Matt Harwood

1941 Buick Limited Limousine

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For the battery issue, carry a lithium battery jump starter, they are slightly bigger than a mobile/cell phone.

For the flooding, flip the inlet manifold upside down and bolt up a updraft carb....lol

 

I understand your frustrations, I do weddings in my '28 Chrysler and there is always challengers. But, IMHO, the pros definitely out weight the cons.

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Have you seen a jump starter like that for 6 volts?

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1 hour ago, Matt Harwood said:

Arrived home without incident. Car started as usual this morning and battery was fully charged by the time we pulled out of the hotel parking lot. 4 hours on the highway at 65 MPH with one gas stop and zero issues. Still feel like I can't trust it but I guess I can't ask more of an 80 year old machine than it gave us today. 

Hi Matt, Sorry to hear of your frustration with the 41. Just a couple of thoughts..First one must expect something will go amiss as even modern cars do and having driven several vintage cars coast to coast I have had my share. Part of the adventure to be expected and an opportunity to challenge my abilities. First rule is to carry a small quiver of tools starting with a spark plug wrench with which you can make fundamental diagnostic observations and do important tasks. An adjustable wrench vice grip and a couple of screwdrivers is all you really need. Along with some electrical tape and jumper cables. I have a cool old fiber board box in my giant trunk that lives there and also hold a large breaker bar and socket for easy wheel lug removal if needed. I have yet too need them but like all fine automobiles are to be carried along. Now here is how I would have approached your car that morning. Start as usual and when it resists ..Stop! something is not right so dont run the battery down. Next open the hood and smell. Pull the dipstick and smell. When a motor is just sort of catching but wont light up you have spark for sure but either not enough or too much fuel. That is when you pull a plug to see if its wet or dry. If its wet then pull all the plugs and spin the motor to dry out the chambers. If its dry move on to lack of fuel issues. You never ever run the battery down without first taking a few minutes for diagnostics. Also simply trying again after an hour works well if its flooded and you have no tools. I have experienced that same scenario where the motor wants to start but never builds rpm and dies. It may be be from heat after a long drive that builds up once parked and pressurizes the fuel bowls pushing gas up the overflow tubes into carbs I really dont know. Its only happened from a cold start. Both times I just walked away and came back later to it starting right up as usual. Being clever and conquering old car crankiness is one of the sweet memories that makes this old car thing worthwhile. Some time I will tell you about spinning a crank bearing in Rock Springs WY. in my loaded down and pulling a trailer 39 Dodge 1 ton pickup while heading to NY. FYI the Winds Engine rebuild in a can did not help.

  I mentioned to you that I had purchased a pair of 528S Carters the front carb for a 41/42  248  to replace the Strombergs. The results are a definite improvement with less surging faster starting crisper throttle and smoother idle and likely better mileage but I have not done a mileage test yet or a plug read of color. Exhaust burble is steadier with no hiccups. The Carters definitely meter the gas flow better the the Strombergs. Chokes work better too. A definite improvement. At 175$ each for NOS it was not a big expenditure. Didnt do a thing to them besides bolting them on and making up a couple of choke tubes.  Do hope you dont dare let this stop you from roaming far from home no matter what Dad said!  

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Matt,

It was great meeting you at Hershey abd being able to sit and talk with you and your wife for a bit.  I always like to remember just a few things when these little things that seem so big happen to our old cars.

 

A friend has a newer Dodge pickup.  Diesel with the def system.  He has had constant problems out of his truck.  They have accused him of trying to run without the def fluid.  Dealer has literally changed out every component at one time or another.  Truck still under warranty.  He will not even try to drive it to work 30 miles away because it is so undependable

 

Neighbor called me to help him the other day. His new Volkswagen wouldnt start.  A little bit of corrosion on the battery terminals literally caused the computer to not recognize the key fob in the car.  It literally lost the key code. The dealer has his car still.  They say shouldn't have happened, and are actually able to duplicate this at their shop after reprogramming the fob back to operate the car.  
 

