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My 1957 75R - Big Gray


lancemb
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On 1/31/2021 at 12:26 AM, lancemb said:

Well, it took longer than I'd hoped, but I finally have a brake pedal that doesn't hit the floor!  I know more adjusting will be needed to the brakes to make it roadworthy, but at least it should stop now.

 

The bleeder screw on the front passenger side was stripped out, so I finally resigned myself to take the wheel cylinder off and replace it, which I did.

 

I did need a helper to bleed the brakes, and wound up having my father in law come by to help.  He's not a car guy, but has a fully functioning leg and foot and figured since I got his snowblower running properly I'd cash in a return favor.

 

In addition, my 90 degree hose barb arrived a few days ago and I was able to install that along with the last needed connection to the radiator, which is the heater hose to the lower passenger side of the radiator.  It fits so much better not having to make the hose bend 90 degrees; I can't believe they didn't do this from the factory.

 

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There must have been various suppliers of the radiator. Here is a picture of mine. The tube is at 90 degree is welded/soldered.

57 radiator.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had a little time today since I finished my paid work early.  I got the washer bottle and pump in, and installed all of the lines for vacuum and washer fluid.  I also finally wired up the generator, and the vacuum hoses from pump and manifold to the wiper motor.

 

I was aided by this nifty diagram from an NOS kit.

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Here is the end result.

20210212_184721.thumb.jpg.8c054b0347085253edcfca1df611dd3b.jpg

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I thought I might have a few hours today, but a larger-than-expected snow storm and unexpected impromptu repairs to the snowblower left me with less than an hour.

 

Nonetheless, it was a short but eventful time.  I decided it was finally time that I could hook up the battery.  First I hooked up the positive cable and tested for parasitic draw, and was satisfied enough with the results.

 

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It was now time to connect the negative terminal.  I did so and nothing started smoking or sparking, so that was the first good sign!

 

Next, I went inside the car to find the clock running as it should!  I set the time and decided snce I don't seem to have an egregious drain on the battery, I'll leave it hooked up and see how well the clock keeps time.  I know you can't see it moving in the picture, so you'll have to trust me.

 

20210213_165611.thumb.jpg.0fa6da1dfe56d94b8e01d543e277af24.jpg

 

I then turned the blower switch to low...nothing!  Next I turned it to high...it's alive!  Go figure, the blower switch is the only electrical part on the dash besides wires and sockets that hasn't been replaced with new or rebuilt.

 

Next I turned the radio on and it hummed!  I don't have a speaker hooked up nor an antenna so I turned it back off.

 

Finally, I tried the horn...HONK!  It sounded great pushing from all 3 contact areas.  It was so blaring that it prompted my wife to come out and give me a funny look and ask what I was doing.  I excitedly told her it was probably the first time the horn blew from inside the car in over 50 years; she wasn't impressed.

 

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I did a little bit today, with mixed results.  I spent the first half of the day clearing snow again and doing a permanent repair to the snowblower to get it ready for more work, probably later tonight then again in the morning as we're expecting around another 12" of snow which has already begun accumulating.  It was so cold that even after my garage heating up for 5 hours with my little heater it wasn't really comfortable to work in.

 

When I finally got to the car, I first mixed some antifreeze and filled it up.  Man, that is a thirsty radiator with the extra core capacity.  I then did initial fill of PS reservoir.  I was ready to try and start it.

 

I approached this part hoping for the best and expecting the worst.  I poured a bit of gas in the carburetor, hopped in the car, turned ignition to ON and depressed the pedal.  Nothing!

 

I went back to the front of the car and determined that I did have power going to the carburetor switch.  I tried cranking it again by moving the throttle by hand, and still nothing.  I really didn't want to do this as if the car did start I wanted to be in the car with brakes applied, since all of the linkage was just installed and will probably need adjustment and I didn't want the car to lunge.

 

Nonetheless I blocked the wheels and decided to jump the car myself at the carburetor and bypass the switch, knowing that if it did start it wouldn't be for long as the fuel lines would not prime that quickly.

