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pplaut

1936 Buick Special Model 48 Victoria Coupe

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Has anybody replaced the front end with a more modern front end?

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Why would you? I found that when I rebuilt my front end, including doing the shocks, that it drove just fine. Switching to better brakes might be nice but I'd still keep the rest of the front end.

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You might do better posting on H.A.M.B., or similar modified car sites. This forum is pretty much about preserving cars as they came from the factory.

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There are a LOT of MODIFIED car guys on this SITE. There is even a Modified section.

Yes, most discussions are on purist cars, but you are welcome here.

Dale in Indy

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OK, HAMB, OR the Buick Performance/Modified Forum. I didn't mean anyone isn't welcome, just that another forum might yield more constructive responses.

There are a LOT of MODIFIED car guys on this SITE. There is even a Modified section.

Yes, most discussions are on purist cars, but you are welcome here.

Dale in Indy

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Thanks guys- I was going to do an original restoration, however, people around here to told me to upgrade some of the items to make it more driveable. I do want to drive the car... a lot. I am taking it apart piece by piece in my garage having everything cleaned and epoxy primed.

However, here are my concerns, based on conversations here... :)

The engine has cast bearings and rebuilding it will cost a small fortune. Drop a small block V-8 in the car.. My concerns, the speedo and guages won't work anymore.

Me. The straight 8 is beautiful. It does run.. but I think I need more horsepower to pull the car around and add things like A/C upgraded 12 Volt electric, etc.

In a nutshell. I want a reliable, safe car, that can safely travel highway speeds.

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I appreciate you helping me find the answers, i am looking for.

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Jeff- Thanks for your reply. I have stared at the front end of this car for several days.. I think not modifying the suspension is the way to go. I have a shop manual ordered, but I am having trouble getting the old shocks off to get get them re-manufactured. Do you have any clues? Thanks!

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I really really love the look of this straight 8. All I hear is it will cost a fortune to increase the horsepower and that the engine will not last very long because of the bearings, pistons will have to be hand crafted, etc. Keep me from getting to discouraged.... :)

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Don't be discouraged! If you want a good driver, there is no need to swap engines. The straight 8 is not a horsepower engine. It is a low rpm high torque engine. Parts are not outrageous in price. Call Egge and ask about part prices. Do you know if you need to rebabbit the bearings in your car? Rebabbiting does have some higher costs. The engine properly set up and maintained will easily hold up for 80,000 miles. Your biggest issue is the low rpm, high rear end gear ratio. These cars were designed for 40 to 50 mph cruising. to run at interstate speeds means spending $$ to change to a lower gear ratio, add a 2 speed rearend or more gears. Check with the inliners web site about hot rodding the inline engines.

Babbit bearings are not as bad as people that only know insert bearings would leave you to believe. They are adjustable, dependable and in many ways very forgiving. The babbit bearings will absorb large amounts of dirt without failing and are not as critical on dimensions. Modern filters and lubricants have gone a long way to adding to the 8's dependability. Plan on improving ignition and carburation for increased reliabilty and performance.

Bob Engle

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Don't be discouraged! If you want a good driver, there is no need to swap engines. The straight 8 is not a horsepower engine. It is a low rpm high torque engine. Parts are not outrageous in price. Call Egge and ask about part prices. Do you know if you need to rebabbit the bearings in your car? Rebabbiting does have some higher costs. The engine properly set up and maintained will easily hold up for 80,000 miles. Your biggest issue is the low rpm, high rear end gear ratio. These cars were designed for 40 to 50 mph cruising. to run at interstate speeds means spending $$ to change to a lower gear ratio, add a 2 speed rearend or more gears. Check with the inliners web site about hot rodding the inline engines.

Babbit bearings are not as bad as people that only know insert bearings would leave you to believe. They are adjustable, dependable and in many ways very forgiving. The babbit bearings will absorb large amounts of dirt without failing and are not as critical on dimensions. Modern filters and lubricants have gone a long way to adding to the 8's dependability. Plan on improving ignition and carburation for increased reliabilty and performance.

Bob Engle

I do not have the engine apart yet. I do know it is a 320. Based on the length and where the engine serial number is, aft of the distributor. There are 80k on the speedo. The engine runs, but I cannot test under load. I can check compression later today and post back. I have looked at electric over drive as an option.

I appreciate all your help.

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How would I know how bad the bearings are?

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How would I know how bad the bearings are?

