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Me and my beautiful 1956 Buick


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55 minutes ago, dmfconsult said:

I prefer the term "Rolling Restoration"!  You are going to cringe with that new paint job going over those mountain passes in the winter when those trucks shower you with the sand/gravel mix they drop on the road that time of year!  

 

3 car lengths. Lol I really need it, though. Last year I was smart and brought it back during Thanksgiving with the mountain pass storms. It would have never made it, even with chains I think. If in keep it year round, I'll have to go to Vancouver through the canyon and come up I5.

 

I ordered some stone guards for the headlights, though. It didn't happen to me, but last year this guy locally split the glass on his seal beam because of gravel throwing on the pass after snow melt. I have a conversion kit for the headlights that makes them an H4 bulb but they're also glass. 

 

The paint I'm not too worried about. Its not perfect by any means and my grandfather already caught his balance on the front fender. 

 

Tonight I put on my new pedals. I couldn't find a blue power brake pad anywhere so the pedals are black on the blue floor. Carpet should be arriving tomorrow or Friday, then I can lay down new insulation. I also purchased an exhaust kit from Marty Johnson. The last dual exhaust mufflers he's seen in a while, NOS. I remember seeing a cut away of the Buick mufflers, they're reminiscent of modern turbo mufflers with no packing. I don't know if this is true for 56, but I'm excited none the less. These magnaflows have got to go. 

 

Happy 4th everyone! (In the US)

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Edited by Beemon (see edit history)
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The canyon?  That’s an awfully long way around and you still wouldn’t avoid some mountain passes and high roads.  Beautiful drive in the summer but I’m not sure it’s better than what you have in the winter!  The drive from Vancouver to Castlegar/Trail area (north of the border from Spokane) is 7 hours going the southern route in the winter depending on conditions. Probably at least 11 hours going the canyon just to Vancouver with another 2.5 to Seattle 

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9 hours ago, dmfconsult said:

The canyon?  That’s an awfully long way around and you still wouldn’t avoid some mountain passes and high roads.  Beautiful drive in the summer but I’m not sure it’s better than what you have in the winter!  The drive from Vancouver to Castlegar/Trail area (north of the border from Spokane) is 7 hours going the southern route in the winter depending on conditions. Probably at least 11 hours going the canyon just to Vancouver with another 2.5 to Seattle 

That's 4 extra hours he gets to drive the Buick...nothing wrong with that!

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I had looked into it before, it's a 9 hour drive projected. I wouldn't look forward to it either way, but there's a lot less people going that way and having driven my Jeep through the pass in chain conditions, that's a route I'd like to avoid at all costs. Lots of kids coming home for Christmas that have never driven on snow... not impossible for sure but I'd rather not take that chance. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

This past weekend I hack sawed the then current exhaust out of my car and installed NOS mufflers and new pipes. What a world of difference. You can actually talk at highway speeds without having to talk over the exhaust andthe radio doesn't need to be turned all the way up to listen to it anymore. The annoying undercarriage noise went away, too, which i assumed was the Magnaflow muffler hitting the floor board. No more of that! 

 

I also replaced all the rubber strap hangers with FLAPS exhaust hangers. I just cut off the metal hanger part and then cut to length. I also bought the generic loop hanger to hang the rear pipes over the axle. Overall it was pretty easy to swap out, although it took me 5 hours to do one side each day. Most of the time was hack sawing the existing pipes on my back... lol Thankfully I kept all my old hangars for reference! 

 

The first movie i saw that showcased a dual exhaust 50s muscle car was Christine. It had this interesting chugging noise on acceleration in the film and it was my ideal sound for the car. These new mufflers sound exactly like that 58 Fury.

 

Now all I really have left to do is check out the front brakes and repack my bearings. There's an awful grinding noise coming from both sides. These drums are second hand and barely have any surface to them so I think the shoes are expanding too far and causing issue. I was hoping someone would chime in with some 45 fun drums since a huge inventory was advertised recently but I can't wait much longer and I'm probably going to order some repro drums. 

 

My next big project is definitely going to be buying a steering box conversion. This gear box needs to go and I'm not going to spend another huge amount to pay an expert to rebuild another old box (spoiler alert, they just replace the gaskets apparently). I might do some research into a steering rack conversion, but these 50s Buicks have huge A arms and the steering rack pivot needs to be at the centerline of the upper and lower control arm pivot.

 

I was also teasing the idea of taking 57-58 A arms and adapting them to the 56 to eliminate the king pins, but that's more of a pipe dream. 

