyre size in mij workshop manual and owner's manual but I read somewhere the correct bias should be 8.2 on 15". Is this correct? Then 65 on the gauge would be 60 IRL. It's actually more 50 IRL right now though.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Lately driving became more and more noisy. The sound is a bit like a cardboard cutout clipped to your bike, rattling on your wheel spokes. The rumbling part of that sound, not the high pitched part. 

 

It it sounds as if it is coming from the tranny, or at the back of the engine. It doesn't seem to go away in N but I only tried to put it in N a split second while driving since the blocking pin from P already starts to tick whilst trying to go from D to N while coasting. 

 

I made a video with the sound as the focal point. The speedometer is also in the picture. Good to know beforehand: the MPH are wrong. In reality this is the case (first number is speedo, second is real speed):

 

30 = 20

40 = 30

50 = 40

65 = 50

75 = 55

80 = 60 

 

 

Does anyone recognize the sound and can lead me to the solution? Should I worry much?

 

The tranny is full of ATF and doesn't leak. 

Edited by Wilf Sedanet (see edit history)
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Hi Ben, thank you for your advice. Do you reckon that could make this horrible loud noise? I will try that next time I get it out of storage. I already have a new cable laying around, maybe I should finally install it already. 

 

By the way, I failed to mention that the sound of the rumble on the video can only be heard when listening with good ear phones or a full range stereo as it is a looooow rumbling sound (one feels the vibration), so playing it on a phone or laptop with built-in speakers may probably make people go: "So… what is wrong exactly?" :)

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Smart thinking there, thank you! 

 

While this low rumbling sounds and feels much more coming from right next to (and a bit in front of) my right leg and I can also feel it a bit in my steering wheel, that could be very misleading because of how the torque tube is coupled to the tranny; all those vibrations can easily travel 'upstream' into the Dynaflow. I completely overlooked that point myself.

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  • 5 months later...
On 27-4-2017 at 5:16 AM, Wheelnut said:

That rumbling noise sounds like the rear end.  Remember you said it was dry and making a scraping sound before.

 

We finally came round to checking it all. Your suspicion was certainly right but it wasn’t the only thing wrong: the Dynaflow wasn’t properly adjusted on the inside. After adjustment and test driving the extreme shake and shudder was gone but the noise stayed. So we went back and again removed the axle and looked inside. 

 

Inside the axle the bearings were stuck and the ring and pinion have battle scars…

 

So now I have to try and find a new axle or ring and pinion. At Bob’s Automobilia there is a set for 40-48 series 50 but not for 49 series 50. It will be a tough find I fear…

 

Some pics of the worn pieces:

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  • 5 weeks later...

I hope the transplantation will commence next week. In the meantime I’m trying to do some small side projects. 

 

Besides a diy radio rebuild (to modern class D and a diy sub in the trunk - no bone shaking bass just a small extra to make the double bass intelligible) and the temp gauge project (on hold right now) I needed to tackle the rusted out reverse lights. 

 

I am by no means a restaurateur and since I have no time for patience it will not be a sight for connoisseurs. I have dunked the housings in rust remover multiple times and managed to disassemble the internal housing as well. After that a lot of filing and sanding ensued and even some soldering and painting. I had some hammerite grey laying around so grey it is, for now at least (had to stop the rust process).

 

future plan is making a diy led for it. Why diy? Because I dislike multiple leds and white colors. I want it to look as original as I can with the added benefit of led longevity, safety and ease. A COB led of 3000k will be the goal. I will make a few installation changes; extra fuses and a custom resistor changing thingy (maybe those inline glass fuse holders) so I can run the led with 6 volt now and 12 volt if I ever switch over in the future. 

 

Please note: the HG rust remover is quite dangerous. Although it smells like cola it’s a bit more dangerous. Please wear protective goggles and gloves when using this stuff.

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Wilf, though these are not too common, the axle parts from 1940 to '55 will interchange, so you don't need one from a '49. You would likely want one with the similar, or even taller ratio, so a '49 to '55 Dynaflow car might work well for you.

Hope this helps you a bit.

Keith

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Actually I’ve bought one already from a very nice and trustworthy gentleman on this forum and he shipped it in a very well built case. It arrived here very fast. The reason I did not share this yet is because my buddy who owns a garage did not think it would be here so fast so there’s another car on the lift. As soon as that one is finished we will start on mine and I will share the pictures. 