My daughters Jetta has performed flawlessly all summer long. Last week she informed me, (since mornings are colder) that her car is stalling at stoplights.  Starts right back up, but stalls.  No codes, cannot find anything wrong or loose.  Guess it needs to go back to the dealer also.

 

If my 47’ decides one morning it doesnt want to start, or backfires or loses the air out of a tire.  I will very happily fix it and be on my way, maybe later than expected, but sure that I will get where I am going and riding in style.

 

Matt

 

keep your head up. Your cara are beautiful and you do a great job!

 

 

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Seems that the car was parked outside overnight.  It was probably cold and humid in the morning.  Gas does not vaporize well in those conditions (your last fill may have even been some less volatile summer blend fuel). 6V battery does not spin the engine as fast when cold and the slower it spins the weaker the spark.  Add in a low compression engine...  With a good battery it would have fired right up in the  afternoon.  If you can't wait, starting fluid and apply 12V (with those skinny cables) to the starter while cranking.

Even when it starts it is hard to keep it running due to carburetor icing (internal) until hot air from the radiator is drawn into the carburetor.  If driven  year round in all conditions learn to deal with it like owners did when they were new.

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...and add in condensation inside the distributor cap and "dude you're screwed".:o

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Matt, I am finding after long drives a lot of out cars you can hear the gasoline boiling in the carburetor bowl upon stopping.  

I generally can run the electric pump for 30 or so seconds and overcome upon restart, but hard to get the cranking power I want on a hot car and especially a hot car with a fresh engine.

I do keep a can of starting fluid handy for back-up.  

And, I carry jumper cables and an extra Optima.  

You may need a more thick gasket between the carbs and the manifold (even though you do not have a cross over/pre heater).  

Also, it is a huge help to wrap the exhaust (plus the fuel line) at the hump of the back axle - surprisingly the fender skirts really contribute in heat build up there.  

Also, the 36-48 Cadillac trick it to ground the starter to the frame as well as the battery to the frame too - plus have metal to metal contact at the bell housing to starter matched to some beefy welding cable.  And super spiffy clean ground and terminal connections.

And, I have been changing the standard fans on the 41 Cadillac to some sort of 50's Pontiac  - went from 4 blades to 7 blades (all be it on my own cars run V-16 fans, though they are hard to find these days or really any day past or present). 

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Brothers, I am having a crisis of faith. For the past few months, I've lost my way when it comes to old cars and I've largely lost interest in them entirely. Unfortunately, it's my job and my business, so I keep going through the motions but my heart isn't in it anymore. Part of it is being let down by cars--all of them--and that's exhausting. You know how it is when your car doesn't work right? Now imagine you have 110 of them to mother, and they refuse to work when you need them most. They're inanimate objects, but I feel like they hate me and I hate them back.

 

People have also gotten extraordinarily unreasonable about what old cars can be. I never say "rust free" or "no rust" or anything like that. I had a guy buy a car and he started taking it apart for some reason and found a rust hole between the rear fender and the body where the welting goes. A  hole about the size of a dime. He calls me daily to remind me of it and demand that I pay for the repair. Really? He had to disassemble the car to find rust--which I never said it didn't have--and he wants me to bankroll his restoration. There's another guy who hired an inspector AFTER he bought the car and the inspector (the world's foremost expert on this particular type of car) and the inspector found a number of things wrong and he is now threatening to sue me over it. How, exactly, was I supposed to know the brake line clips were wrong? The overall shittiness of people when dealing with me as a dealer has somehow been turned up to 11 recently, and it's exhausting, infuriating, and humiliating. 

 

I've also been driving the Limited every day because the transmission in my Cadillac CTS wagon gave up a few weeks ago. When it's cold, the Limited remains very hard to start but I've learned that if I just crank it without pressing the throttle to close the choke, it fires pretty well and I can catch it before it stalls again. Once it's running it's OK. the weather has been cold and crappy, mostly rain, but a few snow days have sucked. So far, not much salt on the road but I honestly don't care. Let it eat the car, it doesn't matter. I don't have any love left.

