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32' Oldsmobile Deluxe Convertible Roadster


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Knowing Ted,  following the restoration, and seeing the Oldsmobile in person, it is one of the nicest restored cars around. I guess it is what a teacher told me once about giving a grade, " God gets  "100", the Teacher gets a "99",  and you get a "98".

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Knowing Ted,  following the restoration, and seeing the Oldsmobile in person, it is one of the nicest restored cars around. I guess it is what a teacher told me once about giving a grade, " God gets  "100", the Teacher gets a "99",  and you get a "98". Ted, far as I am concerned, your Olds will always be top in it's Class.

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Chris, I am looking at /for crank hole covers for a 31 Olds. We have an epoxy pattern to copy. Have you made these from steel? Do you have any extras left? Thanks,  Rob

PS we showed the 31 Olds Coupe at Getysburg, wish I had been able to visit with you.

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On 1/3/2021 at 10:05 AM, vintchry said:

Chris, I am looking at /for crank hole covers for a 31 Olds. We have an epoxy pattern to copy. Have you made these from steel? Do you have any extras left? Thanks,  Rob

PS we showed the 31 Olds Coupe at Getysburg, wish I had been able to visit with you.

Hi Rob, you were with Wally correct? If you have a pattern that could be sand cast I have a guy who could do that and simply put a 1/4-20 carriage bolt in the back. My own is a copy and instead of the original metal spring clip mine has a bolt with a washer and nut that holds it in place. I ended up making a tube nut with a round rod T handle to tighten or loosen it if needed. It would be cast metal and would need polishing and some filling. His fee is very fair and turnaround fairly quick. I would have a few made up as there are still some guys looking for them. Wally needs three if I remember right. My name is actually Ted by the way, not Chris but my avatar name confuses a lot of people. I was a technician for a company called chiswick hence chis-tech.

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Ted, Yes I was with Wally. Were these originally stamped steel or cast? Yes he needs 3 and knows a couple of others looking for the same. We might as well coordinate our efforts. I very much enjoyed your series and restoration. Good work and a beautiful result. Rob

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Hi Rob,

thanks for the compliments. I believe the originals were stamped metal with a simple, two eared, spring steel keeper that held the cover in place by pushing it in. From what I was told they weren’t that secure and that’s why many were lost. I knew that there were no originals available so I never bothered researching them in depth but simply looked for a replacement. What’s strange is while the shape of the cover is square, and the retaining hole round, even the factory stone guard had a round hole in it. The square is larger than the hole in the guard and basically it’s impossible to remove through the stone guard if you need to use the crank. This makes me believe that many just took their covers off and didn’t bother with them. Back when these were daily drivers, leaving them out was more of a convenience for the owner. 
      I can do some further research with those who would know for sure and let you know. I actually have a set of damaged radiator shutters with the bottom section in perfect shape and thought of cutting out a section to make a more original style cover. Also thought I could use a piece to have some cast up. They would also be fine cast in aluminum and not as heavy as cast steel. My repo might actually be aluminum. It is a casting with a 1/4-20x2” bolt in the back. Not sure if I have a picture of it but if I do, I’ll post it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Not Olds related but hobby related. I got offered this 7’ south bend lathe for $200. It had been up and running until 6 months ago in a yarn mill in central falls RI. The mill was sold for condos and the lathe had to go. It was a job getting it on the truck and home but we did. It seems like it weighs as much as a Volkswagen!  I’ve been disassembling it, cleaning it, and painting it up. I have virtually no tooling unfortunately so now it’s time to start trying to buy some stuff. It came with a 3 jaw, 4 jaw, steady rest, two tool posts, and a coolant tank w/pump. I don’t even know what size tooling it needs. If anyone wants to pipe in and let me know that would be great. Would like to get a collet set up if possible.

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I believe that takes 5C collets, something you will need, and that SB used an odd spindle taper so you'll have find one of their adapters (I could be wrong about that). That shouldn't be hard since they are about the most common lathe out there. You might consider a Quick Change tool post but don't believe the hype...I don't have one and have no need for it since virtually all the work we do on old cars is "one off". The QC tool posts are great for production but, in our context, much less useful. You also want to look at the bearings and the speeds...does it have plain bearings? If so, the top end speed is limited. It is very common for people to run them too fast and ruin the bearings...If plain bearings you are probably limited to HSS tooling. I've never found that to be a burden - it's much cheaper, easier to sharpen, easier to grind up special bits etc... and it's fine for all but the hardest steels - stuff we are very unlikely to encounter in old car work.