 

So, out came a jumper lead, and I prayed nervously in my head while I jumped the terminals.  RrrrRrrrRrrr it cranked!  But, it did not start.  At least I didn't hear any scary sounds and nothing came through the engine blick from the inside outward.  I poured in a little more gas and tried again with the same results.  It did sound like it fired a couple times and wanted to start, but no go.  Thinking maybe I flooded it, I let it sit for 20 min and tried again, but still no joy.

 

Not wanting to drain the battery more, I stopped and turned the ignition off.

 

My best guess is that the distributor is not installed in quite the right position to fire.  It's possible that it's close enough that I can move distributor enough to get it to fire and adjust, but I'm not going to spend the time at this point.

 

I decided to use my last little bit of time to install the last piece of sheetmetal in front, and bolt on the lower hood latch.

 

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At this point, I'm anxious to get the car in paint, and the weather is just too cold to heat up the garage for many hours just to get to working temperature.  It's slated to go back to @Smartin in a month or two, and there is plenty I can or need to do before then.  Unfortunately the car may just have to be winched onto trailer, which was the original plan anyway.  Having had more time than anticipated in the past year I accomplished way more than I thought I would and I'll leave it at that for now.  If weather warms up quickly and I have time, I may try again to get it running before it goes, but am not counting on it.

 

I'll be ordering side glass this week, and if I'm happy enough with the condition of my spare frames, hope to install them so they can go with the car.  I also need to gather the remaining pieces of chrome that need to be done, and get them to the plater soon.

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So great to hear Lance!

She is going to look great beside Blue. I'll bet you are anxious to move along on the rag top aren't you.

Sweet collection of a fine model.

 

I'm in about the same situation as you regarding the snow as I was out most of the day cleaning up the 3 inches we had over night and thinking about the 8-10 inches we are currently getting now which is supposed to end by noon tomorrow.

Unfortunately my Craftsman blew an auger belt and has a possible crack in the body where it attaches to the auger metal so... will be off in the morning (depending on road conditions) to drive to the west end and grab my sons Craftsman. That machine was mine originally so payback time.

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Yes @dei I'm very anxious to start piecing together top on the 76C so I can confirm I've got everything.  I'm also anxious to spend some time on Blue doing a couple things once weather breaks, and trying to hit more car shows this year.  Even pre-covid I was spending too much time the past few years working on the Buicks and too little time enjoying them; I need to reverse that trend.

 

Good luck dealing with the snow, I aim to be up and at clearing it at dawn!

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Today I pulled all (I think) of the remaining pieces that need to be chromed (plus a couple extras), and sent pictures to the chromer for an estimate.  I hope it's pretty affordable as these are some very good cores.

 

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I also dug out my best window frames and took them to the basement to work on them.  I got the quarter windows apart without breaking anything and cleaned them up.  The glass will be good to compare the geometry of the replacement to, and I'll keep them as they'd make great replacements for a survivor or driver with a cracked glass.

 

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I then cleaned up the frames, and they are really nice.  There are some large pits at the bottom, but they will be completely hidden by the body line, which I imagine is how they formed given the rest is so nice.    I will probably fill them and seal them to keep from getting worse, even though they won't be seen once installed.

 

There won't be a lot of chrome parts that are not NOS or rechromed on this car, but these are too nice to redo and won't incur any fitment issues from copper buildup.  I think the side frames will be just as nice, and I know the vent frames are.

 

20210220_180937.thumb.jpg.eabeeb7af230eadb1a7ce94b4e8411c6.jpg

 

20210220_180955.thumb.jpg.379073c431d9131aee8898a5101463c8.jpg

Edited by lancemb (see edit history)
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I had a half day to work on this today, and got a little farther along.  I set out to get glass installed into the vent windows, and got it accomplished.  I had to take another spare apart to get the little rain gutter out that was missing from one of these though.

