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


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Matt;

You are doing a great job with the interior.  I'm happy you got instructions.  LeBaron sent me boxes of loose fabrics, headliner rolled up in the corner of the box, no instructions at all.  My first challenge was to try to figure out the order of operations in some sort of logical sequence.  Maybe you should keep those instructions.  Someone may need them someday.

 

Keep up the great work!  It's so fun to see it all again!

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7 minutes ago, Gary W said:

Matt;

You are doing a great job with the interior.  I'm happy you got instructions.  LeBaron sent me boxes of loose fabrics, headliner rolled up in the corner of the box, no instructions at all.  My first challenge was to try to figure out the order of operations in some sort of logical sequence.  Maybe you should keep those instructions.  Someone may need them someday.

 

Keep up the great work!  It's so fun to see it all again!

 

I do plan to keep the instructions. I figure I will scan them to be able to furnish them to anybody who wants a copy. I know what you mean about the boxes of loose fabrics, etc. There were a few mostly illegible marks on the back of some of the fabrics but I really had to work to figure out what some things were. I have a few small pieces that I still don't know where they go. The I hope I figure out what they are in the near future, since I am running out of places to put interior stuff. I still have not done anything with the "coach flap" on the windshield pillars since I need to find the short metal pieces that they attach to and I am still trying to figure out the best way to do them since they appear to be about twice as long as they are supposed to be. I am thinking I am going to have to rip some stitching where they are attached to the windlace and and cut out the excess fabric - a job that I have been putting off as long as possible. 

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Matt:

Is this the "coach flap" piece you are referencing?  My car had a thin metal backer under the fabric that I'm sure if you just find the holes in the body you can make a metal strip to support the fabric.

I called it a "front pillar windlace retainer", but I have a photo of the metal strip in the series.

 

 

 

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Gary, 

 

I should have the metal pieces, I just need to find them. The problem is the fabric flap is probably twice as tall as it should be. It goes from the bottom of the windshield to beyond the top of the windshield. . 

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Posted (edited)

Today, I continued working on the seats. First I recovered the rear seat cushion. I then installed it. I already knew that I was going to have to do some more work on the rear seat side arm rest assemblies. They really are a tight fit with the rear seat cushion in place. I will deal with them later. 

 

Next, I stripped the cover off of the front seat frame assembly. The upholstery, springs and rest of the assembly were in surprisingly good condition. (The reason for this is that these seats did not come out of the Model 61 that sat outside for two plus decades. These seats actually came out the Model 67 that I purchased and resold to Dave Tacheny. That car is also the donor of the better condition running boards that I will be working on again soon.)  I reused most of the original upholstery materials. I was able to add a layer of new padding and install the cover. The front seat back and side cloth cover is applied with a combination of tacks and spray glue. The front seat back also has a carpeted foot rest that is installed wtih some tacks and some spray glue. Tomorrow, I will finish the front seat frame assembly. I still need to cut the excess fabric on the top side of the seat back covering and install the wireon that will hide the tacks along the back top edge of the seat. I will also need to install the robe rail later. I will need to find some suitable fabric to recover the robe rail before I reinstall it. I think that the excess fabric that I need to cut off of the seat back tomorrow might work for that. Apparently the McInerney Spring and Wire Company is the subcontractor who built this seat frame assembly. I photographed the original McInerney Part Number 98098 tag and left it in place.   

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Posted (edited)

Today, I finished the front seat back. I then moved to the front seat cushion. The front seat cushion had been recovered with some thick cloth by the previous owner of the Model 67 that the seat came out of. I was expecting this one to be a bit easier but I was wrong. Apparently, when he recovered it, he just ripped off the old side fabric and installed some foam and the heavy fabric cover. He also neglected to clean all of the mouse nesting materials out of the burlap covered springs. I found almost all of the springs to be full of mouse nesting materials. I used a vacuum cleaner with a crevice tool to remove as much of the materials as I could. I used a high powered handheld LED light to shine through all of the burlap covered springs to be sure that all of the mouse nesting materials were gone. By holding the light beside each spring, I could look from the other side of each spring to visually see if the light was blocked by any debris. Several times I thought I had removed it all to discover yet another pile to vacuum out.  I then picked the spring assembly up and dropped it from a couple of feet over the table repeatedly to dislodge all of the small debris that was left in the spring assembly. After what seemed like an eternity, I finally reached the point that I could bounce the springs up and down without any other debris ending up on the table. I then redid the upholstery and installed the front seat assembly. I still have to cover and install the seat valance panels and see if I need to tweak anything else on the seats but I am happy to have the seats essentially finished.  

