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Lancemb's 57 Roadmaster Facelift


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At the end of last summer the master cylinder started to fail.  I finally got the rebuilt one in today, and was able to pull it out and clean up the white walls on the new tires riding on the fresh Kelsey Hayes wheels!  It had a set on it when I pulled it out of its 30+ year hibernation, so this is how it looked in the 1970's when it was formerly on the road!



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2 hours ago, dei said:

Sure looks great Lance! :)


How is the 2 door coming along?

It will be fantastic to see it done and sitting / showing the two together!! B)

Thank you!  Coupe is coming along and I'll post an update on that in a couple weeks.  Had to take a break from it to get Big Blue back on the road though!  Plus I needed the wheels on this car to use as rollers on the coupe since I was tired of filling the crusty tires that were on it with air.

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  • 3 years later...

I took her out this morning to air up the tires and fill the tank and was surprised by a most unusual story by a guy who was filling his fuel tanker.


Most people don't know exactly what this car is at first, but this guy knew right away it was a 57 Roadmaster.  He went on to explain that he was born in the back seat of a black and red 57 Roadmaster in 1961!  I guess his parents were en route to the hospital and he just couldn't wait, so by the time they got to the hospital he was born right there in the back of the Buick!


He said he is a car guy, but unbelievably, he is into Chevelles and not Buicks!



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  • 1 month later...

I FINALLY started taking Big Blue apart for a transmission transplant.  It will be a couple weeks at least before I have a whole day to dedicate, so I started since I had a couple solid hours.  It will take more than a day of work anyway, as I will do the u-joint while I'm at it and of course replace the worn rubber mounts.


I got the rear end loose and dropped down enough to let tension off the springs.  I'll probably do a little at a time over the coming weeks and see how far I get.


After that I'm going to check all the brakes.  I am pretty sure I'll be replacing the front drums with ones I just had relined, but not sure of condition of the rest.





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  • 4 weeks later...

Well, I finally got around to getting the rear end out from under car, and also got the transmission out.





The trans pad came apart in shreds!  The thrust pad rubber is still intact, but pretty worn.  Both will be replaced.




I did a light clean up on the axle and torque tube and it kinda looks worse with the nice fluffy cake gone and all the surface rust exposed.  However, it occurred to me that I have an extra torque tube (both pieces) already powder coated black so I might paint the axle and utilize them. 


I also confirmed that the rear u-joint is trashed, which I suspected and was reason I haven't been driving the car much. 


The needle bearings and/or parts of the cup from one side have been deposited inside the rear torque tube as little shavings.






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Some more progress this week, but I also bit more off, so it will take longer to chew.  I was originally going to just replace the U-joint and trans, then go through brakes afterwards.  Then I saw how crusty the axle looked after cleaning it up so I decided to paint it and use some powder-coated backing plates and torque tubes I already had.  Then I thought, if I am going to do that I'll have to have the brake lines off so I may as well replace those with stainless.


So, I have more parts on order.  The brakes looked great in back, so I just cleaned everything up and put them back together and adjusted them.  It's not perfect, but a big improvement I think.




The rear short driveshaft went through a few changes in 57, as the grease on the rear splines would work its way out, and the splines would then strip out.  Late in the year grease fittings started to be installed.  This car never had one, so I opted to add it.  This meant I had to add a hole in the correct place in the rear torque tube for access to the fitting.  In addition, I added a hole further up for access to grease the new U-joint; I will plug these.




I have a couple of the original special grease fittings, and was going to install one, but then I decided to look at the 2 extra shafts I have.  I actually have 3 different design iterations.  The one in the car was the first pictured, which used a retainer with a felt seal to keep the grease in.  The one in the middle uses no retainer and seal, but has the fitting in back, but was still prone to leak grease.  The third is the later design, which is not prone to leaking grease in back and also already has a grease fitting.   I opted to utilize and put on this one, of an improved design.  It is shown here after the new u- joint is installed.




I will expound on the short shafts more at a later time, and maybe even do a writeup for the Bugle.  I think there are a lot of 57 Buicks out there with ticking time bombs in these shafts.  I was lucky, since my car has under 60k miles, that I got to mine just in time; it was dry and starting to shine up.

Edited by lancemb (see edit history)
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34 minutes ago, 364nailhead said:

So, should I see a grease fitting on my 57? Towards the pumpkin?

You will want to see a rubber plug in a 13/16 access hole about 8" from the back of the rear torque tube, behind which you'll be able to access a grease fitting when the shaft is oriented correctly.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I finally got my transmission back again a few days ago, and today finished installing it and also installed the rear axle, shaft, and torque tube.  All I need to do now is install the new brake lines, assble the parking brake (waiting on a couple parts), redo front brakes, and bleed it out.


There were some things not right, and it is obvious this transmission was out prior to my ownership.  There were no shims on either side of the trans brace, 2 of the 8 bolts from the brace were missing, and the brackets that secure the trans lines are missing.  I fixed 2 out of 3 of those items, but need to procure the brackets and will install those later.


I also found this crappy screwdriver that was sitting on top of the back of the engine block, which has probably been there for over 40 years.




I was so tempted to more cleanup and detail underneath, but time just didn't allow right now with all I have going with my other cars.  It does look a lot better though, and should drive so much better when I'm done.









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  • 2 weeks later...

I finished putting everything back together except parking brake, as I'm still waiting on a couple things.  So, I zip-tied it in place and took the car for a drive last night.


It was a success!  I've taken it for a few short drives and the following symptoms are eliminated now:

-No more clunking when changing gears

-No more squeaky u-joint

-No more weak transmission at takeoff

-No more transmission leaks!  I don't see a drop yet.  I didn't even spill a drop filling it!

-Doesn't slip out of park

-Braking ability is much improved


I still need to follow up on a couple issues that existed before, but I didn't have time to address, and are also minor - brake pulsation at intermediate pressure and low brake vacuum assist


I also put on a set of new bias ply tires, as I've been convinced that the radials are not good for the wire wheels.  I'll put the radials on the 58.


And now, the obligatory photo after I washed it!



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  • 7 months later...

Thanks for the likes!  Apparently people like this car.  Lou called me today and was astonished at how many views it's gotten in under a week.  He would like to do a video on the coupe when it's done too.  I should ask for royalties 😀

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1 hour ago, Rusty Heaps said:

Lance, that is a beautiful color combo. Very similar to the factory color combo on my ‘55 Chevrolet. Seeing the colors on your car makes me rethink my current color decision of Regal Turquoise and white.

Thanks!  If you've got factory 2 tone blue, I'd definitely stick with it.  Always nice to maintain factory colors, especially when great ones. 

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  • 1 year later...
On 4/5/2023 at 6:33 PM, lancemb said:

I have only driven it long distances a few times, but I try to make frequent short trips at least.  Doing nothing but sitting is the worst thing for an old car, mechanically speaking.

Cruise-ins, ice cream runs, and local shows get old in a hurry. Once you're satisfied that you've made the car as reliable as a 60+ year-old car can be, take it on vacation every so often, or disappear with it over a weekend once in awhile.

Edited by Machine Gun (see edit history)
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Last year I took my '38 on several day-trips (30 ~ 120 miles from home) in order to prepare for the Glidden Tour.  I have not made any specific tour plans yet, but my wife has already mentioned that she's looking forward to more of those day-trips this summer.  I'll try to 'spread the love' among my other cars this year.

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