Gary W

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

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Sunday August 20, 2017:  Cleaning and painting interior parts


I'm thinking that the main body shell will probably be out of paint in a couple few weeks so I'm prioritizing parts for the build.  Today I got a couple of hours to clean and paint some more stuff.  The largest parts were the rear window risers and their mounting screws and the metal track.  They came out very nice.  Then it was the cowl vent mechanism and related parts, the wiper mounting parts, accelerator spring, glove box hinge and mounting screws, door checks.... stuff that I think I'll need to install first.




Close-up of the window riser mechanism.  



Here's my rig.  We had a beautiful 84 degree day today so it was nice to get out and work on the Buick.



After wire wheel treatment.  Already beginning to look nice!




Before and after of the window mechanism.  The "slash" marks are my way of making sure parts go back where they came from.  

I have a simple marking system for every part I remove.



The metal channels were marked where they came from, but turns out they are the same part number for  the left and right sides.

(I'll still put them back where they came from!)




Everything gets a bath in paint thinner, followed by a bath and scrubbing in Acetone.




Everything clean, dried and hung outside for paint.




For these window risers and channels, I used SEM "Trim Black".  I have to say, I really like the way this product sprays and the finish is very nice.




Hanging in the garage to dry overnight.  You can see the Trim Black has a nice "satin" sort of "semi-flat" finish.  




The nuts and bolts that hold the cowl vent arm to the vent itself.  



After wire-wheeling.



The cowl vent arm before...



And after wire wheeling.



All the parts get a paint thinner bath followed by an acetone scrub to remove any residual oils and prepare them for painting.




All the parts arranged for painting.



I sprayed all these parts with a gloss black.  Now I'll bag and tag them and organize them for step-by-step installation.  

All these little details take a lot of time, but I'm trying to make as much headway as I can so the build moves along.




Have a great night!




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I've recently found the SEM paints as well.  Have you addressed your steering column yet?  Not sure if your year is the same as my '40, is your steering column a light brown color?  I was going to see if the shop that sells the SEM paint could mix up a batch of that proper color.  

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I did have my brown paint mixed at our local Norwood Parts Supply store.  ( See previous page #19, Post # 469)

 I've used it so far for the steering column, the screw heads that secure the firewall insulator and the heater.  I'm going to do the emergency brake handle and maybe the front seat supports as well.  The paint is called  "SAVOY BROWN".  It's not exactly "Marsh Brown", it's deeper.  I would say more of a Burnt Sienna...   I wanted the column and those brown parts to be a deeper brown so it compliments the mahogany woodgrain and matches the firewall.


****  NOTE:  The "Savoy Brown" is a metallic paint.  Norwood simply mixed it WITHOUT the metallic flakes in it so it came out NON METALLIC.




Here's the Brand Code and the Description.   Just be sure to have it mixed as a non-metallic paint.





I looked through a lot of paint chips before I finally settled on the color.

The finished product is exactly the color of the color chip in the book.



Here's the finished column.

(I just pulled this in from the previous page)









Edited by Gary W (see edit history)
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You are right, all the little details make the job complete. I like your landscape and lawn also.

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Thanks Gary, that's great background.  You're terrific!

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Monday August 28, 2017:  Update on the Body / Paint and some Powder Coated Parts:


I made a few stops the last couple of days to pick up the remaining sandblasted parts, my powder coated parts and to check on the body progress.






Flashback to January:  Running Board bottom.  Focus on the bracket there.





Another view of the running board bracket when removed from the car in January.



That same bracket today.  Powder Coated "Mirror Black"





 Here you see the condition of the mud shield under the rear fender as removed from the car.







Here are the powder coated parts.  Mostly chassis items that I thought would hold up better from road debris.





Update at the paint shop:



Bob uses a 320 grit sandpaper over the "build-up" primer in combination with this flexible "scotch brite" pad that gets into all the firewall details.






You can see the difference between the "sanded" and "not-sanded" by noticing where the "guide coat" is sanded off.






In this shot you can see the cowl section in progress.

 The Passenger's side is done, the Driver's side still has the "guide coat" (looks darker).






The body will be completely sanded out today.  

Just the small sections under the rear window, under the center of the trunk and the roof need to be done.

It really is amazing how smooth the body feels after being sanded out.











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Excellent progress, great work!  Thanks for sharing.