 

I'm really happy with the glass overall and the color of the tint is perfect.  I am waiting to get the seals in the mail and I think I'll need to order some felt channel as well before I can install these into the frames.

 

Seeing the new glass next to the old makes me appreciate how much of an improvement the new glass makes!

 

20210227_205600.thumb.jpg.d0e739fe735d7ec690cbff5f2b299f46.jpg

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

A little more progress that seemed to take inordinately long.  Now I know why automakers discontinued these; it must have been a huge cost savings.  There are a lot of parts to these little assemblies.

 

First I had to place a few consecutive orders to get all the right rubber components and channels.  I also had to clean and prepare the parts to reuse, and source some screws.

 

Finally, I started assembly.  It went pretty well overall, but I struggled getting the new seals put in straight and getting them lined up correctly.  The main seals have metal cores on top and bottom where the window pivots, and also contain threaded holes on top and side to accept screws, so that did help knowing I had it in the right place.

 

When I finally went to put the first vent glass in, I couldn't get it to seat correctly on top.  Finally after taking it in and out a few times I realized the pivot hole on top was a bit too small.  I drilled it out just a touch, and it fit great upon reassembly.

 

After going through the learning curve on the first one, the second one went together fairly quickly.

 

Here are the pieces for one side before assembly.

 

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Here are both sides fully assembled.

 

20210315_203838.thumb.jpg.9c2948091d2d8452c84fdcbb54aec647.jpg

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Better you than me 🤣

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Posted (edited)

I got the driver side door window framed today.  It's deceiving, but the window does not have all 90 degree angles as it appears (at least to me).

 

I almost would say it was kind of fun, but I don't want to get carried away.

 

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

I finally got the other side glass set,and the lower tracks installed.  The quarter windows will have to wait, as I decided I just wasn't quite happy with the condition of the frames, so they are at the chrome shop.

 

20210330_183508.thumb.jpg.11a5f019f6ccb8ceb15e77a5c9705ba9.jpg

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Posted (edited)

This weekend I worked on the dash pad.  It's all ready except for the speaker installation, for which I'm waiting to receive one I ordered new to fit it.  I have an original one I'll install in the rear, since it's visible.

 

I utilized a good original dash pad and redyed it.  It's not flawless, but I think it came out pretty nice.  I'm allowing some leeway since I prefer original stuff.

 

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I did also drill the holes and bolt the phototube unit from the autronic eye on the side portion.

 

20210403_160308.thumb.jpg.74ba46dcbb02c38fc03ffb096621fe5c.jpg

 

 I then plopped the end dash pads on and have both of those loosely bolted on at this point. 

 

20210403_165121.thumb.jpg.48365562ee53d121250933736f97053b.jpg

 

Edited by lancemb (see edit history)
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On 12/30/2020 at 9:21 AM, lancemb said:

Christmas has made for no progress until this week.  I made some small progress by getting the glovebox, radio, and steering column braces installed.  I should have some more time this weekend.

 

One thing that's driving me crazy is that I have one extra instrumentation light dangling that I can't find a home for!  It rests comfortably near the back of the ashtray but I can't see anywhere for it to go.

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi Lance

 

Before finalising the dashboard reassembly, I've taken the clock and instrument cluster to be repaired and recalibrated.  The team at the instrument repair shop had some questions regarding the temperature gauge.  The questions were:  

- How long is the tubing from the instrument cluster to the engine?

- is is a male or female fitting at the engine end?

 

I'm hoping you or the members will have the answer as I haven't been able to find any specific information on this.  Based on the limited literature I found online, the location for the sensor is meant to be at the back of the head on the left bank.  The only think I could find was the location in the attached photo.  Does this look correct?

 

The shop can manufacture the line/sensor for me, but is a bespoke unit available for sale somewhere?

 

 

 

IMG_2114.JPG

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20 minutes ago, OzBuick said:

 

Hi Lance

 

Before finalising the dashboard reassembly, I've taken the clock and instrument cluster to be repaired and recalibrated.  The team at the instrument repair shop had some questions regarding the temperature gauge.  The questions were:  

- How long is the tubing from the instrument cluster to the engine?

