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My new infatuation, a '69 Electra


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DEI;

 It sure was a wet visit to your museum, but it was nice to talk to you in person! You are the only other person I've actually met from the forum, other than John D.

 We very much enjoyed the tour through the museum, there are some very interesting and rare vehicles on display.

 I have a several on my camera, so I will post a few when I get them downloaded to my computer.

 Keith

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 I GOT IT!!!!!

 Me and another car club buddy drove out to pick up the Electra this morning. Seemed to take forever to get all the paperwork done that the govn't wants these days, but all was well in the end.

 Put the plates on it and drove it home!

 Here's a picture of the dash taken while driving along the highway, at a steady 60 MPH. Drove well, it needs a bit of TLC and some clean up, but I'm hoping to put some miles on it before everything goes to bed for the you-know-what.

 A wash then off to another local cruise night tonight.

 Keith

 

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Thanks, John. That's what everyone comments on, the size of it! I've already had someone ask if its' for sale, so I said, no sir, I just bought it! I've put less than 100 hundred miles on it, but its' only my first day.

 Anyway, we were minor celeb's at the cruise tonight, as everyone wants to see the new car.

 Here's a couple of pictures taken by my son, me and my wife, and the car itself.

 Keith

 

 

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Thanks, guys. I'm going through stuff, starting with the rad, it is a grungy looking, so I'm in the process of cleaning it out tonight. I think I'm going to change the power steering hoses, as they look quite old and are likely originals, don't one of them to pop on me out on the highway.

Keith

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Keith,

Great looking Buick!

Dad had a '70 Lesabre growing up and drove it out to Arizona and back once. Never felt like a big car, lots of pep in that 350.

Enjoy your ride!

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Doug;

 Thanks, I've been getting lots of comments about it just driving around.

 Well this Electra sure is big, and rather feels it, but I haven't parked it very much yet. Not really looking forward to try to park it in those downsized parking spaces that have become so common these  days.

 

 Also, I got a lot of crud cleaned out of the rad tonight, but I'm going to run it with water for a day or so, and then flush it out again. I might pull the rad and take it to a local rad shop for a more thorough cleaning. I'll see how it goes and then decide.

 

 There is a bit of looseness in a fitting that is on the end of the pitman arm, and hooks up to the centre link. Who is familiar with the steering on these cars? Would this be the pitman arm worn, or the joint that it is going into, or both?

The rest of the steering seems to be good, and though I guess it passed the safety, I'd like to change it.

 I should have a shop manual for it in a week or so, which will help me with the stuff. Got lots and lots of experience with kingpins, not quite so much with these.

 Keith

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 Well guys, I've been driving around in the Electra and checking out a few things on it. It pings pretty badly under hard acceleration even on 93 octane gas, so I started checking the timing and this is where it gets interesting.

 To start with, the distributor was a bit loose, the locknut wasn't too tight. After identifying and cleaning the timing marks, I put the timing light on it, and was almost blown away by the reading, at low idle with the vacumn hose disconnected, I got about 16-18 degrees of advance. I would think that the engine wouldn't even run like that, as according to the info I have it calls for 0 degrees advance. It has an aftermarket Stinger Magna-Pulse electronic ignition installed. I did a bit of research and it seems that these were around in the 70's and 80's, and the reports I read were positive, though I couple of people mentioned having to use a high amount of advance to get the engine to run properly.

 So, I wonder if the Stinger would or could somehow retard the timing, and then it is compensated for on a distributor setting. This doesn't make sense to me at all, but I'm reaching for an answer as to why the advance is so high. I am presuming that my timing light is working right.

 Otherwise the car is running well, better all the time in fact. At first it had a slightly lumpy hot idle, but that has disappeared, and now you cannot feel or hear it.

 So I more or less set it up "old school", by ear and feel, and it still runs nice, with a bit less ping under WOT than before.

On an old high compression engine like this, pinging might be real tough to avoid, as likely there is considerable carbon build up in the combustion chambers making the problem worse.

 Any comments, folks?

