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1938 Buick Century Model 61 - Four Door Touring Sedan - Trunk Back


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Posted (edited)

Today, I woodgrained the rear window division piece. I also touched up a few small areas of woodgraining on other window mouldings that have been knocked around a bit since the time that I woodgrained them. I also applied another coat of clear on all of the woodgrained pieces. I also decided to do a quick second buffing on my 4 previously selected hubcaps and then painted the "BUICK" letters and other recessed areas that are supposed to be painted. After the paint is totally dry, I will use paint clean up wipes to remove the non-recessed areas around the recesses. I also buffed about half of another hubcap that initially looked worse than the ones that I had previously decided to use. I might have to buff the rest of my hubcaps and see if any of them look better than the ones that I have chosen to use.   

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This evening, I picked up the trunk shelf pieces from my friend. They fit just fine. The difficult part was drilling the holes for the mounting bolts. I put the back piece of plywood in place and used a screw from the bottom side through the mounting bracket holes to scratch the wood to mark the location for the holes. This is a lot harder than it sounds. It is difficult to reach the ones near the back of the trunk. I then took the wood out, drilled holes where I had marked it, and then reinstalled it. After confirming that everything lined up OK, I counter drilled the holes to counter sink the mounting bolts. Next, I put the other piece in place and marked it for drilling. It was a bit easier to mark than the back piece. I then removed the wood from the trunk, drilled the mounting holes, reinstalled it to test fit the mounting bolts and then removed it and counter sunk the holes.  I then reinstalled it temporarily for the evening. Tomorrow I will remove the shelf pieces and paint them. 

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Posted (edited)

This morning, I painted the trunk shelf pieces. I then used painter's clean up wipes to rub the excess paint off of the hubcaps. I then installed the four hubcaps. I may later buff the remaining ones and if any turn out better than the four on the car, I can swap them out easily later. After the paint was dry on the trunk shelf, I installed the spare tire and then began to install the trunk shelf. I was unhappy with how tight the spare tire was under the shelf. Modern bias ply tires in the original size are actually slightly wider than the original tires.  I installed a small stack of washers between the shelf mounting bracket and the shelf plywood. stacking the washers under the plywood and installing the machine screws was not fun. It is made easier by reaching under the plywood with the washers in one hand and inserting a small awl through the holes in the plywood from the top side with the other hand to line up the stacks of washers. After they were lined up, I then installed the machine screw loosely through that stack and moved on to the next machine screw. After all of the screws were installed, I then tightened them all down. 

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Posted (edited)

It has been a busy day, but not quite as productive as I might have wished for the amount of time invested. When I bought the body donor car, I did not realize that one of the cowl vent brackets was missing. I was missing the short left bracket that attaches between the bracket that is attached to the left side of the cowl and the cowl vent. Unfortunately, I did not remove the brackets from the original Century body before it was scrapped. Today, I received new left and right cowl vent brackets from Dave Tacheny. For some reason, the portion of the cowl vent bracket that is attached to the cowl on this car is slightly different from the one on my 1937 Century. The bracket that is attached to the cowl on this car has a small "L" shaped bracket with two holes for mounting the rest of the brackets. The ones on my 1937 Century match what Dave Tacheny says are the standard brackets that he has always found on all 1937 and 1938 Centurys and Specials. They have a small bracket with one hole that is attached to the cowl on each side. I used the original right side bracket and drilled two holes into the left bracket that I got from Dave and bolted it to the existing left side bracket and installed the cowl vent today. The first photo show the right side bracket with two bolts holding it in place. The second photo show the right side bracket that Dave cut off of a parts car and sent to me.  The cowl vent opens fine but I am only about 95% happy with how it closes. The front edge of the cowl vent sticks up just enough for me to notice it is not quite closing flat. I suspect that I will be grinding the rivets out of the brackets attached to the cowl and reinstalling the cowl vent with both brackets that Dave sent me.

