Beemon

Me and my beautiful 1956 Buick

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Boy I'd have to dig up where I set the springs and bushing at..I  think Spring wise it was set to the second to lightest springs and the bushing I think it has the largest bushing.. Now as to where my timing is set.. Well I'm not quite sure.. Everything matches up at tdc but if I set it to five degrees you can't even drive it.. So it's set at about 30 degrees which can't be actually 30 degrees but yet everything lines up at tdc.. All I know is it cranks fine and runs great lol

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Today I took the Buick up to Steptoe Butte, a good 30 minute drive from the University, with the local car club.

 

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It's too bad about the sign, was thinking about dropping my steering box in the toilet...

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This last weekend I went to the first annual "Generations Collide" car show put on by the school's car club. At one point during the show, I was exhibiting the different stuff that was otherwise different on modern cars, and when I got to the choke heat stove flapper on the exhaust manifold... the thermostat spring was gone! Lol, I'm not sure exactly when and where it fell off, but I've been driving around with single exhaust for I don't know how long. I'm heading back home the weekend of Halloween, so I'll be doing a manifold swap. I also have an exhaust leak I can't seem to shake, so I'll be installing gaskets until I can have the manifolds planed. I've been told gaskets will crack the manifolds, but other makes and models ran cast iron manifolds for years with gaskets without problems... seems kind of like an old wives tale? The first year I had the car on the road I used the gaskets from the engine kit without issue, until I removed them because of some information I read on line. I understand the cast iron will flex and that being mated to the block restricts it from flexing vs a gasket surface.

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Best to use high temp RTV if surfaces are smooth.  If already leaking, use gaskets and don't look back.  The only negative on long term gasket use was rusting and pitting of the heads and manifolds under the gaskets, making it necessary to keep using.

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Once you take em' off they never seem to go back exactly the same.  I've always put a gasket back after pulling the exhaust on any of my vehicles.  The key to not cracking the manifold is not over tightening.

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5 hours ago, 1956322 said:

I think the important thing about using the gaskets is don't keep retorqueing them 

 

Right, they might seem loose because the flexed under heat - you want them to return to their natural resting point when they cool and re-torquing them will cause them to bend and possibly crack.

 

5 hours ago, old-tank said:

Best to use high temp RTV if surfaces are smooth.  If already leaking, use gaskets and don't look back.  The only negative on long term gasket use was rusting and pitting of the heads and manifolds under the gaskets, making it necessary to keep using.

 

Yeah I had used RTV on the first engine, and when we took it apart, there were obvious black charring around the edges where it didn't quite make a positive seal. I didn't remove the manifolds on this engine when I got it, but it's coming from the passenger side and when I got the engine, these bolts were loose. I don't know if the RTV will solve this issue, but I'd rather just throw those gaskets on and be done with it. I don't know what the head surface looks like yet.

 

5 hours ago, wndsofchng06 said:

Once you take em' off they never seem to go back exactly the same.  I've always put a gasket back after pulling the exhaust on any of my vehicles.  The key to not cracking the manifold is not over tightening.

 

I think the issue with my first set was that they were off the block for 30 years. These ones don't seem to have been removed because they still have the French locks on them, but the bolts were loose on one side...

 

That's another thing. On my first block, I used bolts and lock washers. On this engine, it has the French locks. Does it really matter which way you go? I figure with the French locks, you can re-use them and torque down without having to worry about the bolts coming loose from vibration. Also, is it going to behave like an intake manifold gasket where I can get away without using sealer or should I use some high temp RTV with the gaskets? Thanks guys.

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12 minutes ago, Beemon said:

 

That's another thing. On my first block, I used bolts and lock washers. On this engine, it has the French locks. Does it really matter which way you go? I figure with the French locks, you can re-use them and torque down without having to worry about the bolts coming loose from vibration. Also, is it going to behave like an intake manifold gasket where I can get away without using sealer or should I use some high temp RTV with the gaskets? Thanks guys.