 Keith

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The 69 engines will ping on most gas, except possibly airplane fuel. Doesn't much matter where the timing is set. It will also tend to build carbon deposits, which I have heard ( but not tried) can be reduced by misting water into the carb while raising the RPM level.  I have no experience with electronic ignition.  My 69 GS still has points, and runs with no problems. Even if point replacement is needed, the distributor location makes it a snap.  I have driven a vehicle with electronic ignition and cannot say I feel any difference. So if it were me, I'd be tempted to swap back to the points/condenser set up, and put the timing back to where it can be set slightly retarded.  Unless you plan to drag race the thing.

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Drive it 200 miles at high speed freeway travel (as fast as you can get away with).  Use E-10 fuel for this.  Romp on it a few times.  If that does't fix it then you had fun trying :D.

My father being a aircraft engine mechanic (piston) added water injection to his 66 Dodge 383(?) and ran it on lowest octane fuels.

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 Thanks, guys.

 John, I am tempted to put points and condenser back in, in part because the electronic unit must be quite old, perhaps 3 or 4 decades, and I don't want it to fail on me somewhere. I think that it is an add on akin to the Petronix now used, so it should be possible to return it back to the original set up without much fuss. Famous last words, of course.

 Old-tank, that might be fun. Actually, we were planning to go out to where we store our trailer and winterize it tomorrow, and its' about 70 miles highway each way, so I think we will take the Electra. That should fit the bill closely for your recipe.

 Keith

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 Man, I'm just lov'n driving this car, even slowly dodling around the neighborhood is fun, like I did tonight. Its' kind of like having a new girlfriend that you can't get enough of. (Ihope that isn't too sexist)

 I could get spoiled.

 Maybe I am already.

 Keith

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 So, as I've driven the Electra over 400 miles in just over a week since I got it, and I've slowly been going through and doing a bunch routine type maintenence, rad, tune up, etc. One thing is that the Pitman Arm is a bit worn, it passed the Ontario safety inspection, but I would like to replace it. It seems to be a hard part to find, Idler Arms are easy, but the Pitman Arm is harder. A parts guy I deal with said that if I could get a GM part number, he may be able to track one down that way, as no one seems to have a listing for it.

So, who out there has a parts book and would be willing to look up the part number for my 1969 Buick Electra for me? It has power sterring, of course.

 Thank you.

 Keith

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 Well, I started in on some paint touch up yesterday afternoon. As I have mentioned, there are a miriad of small chips on the car, but particularly on the front of the hood, so I started on that area first. The other issue is that the previous owner has let the car sit outside all season, as he has been trying to sell it, and there is rust in most of the chipped areas.

 This is the technique I decided to employ. I had a local paint shop mix up some compatible paint to the proper colour, one pint was the smallest they could do, and its' way more than I need, but that's life.

 The paint is somewhat faded, and seems extremely thin, but I first gently wet sanded the area with 2500 sand paper, to clean up the rust staining and get most of the faded paint off, but not quite all, then give it a very gentle buffing to bring the shine back up. I am using extremely fine brushes, either "1" for the bigger areas, or "0", or "00". This closely emulates a technique we used the employ in the pre digital days, where one would retouch imperfections in a photo print by hand this way. It is tedious and time consuming, but the results could be amazing. For some of the larger spots I also bought a small vial of rust convertor, to use as a primer.

 Here are my results so far. I still haven't given the paint its' final buffing yet, I will do after the paint cures.

 Keith

 

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 I've got to attend to my business for a while tomorrow, but then I'm hoping to do some more work on the Electra.

  I have mentioned in an earlier post the rad needed a cleaning, well it seems the cooling system has been neglected for many years. The rad has a lot of rusty crud in it, and last week on the way home from a cruise night, it was very chilly and the heater was barely adequate, so a serious cleaning was in order.

I used a couple of bottles of commercial rad cleaner, and got a lot out on the first go, but the bottom few inches in the rad still would not drain, so I'm employing an old technique. Arm and Hammer washing soda (not detergent) is supposed to work wonders on dirty cooling systems. I had been looking for some for a while, and finally found a box the other day, so with about 2 full cups into the rad, I've had it going now for about two hours of running, and I will drain it tomorrow when the engine is cold. It seems to be working on the heater, as tonight I was driving with the auto temp turned up and the window open, and my feet felt like they were being baked, but my ear was freezing! The heater wasn't nearly that good the other day!