- is is a male or female fitting at the engine end?

 

I'm hoping you or the members will have the answer as I haven't been able to find any specific information on this.  Based on the limited literature I found online, the location for the sensor is meant to be at the back of the head on the left bank.  The only think I could find was the location in the attached photo.  Does this look correct?

 

The shop can manufacture the line/sensor for me, but is a bespoke unit available for sale somewhere?

 

 

From your closeup pic, that looks like correct location; should be inside rear of the head near back of intake manifold.

 

I can PM you pictures of a unit I have loose, and try to measure tube length with a flexible tape.

 

Other than remaking your temperature gauge sensor, you'd have to find an NOS or good used unit, both of which are very difficult to find, and won't be cheap if you do find one.  People love to simply cut them off it seems, or they don't break when removed.

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Thanks Lance

 

I would really appreciate if you could measure the unit you have.  Could you also let me know how it is routed so I can plan the install.

 

Thanks again

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13 hours ago, OzBuick said:

Thanks Lance

 

I would really appreciate if you could measure the unit you have.  Could you also let me know how it is routed so I can plan the install.

 

Thanks again

In case this is beneficial to anyone else I'll just respond here rather than PM.

 

The tube is approximately 43".  Here what the end with fitting looks like.

 

20210409_130428.jpg.e0b11df4ec823dfe983baa2bc4930d84.jpg

 

Here you can see where it goes through the firewall.  There is a grommet, and it is then sealed with a rubberized sealer.  There is a bit of slack on this end in the tube, which is just wavy to take it up.  This is my coupe in this thread, which I modeled after my 4 door, which is untouched original in this regard.

 

20210409_160123.jpg.a6df9ac326811597f728921c4554e690.jpg

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Well, I encountered a surprise upon installing the dash pad.  I should have known to check more carefully in advance, but it appears that the dash pad from the coupe is about 1/4" deeper than the one I had planned to use, which came from a sedan.  It's very difficult to tell any difference when they are side by side, but upon installing it there is clearly a fit difference.

So, it looks like I'll be refurbishing the original dash.  The ends from the original are in very good condition actually, except from some staining from a mystery substance.  So, the plan is to use those re-dyed, then recover the center.  I may then re-dye the center to get a good match.

This means that the dash I was going to use in the convertible (a very nice original from a sedan) will not be used in that car, and I should plan on recovering the original.

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Posted (edited)

Okay, I've finally gotten the original dash center pad recovered and installed with the original end pieces.  Luckily I had ordered a yard of black vinyl for it when I'd ordered the rest of materials.  I had to dig to the middle of the roll to get it out. Seeing the rest of the new stuff is making me anxious to get it done. 

 

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It was pretty shabby to start with.

 

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It's a bit nicer looking than the other now, so I got some satisfaction from my extra efforts.

 

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I couldn't help but to hook up my bench testing antenna and try out the radio and new speaker as well; sounds great!

 

Also, back when I was doing the rear brakes I went to install the chinesium aftermarket drums and found that the bolt holes were too small!  While I may drill them out and use them on something else, for now I decided to install a pair of NOS ones that fit perfectly, as well as new old aftermarket shoes.  It was glorious; almost no adjustment was needed on the adjusters and it was such a snug and proper fit.

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

So, it might not look like anything different from the picture, but I replaced the horn ring with a much nicer one.  However, it was painted black in back so I had to repaint it.  I used the original glovebox door to match the paint; the paint was perfect underneath the chrome "pad".  It's interesting how the paint is mixed based on the scan, as it has green tint in it.

 

When you look closely at it, especially next to a plain white, you can tell there's a slight greenish tint to it.  It matches the collar behind it and the dashboard perfectly.

 

20210427_175759.jpg.b6d17adf7e8660e361e16f74adea4b64.jpg

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  • 4 weeks later...

