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1920's Valve Cage Project (and Tune-up)


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Larry:

The 1928 and up caps are available at NAPA. 1927 and before are not as I have tried.

 

Terry, the photo I took of my cap was taken after I wiped the lube off. Shine reflection you know. The slight burn tracking at the time concerned me. Even so ... my service manual does not use the term smear, more like coat sparingly. The same with the point to cam rubbing block. I have a tube of the DELCO cam lube. Out of my collection of crumbling die-cast distributors, one of the rotor buttons was worn almost down to the spring. The cap inside was scarred and I was able to chuck it up in the lathe and reface the contact surface. I was able to save one of 4 rough original brown bakelite numbered caps. The others were cracked and on another the wire towers had water/ mud wasp nest in them, had frozen at one time and broke.

 

The other Larry       DSCF5677.thumb.JPG.74a54cd610a107aa43fa3b3a08ba2776.JPGDSCF5678.thumb.JPG.19b0536d8a4cceecf9321c14fdb0bb5b.JPG

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Waiting for my ship-to-come-in Distributor Cap wise.  Greg Long, I take back all those Pierce Arrow comments, honest I do, buddy ol' pal.  I remember you taught me the three P's:  Pierce, Packard and Peerless.  Ha.  Or in your case, Pierce, Pierce and Pierce.

 

Looks like Larry D. has 4 caps, 3 in the pic above and I can only assume one on the car.  Four.  Guess I should post a pic of my (1) one.  The one with all the cracks.  Did I mention I only have one and it has cracks?  I should drive by Greg Long's place about 6 miles east of me (i.e gentleman's farm) and remind myself how big his yard is since I'll be cutting it all summer.  Good thing he has a pond, no grass there.  He has a coal fired boiler system/building that heats his home and buildings, very cool set-up. Never hauled coal before. . . . .maybe hot ash too.

 

Pulled my engine side engine cover off to inspect my pushrods for straightness.  All good.

 

Next is to make up my new set of plug wires if the UPS man stops at my house this afternoon with my order.

 

All this rain, maybe Greg's pond is bigger and less grass to cut . . . .

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Brian:

 I hope your quest ends soon.

 The caps in my photos were what you may call "20 footers". I believe there is one useable one in the group. The photos here are of the later IHC (DELCO) distributor that the previous owner of my Master had adapted and installed in the 1970s. That is where probably one of my crumbling die-cast distributors originally lived. Cap, rotor, points and condenser available at NAPA. All probably less than $30. It is adjusted by the side clamp in the 2nd photo. What can I say. It works great. And it takes 7mm wire. I still have to change out the John Deere green plug wires.

Larry

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Ordered a new set of 6 Autolite 3076's off of Amazon Prime.  They came yesterday loose in a cheap box.  I see they banged around all the way from Reno to mid Michigan.  Half the washers and the little top nuts lost enroute.  No packaging material, nothing.  The little boxes had all opened up.

 

Good news is no shipping and no hassle return. Wrote a review too.  Beware (of Mowtown a lawn mower parts online store that was the shipper of these parts.  Lots of poor reviews for Mowtown online and now I see why.)

 

Ordered replacements this morning from my local friendly old school parts store.  Will have them this evening.

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Edited by Brian_Heil (see edit history)
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I usually have good luck with Amazon.  The US Postal flat rate box shipping is brutal though.  I've had lightweight boxes shredded, and 

have had a heavy box show up with a side ripped open and half the parts missing.  

 

And it's not just the cardboard boxes that are brutalized.  I carefully packed a freshly  babbited connecting rod, and shipped it to myself

from the west coast.  When it arrived the big end of the rod was hanging out of the box, and half the babbitt had been knocked off the rod cap, that takes some serious impact and force.  Thankfully I had insured it well.  

 

GregL

 

 

 

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Had a very nice visit out with Greg Long at his place, also known as 'The Pierce Palace' (my name).  What a great guy.  Wonderful cars. 

