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

Gary W

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FIRST ATTEMPT:  The timing was too far advanced and the fuel pump was not pulling any fuel.  But we figured once we got it going the fuel pump would just start working so here goes:


First Attempt.mov



***** Note on the videos:  I uploaded all of them with a MAC.  They will open on a PC by clicking on the ".mov" in the blue print,

Then:  When prompted to Open or Save, choose "Open"

Once downloaded, click the word "view" in the top taskbar

Then click on "fit to screen" and they seem to size themselves pretty good.



Edited by Gary W (see edit history)
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That valve adjustment sure looks easier with three hands and no body in the way. It is a bit tougher with two hands and the body on. Looking and sounding Great!

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 What a lovely symphony! They are quiet as a lamb when the valves are set correctly. And see, they will run with a Marvel. I simply could not bite the bullet and change around all the linkages and such. I have put on close to 9,000 miles on my car with the Marvel and I feel it runs fine. As I told carbking, someday, I would like to experience how it would run with the better carb.



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Wednesday, April 3:  Sandblast day


I built a wood body support "carriage" so the body would be movable for the blaster and the painter.  I used 2X8's, 4X4's and locking casters.  My day started at 6:00 am, moving all the large sheet metal parts outside onto a tarp spread on the driveway.  Then I had to move the body onto the "carriage", so I used the engine crane to lift the back, dropped the back onto jack stands, used the crane to lift the front and slid the carriage under the body and lowered into position.  The sandblaster arrived at 10:00, after about a half hour of setup, he started removing the paint by 10:45 am. We had a nice 15 mph wind blowing all day, and that helped keep a lot of the stuff (recycled glass) away from the house.  He figured he would be done by 1:00.


At 7:00 pm, he finished. And what a mess 500 pounds of sand makes, no matter how you try to keep it contained.  Then all the parts had to be wiped down, bought back into the house, clean up the driveway.......LONG DAY.  I got my workout for sure.  Those parts are large, bulky and heavy.  Glad it's over.  Going into paint May 17. 


Some photos from the blasting day:



I laid out a large tarp and all the sheet metal parts for blasting before he came over.



Here's the "carriage" I built to easily rotate and move the body around for both the blaster and eventually the painter.



At this point, the rear was resting on two jack stands, the front is lifted by the crane with a block of wood.  It was high enough to simply roll the carriage under.



Here's the setup just before the blaster began his work.  It took a while to get all the tarps laid out and the wood blocks kept the wind from blowing the tarps away.



About 10:45 am Joe started blasting.  He really takes his time, he goes slow as not to heat or warp the metal and he holds the nozzle at a very obtuse angle.



Progress is slow, but coming along.



View from the top.  Onto the cowl section now.



He did the roof last.  This was about 1:30pm



Here's the doors, fenders, front clip by the end of the day.  Couple of smaller parts in there too.



I was very, very happy with the end result.  The floors of the trunk and the body are in great shape.  No rot through, no pinholes.



Laying on my back, photo of the underside of the car.  



Floors in very nice shape



Trunk floor looks good.





Left rear fender well  (** Interesting Note:  The "before" photo shows where the rear tire was rubbing due to the broken leaf spring on that side!)



Dash and floor






Rear seat area




Edited by Gary W (see edit history)
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There are not many 37 Buick Specials that receive this type of thorough restoration as the monetary value of the car when it is finished is not that high. Today even a Century is not a very high dollar car. It looks like a labor of love for Gary and that usually ends up with great results. I think the desirability of these cars is fading, most of us are in our sixties to eighties and young people would rather have later cars. I think Gary will get lots of pleasure from this particular car, its gonna be one of the great ones. 

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I couldn't get any tools under and around the inside "drip pan" or "gutter" or whatever you call that part under the rear window regulator.  The clips are buried behind that.  My painter has tools that will release the molding prior to paint so I'll let him do it.  I wanted to take it off, but I didn't want to pry it anywhere for fear of deforming it.

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Hi Tom.  The only wood is the upper trunk floor.  My car had a very heavy cardboard trim piece fastened to the back of the rear seat that created the divider between the trunk and the passenger compartment.  There wasn't a wood panel between the trunk and the passenger compartment.