 

There's other stuff going on, too, that I shouldn't go into, but it's all weighing on me and really makes me want to give up.

 

I'm very unhappy about all that. I've completely lost my way. I haven't merely stopped loving being part of the hobby, I HATE the cars. Hate them. Don't want anything to do with them. Tell buyers that they're shiat and not to buy them if they don't want to have hassles. And that's a problem.

 

To try to regain my footing, I tried going back out in the workshop. I started today with a '41 Super convertible I got from Doug Seybold, whose shocks were blown. Three of them were bone dry so refilling them with the right oil (the same stuff I used in the Limited's rear shocks) brought them back to life. I drove the car around for a while (there's a video I posted elsewhere) and it worked pretty well and made me happy. I don't think this is a car that will give me troubles, but then again, I feel that way with every car that comes in and they tend not to stay that way.

 

Buicks1.thumb.jpg.1ccad1a942999548e823a39011e13487.jpg
New-to-me all-original 1941 56C with the Limited.

 

Anyway, I also put the Limited on the lift to look around and to install some new axle snubbers. As I think I mentioned, it bottoms out when there are passengers in back. I think part of it is that one of the shocks is not working properly, oil or no oil. Part of it is that my new exhaust doesn't quite hug the floor tightly enough and the pipes are 1/2-inch larger. And part of it might be that the rubber axle snubbers are rock hard, so maybe that's what's actually crashing so hard. So I bought new snubbers hoping that it would help. I also knew it would be (or should be) an easy project and maybe a win would help me get my bearings. So that's what I did today. 

 

11-30-19f.thumb.jpg.987383480010c94a7f82bab3af792cac.jpg  11-30-19d.thumb.jpg.9328c558064acaf2494b63650788adb7.jpg
Old and new axle snubbers. I guess they were due to be replaced.
Honestly, I was hoping there would be none, which would explain
the bottoming-out. But maybe this will help. 

 

11-30-19e.thumb.jpg.175400f63618602439e3ed6d41ea5a6f.jpg  11-30-19a.thumb.jpg.b6a7d3928e2c6f1c7781c73b8ad30c95.jpg

New snubbers in place. I'll have to wait for a few passengers to
see if they're working. But it was a quick, easy project that turned

into a win and I felt OK about that. 

 

I'm also hoping to sell two of the cars I hate most (I won't tell you which ones). Maybe seeing them gone will help. They've been nothing but headaches and every time I fix them, something else breaks. The people interested in buying them are ridiculously unreasonable and the inspectors who come to see them are completely picking them to death. And, of course, they are both notoriously crappy cars--mine aren't the only ones that are shiate. But they have drained all my energy over the past few weeks, which is surely part of it. I still hate them and all their brothers. I don't want to, but I can't stop. 

 

I'm having a crisis of faith. I'm like the priest who has always talked to God and now God is saying nothing. And it sucks.

 

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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Please feel better, you have friends.  Everyone has stories, I feel I was abused by an appraiser while trying to buy a car from a widow and I have sold a car in a day too.  Look to your successes.

In Canada, thanks to our federal government, we have marijuana brownies.  Maybe you should take a vacation.

 

Gary

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I get it 100%.  Dealing with the general public and their money gets old.  I still do it.  Can you hire someone to run things and take more vacations?

Edited by 39BuickEight (see edit history)

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 I just want to chime in as well, Matt. I too have had, and am having a bit of a crisis of faith, as you put it. Can't get into working on the cars much of late, and I'm not even in the business.

You saw my '41 when you were here, and more than once during the long restoration I felt like torching everything.

Though having worked in sales in different parts of my life, I can attest to how lousy some people will treat you, just because you're the sales guy (person) for whatever reason.