Welcome to the wonderful world of automobile resurrection ! I don't have much of a feeling regarding the condition of your old car , and what other work makes sense in general , or to you specifically. Pictures in , out , and under would help tremendously . But I gather you are treading new ground here. That can be a very rewarding path. So , what one does with an old engine just purchased is to determine condition. An essential step is to pull the pan and check for , analyze and clean sludge. While you are checking the basement , pull a few caps. A couple rods and a main to begin with. I am an old Cadillac guy , so I invite an old Buick guy to advise as to which main to pull first. If they look real good , very little pitting , scuffing etc. next step is to plastigage to determine clearance. Your forthcoming shop manual will give you the acceptable clearance range. If all is well within tolerance and looking good , zip it up. If things are looking a little questionable , but still within tolerance , you may have to pull all of them. Sounds like this may be your first time down under , so why don't you seek out a friendly member to show you what to look for . It is relatively easy and straightforward. But you really should check. Sometimes you can get galvanic erosion from acidic oil which can eat bearings if an engine has sat for many years with dirty oil . Sometimes it can damage the crankshaft. Now look , if your engine is O.K. why not just make the car safe and roadworthy ? That includes totally going through brakes . And I mean TOTALLY ! Everything completely rebuilt and the lines replaced , unless you know for sure that it has been recently done . Enjoy that old Buick and drive it as intended for a while. It might well cruise at 55-60 . A Cadillac that year sure can , and more. But certainly lots of owners of similar cars can give you the info. If you need to overhaul the engine , talk to a Buick tech advisor. Most OHV engines can fit taller pistons , raising the compression ratio. That would restore some of the power lost by modern higher octane gasoline. Tech guys : can the compression be raised up to 8 or so ??? Do you do this routinely ? Sure wish I could get my old '20s Cadillacs up there ! But they are just singing the old flathead stinky exhaust blues. They would love a drink of 45 octane , just like they were designed for. I think most , if not all of us understand this , but if some(one) among us would like this fleshed out , I would be happy to do so. Where are you, friend ? Sounds like you could use a fellow member looking over your shoulder from time to time . I am in Seattle . Very best of luck to you , Carl

Edited by C Carl
Spelling (see edit history)

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There are a LOT of MODIFIED car guys on this SITE. There is even a Modified section.

Yes, most discussions are on purist cars, but you are welcome here.

Dale in Indy

Yep! Welcome.

Did I see where you are thinking of changing the power train? If so, there is a club called The Buick Street Rod Association, or something like that. You might find more folks that have done those mods on that site.

But don't feel compelled to leave us. I ,for one, would like to see pics of your car.

Again, Welcome

Just went back and reread the entire post. I agree with Carl on the engine. Even should you need some internal work, with only 80K on the odometer, you could probably get by with just standard rings and bearings. If no machine work is needed, probably a $1500.00 overhaul kit will do.

Ben

Edited by First Born (see edit history)

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Jeff- Thanks for your reply. I have stared at the front end of this car for several days.. I think not modifying the suspension is the way to go. I have a shop manual ordered, but I am having trouble getting the old shocks off to get get them re-manufactured. Do you have any clues? Thanks!

Magic juice, heat, a big breaker bar, and a lot of patience.

The shocks are only held on with something like 4 bolts and they all have pretty good access if you have enough deep well sockets. I did skin a number of knuckles getting mine out but it was pretty straight forward.

Once you get the shocks out be sure to replace the bump stops while you are at it.

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I may need some help in identifying my car... lol. I have identified the 320ci engine based on the serial number being behind the distributor and the extended length of the block. I have decided to keep the original motor if possible. Tonight after work, I will run a compression check. The car has recently been running. After the compression check I will do a leak test. What psi am I looking for?

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Do I need to remove the springs first to get the shocks completely off? I have two bolts it seems are blocked by the springs...

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I may need some help in identifying my car... lol. I have identified the 320ci engine based on the serial number being behind the distributor and the extended length of the block. I have decided to keep the original motor if possible. Tonight after work, I will run a compression check. The car has recently been running. After the compression check I will do a leak test. What psi am I looking for?

My interchange parts book came today.. I'm trying to tell if my car is a 68 or a 48? The vehicle tag, which was not fixed to the car shows a Model 48. Yet as near as I can tell, the 48 came with the small engine, and I believe I have the 320. Are there any other clues?

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One of the easiest ways to determine the series between 40 and 60 is to measure the wheelbase(center of front wheel to center of rear wheel). The Special should be 118", Century would be 122". Some peoples eyes can't pick up the 4 inches. My suggestion would be to enlist the help of someone familiar with the front shock/spring assembly before attempting to remove the shock absorber. The spring under tension can cause serious damage, mostly to the dis-assemblers body! Compression test on a good special(233 CI) engine should be 118 PSI, where as the bigger engine(320CI) would be a little less, 108 PSI. These numbers are taken at engine speed of 1000 RPM. Good luck with your car and please buy a shop manual on Ebay,it will pay back many times over during ownership. --Bob

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One of the easiest ways to determine the series between 40 and 60 is to measure the wheelbase(center of front wheel to center of rear wheel). The Special should be 118", Century would be 122". Some peoples eyes can't pick up the 4 inches. My suggestion would be to enlist the help of someone familiar with the front shock/spring assembly before attempting to remove the shock absorber. The spring under tension can cause serious damage, mostly to the dis-assemblers body! Compression test on a good special(233 CI) engine should be 118 PSI, where as the bigger engine(320CI) would be a little less, 108 PSI. These numbers are taken at engine speed of 1000 RPM. Good luck with your car and please buy a shop manual on Ebay,it will pay back many times over during ownership. --Bob

I have ordered a shop manual, I am waiting on it to come in.. :) Thanks again for your help.

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On my 1936 Special I went with a Fatman Mustang ll front suspension because after looking at cost of rebuilding/replacing all the components and adding disc brakes it was'nt all that much more to go the Fatman route and add power rack Be careful though as Fatman advertises a a front stub but when we went to orderit they said not available as stub which meant a little more fabrication. They may have it available as stub for the Century. Either way Good Luck. Al T.

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Hi-

I am ready to get my speedometer and clock re-conditioned.

Does anybody have a reference?

Thanks!

P

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I have heard  Classic Instruments in Boyne City, Michigan does this reconditioning work. I do not have first hand knowledge only pretty reliable sources. Th

ere phone number is 231-582-0461 or 800-575-0461.

Good Luck Al T.

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