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Complete novice lady, and my '37 Buick Century


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Hello All!

Elise here. I have a very basic working knowledge of cars, picked up from friends along the way, but I am diving right in with my lovely lady. We had a wonderful ride last Saturday, and then again a couple of days ago... but that is when she revealed to me that she needed some assistance. Water everywhere upon stopping, and then after starting once, refused and sent fuel running from the carb. (I do suspect that the gent who put the water in the radiator for me may have simply flooded her, but I have been advised I should rebuild the carb).

She did finally start again after a few taps to the carb, and I rushed her home...where she dumped water all over the street again, poor girl. A friend from a local custom shop stopped by and pointed out that the water seemed to be coming from the pump and that I should begin looking for a replacement.

She is now safely in my back yard and Im now looking to learn all I can and find the appropriate parts to get her fixed up and running about again.

I am located in Las Vegas and was hoping that I might be able to find some kind gents out there who I could ask questions of. I would like to know my girl and how she operates, rather than just take her to a mechanic and have them fix her up for me, so any assistance anyone would be willing to help with would be much appreciated! :-)

I will be taking some more photos tomorrow of the engine compartment... as Ive been looking through the internet Ive seen something in photos that seem to be in another place in my car... lol ... could be I just do not know enough and am mistaken... but I hope someone out there will be able to assist, or suggest other sites that could be helpful.

'Looking forward to learning more, and already enjoying the existing posts here on the site.

Many thanks for the interesting reading thus far, and in advance for future ones!

Miss E (Elise)

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Miss E -

I just clicked on the ad that happened to be on the top of the forum page at the moment - Kanter. Which was what I was looking for anyway.

(www.kanter.com)

They have the water pump. Actually, they have 2 for the 1937's. One for the "smaller" car, one for the "larger" car. These are rebuilt pumps, but there isn't any new production for these things anyway. $179 for one, $170 for the other. So not too bad if it is the pump that needs to be swapped out. It appears as though they require your old pump as exchange, and if the old pump is too far damaged, they charge another $125. (If you got into that situation, you might find an acceptable part to exchange with them for less on ebay.)

One thing that comes up a lot for a new owner is to get a copy of the factory shop manual for your car. Since my cars are from the '50's, those manuals are on ebay all the time - either dead-tree edition or .pdf's on cd. The '37 shop manual looks fairly easily available as well. It should have detailed instructions on how to replace the water pump.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1937-BUICK-SHOP-MANUAL-SHOP-MANUAL-MAINTENANCE-BOOK-ROADMASTER-ETC-/231234869900?pt=Motors_Manuals_Literature&hash=item35d6ac1a8c&vxp=mtr#ht_359wt_1102 - here's the "dead tree" edition for $25.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1937-1938-1939-1940-Buick-Mechanic-Workshop-Service-Repair-Manual-CD-Factory-OE-/400443669411?pt=Motors_Manuals_Literature&hash=item5d3c4d7ba3&vxp=mtr#ht_1181wt_1102 - here's a cd for $26.10 (sale ends soon)

Note - I didn't even scan down all the results. There may be deals that you like better - lower price/better condition, free shipping, etc.

Searched "1937 Buick Manual"

Also see the "pre war" section of the forum for more specialized advice/help.

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Thank you so much Eric! I actually found the same site (Kanter) last night (or rather this morning, as I stayed up till 5am browsing for parts lol).

I have the shop manual that came with my girl, as well as the owners manual. I was trying to figure out how to use it without damaging it, so the larger one you showed on ebay is MUCH better IMO for practical use. I will snap that right up! Thank you for the suggestions!

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www.bobsautomobilia.com is a good source of parts

A good list of information/suppliers in post 3 of this thread (but a few links are now dead)

http://forums.aaca.org/f165/1940-buick-special-3rd-owner-1st-348876.html

Also look here http://forums.aaca.org/showthread.php?t=342274&p=1113356&viewfull=1#post1113356

Edited by 1939_buick (see edit history)
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before you jump into parts swapping and rebuilding things, It may help us to help you if we can learn a little more about your car. When you talked to the prior owner did he give you any history on the car and how/when it was last used? That information may help you to make better decisions about what needs to be repaired or replaced. For example:

If your car has been driven consistently for the last 4 or 5 years, then I would not jump into a carb rebuild. As you said, perhaps the guy just flooded it when putting water in? If it has been run consistently for the last several years I would not pull that carb unless it flooded again. If it has not been run consistently, then chances are the carb has the older type gasket materials, which are not resistant to ethanol, and indeed can use a rebuild. In such case you may also be advised to consider replacing/ rebuilding your fuel pump for the same reasons.

In any case, just in case you were unaware, I suggest that any time you put cold water or antifreeze into a warmed up engine, then the engine should be running while dumping in the coolant.

Finally I encourage you to ask any questions before tackling projects. Many of us are all too glad to help.