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39 minutes ago, MCHinson said:

That is the seat adjustment mechanism. You lift the chrome handle and then you can slide the seat forward or back.

Neat!  You might already know, but my 1939 just has a regular lever hidden on the bottom front.  I like yours better.

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Today, I pulled my 1937 Buick Century out of the garage and swept that side of the garage. While the 1937 Century was out, I washed it. It has been needing to be washed for at least two months. I then pulled the 1938 Century out and let it run a while. I swept out the other side of the garage while it was out. When warm, the starter has clearly been turning the engine slower than it should. I finally got tired enough of the marginal battery and replaced the battery today. Luckily I had an extra one on hand. With the replacement battery, the engine starts much more easily when warm. I am happy to have resolved the marginal battery issue. 

 

I removed the rear seat so I could work on the rear quarter panels and rear seat side arm rests. I finally figured out how the rear quarter panels and rear seat side arm rests are supposed to go together. I installed the right rear quarter panel and arm rest, and rear vent window garnish moulding. When the seat goes back in, the fabric panels will be stretched so that they will look better than they appear in the photo.

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Today, I installed the left rear vent window drain tube, the left rear arm rest, the left rear quarter panel, and the left rear vent window garnish moulding. I then re-installed the rear seat back and rear seat cushion.  

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Posted (edited)

This morning, I covered the front seat cushion valance panels. I then installed the panels on the sides of the front seat frame.  This evening, I cut out hardboard for the trunk side panels, covered them in burlap, and installed them.

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This morning, I got back to work on the running boards. I did quite a bit of sanding on the tops of the boards, although there are a few spots that will need some additional bondo and some more sanding before I am ready to apply the rubber coating. I then used a air powered wire wheel to go over the bottoms of the boards. They cleaned up well. I then applied a coat of primer to the bottom of the boards. I picked up some additional nuts, bolts and washers this afternoon and this evening, I installed some of the hardware that was missing on one of the running boards. After that, I primed the added parts but did not take any additional photos.  

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I am waiting for an appointment to have the windshield and rear windows installed. I am waiting on my local upholstery shop to get my rear carpet, sun visors, and rear passenger assist straps ready. About the only thing I can work on at the moment is the running boards. This morning, I applied some more filler to the cracked areas of rubber on the running boards. Tomorrow, I will do some sanding and filing and see if I have all of the contours like I want them before I apply the rubber coating. This evening, after it cooled down to below the maximum temperature for paint application, I took the running boards outside and painted the bottoms of the running boards.

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This morning, in between thunderstorms, I took the running boards outside and filed and sanded them until I was finally happy that I had done my best to get all of the contours as close as I could to what they were supposed to be. This afternoon, I cleaned them up as good as I could and applied some Flex Seal black rubber coating. I basically poured it on each running board and then used a foam paint brush to push the coating around until I had everything covered and hopefully did not leave any area covered too deeply. They look really good now. In a day or two, we will see how they look after the rubber has dried. 

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Today, the running boards look OK. Even though they appear to be totally cured, they are too shiny. I took a scotchbrite pad and tested a small area. It appears that some slight work with a scotchbrite pad will take off the excess glossy finish leaving a natural rubber appearance that looks like  a running board should look. I will give them another day or so to totally cure and then I will use the scotchbrite pad on all of the surfaces and install them. This afternoon, I installed the running board brackets so I will be ready to install the running boards in the next day or two. 

