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'55 Special "clunk"" when slowing to stop. OOPS!!


BigDan
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I just deleted my earlier thread by trying to delete a picture of a Garmin GPS I'm selling on Ebay. Why was it there? I can only say (sheepishly) that I'm responsible. I'm so D&^%#mn good with computers!! Thanks to Willie, Pete, Beeman, Tank and everybody else who offered advice and suggestions. Luckily I took a few notes the old-fashioned way and haven't lost any of your good counseling. I'm going to adjust the brakes adjust, get the wheels balanced and then I'll try driving her at various speeds and some hard braking to see if I can learn anything more.  I jacked the rear end up and with the selector in drive, turned the passenger side rear wheel both ways and also tried to shove laterally a little as Tank suggested but nothing seemed unusual or Clunky. I'm taking the car to my mechanic April 8. I've explained the problem and he seems confident he can handle it.  Thanks again guys and I'll let you know of any interesting developments.  Now if anybody knows about computers.....

 

Dan

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One of the replies to my previous post which I accidentally deleted was about a pumpkin something or other and that's the one thing I didn't make a note of. I think it was Willie or Pete. if you see this could you please refresh my memory about your comment so I can mention it to my mechanic when I take the car in.

 

Thanks,

 

Dan

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You can try this to figure out if it's the transmission. If the clunk is at 5-10mph slowing down, shift into low and listen around 1-5mph in low. If the sound is at the same place, I would think it has nothing to do with the internals of the transmission except the u joint or torque converter. If it's more apparent in low, or at lesser miles or not there at all, then it's probably the transmission. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong. 

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Just drove the car about 12 miles, 20 minutes, around town. 15 or 20 stops,.  First stop I made, clunk, just like before and then no more clunks for at least 15 stops. Everything was as it should be. Most of them were normal rolling up to stop sign type stops, some a little harder but no panic stops. Most in drive but I did several in low, no clunks. Downshifted to low then stopped no clunks.  Upshifted to drive then stopped, no clunks. took off in low, no clunks. etc. Nothing over 55 mph. Only the  very first stop clunked. Did it cure itself? Undoubtedly not. My theory is that a motor or transmission mount, slippery from oil or fluid leak, slipped back into place. Car goes to shop Friday 8th. Thanks to Beemon and anyone else for your thoughts. Any comments or suggestions are welcome and appreciated.

Dan 

DSCN3634.JPG

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No ball joints on a 55.  Before you work on it you need a service manual.  If you choose to have others work on it take the service manual along...there is just too much unique engineering on this era of Buick for even experienced mechanics.

If you find something, check back here and we can tell you how to deal with it.  Intermittent problems, especially noises are the hardest to deal with.  You may have to drive it until it reveals the cause and location after inspecting brakes and steering components to be sure it is safe.

Willie

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Thanks guys. I have a shop manual and will take it along. I raised the car's rear end and turned the right side wheel with the selector in park. No unusual noises, everything seemed normal. This was a few days back. I'll definitely post here as I go along. My mechanic works on lots of older cars but I'm sure he will benefit from the knowledge available here and I'll pass along anything you fellows care to offer. Tomorrow I'm having the  car serviced,  Oil, filter and lube, front wheel bearings packed and brakes inspected and adjusted. I can have a good look around while it's on the rack. This is just at Precision Tune. It goes to the  collector car specialist on Friday.

 

Thanks,

 

Dan

 

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Taking the shop manual to a shop reminds me of the new rear springs I bought for my '64 Riviera. The shop manual is quite detailed and shows the position of the end of the coil and a method of locating the spring with a wooden block before tightening. I figured I would take it to "professionals" at a spring shop called Thruway Spring. I put the manual on the counter, the same place it sat when I picked it up. When they finished with the car it leaned to the left a couple of inches. When I pointed that out they told me there was nothing they could do with coil springs and they weren't right. I paid, took my manual, and went home. The ends of the coils didn't point right and the only blocks were the two blockheads behind the counter. I installed them as the manual instructed. It sat level.