 

Lots of distributor caps, but alas, none for my Buick.  Time well spent for a long over due visit, no cap was a minor point.

 

I have placed an order for a new cap with Bob's Automobilia.  $72.50 + 11 shipping.  NORS.  Looks good in the pics, let's see what shows up as they say.

Edited by Brian_Heil (see edit history)
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At least you are able to get a brand new cap in this deal.  I think I remember the late Dave Chambers saying that the Buick Sixes from 1923 and on up could use a distributor cap from a Chevrolet Six.  I know, Chevrolet did not introduce their six until 1929, but the cap would work on the earlier Buick Sixes.

 

Terry Wiegand

Out in Doo Dah

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Those caps with "wiping" rotors need to have the track of the rotor within the cap lubricated with Vaseline (a little dab will do ya) about every 1,000 miles.  This practice should be documented in the owner's manual. Those caps also must have a smooth finish on the nickeled button of the rotor--that's why they were plated. If the button's contacting surface isn't really smooth, it can put grooves in a new cap.

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Everything back together and 80 miles of shake down and fun drive time today.  Cold, maybe it hit 52F but blue skies.

 

My observations now that I have everything sorted out above and beyond typical tune-up operations:

 

Grimy, dielectric grease seemed like the perfect application for the wiping rotor in the new cap and it is working great.  No fear of this type of lube causing spark scatter or arching.  I will keep an eye on it and report any issues.

 

New cap was more advanced than the old cap, I'm sure it is within tolerance but I had to adjust my timing.  I could tell it was too far advanced and it was.  You can and should use a modern timing light, just drive it with a 12V source.  I use the 12V lawn tractor pulled up next to the Buick.

 

My coil is up under the dash and mounted to the firewall.  Not sure if this is the stock location but it's a good safe place for it out of the elements.  Bad thing is, I can't really inspect it.  As part of my top-to-bottom tune-up, I took it out to inspect it.  Glad I did, the high tension socket looked like a hobo's rear end.  All clean now.  My coil is an ancient oil filled Mallory about 4 inches in diameter and the ballast resistor wraps around the top on a porcelain insulator.  The ballast resistor wire was broken.  This happen 20 years ago too.  This time the little filament was making contact but it was ready to go.  The 6V wire going in to the little fork connector to the terminal on the coil was not looking too good and half the strands were broken so it got snipped off and a new one crimped on. 

 

Check everything, and then check it again.

 

I left one of the new spark plug wires off by accident and I had a 3/4 inch blue spark snapping to the block.  There should be no issue jumping my 0.035 plug gap.  Second set of Autolite 3076's arrived but the old ones (cleaned and gapped) ran so well, I put the new ones under the seat in my 'spares' box of goodies.

 

Could not stand the valve lash loose at 0.015 so after 40 miles of break-in I set them to a 'tight' 0.010.  Spec is 0.006 - 0.008 hot.  They are quiet at 0.010 so I will keep then there for the time being.  Just to be safe I have a beat up 0.005 feeler gauge I run under each rocker when the engine is running to make sure I don't have zero lash anywhere (and a new valve ready to be burned).

 

My felt washer stem oilers are working well.  I sent a nice blue cloud over the neighborhood when the assembly lube lit off.  My gearhead neighbor clapped as he knew if was a good sign.

 

Idle.  With all 6 cylinders making compression with the new valves/machined cages, the Buick idles like a rock.  Nothing like a 100# flywheel to help, Ha.  I had to adjust the idle mixture and idle speed too as it was too high.

 

Power.  With all 6 cylinders making power, I can enter my 'test hill' at the entrance to my subdivision at 18 MPH in 3rd, give it W.O.T. and crest it at 25 MPH in about 400 yards pulling all the way and it's steep.  My cruise speed is with less throttle position on the steering wheel lever too.  I will run a compression test in the coming week.  Stay tuned,

 

Starting.  it starts better.