Well, I've spent the past week preparing for the car to finally make its journey to Antique Automotive Service for finishing mechanical tweaks and paint.  Looking at where it's come, and at all of the extraordinary parts I've accrued for it, I'm really excited to see the finish line in sight.  I think it's going to be quite a car.  Here are the assembled tail lights, as just a sample.

 

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Here it is, in the background beyond the 58, riding off into the sunset, for now...

 

20210523_002428.jpg.43bba3763ca36f655176068c993f1ac2.jpg

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Since my half ton Chevy truck puked the transmission last week on the way to the GS nats, I drove my buddy's 1 ton Ram with the Cummins diesel.  Pulled like it wasn't even there.  I really need to upgrade my truck, but spending $50k for a 3-4 year-old pickup truck is madness.

 

I get to squeeze the car into the shop today...gonna be a fun one!

 

That 58 is no slouch, either.

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21 minutes ago, Smartin said:

Since my half ton Chevy truck puked the transmission last week on the way to the GS nats, I drove my buddy's 1 ton Ram with the Cummins diesel.  Pulled like it wasn't even there.  I really need to upgrade my truck, but spending $50k for a 3-4 year-old pickup truck is madness.

 

I get to squeeze the car into the shop today...gonna be a fun one!

 

That 58 is no slouch, either.

Used car prices are crazy across the board right now.

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It seems to be a common theme.  The used car market in Australia has also gone completely crazy.

 

Looking forward to seeing yours with a fresh coat and all her bling back on! 👍

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  • 3 weeks later...

Great to see sir, you made my day!  Quite a relief that the engine sounds good!  I guess I either didn't feed it enough gas before, or didn't let it sit long enough after flooding it.  That's okay - Adam's nerves are better conditioned for a first start than mine are.

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Thankfully I have lots of first starts under my belt….but it’s still a nail biter every time I hit the key.

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Posted (edited)

I have done a lot of preparation and work thus far to treat this car right, so I will be very excited to see it finished.

 

Tomorrow will mark the 4 year anniversary since I bought the car, so I aim to have it totally complete before the 5 year anniversary, which is less than a week before the meet.

 

When I brought it home I told my wife it would be done in 4-5 years and she said she'd believe it when she saw it.  In her defense, it was a rough looker.  I gotta make her a believer!

Edited by lancemb (see edit history)
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The front pump on the trans wasn’t building pressure, so put it came and took it to my local trans shop.  I should have it back in a week or two.  Curious to see what the issue is, because it was supposedly a fresh build.
 

While I wait for the transmission to come back from the doctor’s office, I started to strip trim and glass.  


 

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  • 3 weeks later...

In the meantime, besides being distracted by other car adventures, I have been gathering remaining parts for this car and supplied Adam with another box recently. 

 

The only big parts remaining to supply are the rear quarter windows.  Since I finally got the frames back from the chrome shop, I ventured to install the glass.  However, I noticed something I hadn't paid attention to initially.  One of the nylon guides wheels was broken on one frame, and none of them would roll.

20210622_180235.jpg.e0df6351b42cdf1bf7a1b03c7ced554d.jpg

 

I couldn't find a source specifically for this car, so I checked out Cadillac parts since these are the same windows.  What I found is that 57 was excluded from availability, but figuring it must be similar I ordered a set of reproduction ones that are supposed to fit through 56 and 57 and later convertibles, if I remember correctly.

 

Well, after receiving the parts they looked like they'd work.  The wheels look right, and the rivets fit the wheels, although there is about 1/16" of slack for the wheels to move back and forth which there isn't in the original design.

 

Upon removing the first of the old rivets, however, I discovered that the rivet was made to fit a 1/4" hole whereas my frames have 5/16" holes.  After much thinking and perusing available hardware, I decided to try and make spacers to install.

 

I was able to find a stainless pipe online with a 5/16" OD and 1/4" ID and bought it.  I then beveled the edge a bit and sliced off a piece about the thickness of the frame where the rivet hole is.