That was 1988. I probably have less than $2500 tied up in those educational experiences, maybe a little more if you include paint work. If you have the book, reading skills, and comprehension skills you are in a great position to calculate the labor rate for a tool budget. Believe me, there are four dangerous words in the English language and they are used in pairs; "my mechanic" and "I thought". Watch the Forum for the first and general conversation for the second. Buy tools and do your own work, then those phrases will make you smile. It's the better alternative.

Bernie

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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I previously wrote that," I raised the rear end and turned the right side wheel with the selector in park..." I meant drive not park.  I got under the car today at Precision Tune and the one thing that was obviously bad was the sad shape of the transmission pad. It is cracked and crumbly. I broke a little piece of the rubber off in my hand. It will be replaced soon and maybe that will cure my problem. I made several stops again today, no clunks. Car got a good grease job and all 4 wheels pulled. Brakes were like new. Also had front wheel bearings packed. Differential lube was right where it should be so at least nothing's running back there through the torque tube. Front end components all looked good and there was no excessive movement when front tires were grasped and rocked. All seemed normal.  Thanks for looking, keep those thoughts coming.

 

Dan

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10 hours ago, old-tank said:

No ball joints on a 55.  Before you work on it you need a service manual.  If you choose to have others work on it take the service manual along...there is just too much unique engineering on this era of Buick for even experienced mechanics.

If you find something, check back here and we can tell you how to deal with it.  Intermittent problems, especially noises are the hardest to deal with.  You may have to drive it until it reveals the cause and location after inspecting brakes and steering components to be sure it is safe.

Willie

Sorry; my bad. That's what can happen when sharing information about the wrong car.

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I agree. when i pulled the engine from my 58, only the thrust pad was still intact, the rest fell in 1/2 when I lifted the engine out.

 

They looked fine in the car and before the engine came out, I drove it up and down the street, no problem (that part anyway)

 

Mick

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  • 4 weeks later...

Got the car back Thursday with new transmission mount and thrust pad from Bob's Automobilia. The old ones were literally falling apart. However, I've felt and heard the clunk twice in maybe 30 or 40 stops since getting the car back. My mechanic thinks it might be coming from the pinion bearing and is pretty sure it's in the rear end somewhere. Thanks in advance for any thoughts or suggestions.

 

 

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If its back there, have fun

Save yourself some time and get the special socket (If you can) used on the pinion shaft (you need this, it matches the splines) and see if you can find the special spanner thing that holds the pinion nut, I couldnt find that one, so I cut one out of a piece large angle iron I have and it just did the job (ended up welding the spanner to the nut, horrible job) and dont forget a new seal

 

Mick

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1 hour ago, BigDan said:

My mechanic thinks...

 

You better duck before Bernie sees this :D

It 'might' be the pinion bearing, but this can be determined without taking it apart.

There are two pinion bearings on a 55 and earlier:  the front is a double roller preloaded bearing that is attached to the shaft with the pinion nut which is peened in place and locked to the case with the pinion pins from the outside; the rear bearing is a roller bearing that is one year only (along with the case).  If those bearing were so worn as to cause clunking, then there would be horrific noises coming from the rear at all times!  The driveshaft is attached to the pinion splines (press fit) and pinned...not likely to cause a noise problem.

Look for muffler/pipe alignment problems or if the springs have been removed/replaced they may need to be rotated to stop binding in the pockets.

Shims may be needed at the thrust pad.

Willie

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I would raise the rear axle so both rear tires are off the ground, then alternating between sides, I'd rock the rear tires in a forward backward motion, to see if there was any noise similar to that clunk.  However some rear axles will make a more metallic sound doing this and that does not mean there is a problem to be addressed immediately, if at all.

 

Also, I assume you checked the trunk to make sure nothing was shifting in there, like the spare tire not be held down tightly in the spare tire well? 

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