 

This afternooon, my rear vent window glass was delivered. I decided to install the rear vent windows. I first decided to install the rubber gasket and test fit the glass and also test fit the window assembly into the body. The assembly is a really tight fit into the window opening, so I decided it would be best to install the assemblies into the window opening before installing the glass. I wish I could say that I did not know this, but it is possible to install the rubber gasket incorrectly. The whole assembly will go together just fine, but it will be difficult to latch the window due to the thick rubber gasket at that location if the gasket is installed incorrectly. If you ever find yourself doing this job, the two small thin end sections of the rubber gasket from Steele Rubber goes next to the vent window latch. :) After correcting that error, I reinstalled that window assembly and then installed the gasket correctly the first time in the other window assembly and installed it.  I then used Windo Weld to install the glass in both vent windows. Tomorrow after the Windo Weld has cured, I will clean up the excess glass setting material.  

 

 

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Matt, It looks like you're making very good or better than that progress on your '38 Buick

 

For the guys in your '37-38 Buick club, there is a supper nice 37 Special coupe for sale on eBay this week for only $13,900.  I keep thinking there must be something wrong with it.

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Posted (edited)

That listing was ended early and is no longer active. The seller appears to be a dealer. I don't know if there is something wrong with the car, or he screwed up the price and then ended the auction early due to an error, or if something else is going on. The seller has only 4 Ebay feedbacks  in the past 12 months and all of them were as a buyer, not a seller.  Currently that seller has 10 vehicles listed for sale on Ebay, all listed at approximately the same exact time. The ads all seem to say don't email, call a number listed in the ad text. Something seems suspect about all of that to me. If the listings are not legitimate, It would not be the first time an inactive seller's account got hijacked and fake ads were placed. I would certainly do some research in person before buying anything from that seller on anyone else with a similar situation.  

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Posted (edited)

Today, I trimmed the excess glass setting material from the rear vent windows.

 

I decided it was time to do some major garage cleaning. I went through all of the boxes of parts and was happily surprised to find a few things. I had previously been unable to find the small body mouldings that go on the cowl. I had gone back to the photos of when I picked up both the original Century and the Special body donor car and noticed that neither car had those mouldings on them when I picked them up. I was convinced that I did not have any, so I had purchased a driver's side piece from Dave Tacheny, as he only had the one side. I was worried about finding the piece for the passenger side. As I was cleaning up, I emptied all of the miscellaneous boxes of parts and at the bottom of a box of things that came with the body donor car, I found a passenger side piece. I buffed it and installed it on the car. About an hour later, I was emptying the last box from the Century parts and got down to the few shredded remains of the trunk shelf, which I saved for the brackets that fit on the bottom of the shelf to help hold the spare tire in place (which I need to clean up, paint and install). I also found a metal divider bar that goes between the two pieces of plywood on the trunk tool tray, which I also need to clean up, paint and install.  At the bottom of the box, under the tool tray remains, I found both of the cowl trim pieces from the Century, which I had fogotten were apparently in the trunk when I picked the Century up. I buffed them both up and since they were the original Century pieces, I installed them on the car. I also found the other one remaining body moulding piece that I had recently not been able to find, so I now have a full set of mouldings on the car and the complete spare set of body mouldings from the Special Body Donor car, plus the extra driver's side cowl piece that I bought from Dave Tacheny. 

 

With cleaning up the garage, I was able to get rid of three folding tables that had previously held parts for the car. I now have the interior kit boxes where I can reach them, and I have the two seat frames out where I can get started on the interior kit installation soon.  

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Since it is easier to put door weatherstrip on before the doors are installed, Levi was going to install the door weatherstripping. He installed the door perimeter weatherstripping on the back doors before he installed the doors. Unfortunately, the package for the front door weatherstipping was missing the clips needed to install the front door weather stripping. Today, my replacement shipment of clips arrived from Steele Rubber. Today, I only had a short time to work on the Buick, so I decided to give door weather stripping installation a try. The hardest part of the job was trying to take the photos to be able to share it online. The weatherstipping is installed by lining up the clips in the correct location, crimping the clips down on the edge of the weatherstripping and then snapping the clips into the original weatherstipping clip holes along the perimeter of the door. Almost all of the clips snapped in with little difficulty. A few took a little bit of extra effort, but the job was much easier than I had expected. Hopefully the photos help explain it. I still need to do the driver's door and also install the door bottom weatherstip. The door bottom weatherstrip is shaped differently and has different style clips. 