20210712_172011.jpg.3bb80b5004fd4a7f6359a4c5157dd4af.jpg

 

Next, I placed the spacer bevel side first into the rivet hole and tapped it in.  I was pleased to find that it fit snugly.

20210712_172238.jpg.cfd3f99c8384ea30fe27cf36087d9056.jpg

 

Next, I lubricated the bearing surface of the rivet with Sil-Glyde and slid the wheel on.  I then inserted the rivet into the hole of the frame, squeezing in just a bit of putty epoxy to take up a very slight looseness just for good measure, even though once the rivet was fastened it would probably be fine.

 

I laid the frame flat and using a beveled punch I made from an old caliper bolt, I started distorting the rivet to fasten it, then used a flat one to finish it.  It came out great and I repeated this on the other 3 wheels.

20210712_174346.jpg.beb1e73b52684aa4f1a6edd21b5101a5.jpg

 

20210712_174340.jpg.0c6e673eda14f1af9cd0cc6aeba7183a.jpg

 

Finally, with my previous experience from the more-difficult side and vent windows behind me, it only took a couple hours to set, trim, and clean these up!

 

20210713_180845.jpg.5d03737db24f3443412f61a776888d9c.jpg

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9 hours ago, lancemb said:

In the meantime, besides being distracted by other car adventures, I have been gathering remaining parts for this car and supplied Adam with another box recently. 

 

The only big parts remaining to supply are the rear quarter windows.  Since I finally got the frames back from the chrome shop, I ventured to install the glass.  However, I noticed something I hadn't paid attention to initially.  One of the nylon guides wheels was broken on one frame, and none of them would roll.

20210622_180235.jpg.e0df6351b42cdf1bf7a1b03c7ced554d.jpg

 

I couldn't find a source specifically for this car, so I checked out Cadillac parts since these are the same windows.  What I found is that 57 was excluded from availability, but figuring it must be similar I ordered a set of reproduction ones that are supposed to fit through 56 and 57 and later convertibles, if I remember correctly.

 

Well, after receiving the parts they looked like they'd work.  The wheels look right, and the rivets fit the wheels, although there is about 1/16" of slack for the wheels to move back and forth which there isn't in the original design.

 

Upon removing the first of the old rivets, however, I discovered that the rivet was made to fit a 1/4" hole whereas my frames have 5/16" holes.  After much thinking and perusing available hardware, I decided to try and make spacers to install.

 

I was able to find a stainless pipe online with a 5/16" OD and 1/4" ID and bought it.  I then beveled the edge a bit and sliced off a piece about the thickness of the frame where the rivet hole is.

20210712_172011.jpg.3bb80b5004fd4a7f6359a4c5157dd4af.jpg

 

Next, I placed the spacer bevel side first into the rivet hole and tapped it in.  I was pleased to find that it fit snugly.

20210712_172238.jpg.cfd3f99c8384ea30fe27cf36087d9056.jpg

 

Next, I lubricated the bearing surface of the rivet with Sil-Glyde and slid the wheel on.  I then inserted the rivet into the hole of the frame, squeezing in just a bit of putty epoxy to take up a very slight looseness just for good measure, even though once the rivet was fastened it would probably be fine.

 

I laid the frame flat and using a beveled punch I made from an old caliper bolt, I started distorting the rivet to fasten it, then used a flat one to finish it.  It came out great and I repeated this on the other 3 wheels.

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Finally, with my previous experience from the more-difficult side and vent windows behind me, it only took a couple hours to set, trim, and clean these up!

 

20210713_180845.jpg.5d03737db24f3443412f61a776888d9c.jpg

 Thats a great report Lance!  If possible can you post a picture of the modified caliper bolt - now punch? Again, great post!

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13 hours ago, JohnD1956 said:

 Thats a great report Lance!  If possible can you post a picture of the modified caliper bolt - now punch? Again, great post!

Thanks John!  Here is my bolt - it's pretty basic.  I just beveled the end to start the flare, then switched to a flat one to complete the process.

 

 

20210714_204110.jpg

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