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This morning, I spent a few minutes using a scotchbrite pad on the rubber coating to dull it down a bit on the running boards. I then installed the running boards. I need to get the mounting hardware before I can install the running board mouldings but I am happy with how they turned out. They are not perfect, but they look good. They will look better after I get the windshield and back glass installed and can finally wash the car.  

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 I had not yet installed the chrome front hood pieces that are attached over the grille. I had planned to try to buy another set of those pieces that had been rechromed since I suspected that they would not buff out well enough. This afternoon, I decided to try buffing the pieces that I had from the body donor car. They actually came out well enough that I painted the black parts of them and then installed them on the car. They certainly help the front end look a bit more complete, although I may replace or replate them later.

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Today, I spent most of my time boxing up extra Buick parts, organizing the garage and moving thing around so that, for the first time since I brought the 1938 Century home from the paint shop, my daily driver Buick can actually fit into the garage again. Since the "modern" 2001 LeSabre is shorter than either of the Centurys, I have to put one Century behind the LeSabre to just barely fit all three cars in the garage. If I decide to keep both Centurys, I really need to consider finding a slightly shorter daily driver. With the 1937 Century almost touching the back wall and the LeSabre almost touching the front bumper of the LeSabre, there is still less than a foot between the front of the LeSabre and the garage door. 

 

Personal experience tells me that to safely drive the 1938 Century in local traffic I need two side rear view mirrors. Since a local AACA chapter member gave me two era appropriate mirrors, I decided to install them this evening. I pulled the Century out of the garage and let it run for a while this evening. While it was outside, I also cleaned all of the glass in the car. It was a lot more fun backing the car in the garage with some mirrors on it. I am still waiting to get the car into the glass shop for the windshield and back window installation. Hopefully I will get the call to bring it in soon.

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Today, I received the running board moulding clips. The clips I got were univeral moulding clips so I had to cut them all to fit the moulding.

 

 https://bobsautomobilia.com/hardware/trim-to-fit-moulding-fastener.-.-mc-2332/

 

I then re-drilled 10 holes in each running board edge and installed both running board mouldings with the clips, a flat washer, a lockwasher, and a nut. The addition of the mouldings add a lot to the look of the running boards. 

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When I put the dash together, prior to installing it in the car, the hand throttle cable worked. After I installed the dash and connected the cable to the carburetor, the inner cable apparently broke inside the assembly. I recently received a replacement hand throttle from Dave Tacheny. Today I removed the old cable and installed the replacement cable. That was not a fun job. I found that the easiest way to remove the old one was to disconnect it from the carburetor, pull the cable through the firewall and work a 9/16 inch socket up the cable and onto the nut that secures the assembly to the dash. I was able to take a screwdriver and insert it into the socket next to the cable and turn it to loosen the nut. I was then able to remove the driver's ash try and reach through the ash tray opening with two fingers and a thumb and slowly and carefully remove the nut. When doing that job, I wished I had smaller fingers. I was then able to reverse the process to install the replacement cable. The hand throttle now works perfectly. I did not take any photos since there really was nothing to show in photos, but it is nice to resolve that issue.   

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When I first disassembled the 1938 Century's original body, I neglected to remove the rear seat center armrest hinge cover. I did not realize at the time that the 1938 Special body donor car did not have that part since the Special does not have a rear seat center armrest. I recently received one from Dave Tacheny. I cleaned it up and painted it black yesterday and today I installed it. To do that, I had to again remove the trunk plywood shelf. I am getting better at removing and reinstalling the trunk shelf. 

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When I first tested the clock in the 1938 Buick project, it worked. I cleaned it up and installed it. Sometime since that time, it quit working. Today I removed the clock and disassembled it. The points on the self winding mechanism were badly pitted. I do know that a dying battery can cause the clock to hang up and repeatedly try to operate the winding mechanism resulting in pitting of the points if the voltage gets too low due to a dying battery. I don't know if that happened due to the battery on the car dying, or if the clock is what killed the previous battery. I cleaned up the winding mechanism points. I then tested the winding mechanism and it now works fine. The clock itself seems to stop working before it gets to the point where it rewinds so it clearly needs to be reoiled. I will take it to a local clock shop to have it oiled before reassembling it and re-installing it. 