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Wednesday August 30, 2017:  Running Board Restoration:


In tonight's post, I would like to document the restoration of the running boards.  I looked at it as four separate areas:

1.  The Running Board Stainless Steel trim strip that runs alongside the outer surface.

2.  The angled iron support irons that bolt directly to the underside of the running board

3.  The heavy support irons that actually bolt to those angled iron supports  AND  bolt directly to the frame and are the support for the running boards.

4.  The mud shield that attaches to the underside of the running board at the rear.







The condition of the running board undersides as removed from the car in January:




Everything under there was rusted.




Pretty much every nut, bolt and washer had to be replaced as most of them sheared off upon removal.




Tons of PB Blaster hardly helped.




Here's the mess of rusty nuts and bolts that came out.




And of course the rubber was completely dry-rotted.


I had the underside of the running boards blasted clean.  Then I shipped them out to be re-vulcanized and powder coated "mirror-black" on the underside.

I then had the support brackets and the mounting brackets powder coated, and I ordered all new stainless steel fasteners for the assembly.

Here we go:



1.  Stainless Steel Trim Molding:


The Stainless trim moldings.  The rust inside was quite extensive.




I first used a wire wheel on my electric drill to remove mostly all the rusty metal and clean the rusty surfaces.




You can start to see the difference after treating with the wire wheel.




Next I used acetone to clean the inner surfaces.  Then I sprayed this Rust-Oleum product to be sure I got in and around all the surfaces in there.

Once this dried,  a light coat of SEM "Trim Black" to the underside to give it that final protective coat.




To deal with the rust blossoms beginning to show through the outer surface, I swapped out my wire wheel for a cotton buffing wheel.

I used jeweler's rouge to coat the cotton buffing wheel.




Very carefully, and with a steady hand, I began to polish off the rust and blemishes.  The trim does have some small dents and such, but they are 80 years old.




Here you can see the change from the original on top to the buffed trim on bottom.




Then a good hand polishing to remove any residual buffing residue and the trim looks pretty good.  Not perfect, but not bad.





I replaced 10 trim mounting clips.  They are all #10 - 24 screw thread.  I got all these stainless fasteners at Home Depot.





After carefully lining up the holes, snap in the new mounting clips.

Turn the molding up and push all the mounting clip studs through the holes in the running board, flip the board over and....




Tighten up all the stainless steel nuts, lock washers and flat washers using a 3/8" wrench.




2.  Running Board Support Brackets:


Next step is to mount the support brackets to the underside of the running boards.  I had all these powder coated "mirror - black"

Here is the list of materials I used, ordering them from McMaster Carr.  

Notice, I used "Elevator Bolts" for the supports.  Worked out fantastic!

Every replacement is stainless steel.




First I ran a die over all the support irons threads because the powder got in there. Use a   5/16 - 18  coarse thread die.




Begin sliding in your carriage bolts, or in my case, the "elevator bolts".




Once you slide the bolts into the groove, place the running board support bracket into position and using the fasteners outlined above...




Install everything.  I did not over tighten anything yet because I'll need the looseness later on to line up the running board once installed on the car.





3. Running Board to Frame Support Irons:


The next step is to attach the heavy running board support irons to these brackets.  Again, this is the list of materials I used to do this.





Install your 5/16" flat washer, lock washer and the stainless  5/16-18 nut.  Again, not overly tight at this point until settled on the car.





Then, install the mud shield at the rear of the running boards to complete the restoration of the underside!



4.  Materials used to mount the running board to the frame:


When it comes time to mount the running boards to the frame, this is the list of materials that I am using.

Again, everything is stainless steel.






Here is the finished restoration of the underside of the running boards.




Here's the up side.




Another close-up of the up side.  I am so happy with the results!




BEFORE AND AFTER:  Ready for installation!!




Have a great night out there!













Edited by Gary W (see edit history)
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Very nice.  You are very lucky to be able to use the original running boards.  My 32 Dodge Brothers boards were totally rusted out.

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Very nice work.


But be careful with Stainless Steel fixings. Where you ran the tap through the threads, the paint might have finished with tiny chips at the surfaces. When you put the bolt in, there are likely to be tiny spots of steel unprotected on each side of what the stainless is screwed into. SS is below steel in the galvanic series so the steel will rust first, accelerated a bit by the stainless, i.e. the steel will passivate the stainless.