 

What I have bought is a complete third member from a 1950 Buick Special with Dynaflow. It has a more relaxed ratio of 1:3.6 in stead of 1:4.45. This will make driving on our highways much better (from 4000 to almost 3000 RPM).

 

Previously I have refurbished a speedometer because mine was jammed. That new one was way off; when I drove 60 MPH it told me I was doing 80 MPH. That’s a difference of 1:1.33 and going from 1:4.45 to 1:3.6 is a difference of 1:1.25 so the speedometer probably came out of a Buick with a 1:3.4 ratio, or it came out of a 3.6 as 8% deviation has been in use for liability issues for a long time. After the swap when I drive 60 the speedometer will tell me I’m doing around 64. Sounds perfect!

 

I hope this isn’t too mathy :D 

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Tomorrow work continues on cleaning the axle housings and getting ready to assemble everything again. 

 

At home I have been busy thinking out the radio project and checking how the cleaned up backup lights will look and fit. I am very happy how the glass cleaned up (actually one is NOS, the other is original).

 

Also I was hoping to use the original volume knob for the new amplifier but my pricey Fluke multimeter finds the resistance off the charts quite fast; it starts at 80 Ohms, a slight turn (a few degrees) goes to 900 Ohm, then in to kOhm and then all the rest is OL (open lead) so resistance is off the charts. Both potmeters have this. I don’t know if this is age or the completely different voltages and resistance tube amps have. The on/off switch part works like a charm though. 

 

Disclaimer / reminder: I did not ruin my own original non functioning radio. That one is still in tact sitting at home. The potmeter and radio housing / parts were bought on eBay. That was a gutted radio for sale for 5 bucks. 

 

 

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Edited by Wilf Sedanet (see edit history)
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Today was quite fruitful. I’ve cleaned the torque tube housing further, degreased it and gave it some paint. Same for the brake … uh … hats? :D 

 

My buddy tried to make the lock work again in the left door but a previous owner did some botch work on the latch mechanism. There was some strange welding going on and there is no locking action (the lock and knob does go down with the key but the door handle opens the door even if it is locked). 

 

He also set the door straight (it was sagging a bit) so it slams shut like a safe again. Very nice!

 

 

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Thanks Tom!

 

By by the way, I forgot to mention: My mechanic buddy has checked the third member, cleaned it (little work as it was pretty clean), changed out the bearings and put it back together. I took days off last Friday and Monday to help with cleaning and painting which gave him 2 days of extra time. He changed out the wheel bearings, races, brake parts and expects the car ready to be driven again by the end of the week! :D:D:D 

 

I have been smiling every day since the third member had been shipped over and now I have worked on the car so extensively these last days I really feel so connected with it and am really happy that it is all coming together so fast and easy. Some credit where credit is due: Bob’s Automobilia for being as close to a one stop shop as can be and pont35cpe Tom for the third member and axles (which we are also using as they belong together). Tom, I really cannot thank you enough for your willingness to help out a fellow Buick owner by shipping the parts to me, fast and in a well built crate. My mechanic was also pleased to see the well thought of crate and the perfectly useable parts. 

 

I hope I can test drive it this weekend without salt on the roads as it is getting colder. My mechanic did say I need to take it out first and drive it before we take on new projects like changing out all wiring (I have a painless kit waiting to be installed) and some small pet peeves (antenna, interior leak around wipers, temp gauge, lock, front seat is too high et cetera). First: drive it and get the feeling of it again. :)

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Okay so I’m amazingly excited right now! Sorry for the lack of pictures but the Buick was finished today and driving it make me forget everything around me :P 

 

Wheel bearings, brakes and the rear end were replaced and the driving experience was unlike I’ve felt before. Smooth, quiet and with a correct speedometer. It drove 80 MPH effortlessly. I didn’t even notice it that I went so fast. 

 

Again many thanks to Tom for shipping an excellent third member and axles. The new gear ratio is really a blessing, it’s really a blessing and I wouldn’t trade it back for the world. The comfort and silence (low revs) are ideal, perfect for European cruising. 

 

In short: YES!!! :D:D:D 

 

One small detail that may be noticed by the Buick connoisseur: my mechanic couldn’t find and remember how the back plate should be installed. So maybe the fill plug is not on the right spot. IIRC it should be in the middle, lower, in stead of off center…?