 

Oh, I posted a while ago about an H4 conversion bulb, but it just didn't feel right. At the FLAPS, all I've been able to find for seal beams are Wagner and Sylvannia - both leave something to be desired. Yesterday I found some GE Nighthawk bulbs and thought I would try them out. To my surprise, they are a quality bulb! It's a shame GE is selling their bulb business, because i highly recommend them! 

 

Anyways, today a dragon fly landed on my antenna. It must be good luck or just good vibes for the exhaust swap!

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I'm running the regular Sylvania halgon and find them to be quite fine.. That being said they also offer the Xtra vision and silverstar lines in this bulb as well..o'reilly carries them in stock.. The factory 6024 .. If you're running h4 then they even have the silverstar ultra as well.

Edited by 1956322 (see edit history)
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Not running H4 anymore. I think the GE bulb just has a more crisp pattern and beam from my personal experience. Without changing the aiming of the headlights, they seem brighter and shoots further. I wish I could find the Nighthawk Sport, its it's a more natural white light versus yellow. 

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15 hours ago, JohnD1956 said:

How about a short video of how it sounds now?  And again in a hundred miles?  Would like to hear the factory correct tone.

 

Funny you say this John. When I first got the mufflers hooked up, there was a loud rattle noise coming from the muffler and a nasty burning smell. All gone now and smooth as silk. I'm going to have the phone camera out and snap some footage later today. In all honesty, I've been holding off since my dad paid for the Magnaflows as a grad gift and I just threw them in the car port like a hunk of junk. lol Still thinking about how to break that one to him.

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41 minutes ago, Beemon said:

 

. In all honesty, I've been holding off since my dad paid for the Magnaflows as a grad gift and I just threw them in the car port like a hunk of junk. lol

Still thinking about how to break that one to him.

 

Dads get used to stuff like that.  You cannot imagine how much great stuff I bought for my kids that they essentially didn't want or care about. LOL

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Here's the video! I'm not sure what the break in time is so I'll check again after 100 miles. 

 

The odometer rolled over again today so looks like I'm at a little over 2000 miles this year. 

 

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7 hours ago, Beemon said:

Here's the video

 

Well, that is the ultimate!!!  Even with the $15.00 Radio shack earphones, the bass rumble at idle is absolutely Buickful!  And then about, what, 8-900 RPM, the tone changed, the exhaust disappeared.  Only returning on the 1,500 rpm blips!  You cannot get any better than that!!   It's what I remember about my father's 55 Special.  It's what I love about my current '56! 

 

Your Dad may not be happy about those magnaflows,  but I'll wager your grandfather is gonna smile ear to ear!  Take his picture to show your dad if the subject comes up.

Buickful job!

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Ben,

 

Not that you will be doing exhaust again soon, but the place where I store my cars has a center piston car lift that I could probably get freed up for a fellow Coug and Buick guy for a day.  Probably would have cut your time down considerably.  I know it is in use for the next week or so, but after that it should be available.  And it is in Kent, near Kentwood HS. 

 

Chris

Edited by cjp69 (see edit history)
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Thanks for the offer, Chris! A lift definitely would have been helpful Haha. I leave for school on the 16th I believe so I've only got a few more weeks at home. Hopefully I won't need a lift between then and now! 

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19 hours ago, Beemon said:

Thanks for the offer, Chris! A lift definitely would have been helpful Haha. I leave for school on the 16th I believe so I've only got a few more weeks at home. Hopefully I won't need a lift between then and now! 

Sounds good, let me know if you do!

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My package from the Brillman Company finally arrived after they sent it to my old dorm on accident. It's a Corvette dual point distributor cap.

 

I'm a sucker for abuse I guess! What can I say, I tried electronic ignition and it left me stranded every time (in the winter, too) and i just like the idea of having a little bit extra coil saturation. 

 

Setting this up was a breeze. The breaker plate is a used Accel kit I got from a SBC distributor. For this setup I went with heavy duty vented breaker points and a Mallory .28 MFD condenser for a little bit extra kick. The rest of the ignition system is stock. Since I've been waiting for this cap, I pre-gapped the secondary set and had been driving on the primary set. 

 

This cap is awesome. Just like setting a single contact point set, you set the secondary with the other window. You have to remove the cap at least three times (once to block off the secondary set, another to block off the primary and the third to unblock both). With no effort at all, I started the car, verified at least 12V at the battery, and set the dwell on both sets to 27 degrees. The final dwell came in at a rock steady 32 degrees. 

 

When I hadthe distributor checked on a reliable Sun machine, we noticed even with the HD contact set, there was point float at 4000 RPM. Even though I'll never see it, having the points not open as far will definitely help with any chance of point float. Plus the extra few degrees of dwell will help coil saturation. Running the .28 MFD condenser is no concern either, considering the charge is shared across two sets of vented points. 