 

Next stop is a 220 mile round trip to the Gilmore Museum May 20th for their pre-war show/gathering.  Lots of clean-up to do first.  And Mamma came up with another painting project at home for me that has to be done first.

 

 

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Brian, that .010" clearance on the valves is a way bit much for me.  I would think that that engine would clatter like crazy.  I set mine at .007" on the '20 and it sure runs nice.  Running too much clearance seems like it would promote premature wear - just my thoughts here.

 

Terry Wiegand

Out in Doo Dah

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Just being cautious Terry.  Time is on my side.

 

They don't clatter @ a 'snug' 0.010" hot which is probably 0.009" so they are staying there for the time being.  I'm getting pretty good at setting them even though you'd like to have 3 hands.  As the valve and cage seat settle, the number has to go down.  Maybe it already has?  For the record, they start to clatter at 0.012 or at least my engine does.

 

Having some issue with the spark plug wire end fittings that snap on the plugs.  Restoration Supply Co. has been responsive and is looking into the issue.  I think I may have saved them from a bad batch of parts from a new supplier.  Nice people, I will allow them to sort this out and advise.

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Larry and all,

All of the spark plug connectors that Restoration Supply carries are made for 7MM wiring.  That is why when I had those distributor sockets made that I had them done for the 7MM wiring.  They simply do not have anything for the 9MM wire.

 

Terry Wiegand

Doo Dah America

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2 hours ago, Terry Wiegand said:

Larry and all,

All of the spark plug connectors that Restoration Supply carries are made for 7MM wiring.  That is why when I had those distributor sockets made that I had them done for the 7MM wiring.  They simply do not have anything for the 9MM wire.

 

Terry Wiegand

Doo Dah America

 

No, they sell 9mm connectors and that is what I bought and they have a rivet crimp issue.  Stay tuned for the resolution.

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Well Dog My Cats!  I looked in the 2016 catalog that I have and they DO have some 9MM terminals.  I bought all the stuff that I need several years ago and at that time they did not carry anything in the 9MM size.  This must be something that they started with just recently.  Photos will be much appreciated too.

 

Terry Wiegand

Doo Dah America

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On ‎5‎/‎8‎/‎2017 at 1:35 PM, Brian_Heil said:

Having some issue with the spark plug wire end fittings that snap on the plugs.  Restoration Supply Co. has been responsive and is looking into the issue.  I think I may have saved them from a bad batch of parts from a new supplier.  Nice people, I will allow them to sort this out and advise.

 

Restoration Supply Co. has contacted me back 3 times (2 emails and a call).  I'm satisfied with the resolution.

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On ‎5‎/‎7‎/‎2017 at 9:17 PM, Brian_Heil said:

 

Power.  With all 6 cylinders making power, I can enter my 'test hill' at the entrance to my subdivision at 18 MPH in 3rd, give it W.O.T. and crest it at 25 MPH in about 400 yards pulling all the way and it's steep.  My cruise speed is with less throttle position on the steering wheel lever too.  I will run a compression test in the coming week.  Stay tuned,

 

 

I once read somewhere that there was some wealthy, old fashioned farmer who lived in a town in the rural midwest. Was one of the most influential men in the area, with a house up on a steep hill. He was skeptical of automobiles even into the early 1920s. The businessman in the town nearest to where he lived wanted to open a car dealership but needed his financial backing. He said he would partner into financing the dealership for whichever make of car was able to make it up to his house. They then had a sort of casting call for all makes and models to see which could. (Most were probably 4 cylinder Ford Model Ts.) Turns out the only one that could was a Buick, so that's what became the first car dealership in the town. And the farmer finally bought his first car.

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I read a story where the farmer brought a Buick back after driving it 75 miles home and then 75 miles back to the dealer.

 

He said it was too slow, cheaper cars were passing him and it used too much gas.