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Congrats Wilf, I can almost see your big grin reflecting in the rear view mirror. Most back covers have a raised portion that lines up with the ring gear, I see yours is smooth. Actually you are one bolt off, cover needs to be moved clockwise one bolt, then oil level will be to bottom of hole. If you drive down a rough road and hear a sound like the ringing of a bell, it will be your emergency brake cable hitting the torque tube(the U-shaped piece of metal).  By the way great leather jacket with the picture of your Buick on the back..   Tom

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Tom, I will let my mechanic know about the back plate. I will bring the Buick round after the first 100 miles to check nuts & bolts. On the other hand it doesn’t bother me a lot right now. 

 

I’m not sure what material was used for the brake lines. My previous mechanic was a big fan of cunifer but these were placed by my current mechanic. 

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Not only that, the engine will last longer over the whole board. Also driving becomes that more smooth and luxurious. These are no muscle cars after all. 

 

When we ride out (as in the top post pictures on this page) we usually drive to meetings that are between 20 and 70 miles away, mostly highway miles. We tend to cruise around 60 MPH but it’s nice to have some top end still left. With the previous gear ratio the engine was revving as if it was doing 80 MPH when in fact we were going 60 so that was no fun at all. 

 

(Bonus: a short film and picture of how we ride out to shows in The Netherlands)

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Edited by Wilf Sedanet (see edit history)
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On 11-11-2017 at 6:08 PM, 2carb40 said:

Nice job! Are those brake lines copper or do they just look like it in photo?

They are indeed copper. 

 

By the way, when parking in its spot I had to go back and forth a few times. When changing from reverse to forward it made a metallic sounding clunk/click/ping that reminded me of the sound of an universal joint with a bit of play. 

 

Strange thing is that before and after parking (where I had to constantly change gears) the sound wasn’t there. 

 

My mechanic suspects it is a bit of play in the spider gears but he could not see in the workshop manual how to get play out of these parts. 

 

What is the wisest thing to do? Is it something urgent? 

 

My tranny is not 100% too (it already wasn’t but not the rest of the drivetrain is so much better it is more noticeable). Reverse ‘chatters’. It will pick up grip and lose it intermittently at slow speeds and when releasing the gas pedal it will brake on the gripping part, standing still. In the D the car is almost impossible to drive on a 4 column mechanic bridge; to overcome the steep climb I have to rev it up quite a lot. In the L it will grip better. 

 

There is no knowledge about the Dynaflow on this part of the pond so I must hope it will hang in there for a while. I suspect the brake band of the reverse is out on its way. The D however I am not sure about. Is that much slip inherent to the design of the tranny or should it be able to drive up a small steep ramp normally in D?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Winter is coming so I’m starting some small in house projects. I am currently refurbishing an old clock, planning to turn it in to a digital one without gutting too much of the clockwork inside. I will share some pictures of the internals and how I removed different parts. 

 

Only part I cannot remove is the arms. Maybe because I am too anxious/gentle but pulling on them doesn’t work. Does anyone know how to remove the arms without breaking them? :)

 

Another project is a working temp gauge, for which I also want to use the original face with a home made stepper motor solution (based on the X27 switec used in modern GMs). For this I want to use a modern temp sensor in the place where the broken cappilary tube is screwed in (back of the engine). Is it true that the original tube retaining bolt is 1/2” NPT?

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On ‎11‎/‎21‎/‎2017 at 3:11 AM, Wilf Sedanet said:

 

On ‎11‎/‎21‎/‎2017 at 3:11 AM, Wilf Sedanet said:

By the way, when parking in its spot I had to go back and forth a few times. When changing from reverse to forward it made a metallic sounding clunk/click/ping that reminded me of the sound of an universal joint with a bit of play. 

 

Strange thing is that before and after parking (where I had to constantly change gears) the sound wasn’t there. 

 

My mechanic suspects it is a bit of play in the spider gears but he could not see in the workshop manual how to get play out of these parts. 

 

What is the wisest thing to do? Is it something urgent? 

 

My 56 will make that noise, especially after it is warmed up.  The main thing I do is try to remember to get the engine to it's slowest idle speed ( mine is set for 500 RPM) before putting it into any of the gears.  But it still will make that noise.  The next thing I do is try to let up on the brake a bit as I am putting it into gear. The car will move a bit but that noise is greatly reduced, although not eliminated.  BTW, I have had my car AND this issue since 1975. I did drive it to Flint Michigan from NY twice, and to Sandusky Ohio once.  I use it a lot around town now and have put 800 miles on it this summer alone.  So I would say just monitor it for now.  And if it seems less harsh when the engine is not fully warmed up yet,  I would do what my brother always advises " drive it till it breaks, then you will know what it was."