 

I'd go to the Practical Machinist web site and look up the South Bend sub-forum...at least you'll find some folks with SB experience. I've never had one so my take on this is general rather than specific.

 

That was an excellent price...well worth it even without the tooling.

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Learned more about my lathe over the last couple days. It seems South Bend kept excellent records and I should be able to find out the day my lathe was ordered, who ordered it, what options were ordered, and the day it was delivered. Looking at the generic SB date line by serial numbers my lathe was most likely made in 43’-44’ putting it right around 77-78 years old. It was originally built as a production turret lathe with a 6 hole powered turret, slotted cross slide, coolant pump system, and lever type collet system. Some were also ordered with conventional cross slide and tool post holders as mine has. Unfortunately, the lathe and mill owner had sold his building and the new owners were having a crew clean everything out. It turns out before he let them know not to clean out the machine shop area, they threw out two cabinets full of tooling and most likely the original parts from the lathe like the turret and collet system. 
     I continued clean and paint the lathe up. I’ve. Got most of the top side done and now need to scrape and paint the lower cabinet. I tightened up the lead screw end nuts that had loosened and allowed about a 1/4” of end play!!!!! The end play is now gone. I also repaired the motor lifting link that was missing a 3/4” pin which allows the handle to lift the motor so the flat belt can be changed on the arbors. I wired in a new cord cap and made up a 15’, 4 wire extension cord so I can plug it into my phase converter which I also use for my vertical mill. I actually lucked out and got the rotation correct the first time and it fired up nicely. It runs extremely well and it looks like I did well on my purchase. 

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Is there a tail stock? If it had a turret, it may not have had one. Fortunately, you should be able to find one but when you do be sure to check the alignment with the head stock. As much as we think mass production has been perfected, that isn't the case with machine tools where really fine adjustments have to be made. It's very likely the proper tail stock (or the turret fixture) would have been scraped or ground to match the head stock and one from a different machine will not be absolutely identical. You're lucky in that they made a turret lathe out of a regular machine. Most turret lathes don't have a lead screw and can't be used for single point threading.

 

Oh...and when it comes to that, I have a MT3 test bar you can use.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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It has a tail stock Joe. I am going to purchase the lathe card for my serial number from Grizzly. That should tell me a lot more about how it was originally optioned out. I was told today it was made in 1943. I got my two hand wheels back from polishing and put them on. Turned a pin for a packaging machine for a customer today to give it a test. Came out good.

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I think those acme thread nuts for your neighbor are at the root of my "Great White" gear adventure...they left me with the feeling I could make almost anything if I was patient enough.

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5 hours ago, John S. said:

Ted, I see the Olds Cutlass is still in primer!

Yes, but rebuilt motor installed, custom 9” Ford for Olds rear installed, and just this weekend, a built racing turbo 400. Of course I helped my brother with all that so that why I can’t get my own stuff done. He does most of it actually with adding the extra hand when he needs it. It should be going to paint soon. The pickup cab came back this Sunday so once my garage is cleared out and clean, I’ll be going strong on that.

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Moved the lathe into its new position in front of one of my windows. Can’t believe how much it dwarfs my little Logan. My neighbor polished up the tail stock spindle which now looks like it’s chrome. He still has to polish the tail stock hand wheel then I’ll paint the spokes black to match the other hand wheels. Ran my extension power cord behind my big bench and over to the back of my vertical mill and my phase converter. It’s just about ready to rock. Found a guy on FB marketplace who has a big building full of old lathe parts and he believes he might have a collet closer for my lathe. Keeping my fingers crossed. For $200, some spray paint, and some elbow grease, I ended up with a pretty nice machine.

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Edited by chistech (see edit history)
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Great purchase! This size of lathe is probably the most usefull in doing most all around antique car work. While working in machine shops years ago most our machines had a dedicated set of tooling accessories and fixtures for that machine. After the industries dissolved in our Western PA. areas many of industrial sales sold off equipment for scrap by the ton.

 My South Bend Heavy 10"X36" is at its limit on many of my Buick projects. My lathe was bought from California University of PA. when they closed down the old Industrial Arts machine shop. I believe mine is from 1950. I have had it since 1980.

I did have an 11"X36" pedal drive SB from 1917. Unfortunately the way it was retrofitted with an 1 HP electric motor and 1930s Chevy truck transmission it probably took up as much space as yours.

Love those South Bends!

 Turning new water pump shaft for my 1925 Buick.

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I do have a 1910 W.F.&J. Barnes 13"X48" that I can do some bigger things. Flat belt, overhead line shaft and all.

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The 1 HP. 110 year old Century motor gave up its windings so I have to replace it.

