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Me and my beautiful 1956 Buick


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Ben, you won't be sorry. While the system I have does use a ECM, no way would I go back to a carb.  Today's gas formulations REQUIRE FI. 

 You may not need to go for the fancy distributor. I had mine modified by a gentleman in OR.  Cost was about $85, including return postage.  Mount the 7 pin GM module where you like.  I am not finicky for looks, so mounted it on the cowl. 

 

 I will be watching.

 

  Ben 

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2 hours ago, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

Ben, you won't be sorry. While the system I have does use a ECM, no way would I go back to a carb.  Today's gas formulations REQUIRE FI. 

 You may not need to go for the fancy distributor. I had mine modified by a gentleman in OR.  Cost was about $85, including return postage.  Mount the 7 pin GM module where you like.  I am not finicky for looks, so mounted it on the cowl. 

 

 I will be watching.

 

  Ben 

 

Ben - will not try to talk you back into a carburetor, BUT TODAYS GAS FORMULATIONS REQUIRE FI IS A BIT STIFF.

 

My shop truck is a dual four barrel 390 450 HP in a F-100. Fuel economy at 70 MPH is 22 MPG. The carbs have been untouched on the engine for 18 years. How does your efi compare?

 

I will agree that newer efi systems have improved greatly, and almost approach the efficiency of a well-calibrated carburetor (not yet convinced of their reliability), but REQUIRED???

 

I MIGHT consider efi if I lived in a state such as Colorado, where I drove at altitudes varying from 3500 to 12000 feet daily, but other than that, REQUIRED???

 

Jon.

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Dang, Jon, you were not supposed to see this!:D.  

  OK, maybe not required.  Although not many out here have the expertise and knowledge you have.  What I can say is it always starts, never "vapor locks". No sputtering, backfiring, running rich or lean. Coupled with the HEI and ECM controlling timing, I like what it does.

 

  Been in there seven years, 15,000 miles.  Haven't always surpassed 20mpg, but have lately. 

 

  I can't speak for the aftermarket ones, but mine, from a 1990 Chevy PU 350 does a good job.

 

  Ben

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I would buy the MSD distributor because it has the pin out for timing control. I can have my distributor retrofit to HEI, but I do not think I can wire it to be controlled by an ECM? I'll have to do some more research.

 

Regarding carbs, there is a 2347S on eBay right now that is an exact match to mine. I will see if I can snag it as my last foray into carburetors. Honestly, I like fiddling with carburetors, I just do not like the car dying at a drive thru window or intersection. Or having to compensate for years of wear and tear. I'd like to say with my limited knowledge and experience, I'm pretty good at setting a carb. But the ancient tech is slowly wearing on me. About gas, I've never had an issue until last year with vapor lock. But I don't want to do any work arounds, either. My car was never meant to be a show queen, it is meant to be enjoyed and while I am not keen on changing too much, some things I don't have a problem changing. Like for instance, getting rid of this boat anchor gear box that was supposedly fixed.

 

Jon, sorry I have not gotten back to you about my carb btw. I have been sitting on the kit for a while. Circumstances have kind of shifted my focus elsewhere recently. But from what I can see from the kit supplied, the air horn to choke housing gasket is different.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Image may contain: outdoor

 

It's kind of been a while since my last update. Nothing has changed really. I've fallen out of contact with the big desert junkyard in Arizona and might have to settle for wet Washington junkyard fenders. However, I have a small dillema. The first fender has a big dent in the side of it, but it is complete and solid. The second fender has no dents and is solid, but is missing the spot welded triangle piece that holds it to the splash apron (and they want more money for it). These are my only two options right now barring shipping for some questionable parts. Any suggestions?

 

I feel I can pound out the dent in the busted one, but it is creased so it will most likely need some bondo finishing. And, I have never done body work before.

 

57403883_2270471143168694_7454539453063757824_n.jpg?_nc_cat=107&_nc_ht=scontent-sea1-1.xx&oh=d0a8616487812e719b8e355a38daeabb&oe=5D727E58

57238823_390855388428484_6454113901922484224_n.jpg?_nc_cat=106&_nc_ht=scontent-sea1-1.xx&oh=8739adfbaac8db32b62c7bc68b2fa95c&oe=5D3417D7

 

I don't have an image of the other car, but it is more or less perfect, just missing that one part. The fender is also rolled out on the bottom lip at the front of the wheel well, too. I'm thinking its going to be a lot of work? Also that piece below the turn indicator, with the little tab, is the piece missing off the good fender.