It's definitely a placebo effect, like adding aluminum valve covers, but the car feels like it has more natural pep in its step. After 100 miles I'll recheck dwell. If all good, I'll push it back to next oil change. 

 

If I ever have to upgrade the ignition system again, I'm definitely going to get 8 LS coils and a coil driver and run them off the spark plug cover. Hopefully not for a while more, but seeing what the NAPA warehouse had in stock for points was a bit shocking!

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Edited by Beemon (see edit history)
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Dual points! I like it!

 

You may need to adjust that condenser capacitance. There is only one "right" value for a particular car and driver, and the ignition parts manufacturers often don't get it right, especially with dual points. Once you get a condenser that really works right, stick with it rather than changing it when you tune up. Capacitance varies quite a bit even within a given part number.

 

If the capacitance is wrong, metal will transfer on the points. It looks like a mountain, and since the points are no longer flat the timing and dwell become unstable from one spark to the next. Any old Motor or Chilton manual from the period has a picture of this, and which point the mountain is on determines whether you have to go up or down in capacitance. Get this right, and dual points can run longer than you would believe. I had some dual points run for 6 years on a 318 mopar, and still weren't really screwing up when I pulled that distributor out and replaced it with an electronic one. Daily driven, too. IIRC the condenser I would up with was for a small block chevy.

 

I never got any decent life out of ventilated points, in dual or single point distributors. NAPA/Echlin used to have some nice big points with no hole in them. Maybe they still do. If the ventilated ones burn right up, I recommend trying them.

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Well, I just got stuck in rush hour stop and go traffic. I'm using a 6 blade 18 inch fan with supposedly a HD clutch. Temps I believe were 92? Anyways, the car overheated so bad that it turned the fuel in the float bowls into vapor. 

 

The top seam of the radiator I'm assuming blew since the top of the fan shroud had coolant all over it. I was running a 13lb cap. The hood insulator was dry and there wasn't coolant on the front of the radiator, so it wasn't the cap that blew. 

 

She never stood a chance. The fan never kicked on because there wasn't any air flow across the radiator and it was spinning at 50% water pump speed.

 

I'm going to do a compression check tomorrow and see if there's any damage to the engine. I'll also be looking for coolant in the oil or exhaust gas in the radiator. I cannot afford a new radiator at this time and the last local radiator shop has closed its doors so I'm stuck for now. I definitely cannot afford another engine rebuild. 

 

Things to do in the future: 

Adopt electric fans to cool in traffic, upgrade charging system for good (powergen thread looks promising, doubt I can get much from a 35 amp generator).

 

Also some observations in the debate between the 4GC and WCFB.

WCFB pros: looks better of the two, less bog metering rod technology, does not leak from rivets in fuel passages.

Cons: aluminum baseplate that's worn, giving lean conditions, sticking choke, tuning screws in hard to reach or impossible to reach locations 

4GC pros: cast iron base probably won't wear out soon, easy to work with, better venturi design for fuel atomization, all tuning adjustments are easily accessible, better choke cam design, does not run lean.

Cons: bog off idle due to poor power piston design, leaky lead plugs in the fuel passages. 

 

Solution: rapid prototype gas pedal ignition switch, use dual quad intake to upgrade induction system (using adapter on stock manifold makes secondary circuit into a choke)

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To bad you're not closer I'd literally give you my high efficiency recored rad... Never overheated no problems except lower tank has a very very minor leak by tranny line..I replaced it last summer with a new rad just to be done with it.. Never any overheating in 110 degree stop and go.. Needle will creep up to dead on middle of N which is higher then usual for me but no overheating no vapor lock...

Edited by 1956322 (see edit history)
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3 hours ago, 1956322 said:

To bad you're not closer I'd literally give you my high efficiency recored rad... Never overheated no problems except lower tank has a very very minor leak by tranny line..I replaced it last summer with a new rad just to be done with it.. Never any overheating in 110 degree stop and go.. Needle will creep up to dead on middle of N which is higher then usual for me but no overheating no vapor lock...

 

What did you replace yours with? I'm trying to put all my options on the table.

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19 hours ago, Beemon said:

Well, I just got stuck in rush hour stop and go traffic. I'm using a 6 blade 18 inch fan with supposedly a HD clutch. Temps I believe were 92? Anyways, the car overheated so bad that it turned the fuel in the float bowls into vapor. 

