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1941 Buick Limited Limousine


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Yes - the necked down or tapered end is the orifice.

 

If you know the identification number of the carburetor, you can look up the original specification in your Stromberg manual. BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU LOOK IT UP. FOR SOME REASON KNOWN ONLY TO STROMBERG, THEY GENERALLY USED THE NUMBERED DRILL SIZE, BUT OCCASIONALLY USED DRILL DIAMETER!

 

If you don't have the Stromberg manual, then simply measure starting from small and using sequentually larger drill bits to determine the diameter. This method is less accurate, as generally there is a thin layer of "varnish" in the orifice.

 

You will need the smaller sized numbered drill set (higher numbers), and a pin vise (or buy a set or furnace orifice drills). You will quickly find that the numbered drill set does not contain all of the various sizes from thousandth to thousandth, particularly as the diameters grow larger. Think metric to fill in; both standard metric, and fractional metric.

 

And while not required, if I make a calibration modification to a carburetor, I make a little triangular tag stamped "MOD" to place under one of the air horn to bowl screws. A "modifications" card in the glove box is never a bad idea!

 

Jon.

Edited by carbking (see edit history)
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A picture is worth how many words???

 

In the picture, you may see:

 

(1) a set of furnace orifice drills (very useful if you work on carburetors or other items requiring small drillings)

(2) a normal set of numbered drills numbers 61-80

(3) a pin vise with a tiny drill bit just to the left of the pin vise

(4) a Stromberg idle jet a.k.a. idle tube, with a number 70 orifice drill just to its right

(5) a quarter for size comparison

 

The orifice drills come with a "handle" to use by hand, not in a power drill.

The pin vise comes with a set of collets to hold different size drills.

 

The Stromberg idle jet is shown with the feed hole (if you see it) by the thread, this is a standard size hole, and should be left alone.

The layout attempts to show you should drill into the necked down end (right side in picture) of the idle jet's tube.

 

The quarter is what you owe me for the advice, BUT you have to turn the clock back 25 years so I could use it to buy a cup of coffee! ;)

 

http://www.thecarburetorshop.com/Stromberg_idle_jet_modification.jpg

 

Jon.

Edited by carbking (see edit history)
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One of my favorite things in the hobby is how people do the same service or repair differently. Here is a pin guage set...I have 4 of them, all the way up to 3/4 inch. I never drill original equipment parts, I remove them, toss them in the glove box of file folder, and make new parts. We have gotten pretty good at making idle tubes over the years.........but we concentrate on Stromberg only stuff.............Here is a NOS UUR-2 that was taken out of the box, and set up for a Bugatti Type 57 SC. This is a new unit having never been on a car. We make all the correct Type 57 linkages. We have made about 25 of these over the years. I love going to Pebble or Amelia and seeing a multi million dollar car that doesn't run right. Recently I asked an owner why he had the wrong carb on his Pebble Best in Class car. He looked at me funny and asked what I was talking about. I asked it it was hard starting and had a poor idle. He said yes..........and how did I know? Sold him two carbs on the spot...........ONLY $19.95 PLUS SHIPPING....... sort of. His car is now correct and running well. Also sold him the correct fuel pump. Fact is good restoration shops are very good at restoring cars, most but not all have a hard time making them run and drive well.

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Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Ed - most do not have your resources (or my inventory). I have new old stock idle tubes in most sizes.

 

But the enthusiast can drill idle tubes provided they have the proper drill components.

 

It is why both of us try to share "fixes" on these forums.

 

Jon.

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Jon and Ed, thank you both for your insights. I have some junk carbs that I'll dissect and remove the jets to practice on before I tackle the good ones in my carbs. Or, as you say, keep the originals in the glove box and use spares that are modified. I have at least four more Stromberg AAV_16s laying around here somewhere and they surely have idle jets inside...

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After considerable time, money, effort, and blood, I can now confirm with 100% certainty that the crappy toothed Gates whizzer fan belt sold by the usual suppliers is the only belt on the planet that will fit a 1941 Buick.

 

Wwwwwwwiiisssszzzzzzzzz! Wwwwwwwiiisssszzzzzzz! Wwwwwwwwisssszzzzz!

 

Limousines are supposed to sound like hair dryers, right?

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15 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

After considerable time, money, effort, and blood, I can now confirm with 100% certainty that the crappy toothed Gates whizzer fan belt sold by the usual suppliers is the only belt on the planet that will fit a 1941 Buick.

 

Wwwwwwwiiisssszzzzzzzzz! Wwwwwwwiiisssszzzzzzz! Wwwwwwwwisssszzzzz!

 

Limousines are supposed to sound like hair dryers, right?

 

 

You could always use the "OLD PANTYHOSE" trick.............😀

 

Just tell the young ones thats the Roots Blower winding up............works for me every time!👍

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Posted (edited)

Weather was warmer today, so I took that as a good sign that I could do some more tweaking. But before I touched anything regarding the carburetors, I installed some new spark plugs. The originals were AC R46, but the only ones available new are R45 (one step cooler), which is what was in my car. They worked OK, but they were sooty even after about 30 miles of testing and tuning. Even on an old car, that seemed excessive and I'm quite sure it's not running super rich.