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IMHO go for the straight one. Can the triangle piece be salvaged from yours? Maybe pounded straight? Just looking at it, that little piece would have to be really horrible to be more work than the big dent in the fender pictured here.

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3 hours ago, Bloo said:

IMHO go for the straight one. Can the triangle piece be salvaged from yours? Maybe pounded straight? Just looking at it, that little piece would have to be really horrible to be more work than the big dent in the fender pictured here.

 

The issue is that that piece is spot welded to the fender itself, if I am remembering it right. I guess I could drill holes where the spot welds go and weld it back.

 

57467789_389949508224407_8602727405494206464_n.jpg?_nc_cat=108&_nc_ht=scontent-sea1-1.xx&oh=7d0c79e08866e7f195f8d2c26cd2fabb&oe=5D2FF7AD

 

This is the grill. It's all rough, but solid. I don't think I've got much chance on this stuff really. I can't seem to either get a call back from junkyards or their grills have been man handled (seriously I don't get this, you'd think junkyards would want to make money on this stuff instead of destroying it by dumping cars on top of cars, but I digress). There's a really nice yard in Idaho but I didn't even bother pursuing them since their prices seemed absurd to me, considering everything will need to be replated at some point. 

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4 hours ago, Beemon said:

I guess I could drill holes where the spot welds go and weld it back.

Spot weld cutter ...probably available locally too.  Little parts like that extension are easy to get back in shape even if mangled (tedious and you may have to use some putty).

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5 hours ago, Beemon said:

 

The issue is that that piece is spot welded to the fender itself, if I am remembering it right. I guess I could drill holes where the spot welds go and weld it back.

 

57467789_389949508224407_8602727405494206464_n.jpg?_nc_cat=108&_nc_ht=scontent-sea1-1.xx&oh=7d0c79e08866e7f195f8d2c26cd2fabb&oe=5D2FF7AD

 

This is the grill. It's all rough, but solid. I don't think I've got much chance on this stuff really. I can't seem to either get a call back from junkyards or their grills have been man handled (seriously I don't get this, you'd think junkyards would want to make money on this stuff instead of destroying it by dumping cars on top of cars, but I digress). There's a really nice yard in Idaho but I didn't even bother pursuing them since their prices seemed absurd to me, considering everything will need to be replated at some point. 

Sent U an email about parts. Please check.

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Do NOT buy this kit! Seriously! I'm not sure where the seller gets off selling this kit for $500, but their ability to use common power tools leaves something to be desired. What they really need to do is go back to school and re-learn GD&T, though I'm sure given the state of this flange, they probably don't have an education to begin with. This is 100% unacceptable and unusable. If I could I would try and get my money back. It's like this kit was made with rough estimations and eye balling, it is no where near close. An absolute waste.

 

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This also means that I am getting close to finalizing my prototype. In fact I am so confident, I am buying the material tomorrow to be plasma cut (the water jet is unfortunately down, so it will probably come out really bad). Ideally I would like to buy .5" steel stock and then machine out the flange, but that would probably be a little difficult to find and is most likely expensive. Aside from the top right hole, which is common to both patterns, the other raised parts will be tapped the same thread pitch as the OEM bolts so the OEM bolts can be used to secure the adapter. The top right raised hole sits over the steering box, so we'll see how that goes. I was unfortunately more focused on putting my original steering box back in the car to see how my paper weight goes into the frame mounts. The closer I get to putting this guy out of business the better I feel. Sorry if I am coming off harsh, but I am done with this rampant negligence that plagues the car hobby.

 

image.thumb.png.1ae9ef107165880909c598035d077e12.png

 

Edited by Beemon (see edit history)
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On ‎4‎/‎19‎/‎2019 at 4:38 PM, Beemon said:

I forgot to mention the hood is split on the sides like this image. All the hoods I've been able to find are split like that at the crease. Is that indicative of anything? 

20190312_144608.jpg

 

Thanks for the picture. It confirms what I've been saying for years that the color of the OEM factory under-the-hood insulation was YELLOW at one time and not GRAY on these early Buicks.