No lockwashers.  Use the french locks.  If you torque down a lock washer, you're asking for it.  I've never used sealant on exhaust manifold gaskets or any gasket really unless the mating surface was too bad.

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Thanks Matt, I figured as much. Here's hoping I can re-use them... lol. Willie was right, I should have just ripped that flapper valve out when I had the chance. Maybe this will give me the excuse to put my single exhaust manifold on in place of the flapper manifold (if the pipe lines up).

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This weekend I made the decision to take the Buick home. Come November 1st, chains are required (if snow) to cross the pass, unless you have M(ud) + S(now) tires. The tires on the car are M+S SUV tires, but with one wheel and given the fact that sheet metal doesn't grow on trees (and not that I'm not confident in my driving skills, more worried about getting hit in the parking lot by someone else), I made the drive. For those of you that don't know, coming East from the West, it's a steep climb to the top and a long slope down the other side... but from the East side to the West, it is a long grade to the top and then the steep fall off on the other side of the pass. I had the heater on full blast with the driver window down going up, trying to keep the old girl from overheating. Granted, this is a virgin engine... I've decided to permanently park the car for now. There is a huge rear main seal now, where I lost 2 quarts to the half way mark home, and my steering wheel has 1/3 rotation of play in it... so bad I half turned the passenger tie rod out so the car would pull to the right so I had a point of reference on the steering wheel. Since it'll be sitting for a while, looks like for fun I'll be pulling the engine back out, and doing a bottom end seal/inspection like I should have done in the first place.  Haha. That aside, the car isn't coming back over the pass unless a new steering box is mounted in. I think I talk about this too much, but isn't it nice when you pay "professionals" to fix these things and they're still broken? Oh well... I'm looking into a rack and pinion type setup that I could use to replace the drag link. The only issue is you need new steering knuckles to change the turn radius of the wheel. Otherwise, a Jeep steering box will probably be the best bet since it has the same spline pattern as the pitman arm and looks pretty close to original.

This upgrade is prompting me to do other things, but mostly theoretical. Everytime I tell myself I'm going to keep it original, something always rears it's ugly head.. So I figure why not apply my schooling and "modernize" the car in the right way (IE not throwing Speedway junk in there). You might see my newest scheme in the modified boards.

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Regarding the steering box, If it were me, I would attempt to rebuild it. I would get 2 or 3 of them, as many as I could get my hands on, tear them down and see if I could come up with enough good parts for a serious rebuild.

 

Rack and pinion, in my opinion, is just an invitation to reliability problems, doubly so if it is power rack and pinion, and with no real advantage on a big heavy vehicle like that. (I love manual rack and pinion in smaller cars).

 

If you are set on putting something different in there, a Saginaw "variable ratio" box (made by GM in the late 70s) one of the best things ever made for a big heavy car. There was a car version and a truck version. The car version mounts on the inside of the frame rail, and the truck version mounts on the outside of the frame rail.

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I want to say my steering issue has something to do with the worm gear and probably bearing pre-load. The box is one year only, and I think it might be shared with Oldsmobile. All the boxes at the yard are like mine, with lots of play. I don't know if that's how they're supposed to be or not, but it seems like it. If anything, I would like something new and modern versus digging around for more old parts that may or may not work. And the car may be big, but it weighs the same as a modern full size car and they don't seem to have any issue - the big, heavy trope for classic cars seems to be widely misguided as a modern full size Buick is only 400lbs lighter than my 56 Century. It may seem like a lot, but it's only a 10% difference.

 

The problem with rebuilding is that, even if you find the right parts to make it whole, you're still on borrowed time. Honestly, the best bet would be to requisition the original blueprints from General Motors and have the internal guts remanufactured, which wouldn't be worth it unless you could do it yourself.

