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Big girls need love too... 66 Electra 225 Coupe


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As you already know, a while back I was lectured for posting a Chevy gig on here... I take these things really seriously, so I sold it as soon as I could and apologized profusely to my brother from the South,  promising  to never do it again. 

I did a search in here and this popped up: 

I clicked on his name and this one also posed up:

I I sent him an email and after some back and forth, I made an offer. The offer got accepted, I paid the man and now I am trying to figure how to get her to OKC. I liked her story, but she hasn't seen much use during the past 4 years. Part of me wants to fly and drive the 730 mile trip, but it is tight with work and the pending move. I am still working on it, but for now, here she is, Vicky's younger sister Electra.

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36 minutes ago, EmTee said:

Full-Figured Beauty!

 

I used Montway Auto transport to ship my Riviera from Florida to New York and had a good experience.  https://www.montway.com/

 

Thanks... $635 door to door. I was planning on flying and driving it back, but he just told me he wouldn't recommend it. I think transport it is... 

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You won't be sorry - I had the same original idea and came to the same conclusion.  After factoring-in my predicted trip expenses (assuming no break-downs) I figure it cost me $400 to $500 for peace of mind.

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That's a lot of Buick!! Congrats on the find. Now I'm not lecturin you or anything , but this sure would be a great start to a Me and My Buick thread. I can move it there if you'd like... brotha. Your call...?✌️

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I need to lose a few pounds, this commute and sitting on my butt does not help. I placed the order with Montway, scheduled pick up is the 18th of March. I was able to find the service manuals on eBay plus an original owner protection plan, Buick owners manual and an accessory booklet. 

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I know... I am nervous too. I am not keeping my hopes high Ben, I just drove my 56 to OKC yesterday, 550 miles not even a single hick up. 3 tanks of gas, 12-18-14 MPG per tank. It's sad, when cars like this 66 have been neglected, but it is what it is... I would have loved to drive the 750 mile trip but I will take his word for it and have it shipped. The main reason was the carburetor. From what he told me, the car hasn't seen much action the past 4 years, just up and down the road to keep the fluids circulated. The price was right at what Hagerty suggests for a No3 car. I guess we will all find out what the deal is last week of March or so. 

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Do you have the missing walnut veneer for the dash?  If not, I'll bet someone on this forum knows where it can be sourced.  From the pictures above, that's all it would take to restore the interior.  ;)

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I do not have the missing veneer pieces. I have been looking on eBay but so far all I found was whole dash inserts and most of them had the veneer missing. I watched a couple of videos on YouTube on how to apply veneer and from what I found, I can purchase strips of veneer, measure, cut,  clean really well and glue.  Montway deal fell through, they weren't sure if they could pick up on specific day and since it was a short hop for them, I had to wait until a full load was made (up to two weeks) and then deliver, which wasn't something I was willing to do. I was able to locate another carrier, shipping now will be on the 11th and delivery within 3 to 5 days. Price was the same. 

Edited by VickyBlue (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

She was delivered Sunday around 11am. I got a chance to drive around town before she went to the garage. The driver's door will not open from the inside, just the outside. Manual Windows all around, some window crank clips are loose and cranks do not stay put. I did not see chewed up teeth on the crank shafts. The missing veneer is included in an envelope. Clock is not working, radio turns on, I could hear the initial "click" but no sound. Power steering, power brakes. The steering shaft to the box rubber donut is cracked in half.  Idles high, all lights work, tail light lense is cracked and has been previously repaired, shocks are shot, brakes work really good, tires are old, paint is beautiful, no I didn't see any scratches or dings, no evidence of previous color. Headliner is solid, clean and shows no stains. There are a few stress cracks on the seat stitching with a couple of small tears, it is missing the right rear sail panel lense cover, carpet looks clean with no stains, dash pad is solid, A/C center vent chrome cover was on the floor, transmission shifts smooth, engine runs smooth, but overheated (dash HOT light came on briefly when I had the car sitting idle for 20 min) 

The radiator fan is on a clutch and for the car to overheat after 20 min of idle in 38* weather, I am guessing the fan is not coming on... 