After I removed the black "felt-like" covering over the wood.  The car obviously had a water leak by the rear window and there was serious delamination of the wood.



Once the upper trunk floor was removed, it's easy to see the cardboard covering over the rear seat back coil springs.  But there wasn't any wood there.



Close up Left side



Close up right side


Edited by Gary W (see edit history)
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Gary....That stinks because they are all such high quality, crystal clear, super produced, Hollywood quality HD videos! 


But seriously...

I took the videos with my iPhone.  They upload in a ".mov" format.  I opened them on my various iMac and MacBook and they open with Quick Time.  

When I open them on my windows based PC at the office, I have to choose "OPEN" (it gives me a choice of "open" or "save")  before the download begins.

Once downloaded, I have to click the word "view" in the task bar, and choose "fit to screen" or else I only see one acorn nut.


I'm really not that tech savvy so maybe someone will have a better answer for you.


Thanks for following the project!  I really appreciate all the support out there!


Edited by Gary W (see edit history)
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Only had a couple hours to work this weekend.  So I installed the battery box and the battery/ground strap.  Seems like a 5-minute job.  But this series of photographs shows how even the most mundane project can take a couple of hours to complete.  



Removing the battery box was a real challenge.  The long carriage bolts were so rusted that they literally twisted and sheared into two pieces.  The four screws were rusted beyond being re-used.



So here we are tonight.  Notice the rusted screw is still in place so that was job one.



I punched the rusted screw out of the hole in the frame.



Measured new #12 machine screws and marked them for length



Gave myself a little cushion for lock washers, fender washers.....



Cut them to length..



Dressed the end with a file.  I leave the nut on so I don't damage the thread with the hacksaw.



Repeat four times and the new screws are ready to be installed



Being my original, long carriage bolts were unusable, I purchased threaded rod from Home Depot.






And cut two equal lengths.



Threaded on the nuts and tightened them down, and then tightened the machine screws.



Scraped the POR-15 paint off the chassis so I get a good ground.  I coated the area with battery anti-corrosion paste (it's probably vaseline!!)



And here we are... two hours later.  But sometimes the simplest things require a lot more time than you think.  



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Good work!


A couple of observations:

- When cutting a bolt, screw, or threaded rod to length, I often spin a die down the thread (as you did with the nut) to both protect the threads when clamped and clean up any boogered threads that remain after the end is dressed.

- I've found that it helps to promote a mechanical connection when fastening electrical components together.  In the case of the battery ground strap, I'd use a wedge lock washer (serrated on both sides) to dig in to both the frame and the lug, with a liberal coating of something like Ox-Gard on the threads and all mating surfaces.

Edited by KongaMan (see edit history)
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It's a funny thing.  I'm so used to working on Model "A" and Model "T" Fords that I didn't give the location of the battery box any consideration.  Those cars all have the battery located under the floorboards, exposed to everything under there!  My car engine was grounded from the starter motor to one of the bolts supporting the rear engine mount.  I'm assuming that the actual mounting bolt carries the ground from the frame to the starter / engine?  I do like the idea of running a ground direct from the battery to the engine though.

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****************   SEE EDIT NOTE BELOW  *******************


Worked on the Buick for a few hours today.  I'm actually running out of things to do to the chassis.  More nuts and bolts to clean and paint but the basic mechanics of the chassis are in pretty good shape!

Today I replaced the last shackle bolt that was broken off when I removed the rear springs.  Then installed all 8 grease fittings and gave the U-bolts a final torque to finish the rear end.

Next, we pulled the distributor and gapped the points, oiled the felt, light grease to the cam, installed the cork gasket and reset the distributor.  It was one gear tooth advanced on our first start up so now its perfect.

Then I had to pull the gearshift lever free from the transmission lid so I can send it out for chrome

Last, I had to remove the inner guts of the wiper motors (transmissions?) so the outer cover can get chromed.  They couldn't chrome it with the assembly together.