 

This is just unfortunately one of those things where in order to keep it original, you use worn out parts and hope for the best, like most everything else. Or adapt. Securing three or four boxes will run me upwards of $500 if the sellers are generous and shipping isn't involved, and even then I feel is an extremely low-balled bid. Versus ordering a new box from the parts store for  $150 and having a machine shop make a bracket for $100, then $20 in fittings, maybe new hoses, and a $30 rag joint coupler. You still come under, you have a box that was made in the last year so any shop can get the parts and rebuild if anything happens, and it can be serviced local. The opposite of any vintage box, which may or may not have to be sent to a specialist who has a monopoly on kits and aren't willing to sell them, then return the box to you after paying top dollar and it's still loose.

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I, too, was at WSU, two grad degrees in the 1980s and 90s.  A great place to build up your calf muscles.  You must be taking courses in Dana  and Sloan halls.

 

I had my 49 Super there for years, stored in garages, a pea combine warehouse, and a friend's barn with very nice owls who kept the mice at bay!  Rico's Smokehouse (now Rico's Pub since they banned indoor smoking) was a mainstay for many of us!

 

Does the city of Palouse still have Palouse Days with a car show in the fall? It used to be a lot of fun.

 

I understand that there is a new BCA chapter in Spokane.  Maybe a good place to look for Buick help.

 

When I was in Pullman, Held's Auto Electric on S. Grand Ave. was a great source of help with old cars.  They may no longer exist. Butch and Jerry ran the place in those days.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by BuickBob49
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On 10/9/2017 at 12:58 PM, Beemon said:

I understand the cast iron will flex and that being mated to the block restricts it from flexing vs a gasket surface.

That's it exactly and why so many cracked with the factory no-gasket set up.

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Finals are next week and I just finished my last assignment for the semester so I had some time to tinker. As everyone knows, putting any type of modern carburetor is a surefire way to re-wire the starter system. I've come up with an idea, using stock 1/2" ID tubing and a 1/8" flange to make a pseudo carburetor starter switch.

 

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Dimensions aren't final as I don't have the parts here, but the biggest obstacle would be overcoming the throttle arm. The original system had a machined flange on an extended throttle shaft that pushed the ball bearing into the switch. This system would require some extra throw to compensate for the lever arm, but otherwise would function the same. A pipe thread would be tapped into the vacuum relief section of the switch with a barbed fitting plumbed to manifold vacuum, so when the engine starts, it would suck the ball bearing into the relief chamber. With the ball bearing gone, there should be at least a 1/4" air gap between the switch and the piston. And of course, the ball bearing would have a positive metal-metal seal after the ball is set with a hammer in the end of the brass fitting. It would be pretty clunky apparatus sitting off the end of the carb, but you wouldn't have to put a lame push button in it's place.

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Nice tinkering.  Too bad a longer rod could not be attached to that particular linkage tang, and then the switch remotely located towards the rear.  Actually, given todays electronics, I have to wonder if there isn't an electrical solution rather than a mechanical, or a combo electrical/mechanical.  At any rate, don't forget to allow for adjustment to "time" the switch.

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To be mounted to the rear yippy would have to use the top most hole on the throttle arm so it would push backwards when the throttle is opened. That is a much longer arm and would require a much larger throw, but can definitely be doable. You just run the risk of interfering with the air cleaner or ignition coil since it would be above the carb and to the back.

 

I would much rather have the switch towards the back. Maybe fab up a z- rod like a manual clutch linkage and then mount it off the back tab? I feel like it would definitely interfere with the coil at that point, though.

 

As far as electrical switches goes, a meter that easures how far something is pushed in or out could be modified to work if such a switch. 

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The issue with exhaust manifold cracking, at least on Chevy V-8s, was that people tried to keep the retention bolts/nuts too tight that the manifold couldn't flex with hot/cold expansions.  Eventually, cracking would happen.  When they started slicing the metal between the ports on the 454s, that stopped that issue cold!  But even the stainless steel manifolds had a flex joint in them.  Pontiac and Cadillac V-8s had cracking issues, too, from "hot spots".

 

The manifold needs to "slide" on the cylinder head mounting surface.  Chevy used "heat washers" under the bolt heads and "French Locks" under that, to keep the bolts from backing out too much.  When people put lock washers under those bolts, rather than the thicker flat washers, that was a sure-fire way to make the manifolds crack, by observation.