 

So I did some reading about spark plugs and used Pete Phillips' great article about AC spark plug nomenclature to decode the various choices and settled on a set of NOS R47S plugs that I bought on eBay. Looks like they were OEM equipment in the '60s on Oldsmobiles. At any rate, the difference is that it's two heat ranges hotter than the 45s and the S means it has an extended insulator and electrode so it sticks farther into the combustion chamber. A hotter plug doesn't make better or hotter spark, but the ceramic insulator inside the plug extends farther into the body so that it transfers less heat to the cylinder head--by staying hotter on the tip, it burns off deposits better. Sounds like a good idea given that my plugs were getting sooty so quickly. I did some extensive reading over the past week and found a great tech article about spark plugs that suggests that the extended tip plugs can act like a bit of timing advance on low-compression motors without the downsides. Perfect!

 

So that was my reasoning behind choosing the R47S plugs.

 

SparkPlug1.thumb.jpg.5cf5bff1f841f06a29f0be30b8cab9b0.jpg
New R47S spark plug. I love those old boxes. Do modern spark

plugs still come in individual boxes like that?

 

PlugComparison.thumb.jpg.a31f27efc2af282c42dca06d3b032987.jpg

You can plainly see the difference in the "S" plug. Also note how

black the old plug is, even though I just cleaned it 30 miles ago.

 

I was a little concerned about the extended tip and if it would extend too far into the combustion chamber, so I installed #1 plug and then turned the engine by hand to see if the piston would hit it. I figured the chances were VERY remote--the combustion chamber isn't that small and compression is fairly low--but why take a chance? It made two full revolutions without issue, so I figured it was safe and installed the rest of the plugs. I gapped them at .026" (factory spec is .025 but it says up to .030 can be used but to be aware that it will cause fouling after only a few thousand miles). 

 

Once they were all secure and the wires connected, I reached in, turned the key, and pushed the starter button--I didn't even move the throttle to set the choke. It started faster than it has ever started before. It actually surprised me because it caught instantly. It idled at least as smoothly as before and there were no stumbles or hiccups in the exhaust, just a smooth hum, even ice cold. So it's at least as good as before and possibly better (watch out for the placebo effect!)

 

With it running and ambient temperatures close to 70 degrees, I took it for a good, long drive. At first there was still a bit of a stumble off-idle, but I stopped to talk to a friend in a parking lot for about 10 minutes and left it idling. Gauge crept up to 180 and once I was back on the road, it dropped back to 160 almost instantly. However, it must have heated the carburetors, because it was running better than ever. The stumble was almost entirely gone and I could launch it from a dead stop without using any throttle at all. Smooth! So it is notably better. Is it the plugs or just warmer weather? I don't know but I'm not complaining! More driving is required.

 

So with it running well, I decided to tackle a few light jobs that were on my to-do list. The first was putting some fresh grease in the steering box and adjusting it to remove a bit of slop. I filled it with John Deere cornhead grease and tightened up the lash just a bit. With the wheels in the air, it was easy to see when I had it at 0 lash. No play at all. Nice!

 

Another thing that bugs me is that my steering wheel is crooked. The alignment is good, but the wheel is off by about 20 degrees when I'm driving straight and it really irritates me. I figured I could remove the wheel, and since the steering column is splined, just reposition it. So I popped the horn button off, terrified of damaging it, and didn't find what I expected underneath. The manual says that there should be a nut under there, but mine has a plate, which I presume is part of the horn mechanism, covering the nut. However, my Century just used a ring that gives access to the center nut without removing any horn components. So I chickened out and decided not to do any additional disassembly. I like having operational horns and that's just the kind of thing I would screw up.

 

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I expected to see a nut in the center but there's another

horn plate and a spring. Think I'll leave it alone.

 

The third thing I wanted to solve was another small annoyance--the clutch pedal. My clutch works great, but the top two inches of travel is pretty dead and it doesn't return to the all-the-way out position after use. It rattles until I put my toe under it and pop it all the way up after each shift. There's a big return spring that has a threaded rod through the frame for adjustment, so I tightened that. No improvement, although my clutch now slips until I pop it all the way up. Not sure how tightening the spring affected the tension on the clutch since they aren't related. Odd. I'll back it off again but the clutch pedal is still floppy and I don't know how to fix it. I don't believe adjusting the linkage at the release fork is the solution. Hmmm...

 

ClutchLinkage.thumb.jpg.6322ae9588ef1065d3e8460333da2f66.jpg

 

Clutch1.thumb.jpg.7dbc7b600748c378b72bdcded1a9e103.jpg
This is my Century, but the clutch is the same. The spring
is supposed to pull the pedal all the way up, but mine
stops about two inches short. More tension didn't help.

 

Anyway, car runs extremely well and the rest is just nit-picking.

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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Matt, I had exactly the same problem with my clutch pedal.  The pedal would not return all the way, and in fact I could hear the throw out bearing "chirping" at me until I pulled the pedal all the way up with my toe (as you say), which was very annoying.  In my case, it turned out just to be a matter of cleaning up the area where that "hook" at the end of the large return spring attaches to the base of the pedal.

