Beemon

Me and my beautiful 1956 Buick

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Starting the New Year off. I'm trying to do mostly cosmetic upgrades this year. A gentleman locally was selling these hubcaps for $100. They're the best condition I've seen locally and he lived within 10 minutes of me. OfferUp truly is a great thing because I have never seen spinner caps as good as these go for so little! The centers are solid and still vibrantly red. Minor pitting on the spinner, but they look good for a driver. one cap has a scratch on the top by the spinner but it's not bad. Other than that, it's got the usual dings around the retaining lip but no road rash at all. Now I need to buy myself some curb feelers! 

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Starting the year off strong.. The fuel pump I got from the big K blew the main diaphragm five months back and I salvaged it luckily from my original pump. Today I lost fuel pressure because the pulsator diaphragm bolt was over tightened and it finally wormed its way out of the damaged threads just enough to spray fuel everywhere. I had to go and get a longer bolt and re-tap the threads to go deeper into the pocket. I used a felt washer as both a positive seal and a crush washer so the new bolt wasn't over torqued. Kinda wish they came out of the box with excellent quality but I guess that's too much to ask. The burn list continues to grow.

 

Thankfully I did this without removing the pump and we're back on the road. All is well again. I kept smelling gas coming from somewhere, too. I'm just glad it blew in the driveway and didn't start a fire.

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On 1/2/2018 at 8:38 PM, Beemon said:

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Too bad the "Buick" is upside down on this cap.  Otherwise, you did good!  ;)

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13 hours ago, Beemon said:

Thankfully I did this without removing the pump and we're back on the road. All is well again. I kept smelling gas coming from somewhere, too. I'm just glad it blew in the driveway and didn't start a fire.

 

Good thing you are so adept at this stuff!  If it were many other folks, that car might be spending the next 6 months at the local garage while they searched for the computer port to get the readout on what was wrong. 

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1 hour ago, JohnD1956 said:

Good thing you are so adept at this stuff! 

 

And WHO says the youth are not into the hobby today? 

 

Keep at her Ben!

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It looks like you really scored on the hubcaps.  I recall hearing from my mechanic that the ones with the horizontal bars are for Roadmasters.

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2 hours ago, BuickBob49 said:

It looks like you really scored on the hubcaps.  I recall hearing from my mechanic that the ones with the horizontal bars are for Roadmasters.

 

They're also for 55s. I know they're not correct but I like them. A lot better than my previous set, that's for sure! 

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On 1/4/2018 at 12:59 AM, neil morse said:

 

Too bad the "Buick" is upside down on this cap.  Otherwise, you did good!  ;)

 

Must have gotten it from Australia

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On 1/2/2018 at 11:38 PM, Beemon said:

Now I need to buy myself some curb feelers! 

 

Looks like you got a set of rubber ones already.

 

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On 12/26/2017 at 9:01 AM, avgwarhawk said:

And the 56 Buick carries on without complaint, plying the winter covered roads.     

 

Reminds me of winter of '89, a kid walks into my office and says "I'd like to ply fer a job". I told him "it's too wet to ply, come back in the spring"  Poor boy never did figure out what I was talkin about. I hired him though.

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On 1/2/2018 at 11:38 PM, Beemon said:

Starting the New Year off. I'm trying to do mostly cosmetic upgrades this year. A gentleman locally was selling these hubcaps for $100. They're the best condition I've seen locally and he lived within 10 minutes of me. OfferUp truly is a great thing because I have never seen spinner caps as good as these go for so little! The centers are solid and still vibrantly red. Minor pitting on the spinner, but they look good for a driver. one cap has a scratch on the top by the spinner but it's not bad. Other than that, it's got the usual dings around the retaining lip but no road rash at all. Now I need to buy myself some curb feelers! 

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Them are nice. You may want to put razor blades in the backs of them, that was the way it was done on wire hubcaps back in the late 60's.

 

 

 

 

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17 minutes ago, MrEarl said:

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Them are nice. You may want to put razor blades in the backs of them, that was the way it was done on wire hubcaps back in the late 60's.

 

 

 

 

Ouch

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8 minutes ago, wndsofchng06 said:

 

Ouch

 

Not really, once word got out it was being done, thefts of Oconee County cars hubcaps dropped dramatically.

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Yesterday I bid farewell to my Buick. Under pressure, I was told to leave her behind because of a potential for snow over the pass and back at school. 

 

We spent almost $1000 for a new radiator and complete flush for the Jeep to get me over here and would you know they didn't replace the radiator cap. The seal is broken, so when I parked the car to fuel up half way here, it puked again. Good thing I've got a warranty! 

 

The worst part of course is that the roads were bone dry. Boy I sure do miss the car again. :(

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The first sentence freaked me out for a second,  I thought the next sentence would say you sold it!   Shew!