 

On ‎11‎/‎21‎/‎2017 at 3:11 AM, Wilf Sedanet said:

My tranny is not 100% too (it already wasn’t but not the rest of the drivetrain is so much better it is more noticeable). Reverse ‘chatters’. It will pick up grip and lose it intermittently at slow speeds and when releasing the gas pedal it will brake on the gripping part, standing still. In the D the car is almost impossible to drive on a 4 column mechanic bridge; to overcome the steep climb I have to rev it up quite a lot. In the L it will grip better. 

 

There is no knowledge about the Dynaflow on this part of the pond so I must hope it will hang in there for a while. I suspect the brake band of the reverse is out on its way. The D however I am not sure about. Is that much slip inherent to the design of the tranny or should it be able to drive up a small steep ramp normally in D?

 

This sounds like it's possible your trans fluid is down a pint.  But keep in mind that the "dynaslow" insult may have been earned in the early generations of these transmissions.  In Drive (D), you may well need to give the car more gas to move it up a steep grade, especially if you have no momentum at the start of the hill.  Low (L) is a different band in the trans, and is meant to help with this situation.  However the L band will not automatically come into play when in D.  You should not feel bad switching to L manually to get up that grade.  Just practice first so that you do not pull the lever into Reverse(R)  while moving forward.  There should be a deterrent to pulling the car into reverse, but it's not going to be a fail safe lock out of that action.

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You're welcome Will.  It always makes me shake my head when people jump into a rebuild of the Dynaflow.  There was a fellow here who bought his 49 in Georgia and drove it several hundred miles to our area.  Then he thought the trans was going, apparently because of a clinking noise while driving, although he never actually said that.  So he takes it to a trans guy who, unfortunately, I recommended.  This trans guy proceeds to yank and rebuild the trans without prior approval and then whacks the guy with an $1800 bill.  Now the guy is pissed at me, and it still "doesn't seem right" to him, then the trans guy retires and goes out of business. 

 

One day a year or two later I happened to be behind him on a tour and I pulled him over.  I asked for a rag, and I crawled under the car and wrapped the parking brake cable where the grommet was missing in the cable support on the torque tube.  He was amazed!  I was disgusted!  What a way to beef a retirement plan.

Edited by JohnD1956 (see edit history)
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  • 1 month later...
On 08/12/2017 at 10:05 AM, JohnD1956 said:

One day a year or two later I happened to be behind him on a tour and I pulled him over.  I asked for a rag, and I crawled under the car and wrapped the parking brake cable where the grommet was missing in the cable support on the torque tube.  He was amazed!  I was disgusted!  What a way to beef a retirement plan.

 

I had that same experience driving my Limited with the parking brake cable bouncing against the torque tube. Didn't find out about it till I bought my Special and had to use the parking brake due to the parking pawl not engaging. 

That rubber grommet was worn out on both cars but... I noticed the clicking sound disappear one day by chance when I pressed on the parking brake to see if they were capable of stopping the car proving indeed that they were "Emergency" brakes. With the tension on the cable, the clicking disappeared.

 

Once I replaced the grommets they were quiet and then only had to check the fluid levels due to the typical Dynaflow gasket leaks. ;)  Cheaper to replenish than a rebuild which at that time was quoted at $300.00 for just labour to remove and replace... then add the rebuild costs.... 

Too much money for an 18 year old!

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  • 2 months later...

The seasin has begun so I’ve made some miles with Rosetta. 

 

Rosetta is the name my girlfriend gave to the Buick because Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s music befits the car real good. I later found out Sister Rosetta Tharpe also loved Buicks.

 

Anyway, Rosetta will need some extra attention because the radiator is slowly retiring itself so despite beginning of the season she will be worked in soon. Some other things will be done at the same time. Lowering the seat will be one of them. I guess the previous owner, who had redone the interior, had heightened the front seat because he was as tall as the car. With my 6’2” this makes driving a literal pain in the neck. 

 

Another thing is the left door lock. I can use the key but I can open the door regardless. Also the hinge is sagging and bites through the paint. 

 

Now I found some parts that can maybe solve the problem but before I buy I’d like to get some advice. Do I only need springs or do I also need the hub? In other words: can the hub be the reason the door hinge is sagging or is that only a spring issue (I guess the hub grips the hinge)?

 

Springs will set me back $65 but with the hub I’ll have to pay $140 so I’d rather know before I buy stuff I don’t need. 

 

See pictures below.

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