 

I did not try the A/C, or the heater, we just drove 10 miles to the storage place and parked it. I took some pictures of the underneath while on the transport, it looks to me this car was loved at some point, but it wasn't finished. It sat for 4 years in hopes of someday finishing what was started, but life got in the way. The 69xxx miles showing on the odometer are real. The trunk floor is solid, floor pans are solid, frame rails are solid, upper control arm shafts are new. It drives straight, I think I got her up to 40 mph, wife next to me, kids in the rear seat, I could feel the presence of Mr and Mrs Stewart with us smiling...

 

She is in a good place... I am looking forward to getting to know her and spending some quality time with her...

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

A few missing pieces, there is a leak coming somewhere from the power steering, the fuel filter has been changed to a single in/single out, the fuel return hose has been left alone lose inside the left fender well. I think I narrowed down the color to a 1972 Buick Flame Orange Irid 65 A-2564D. I ordered a sample to see how close in real life it is to this color. Other than that, been busy with work and haven't touched her yet. 

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  • 1 month later...

I know how much you guys love pictures, so here you go... 

1411 and 1481 Throttle lever adapter. 

Plugged the heat runners, hooked up the choke to the key- on wire from the wipers, it took 6 cranks for the filter to fill up and she started right up... Choke was on for about 3 minutes, then right out of the box idle at 550 RPM. Amazing. I couldn't believe it... Snapped the throttle a couple of times, gone was the hesitation. Right out of idle, snap it, step on it, hammer it, call it whatever you want, this girl is eager to play...

Went for a drive, half way up to Tulsa and back, poured in some seafoam into the oil and had her first oil change afterwards. It is amazing what this carburetor can do. I was fighting hesitation, "stumble" right out of idle, sometimes it would choke and die. I can replace gaskets, but this thing needed  a lot more. I asked around and the "King" doesn't rebuild them any more, he just sells the kits. I opted for the Edelbrock, I have been happy with the 1406 in my 56, so there you go. Plug and play. Even the kick down switch worked like factory. 

I was going to remove the valve covers and pain them too, but does the passenger side one needs the A/C bracket to cove off? The engine was clean inside, cam was clean, there was very little sludge, the fan clutch was damaged, so I replaced it with another one. Car came with Autolite 86 plugs, I have a new set of AC44S plus some new wires I will do next week. 150 miles today, she drives  like a dream... HP power steering hose has a small cut and that's were it leaks, I do have a replacement. Radio was not working, took it apart, cleaned it, lubed it and works perfect. Clock was dead, the thermal fuse was not damaged, I cleaned it, lubed it and put it back on, works like a champ. I polished the spot where the veneer used to go, I really liked the look sans veneer, so I removed the rest of it from the glove box. Don't have a picture, but will upload one next week. 

Flushed the radiator, bought a fan shroud that will beed a little bit of fabrication to make it work, ($22 off eBay) but after the new fan clutch, I let her sit idle for 45 minutes and the highest temperature I saw was 182 top 122 bottom (IR thermometer)

Took the whole dash apart, cleaned up al the dust from the plenums and vents, checked the vacuum hoses and put everything back together sealing any gaps. A/C works, heater works, even the speedo buzzer works. Cleaned up the seats, the off white really popped up. There is one 2" tear by my left shoulder, I got some vinyl repair kit I will try next week. Polished the stainless and the chrome, cleaned up the paint, went over the brakes, will need shocks for now, I kind of like the saggy springs look...

Painted the air filter housing, got a new decal from cars, used a ring adapter and it fits on the new carburetor. The paint I used was the Detroit green by Duplicolor. Once the valve covers are painted, it will all match. Not oem, but good enough for me. 

If I had to use one word to describe her, it would be "elegant". She is quiet, not "in your face" like the 56 and she will stay like that. My main goal was to fix the hesitation and Edelbrock took care of that. I think I will give the Bilsteins a try. Will report back soon.

 

 

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Edited by VickyBlue (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

What a great car!  My first car was (is still in my storage building) a '66 Electra 225 sedan.  Paid $395 for her back in 1978!  This sedan has the center post, but no frames around the windows.  Looks better than the later sedans that had the big chrome frames around the windows.  It is on my list to restore some day, but too many others came into my life and there she sits!  Mine is aqua with a white metal top.  Not much for options, no power windows, no power seat or cruise.  Does have the 401 and A/C and AM radio with manual antenna.  Don't you wonder when they ordered these new, were they just trying to save a dime by not getting a few more goodies?  Enjoy your beautiful Electra!

