Gary W

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

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I am sure you thought of this already, but make sure the points are open. If the cam is in the wrong position, stick a piece of thin cardboard in there.

 

Cheers, Dave

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I did not think of that, and I just checked.  The points were closed.............  is that why the coil was lighting my lamp on both sides?  

Would that cause the spark when I hooked the battery up?

 

Feeling better, and a little stupid....

 

Thanks for the heads up

G

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It certainly would cause the light to go on if the one end of the light is hooked directly to the batt pos term. The coil primary is only a couple of ohms so will still look enough like a short to the light.

 

As far as the spark, it would if your ignition switch is on and the points were closed. The coil primary draws 4 or 5 amps so it's not insignificant. If the ign switch is off it should not.

 

Cheers, Dave

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3 hours ago, Gary W said:

I traced it out and found out the coil lit my test lamp on both sides.  So I disconnected the yellow wire (Not the one that goes to the distributor), and now both ignition wires are not lighting the lamp.

 

5a120f5497b19_Series40WiringDiagram.thumb.jpeg.dac87199c4e2eb965857fe530cd6f8ab.jpeg

 

Yes, the coil is an autotransformer and also has a connection to ground (through the points). Thats normal.

 

If you test all these things that use electricity, they are sure to light. That is normal.

 

The traditional way to do this only has the light hooked one place, between the battery and the battery cable. You just disconnect things until the light goes out. Except the clock, you could disconnect the clock until later. It will be a constant draw because the light wont provide enough current to wind it.

 

Maybe I don't understand what you are asking? If the ignition is off, the gas gauge should be off. If the ignition is on, then a bunch of stuff is on (like the ignition and tthe gas gauge for instance), and the light should be on.

 

Looking at the diagram you posted, I would hook the lamp up out at the starter, between the 10ga wire and the post you took it off of. Ignition off. I would then disconnect the 3 wires from the ammeter and see if the light (still hooked up out at the starter) goes out. Which one makes it go out will be a clue. If none of them make it go out, then disconnect the 10ga from the other side of the ammeter. If it is still on after all that, disconnect the "b" terminal on the horn relay.

 

Let us know what happens :)

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)

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OK.  After spending another couple hours, this is what I found:

1. I placed a thin piece of rubber between the points to eliminate that.

2. My fuel gauge will work only if the posts stay perfectly stable.  If I touch the wires, which tends to move the posts, it'll spark and short.  But if it stays where it is now, it's OK

3. My light switch.  I purchased a "rebuilt" switch.  Problem is the headlamps are lit when fully depressed.  So they were drawing current, contributing to the spark but I couldn't see them in the daytime.

    I have to find the "dead spot" between the pull knob positions to make the lights turn off.  So I think I'll replace my original switch tomorrow and check it again.

 

Aside.....  The headlamps look beautiful lit up!  nice and bright with the UVIRA reflectors.

 

Thanks for the help.  I need to think about the fuel gauge.  I may have to replace it if it becomes a hazard.

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WOW! Glad you found it!

 

I have worked on one of those gas gauges fairly recently. It is a balanced coil design. One terminal goes to the battery, and inside is a coil to ground, and a coil to the other terminal. The other terminal is for the sending unit.

 

Both the sending unit and the gauge need to have a near perfect ground for the gauge to work right.

 

Whenever the ignition is on, the one coil is energized. the other coil is too, but not as much because it must find it's ground through the variable resistor in the sending unit.

 

0 ohms is empty and 30 ohms is full. In practice, if you short the extra terminal to ground (0 ohms), the gauge should go to empty. with the wire disconnected, it should peg full.

 

If you really want to check its accuracy, connect 30 ohms from the sender terminal on the gauge to ground. It should go full or a little more, but not quite pegged.

 

If you short the wire at the back of the car to ground, the gauge should go all the way to empty. No matter what the sending unit does, this is as good as it gets. Actually not quite even that good, because there will be a little resistance in the sending unit even if empty.

 

If it will not, there is too much resistance in the wiring, or the gauge isn't grounded good, or the gauge just plain needs more work. Since 0 ohms (dead short) equals empty, any stray resistance anywhere will prevent the gauge from going all the way down.

 

Consider putting a ground wire from the tank to the frame, so the sender will have a solid ground no matter what.