 

Al Malachowski

BCA #8965

"500 Miles West of Flint"

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3 hours ago, 1953mack said:

 

Thanks for the picture. It confirms what I've been saying for years that the color of the OEM factory under-the-hood insulation was YELLOW at one time and not GRAY on these early Buicks.

 

Al Malachowski

BCA #8965

"500 Miles West of Flint"

Some, maybe.  But all 55's that I have and have seen were gray.

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Beemon, glad to see you're moving forward with the Jeep steering box conversion. 

 

I'm not sure if I ever sent you a picture of my bracket, but it looks very similar to your design. The top forward hole (facing the front of the car) is reused, and the rest fall into place based on the bolt pattern of each box.

 

The Buick frame curves inward in that area, so you will need to experiment with the spacing (similar to the washers used on the adapter you bought). The adapter needs to be as close to the frame as possible while maintaining clearance in order to line up with the steering column.

 

I would advise against the cutout center in your design. The steering box will have some flex when turning the wheel. You'll want to make the adapter as strong as possible.

 

Here are a couple of pics that were taken during mockup:

 

20170417_195835.thumb.jpg.7242705701cb3972ece6c7c7fd1c315f.jpg

 

20170417_195825.thumb.jpg.a4e89229aa48b81eab874b06cd481eff.jpg

Edited by 1956century (see edit history)
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Image may contain: car, tree and outdoor

 

Well it's not pretty, but she's back together. The parts are less than ideal, but they're solid for the most part (at least the grill pieces are). After mounting, I found that the bumper had indeed been pushed in on the driver side, so I just need to shim it out about 1/8" to get the parts to line up. The hood has rust through on the inside stamped sheet metal and the fender, while mostly solid, is pretty rough. I've found it difficult to find affordable hood and fenders that I can forward to the insurance company, so I may try to have the original hood and fender straightened on their dime, since it was included in the base cost analysis. If you didn't notice from the photo, the black fender is also rolled at the seam that is parallel to the hood, so the fitment is near impossible (gap is correct at the base and end by the windshield, nearly touching in the center).

 

Also, I think I've narrowed down the vibration issues I've been having. Around town here, when slowing down there's been a thud thud thud thud when stopping or accelerating. Moreover, halfway back to school all symptoms had vanished and then re-appeared after some braking. I also discovered that my driver side rear axle seals are leaking. So my new theories are that either a cord or band in the tire blew, causing out of balance/out of round conditions, the wheel is no longer balanced itself, or I have sticking brakes at high speed, which I have also encountered before when I had drums on the front. I have had U-joint failure before on other cars, it's a constant thing and not something that goes away after driving a long time, nor get better. It also can't be wheel bearings - there is no noise and they are tight in the hub, and new. When I pulled the hubs after getting home, the bearings were still good and not discolored, gouged, scored or whatever else. I know suspension can also cause vibration at highway speeds (seems 65-70 is the normal speed harmonic for which all cars experience some type of balance vibration), but my tie rods haven't been adjusted in 3 years now. I'm hoping I can get the tie rods adjusted when I get this steering box flange made, hopefully tomorrow. 

 

Speaking of steering box flange... I used this as a reference and rough starting point for my analysis. Specifically, I went to the upper end and assumed a lateral force exerted on the steering box of 1500 N to give a little wiggle room since tires and such are different. After using a design insight plot to thin out the center (and with a 2.7 FOS, I probably could have gotten away with more), I arrived at the final design with the hollow cut out. Also, for comparison, I made a .125" study (the base piece is .25" thick). It's not feasible anyways with the countersink holes, but I still wanted to see what the halved thickness would do, and it dropped the FOS by quite a bit. FOS being the factor of safety. I hope this helps with my justification for the lighting in the center. With a 2.7 FOS at the upper end of the perceived viewed forces acting laterally on the steering box (and flange by default), I think this design is bulletproof. However, it still requires actual real life testing. My experience with this program has been accurate 100% of the time when it comes to static studies, regardless, so my confidence is high. Forgot to mention, the material used is a generic mild steel, which would be available in extruded flat stock at any local metal retailer or possibly hardware store.

 

 

 

SteeringBoxFlange-Static1-Image-1.png

SteeringBoxFlange-Static 2 from [Static1]-Image-1.png

Edited by Beemon (see edit history)
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@Beemon  Glad it is back together.  Maybe you could at least salvage the old hood.  