 

909226625_clutchpedal(2)_LI.thumb.jpg.491b9928096311344c35362b779dc344.jpg

 

The "hook" has to be free to pivot on that "post" (or whatever the proper term is) at the base of the pedal.  On my car, that area was so caked with old grease and dirt that the hook was stuck in place, preventing the spring from pulling the pedal up that last few inches.  You can very clearly see the area I'm talking about in the pic you posted of your Century.  Here are pics of what mine looked like before and after I thoroughly cleaned up the area by soaking it over several days with a mixture of acetone and ATF and then getting in there with a wire brush.

 

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This took care of the problem for me.  However, I will say that the area in question was a real PITA to get to!

 

 

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13 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

I figured I could remove the wheel, and since the steering column is splined, just reposition it.

 

While you can do that, technically you're centering the wheel with the steering gear now slightly off-center.  I suggest leaving the wheel where it is and instead adjust the tie rods.  Depending upon which way the wheel is pointed when running straight down the road, lengthen one side by one turn and shorten the other by one turn.  Then road test and see how it is.  Try to find a nice stretch of road without too much 'crown' and check in both the right and left lane for comparison.  If it's still not centered, repeat the adjustment another turn until the wheel is centered.  If the wheel is off-center, but alignment is good (no uneven tire wear) it probably means whoever did the last alignment didn't have the wheel centered perfectly when the the toe-in adjustment was made.

Edited by EmTee
typo (see edit history)
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4 hours ago, neil morse said:

Matt, I had exactly the same problem with my clutch pedal.  The pedal would not return all the way, and in fact I could hear the throw out bearing "chirping" at me until I pulled the pedal all the way up with my toe (as you say), which was very annoying.  In my case, it turned out just to be a matter of cleaning up the area where that "hook" at the end of the large return spring attaches to the base of the pedal.

 

909226625_clutchpedal(2)_LI.thumb.jpg.491b9928096311344c35362b779dc344.jpg

 

The "hook" has to be free to pivot on that "post" (or whatever the proper term is) at the base of the pedal.  On my car, that area was so caked with old grease and dirt that the hook was stuck in place, preventing the spring from pulling the pedal up that last few inches.  You can very clearly see the area I'm talking about in the pic you posted of your Century. 

 

Thanks, Neil! I'll really clean it out and re-lubricate everything. I have to put it in the air to back the spring off again anyway. Hopefully it works for me, too!

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Posted (edited)

A few little projects tonight. First, I took Neil's advice and put the car back in the air to clean and lubricate the clutch linkage. I also backed off the spring to where it was before I started monkeying with it. There wasn't much grime on the linkage, but I hosed it down with brake cleaner, hit it with a little toothbrush, then blew it out with compressed air. Definitely cleaner than it was. Then I greased all the fittings on the clutch equalizer bar and quickly realized that the Mobil 1 grease of which I am so fond had hardened, both in my grease gun and in the joints. Not good. I cleaned all the grease gun parts and loaded it with some standard chassis grease and hit all the zerks. I think there's still quite a bit of hardened grease inside the various parts but it definitely pushed out a lot of old stuff. While I was at it, I lubed the front end and found more hardened Mobil 1 in the control arm joints. Ugh. A bit of cleaning and some fresh grease and I think they're OK. But Mobil 1 grease is now off my list. So strange.

 

Then I squirted some white lithium grease on the areas like the fulcrum where the spring is attached and the clutch linkage rod attachment points. Less friction there might help.

 

I cycled the clutch pedal a few times and it still hangs a bit, but it's definitely better. Over the weekend I ordered a new rubber bumper that fits between the floorboard and the clutch pedal arm, and hopefully that helps--my current one is hard as a rock and may be compressed enough that the clutch pedal is over-extending. A test drive confirms that it's only hanging about half the time now, which is better than every time, and effort may be reduced (remember the placebo effect!). I think using it may limber it up and when I put it in the air to install the rubber bumper I may give it a few more shots of grease.

 

My resistor from the LED shop also showed up and I installed it in the line to the dash indicator and grounded it to the dash. Unfortunately, it had no effect on the flicker. Guess I'm going to have to live with it.

 

Meh.

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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8 hours ago, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

Matt, Mobile 1 is synthetic, right?  How long ago was it used?  Now I am worried as I just did the front end and wheel bearings with same.

 

  Thanks

  Ben

 

I last greased everything when I installed my rebuilt front shocks, so maybe three years ago. It was definitely hardened around the edges where it should ooze out of the joints and the grease gun was totally blocked with hardened grease to the point that I had to disassemble it and hose everything out with brake cleaner. I've never experienced that before, but I will use regular grease from now on.

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3 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

 

I last greased everything when I installed my rebuilt front shocks, so maybe three years ago. It was definitely hardened around the edges where it should ooze out of the joints and the grease gun was totally blocked with hardened grease to the point that I had to disassemble it and hose everything out with brake cleaner. I've never experienced that before, but I will use regular grease from now on.

