Jump to content

1941 Buick Limited Limousine


Recommended Posts

21 minutes ago, edinmass said:

Matt.....get a set of chassis ears.....I just bought the new bluetooth unit............fantastic to find noise........which also drives me crazy. I spent four days chasing one down on a JN, and once located I fixed it in twenty minutes.........never stop, and never give up. All the bullshit does finally come to an end, and driving a car "as perfect as you can make it" is very satisfying. I have 7 weeks into chasing all the very stupid little stuff on the JN, and I can now say it's the best work I have ever done on any car that I have had. Feels fantastic to take it out and crank it up with no noise, no vibration, and everything "as new" like the first owner had the car 85 years ago. The guy who bought the car new was a WWI fighter ace for the US. It's kind of fun sitting in his seat and driving his car knowing what an interesting guy he must have been. Since the car has less than three thousand miles on it from when he sold it, its a cool sensation to drive and experience what he did nine decades later.........that is the true fun of old cars. Enjoy the Buick, keep picking away at it..........then get on the car with no name..........ūüėé

 

That's great advice--I didn't even know such a thing existed! Just ordered one and hopefully will have it for this weekend. Thank you!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll second the chassis ears.  My '53 Buick was making a low, loud noise last year that I thought was a carrier bearing or an axle bearing.  I hooked up the chassis ears to both axle bearings, the center section, and the rear of the transmission where the u-joint is.  No abnormal noises...I swapped tires from left to right and the noise went away.  I also used the chassis ears to diagnose that the electric steering rack on my wife's 2012 Mustang was clunking, an odd problem.  If I were more ambitious, I would use them to track down all the little odd noises my old cars make, but some noises bother me more than others and I can be a bit lazy sometimes.  :)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

 

That's great advice--I didn't even know such a thing existed! Just ordered one and hopefully will have it for this weekend. Thank you!


 

The old guys can still teach the young bucks a few tricks.........ūüėé
 

 

When I was you age, a set of chassis ears was hanging outside the car tied by a rope with a long handle screwdriver hoping the driver didn’t drag you through the bushes.......true story!

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
  • Haha 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, edinmass said:


 

The old guys can still teach the young bucks a few tricks.........ūüėé
 

 

When I was you age, a set of chassis ears was hanging outside the car tied by a rope with a long handle screwdriver hoping the driver didn’t drag you through the bushes.......true story!

 

Dude, you're only like 4 years older than I am...

 

I was just talking to Melanie last night saying I'd like to take Cody, our eldest and smallest son, and have him sit in various areas of the car (even the trunk, which I specifically did NOT mention to his mother) to see if he can identify where some of these noises are coming from. Your timing with this device was very fortuitous! I'm excited to try it out.

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, edinmass said:

When I was you age, a set of chassis ears was hanging outside the car tied by a rope with a long handle screwdriver hoping the driver didn’t drag you through the bushes.......true story!

 

9 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

I was just talking to Melanie last night saying I'd like to take Cody, our eldest and smallest son, and have him sit in various areas of the car (even the trunk, which I specifically did NOT mention to his mother) to see if he can identify where some of these noises are coming from.

 

If I had a nickel for every time I was involved in something like that.....

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Matt.......I thought I had fifteen years on you..............I'm at the double nickel.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I suspect a lot of Chassis Ears got sold today. I had never heard of those before either. I am sure that will come in handy on a couple of different cars after it arrives. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, MCHinson said:

I suspect a lot of Chassis Ears got sold today. I had never heard of those before either. I am sure that will come in handy on a couple of different cars after it arrives. 

 

I googled it!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I ordered one. I have a strange noise on my 2002 LeSabre that cropped up after the rear air shocks were replaced. I really want to find the source of that noise and I suspect I might need it on additional cars sometime. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok......for the new chassisears owners.........depending if you have a 4, 6, or 8 channel unit. Work from an overall area......like front or rear, or left side or right..........determine the approximate area where the noise is believed to be coming from......then, place all the sensors where you determine the noise is coming from.............sometimes it takes several tries before you finally get down to a small area.........then start clipping in to every possible option.........it can take three, four, or five repositioning attempts to get an exact location. It should become very, very loud when you get to thr exact spot. Works like a charm...........I have been using them for over twenty years. You don’t need them often, but they are a great tool.

 

Last time I used them, I determined the exact location of a loud, irritating whining noise in my one ton GMC I use for hauling our cars. After several tries, I determined the exact cause of the whine, and was able it eliminate it with 100 percent success...........Now I just drive alone, and leave the wife at home..........whining noise is gone and has not returned!