Good luck and enjoy your new car. It sure is a sweetheart!

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Well, I actually found my girl at a backwater small used car dealer here in Nevada. Apparently they had a sports car that someone's wife just had to have, and she made the hubby give up one of his collection in order to get it. The story I got is that the gentleman had her and a few other cars sitting out in his barn/garage there. (I'm working on getting his name so I can try and reach him to ask more questions)

Awhen she she spit up all over the other day, I had just pulled into Findlay Customs here in Vegas to talk to them about Cobra kit car they are working on for my fiancé. We let her cool down a while and then one of the mechanics took her and put the coolant in for me. When we went to leave he couldn't get her to start again. I had a similar experience after bringing her home. The next afternoon I wanted to move her off the street into our side drive and she wouldn't start for me. To me it seemed like she wasn't getting any fuel. The next evening I got a call telling me come outside. The head of Findlay lives down the street from me and wanted to help me get her off the street. Of course she started right up when I tried her again while he was there! Lol

I had him show me why they thought the water pump should be dealt with and that is when he pointed out that water seemed to have been coming out of the water pump again as evidenced by the yucky coloured spray coming from that area.

So today I went out and Took a bunch of photos so that I could sit down with the manuals and get a better idea of what is where etc.

I noted that from all other information I've found I should have a Stromberg carb and I have a Carter instead. (Hope I've got the names right! Lol)

I did discuss taking the radiator and fuel tank out and having Them all cleaned up while we pull the water pump and send it off to be rebuilt. At this juncture I'm thinking better safe than sorry. When I was taking the photos I did note that she seemed to have been hosed off and wiped down, but when looking from underneath and in the engine it was pretty evident she had been sitting some time. I found cobwebs and just general dustiness. She's going to probably need a new set of tires sooner than later. (Just too darned hot here in summer for me to take any chances )

I tried uploading photos earlier but I seem to be having difficulty getting them from my iPad to the site. Will try again later. :-)

I should also mention that the one and only gauge that does not seem to work is the fuel gauge. I was thinking to put another gallon or two in and see if maybe she had just sucked up some gunk from the bottom of the tank. I did not want to try and start her again until I added gas as I thought that if this was the cause of the starting issue I did not want to clog her up with ick.

And yes, I am enjoying this all very much!

Edited by Miss E (see edit history)
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A car rthat has been sitting any length of time needs to be looked at closely. Brakes are another item that would need to be checked as you want to be able to stop.

How are the rubber lines that fuel may go through ? Could one of them be collapsing ?

Gllad to see you saved this car. You will enjoy it a lot once all these little items are sorted out.

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Miss E -

A couple of things that may (or may not) help:

(1) This link to our website may explain your hard starting when hot problem

http://www.thecarburetorshop.com/Troubleshooting.htm#Hardstarthot

(2) Quote "I noted that from all other information I've found I should have a Stromberg carb and I have a Carter instead. (Hope I've got the names right!".

In 1937 Buick used both Marvel and Stromberg carburetors. The Marvel was simply terrible; the Stromberg was better, but still an experimental model (Stromberg couldn't convince Buick NOT to use the Delco auto choke). The Stromberg had other issues as well. Stromberg redesigned the carb in 1938 and again in 1939. By 1939, they got it right.

In 1939, Buick finally disassociated themselves from Marvel, and added Carter as the second carburetor supplier to go along with Stromberg. At Buick's request, BOTH STROMBERG AND CARTER OFFERED REPLACEMENT CARBURETORS FOR THE 1937 AND 1938 BUICKS.

If you have the factory replacement Carter, there is no better carb you could have on the car.

The following is my professional opinion of the carbs which might have been used on your car with a scale of 1 (terrible) to 10 (wonderful). Again, this is my opinion, others may differ.

1937 Marvel - 2

1937 Stromberg - 5

1938 Marvel - 3

1938 Stromberg - 6

1939 Stromberg - 8.5

1939 Carter - 8.5

And just for the record, when I was still teaching school, 6 out of 10 was a "D".

Reiterating, the Carter you have may be the best carb you could have.

Before tearing into the carburetor, get the water issue solved, and try the technique for hard starting when the engine is hot mentioned in the link.

And finally, while not my cup of tea; to my Dad, the 1937 and 1938 Buicks were the most desirable pre-WWII cars available. Congratulations on your purchase.

Jon.

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Carbking / Jon,

Thank you so much for this information! Im printing it out as I type :-) (yes, I too remember when a 6/10 was not a passing grade (Have you seen these new "report cards? Crazy!) ... and yes, I still prefer hard paper to refer back to! lol)

I do have to give credit where credit is due... Someone (or ones) along the way loved this car. Either that or she is miraculously well preserved for her age. She may have been sitting for a while, but all in all she really is "clean".