Maybe it is just Mobile greases.  The non-synthetic product did the same thing on 55 ball bearings (front wheel).  I use Valvoline synthetic everywhere...probably over-kill on suspension parts, but being black does not stand out like gold, red, blue; and the oil fraction does not separate as much.

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FWIW I have been using RedLine CV-2 synthetic grease on all sorts of things for over 20 years. I have not yet had an issue like you describe. I am rather surprised you had that trouble with the Mobil 1.

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Posted (edited)

Satisfied that my cooling system is healthy, it's time to put something other than tap water in it. While water is by far the best coolant you can use (superior thermal transfer properties) it's pretty rough on the metals inside. In addition, the minerals and impurities in tap water are what turn into those crusty deposits in your radiator that inhibit flow. Now that summer is approaching and I plan to drive the heck out of this car, it needs more permanent coolant. I did a lot of reading and decided that combination of anti-freeze, reverse-osmosis filtered water, and No-Rosion is as good as I could do.

 

Reverse-osmosis water is just filtered drinking water, but the guys who make No-Rosion suggest that distilled water (the most frequent recommendation) is so pure that it actually pulls electrons from the soft metals in your cooling system in an effort to re-balance itself. Reverse-osmosis water does not have this problem, yet it removes all the minerals and other stuff that clogs up the radiator. I bought three gallons of a brand called "Glacier Water" at the grocery store for $2.50, so it's crazy cheap. Be sure it says "reverse osmosis" on the bottle, not merely filtered and especially not "spring water" or "mineral water." 

 

4-30-20-3.thumb.jpg.f2368b714c731002261d0fb54ba3a9c3.jpg
No-Rosion is an additive that helps eliminate corrosion in
your cooling system. It was originally designed for
industrial boilers.

 

I'm also sold on No-Rosion after having that pretty 1930 Marmon here in our shop. The owner was a fanatic about using No-Rosion in all his cars and that Marmon had been parked since 2016. We drained the radiator when it arrived at our shop and it was still clean as a whistle inside. We pulled an engine side cover to access the water jackets and it was the same--spotless. Add in that it has been recommended by people I respect on this forum, and it was a no-brainer. I ordered up a 4-pack of 16-ounce bottles so I'd have some left over for when it comes time to do the Lincoln's cooling system.

 

No-Rosion is ideal if you're just using water as it will prevent rust without hurting water's thermal-transfer abilities. It also lubricates the water pump. But since I live someplace where it gets cold, I didn't want to run without anti-freeze. Granted, it's not likely, but I did drive the Buick daily throughout December and January and if the power goes out in my garage, I don't want it to freeze. A 70/30 mix of water and anti-freeze provides protection down to 7°F while still benefiting on the cooling side from it being mostly water. That seems like a good compromise.

 

I just opened the petcock and let it drain as much as possible, then shoved an air hose in there to blow it out a bit more. There's still some water in the block, but not a lot.I also decided that now was a good time to remove the "Grimy filter" on the upper radiator hose (pantyhose) since doing it with coolant in the system would make a real mess. Pulling it out, I was happy to see that it did its job--there was a pea-sized ball of gunk in the pantyhose, which looked like a combination of rust flakes and paint chips. I don't know where the paint chips came from, but they're bright red. Odd...

 

4-30-20-2.thumb.jpg.b054183ed0e52dcce54ff670a1e2d6f2.jpg  4-30-20-1.thumb.jpg.2697f93b6878ce80d71319ed8e9c61c5.jpg
Pantyhose filter captured a surprising amount of trash in the freshly cleaned

cooling system. This is not a bad idea for any engine/radiator.

 

With the upper hose re-secured, I poured in 1.5 gallons of anti-freeze (I'm not going to mention the brand to avoid the whole debate, but I did use coolant appropriate for older cars), 18 ounces of No-Rosion, which is one ounce for every quart of coolant and the Limited holds 4.5 gallons (which is 18 quarts), then topped off the remainder with the RO water. By my calculations, there was about 3/4 gallon of tap water still in the block, but with the coolant and the No-Rosion I'm not going to worry about it. 

 

I fired it up and let it idle for about 20 minutes to ensure that the thermostat opened and circulated the various chemicals so they'd mix together. It held steady at 170 degrees and didn't puke or bubble over, so I'm going to assume all is well. We have a driving date with a hospital this weekend so that'll be another good test.

 

The UPS man also brought me the two bus bars I ordered. While I was doing all my turn signal wiring, I realized that Mr. Hack Mechanic connected A LOT of wires to the ignition switch powering all kinds of things, including the fuel pump, back-up light, and the spotlight, none of which belong there. I also remembered from my fog light installation that the radio is powered from a lug on the headlight switch, which generates a lot of heat in a pretty fragile piece of switch gear. I have been meaning to remedy that, and the bus bar is my solution. 

 

Ignition_Switch.thumb.jpg.cad366f5c84127c8e4114430bd7c6765.jpg
Lots of extraneous wires attached to my ignition switch.
That's a recipe for all kinds of problems...

 

Bus_Bar.thumb.jpg.19fd6ac75c835465571e22e19491bbdb.jpg

A bus bar neatly solves them.