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
  • Like 2
  • Haha 8
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/18/2020 at 2:29 PM, Matt Harwood said:

I just turned 50 in February. Ugh...

Matt - that’s awesome... I’m 38 and felt like we were about the same age

Edited by Ken_P (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, 38Buick 80C said:

 

I googled it!

Me too, although they don’t work on cars that aren’t currently driving

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Ken_P said:

Matt - that’s awesome... I’m 38 s as d felt like we were about the same age

 

Aren't we all actually about 14?

  • Haha 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Haven't touched anything on the car and have not added my body grounds yet, but it's running just fine. This morning I delivered it to my friend Tim Shaffer, the master fabricator who built my exhaust system. He's going to install that second little muffler I bought a few months ago in an effort to eliminate the rumbling drone I get at highway speeds (sounds like a bad wheel bearing). He's also going to see about modifying the pipe above the axle where it has been hitting when I have people in the back seat and I go over a large rise in the road. I'm not convinced both of my rear shocks are at 100%, so I need to revisit that, and I've installed new rubber axle snubbers. I have not driven it with a full complement of passengers since those upgrades, but Tim's going to check things out and get it back to me next week. 

 

 

10-16-19-1.thumb.jpg.000458328e6a78701acf5808b2630f09.jpg  10-16-19-3.thumb.jpg.89301991a7921ce4c994a2035ef83c80.jpg

Tim will tuck this mini muffler under the back of the car. If it stands

out too much, I'll paint it satin black.

 

Speaking of shocks, while I was driving the car over to Tim's place this morning, I hit a particularly rough road. It wasn't broken pavement, just very wavy and irregular with high-frequency lumps and waves. It really upset the front suspension and I had a second thought about why my suspension feels like it has a lot of impact harshness. What if, instead of the tires themselves being too heavy or too inflexible, the oil in the front shocks is too thin? What if what I'm feeling--which is a shock that crashes through the steering column--is those big tires bouncing around after hitting a bump? What if the shocks aren't damping ENOUGH?

 

Right now I believe the front shocks are filled with ISO 32, which is close to the thinnest oil (somewhere between 5W and 10W). I have both thicker oil and thinner hydraulic oil on the shelf that I can try, but I'm kind of leaning towards the problem being too little control rather than too hard a tire. Changing oil in the shocks is a bit of a pain and I still haven't figure out how I'm going to drain them on the car, but my gut says that maybe I should try the ISO 100 oil I used in the rear shocks in the front shocks as well, and see if it controls those front tires a little better. I'm not ruling out the tires, but I'm not convinced they're the sole cause since it has always behaved more or less the same, even with the Firestone bias-plys.

 

Any thoughts?

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

As a former NASCAR Shock Engineer I don't think the thinner oil would have that effect in fact it would be helpful over that type of road. We used to use tube shocks in NASCAR and I'm not sure if a '41 has knee action shocks on the front like my '38, but on the tracks with a lot of bumps and high frequency stuff we would do more with piston design and shim thickness than with oil (in some cases we ran water, yes really). The goal was to allow very little damping on the high frequency stuff to allow the piston to basically vibrate back and forth on the high frequency (slow acceleration of the suspension travel) stuff. On the big fast movements (like a pot hole or the RF diving into turn 1) we'd want a lot of damping to keep the car from flopping over on that tire.  Of course we would also put a big huge spring on that corner for the same reason. Same with the LR as on acceleration the weight would shift back to that corner. To me it sounds like spring rate issues Like you're bouncing a basket ball over the bumps because your tires are too hard and don't have a lot of spring rate.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, 38Buick 80C said:

As a former NASCAR Shock Engineer I don't think the thinner oil would have that effect in fact it would be helpful over that type of road. We used to use tube shocks in NASCAR and I'm not sure if a '41 has knee action shocks on the front like my '38, but on the tracks with a lot of bumps and high frequency stuff we would do more with piston design and shim thickness than with oil (in some cases we ran water, yes really). The goal was to allow very little damping on the high frequency stuff to allow the piston to basically vibrate back and forth on the high frequency (slow acceleration of the suspension travel) stuff. On the big fast movements (like a pot hole or the RF diving into turn 1) we'd want a lot of damping to keep the car from flopping over on that tire.  Of course we would also put a big huge spring on that corner for the same reason. Same with the LR as on acceleration the weight would shift back to that corner. To me it sounds like spring rate issues Like you're bouncing a basket ball over the bumps because your tires are too hard and don't have a lot of spring rate.

 

Wow, you're the right guy to ask Brian! Yes, my suspension should be very similar to your '38 with the lever shocks acting as the upper mount for the suspension. Reading your comments, it sounds like you agree with my theory that suggests MORE damping is needed, correct? The tires are probably a factor, but short of replacing them, do you think more shock damping (AKA thicker oil) would improve the way it tackles larger bumps?

