Gary W

1937 Buick Model 48: RESTORATION HAS BEGUN! (Photo)

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13 hours ago, Gary W said:

 

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I see that you are using the kitchen as a workshop also at times.  I know it works well when it is freezing outside.  Been there doing that. Working on fixing trains currently with my grandson.

 

Hope that is not the Wife's cutting board.  

 

If the cutting board hers, you have a more understanding wife than I and my wife is GREAT. !

 

 

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February 4, 2017:  Begin Interior disassembly / removal

 

 

Today I removed the seats, windows, all the window channels, rugs, dome light, rear shade, electric.....  

I released the headliner from the front, rear and the sides.  So.....how do you remove the headliner?  There are many wire bows that it is attached to from front to rear.  Each bow feels "free" on the ends.  Do I just lift each wire bow out?  They feel like they are attached somewhere in the middle?  

A little help would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!

Edited by Gary W (see edit history)
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In later years you would pull the whole headliner with the listing wires towards the back of the car.  That takes the tension off the wires and you can lift them off either side.  I would suspect yours is the same.

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February 5, 2017:  Finish removing the interior of the car

 

 

Today I finished stripping the interior:  What a job in an 80 year old car.  I think I found some 80-year old mice!  The sequence was like this:

First the handles, door and side panels, glass and outside door handles and outside trim molding.  Next I removed the front seat, peeled up the rug, removed the back seat, scraped that burlap stuff off the floor and got rid of more mice nests.  Then the headliner:  I released it from the front windshield, then around the rear windows, then released it all around the perimeter of the interior.  All the ends of the listing wires were visible, and the sharp pointy clips all face forward.  So I grabbed the rear most wire and pulled it forward off the clips.  Then the next one forward and so on.  The headliner kind of came out like an accordion as one unit.  I left all the wires in the headliner so I can re-use them the proper sequence when I order the new interior kit.  It took over two hours to scrape the burlap, the "particle board" panels under the rug and floor burlap.  Then I disconnected the remainder of the wiring under the dash, and completely removed the wiring harness.  And finally, removed the firewall insulator by removing those 10 large screws. All the screws were peened over the nuts on the firewall, so that took much longer than I thought it would.  Another couple hours of clean up and I'm ready to pull the body bolts next in preparation for the sand blaster.

 

Thanks to all the guys offering advice on this forum.  It is truly a wealth of information!

 

So next question:  How do I get the knobs off the window and door handles before I send them out for re-chrome?  (last picture)

 

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Removing the door handles using a tool that my buddy John Torchia bought over.  Actually, a thin, small flat screwdriver was ideal to pick out the wire clip.

 

 

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Removal of the front seat:  Pretty straightforward getting the cushions out.  Then the slide mechanism and the seat supports were all removed.

 

 

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Front seat and all it's supporting components are now removed.  

 

 

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Lifting up that "particle board" and the burlap insulation that was under the rear carpet.

 

 

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Rear seat completely removed and now starts the fun job of scraping out all that old, stinky burlap.  There were tons of mice droppings and mice nests throughout the car.

 

 

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After freeing the headliner from the perimeter of the interior, I grabbed the rearmost listing wire and tugged forward.  Then the next and so on...

The mice built nests throughout the headliner as well and all that kept falling on me as I worked.

 

 

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Here's the headlamp switch under the dash.  Note the condition of all the wires.  Everything is cracked, dry-rotted and breaking.

 

 

 

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Removing the screws that affix the firewall insulator to the firewall.  Every one of these were peened over in the engine bay and made removal nearly impossible!

 

 

 

 

 

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Interior is completely stripped now.  I spent well over two hours cleaning and vacuuming up the mess that was left over.  

 

 

 

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How do you remove the plastic knobs at the ends of the window risers before I ship the risers out for chrome?

Look at the condition of the chrome bezel around the dome lamp.

 

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3-weeks into the restoration today.  