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On 6/7/2020 at 4:33 PM, MCHinson said:

When I first tested the clock in the 1938 Buick project, it worked. I cleaned it up and installed it. Sometime since that time, it quit working. Today I removed the clock and disassembled it. The points on the self winding mechanism were badly pitted. I do know that a dying battery can cause the clock to hang up and repeatedly try to operate the winding mechanism resulting in pitting of the points if the voltage gets too low due to a dying battery. I don't know if that happened due to the battery on the car dying, or if the clock is what killed the previous battery. I cleaned up the winding mechanism points. I then tested the winding mechanism and it now works fine. The clock itself seems to stop working before it gets to the point where it rewinds so it clearly needs to be reoiled. I will take it to a local clock shop to have it oiled before reassembling it and re-installing it. 

I now  always put in a switch so clock only works when I am around and I want it to work.  They are really hard on a battery on a car that is not used at least a couple times week. 

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I have not had similar results. The clock on my 1937 Century runs all the time with no problems with the battery. I do like to drive my cars year round. These clocks take one small electrical pulse about every three minutes to rewind the mechanical clock mechanism. The previous battery appeared to have a bad cell. The clock may have aggravated that problem, but with a good battery, the clock should not be a problem under the conditions that I use the cars. 

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I am scheduled to take the car to the glass shop on Tuesday morning. They have been backed up for weeks and that was the first appointment available. I decided to something on the car this evening. The original back window shade assembly was in really bad shape. I bought a better one from Dave Tacheny. The mounting hardware on the replacement one is in good shape. The spring is in good shape, but of course the shade material will need to be replaced. The roller assembly is rusty from decades of humidity being attracted to the shade material that was rolled around the metal roller. I removed the shade fabric and wirebrushed the rust from the metal roller. The original shade material had a bit of material sewn into the leading edge that was slid into the slot on the roller. Of course that material simply broke away from the shade. After wirebrushing the roller, I spent some time using small picks to dig out the remains of the shade material in the slot on the roller. (I still have some of that job to do tomorrow.)

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Any updates? I've grown accustomed to reading your daily reports. :) Hope all is well, and everything worked out at the glass shop.

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38 minutes ago, Ken_P said:

Any updates? I've grown accustomed to reading your daily reports. :) Hope all is well, and everything worked out at the glass shop.

 

I was expecting it to be raining yesterday morning and was not looking forward to driving in the rain to the glass shop. Despite the forecast calling for rain and the fact that we received over 5 inches of rain in the past two days, I got the car to the glass shop yesterday morning without any rain falling on it. I was happy for the unexpected break in the rain. 
They told me it woud probably take 2 days. Yesterday afternoon, I stopped by and they had the back glass in, but not the windshield. Just a few minutes ago, they called to say that they have finished, so I will be on the way to pick it up shortly.  

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I still have to install the wiper blades, rear view mirror and the inside garnish mouldings for the windshield and rear glass. Other than that, I am waiting for the reupholstered visors, rear carpet, and rear window shade. I am helping a friend this afternoon on another vehicle so I may not get back to the Buick until tomorrow.

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Today I installed the front windshield moulding and the inside rear view mirror. I then installed the rear window center divider trim and the rear window moulding. The rear window moulding is currently held in place with a few screws as I don't seem to have enough of them in good condition to use. I will see if I can buy some at my local hardware store tomorrow. If not, I can order them. 

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Today, I picked up some addtional matching screws and installed the rest of the needed screws in the rear window garnish moulding. I now am waiting for my upholstery shop to finish the rear carpet, sunvisors, and rear window shade. The only other thing is I have to decide what to do on the radio. I could install the original for appearance and install a hidden radio elsewhere, send the original radio off for restoration, or open it up and attempt to repair it myself. I do have a bit of an electronics background. I will probably open it up and see if there is any obvious quick fix before I send it off because I would prefer not to spend the money and have to wait the time to get it restored if there is any alternative. It is a long shot, but I will probably check it out just for the amusement factor.  

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