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Posted (edited)

Today, I installed the door bottom weatherstripping on all four doors. Levi had tried to install this on the back doors but had trouble with the clips. He is not the first person that I am aware of who had trouble with these clips. The clips have a slight indention that is designed to snap into the holes in the door bottom to hold the weatherstripping in place.The clips from Steele Rubber for this look like they should work when you look at them but when you install them on the weatherstrip, the clips spread out so that the indented area is basically flat. You can insert them into the holes but they will simply fall out. The solution that I used to overcome this problem is to apply 3M weatherstrip adhesive and use masking tape to hold the weatherstripping in place until the adhesive dries. I plan to suggest to Steele Rubber that they need to redesign the clips for this product.  

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Today, I installed the defroster vents. I then pulled the cowl vent assembly totally apart. I used a small angle grinder to carefully grind down the rivets that held the small "L" shaped brackets to the cowl. I then re-installed the cowl vent assembly using both the left and right brackets that I bought from Dave Tacheny using bolts to replace the original rivets to secure the assembly to the cowl. That job is a lot more work than it sounds like. The cowl vent cannot be lifted out of the cowl without removing all of the brackets. This means you have to reach up under the dash area to disassemble and reassemble all of the various brackets.  The cowl vent when closed still looks like it is slightly higher in the front than it is in the back, but I think that the issue is caused by the cowl vent gasket. As that gets broken in, I think it will self correct. I also think that if I had not mentioned it, nobody else would have ever noticed it at all. I have done a lot of work that I could have probably avoided but I like look and feel using the matching brackets on the vent. It does make me wonder why this particular car had the apparently unusual style bracket originally and I sure wish that both halves of it had been present to have prevented me spending so much time and effort on this minor issue.   

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Thanks for the window work, Matt. New window channels and felts are on my "to-do soon" list but I've been intimidated by removing the old stuff fearing that I wouldn't be able to get it back together again. Your photos make it look easy. Thanks!

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16 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

Thanks for the window work, Matt. New window channels and felts are on my "to-do soon" list but I've been intimidated by removing the old stuff fearing that I wouldn't be able to get it back together again. Your photos make it look easy. Thanks!

Matt, one window at a time no matter how long it takes or how much your glass man says he wants to gut all glass at one time or ... - horrid project and I see car after car around here that people never finish and ...

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48 minutes ago, John_Mereness said:

Matt, one window at a time no matter how long it takes or how much your glass man says he wants to gut all glass at one time or ... - horrid project and I see car after car around here that people never finish and ...

 

Fortunately, I have a spare set of Limited doors (don't ask me where I found them) to experiment on first. It feels like my window channels are held in place with clips of some kind but I'll have a closer look.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

 

Fortunately, I have a spare set of Limited doors (don't ask me where I found them) to experiment on first. It feels like my window channels are held in place with clips of some kind but I'll have a closer look.

 

I just followed what Gary Wheeler did on his project. He is the guy that I have to either "Thank" or "Blame" for me starting and surviving this restoration. 

 

Yours may be different, but I suspect they are just like mine. I found that you can just rip out the old window channel. The metal part inside the channel will tear away leaving the screws intact. You then can easily remove the screws to use for re-installing the new window channel. I doubt you can find the screws to remove them with the old window channel in place. The screws do sink into the material so they are totally hidden.

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Posted (edited)

Since I am finished with the cowl vent hardware, I no longer need easy access to the area behind the dash rail. The time has finally arrived to re-install the dash. A lot of work and hopefully my last time reclining on the floor and working overhead in the cowl area. With the dash in, I was able to connect the wiring for the clock, dash light, and lighter.  Lots of small items and lots of small screws involved in this job, but I am really happy to have it in and most of the remaining wiring connections done.