 

A bus bar is simply a way to provide power to all these various accessories without tapping into any of the existing circuits. It can be hidden someplace discreet, powered directly from the battery, and protected by fuses. I plan to run a fused 8-gauge wire from the starter lug to the bus bar, then new circuits to power the radio, fuel pump, back-up light, and any other electrical accessory I might add in the future. It'll take the load off the ignition system and the headlight switch, too. I think that'll be my next project.

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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On 4/30/2020 at 7:25 PM, Matt Harwood said:

It can be hidden someplace discreet, powered directly from the battery, and protected by fuses.

 

You can insert a relay between the terminal strip (buss bar) and the battery with the control solenoid of the relay fed from your ignition switch to address things that you don't want to be continuously powered.

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My rubber bumper for the clutch pedal arrived yestreday so I put the car back on the lift and installed it. Easier said than done. The old one was definitely cooked. Hard as a rock and pretty badly deformed. The new one is at least a half inch longer:

 

1706494409_2020-05-0214_10_03.thumb.jpg.add5b1995b7777335a85fe45e7672a97.jpg  289982120_2020-05-0214_10_21.thumb.jpg.539c06d92c41549ba1ab17b0c2f73236.jpg

 

Installation was a bit of a challenge, but by using some grease on the mounting post, a strap to pull the clutch pedal out of the way, and a long rod that fit into the hole on the open end of the new bumper, I was able to coax it into place by tapping it with a dead-blow hammer a few times. I took it for a brief drive and clutch action does seem improved. I still need to pop the clutch pedal up now and then, but I think it's better.

 

I also hit the grease zerks on the front suspension with another shot of green grease just to force out any more of the old red Mobil 1. Don't know why it hardened, but it's like putty now. I'll drive it for the summer and grease it periodically; hopefully the old stuff will work its way out.  I think impact harshness is reduced on bumps due to the fresh grease in the suspension, but again, it's hard to be sure with such small changes. I will say that this car has never driven better than it does right now, which has become a game of inches. I'm very pleased.

 

11 hours ago, EmTee said:

You can insert a relay between the terminal strip (buss bar) and the battery with the control solenoid of the relay fed from your ignition switch to address things that you don't want to be continuously powered.

 

Way ahead of you, brother. That was my initial plan (I even acquired a vintage '40s 50-amp relay) so everything on the bus bar would be powered only when the key was on, but I think I've decided that I want the spotlight and the radio to work without the key being on. The radio was originally wired that way so you can listen to it without powering up the ignition and I always found it annoying that I had to turn the key on to use the spotlight (which is close to never, but it makes more sense that way). The fuel pump, however, will be on a relay so that it won't run without the ignition being on--that's just smart. A total fuel system rebuild is on the list, including lines, pumps, and wiring. It may have to wait until next winter unless we have a bunch of downtime this summer.


We have a rolling car show scheduled for tomorrow that is slated to visit three hospitals, but I'm not sure what the weather will do. If it's nice, we'll drive. If not, maybe I'll start on the bus bar project.

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Posted (edited)

Had an outing to the City of Akron today where we were part of a rolling car show that visited a half-dozen hospitals along the way. Maybe 200 cars showed up, which was good, and I detailed it elsewhere. I'm pleased to report that the Limited performed flawlessly in every regard. The rolling car show was a real torture test with 75 degree ambient temperatures and stop-and-go traffic for almost 90 minutes. The temperature gauge crept up to about 185 but never got close to making me nervous. I was a little worried about the clutch with all the stop and go, so I kept my distance from the car in front of me to cut down on the stops by about half. The Buick didn't seem to mind, but parades and events like this are just murder on the clutch and wanted to save some wear and tear.

 

Akron2.thumb.jpg.ad32708fabccfa080cab8cd658c42e0a.jpg  Akron6.thumb.jpg.acdb41cfd6101222ab25429c779fa3fb.jpg

 

When it was over, we jumped on the highway and the Big Guy just hammered home at 65 MPH without a hiccup, temperatures dropping back to about 175, which seems to be the new normal. I'm OK with that.

 

With some real heat in the motor, I'm thrilled to report that throttle response was crisp, there was no sign of the stumble or bog, and it slogged along in high gear at idle and accelerated cleanly from any speed. It was really nice to not cringe and wait for the cough every time I tipped into the throttle. Nope, crisp and clean and smooth. This sucker is RIGHT.

 

Thank you all for the help and encouragement you've given me to get here. There's a bunch more to do, but this car has never run better and I have not driven many cars superior to this one on the road. 


I'll have some video later, maybe tonight, with the car on the roll.

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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Here we are rolling out of our parking lot and heading towards the Akron General Hospital rolling car show. Sorry the footage is kind of crappy--the trip wasn't all that exciting and we got caught at a lot of red lights that aren't particularly interesting to watch.

 

 

Both the shifter and the suspension seem A LOT louder in these videos than they are in real life. Guess I still have some work to do.

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At one point, a lady in an SUV and a red light separated me from the pack, so I punched it to catch up. This Limited is shockingly fast for an old car. It doesn't look very fast in the video, but that's about 60 MPH.

 

 

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Here we are crossing the bridge into downtown Akron. A nice view and the start of the low-speed slog that would be the next three hours...

