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


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I removed the entire exhaust system (exhaust pipe, muffler, tail pipe and all those clamps and hangers)  All my hangers are completely dry-rotted and all my clamps are rusted to the point where they are not usable.  I ordered a new exhaust system from Waldron's Exhaust.  I'll let you know how it fits!  

Then I removed the rear stabilizer bar and the rear shock links so I can restore them and paint them.

Moved to the front to remove the front stabilizer bar, so I can restore the links and replace the rubber under the clamps.

After that I removed the drag link from the center tie rod so I can clean all that grease and rebuild it.  

Will make it a lot easier to paint the frame now that the brake lines, muffler, stabilizers.... are out.

The springs are going to be replaced next.

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Spent the day wire-wheeling a bucket of nuts, bolts, lock washers, and... the drag link, master cylinder, the brake and clutch pedal, stabilizer connections.....  

Then cleaned them with acetone and sprayed them gloss black.  Have to spray them in small batches, too cold outside so quick spray and immediately back into the garage.

 

AMAZING how nice the parts look just using the wire wheel!  

 

 

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You really should get the proper sizes of "flarenut" wrenches.  You will be able to install your new lines easier and they wont be marred because thes wrenches can't/don't/won't slip.  Also easier on the knuckles.

By the way looking good.

Edited by Tinindian
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What a great thread!  Not only is Gary's work meticulous, but so is his construction of the thread, which enables us all to watch and learn as the project unfolds.  And, as he says, he's having a BLAST!  Thank you.  I'm hooked on this now like a serialized novel -- I can't wait for the next installment.

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Yes, I agree with Tinindian......  flare nut wrenches are a must.  Also i noticed that some of the cotter pins were not factory installed. Be careful when you put back together, do not follow what is on the car now.  Great work on documenting everything. 

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Restored the starter.  Disassembled it last night, wire wheeled the parts I could, scrubbed the rest in paint thinner and cleaned with sandpaper, then a final wash with acetone.  Sprayed the parts and let everything dry overnight.  After work today I re-assembled everything and I am very happy results.  

Then I pushed the chassis outside and using four gallons of paint thinner, I washed the frame down, scrubbed it with a wire grill brush, then a final wash with towels and acetone.  Tomorrow I start painting the frame, restore the master cylinder and start getting the new brake lines installed.  The new brake lines were delivered today.  I think most of the "pre-bent" lines should work, but the "driveshaft" line is never going  to fit so I may have to use my original brake line there.  I'll let you know how I make out.    Some starter before and after photos:

 

 

 


 

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Painted the frame this morning.  Started in the garage at 5:00 by removing the ground strap and the rear tailpipe hanger.  Then gloved up and started on the driver's side rail.  I used POR-15 semi-gloss black.  It took exactly one quart to the whole job.  Notice I didn't paint the springs or the brake backing plates as I will be installing the new brake lines and the new springs and I'll get those fine details done once everything is back together and all cleaned up.  It came out nice.  If you do it, don't start on the side rail!   Start in the middle and work your way out. Much easier when I did the passengers side from the inside out.  Got finished by 10:00

 

I'll give it 24 hours to dry completely.  I want to rebuild the master cylinder this afternoon, paint the pedals and hopefully start running the new brake lines tomorrow. 

 

 

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This comment is for ILIKECARS53 - please elaborate on just how you know that cotter keys were not factory installed?  Seriously, installing cotter keys is pretty elementary - just how could an individual screw that up?  And the comments on here about how 'clean' this fellow is.  Really, guys?  Not everybody is a slob in their shop.  My Dad restored John Deere 2-Cylinder Tractors for over 50 years and his shop looked like a hospital operating room.  When I was growing up my job was to wash all of the tools in Stanisol (cleaner) and have everything laid out on the bench for the next operation.  I have all of his tools now and they still look brand new.  This fellow is the consummate perfectionist and it shows in his work and the way that he is doing the work.  Looking at the background in his photos I would put money on the fact that his home inside and outside would be what you would find in the pages of Better Homes and Gardens.  I am extremely impressed with the way that he is going about what he is doing with this car.  It will be an award winner when he is finished with it - and justly so.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas  aka  Doo Dah

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Gary is blessed with the place to do this type of work. I still have one side of my garage that is gravel with planks and plywood for a working surface. The side where my 1937 sat on jack stands for 25 years. I like Gary's technique better.