 

Seems the dealer never showed him where 2nd and 3rd gears were.

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On 11/05/2017 at 3:49 AM, Brian_Heil said:

 

Restoration Supply Co. has contacted me back 3 times (2 emails and a call).  I'm satisfied with the resolution.

They were fantastic to deal with for me too, I had to orders placed about 30 minutes apart that I had done so I could break up the shipping (it pushed it above 5lbs and went from $30 shipping to $300) and they contacted me combined the two orders and shipped everything for $40 (cheaper than breaking it all up)

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9 hours ago, Brian_Heil said:

I read a story where the farmer brought a Buick back after driving it 75 miles home and then 75 miles back to the dealer.

 

He said it was too slow, cheaper cars were passing him and it used too much gas.

 

Seems the dealer never showed him where 2nd and 3rd gears were.

The Word of the Day is APOCRYPHAL...

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218 mile round trip yesterday to the Gilmore Museum Pre WWII Gathering.

 

Buick never missed a beat.  Even in an hour of heavy rain the last 35 miles to home.  I can now head to Tennessee in a few weeks with Buick style confidence to run the VMCCA Nickel Tour (5 day).

 

The Gilmore really looking good with all the new venue additions.  Low key and welcoming. $10.  No 'who gets in (maybe) $50 non refundable' baloney like you- know-who.  :)

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Brian :

 I am thrilled for you having such a good trip. Best of luck on the Tennessee trip.

 I met Skip Seaton and his wife on Friday at the Pre-War swap meet at Luray.

 Now to finish up some work on the Master so I can get it 50 miles to our Mason Dixon show.

 Larry

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  • 3 weeks later...

All the valve work, all the tune-up work, 650 miles of local touring already this Spring, and my 1930s Mallory coil gave out.  I just assumed it would last forever.

 

Thank you 'Mr Mallory', we've been together over 20 years and through all sorts of things like dead of night, biblical rain, mountain grades, dozens of tours to far away places . . . but you had the decency to crap out, on a sunny warm afternoon, next to a picturesque lake only 10 miles from home.  I almost feel like I should go out there and lay him to rest by the side of the road.  RIP old friend.

 

Here are some pics far better than I could take of the identical coil for sale on eBay.  No idea if it works.

 

https://www.ebay.com/i/222331044858?chn=ps&dispItem=1

 

Fingers crossed for the 'new guy',  I see by the label he comes from China, not Detroit like my old friend Mr. Mallory.

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If you have been following this long post, which if you got this far, chances are you have.  There have been some goals for this 'valve job'.

 

1)  Gilmore Pre-War Gathering on May 20th.  218 miles.  Shake Down run to see if we were ready for Tennessee.  Check

 

2)  VMCCA Nickel Tour in Central Northern Tennessee.  550+ miles.  Check.

 

Here are some pics from last week in Tennessee to make you see it is all worth it.  Most of the roads were narrow country lanes.  Great views.  Great fun.  Great people.  The Buick never missed a beat!IMG1142767611.thumb.jpg.cacc43dbb4f5a22a02c114b6d48fed70.jpg

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Edited by Brian_Heil (see edit history)
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Yes Brian I would have loved to have joined you folks. The 1925 is still unwilling to tour. I tried to take it the 50 miles to our Mason-Dixon Car show on the 3rd. 5 miles and all is well. Then the popping and backfiring dance. Limped and played with the carb about 10 times and made it 8 miles before we turned around and headed back home. Same on the return trip until we got back in the city limits then she seemed to run better for a while. Oh well our Huskie Jaffee had an interesting ride. He was somewhat befuddled with me jumping in and out of the car though.

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Larry Di,

 

You're in luck.  Next year's VMCCA Nickel Tour is in Somerset, PA, that has to be pretty close to you.

 

Dandy Dave, plan now.

 

We missed you guys.  Larry S. and I had to double up on our BS to make up for you two!

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