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

Search "suspension unsprung weight".  Those truck tires in addition of being harder on the tread surface and less flexible are much heavier than the original bias ply tires.  In addition to that they are probably wider also and wider tires will hit more bumps.  Any radial tire behaves differently on the road:  the tread contact is different and they are more 'bouncy' (drop a mounted radial and bias ply and see which one rebounds more).   Possibly experimenting with shock fluid will help but not solve the problem.  Later cars from the 50's onward can use gas charged tube shock made for radials with good results.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, old-tank said:

Search "suspension unsprung weight".  Those truck tires in addition of being harder on the tread surface and less flexible are much heavier than the original bias ply tires.  In addition to that they are probably wider also and wider tires will hit more bumps.  Any radial tire behaves differently on the road:  the tread contact is different and they are more 'bouncy' (drop a mounted radial and bias ply and see which one rebounds more).   Possibly experimenting with shock fluid will help but not solve the problem.  Later cars from the 50's onward can use gas charged tube shock made for radials with good results.

 

That's a good point I forgot to make. We also played with gas pressure (we used Nitrogen only) in the shocks, but I don't recall much of the details. Just that it was similar to spring rate in that more pressure more spring rate. I'm quite certain the knee action shocks dont have this level of sophistication.

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, 38Buick 80C said:

I'm quite certain the knee action shocks dont have this level of sophistication.

Possibly the rear lever shocks were engineered for the increased unsprung weight of the torque tube, but may be unable to cope with heavier tires.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the awesome discussion on shocks. There are a lot of factors to consider and I think simple trial-and-error will be the best path to seeing what might be "wrong" with the suspension.

 

Also, isn't the big thing about "gas charged" shocks not to change the damping rate but rather to reduce the foaming of the oil and keep the shock performance more consistent over a wider spectrum of conditions? I seem to recall that's what the commercials in the '70s were telling me.

 

Anyway, I think it's important to point out that the Limited rides rather well and most people wouldn't complain. The only reason I noticed is because I drove that all-original 1942 Packard sedan I bought a few weeks ago, and it was notably more supple over the big, sharp bumps. My 1941 Cadillac 60S was also better at going over those sharp bumps than the Buick. 


The Packard is on ancient Lester bias-plys. My Cadillac 60S was on radials. The radials on the Limited are Hercules truck radials, and maybe they're a bit more heavy-duty than a regular tire, but surely if they were too stiff, truck owners would complain, too, no? I'm going to try to find their specifications and see how they compare to the radials I used on the Cadillac.

 

When I first bought the Buick it was on Firestone bias-plys and it CRASHED over bumps. I mean, I thought the glass was going to pop out of the windshield it hit bumps so hard. The steering column would shake side-to-side in my hands. ka-BOOOM! I changed to radials after driving the car to Allentown for the BCA National Meet a few years ago and ride quality improved in every way, although there was still a sharp impact going over larger bumps. Was going over a large, sharp bump better or worse? Hard to say, but it wasn't different enough for me to note a change. I usually run the tires at about 32 PSI, but the manual suggests 25 PSI, so I could air them down even more. That would surely improve ride quality but at the expense of tire life, but would it improve it dramatically? Additionally, these tires are rated to 60 PSI, so running them at less than half their designed pressure may not be good for them. That's a long way to say I'm not 100% convinced that the tires are 100% of the problem. When I get the car back from the exhaust shop, I'll air them down to 25 PSI as recommended and see how they feel.

 

Two years ago, I had the shocks rebuilt by Apple Hydraulics and the impact harshness improved dramatically. The secondary crashes that were shaking the steering wheel were diminished but not gone. As I said, I really only noticed it most recently when I had another car to which I could compare it. 

 

There's an expansion strip in the road where it transitions between pavement and a bridge, and I have to cross it to get home every day. I cringed in anticipation of that bump when I first bought the car, I cringed after I changed to radials, and I still cringe today. Bias-ply tires, good shocks or bad shocks, regardless of air pressure in the tires, the suspension struggles to manage that kind of bump. My Cadillac CTS wagon feels it, Melanie's Focus ST really feels it, but that Packard largely ignored it. A clue?