 

As to the steering flange study, I will confess I am lost.  I can see the difference in the counter sunk bolt hole diameters.  Is there need for that to align the different steering gear?

 

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Well, the steering flange bolt holes are perfect sizing. However, the steering box sits over 1/8" off center and a little high that it requires changing the steering wheel alignment. I think if I can shim the bottom to rotate the top over, it could be made to work, but the pitman arm geometry would be off. In the end, i'm not sure what i'm going to do about the steering box because everything is off without changing the pitman arm geometry. I think im just going to look into maybe a rack and pinion type modification. RIP $500.

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Do you have any pictures of the misalignment?

 

Mine lined up perfectly with the steering column using a 1/4" adapter. Also, the frame has slotted holes which allow for vertical tilt adjustment of the steering box (it pivots on one of the holes - top/forward IIRC).

 

I did notice that once installed, the intermediate shaft sat a bit higher on the steering box side. I was able to adjust the idler arm upward to level it out.

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Ok, so the pittman shaft is 90 degrees to the column, right?

 

Is there just too much frame in the way? Is the steering box taller? What kind of pittman arm are you using? Buick? Jeep?

 

Unless it is just too tall, there should be a way, You need to get the end of the pittman arm (and the arc that it swings) in the right place, and the drag link in the right place, or it just introduces bump steer. Maybe a different pittman arm? There should be a bunch of different ones that will fit on that Saginaw box.

 

Basically the pittman shaft needs to run at the same angle the idler inner pivot point does. The box has to be at the correct height (up/down) to aim directly at the column. The Pittman arm is just gonna have to be the right length, and the right amount of up/down at the end, If it isn't, you need a different pittman arm. if the spline on the pittman shaft is so high or low at that point that a pittman arm cannot be had, then you need a different steering box.

 

If you can get that much right and you are running into the frame or something you probably CAN get away with having the box off center a little. Do you mean the spacing away from the frame would be 1/8" off? You can fudge that a little! Yes. I know it isn't right. It means that the pittman arm would be slightly off from straight ahead, and (without any correction) the steering wheel would not be centered. Correct the steering wheel centering in the column somewhere. Yes, I know there is a necessary tight spot at the center of the steering gear. That tight spot might be wider than you think!

 

I converted a Chevy truck decades ago. I put in a variable ratio Saginaw box. The frame was not made for it. In order to get the box in exactly the right spot (right/left), I would have had to cut and section the frame to accommodate the bulge in the side of the steering box. I elected not to because I did not want to weaken the frame where the steering attaches.

 

In that particular case, the original manual box had one of its tabs on an aluminum spacer. It was about 1/4" or 5/16" thick. I went to the junkyard and got 2 or 3 more of those spacers. Also, I had to redrill the frame to get the steering box where I needed to be. This mounted the new box with the bulge just barely touching the frame. So, the pittman shaft wound up either 1/4" or 5/16" too far to the left (the steering box is outside the frame on a Chevy truck).

 

This meant that the pittman arm was not quite straight ahead (but almost!) with the steering straight ahead. It also meant that rag joint was 1/4" or 5/16" left of the theoretical correct center of the column.

 

I was afraid I would be off of the tight spot at the center, and it would be loose all over the road. It also theoretically screws up the Ackerman. I was just sure I was going to have to go back and section the frame.

 

In practice, the steering column mounted and hooked up without even enlarging any factory holes (I did have to put in a shorter center shaft), The Ackerman error was negligible. The steering box remained tight at the center. It drove great.

 

In one of the Chevrolet truck forums, someone now sells a bolt-on plate that does that same conversion I did. The steering box has to be shifted EVEN FURTHER left than what I did. Why? Because there is an adapter plate between the box and the frame, but my steering box was touching the frame. People rave about how great the adapters are. Apparently you can get away with EVEN MORE right/left offset than the 1/4" or 5/16" I had.

 

I sure wouldn't worry about 1/8" of sideways shift until you have tried it. IMHO it will probably work.

 

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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I don't understand why you don't ask for a refund nothing lines up it's not as advertised.. In fact if you paid with PayPal you could open a case through them and win...500 bucks is a lot for an adapter let alone one that isn't even correct.