 

I had recently read on the forum where someone was having trouble with a similar era Buick headlight switch having the parking lights on in the "off" position. When I first installed the switch, it did the same thing. It took me a few minutes to figure out the problem. I discovered that the shape of the area behind the light switch is such that if the back of the light switch assembly is totally vertical, although the switch seems to tighten up correctly, the front of the switch, does not quite totally go all the way into the back of the dash, if you slightly rotate the switch assembly, it drops between some slight protrusion(s) on the back of the dash which allows the switch to fit flush against the dash, which corrects the problem with the parking lights "on" with the switch in the "off" position.  This is the best way I can explain it and there is no way I can get a good photo to show this, so you will have to just take my word for it. 

 

I was going to install the front floor mat but, in addition to cutting the hole for the shifter, it looks like I need to remove the accelerator pedal to install it and I did not have time to do that job right now. 

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This morning, I removed the accelerator pedal, installed the front floor mat, and then reinstalled the accelerator pedal. Inserting the rod to reinstall the accelerator pedal and installing and bending the cotter key in the rod that secures the accelerator pedal to the bracket is a bit of a job. While it may not be obvious in the photo, I noticed one odd thing about the front floor mat. The design on the floormat has a round area that you would think that the shifter would be centered in. I cut a very small hole in the center of that area and then fed the floor mat over the shifter with the knob removed. When I got it down near the floor, it was quite apparent that the shifter is not centered in the area of the mat design that looks like it should be. I simply aligned the floor mat using the two outside edges, the dimmer cutout and the pedal cutouts and then cut the hole for the shifter tower where it needed to be. I was a bit surprised to see that the shifter is actually located slightly off center to the right in the design on the floor mat. I then looked at my 1937 Century and, although I have never noticed it in the 6 years or so that I have owned that car, the floor mat pattern on it is also clearly off center exactly like the 1938 is. 

 

After finishing this job, I decided to start the car up since I have not started it recently. I hooked up the battery and discovered that there was a bit of a short circuit in the wiring with the circuit breaker cycling on and off. I disconnected the battery and retraced all of the wiring and components attatched to the dash that I installed yesterday. After spending quite a bit of time going through all of my wiring and all of the original, 82 year old, Buick parts, I finally discovered that the modern turn signal switch was the source of the problem. Somehow it was shorting out internally. I tried left and right turn signals and discovered that they were not working. I can only guess that I must have somehow jammed the emergency flasher switch part way in causing the problem when I was working under the dash yesterday, since before I pulled the switch apart, I tried turning the emergency flasher on and off, and the problem went away. I cycled the turn signal switch several times through, left, right, and 4 way flash positions and it now works perfectly.    

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8 hours ago, Bloo said:

Is that a Bob's floor mat, and if so which one?

https://bobsautomobilia.com/interior-floors-and-doors/floormat-w-jute-backing-brown-rubber-1937-38-.-ff-378/  Without measuring, I think that the pattern on the floor mat is designed to be symmetrical but the shifter is not quite in the exact center of the floor. It is not off much, but obvious when installing. I had never noticed the same thing on my 1937 floor mat because it was already installed when I bought the car. 

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I was wondering about that. A Buick Special transmission (and the similar Pontiac transmission) have the shifter offset to the right. It isn't by much, but definitely not centered. I was wondering about the big car transmission, if it was also offset. Thanks for confirming. Did you have to cut the hole off center in relation to the pattern?

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Yes, the Century transmission tower is certainly offset slightly to the right. The hole for the transmission tower fits inside the pattern on the floor mat but is not lined up with the small circle that appears to be where the shifter "should" be. There is about an inch or slightly more of space between the line in the pattern to the left of the shifter tower. There is about a half inch between the shifter tower and the line on the right side of the pattern. Just enough to notice if you know to look for it, but not enough to attract your attention if you were not looking for it. 

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Today, I spent too many hours working on a paying job and just took a few minutes to work on the Buick. I installed the door door sills. The reproduction sills do not have holes pre-drilled for installing them. I was able to place them in position and slightly lift them up so I could look under the edge to see where the original mounting screw holes were. I then drilled holes through the sills to match the original screw locations and then installed the screws. 

 

I also got on a creeper to allow me access under the front end and I fed the fog light wiring harness under the radiator surround and out through the grille so I can install the fog lights. (I guess I need to pick a set of fog lights and order them soon.)