Edited by dibarlaw (see edit history)
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  • 1 month later...
12 hours ago, dalef62 said:

Congratulations on your centerfold Ted!  Well deserved and looking good!

Dale

I haven’t gotten my magazine yet!🙁

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Thanks everyone, I appreciate all the kind words that I’ve gotten from everyone right from the start of my and the Olds journey. As we know things never really end with our cars and I just started on a new project for the Olds. I’m attempting to make up a set of pass through rim nuts/valve stem covers. I turned one out of 3/4” hexagon brass today and thought the thread pitch on the valve stem was 10mm x 1.00 but it turn out that’s not quite right. It seems Schrader used some unique diameters and odd pitches. Unfortunately I’ve been unable to find anywhere on the internet what the correct dimensions and pitch should be. The outside of the valve stem measures .040 and the pitch appears to be 26. I understand that the British used a 7/16 x 26 but the 7/16 is a little too big. It might work just the same but I’m hoping someone can tell me what the true dimensions are. Both Coker and Universal had no idea and couldn’t fit any literature in their tech department. The rim nuts available are for the shorter 18” tube stems and do not fit on my 17” tube stems so I’m making longer ones then having them nickeled. Just need the right tap!😡

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3 hours ago, Mike Macartney said:

There are some weird threads out there that have been used over the years. It may be worth having a word with Joe, he is a mine of valuable interesting information. Mike 

I was hoping if Joe had an idea he might see my post and comment. I know he's busy as all heck but like most of us, still takes time to post his work and look at other threads. It's an addiction!

 

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Posted (edited)

Update on the tube stem thread: With the help of a fellow AACA member, I located a page that mentions the diameter and pitch as being 13/32-28.  13/32 computes out to .406 so my stems at .40 seems correct. I need to double check the thread with my pitch gauge again.  I looked all over for a tap that size and found some listings but nothing available when I followed up. I then found a company that makes taps and dies and spoke with their engineer Fred. Really nice guy who told me that the 13/32 -28 is the tube stem size and that it's just not common anymore. They are quoting me to make up one from a four flute 7/16 tap blank. He said that a quote on two is just about as much as one so maybe I have a second tap I can interest someone in. I'll probably need to be sitting down when I get the quote!

Edited by chistech (see edit history)
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I cut my teeth in a metal shop class in high school.  Lathes there were all 10" and 12" Clausings, all broken to bits because in most cases, Industrial Ed classes were for those who couldn't cut it in more academic subjects.  My instructor was a 70yr old geezer (I can say that now because I'm one of those) named Arthur Halloran who taught me and my 3 siblings how to drive.  He knew right away that I came to his class to learn something about metal working.  I picked out one of the 10" lathes, took the head stock apart and was allowed into the shop store room which was a treasure trove of parts and tooling not seen by the rowdies and found a new set of gears for the quick change gearbox and made a lathe out of what had been a broken machine.  The power switches all had key locks on them that Mr. Halloran kept on his key ring and after he saw what I did with that lathe he gave me a key and told me to make sure it was locked when I finished using it for the day.  My first project after the mandatory ball pein hammer, depth gage with back-gear knurled handle and other rudimentary text book projects was a single cylinder double acting steam engine with a 1" bore and 2-1/2" stroke.  I never was class valedictorian or anything like that but I did get an honors convocation award for that project.  

 

I ramble but I go on E-bay quite often looking at South Bend lathes.  There are usually 2,500+ listings for South Bend lathes, tooling, parts and literature including overhaul kits for these lathes.  I keep looking at really nice South Bend heavy 10 models with taper attachments and collet spindles, one of those with a 110VAC motor would make me very happy to play with.  Problems would be where to put it and how much use would it get.   From what I have seen with my 31 Buick project I would have been better served to buy a good 14-16" metal cutting bandsaw with a blade welder.  That's the tool I have needed most and not had. 

 

I mis-spoke and edited the number of South Bend listings on E-bay, 6,000+ is about right for all brands combined, today there are 2,700+ listings for South Bend stuff.  There are more  South Bend listings than any other brand.

Edited by Str8-8-Dave
Correct text (see edit history)
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I just saw this...I'm trying to envision how it works. Does it screw down over the valve stem where it protrudes from the tire? If so, do you have a bad tube I could measure the threads from. As Mike has said, there are a lot of odd threads out there but it's unlikely that I can't find a tap that matches it.

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Victor Machine has 13/32-20 and 13/32-32. If you haven't already, you could try Travers tool. (I looked - they don't list it either).