  The only thing I'm worried about are leaks when I get the system nicely cleaned out, but for now I will wait and hope for the best.

  I also have new hoses, themostat, wires, cap, etc. and plan to install them while I'm at the flushing.

  When that work is done I'll get back to the paint touch up and buffing, which will be a very time consuming project, I'm afraid.

 Keith

Edited by Buicknutty (see edit history)
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 Well guys, I've been working on the cooling system of the '69, and when I pulled the upper rad hose off, it looked like there was no themostat, but I was wrong!

Have a look at the pictures. I very, very carefeully removed the bolts, as they were rusty and everything was quite crusty from coolant that had been seeping for a very long time. When I got them loose nearly a turn they were still extremely stiff, so I squrited some penetrant in and then left them for a number of hours. You might think I'm a bit nuts here, but I was worried about a bolt breaking off.

Anyway, it finally came off without any other drama, but take a look at pictures. I've been mucking around with old cars since the time this one was new, but I've never seen a themostat like this before!

I guess it was installed when I was a teenager.

 Keith

 

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Yikes!!!  Never saw anything like that before.  Chances are a prior owner had the bright idea to bust that out without removing the cover .  Good news is you may be able to buy a new cover at your local auto parts store.  I got one for my wagon which was a nice cast piece,  And it was not at all expensive.

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 John, the casting is still usable, but barely, its' very badly pitted, and it appears that the old themostat has rusted out, the rim was still held in place shen I opened it up. I'm not sure if I can get another casting from a parts store here or not, but I'll give it a try. Thanks for the tip.

 Not a nice day here today on Friday, but the long Thanksgiving weekend is looking very nice, so hopefully I'll be able to put some more miles on it.

 As a note to my American friends, this is not a typo, Thanksgiving in Canada is much earlier than the US one.

 Keith

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 Well, I've been away from my computer for a few days, taking care of other business. But I have done some more touch up and buffing on the paint. The yellow is coming back nicely, and the unpolished sections look white by comparison.

 There are seams that run from the back window to the trunk opening and they have a bit of rust showing on both sides. So, I used much the same technique as before, I wet sanded with 2000 paper, and used 800 down inside the seam, then a rust convertor along the rusty edge, top coated with the colour. Some of the other tiny spots I just "spotted" in with the no. "0" brush, which is smaller than a penpoint. Then after the paint is cured a very light sanding with the 3000 paper, followed by a quick buff, to bring the gloss back up.

 

 Also, tomorrow, Sat., we are off on the last tour of the season, and I'm taking the Electra! Looking forward to doing a longer drive in it. I'm not sure where we're going, or how much I will be driving, but it should be a nice all day drive through many of the scenic roads that are East and North of the city. We meet the rest of the group at 9:00 AM, and then get our route and leave at 9:30 AM. That's the plan anyway, but the folks that have set this tour up are pretty organized so we hope all will go according to plan.

Hopefully I can get some nice pictures of it with some fall colour to post. The forecast high for tomorrow here is about 45F, mainly sunny, with the morning low at about the freezing mark. Good thing that the heater is working very well now!

 

 Keith

 

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 Well, we had a nice tour today, kind of a medium length one, we drove about 160 miles through lots of rolling hills. The leaf colour was not as brilliant as in some years, but it was nice to get out of the city and spend some quality time on the minor highways and byways of the Province. There were approximently 30 cars, from a 1931 Cadillac to an Aries K car, plus a few folks in modern iron that did the run today. Nice and sunny most of the time, but quite chilly, the temp didn't get much above 40 F or so, with a brisk wind, and we even had a few snow flurries when we headed back to the cars after lunch!

 Here's a couple of pictures

 Keith

 

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 Guys, I've got a question about the oil filter. When it is removed, should it be full of oil, or not? Most cars with a side mounted filter that I've worked on have a valve in the engine to stop the filter from draining out when the engine shuts off, but when I did an oil change on the Electra's 430, the filter definitely was not full of oil, though it had some in it. So, is this normal for these engines, or is there a valve not doing its' job in there?

 The oil light goes off right away, like within a second or so of it starting, so that looks normal to me.

 Thanks.