 

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There is a rubber floor mat in the front. There will be carpet in the rear, but the carpet does not go under the door sills. The carpet sits on top of the area where the screws are used to install the sills, and sits just adjacent to the inside edge of the raised area of the sills. That is how they were originally. A bit different from later cars, but it works just fine.  

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Today, I decided to install an interior light. I had three to choose from so I buffed all three to see how they all looked. The one with major rust obviously did not clean up well. The one with the best chrome had a lens that was yellowed badly. The other one had a nice lens but was a little bit more surface rust. The one with the yellow lens cleaned up nicely. The majority of the yellow tint to the lens buffed off. I decided to use that one since I am sure it is an original and the one with the slightly better lens appears to probably be a reproduction. I debated swaping the lenses between those two, but they are crimped in and I did not want to risk damaging them, and the one I used did not even need the black recesses to be repainted. The photos are probably difficult to see clearly, but they show before and after buffing versions of the lenses and the light after installation. I will have to drop this to install the headliner soon, but that will not be a problem and I wanted the wiring done. 

 

I also installed the trunk shelf divider bar. Removing one half of the trunk shelf to install the divider bar was another opportunity to fight with the washers that I added to space the shelf up to give more clearance for the spare tire. It was a lot of work for a minor improvement, but I am glad to have the divider bar in place on the trunk shelf as it was originally. 

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I like how Buick designed the interior dome light  .These little details brings out the uniqueness on your  Buick.  

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This evening, I cleaned up my best rear view mirror. The original woodgraining looks good on it. I simply sprayed it with a clear coat to make it shine again. 

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Looking great! Any tips or tricks on cutting your floor mat? Doing a similar job on my Packard, and the thick rubber is difficult to cut cleanly. So far I've use a sharp knife and patience, but if you have a better way, I'm all ears!

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11 minutes ago, Ken_P said:

Looking great! Any tips or tricks on cutting your floor mat? Doing a similar job on my Packard, and the thick rubber is difficult to cut cleanly. So far I've use a sharp knife and patience, but if you have a better way, I'm all ears!

 

Not really. It is not easy cut. I used a razor blade knife and slowly cut a little bit at a time. Not a perfect solution, but the best that I could think of. 

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Matt, where did you get your window channel felts? Did you buy them as a pre-cut kit or just by the foot and cut to fit your application?

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5 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

Matt, where did you get your window channel felts? Did you buy them as a pre-cut kit or just by the foot and cut to fit your application?

 

I ordered them from Steele Rubber. You can order individual pieces or you can order a kit for front doors, a kit for rear doors, etc. They ship pieces that are large enough but you have to cut them to the correct length. They don't furnish them pre-cut in exact lengths. 

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Work for paying customers has taken up way more time than usual for the past few days. Yesterday, I did not have any time to work on the Buick. This evening, I decided to do something on the Buick. I will soon be working on the Interior installation, so I decided to clean up the rear seat arm rests a bit. The materials that they are made out of were clearly not expected to last 82 years. They are rather fragile. While a large section of each of them has survived, there are a number of broken pieces that will be an interesting jig saw puzzle to patch together. I cleaned up the two largest sections and removed the ash tray assemblies from them. The ash trays simply pull out, but the outer rim that they fit into was originally secured by small nails. I was able to pull the nails to remove the ash tray rims from both armrest sections. 

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The rear seat ashtrays are going to be a lot of work and expense to repair and rechrome. If I was more practical, I could just eliminate them. The Buick Special did not have the rear seat ashtrays. The Century did. If I had kept my mouth shut and simply used the rear seat armrests from the body donor Special body, probably nobody would have ever noticed the missing ashtrays. The ashtrays will never be used but I intend to restore the car the way it was originally produced. 

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Hi Matt;

 

I think you may get a satisfactory result by woodgraining the ash receivers instead of chroming them.  You seem to have the technique down and a little buffing around the upper rim will make them look good as new.

 

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I had the outer molding and the door wood grained.  The "chrome" box is just the guts that I first cleaned up with my wire wheel, then polished with jewelers rouge.

 

 

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Sorry for the dark photos, I just went out there under the cover, but you get the idea.  They look nice with the brown-toned fabrics.

 

Keep up the great work!

Gary

 

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