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Disassembly of the Master Cylinder... A guided tour!

1.  Remove the two 9/16 nuts and free the master cylinder from its support base

2.  Loosen the jam nut, hold the shank firm with pliers on the knurled ring, and remove the adjustment clevis

3.  Remove the jam nut

4.  Remove the rubber boot

5.  Remove the retaining ring

6.  Withdraw the plunger parts and the valve from the front of the cylinder

7.  Back to the vise to remove the large 1 1/4" nut and the copper gasket from the rear of the master cylinder

8.  Push your finger in the front to remove the spring mechanism from the rear

9.  Remove the filler cap from the top

10. Give it it's first bath in parts cleaner to remove the heavy crud

11. A fine wire passed through the holes to ensure they are clear

12. A little rust remover introduced into the reservoir with some scrubbing will get the remaining rust blossoms out

13. Using clean solvent, wash it out again and again to be sure it is spotless

14. A final bath in clean acetone, and drying out with paper towels and compressed air.

 

I didn't have to hone the cylinder as it was in very nice shape. No galling or pits.  I did notice the reproduction spring is lighter gauge wire, but it has one extra turn to it.  Any thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

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I FORGOT.......What is the rubber washer for??  (Right in the center of the last photo)  Nothing like that came out of my master cylinder, just wondering where it goes?  Thanks!

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Hi Terry,  Please look at the photo that Gary took just before he is going to start taking part the center link.  There are 2 nuts and cotter pins in the upper portion of the photo, both legs of the the cotter pins are just bent over the top of the nut/bolt.  I do not think that is how the factory installed cotter pins. Thanks Jim

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Hi Gary,  Very nice work.  Regarding the master cylinder.......  when I rebuilt the master cylinder in my 42 Buick the spring was also slightly difference and did not effect the braking.  The rubber washer should slip over the little nipple on the outlet.  Thanks   Jim

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Jim, I am glad that you did not take offense at my questioning your cotter key point.  Sometimes it can be hard to convey thoughts on the written page.  I look at this story that Gary is telling with excellent photo documentation as a learning experience for anyone who has this era of Buicks.  Don has a great point also - when they were putting these cars together on the assembly line there just wasn't all the time in the world to do everything up precisely like the modern day restorer will do things.  My thinking is the cotter key was inserted in the easiest manner and if one leg got bent around - that worked and we were on to the next task at that assembly station.  Gary, you are doing a fantastic job with this Buick and I love your photo documentation.  You are spending a considerable amount of time just taking photos and in the end this will work to your advantage.  You can always go back and refer to the photos if a question should arise in the future.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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Gary,

If you find that rebuilding the master and wheel cylinders is not possible or practical, I would like to recommend "Karp's brake service" in Upland, Ca.

Mine were so pitted that they could not be honed. I sent them out to Bob and for what I thought was a VERY reasonable cost, he sleeved them each with 304 stainless tubing. Today 5 years later, no drips or leaks, and she stops on a dime.

I did travel out there for business and made a point to visit Karp's shop. I was quite impressed......

 

Mike in Colorado

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One of the fun things about this kind of photo documentation is that you can "re-live" the fun you had while doing the job.

 

The cars I have restore & worked on have all been original - no rebuilds or restorations. In reality, often we over restore. Many of the details we fret over just were not important to the factory. For instance, the engine on my "38 Roadmaster looked as if the paint had just been thrown at it with runs and  nearly bare spots. On my '18, the firewall clearly showed the brush strokes of the hand applied varnish. Things we typically would not tolerate today in a restoration.

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Wednesday, March 22:  Today I mounted the engine back into the frame!  Started by pushing the chassis outside, hoisting the engine up with the crane, and then pushing the chassis under the motor.  After positioning and slowly lowering the engine, everything lined up beautifully!  All my motor mounts were re-vulcanized, and I replaced the three shims that came out of the right rear motor mount.  

 

Went on to install the freeze plugs

Honed and rebuilt the master cylinder

Installed master cylinder and pedals

Moved to the rear and removed the rear leaf springs.  That was a tough job!  Broke one shackle bolt in the process.  Everything is just rusted together.  

 

ENGINE INSTALL:  Just some photos of the engine install.   Check out the last photo of the front right motor mount.  Huge change over the last two months!