Yes, I know, the stainless fixings are beautiful. I am sorely tempted myself. But the corrosion protection on what it screws into needs to be up to snuff if it is to last.


I am interested to hear you and your readers' experiences in this regard. Maybe I am being too conservative?

Edited by Spinneyhill (see edit history)

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30 minutes ago, Spinneyhill said:

 SS is below steel in the galvanic series so the steel will rust first, accelerated a bit by the stainless, i.e. the steel will passivate the stainless.


I am interested to hear you and your readers' experiences in this regard. Maybe I am being too conservative?

There are various grades of SS based on the alloys, nickel being an important variable.  Some stainless will rust, although slower than plain carbon steel.  Gary's use of stainless on his car looks really great.  The hot rodders will file and polish the bolt heads and make everything look clean and shiney.  I'm not familiar from experience to know if running board fasteners are prone to road debris damage (impact) which would make painting them almost fruitless.


As for using stainless or other long term corrosion tricks on a vintage car restoration, I'm always trying to remind myself that I am not preparing a daily driver that will be exposed to routine rain, salt and slush.  I am not likely to see the deterioration on my cars from the use I will put them through compared to the initial buyer of that same car.  When complete, I expect to be driving my car so some road rash, dirt and minor surface rust on unprotected steel is inevitable.


Gary, what are your plans for this beautiful car?  Driving it?

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1 hour ago, kgreen said:

I'm always trying to remind myself that I am not preparing a daily driver that will be exposed to routine rain, salt and slush.  I am not likely to see the deterioration on my cars from the use I will put them through compared to the initial buyer of that same car.  When complete, I expect to be driving my car so some road rash, dirt and minor surface rust on unprotected steel is inevitable.


My thoughts exactly! 


Thoughts and concerns of slight future rust around the edges of stainless steel hardware can be left to those restoring a car to always win 1st place, whose cars are transported to and from events in an enclosed trailer. 


But if the concern still is a bother, who among us hasn't spent the better part of a day off on our backs with a drop light, a touch up paint brush and a can of touch up paint? 


And by the way, I could see this '37 taking 1st place even with a little rust stain on that running board hardware (in the future). :)

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If you go with a running board radio antenna, you will have to replace the running board to frame bracket mounts with the insulated ones. Bobs has them

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August 30, 2017:  Update on the body progress:


The "build-up" prime coat is now completely sanded smooth.  A 320 grit paper followed by the pad gives the metal an unbelievable finish.  Going forward, the plan is to raise the body off the wooden dolly so the underside can be primed with the "self-etching" primer, and then finished with a rubberized undercoat.  Then back down onto the wood frame to spray the interior with the rubberized undercoat before the final wet sand and color application.  Anyway, I think I have the order of operations correct. 



All sanded out and ready to work on the underside.



This is what the rubberized undercoat looks like applied to the inside of the firewall.




Here you can see the undercoat applied to the sheet metal under the pedals..




I tried to get the light on the wall to highlight the smoothness of the sanded primer.  It actually looks glossy when it's sanded out so smooth.



Thanks so much for following along!  To answer a couple of your questions:


Spinneyhill:  I ordered all 18-8 Stainless from McMaster Carr.  Their description says "excellent chemical resistance" and some of the fasteners say "can be used in salt water environments" so I hope they stay nice.  (Truth in advertising?)   I chose stainless for longevity (hopefully), not so much for the aesthetics.  Maybe in 30 years if my son needs to work on the car, the parts will come off easier for him!  I also use a product called "Copper-Eze" over the studs which I hope will create a barrier to rust........  We'll See!


KGreen:  I do drive my cars weekly, usually on Sunday mornings, little 15-20 mile jaunts.  We have some great roads around here still posted at 25, 35 mph so it's comfortable.  I usually put about 250 - 400 miles a year on my Model "A"'s. Not a lot, but keeps them "exercised".   I think I'll be driving the Buick a lot more, as she seems so much more road worthy.  I have never done one of those multi-day tours, but maybe some day....


27donb:  I love attending the car shows, but rarely, if ever, enter my cars for judging.  Sometimes the judging is so subjective that I can't figure out how the end results are tallied.  And I feel your pain spending hours on my back with the touch up kit!  


Don:  I'm thinking that I'll use the bluetooth feature of the restored radio 99.99% of the time so I'm not going to run antenna wires.  But thanks for the "heads-up"!



Again...THANKS for the comments,  for the constant support and thanks for following along!