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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I ran a dedicated ground from the battery to the sending unit flange before the body drop.  I will run your tests because I know I have about 14 gallons in the tank, and it's reading only 1/4.  Should  be closer to 3/4 I would imagine.  I had my sending unit and the gauge restored so I hope they did a good job.  I wish there were small o-rings or something like that to keep the posts right in the middle of their holes so the gauge can't move a little and ground out / short out against the metal instrument cluster.  

 

Between the headlamp switch and the fuel gauge, I think I'm back in business!  Frustrating day, for sure.

 

Thanks for all the help !  Really appreciate it

 

Gary

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16 minutes ago, Gary W said:

 I wish there were small o-rings or something like that to keep the posts right in the middle of their holes so the gauge can't move a little and ground out / short out against the metal instrument cluster.  

 

Don't the fiber washers have a lip to prevent that? I'm not sure. I thought I knew where to lay my hands on a 37 cluster to look. Nope. Wasn't there.

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Once I found this topic and started reading, it became like a best seller suspense novel,can not put it down ! Great work,your body man,your descriptions,photos,should be a movie. Thanks for keeping me and all your other followers up to date. Car looks fantastic,

I will surely be waiting for the conclusion,

thanks again! Gordon Purves.

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That headlight switch is quite a contraption. There are 3 sliding contact plates and they can easily be put in wrong when "restored". Give your original switch a try. 

There should be insulating rings to keep the gage posts in the middle of their mounting holes to keep them isolated.

 

Isn't restoration fun??   In a way, solving gremlins like this gives a lot of satisfaction when you finally discover and solve them

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14 hours ago, Gary W said:

OK.  After spending another couple hours, this is what I found:

1. I placed a thin piece of rubber between the points to eliminate that.

2. My fuel gauge will work only if the posts stay perfectly stable.  If I touch the wires, which tends to move the posts, it'll spark and short.  But if it stays where it is now, it's OK

3. My light switch.  I purchased a "rebuilt" switch.  Problem is the headlamps are lit when fully depressed.  So they were drawing current, contributing to the spark but I couldn't see them in the daytime.

    I have to find the "dead spot" between the pull knob positions to make the lights turn off.  So I think I'll replace my original switch tomorrow and check it again.

 

Aside.....  The headlamps look beautiful lit up!  nice and bright with the UVIRA reflectors.

 

Thanks for the help.  I need to think about the fuel gauge.  I may have to replace it if it becomes a hazard.

 

Please post a picture of your car with the headlights on, both regular and high beam. Add-in the Trippe lights too if you can.

 

With all the prior discussions about obtaining maximum illumination from original headlights, this would be very instructive.

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Monday November 20, 2017:  The Light Switch

... swapping out the "rebuilt" switch for my original one

 

 

Tonight I disassembled my light switch that came out of the car, cleaned it up and re-wired it and re-installed it.  

I took some photos of the lights.  Photos are tough, but the high beams are definitely brighter than the lows.

 

 

5a1376045e444_LightingSwitch.thumb.jpeg.137b03be105a709ff6cd54a05303901e.jpeg

From the manual.  They consider "off" a position so there are four positions.  

When I installed the "rebuilt" switch, the lights were never off.  When depressed fully, all the lights came on.

I had to find the "dead spot" between detents to actually turn off the lights.

I'm assuming this was the source of the battery spark I was getting.

 

 

 

5a1376079b91b_LightingSwitchDetail.thumb.jpeg.b755db5eac053ca839b466ec2526e19b.jpeg

Close up of the switch.  My car has no connection to the #6 post.  

Where is #8?

 

 

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Here's my switch that I removed from the car in January.  I replaced it because the lights didn't work (although the wiring was completely ruined) and it looked pretty nasty and rusted.

It looks SO MUCH BETTER in the drawing in the Buick Manual above!

 

 

DSC_2896.thumb.jpg.5d902ecd98b7f41595f5e548db9b9a19.jpg

This is the thermo circuit breaker.  This is where the feed wire comes in and the dome light, charge indicator and cigar lighter come directly off this tree.

 

 

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So I removed every screw, the two fixed bars and the thermo circuit unit.

 

 

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Off to the shed to get shined up.

 

 

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I bought a brand new wire wheel with softer wires and very lightly buffed out the surface, all the screws, washers and bars.

 

 

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Looking a little better now.

 

 

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Re-assembled and ready to be re-installed.