 

(Next post for the rear springs)

 

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Rear Leaf Springs:

Removed the rear shock Links and the rear stabilizer bar the other day so they are already off the lower spring plate.

Removed the 4 "U" bolts by removing the 8 nuts (Which were rusted/frozen).

The rubber bumper and it's plate come out with the "U" bolt closest to the backing plate

Removed the shackle bolts from the shackles to free the spring.  (This was the hardest part of the job.  I broke one bolt and still have one in there. The other three came out)

Removed the spring and placed it on the workbench

Removed any remaining shackle bolts

Removed the spring center bolt

Pried open the metal spring covers and completely removed them.  This revealed three broken leaves!  Amazing how nice the car rode with such a bad spring under it.

(Last photo shows what 80-year old springs look like!)

 

Removed both shock absorbers, cleaned them up and filled with oil.  They work beautifully so I simply reinstalled them onto the frame.

So now I have a little more chassis cleaning and painting before installing the new springs.  

Hopefully I'll be installing the new rear leaf and my new front coil springs Saturday.

 

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This has been a nice post and your working quickly on the project.  

 

 Even though the engine ran fine you should have done 3 things to it.  1. New cam bearings.  2. crank ground with new rod bearings (.0008-.0018) specs in one of my motors manuals and plastic gage isn't as accurate as a bore gage and mics.  3. bore job with new pistons.   Cutting ridges and honing cylinders isn't the same as the cylinders can be tapered and if you cut a ridge then your flirting with clearances.  

 

Save yourself some trouble and buy new or resleeve the master cylinder and wheel cylinders.  Honeing old nasty cylinders might net you a few years before your doing it again as they are leaking fluid.  

 

Are you getting the springs from Eaton spring?  

 

Nice thread and I'm nitpicking from experience.  

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I have to disagree with Janousek.

Not every engine needs to be completely rebuilt. If a detailed inspection reveals that everything is within specification, then an overhaul like this will be just fine. It also depends on how much the car will be driven. Condition is everything. Also, there is a horrendous difference in the cost of the two types of jobs.

On the brake cylinders. I have had experiences on both ends of the scale.

When I restored my '38 Roadmaster 35 years ago, I just honed all the cylinders and installed new cups and used silicone fluid. They are syill working just fine.

However... When I did my '38 Special I did the same thing and had trouble. I ended up having the cylinders sleeved.

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Springs are from Eaton.  Very nice people there and they know their stuff.

I disassembled each leaf, and sent everyone out (except the main leaf with the threaded bushing) to be powder coated "mirror black".  The front coil springs are also powder coated and i'm hoping to install them this weekend.  I'll do all chassis paint touch-up work at the same time.

 

When the leaves come back (Saturday morning), I'll paint "Slip-Plate" dry film graphite lubricating paint on every rubbing surface.  Then assemble with no grease as the Slip Plate does not wash away and it bonds very nicely to the clean springs.  Then when the new shackle bolt arrives, I can do the install and touch-up to the rear of the chassis as well.  The main leaf is simply painted with POR-15 high gloss black because I don't want to take a chance of getting powder in the threaded bushing and ruin the leaf.

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6 hours ago, DonMicheletti said:

I have to disagree with Janousek.

Not every engine needs to be completely rebuilt. If a detailed inspection reveals that everything is within specification, then an overhaul like this will be just fine. It also depends on how much the car will be driven. Condition is everything. Also, there is a horrendous difference in the cost of the two types of jobs.

On the brake cylinders. I have had experiences on both ends of the scale.

When I restored my '38 Roadmaster 35 years ago, I just honed all the cylinders and installed new cups and used silicone fluid. They are syill working just fine.

However... When I did my '38 Special I did the same thing and had trouble. I ended up having the cylinders sleeved.

 

 I am on your side, Don,

     I overhauled a lot of cars in the '50s that way. For myself and others.  I drove my '50 Super convert another three years and it was still good to go when I traded.

 

  Gary, I am envious of your expertise.  Looking great.

 

  Ben

Edited by Ben Bruce aka First Born (see edit history)
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 I have no doubt that engine should last a long time,  but 30 bucks a hole for a bore and insert bearings are cheap on top of a crank grind.   I guess it would be peace of mind for myself if it was mine especially since my book shows the rods slightly out of spec.  