 

 

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And finally, we pulled into the car show staging area. We were earlier than most, but the parking lot eventually filled up. Maybe 200-250 cars, which was a good turn-out. Sadly, there was almost nothing particularly interesting. Lots of late models, some scruffy imports, plenty of bikes, and a few home built hot rods. Meh.

 

 

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Nice videos. How does the Go Pro attach to the car?  And the "catch up" video definitely looks like you were traveling at a fast clip.  

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Posted (edited)

We have GoPro cameras that we stick all over the cars doing our driving videos (we've got a new video coming up today or tomorrow that should be a lot of fun). Melanie was also running a camera off the back of her Chrysler yesterday (since she was leading the pack) and I'll post footage of that somewhere, too. We have a variety of different rigs for attaching them to the cars, usually just a single suction cup with an articulated arm that will hold almost any position. The suction cup is SERIOUSLY strong, but like all suction cups it needs a smooth, clean surface. I usually try to use glass when I can because I don't want to mar any paint, but we have not had any issues with hurting the paint when we've used it that way. The suction cup is ultra-soft silicone that should not damage the paint. A really cool little setup. They are a little expensive, but I don't think there's anything better for doing this kind of work. I used to use my cell phone in my hand, but once you have this kind of image stabilization and flexibility with mounting, you won't go back to using a cell phone again. Even the on-board microphone is pretty good, although I've started using a separate lapel mic for the driving videos, mostly to cut down on wind noise. You have no idea just how loud old cars are until an impartial mic picks up every ambient sound. You brain automatically filters out a great deal of it when you're driving.

 

We use this 3-way articulating mount for 95% of our video work:

Site_SuctionCup_1_D.jpg

 

But we also have this monster if we are really doing something rough:

Suction-Cup-Mount-Holder-Ball-head-Camera-Accessories-Tripods-Triple-Low-Angle-for-Car-Glass-for.jpg

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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Here's the camera mounted on the back of Melanie's Chrysler wagon. Wind noise is a factor, which is why we usually edit them with music instead.

 

 

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 Great bunch of videos and pics, Matt. Yes these cars have amazing performance, and they're nearly 80 years old! Must of been stunning performance when they were new, not wonder they sold so many of them.

 Keith

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Although I am a melancholy person, I remain ever the optimist when it comes to working on my cars. Each time I embark on a project, I always believe it'll go just the way I planned. To date it never has, yet each time I nevertheless remain eager to dive in. I've been planning on restoring the entire fuel system on the Limited for a few years now—the gas tank is original, the lines are original, and I spliced in an electric pump a few years ago by cutting the lines and using rubber hoses, something that I consider one of the cardinal sins of old car conservatorship. I was not happy with any of this but the car ran so well that it wasn't really a high priority.

 

My gas gauge has never worked, so I read with great interest in a recent issue of the "Buick Bugle" how Pete Phillips was able to change out the sending unit on a Buick gas tank in about 45 minutes. Since I've had a new sending unit on the shelf for about two years, I figured today would be the day that I remedy it. It would be the first in a multi-step process of upgrading the entire fuel system, front to rear. Sending unit, then new hard lines, then a new mechanical pump on the engine. All new fittings, a filter along the way, and it would be good to go for the next 50 years. 

 

Today I embarked on that voyage and realized that, as usual, the ocean is far more vast than expected. Got me again, old car!

 

Anyway, I knew I would have to drop the tank to get access to the sending unit on top, so my first task was to drain it. We drove about 140 miles yesterday, and I hoped it would be close to empty, but without a working gas gauge, who knows? There's a handy drain on the tank, so I grabbed a funnel, some hose, and an empty gas can and figured I'd just, you know, drain it.

 

This was my first clue that the project was going to be uphill:

 

5-17-20-3.thumb.jpg.c14f79fab1cc926ec366acb07e352449.jpg

Yes, that's the drain plug on the gas tank. Yes, it's stripped.

Yes, it's seized. No, it's not coming out.

 

I thought about ejecting from the project right there. After all, the car has never run better and it's driving season. It might be a mistake to try to do any serious disassembly at this point. Well, let's see if we can just drop it down a bit and get the sending unit in there. What can it hurt?

 

As Romeo Montague said, Oh, I am fortune's fool!

 

I still had a considerable amount of gas to remove, so I disconnected one of the rubber hoses at the electric fuel pump, attached a larger hose, and dumped it into the gas can. Then I turned on the electric pump and let it drain the tank for me.

 

5-17-20-7.thumb.jpg.a554f34937241e1bb6ab7a66be1eb5e7.jpg  5-17-20-6.thumb.jpg.980cf2da4bcebb21ec731d82449a7f83.jpg

I just let the electric pump empty the tank for me.

 

About 7 gallons came out, after which I was able to determine that the tank was empty and light enough to maneuver. But there's a second problem, one that Pete warned us about in his article—the exhaust system is in the way of the filler neck, so it won't just drop down. Unfortunately, I have this gorgeous new custom stainless exhaust system and the one thing I am NOT going to do is take it apart and risk hurting it. At this point I am undecided as to whether I want to remove the tank or just shove the new sending unit in there.