 

 

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First, depress the internal spring clip to release the pull knob.  Then, use a 3/16" Allen wrench to remove the threaded sleeve (and washer)

This sleeve is temporary, came with the rebuilt switch.  My threaded sleeve and washer are getting re-chromed.

 

 

DSC_2987.thumb.jpg.6db1bdbf4019ae2d660a9f21bc3d81a8.jpg

For the next neck-twisting hour, I marked the wires as I removed them and released the light switch from the car.

 

 

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You have a lot of room to work.  Right between the cowl vent operating handle and the radio!

 

 

DSC_2989.thumb.jpg.c26b794e029dc103b0ef5df4e68ac70e.jpg

Here it is, back where it came from, looking a lot prettier.  

So I hooked up the battery........ NO SPARK!   Lights are off in the off position so ......

 

 

DSC_2952.thumb.jpg.e05b928b1283ae30ea8a2150d4c24f95.jpg

Here you go!  These are standard bulbs, UVIRA treated reflectors with a dedicated ground wire soldered directly to the socket.

I didn't get the dedicated fender ground wire up there yet.  Are the fender lamps usually this dull?  First time I've ever seen them lit.

 

 

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It's hard getting decent photos in the dark.  But that just looks cool!

 

 

DSC_2959.thumb.jpg.658013da6e17ce3f225407d62ab1b423.jpg 

LOW BEAM  Position 3   ( "CITY" )

 

 

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HIGH BEAM  Position 4   ( "COUNTRY" )

The driver's lamp goes out when I step on the high beam pedal in the car.

 

 

 

 

 

Dash Panel:  One year comparison:

 

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November 20, 2016.  

 

 

 

Compared to:

 

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November 20, 2017

 

When I step on the foot switch, the red indicator lamp illuminates on the dash panel and the driver's headlight goes out.

 

 

 

 

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One more!

 

 

Thanks to all the "electricians" out there that sent in a lot of great advice helping me find the short.

I will attack the fuel gauge tomorrow.  I'm beat!

 

Have a great night!

Gary

 

Edited by Gary W (see edit history)
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On 11/10/2017 at 2:33 AM, 27donb said:

Turning everything on at the same time as a "test" probably isn't the best idea, because the real problem is heat from possible overloaded circuits.  You'll never know if the ignition switch is being overheated until the contacts burn out, as others have shown. 

 

Have you felt the main feed wire at the ammeter with everything on? 

 

What does the ammeter read with everything on, with the engine not running?  That will give a more accurate indication of total amps through the circuit, based on the accuracy of the gage. 

 

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The UVIRA reflectors are a key to the brightness. No matter what bulbs you use if the reflectors are not almost new the lights will be marginal. 

 

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1 hour ago, Gary W said:

When I step on the foot switch, the red indicator lamp illuminates on the dash panel and the driver's headlight goes out.

 

Gary,

 

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but i think you still have a small issue to deal with on the headlights.  Check out page 12-28 of the service manual.

 

The driver's headlight should not go out when you go to high beams in the Country setting (4th position). When you use the dimmer switch in that mode, the driver's side headlight should switch between "upper" and "asymmetric passing beams". It could be a dimmer switch problem, a wiring problem, a bulb issue or perhaps an issue with the driver's side headlight socket. 

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Guide Multibeam lights shine crossways. Yes, really. The passenger side lights the drivers side of the road and vice versa. The lenses (and probably the reflectors) have a right and a left.  (Edit: Nope, just the lenses, Thanks, Dave!)

 

On the switch:

 

1) Off

2) Parking lights only

3) City Beam (low both sides)

4) Country beam and Passing beam.

 

In position four, the dimmer switch works. With the red light on (Country beam), both high beam filaments are on. When you click the dimmer switch, the red light goes OUT, and the PASSENGER SIDE headlight beams down (to low beam, not off). Remember it is shining on the LEFT side of the road. This is called "Passing beam"

 

I don't believe they meant this for passing cars the way a modern driver would think. I think by "passing" they meant "meeting oncoming cars"

 

With the drivers side headlight on high, shining on the right side of the road (!) and the passenger side headlight on low (shining over into the oncoming lane), you get an asymetrical pattern that is not terribly unlike low beam on a much later sealed beam system.