 

I have 4-5 cars a year roll through for new wheel cylinders.  Restored cars where guys put kits in a honed cylinder.  Restorations are usually 3-10 years old.   The surface finish on the new stuff or brass sleeves far exceeds what the average hone can produce so the rubber pucks last much longer.   Doing a 50' chevy right now with original wheel cylinders stuck on a nicely restored car.  I don't think these guys even bothered with a hone.  Just a kit on a muddy cylinder.   Nobody is saving money doing things twice.  

 

Those rear springs are a mess.  Are you putting the tin shields back on the new ones?  

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I just did our 42' Cadillac last fall.  I'll have to look it up but seems like parts were around 2k and machining another 1000.  But it needed 3 sleeves, some stitch pins, block acid dipped, all surfaces decked.

So not a real good comparison.  The bill will give me a break down of machine work.  Oil pump rework/modification with new idler gear was another grand. (Cadillac flathead problem).  

 

A new Kanter book came yesterday.   It has main bearings at $209 and rods at $117.36.   Cam bearings 94$    So roughly 420.00 in bearings.  To me that not a lot for peace of mind.  But.. every budget is different.  I'm not a wealthy person but I do the best job I can when I have something apart.  My luck with old cars is everything I don't throughly restore bites me in the butt.  

 

I know around here a rough rule of thumb from the shops is a grand a hole.  8 cylinder= 8 grand.  This is for complete jobs without unforseen extras.   Now that is hard to swallow.  I think most of those services include a rebuilt carb,fuelpump, generator, starter.  Years ago I had a shop like that converty our 31' Buick to  insert bearings.  I just had the machine work done but the bill had all kinds misc. fees.  Almost like a utility bill.  That one hurt but it's given over 8 thousand trouble free miles.  If I was to go back I probably would have just re-babbited everything.  

 

I thought I'd share some numbers that I know of.   It's nice to see Gary restoring this Buick.   I once had an old timer Chevy guy say a Buick is just a Chevy with lock washers but after having this 50' Chevy in the shop it's nothing like our 48' Buick 46s.  

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Janousek, that 'Old Timer Chevy Guy' was none other than the World Famous Pinky Randall.  He told me that in Flint back in 2008 at the GM 100th Anniversary Parade.  He came down and looked at our '22 Buick and uttered those words to myself and Barbara and just laughed.  When he got ready to walk back to their Chevrolet he stopped and quite seriously told the both of us that we had a very nice Buick there.  Coming from him that was like God coming down and blessing the car.  We will never forget that conversation with him.

 

Terry Wiegand

Doo Dah America

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Gary W,

 

Keep up the good work!  Great post and photos.

 

In the time I spend looking for a missing socket, that rolled to that hidden corner all sockets roll to, you rebuild a section of your car.

 

At the rate you are going, I expect to hear from you about attending the National Meet in Brookfield, WI and joining us on the PWD After Tour!  I'll make sure to hold you a spot.

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10 hours ago, Brian_Heil said:

In the time I spend looking for a missing socket, that rolled to that hidden corner all sockets roll to, you rebuild a section of your car.

 

Haha.  Good one! :P

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Cleaned up and cleaned out the differential housing:

 

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Before

 

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Scraping out all that old goop!

 

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All clean!

 

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Scraped all the old gasket and sealant.  Sanded the outside, Painted it black.  Then I hit the holes down flush, block sanded it smooth, scrubbed clean with acetone, Used Permatex Ultra-Black and installed the new gasket.  

 

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Done!

 

Edited by Gary W (see edit history)
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A few little odds - and - ends today.  The most time consuming is wire wheeling all those nuts / bolts / washers.  Then they get a scrubbing in paint thinner, a final soak in acetone to strip all the residual oils then two coats of gloss black.  It takes hours to clean up all these small parts.

 

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Manifold Studs before

 

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I have a vacuum hood that pulls all the rust / dust / debris through a triple fllter and i wrapped the whole thing in a trash bag so there is no dust flying around.  Keeps things pretty neat for the job it is.  

 

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Same studs after wire wheel and rinse in thinner

 

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Sprayed with Rustoleum Automotive Gloss Black

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  • Gary W changed the title to 1937 Buick Model 48: RESTORATION HAS BEGUN! (Photo)

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