Edited by Gary W (see edit history)
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February 8, 2017:  Begin engine overhaul

 

 

Today I started on the engine.  First I used a Ridge Reamer to clean up the top of the cylinder wall.  There  was no ridge, so I just used it lightly to remove the carbon ring around the top of the cylinders.  After all eight were done, I made some preliminary measurements.  I used plastigauge on the rod journals and the clearance is .0015"  to  .002".  I then measured piston #1 (3.088) and cylinder #1 (3.096) and those are standard measurements.  This block has never been bored, and has very little wear.  Also, the engine has the original '37 style "flat-top" pistons, each one numbered one through eight.   I just read that I may be able to use the '38 style  "domed-top" pistons on the rebuild.  (The reason I'm ordering new pistons is there are a couple of loose wrist pins that are contributing a little noise, so I'll get new pistons from EGGE)

 

Then John showed me how to remove the rear freeze plug.  He punches it into the block on one side, causing it to "spin", and then simply grab the side sticking out with a plier and pull.  What a mess we found inside the block!  So I removed the other two freeze plugs and being it was 64 degrees today, I took advantage of the beautiful weather and fired up the power washer and gave the block a good cleaning out.  After that, it was about an hour and a half meticulously blowing out every port, drying the  mains, camshaft, and fogging the block with WD-40 so no rust will set in.  This Saturday I'm having the block mic'd at the machine shop so I can get accurate readings and move forward with the engine components.

 

 

 

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Using the ridge reamer to remove the carbon ring at the top of the bore.  Maybe one or two revolutions did the trick.  

 

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Plastigauge used to check the rod journals as a preliminary measurement.  The machinist will double check all my mains, rods and block before ordering new parts.

 

 

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Measuring the plastigauge.  You can see it's between .0015"  and .002".  I think were good here so if the machinist confirms our measurements, we'll re-use the rod bearings.

 

 

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Piston #1 measured 3.088"  

 

 

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Cylinder #1 measures at 3.096".  This is very close to standard 3 3/32"  (3.0938")  248 cubic inches displacement.

Of course, this caliper only measures at the very top of the cylinder, so  I'll have the machinist double check with real instruments!

 

 

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Removal of the rear freeze plug revealed this cruddy, muddy mess inside the block.  

 

 

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So, being it was warm enough outside, I wheeled the block onto the driveway and fired up my power washer.

 

 

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Look at that river of rust and debris coming out from the block!

 

 

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I hit it from every angle I could to dislodge and remove all the rust and scale.

 

 

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Here I'm pumping the water INTO the side water outlet and letting it back flush clear out through the freeze plug holes.  Beginning to run a lot clearer now.

 

 

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The final product.  I'm pleased and pretty confident that 95% of all that crud is gone.  (maybe more?)  She should run nice and cool now.

Edited by Gary W (see edit history)
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We had a nice Nor'easter roll through today so I got a few more parts ready for blast...

I started by taking the headlights down to their guts so can get the shells blasted, the reflectors re-silvered and the rims chromed.  I'll just polish the trim, it looks good.

Then the fender lamps, pretty much the same.  All lamps need to be re-wired.

Out to the garage to remove the windshield wiper motors off the car to be re-chromed.  It's only one bolt and disconnect the center link and they lift right out. (Marked BL & BR)

Next, I removed the cowl ventilator, the rubber gasket and most of the handle.  The rest of the handle is riveted to the frame.

Removed the emergency brake handle so I can have the handle wood grained to match the dash

Took out the high beam floor switch,

Removed the dome light wire from behind the dash all around the door frame to the lamp

And finally removed the cowl lacing.  

My plan is to build a wood frame and HOPEFULLY lift the body off the chassis Saturday if I can get some muscle!  I will be meeting the machinist Saturday also, so maybe too much for one day........  I'll keep you posted!

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I dont know if the '37 and '38 brake handles are the same, but on my '38 Special and Roadmaster, the brake handles are just painted brown and not woodgrained. Actually, it looks as if they were just dipped in brown paint.

Comments?

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The emergency brake handle on my 1937 Century is believed to be original and it is also just painted brown.

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Today I got a few hours to work on the engine:

First, I used a 1000 grit paper to polish the crankshaft journals.

Next I used a 100 grit with a heavy block of wood to clean up the head

Then, using a valve spring compressor, I removed all keepers, springs and valves

Then deglazed the cylinders using a hone on the electric drill

Everything was mic'd by the machinist.  All bores are standard, crank journals are 10 thousandths under, all mains are standard.  

All bearings have a .002 clearance so I'm comfortable using the same inserts.

Then the backbreaking job of cleaning all those parts.  and cleaning.  and cleaning....... It took almost an hour to remove the pan gasket!  I don't know what kind of adhesive was used!

I'll place the order for new valves, guides, pistons, rings......Monday morning.  