 Keith

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The filter should have a gasket between it's case and the filter element. Some low cost filters do not have this.  Same with some high cost ones.  While ultimately you don't need them they do manage to hold some oil in the filter prior to starting the engine, which may mean a second or two quicker oil pressure. I go out of my way to buy Delco PF 24 oil filters for these year cars. And I always notice there does not seem to be a lot of oil in the filter when I change them. 

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 John, thanks for the info. I'll check out a Delco next time I change the oil.

 

 Also, I have now put nearly 600 miles on the car since I got it home. I did an oil change after about 100 miles or so, and it is not got too dirty yet, so this makes me think that the engine is not too sludged up. Though I think I will pull the rocker covers, and perhaps the pan to check things out more closely in the Spring.

 Right now I want to drive it as much as I can before everything here goes to bed for a long winter's nap.

 Keith

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 So, an issue has come up, and I think that it could be the neutral starter (safety) switch. It started and ran fine from home, then when I went to restart it, nothing! A clicking sound from the upper left area of the dashboard is all I heard. I tried neutral, still the same, back to park, and still no change. Then I pulled the shift level through all the gears and back to park, and then she cranked fine, and fired right up.

 Anyone have any other experiences like this?

 

 Also, the car was showing 40,000+ on the odometer when I bought it, and I was told by the seller that it is 140,000 miles, which was fine by me, but I am having my doubts. Now it really doesn't matter what the mileage is, it is what it is, as the expression goes. The main thing that makes me think that the mileage is low, is how the doors fit, they are perfect, and any high mileage car I've seen has got sagging hinges, at least on the driver's door. The windshield has many micro chips, like I've seen on cars that have had a lot of highway driving, but if it was in a dusty area, perhaps that would explain those.

Anyway, like I said, it doesn't matter that much, but its' mainly my curiosity that is peaked.

 

 John, you said that something earlier about having seat buttons? I am having trouble getting them from the seller, and I'm starting to think that they have got lost, so if you have them, I may want to get them from you, but I will wait a while longer, in case he comes up with them. We can PM the arrangements as req'd.

Also, I have found the exact fabric for the seat, and have some coming to me now, but I likely won't do any thing with the seats till Spring.

 

As one may recall from an earlier post, the front driver's side was recovered in a material that is close, but not quite the same.

 

 Keith

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 That's interesting, a bit odd too.

 I just got the manual I bought in the mail today, but I have not had a chance to look at it much. I am wondering if there are bad connections on the switch, as I was trying to start it in various positions and such, but it would not screw up for me. Then when I had it out yesterday, I had the same problem again, and I moved the shift lever in and out of park a couple of times, and then it worked fine.

 Keith

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 It seems that the age of miracles may not yet have ended. This afternoon, I got back to doing a final flush of the cooling system, and then installing the correct heater valve, supplied to me by John D., plus a new thermostat housing, as the aluminum original was so corroded that it would not seal to the engine properly.

It took a bit of puzzling to get the vacuum lines routed correctly, as someone had connected two of them together and then hidden those ones in the myriad of other lines on the firewall. So when I started it up and turned the system on, I heard the engine load up. Interesting, so I got out and checked the compressor, and sure enough, it was running! I put my hand on the low pressure line, and it was getting cold! It doesn't feel as cold as it should, but at least it has life in it.

 Keith

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 One odd thing about the gas gauge, when I fill it up, the needle is very slow to come up. One would swear the you didn't put gas in it, but over the next couple of hours it sloooowly creeps up to the correct level.

 Anyone else have this experience? I'm not seriously worried, but it is kind of curious.

Keith

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If that has the same canister style pickup/sender as my 72, I had the exact same situation. On long road trips I could never have an easy feeling about the fuels level in the tank as sometimes the gauge would not move before I fueled up again. I believe the float is swelling from the ethanol and causing it to stick.

 

I did replace my sender with an aftermarket unit, and have some pictures of the original in my thread for the 72 in this section of the forum.   The replacement senders are the conventional design, but I bought the least expensive one and now my gauge fluctuates wildly on bumps, curves, hell, even taking it out of the shed.  Obviously the canister style unit uses the canister as it's baffle. Without that, the few baffles in the tank are too far apart to  stop the wild ride going on in there. 

 

The manual will show if you have this same style original pickup.

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