 

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I wanted something different this time. I was looking for a no post, 4 door hardtop. In my opinion, such massive cars, look gracefully anyway you look at them, still or moving. This one kind of begged for help and here we are today. 

We recently moved, back in March and lost my garage space. This new arrangement we have, does not allow me to have a garage, but just a carport. So, I leased out a couple of storage units, but there is no power for tools and such... It's only a couple of miles from the house, close enough to drive home, do the work, clean up and drive back to the storage. It is slow, but I am getting there...

Not very many options here either. PB, PS, A/C, manual windows, power seat, no cruise control, does have a manual radio antenna, no corner lights, 3 ashtrays and hazard light switch under the dash (which might be an afterthought)

I am not sure as to why would people not opt for options... My guess is cost. I wouldn't want to pay for extras that in my opinion should have been standards, like power windows, power antenna, floor mats and such. This is not an entry level car and for GM, it was just another way of making money. People would buy it in 66 and trade it in in 67 for the newer model... 

We are on our annual trip to Greece, flew here May 27th, right after I finished with work and will be here until July 16th. I have a brother and a sister that we visit with, every year since 1993. Kids love it, I need the time off, it's the only way I can recharge my batteries... 

I don't know when the WI meet is, I have to be back at work by July 26th. But for now, enjoy these, Old town, Hania, Crete. Will add more soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Edited by VickyBlue (see edit history)
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  • 8 months later...

This weekend was Electra's turn for some TLC. Replaced both power steering hoses, replaced both engine mounts, she got brand new front/rear Bilstein shocks, to replace the frozen Monroe Spectrum Made in the USA old ones, repacked the front wheel bearings and fixed the vacuum canister for the trunk release. I still have some cleaning to do and service the transmission with a new filter/gasket, but for the most part she is almost done. I did make a torque strap and put it on the left side mount, just in case... I found out the R engine mount was factory stock, the real thing, in pretty good shape, too. The L side had been replaced with the incorrect one and did not last, as expected. It was a good weekend...

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  • 2 weeks later...

I dropped the transmission pan and since there was no drain plug, I thought to my self, "why don't I buy a pan with a drain plug, so next time it will be a lot easier..." Little I knew... The filter was the wrong style,  the original pan has a little "dip" at the bottom so the pick up tube can pick up the fluid, but the thing that send me to the moon, was the fact that the drain plug leaks... I tried a copper crush washer, thread sealer,  nothing. Still leaks. It was 9 degrees inside the garage today... She is a foot off the floor... I ordered a new gasket and next week will put back on the old one... 

No returns after parts have been installed... the only way to find out if the leaks is to install it... How convenient... 

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  • 2 weeks later...

The A/C rear compressor bracket bolt goes through the head. Five bolts and the bracket can be offset to the side (with the compressor) so the valve cover can come off. I pulled the rocker arm shaft, to clean the sludge... Push rods were straight, I cleaned them up and made sure they went back in same way the came out. Soaked everything in kerosene for a couple of days, I saw no pitting or major wear on the rocker tips, again, this engine was very quiet, to begin with, I just wanted to give it a good clean up, since I cleaned up as much as I could when the valley pan cover was out and  knew the car sat for many years... Valve covers got a fresh coat of paint and  a new gasket set. I can verify that no-one has been inside this motor. Oil pan will be next. A word of caution: I replaced the PCV valve and the rubber grommet. I had the valve cover on the bench and 3 times, as I was trying to push the valve in, the grommet got pushed in and fell off the cover. If the cover was on the engine, you would have to remove it to fish it out... It 's a tight fit, but after soaking the rubber  in hot water for a couple of minutes, I was able to fit it. I can't wait to see how the new $600 Bilstein shocks ride... 