 

Other than the VickyBlue or Borgeson upgrades, using a middle '60s+ GM 800 power steering box would be good.  Then possibly a matching pitman arm and linkage to the spindles?  These boxes are vary rebuildable and were used up into the 1990s or so.  Many racers used to use the Vega steering gear for its lighter weight and smaller size.  GM also had a really neat little gearbox on some of the later 1980s 4WD pickups (only!).  Key thing is that with all of the variations of the GM800 box, there might be one that would fit better than some of the aftermarket items and use later-model linkage.  Adding a later "street rod" steering column with electric power steering could be doable, too.

 

I fully understand the orientation of "keeping things original", but I ALSO know that in the middle-earlier 1950s, when that car was being designed, the vehicle engineering world was in a massive degree of "flux".  As soon as one model year's parts were designed, the better ones for the next model year's cars were being finalized.  This went on until about the 1965 model year, when so many of the "modern" systems came online and were far better than what came before them.

 

In many ways, Old-Tank has many of these things finessed and such that they are not the real issues they were in prior times, by observation.  But his tolerance for many of these things might not be shared by people used to "modern" vehicles.  Be that as it may.  

 

Point ignitions are fine as long as the breaker can is "in spec" and each of the lobes is the same as the rest of them . . . meaning that point gap will be the same for all of them, which makes the dwell reading/coil energizing-firing the same for all cylinders, as it is for an electronic system.  THEN keep point grease on the rubbing block!

 

The "gas pedal start" function kind of fit the character of some flamboyant Buick owners, back then.  But the GM pickups had a much simpler system, "analog".  I think I've mentioned using a THM400 kickdown switch to activate a starter relay to run the starter, much earlier-on.  Might now be some way to use voltage bias to run a "start/no-start" switch/relay arrangement.

 

As for "tunes", check out the Aurora Designs websight.  Add-in chips to run many things of the factory radio!  All mounted within the existing radio chassis.

 

What made "old cars" attractive to many was the way they feel in operation and driving.  Each GM division was a little different, but similar.  Just as Fords and Chryslers had their own unique feel, sound, sensory inputs, too.  Compared to modern vehicles where everything's been dumbed-down to be more uniform between the OEMs, with performance standards raised at the same time.

 

To me, there are some things on the mid-50s Buicks that seem to be waaaay over-engineered and larger than similar things on other brands of cars, BUT they still tend to have the same issues as the other cars did, from what I've observed.  Radiators is one such area, for example.  Some of these things had to do with the transition from narrow engine bays to the later wider ones, which affected how the underhood area was "packaged" with power brakes, a/c and hvac systems, etc.

 

FWIW, Edelbrock has a new AVS2 650 cfm elec choke carb out.  The distinction of this version is annular discharge primary venturis.  On sale at Summitt, now.

 

Hope you're finals go well!  How'd y'all come out on your intake manifold project?

 

Happy Holidays!

NTX5467

Edited by NTX5467 (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, NTX5467 said:

FWIW, Edelbrock has a new AVS2 650 cfm elec choke carb out.  The distinction of this version is annular discharge primary venturis.  On sale at Summitt, now.

 

 

Hope you're finals go well!  How'd y'all come out on your intake manifold project?

 

Willis, funny you should mention that because it's been lingering in the back of my mind ever since I found it. I know Holley and the Holley clones have had annular discharge for a while now, but it's interesting to see it in an AFB based carb. I kinda view the Edelbrock as a simple man's entry to carburetion where it's not too complicated to get right, and they end up being more economic than the street Holley's with the dual accelerator pumps. The thing I really like about the AVS2 is that the annular discharge rings are made specifically to be metered by that carb, rather than the swapping of boosters in a Holley, which means the carb is designed to handle the change in vacuum signal at the throttle plates. I figure now that the popular fuel injection kits are dropping in price, the carburetor market needs to adapt and the integrated annular booster design is getting closer to the fuel atomization capabilities of throttle body injection kits. If they could angle the venturi in such a way that it creates a vortex at the lip to pull the fuel to the edges of the bore rather than shower down on top of the plate, they would be in the money. Now they just need to refine the accelerator pump to spray a mist into the bore rather than a solid stream and it would help tremendously on part acceleration (no lean bog from the fuel hitting the plates in a glob and then forced to atomize).