 

The top seam of the radiator I'm assuming blew since the top of the fan shroud had coolant all over it. I was running a 13lb cap. The hood insulator was dry and there wasn't coolant on the front of the radiator, so it wasn't the cap that blew. 

 

She never stood a chance. The fan never kicked on because there wasn't any air flow across the radiator and it was spinning at 50% water pump speed.

 

I'm going to do a compression check tomorrow and see if there's any damage to the engine. I'll also be looking for coolant in the oil or exhaust gas in the radiator. I cannot afford a new radiator at this time and the last local radiator shop has closed its doors so I'm stuck for now. I definitely cannot afford another engine rebuild. 

Unless you drove it many miles or minutes completely dry you did not hurt it.

My cooling system is about as good as it ever was and I alway put it in neutral and rev to 2000rpm when stuck in traffic (and listen to my primitive noisy 6 blade fan!)

Even creeping in traffic my engine loads up due to fuel boiling/percolating into the engine.

And to stop worrying I installed a direct reading gauge so I know the real temperature.

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The part that concerns me is that the fan clutch never engaged. If I had the stock fan I could rev it. Looks like I'm going to be using the metal fan again. The engine did runa bit cooler when I got off the road and pulled over, but it was 45 minutes to go 20 miles. 

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Welp....

 

Ow.

 

Did you do a leakdown test yet? It probably popped the headgasket between 6 and 8. Maybe it burned those 2 exhaust valves. You could suss it out with a leakdown tester but it doesn't really matter because that head has to come off.

 

Still got parts from the other 322? See if those 2 valves are burned, if they are, borrow a couple from the other engine and lap them in with clover compound and a stick. Clean it up real good. Since there is no adjustable valvetrain, you need to pay attention to the installed valvestem height and don't change it too much. Drop a new headgasket on it and torque it down. You could be back on the road in a few days.

 

P.S. I am still trying to get my head around how it got that hot and the fan clutch never engaged. I think the fan clutch has to be defective. I like your idea about putting a solidly mounted fan on.

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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Looks like the head of coming off.. My limited experience is if it's a burnt valve there's zero to maybe at most 20 pounds.. But maybe just a small piece of the valve is damaged.. Or gasket.. Hopefully gasket

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I'm thinking the fan clutch is defective. Original fan is going back on. 

 

There's an old timey outfit that repairs industrial and vintage radiators here in Seattle that I'm going to check out tomorrow. If they want anything close to $500 I'm going to bite the bullet and buy a new radiator from Classic Radiator. 

 

I ran the engine up to temp with the rad cap off and watched for bubbles. Nothing until the thermostat opened up and it was a few burps, no foaming or constant bubbling so I think the head is okay. I've got a few heads lying around so I'll scavenge some valves. I'm more than certain it's a burnt valve. I think while I have it apart, I'm going to pull the valley cover off and replace the lifters with the new ones from the other engine. Also going to check push rods and springs.

 

No coolant in the oil, so that's good.

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I just pulled the fan clutch off the water pump... I spun the thermostat like it was going to expand under heat and the clutch never engaged the shaft. The clutch shaft that the spring sits in was free spinning in the clutch head. 

 

Tomorrow the head comes off. It's 10:30, time to call it a night. 

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I dropped the radiator off today at Seattle Radiator Works off East Marginal Way. On their website, they show how they made a brand new radiator from scratch using blueprints from the 20s for a plane that was being restored by the museum of flight. That sold it for me. For $270, they're going to pull the whole radiator apart and redo every seam. They're starting with the core, however, since the head unit was cracked, and will let me know if it can be fixed or not without getting deeper into the pockets. 

 

I haven't pulled the head yet but had some general questions. Pictured is a Felpro gasket and a Victor gasket, both identical. I'm wondering since it's a crush gasket, do I need gasket sealer on it or will it crush down no problem like the intake gaskets? 

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Edited by Beemon (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, 1956322 said:

Some sources swear up and down the fel pro head gaskets will leak oil... Can't speak from experience... Reasonable price on radiator hopefully no surprises 

 

I talked with Matt Martin, Russel Martin's son, on Facebook about the Felpro stigma and apparently this gasket set is news to them so go figure. 

 

Thanks for the heads up,  Willie (see what i did there? ). I'll pick some up tomorrow. 

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39 minutes ago, Beemon said:

 

I talked with Matt Martin, Russel Martin's son, on Facebook about the Felpro stigma and apparently this gasket set is news to them so go figure. 

 

Thanks for the heads up,  Willie (see what i did there? ). I'll pick some up tomorrow. 

That's really odd cause it's their web site that mentions it lol.. Although I've found other inconsistencies on it...

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