Have a great day!


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Copper-Eze: very good idea! The oiliness will prevent the surrounding steel rusting for a while until it dries out. I am going to try a lanolin grease product produced locally.

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I took my original 1938 running boards off to add new insulators when I installed the new antenna loom. They were never off before. Nothing but very light surface rust under this car or better description would be rust colored. This car came originally from Michigan and had about 16000 Michigan miles on it but the original owner had a wood two car garage it was kept in. He worked for Buick and he mostly drove his wife 37 Buick.  It then spent the rest of its life in a heated building with other collectable cars. I got it and it is inside a garage in Las Vegas now. My point is Garys car will probably never sit outside again in its life so rust will never be an issue. I have driven our car over 3000 miles and it still has no rust and most likely never will. They don't rust easily if they live inside.


Edited by LAS VEGAS DAVE (see edit history)
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Friday September 1, 2017:  Update at the paint shop



I stopped by the paint shop after work today.  My wood carriage has now been replaced by four heavy jack stands which hold the body high enough for Bob to get under and work on the underside of the floor.  First, he fiberglassed two small holes. They were located under the rear seat where all those mice made their home.  Then he sanded out the fiberglass and gave the underside a light sanding to smooth out the roughness left by the sand blaster.  A coat of yellow "self-etching" primer was then applied, followed by a coat of rubberized undercoat material.  He's out of the shop now until Tuesday when the wet sanding of the body will begin.  By this time next week the first coat of color should be applied!




The body is supported on all four corners by these heavy stands.  You can see my wood carriage leaning against the wall over there.




The inside is still in self-etching primer.  You can see all the creeper marks in the dust on the floor.




This height and being nice and open allows him to scoot around and work.




This is the product that he used to spray the underside (and the inside)




View from the front.  The finish is really nice and it's an economical alternative to traditional paint.

Plus, it's easy to touch up in the future!



Under the trunk and the and view from the rear.




Passenger's side door sill and floor pans.




Have a great day!





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 Great documentation of these procedures that you have provided. I just received my September Torque Tube and the first instalment of your story looks great.


Edited by dibarlaw
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Sunday September 3, 2017:  Accelerator Pedal


It appears the paint is on schedule and hopefully I'll get the body back in my garage in 10 days.  As I'm going through bags of labeled and tagged parts, I found an important one:  The accelerator pedal.  So here is how I restored it today:



January 2017:  This is the condition of the drivers controls.  




The accelerator pedal removed.  All the rubber is dry and hard as a rock.




The underside is rusty and the dry, cracked and brittle rubber is completely worn.




The mounting hinge.




I secured the pedal in the vice and began with a wood chisel in the deep cracks.  I figured better to start at a weak spot!




Once the blade bit, the material began to let go.




About halfway done, and about 25 minutes of work already!




I turned it and began to remove the other side in the same fashion.




The underside had its own challenges, getting into the grooves and cleaning out the throttle linkage.




Then I punched out the holes that the original rubber was vulcanized through.  I guess it gives some sort of mechanical retention.




And finally, scraped out the grooves.  All in, about 45 minutes to get all that rubber off.  Most came out in large, hard chunks.




So heres the underside, all the rubber removed.




Next I gave both sides and the edges the wire wheel treatment.  This removed all residual rust and paint and any pieces of rubber left behind.




OK....Now we're getting there!  Looks so much better just getting cleaned up!




After an acetone bath and scrub, I dried it with compressed air and painted it gloss black.  I allowed it over seven hours to dry.




I purchased the accelerator pad from Steele.  There is a notch in the rubber that fits nicely over the hinge.

The pad was a nice, tight fit all around.  I did not use any epoxy because the fit is so tight, but I may glue it down before I install it in the car.

I wanted to test the fit first, and it is a perfect fit.




Next I addressed the throttle linkage with a small neoprene hose.




I cut it to the same length as the throttle linkage hole in the bottom of the pedal.




Then simply pushed the hose into the hole, and inserted the throttle linkage.

Just needs a cotter pin to finish the job.

I was thinking I could simply pump a little epoxy through those holes if I thought the pad needs it.




The underside finished.




The top side finished.







Top side.  The Steele pad has the correct number of ribs and valleys.




The hinge area.




The throttle linkage and the metal stop.  

(By the way....does a rubber bumper go in that metal to stop the pedal?)




Have a nice Labor Day!





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