 

As I'm examining the tank and filler neck to figure out how it might be maneuvered out of there, I notice that the filler neck is wrapped in ancient sticky rubber tape and tar paper of some sort. I don't know why I never noticed it before, but it concerns me. It has never leaked, never smelled of gasoline, never indicated that there's a problem here. But now that I've seen it, I can't unsee it and it will always be in the back of my mind. Maybe it's just protecting the filler neck from the heat of the exhaust, but then again maybe it's a leak with a patch. This is my chance to do it right. The tank has to come out. Besides, now I can send it out to be restored and never have to worry about it again. It appears to be the original tank, lord knows what kind of mess I'll find inside. This is the right decision.

 

5-17-20-2.thumb.jpg.13024d4b7366d1cdf79e3448e21ff206.jpg

This ancient wrapping around the filler neck concerns me.
I can't ignore it now, so the tank should come out to be properly restored.

 

I loosen the straps which allow me to reach the fuel line to disconnect it. I use a pair of bungee cords to hold the tank in place while I remove the straps, and once they're free, the gas tank solves my puzzle for me by removing itself and dropping to the ground with a loud bang and a spray of gasoline. One of the bungee hooks broke. But the tank is out of the car and on the ground, so I guess that's good.

 

5-17-20-1.thumb.jpg.164d2422981e6e8521b5d2493ff0d827.jpg

Gas tank is dirty and covered with a very thick layer of  dirt and

undercoating, as is the entire bottom of the car. I presume that's why

it has survived. No damage from the 4-foot fall from under the car.

 

5-17-20-5.thumb.jpg.9776c0b3b56a22b5cd4f753e1916e64c.jpg

Original sending unit has the same fitting as my new one, so

everything should go back together easily. I was shocked by

how smoothly it came apart, too—I totally expected those little

flat-blade screws to strip themselves as I tried to remove it.

 

5-17-20-12.thumb.jpg.aa9e5e1f04cd6ed6cb7d7cdaf487e570.jpg

Shockingly, the tank is SPOTLESS inside. I mean, this tank looks 

2 years old, not 80. I have no reason to believe it is a replacement 

and the exterior has the same ancient undercoating on it as

the rest of the car. It has been in the car for a VERY long time.

A few pieces of gasket and chunks of the original cork float are

in there, but otherwise, totally clean. Odd, but good news I guess.

 

With the decision made for me, I'll take the tank to my friends at Ellet Radiator on Monday and have them clean it. It's covered in ancient undercoating so hopefully they'll be able to remove that. Then I'll paint it silver to make it look appropriate under the car. I pulled the mounting straps out as well as the J-bolts and cleaned all those up, too. They were caked with undercoating goo, so I knocked most of it off with the wire wheel then threw them in the blast cabinet. That goo is persistent as hell and it tends to melt on the wire wheel and the blast media bounces off it. Cleaning them took a looooong time. Once they were clean, I shot them with a few coats of satin black paint so they'll be ready to reinstall when the tank comes back.

 

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Tank straps are in good shape but covered in goop.

 

5-17-20-9.thumb.jpg.db9767de8d53488732b7cdb48b83a32d.jpg  5-17-20-14.thumb.jpg.fcebb9a1314fe17dc429b59ac66cf826.jpg

Took a while, but I sandblasted them and painted them satin black.

 

5-17-20-18.thumb.jpg.4b690514336da71cac9670d68bc710cc.jpg

And I hit the J bolts, also caked with goop, with the wire wheel so

I didn't remove the plating.

 

The good news is that the trunk floor under (above?) the tank is in great shape with no rust. I'll clean it up a bit and seal it so I don't ever have to worry about it again. There were canvas strips glued to the tank mounting brackets, so I'll find a suitable substitute before I reinstall the tank. The wire for the fuel gauge is original and the insulation is crumbling, so I will probably have to replace that. I believe my gauge is good but the original sending unit's cork float was soggy and just didn't float anymore. Once in a while I see the needle bounce when I hit a bump, so I think it's working. I have a parallel project going on which is to get my back-up light working, so I'll run two wires front-to-back and I may as well do them both at the same time. I'll also add a ground wire from the sending unit to the frame—ground problems are a common cause of fuel gauge failure so this will eliminate that possibility. 

 

5-17-20-4.thumb.jpg.ddec38688b442ce32c2d576a986ad9d1.jpg  5-17-20-13.thumb.jpg.be724081a156fd64d23cf7212d79d4c9.jpg

Trunk floor is in good condition. Wire is/was for the back-up light, but I commandeered it a

few years ago to run power to the fuel pump. I'll add a new wire for the back-up light

when I run a new wire for the gas gauge sending unit.

 

5-17-20-16.thumb.jpg.4c8e63ef2bf03c6b849e866ba39b65af.jpg

I hope I can use the original wire to pull new wire(s) through

the car, but if not I'll just run them along the frame.

 

There's still a lot to be done to get the fuel system back together, so I'll start running wires and making new fuel lines so it's all ready to go when the tank comes back. If I'm lucky, I can work on it after work this week and have it all buttoned up and ready to drive next weekend so I don't lose any drive time. 