**********   I'm editing this post on how to remove the guts from the wiper "transmissions" in order to send the outer housings out to be chromed.  My technique was the wrong way to do this job.  If you follow my method, the chain is still attached up under the shaft where the wiper arm attaches!  I was informed that there is a much better way to do this job, and I took Don Micheletti's advice and it is a superior technique that won't break the pot metal innards.  Plus, it keeps the chain attached at both points and the entire inside drops out easy.  *****************


I wouldn't want anyone to follow what turned out to be wrong advice, and I am happy to make this edit to show the proper method:




Couple of photos of the wiper disassembly in case someone has to attempt this.  Be careful, that pot metal where the chain attaches is very weak!



Set the wiper housing in the vice.  Protect the pot metal from vice scratches




Unscrew the wiper arm nut



Stack up flat washers so only a couple of threads show, then begin screwing the nut on.  Catch those top threads, then....



As you turn it down, the nut acts as a "puller" and will slowly withdraw the shaft from the chain pulley inside



You'll feel it come free, and simply lift out the entire shaft.  The inner pulley with the chain attached will fall free.



Here is what comes out.  REMEMBER...I removed my lower chain, so now I can reassemble it all and wait for the parts to come back from the chrome shop



And let's hope these parts look a hell of a lot better in a month!!!


Again...Hat tip to Don Micheletti.  Thank you for the heads up and giving me a chance to correct the record here.  Appreciate your constant feedback!








Edited by Gary W
I wanted to be sure not to publish wrong information. (see edit history)
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The painter came over to the house today to assess the job.  He was very very happy to see that the lines of the body are still so nice and crisp, there is a little rot at the rear quarter where it meets the door, but the floors, sides, roof all are in great shape and he is excited to start the project.  Next Wednesday I'll trailer the body, doors and the trunk lid over to the shop to begin the paint.  He's going to paint the underside and the inside as well.  I'm so happy the timeline all worked out.


Then John and I started the engine again.  I just had to hear it run.  She ran for over 30 minutes, purring along!  Not overheating, no vibrations, the new fuel pump is working flawlessly.  On the first start, she was showing about 42 psi oil pressure and 20 mmHg manifold vacuum.  As she warmed up, still idling for about 25 minutes, the oil pressure dropped to about 25-27, but the vacuum stayed steady throughout.  



Vacuum gauge attached to the wiper motor vacuum on the intake manifold.



Good oil pressure right at the start.  After about a half an hour of idling the pressure settled in around 23-25 pounds.  



*******   VIDEO   ******** below of the engine starting.  Really running nice and smooth now that the timing is right on the mark!  









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 Thank you for the photos of the battery box. Mine has some cobbled rods and 2" straps holding a wooden board on my car. I had never seen one not rotted away. I am glad that you are at the point of getting the paint work started. As one who has a Black car and wishes it was the Hampton gray it is supposed to be I can only mourn your decision. I have found over the years about 10 black Buicks to every other color they are supposed to be. This is what my car is supposed to look like in Hampton Gray. At least I had the wheels painted in case I ever had my ship come in..DSCF1790.thumb.JPG.767e962e01f5011257efed9d663dbf42.JPG

Keep up the great work:




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 itI agree with LV Dave and dibarlaw. My 37 is Wellington Gray and I am really fond of the color, original color by the way. I have had two black cars in my lifetime and regretted it each time. Impossible to keep clean and really hot on a hot day. But thankfully we can paint our cars any color we want. 

By the way my battery box looks nothing like yours, so I have a replacement that someone made up to get the job done. Interesting seeing an original!

Enjoying your posts Gary.



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My post #233 on removing the guts from the windshield wiper housings displayed an improper technique for accomplishing that task.  Thankfully I was corrected and I edited that post to reflect the proper method.  I do not want anyone to follow wrong advice, and I truly appreciate when those who have been there give me a "heads up" when I go off the rails.  Don Micheletti's advice was spot-on and when I used his method, the guts came right out very easy without messing up the chain or risking breaking the pot metal.


Thanks Don.  All your tips, techniques and advice throughout my restoration are greatly appreciated!


Respectfully submitted

Gary W

Edited by Gary W
I mistakenly credited Matt with Don's advice. (see edit history)
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  • Gary W changed the title to 1937 Buick Model 48: RESTORATION HAS BEGUN! (Photo)

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