 

[edit] Victor will make the tap also. I've no idea what that costs but their prices for the special taps they have in stock are very reasonable. This is where Ed found the ALAM taps to match the White - cheap enough so that he bought two of each.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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14 hours ago, Bloo said:

Just got the AACA magazine today. Congratulations on being featured. The Olds looks outstanding.

 

Well blow me down - I've been looking at the wrong magazines for the centrefold - you weren't in Penthouse or Playboy!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Got in my two custom made taps from Cheboygan Tap and Tool. Not cheap at $285 for two with shipping but great service and very high quality. I turned up 12 more on my new to me, south bend lathe. I’m amazed at how fast I’m able to produce pieces on the SB compared to my small Logan. The stem covers are 1.5” tall overall, counter bored 5/8” with a .410 drill. Then I drilled a 9.7mm hole 1 7/16” deep in the nut. The last step is drilling the last 1/8” with a drill just slightly bigger than the diameter of the round part of the stem (I forgot the size!) then using the tail stock to keep the tap straight, I threaded the inside of the nut until the tap starts to bind on the last 1/16” that was drilled with the smaller bit. With the threading done, I measured out the length and using the apron stop, set up the lathe to produce multiple units. The main body of the cover was turned to .480 and the lower diameter below the hex where it goes into the rim was turned to .565. I ground up a bit to round the nose of the cover. This bit also cuts the nut free from the remaining stock after cutting off just the right curve to the nose. Then the nuts get put in the Chuck and the hex gets side cut at a 10deg offset on each side. I test fit all and they fit the rim and stem perfectly. I’m still thinking about running a mill bit down the side of the body every 60degrees to give it some “look” rather than leaving them smooth. Going to call my buddy with a machine shop and see if he has a dividing head or rotary table with a 3/4 hex collet set up. Not sure yet what I’m going to do. While I’m no Joe Puleo, my machining is getting better the more I do! The set of six on the left is the first set I did and they’re decent but not as matched as the set on the left, the result of getting the process down better. With one on each wheel, no one would every notice a few thousands difference between them. I’m going to send the set on the right along with a tap to Joe for his 32’ Olds. He said he’d split the cost of the taps with me and my intention was to make him a set anyway so his generosity helps offset the costs of the job. 

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Those look great to me Ted...I could not have done better.

As to a dividing head that takes a hex collet, I think you'd need a head that takes 5C collets and are larger than the center hole in any dividing head I've seen. Theoretically, you should be able to hold a hex with a 3-jaw chuck but the 3/4 part of those is so short you'd probably have a hard time getting it straight. If you position the footstock to hold the center it might work. Another idea would be to get a hex sleeve and slit it (like I did with the fixture I just made) and hold that in the chuck. When the jaws are tightened it ought to put even pressure on all 6 flats and I suspect would be straighter than using just the chuck. You'd still want the footstock because the piece is fairly long but it should work.

 

I'm not following what you want to do but if taking a very light cut, a 5C spin indexer with a hex collet could be the answer.

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Thanks for the info Joe. I had one extra I had made so I did a test using my vertical mill. I set a stop on my vise and put some blocks in so I could support the bottom of each cover with the tops of the 3/4” just above the top of the vise. I clamped the cover vertically in the vise with one side against the stop, centered a 3/8 cutter, then brought the bed back so the cutter would just touch the face of the round body, and I set my depth stop for the quill. I ran the speed at 1200 and simply brought the cutter down. I then loosened the vise, rotated the cover to the next flat and repeated the process putting 6 flutes on the body. It was actually pretty easy and not time consuming to do all 12. Pretty satisfied with the results. Took them next door to my neighbor who will polish them up and have them nickeled.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My neighbor texted me today and said some of my parts had come back from the plater. I figured it would be the inside door parts for the 34’ chevy pickup I’ve been working on. The two inside latch pulls came in but so did the stem covers. Before my neighbor polished them up and sent them for plating, I used his 1/8” letter punch set to monogram both Joe Pirrone’s set and mine. Joe’s got a “JP” and mine got a simple “B”. One more item off the judges list. Now to mount them on my car.

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Installed my stem covers today. I cleared threads with the tap before installing them just in case any nickel had built up anywhere inside. They screwed right on easily and I just snugged them down with a wrench. The four wheels on the ground got the standard nickel cap back on the stem. The two spares got the nickel covers with the built in valve core removal notch. Mine have a small rubber dome cover that simply pulls off. I was again told at Gettysburg by another guy showing in my class that he was told by a judge that the spare wheels should have the different caps and he showed me his. (Mine are identical) I realize others following my thread  might not know what my other, incorrect covers might have looked like so I took a picture of them when I took them off.

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