 

 

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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Gary :

I did the same re-work on the switch including complete disassembly and cleaning all contacts and building up the burned micarda insulation material.DSCF1978.thumb.JPG.66149e8412ad70c0098539561a06f078.JPG My lights do the same as yours so I believe that Matt may be correct about the dimmer switch.

Larry

DSCF1979.JPG

DSCF1980.JPG

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Since you were playing with the options earlier. Possible you have blown the high beam part of the sealed beam

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Easiest first--substitute another headlight bulb.  Then, be sure that you have the correct dimmer switch for non-sealed beam headlights, not a generic one.  Re-check for correct connections on the dimmer switch.  Frustrating, for sure....

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It has to be miswired. I'm not sure where or how, but the dimmer (floor) switch only affects the passenger side headlight and the red indicator. It is not even connected to the driver's side.

 

In position 4, Voltage is supplied from terminal 11 of the light switch to the dimmer switch. From the dimmer switch it proceeds to the passenger side light. The wires are marked "16b" and 16gc". The dimmer switch selects which wire gets the voltage. Not that it matters, but we know that "16gc" is the high filament, because it is also connected to the indicator in the dash.

 

In position 3, switch terminal 7 supplies voltage directly to the passenger side low filament.

 

For the moment, I have no idea why terminal  4 is connected to the passenger side high filament circuit. I think I would leave that disconnected for now, and see what doesn't work. The wire is gonna be hot on Country beam position, so insulate it. EDIT: I think I know what it does. It lights up the parking lights on Country beam.

 

That about wraps it up for the passenger side.

 

On the drivers side,  pin 2 and pin 9 energize the headlamp through wires 16b2gp and 16gp respectively. Low should be always on in position 3, and high should always be on in position 4. No floor switch. Im not sure which is which, but pin 2 or 16b2gp is most likely low because it is further back on the switch. I wouldn't worry about that yet. Sort out the passenger side, and then hook this up whichever way gets you the high filament on position four.

 

You can also swap wires out at the headlight buckets to keep the color code correct if it comes up wrong.

 

5a120f5497b19_Series40WiringDiagram.thum

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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If anyone is interested, here is a 1937 Pontiac owners manual, with instructions on how to use guide multibeam on pages 13 and 14 of the PDF. I believe these lights are the same version as the ones on the 1937 Buick Special

 

http://freeshopmanual.com/uploads/pdf/1937-Pontiac-Owners-Manual.pdf

 

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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That's a great manual.  Lot of info.  

I got the car with sealed beams. I restored the headlamps back to original Guide Multibeams.  I re-used the foot switch that I got with the car.  Should I look for another foot switch for the original set-up?

My foot switch only affects the drivers headlight in BOTH position 3 and 4, so maybe I have to reverse the wiring at the foot switch or find a switch for the Guide Multibeams.

 

I've double and triple checked all my wiring.....  everything is to the book as far as color codes and  origin - to - insertion points.  And the way the harness is made you can't get left and right headlamps mis-wired.  the wiring won't reach or fit at all.   

 

I'll start with installing new light bulbs.  Then move on to  that floor switch.  See what happens.

 

...  At least it's not sparking anymore!

 

Have a great day out there

G

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I don't think the floor switch is different. It is just a two position switch. Power in, power out (on one of two wires). Your wiring harness is new and stock, correct? Something really has to be miswired to get any power from that footswitch to the left side of the car.

 

Postions 3 and 4?!! I wonder if you have a 1938 headlight switch?

 

I read in another thread that on 38s, you can dim on position 3, and both lights dim. It seems to me if that is true, the switch would have to be completely different. Can any 38 owners confirm or deny that?

 

If it is true, the switch as well as the wiring would differ.

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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4 hours ago, Gary W said:

 

I've double and triple checked all my wiring.....  everything is to the book as far as color codes and  origin - to - insertion points.  And the way the harness is made you can't get left and right headlamps mis-wired.  the wiring won't reach or fit at all.   

 

It may be time to start checking those wire runs with an ohmmeter. I wonder if the harness could be mis-made? or maybe just mis-color-coded? The diagram you posted is pretty clear, or as clear as it can be. It agrees with the 37 Buick shop manual and also those Pontiac instructions on how the system should work.

 

That switch makes my head hurt LOL. I don't understand how the dimmer switch can be affecting the drivers side when the wires do not go there.

 

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)

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