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On 5/8/2019 at 9:03 AM, 1956322 said:

I don't understand why you don't ask for a refund nothing lines up it's not as advertised.. In fact if you paid with PayPal you could open a case through them and win...500 bucks is a lot for an adapter let alone one that isn't even correct.

 

Asking for your money back is not as easy as everyone makes it out to be. And at least in my case, despite opening claims and cases several times over the 4 years I've had this car on the road now, I have yet to see a cent returned to me for negligent work. So I just keep adding to the list. When I say this has been the worst hobby to be a part of,  I really mean it. You meet quite a bit of genuine people along the way but an absurd amount of crooks, too.

 

1/8" off was a typo, it should really be 1/4". I feel like that's just going to stretch and stress the rag joint. I couldn't even get a bolt through. There's also no side to side adjustment for the steering column, just up and down and front to back so i'm not sure how i'm going to get it aligned in the first place. Since the steering box is metric, the metric bolt wouldn't even go through one of the slotted holes so my next challenge is to helicoil the steering box with the correct thread and try again. 

 

Maybe when I make it big I can use an indexing tool to make my own pitman shaft. 

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I know it's not as easy as it sounds and I definitely understand the frustration with self claimed experts... But if you paid through PayPal it should be an easy case.. Not as described..I deal with PayPal and eBay regularly and trust me they'll take your side.. You have 6 months with PayPal to open a not as described case.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've been out of it for a while now but here's some progress: 

 

State Farm re-evaluated the car and raised the cost of repair to about $9000. The car is now at a metal working shop since Tuesday to get everything back to where it should be, including paint. This is another summer without the car. 

 

I'm considering adding an oil cooler. Going up on my way to home, the oil pressure would drop to unsafe levels. Im assuming the rod bearings are worn and the oil is overheating, thinning out. I need to put the engine off another year... and with an IR thermometer, the oil pan sits around 250F give or take 5 degrees. Your oil shouldn't exceed 230F in most cases. 

 

Regardless, anything I do will be at a later date. I have decided not to take the car back with me my last semester unless I have to. 

 

Speaking of going back to school, the last winter trip I did, my 02 Jeep with the 3.7L developed a tick or knock on off and part throttle deceleration, like ignition timing. Well I got that back Thursday and it has rod knock. So now i'm car-less this summer. Although it has nothing to do with the Buick, I'll be looking at an 82 K5 soon as a replacement 4x4 to get home from school. 

 

Truly fun times. 

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20 minutes ago, Beemon said:

I'm considering adding an oil cooler. Going up on my way to home, the oil pressure would drop to unsafe levels. Im assuming the rod bearings are worn and the oil is overheating, thinning out. I need to put the engine off another year... and with an IR thermometer, the oil pan sits around 250F give or take 5 degrees. Your oil shouldn't exceed 230F in most cases. 

In the absence of noise, it is more likely a worn pump or cam bearings.  Put a real gauge on it temporarily or permanently.  Oil viscosity you use?? 

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1 hour ago, old-tank said:

In the absence of noise, it is more likely a worn pump or cam bearings.  Put a real gauge on it temporarily or permanently.  Oil viscosity you use?? 

 

I have a real gauge on there now. About 25 at idle and 37 driving, which I was told was normal. I've been using 10W40.

 

 

1 hour ago, Bloo said:

Get some Valvoline 20W-50 oil (for the Buick, not the Jeep) and see what happens. You might be surprised.

 

I will try 20W50 but it most likely won't be until the end of July. 

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I have a real gauge on there now. About 25 at idle and 37 driving, which I was told was normal. I've been using 10W40.

 

Well, thats fine. If you can hold pressure at idle and low RPM, the oil probably doesn't need to be thicker, unless that all goes away with the oil hot, or it starts falling off when wound up. The 37 is most likely the setting of the relief spring in your oil pump bypass.

 

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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Assuming you're saying 25 psi at hot idle (in Drive) then that sounds perfectly fine.  If it dropped to 10 ~ 15 in Drive, then I'd be more concerned...

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6 hours ago, EmTee said:

Assuming you're saying 25 psi at hot idle (in Drive) then that sounds perfectly fine.  If it dropped to 10 ~ 15 in Drive, then I'd be more concerned...

 

Yes this is the issue, while driving the oil pressure drops when getting hot. This is why i'm considering an oil cooler with thermostat. 

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  • 2 months later...

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