 

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The past couple weeks I entered that phase of the restoration where you are constantly working, but it doesn't seem like you are making any progress.  But it is work that needs to be done.  So, I've been stripping the seats, removing all the fabric, batting, cotton wadding, burlap and........of course............mice.  The mice created a mouse condo in every spring coil!  Gross work, wear gloves and a mask to protect your lungs.   

 

 

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The next nasty job was the complete cleaning and degreasing of all the engine parts.  I took a day and many gallons of thinner and gasoline, and by washing, scrubbing, air dry and doing it all over again, the parts started cleaning up.  Back breaking work!  Once those parts were cleaned, I polished the crank journals and mains, and the cam shaft lobes and bearings.  I used a rope, and starting with a 400 grit automotive paper, smoothed out the surfaces.  Then did the same with 600, and finally finished with a 1500 paper.  The surfaces polished up great!

I got new pistons (1938 "domed" style), and new valve guides and valves.  My local machine shop installed the new valve guides, and the head is now ready to be installed.  So the next move is to begin engine assembly!

 

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Gary,

You mentioned that the pan was tough to get off.

Probably lots of old Permatex to make up for the deformed bolt holes ?

A while ago we did a whole thread on "flattening your pan".

FYI 

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I agree with Mike! My pan was like that as well, I braced the inside lip against a narrow wood block and used a large dowel and a 5 lb maul. Worked like a charm. And make sure the bolts are limited to 10 lb-ft torque on the reinstall to keep it from happening again.

 

Cheers, Dave

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Started building the engine Saturday.  Rechecked all rods and mains with plastigauge to make sure everything was in spec.  Everything checked out nicely.  (.002)  Smeared assembly lube moly on the cam bearings and inserted the camshaft.  Then treated the main bearing surfaces to the same moly-lube, and the center main thrust surfaces.  Oil holes were pumped with motor oil.  Once the crank was set, I torqued the four forward main caps to 80 pounds.  (IS THAT CORRECT?).  Then the flywheel housing bolts have to be attached before the rear main cap in installed.  Put new seals in the rear main, and again, inserted the rear main cap and torqued it down.  Bolted the flywheel on (I was really surprised it can be installed in 6 positions!  I thought because the timing marks are cast in the flywheel that the holes would be offset so it would only go on one way.) by putting the #1 rod journal at it's TDC position, and bolting the flywheel so the ADV.... shows through the flywheel housing hole above the starter.  Pressed in the pilot bearing, installed the clutch disc and pressure plate (it was marked with two punch marks) and new throwout bearing.  

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So my next step was to assemble the pistons.  I bolted #1 piston to #1 rod with NO rings to check the clearance of the '38 style "domed" piston to the head.  There is room so I was quite relieved.  I checked the ring gaps and they were within spec.  So then moved on to installing the rings.  #4 ring went right on.  The three-part oil ring in the third groove also installed easily.  Then came #2.  The Grant rings are so hard, that when I spread it, it immediately cracked in half!  So, I tried another and BANG, another ring split in half.  And then the third one cracked.  I successfully installed one using the ring compressor, and by putting the ring on the outside, and sliding the unit over the piston, it slid right into position.  Needless to say, it was a disappointing end to a great day.  So I ordered new Hasting rings, and am waiting for them to arrive to finish the pistons and install them in the block.  So I primed, sanded and painted the pan and the flywheel cover gloss black and called it a day.  

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Today I cleaned the tappets.  One at a time and kept them labeled 1 through 16 so they go back in the same place they came out.  I'm still waiting for my new piston rings, but I did hang the pistons.  I started by first sliding the wrist pin and bolting it in the proper position.  Then I marked that spot to make it easier to line everything up when installed.  Those parts are tight and don't rotate so easily once in the rod.  It made it much easier when sliding the pin in place.  

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Impressive and smart work, but I don't see how you can wear those gloves lol.  My hands sweat way too much.

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When you get the engine entirely assembled, Before you install the distributor, it is a good idea to prelube the engine and fill all the oil galleys by puting oil in the pan and making a tool  to drive the oil pump (counter clockwise) until you see oil at the rockers - be sure to plug the oil pressure line fitting.

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A few questions:

 

1) Did you have the crankshaft checked for straightness?

 

2) Did you have your crankshaft and connecting rods checked for cracks?

 

3) Did you have any machine work done on the block or head?

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