 

See? Ever the optimist.

 

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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Matt.....your performing the correct process on an old car. Don’t fix just what is broken, service the entire system back to new. While it always takes more time and money, in the end, 100 percent functioning fuel, cooling, and all others systems properly sorted means worry free driving for the next twenty five years. If you ever decide to sell the car, proper documentation will get most of your money back. Often when I sell my personal cars, I ask 30 percent over current market value .......based on the fact the car is 100 percent sorted, needs nothing, and is as a I explain to the people interested........probably the only pre war car they will ever have a chance to purchase and enjoy without dropping a dime. It’s a great sales tool. I have never had a problem selling a personal pre war car.........usually I have several peoples number in the glove box who have asked ahead of time to purchase it. 👍👍👍

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5 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

There were canvas strips glued to the tank mounting brackets, so I'll find a suitable substitute before I reinstall the tank.

 

Bob's has the canvas strip material ("Fuel Tank Strap Cushion") for $1.75 a foot.  https://bobsautomobilia.com/fuel-system/fuel-tank-strap-cushion-1-1-4.-fl-125/

 

As you no doubt noticed, the canvas strips on top are not glued, but held to the brackets by tabs that go through holes in the straps and then are bent.  You can use a punch to make holes in the new material and use the same tabs to hold it in place.  I used contact cement to glue the cushion material to the straps that go under the tank.

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8 hours ago, neil morse said:

 

Bob's has the canvas strip material ("Fuel Tank Strap Cushion") for $1.75 a foot.  https://bobsautomobilia.com/fuel-system/fuel-tank-strap-cushion-1-1-4.-fl-125/

 

As you no doubt noticed, the canvas strips on top are not glued, but held to the brackets by tabs that go through holes in the straps and then are bent.  You can use a punch to make holes in the new material and use the same tabs to hold it in place.  I used contact cement to glue the cushion material to the straps that go under the tank.

 

I saw that Bob's had the strips, as does CARS, but while it's realtively cheap it'll still cost me $20 in shipping to get it here with no guarantees that I'll have it in time. It isn't the money per se, it's just spending $20 to move $5 worth of canvas strips that kind of bothers me at some level. I'll go up the street to the industrial supply place and get some thick rubber or canvas strips that I can cut and fit. Melanie even suggested using some old canvas belts I have laying around, which probably isn't a bad idea. I'll come up with something appropriate--it's completely invisible so 100% correct isn't critical.

 

My straps didn't have any cushion material on them, just the thick layer of undercoating. It was unbroken across the tank and the straps so I don't think it has been out of the car in decades. Maybe I'll use another strip of canvas or maybe just some rubber on the straps. Something thin and unobtrusive.

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Posted (edited)

Use a material that wont hold water and cause rust. I used Bobs strips on the Pontiac. I ran a small ground strap from one of the sender screws over to a to a preexisting hole in the frame. The gasket will seal the sender, but pay attention to the screws so that gas cannot seep or leak up the threads and escape under the screw heads. They may have had copper washers or something.

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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15 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

5-17-20-12.thumb.jpg.aa9e5e1f04cd6ed6cb7d7cdaf487e570.jpg

While you have the sending unit out check the inside top of the tank.  That's where water condenses (seems worse with E-10) and causes rust.  All of mine have had to be treated and sealed.

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15 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

There were canvas strips glued to the tank mounting brackets, so I'll find a suitable substitute before I reinstall the tank.

I used glass setting tape for my last project

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Nice work Matt. Only thing I would add is to try and calibrate the new sending unit the same as your old one by bending the new unit’s arm to match the existing one. I tried this halfheartedly and wish I were more diligent as now, while the gauge now works, a full tank doesn’t quite go all the way to”full” and I have about 3 gallons left at “empty”. Still beats a busted gauge though. 
peter

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If you really want to know, make sure it goes 0-30 ohms. Measure the sender outside the tank and find out how low it goes (closer to zero ohms the better). Put the sender in the tank and make sure that it still all the way down (in ohms) where it was. This assures the float does not hit bottom. Hitting bottom is not only bad for the float, it prevents the gauge going all the way to "E".

 

Then, flip the tank upside down and make sure the sender goes to 30 ohms (or more). If not it will never get to full. Also, the float should get real close to the top but not hit.

 

Third test: (optional, but a good idea if you do not like pulling gas tanks out). Put some gas in the tank with it sitting level on the ground, and then suck it out through the pickup with a hand pump. Do not attempt to use an electric one. The squeeze bulb or bellows type are easiest (and the plunger pump at harbor freight is useless).

 

Suck the gas out, wiggling the tank a little, until the sender reads zero ohms (or as low as it went when it was out of the tank). Now move the discharge hose to another can and keep sucking until you suck air. The second can is your reserve, and you can see how big it is.

 

If the pump sucks air before the sender gets all the way down (in ohms), you will run out of gas before the gauge gets to "E". IMHO it pays to figure this out while the tank is out on the ground and you can re-bend the float arm easily.

 

If there's no sock filter on the pickup, put one on. Have fun!

 

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