 My first job was in sales, part time, selling cameras in a department store, something I knew a reasonable amount about. More than once I went home fighting tears because of abuse of customers. Then a manager was around one day, and helped me deal with the negativity some people exude. Being a young person, some were coming in, in a bad mood, and taking it out on me, as I looked more vunerable, due to my obvious youth. Put me off sales for many years!

 Now I try to be a good customer, unless I have a genuine problem with their product.

 As you are the dealer, then some will try to take unfair advantage of you, just because of that, like they did me.

 Take care, my friend!

 Keith

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Hey, Matt, a lot of people - myself included - love your posts and what you do for the hobby.  Back up a bit, count your blessings, and wrench on what you can.

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Hi Matt, I know the feeling and even with a lot fewer vehicles it can be disappointing indeed when love becomes work. I can only suggest you put one foot in front of the other and not get overwhelmed by the big picture. So starting with the limited which is almost identical to my Century. ..although I have swapped the Stroms for Carters I never experienced your cold start issues. I think you might be still to advanced as engines always light up more readily when retarded some. My 320 starts fastest when cold and here is my method. I pump the pedal a few times to prime the intake and then wait for 15 seconds and hit the starter. Fires on one rotation or less. If I dont pump it it fires right up but then starts to stutter and stall. The extra fuel helps build the rpm.  Since I have switched to Carters it is pretty much the same.  I have a Petronix pickup and flame thrower coil with 592/RJ12C Copper plus Champion plugs one step hotter the standard AC R46 . I think once the Limited is sorted you will feel the love again. When I was an intrepid young man I would never worry about breaking down or getting stranded in any number of vintage machines and thought nothing of driving from coast to coast in anything that ran. I only ever got stuck once needing to rent a truck and flat tow my 39 Dodge 1 ton from Wyoming to NY having spun a crank bearing which I heard knocking before I left. Now the anxiety of getting stranded kills the enjoyment of an adventure and I think that might be why resto mods are so appealing to older guys. I love my Century for a lot of reasons but its 3000 trouble free miles in my care is the most important . If you dont trust your car then you have nothing but a disappointing lump to loath.  A hole customers is part of retail and cant be fixed but the inner sanctum of a sweet ride helps a lot. Good luck mate.

Kind Regards Lawrence

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I moved the starter switch from the pedal to a button under the dash. Solved all my starting issues on both my 41's. No more flooding issues.

 

 

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Matt, I'm sorry to hear that you are experiencing a rough patch.  I'm sending you a PM with some thoughts.

 

Neil

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16 hours ago, Den41Buick said:

I moved the starter switch from the pedal to a button under the dash. Solved all my starting issues on both my 41's. No more flooding issues.

 

 

It sounds counter intuitive but the best way to start a flooded engine is to hold the pedal to the floor on any carburetor'd car. Thats how I was taught 55 years ago and its worked countless times to clear the chambers and light her up! I do believe Matt has long ago disabled his foot start for a push button. Thats never the problem if set up is correct and was the standard in many vehicles for many years. Downside to an integrated foot start is the occasional grind when lack of vacuum at close to stall but still running rpm allows starter engagement.    

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My car has a button under the dash. I repaired, then disabled, the foot pedal switch after discovering that it made the car harder to start, not easier. I know that putting your foot on the floor is the right way to clear flooding. In Cincinnati when it just wouldn't start, I was only able to get it running by standing next to it and holding the chokes wide open while Melanie cranked it. Then it fired quickly. It was the chokes causing the problem. I get my Cadillac CTS back tomorrow so I don't have to drive the Limited anymore--the heater isn't great and it's 22 degrees and a veritable snowstorm today. The rush hour drive home in a blizzard will surely be exciting.

