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If all goes well this week I will join the '39 Buick Team. Trying to buy a 1939 Model 41 with a #700 interior and Paint #532. It was owned by a former AACA member who passed away years ago and has sat partially exposed to the elements on and off. I found his 1971 AACA Membership card in the glove box so I guess he owned it for quite awhile. Anyway, wish me luck. Hope the estate doesn't want too much for it. It is not in very good condition at the moment.

Guy W.

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So I pick up the 39 tomorrow. It is only about 1 mile from where I live. Looks like the engine is toast. Left out in the rain with the valve cover removed. Ouch! How hard is it to get engine parts for the old L8's. I figure it is the smaller of the 8's since it is a Special. Am I correct in that assumption? Is there a supplier of parts (weatherstripping, lights, bearings, pistons etc...) for these vehicles?

Guy W.

Edited by Locowrench
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Guy,

Welcome to the '39 Buick Team - look forward to reading your posts as you move forward with your project. There are sure some good folks here to assist if you need advice. We love pictures as you go along, so don't hold out on us!

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The 39 is now sitting in my driveway waiting for space to move into the garage. Lots of extra parts came with it including three extra front fenders, two with the spare tire cutout and two spare tire covers. The covers are not in very good shape. Wondering if the PO was going to install them. Personally, I think it gets too busy looking with the spares on the fenders. Love the simplicity of this style. Also have what looks to be a complete set of extra trim for the Special. Would have missed them but the owners son pointed them out to me stored up in the rafters! That was lucky.

What is not so lucky is I noticed a few badly bent push rods. Looks like the engine will need major work if not a total overhaul. Rest of car seems to be in pretty good shape. No serious rust. Just surface rust and a lot of just worn out paint. The paint that is left shines up pretty good in a few test spots. Missing one hubcap. Are they very common? Tires have lots of tread but age cracking in the sidewalls. Interior is complete with no major rips or tears. Just a bit faded and moldy smelling from the lack of weather stripping around the doors. Dash and Steering wheel are a bit worn looking.

Anyway...starting to get psyched up about this car.

Guy W.

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The car doesnt look that bad. The engine is pretty grungy (was the carb and valve cover off long?)

One thing I'd do, is while the front end is off, or you are going to do engine work, is change the front crank seal to the later type lip seal. You can either get a later timing cover or machine the original to take a modern seal.

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I have a running engine, radiator, etc all should you ever want/need a replacement. Was in a driving 1939 Special until it was rear ended and totalled in 2013. I've been parting the car out as I use what I need from it. You can see the car in my restoration thread.

Edited by 39BuickEight (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Started to tear in to my locked up engine and found some bent push rods, stuck valves and one very rusted cylinder. Too bad, the other 7 where in fairly good condition. Well, nothing left to do but pull the engine and inspect the bottom end. Is it easier to pull the engine and trans or just the engine. I know there are alignment issues with this drive train and I have not really gotten up to speed with the whole torque tube thing. Awaiting the 1938 manual. Have the 39 Supplement but not much in it. Hey, 39_Buick, is that 1942 Manual that you mentioned the Buick issued one?

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Gawwwwd, those pics bring back a few memories. :) :)

I too would go with the engine and transmission going in and coming out assembled.

There are a few things to be aware of when putting the engine back into the chassis.

Let us know when you're ready and we'll go through them.

For what it's worth, I had my crankshaft and flywheel balanced and balanced together.

If you get it bored with new pistons, I can't remember just how much, but there is a ridiculous amount that can be bored out oversize.

It makes a difference in how smooth the engine runs but I guess it depends on just how many dollars you want (or have :) ) to spend.

Danny

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Thanks for the encouragement. Going to have to make a lifting jig to get that monster out.

I drained three and a half GALLONS of clean water out of the oil pan and then came two quarts of sludge. I could not believe that much water came out of that engine. Had to dump my waste oil pan three times. I doubt the bottom end looks any better but I am trying to be optimistic about it!

Guy W.

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No indication of cracks in the block and the freeze plugs are still in. Must have had a lot of room in the crank to expand.

So I cleaned up the interior a little. Vacuuming and wipe down. Came out pretty good for what I think may possibly be the original interior. Any suggestions for taking out the water stains on the door panels? One stain on the front seat after 75 years. My dog decided he wanted to take a ride and jumped in with muddy feet. Doh!

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Even if the bottom end is in decent shape I will definitely have to bore the cylinders. #8 has got deep corrosion on the walls. I also suspect something else is up since I had three bent push rods and a few stuck valves. One looks like it is bent.

Has anyone used a standard type engine stand for these long monsters? Just looking at the length I am wondering about the weight overhang. I am looking at the #2000 Harbor freight engine stand.

Guy

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Welcome aboard to the 1939 Buick team. Anybody who saves a '39 Buick from the scrapper or the street rodder is a friend of mine. Any questions I've had '39 Buick Specials for the last sixty years and my father before me for another ten. Been a member of AACA since 1962 but don't recognize the man's name. Still may have crossed paths with him back in the day....1971 is a long time ago.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am getting ready to pull the engine in my 39 Special. I have been reading the 38, 39 supplement. Also the 42 Manual because I was told there was more detail in it.

I am planning on pulling the engine and trans together. I am a bit confused as to whether I have to pull the rear end back first to disconnect the torque tube or if I can just take out the four bolts that connect the torque tube to the trans and then pull the engine and trans out leaving the torque tube in place. I can't quite get my head wrapped around this torque tube setup and why it is used. Is it sturdy or is it prone to damage? If removing the rear I am not sure which bolts to remove at the torque ball.

I know from experience that it will be a lot simpler once I have done it once but I am trying not to do any damage in the learning. Hard to replace these parts!

Guy W.

Silver Spring, MD

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If you have the front end off the car you can pull the engine and trans bolted together without doing anything with the torque tube other than unbolting it.

If the front sheet metal is on, youll have to move the entire rear end back to disengage the torque tube from the trans and then remove the trans before lifting the engine - a giant PITA

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  • 4 months later...

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Got the engine stripped. A bit of trouble with a couple of pistons due to rust. Cam is frozen in the bearings and the lifters are not cooperating either. Will send it off to the machine shop to remove cam and bore cylinders. I am at the point where I need a lot of parts. The crank is in excellent condition and the Main bearings also look good. The rod babbiting also looks good at the crank end. They rods are very hard to move at the piston pin end. At this point I am thinking of purchasing an engine rebuild kit from Kanters and just doing the entire thing right as they say. I definitely need a complete valve job. Some of the valves are stuck and I have a few bent push rods. Any recommendations on the kit vs. buying what I need. Clutch also needs replacing and the Transmission front bearing is a bit sketchy and I imagine the rear bearing is also. Grateful for any help. Talk about a greasy mess. Reminds me of the Locomotives I used to work on. Black thick grease on EVERYTHING!

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Guy,

I used the Harbor Freight engine stand for my 31 Buick Model 57 engine. Without the head & manifolds it will handle it.

Just don't try to roll it around your shop without supporting the long overhang.

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