Todays project... about to get on Google and see if I can track down any of the previous owners I have been able to identify, and my uncle (previous electrician) is coming over to give me a lesson and help me figure out if we are 6 or 12 volt :-)

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I have finally managed (after several hours) to transfer the photos I've taken from my Ipad to various albums here. Please forgive me if I may have one or two in the wrong folders! lol

Question of the day... why would someone have bypassed the original and added an electronic fuel pump. (I think that is what this is... It is on the passenger side undercarriage, not far from the battery, but along the outer frame) Is this something I should consider trying to bring back to original? (Were there issues with the originals, or (someone suggested to me) could this have been a less expensive fix to keep my girl going in the event of a failure of her original fuel pump?)

Speaking of fuel... I was kindly given some information on why my poor girl may be having difficulty starting when warm. One of the possible reasons was modern fuel. Ive been told that there are additives that can be purchased to bring the (octane?) levels down to make our current gas more amenable to our classic ladies. Is this something anyone here can comment on?

post-100837-143142532163_thumb.jpg

Edited by Miss E
added fuel question (see edit history)
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Some put the electric pump to bypass a manual one. Others put them to augment the manual pump. Your answer would be found under the hood. Follow the fuel line from the carb and see if it is still hooked up to the manual pump on the passengers side of the engine. If not then the manual pump has been bypassed

If the manual pump is still hooked up you can probably cross a fuel pump replacement off your ist. The surface rust on the frame around the ground wire indicates a recent install, within the last 5 years or so. And if the manual pump is still passing fuel through to the carb then it most likely has been rebuilt in the same time frame.

As for restoring to original, i would leave it as is. It looks like a nice neat job and would be only a small demerit if you ever have the car formally judged.

Edited by JohnD1956
to make the post say what I thought it did the 1st time. (see edit history)
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I have finally managed (after several hours) to transfer the photos I've taken from my Ipad to various albums here. Please forgive me if I may have one or two in the wrong folders! lol

Question of the day... why would someone have bypassed the original and added an electronic fuel pump. (I think that is what this is... It is on the passenger side undercarriage, not far from the battery, but along the outer frame) Is this something I should consider trying to bring back to original? (Were there issues with the originals, or (someone suggested to me) could this have been a less expensive fix to keep my girl going in the event of a failure of her original fuel pump?)

Speaking of fuel... I was kindly given some information on why my poor girl may be having difficulty starting when warm. One of the possible reasons was modern fuel. Ive been told that there are additives that can be purchased to bring the (octane?) levels down to make our current gas more amenable to our classic ladies. Is this something anyone here can comment on?

With today's highly volatile gas an electric fuel pump is almost a necessity to combat vapor lock, but also to fill the carb after prolonged sitting. If functions best as close to the gas tank as possible and below the outlet on the gas tank.

There are no additives that will cure the problem. Post #9 has a link to dealing with hot hard start situations. Most of us have to modify the procedure to what works with our car, like those with a carb activated start switch which requires opening the throttle to activate the starter. Anyhow most electric fuel pumps are used on and 'as needed' basis (in conjuction with the mechanical pump) with hidden toggle switch. See if yours is replacing the mechanical or is the only one and if there is a switch...

Willie

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Thank you all so much! This forum has indeed proved to be most helpful!

I checked yesterday and indeed someone has bypassed the original fuel pump (it is there, and they took the new line right up next to it so that it appears at first to be connected).

Funny you should say that about the TV producer lol. I actually had someone talk to me about doing a travel adventure show a few years back! Lol. Too bad they never got it off the ground. I think it would have been great fun! Have to have lots of lol in life... To short to enjoy!

Yes, Toby and I do enjoy our cars! I'm a lucky lady to have found a man who will encourage me in this! He likes all the new gadgets and hot rod types of vehicles, whereas I have a love for the original classic, kept as stock as possible :-) (not that there is anything wrong with the gadgets... Like these too smart for themselves phones that auto correct and make the strangest word choices! Lol)

You saw her out there too?!? Awesome! Do you to to cars and coffee ? I will pm you! :-)

Thank you again everyone!

:-D.

Edited by Miss E (see edit history)
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Update on tracing her ownership history !

My oh my, thanks to the internet I have already started tracking down previous owner information, and even spoke to a gent involved with the car some 20 years ago! He states that at that time she had just had a new interior fitted, was running well and was in need of a paint job. He commented that she had been completely stripped down in preparation for this... When he and his partner had a falling out and have not spoken since! (Sad as they are related!). He did give me that gentleman's name and city, and I have found his address and will be sending him a note to see if he would be willing to share more information on her last 20 years, and perhaps shed some light on her past as well.

As as far as previous owners... I believe I may have also tracked down the daughter and grandson of the very first owner! I will be attempting to call them later today to verify and see if anyone has any memories of my girl ! Keep fingers crossed for me!

I may may have leads on other subsequent owners as well... Updates as I find out more! :-)

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