 

To get it started each morning in the cold the last few weeks, I've simply not touched the throttle--the chokes are open from my previous drive so it fires pretty easily. The instant those chokes close, it just won't start in the cold. Several times I had to prop the chokes open with a pen to get it to fire. This seems counter-intuitive to me, because I would think that it would like more choke for the cold, but it just fights me. I have the chokes set very loose given that I have two of them and ostensibly it was intended for warm weather use only. I don't expect to do much more winter driving so I'm not too worried about it (it still starts instantly when it's above about 50 degrees), but it sure was frustrating in Cincinnati to miss most of the tour because it was inop. I don't have the fortitude to screw with it anymore, so it's as good as it's going to get. I don't care enough anymore to chase little details like this. If it's good in the spring and summer, that's good enough.

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2 hours ago, Lawrence Helfand said:

It sounds counter intuitive but the best way to start a flooded engine is to hold the pedal to the floor on any carburetor'd car. Thats how I was taught 55 years ago and its worked countless times to clear the chambers and light her up! I do believe Matt has long ago disabled his foot start for a push button. Thats never the problem if set up is correct and was the standard in many vehicles for many years. Downside to an integrated foot start is the occasional grind when lack of vacuum at close to stall but still running rpm allows starter engagement.    

 

 I may not be understanding, but IF the generator is still charging, that should not happen. There are other ways around that.

 

  Ben

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Matt you and i really don't know each other than maybe some forum posts but if i may comment

Sometimes over the years i have thought that my cars in their own way have been testing me to see if i am worthy of owning and driving them.

i know that when they get to much i close the garage door and concentrate on other parts of life for a while maybe an hour a day a week or more, go back refreshed and look at it differently, sleeping ALWAYS helps. having this as a business i am sure makes it more difficult for your own pleasure with your car.

please remember these cars never run perfect there wouldn't have been 4 gas stations on 1 intersection if they did.

Do not try to compare today's cars with our old cars there is way to much of a difference. our old cars you were lucky to get 100k with no major work now its just broken in at 100k

and 200-300k is not so unusual. enjoy the good times when they run right and smile and when they don't let them know you are better and smarter then they are.

As far as customers go, i have worked on a counter most of my whole life including now i love it most of the time and hate it at times.

it has never been as difficult as it is today dealing with customers, you can thank Amazon, Home Depot and the rest where you can return what you don't like, you don't even have to think it through before buying it. nobody listens when you talk they only hear what they want to hear. i know it sounds like i am generalizing there are some really great customers out there i would go way out of my way for. but it can be tough dealing with the buying public.

maybe with the customers you deal with you could try to feel them out and the good ones be really nice to and the tough ones be stern with not nasty just stand your ground if they want it they will pay for it if not don't let them waste your time.

as far as the inspectors they are getting paid to do a job, maybe it annoys you when you have explained the car correctly but they have to report back to the people paying them 

but if they give you a hard time for no reason give it right back, sometimes people have to be put in their place.

the Holidays are coming spend time with family as long as they don't drive you crazy, in the end they are whats important. if you are religious spend time there i have found that helps me!

hope this helps

 

 

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23 hours ago, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

 

 I may not be understanding, but IF the generator is still charging, that should not happen. There are other ways around that.

 

  Ben

Hi Ben, Switch works off vacuum so nothing to do with the generator and sometimes when I think I have stalled it is actually still turning at a ridiculously low rpm and I have hit the starter and crunch as it also thinks its stalled from sensing no vacuum.

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3 hours ago, Lawrence Helfand said:

Hi Ben, Switch works off vacuum so nothing to do with the generator and sometimes when I think I have stalled it is actually still turning at a ridiculously low rpm and I have hit the starter and crunch as it also thinks its stalled from sensing no vacuum.

 

 Hey Lawrence, I was referring to the ground from the generator to the starter relay. At least in 1950. There is a ground circuit from the field, I believe, that is closed, thereby grounding the starter relay UNTIL the generator begins ginning. Engine starts , generator starts charging, ground is broken and the starter relay is not grounded. Does yours not work that way?

 

  Ben

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In the mid 30s, there was actually a separate contact in the voltage regulator to perform that function.

 

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