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Well I got a ticket on Thursday afternoon for parking in the wrong (unmarked) zone while driving with my Jeep. Tried to save a buck by putting the Buick parking pass on the Jeep for the interim. Turns out, if you do this you get a verbal warning with the next offense being a boot. This weekend I was already planning on driving back home to help my girlfriend, whose sister rolled her alloy rim over the curb on Christmas Eve. To make a long story short, I used it as an excuse to swap vehicles. Boy did I get lucky! Friday night Snoqualmie Pass was compact snow and ice and westbound going down, there were 3 cars pitted into the left bank of the highway just after the first big turn. Easy going with the Jeep... Sunday night, slight rain with wet road conditions.. easy going with the Buick. Amazing what 2 degrees will do to the pass conditions! Stars were definitely aligned on that one, I was not looking forward to driving south to Vancouver then east through the canyon... The old girl was thirsty and drank 2 quarts to get here. Just curious, but after a long drive, the car seems to hesitate in D but has no issue in L, almost like its starving for fuel... must just be tired.

 

Over the weekend, I also dabbled in adding an AUX input to the tube radio. Mostly successful, except I burned the end of the 470kOhm resistor from the source input to the power supply on the pot. As I was soldering the AUX into the terminal, I watched the plastic bubble... now I only have one volume range, off and halfway on. Oops. That one is gonna be tough to replace, probably best to replace that resistor anyways, but super bummed out. I was pretty excited when I got Pandora to play just by touching the AUX input lead to the signal terminal on the volume pot, it overrode the antenna perfectly. The radio had also stopped working over the weekend because the Motorola antenna lead had the ground shield separate from the plug, so I had to rip the old head off, strip 3/8" of the old antenna wire, fold the braid back over itself and slip the new plug over the top. Soldering the tip to the signal input wire was the hardest part, now it makes a perfect ground. I'm hoping there's an electronics place near town that would even stock a 1W 470kOhm resistor...

 

Oh, and I need to fix the antenna one of these days, too. Darn nylon rope came out again and it won't let it go down any further. The end of the antenna mast is broken, so I'm not sure what I'll be able to do to get it fixed, but maybe I can heat it and melt it and shove it up in there and let it cool or something.

 

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Edited by Beemon (see edit history)
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So today I pulled the radio back out and did a complete scope out of the wiring again. All the resistors seem to have some sort of degradation but most of them are within 2%. My next task will probably be to replace all resistors in the system. That being said, I was scared I may have ruined the volume pot. Today I did some extensive testing and there are no shorts to ground, which tells me that it is working fine. However, there is a 470kOhm resistor parallel to the pot output and the readings across the pot at open are around 245kOhms. The pot itself, if I'm reading the wiring diagram correctly, is supposed to be 1MOhm, or 1000kOhm, so in parallel to the 470kOhm resistor, it should read 320kOhm. 245kOhm is a big difference between 320kOhm. That's about a 23% difference. Without snipping the resistor off, I do not know if it is the pot or the resistor that has degraded, but considering the pot is in good working order and has a very good range, I am going to assume it's the resistor. I do not believe there is anywhere near me that I can get resistors, all the RadioShacks closed within the last couple years. It would be nice if WalMart carried a hobby isle in their electronics section... oh well. Looks like I've identified the problem, though. The lower resistance would definitely put the amplification circuit out of whack - how much I do not know, but seems to be the answer to my problem. I'll live with it for now. And if the pot ends up having a little bit of a leak down issue, then I'll just size up a resistor to put it back in the 320kOhm range.

 

Also it's really nice that after 60 years, the color band codes on the resistors of 1956 are still the same standard as modern resistors. That makes identifying them so much easier! Now I just need to find suitable replacements after cross referencing the resistors in the box. 

 

Also here's the AUX input on the radio. Its two 1kOhm  resistors at the two stereo leads going into one wire (mono, red wire) with a 10kOhm filter resistor to ground  (green wire). I was told this set up would simulate the load of headphones. The red wire connects to terminal (source input) on the pot.

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Edited by Beemon (see edit history)

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I wouldn't worry about any 2 percent. They didn't when they built it. Back in the 50s, "normal" resistors were +- 20 percent. Tighter tolerance was available, but not used unless necessary. +-10% and +- 5% were used. Anything tighter than that was a super-expensive special resistor for a test instrument.  Also, when they made resistors in those days, they sorted them for tolerance, so a 20 percent resistor was often between 10 and 20 percent wrong when new.

 

A 20 percent resistor has no fourth color band, silver is for 10 percent, gold for 5 percent.

 

Have you replaced the paper and electrolytic capacitors in it yet? They degrade with age much worse than resistors and are the source of most trouble. In an AM radio, resistors off by even 50 percent are unlikely to make any difference you can see without test equipment. Resistors do drift with age, usually higher in value. 23 percent off on a pot isn't unusual at all. It is probably supposed to be within 20, but may not have been even when it was new.

 

What is it doing wrong?