 

Speaking of modern carbs, I've refined my modern carb ignition switch. I like your idea of using the transmission kick down solenoid as a switch, but there's no gate to stop it from kicking on every time the pedal is depressed - it needs a gate, which is what the ball bearing is as it's sucked into a little cubby with intake vacuum during operation. John really got me thinking about how to stick it behind the carb like OEM, and I started thinking of clutch linkages to reverse the lever arm. That's when it hit me. If I put a rod cut like the OEM throttle shaft on the end of a lever that is 1:1 the lever on the carb, at the rear mounted off the back studs, then it would work perfectly.

 

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Finals are next week, with the first being at 8 AM on Tuesday. Looking hopeful, as I've finished two already this past week and the one at 8 AM is a 4.0 GPA filler class that I took to keep my financial aid. So they real fun doesn't start until Wednesday. I'm armed with energy drinks and junk food to survive this last week and then I get to see my Buick again.

Edited by Beemon (see edit history)
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I borrowed this image from VickyBlue's post because I do not have one to compare, but with the placement of the ignition coil, space for this type of conversion could possible be a little tight. Seems doable, will need some in the field research. Good thing I have some spare 4bbl intakes to test some theories out. I might run up to the local ACE and get some prototype pipe to play with. At the FSAE shop we have a ship mill that would come in handy for creating the part.

 

I looked into using a carb switched transmission kick down switch. To make it safe, it would need a vacuum cut out switch in series with one of the lines to break the circuit under normal driving conditions. The issue now is that during WOT the switch will be opened. On the mechanical switch, the ball cannot fall into contact with the plunger because the notch in the throttle shaft would not allow it to do so. This can be remedied with putting the vacuum switch in series with the vacuum pump on the fuel pump. This of course requires much more tinkering, and the switch for both the vacuum and kick down will run close to $100 combined. So for now, looks like mechanical is the way to go. 

Edited by Beemon (see edit history)

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 The annular discharge venturis were first used by Holley on their drag race oriented 750cfm 4bbls, about 30 years ago.  Not new tech by any means.  It made more power than the normal venturis, but apparently that's all they were worried about back then.  Of course, the Edelbrock vid makes it look much better, which it can be.  Seems like there was ONE brand of add-on self-learn EFI that had the injector discharge below the throttle plate?

 

Using the voltage bias and/or an oil pressure switch/timer could inhibit starter engagement when the engine is running.  Those inhibit situations have been in place on some vehicles for some time.  In the later '70s, oil pressure switches were used to power electric chokes on some vehicles, plus to turn off electric fuel pumps in the case of vehicle wrecks and such . . . ignition switch "on", engine stopped.  Several ways to do that starter inhibit switch.

 

We've had electric power steering for a good while now, OEM.  First was the Malibu re-design about 7+ years now.  Full size pickups since about 2014.  MUCH more reliable now with the earlier quirks now gone.  A much better deal than the earlier MagnaSteer power steering racks.  Using magnetic resistance for boost and "feel" so the same basic rack could be used on Corvettes and Impalas ... provided the magnets could change quick enough.

 

Take care,

NTX5467

Edited by NTX5467 (see edit history)
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Sooo I finally checked on my msd distributor set up... Black  bushing..18 degrees... One heavy silver spring one light sliver spring.. If you go to their site it's the C diagram...vacuum advance is hooked up..initial I'm not quite sure about.. It's set at 28 degrees but there's no way it's actually 28 degrees.. The odd part is I figured the balancer slipped but tdc seems to line up correctly so who knows lol...

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