Brian_Heil

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

Recommended Posts

The 1922-45 John Fesser and I worked on outside of Baltimore had several bent push rods. As I turned the engine over with the crank John could see nothing moving on top of #s 5 and 6 but the push rods would spring out with every revolution.Took us about 30 minutes to get the valves unstuck and straighten the pushrods on a hardwood block on the concrete floor.DSCF1538.thumb.JPG.8701036432bbdaa82b56a26e4c30b56b.JPGIMG_8487.thumb.JPG.d285199a0b49ad191be4152ed5aaa10e.JPG

Then there was the 1920 K 44 I bid on from a museum in Cumberland MD. All it needed was a little "TLC" according to the description.

DSCF3671.thumb.JPG.f9d42081f0e53c81abb8995755556b1e.JPG

Not a straight one in the bunch. The top end was dry as a bone. Not a trace of oil. Look at the rust on the valve springs.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Talked to Wayne Funk today about his Model F since he sent me a short video of him driving around with the body not yet on, first fire and run.  This car was a box of parts at Christmas.  IMG_0818.3gp   We got around to talking about my valve project and he said he had a real good valve spring source in the Utica, MI area.  Short batches were not an issue.  I just mention that in case anyone is having trouble finding springs.  Plus chatting with Wayne is always a good thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Back from 10 days vacation in the Carolinas.  Met with Tom Getz and Matt Hinson on the way down for lunch.  Always nice to meet Forum Folks face-to-face!

 

New valve springs were waiting when I got home.  All measured 50# at 2.125 height.  Good to go. 

 

Cage/valve assemblies cleaned, lubed with black moly assembly lube and springs installed.  Had to borrow a valve spring compressor tool since these springs are not worn out and weak like the old ones and I needed help compressing the springs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brian, before you slip the assembled cages back into the cylinder block, could you group them together for a look-see photo of those beautiful new springs.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice weather here today.  

 

Cleaned, lubed and sharpened the lawn tractor in record time.  With 'chores' out of the way i started on the valve cage installation.  All cages installed and rockers back on the pushrods.  Used copper anti seize on  the sealing rings.  Set the lash by sight since I had all the pushrod adjustment run out to max to aid popping the pushrods back under the rockers.  Will lash them tomorrow.  Will go an extra 0.004 initially until things settle in then lash to spec..

 

Could be a ride on Sunday.  :o)  Need to do all the other annual greasing and cleaning first.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just so you know, I have the same gremlins you all do.  Valves are all fine but the mis-fire on #2 and #4 cylinders I put it away with last Fall is still there.  Looking like the 20 year old sparkplug wire set I made is due for a re-do.  Can't touch #2 or #4 wire, well you can, but you end up in the next yard.  You can touch the other ones fine.  Going thru the ignition from top to bottom, all the basics, it's over due.  Certain the cages are not rotated so the easy stuff first plus it had this last Fall on the last trip it took before I did the valve work.  Funny how this stuff does not fix itself over the Winter.  Been idling the engine to break in the valves, check lash and charge the battery.  The miss is above idle and with any load.  Very weak spark at #2 and #4 plug.  Stay tuned.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Had a chance to look at the Buick tonight.  Cleaned up #2 and #4 plug wires and end fittings.  No change.

 

Took the cap all the way off and to the bench for a good look and cleaning.

 

Bad distributor cap.  Several cracks.  Carbon tracking even, in the cracks inside, post to post.

 

And that makes sense since the car bucks like I have crossed wires when cranking/starting.  Also explains weak spark to 2 and 4.  Wires are just about shot too.

 

So, who has caps for less than the price of a used kidney?  New, not used.  Don't need more grief.

 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Brian,  Which distributor do you have?  

Is it the Delco who's  rotor has a flat topped steel contact that slides on the underside of the 

distributor cap on a flat circular surface, the brass contacts for the plug wires flush with the 

flat circular surface?  

If so, I'll be back from the tour I'm on next wednesday or Thursday, and I'll look to see if I have

a new cap.  The cap I described is used on the Series 80 and earlier Pierces 

 

GregL

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I should mention that I did take the old cap and spent 30 minutes with my dental pick and some Gumout and really cleaned the inside of the cap including the carbon and gunk in the cracks, Cleaned the outside too.  Put it back together and put the battery charger on since with all this cranking, the battery was getting low and was never that charged to begin with after sitting all winter.

 

This morning before heading out I gave the Buick a started and it jumped to life and ran smooth just like it has for years so I have successfully convinced myself that it is in fact the cap.  I have also ordered new spark plugs and also the required materials from Restoration Supply Co. to fabricate a new set of 9mm wires.  Still looking at my options for caps and rotors.  Suggestions like Greg above are welcome.  (I still have both my Kidneys).

 

Funny how if any of you pulled up in my driveway and said your Buick was not running well and I asked, how old is that beat up old cap and rotor?  Oh, 94 years.  And how old are those cracked and stiff wires?  Oh, 20+.  Why I'd laugh at you.  But when it's your own . . . . . . . . .

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brian, call me or email me next wednesday or thursday, I'll be back in Michigan.  I'll fix ya up, but maybe not with a NOS one, they do come rather 'dear'.  But I have a lot of these caps.. I can recognize them with the big mounting 'ears' very easily, I've been known to see one from about 30 feet, sitting on a table or on a tarp on the ground..  :-)  

I don't even use an NOS one on my cars.. usually a good used one.. 

 

GregL

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brian:

 Congratulations on solving your issue. I had gone thru all as you are doing trying to prep for the tour last year. New coil, wires, plugs etc. I picked up a new repro cap on Ebay for $15.00. Used the best of 4 old rotors and points that looked like new. I also did a new condenser. The engine ran like crap. Then I posted about the forked lead on the new style unit shorting to the breaker plate. I fixed that and it still had problems. Replaced the old condenser and it is running OK.    Gremlins you say.....

DSCF1658.thumb.JPG.ef8ad966e09193eb841d0e345ec39348.JPGDSCF1659.thumb.JPG.81f880a6372c16b2ecb51d06c2d7830b.JPGDSCF1667.thumb.JPG.3d0942e781bd4cbb42bf77d7840cbb05.JPGDSCF1668.thumb.JPG.b6221b3fd9a0bdccbf8edfe451854410.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those are the correct parts Larry.

 

Based on my reading, 1923 thru 27 six cylinder Buicks used the same cap.  Prior to 23 they used screw in leads on the cap.

 

Thx also to Greg for his offer.  Heavy rain due here all weekend so hunkering down.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Larry, in looking at your photo of the inside of the distributor cap, it sure looks like the 'race track' is bone dry.  In the reference manual (owner's manual) for the '16 D-45 they tell the owner to smear petroleum jelly (vaseline) on the rotor button and the rotor track in the distributor cap.  Your rotor track looks really dry in the photo.  Just tryin' to help a fellow Buick enthusiast.

 

Terry Wiegand

Doo Dah America

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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 . . . .

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

DSCF6002.thumb.JPG.8c591f7e8944734f81439b38c6a1c1e3.JPGDSCF6003.thumb.JPG.977983c3819807bd6e77e5ca8c550107.JPG

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

20170501_183842.jpg

Edited by Brian_Heil (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree Greg.  The wife and I have had good luck as well.  This is my first and only Amazon return.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bob's Automobilia is currently out of stock of the rotor to go with this cap.  They hope to be re-stocked by the Fall of 2017.  FYI.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...