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Edited by VickyBlue (see edit history)
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Oil pan is out, clean and painted. Oil pump was taken apart, cleaned and put back together. I didn't see any wear or anything along these lines, to make me want to replace it. I checked the gears with a straight edge, the way the manual says and it was good to go. Pick up screen was cleaned too. I was expecting the worse, as far as sludge goes. I did find most of it at the bottom of the pick up screen, but the screen itself was clean from debris. If it wasn't for the new motor mounts and the anti seize I used a week ago on the mount bolts, I can see why this is a royal PITA. This is definitely something that is done once...  Your welcomed Electra :)

Now it's all clean, documented and Monday will put everything together. 

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Just came back from a 60 mile drive... I am speechless. She pulls now like a freight train, no more smoke out of the exhaust, idles like a sewing machine, gear shifts are so smooth, you can hardly feel them. The Bilstein, comparing to Gabriel and Monroe, are night and day. For a car of this size, they work wonders. Much more stable, with a comfortable sport feel. I still have a slight squeak from the left front spring, but nothing like before. Springs will be next. 

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 Squeak could be from worn through spring insulators. Curious about the Blistein shocks, because I have Gabriel classics on the front and Monroe on the back and the ride isn't what I feel is being advertised. Are they stiffer or is it more of a soft, controlled recoil action similar to the old oil filled shocks? How much did they run you? 

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10 hours ago, Beemon said:

 Squeak could be from worn through spring insulators. Curious about the Blistein shocks, because I have Gabriel classics on the front and Monroe on the back and the ride isn't what I feel is being advertised. Are they stiffer or is it more of a soft, controlled recoil action similar to the old oil filled shocks? How much did they run you? 

 

Ditto, following with interest.

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The 56 has the Gabriel and I am getting the kind of ride you are getting. They were cheap and it comes down to "you get what you pay for". As soon as I am able I will replace them with Bilsteins. Mine is lower and it might be worse than yours. Crawling over speed bumps you get this one "thump" on the other side of the bump and girls bounce on top of the rear seat. Flat roads, with the new radials and the new steering box, is like slicing butter with a hot knife. But you have to slow down for anything other than perfect asphalt.

 

The Bilstein were $213/set for the front and $236/set for the rear. It was a big step for me, but I did take a risk and I am glad I did it. Right out of the box, the rear ones, when you compress them with your hand over a block of wood, (you can't with just your bare hand) they will go down and then it will take a full 6-7 seconds to decompress. Feel almost like oil shocks, but they are gas. I did it a couple of times and it did the same thing. My Gabriel's will rebound so fast, it will almost pock your eye out if you are not watching it. Mind you this is a lot heavier than the 56 and with worn out springs, I knew what the Gabriel/Monroe would feel like. The rear travel on the Bilstein is very linear, you can push the rear end down with your hand once installed and the rebound is softer, more accurate, even with worn out springs, the back end of the car is not bouncing up and down two or three times. There is no jaw dropping action going over speed bumps or tracks, I have a spare in the trunk and with 4 teenage girls in the back, (two of them mine...) and three adults up front, had no issues with bottoming out or kids bouncing on top of the rear seat over bumps and such.

 

The front end now, I can see the left spring bottom coil has left its bottom stop point in the pocket and has travelled about 4 inches clockwise. It came to me like that, I was planning on new springs but it got cold up here fast and working with no heater in a ice cold igloo is no fun. I knew,  once I started taking things apart, I would clean, paint and put back together. You can't paint in 19 degree weather, I used the stove one day for the covers and pan when whe was at work, she came back and the whole house smelled like a spray booth... I pretended I didn't know what she was talking about. 

I just made sure everything was tight after I installed the new mounts and with the new shocks up front, the front end of the car is planted and going in which ever direction you point it. Body roll is very controlled, front end compression and rebound improved tremendously. Can't imagine what new springs will do. Just for comparison, I can not compress the front end on the 56 by hand... I can climb up the radiator support and push down and it will move an inch or so... I know... I know... -3"/+30% stiffer, looks good on paper but in real life, not ideal. But she looks the part and no one complains about how she looks. She is  not a taxi cab, I don't give rides, I just drive her and enjoy what she has to offer.

I might try the QA1 coil over set up up front with some softer spring rates, like 500lbs or so, see what does.  But it will impossible to beat the Bilstein comfort...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Edited by VickyBlue (see edit history)
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