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)

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The volume is either extremely low, semi-medium to medium. I have already replaced the caps, the radio was working flawlessly then I parked it for winter, came back to get it and it has been acting up since. I have no volume control, despite the pot showing it has full sweep with no shorts. The only reason I bring up the pot resistor is because when checking the other ones, the worst one was maybe 7% out of spec. I also messed up my error calculation [(360-245)/360]*100% is 32% out of spec. I do not know why the volume control is all of a sudden just three volumes, despite the rheostat on the pot not being shorted out or anything. I cannot think of any other reason it is behaving like this.

 

The color bands on the 470kOhm resistor are yellow purple, yellow, silver, indicating a 470kOhm resistor with +/- 10%.

 

Edit: Here's the AUX cable hooked up, listening to the Killer of course.

 

Edited by Beemon (see edit history)
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The way they have that circuit drawn is making my head hurt.... I noticed a couple of things though.

 

I see 871k in parallel with the 1 meg pot and the 470k. Also, your 10k to ground is probably affecting things as well, because there is 3.3k to ground from the other side of the pot. I'm surprised this isn't pulling it WAY lower. It should.

 

Speaking of that, you should probably have a capacitor in series with that red lead.  .01uf would probably work. If it limits the bass (compared to the AM radio) try more, like 0.1uf or 0.22uf. You probably need a resistor in series with it too, otherwise things will be loaded down a lot by your 10k resistor.

 

The pot itself needs to be a logarithmic sweep to work properly, so you should be seeing most of the sweep at one end of the travel when you are testing it. It was called "audio taper" back in 1956. Another bit of weirdness here,  on any home radio,  one end of the volume control would be grounded. On this radio, the low volume end of the pot is 4.3k (3300+1000) above ground. This means you cant turn the volume all the way down.

 

Back to the matter at hand,  I would recheck all those resistors on the diagram around the pot. Something must be open. Maybe unsolder the pot and check it out of circuit. The tap and the 2 capacitors is only a bass boost or treble cut (depending on how you look at it) to make the radio sound better at low volumes.  If you want or need a 470k and cant find one, PM me. I can probably dig one up and mail it to you, maybe other values too.

 

 

 

 

1956-buick-sonomatic-radio-wiring-circui

 

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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The 10kOhm to ground is just to put a load on the MP3 source, as volume control of the MP3 is handled by both the radio and the MP3 player. I'm pretty positive the treble/bass is also handled through the MP3 player and in this configuration, the radio just becomes a speaker amplifier. When it is not hooked up, the source signal is open and not pulling a load except from the antenna amplification circuit. Even before adding the auxiliary input, this issue was prevalent so I know it has nothing to do with it. When I have time, I may do as you suggest and de-solder the pot. Also feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, my knowledge of the circuit is heavily dependent on 3 weeks of Electrical Engineering AC/DC circuits and Engineering Physics 2/3.

 

When looking at the wiring diagram, I too spent quite a bit of time scratching my head.. trying to find the 820k and 3300 ohm resistors is a pain as they are no where near the pot and are rather somewhere within the chassis, as well as the .004 capacitor. The only components on the pot are the .000180 capacitor, the 47k and 470k ohm resistors.

 

Bloo, what do you do for a living again? :P

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Err.... network administration. I was a driveability technician for most of my life (diagnostics, engine control systems, tune up). I have also worked in upholstery, TV repair, gas stations (when they had service bays) and probably some other things I have forgotten....

 

If the input works as is, I am not arguing that, but I would still disconnect that 10k from ground while you are troubleshooting the radio, and then hook it back up afterward, after you have the problem solved.

 

As for the volume circuit, this is the best I can come up with. The triode section (preamp) in the 12bf7 can be looked at as a voltage amplifier. The impedance of the grid is extremely high. That impedance, in parallel with that volume control circuit, is the input impedance of the amplifier, more or less. The pot should be audio taper. Since doubling the voltage doesn't get you anywhere near double the perceived loudness, the pot needs to be logarithmic in order to seem linear to the user. Otherwise the control would happen over just a few degrees at one end.

 

Since the pot is logarithmic,  it's overall resistance affects the perceived linearity too, too high and the change will seem to push to one end. I think they felt some need to change this. Maybe it was because they floated the ground end up to keep you from turning the volume all the way down. Maybe that made one end bunch up. Maybe the bass boost was switching at the wrong loudness. They put a 470k in parallel with it. Now it is a 320k pot with probably some change to it's taper. The 820k in series with the 1000 is also in parallel with the pot. That is going to change it a little more.

 

The 1000 and the 3300 form a cathode resistor for the tube (and a voltage divider). The place where the 2 connect form a tap for the grid where it will get a bias voltage always more negative than the cathode (this is normal operation for a tube). The grid is tied to this tap through the 1 Meg grid resistor. there is almost no voltage drop across the 1 Meg because the grid has such a high impedance/resistance.

 

Whew....

 

 

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