 

When my rear suspension was bottoming out, I called Lazar at Apple Hydraulics and he told me that all the shocks they rebuild get ISO 32 hydraulic oil. He recommended a change to the ISO 100 I'm using now and it made a VERY positive difference in the behavior of the rear end. No more floating and the bottoming-out was greatly diminished. I have not verified, but I currently suspect that one of the shocks is not working properly and I'll send it back this winter if it's bad. When I changed the oil, one shock was notably stiffer than the other. Damping is still much improved and I sometimes think it could be even better--maybe if that second shock were pulling its weight, it would be perfect. It is worth noting that on the Limited, the rear shocks are identical to the fronts except they have only one arm instead of two. The valve body is identical and it is secured to the frame, not the brake backing plate, which is why they're unique.

 

Up front, I still have ISO 32 oil in the shocks. My first instinct was to put in some thinner oil thinking that the wheel/tire assembly wasn't moving fast enough in response to a bump. I ordered up some 5 weight motorcycle shock oil which is the thinnest stuff available. I haven't changed it yet, mostly because I'm now thinking about MORE damping, not less. I do not currently believe the impact harshness is because the shocks are so stiff that the wheel/tire assembly is immobile when it hits a bump, I think it is because the wheel/tire is permitted to move TOO MUCH and continues to move around even after the bump, causing the secondary vibrations that rattle the steering column. So now I'm thinking that heavier oil in the front shocks will help damp the wheel/tire assembly much better. It was a HUGE improvement in the back, passengers or no passengers, without any increase in ride harshness or impact sharpness. I think after testing air pressure in the tires, thicker shock oil should be the next step. 

 

I am not sure if the front springs on my car are too firm, but I don't think so. The front end bounces pretty easily when you jump on the bumper and as I said, 90% of the time, ride quality is excellent. It's  the large, single, staccato bumps that really upset the car. That's why I think about replacing body mount bushings and new weather seals and things like that in an attempt to stop the crash that runs through the entire body. Maybe that's caused by secondary rebounding of the front wheels when they hit a big bump. 

 

This is a lot of words and mostly me thinking out loud. I'm willing to believe it's the tires, but the radials didn't create the crash and nothing I've upgraded has changed it much. I do know that the shocks were shot when I got the car and it got A LOT better with the shocks rebuilt (a much greater difference than any tire change).

 

We'll experiment with tire pressures and oils and see what we can do. Thank you for the awesome expertise, I hope this is helpful for others as well!

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

As for gas charged shocks 70's marketing, yes as pressurizing most fluids increases the boiling temperature and same would be true of shock fluid though in the case of road shocks no significant risk of boiling but more gas pressure decreases the likelihood of cavitation (which in effect is boiling but in a different manner) during use thus aerating the fluid decreasing it's effectiveness.  

 

As for the rest of your thinking out loud

 

Basically you can boil it down to three areas of experimentation

1. Springing ( in the form of actual springs, spring rate of the tires (which can be adjust down with less air pressure and up with more)(and the tire construction itself creates spring rate) and in theory gas pressure of the shock though not adjustable on road cars typically.

2. damping which as you will not be altering piston design is only controlled by fluid viscosity in this case. I believe the shop manual spec's a oil to use you may want to determine the factory viscosity is what the engineers of the time designed the system around

3. Mass - so weight  of the system. As Willie noted the tires may be adding significant amount of unsprung weight effecting the spring mass damper system.

 

You change any one of these: spring, mass, damper you effect the ride handling.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Doing some checking, the Hercules 7.50R16LT radials weigh 38 pounds each. The 750-16 Firestone bias-ply whitewalls weigh 32. Six pounds is not insignificant. I did not run tubes in the Firestones, so that's a non-issue.

 

Both the load range D radials and the Firestone bias-ply tires are advertised as "8-ply." Since the construction type is different, I don't know whether this is an apples-to-apples comparison. Unlikely.

 

Comparing the relative stiffness of the sidewalls is probably not possible. The Hercules radials are LT tires (light truck) so they're thicker in every way than a P-metric (passenger car) tire. There is surely some additional sidewall stiffness because of its construction. Less air pressure probably won't hurt anything, although it will generate additional heat at highway speeds. 

 

1795432669_IMG_20160817_1308464691a.thumb.jpg.a72fcc292743546d42c13aca9321cdbd.jpg

 

Doing a little more looking, it seems that any radial is going to be slightly heavier-duty than any bias-ply tire. Even Diamondback's new Auburn radial has what appears to be a D load rating, which is ~2400 pounds. That compares with the bias-ply Firestone at 1660 pounds. The Limited weighs about 5000 pounds.

 

The Limited's wheels are unique, but I'm going to see if perhaps that Packard's wheels might bolt on to the Buick. Probably not, but a few measurements will tell me and then perhaps I can try different combinations and see what the effect might be.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 My '50 has essentially the same suspension as the Limited, I think.  It, too is a little harsh on some "bumps".  I did not remove and clean the inner A arm  bushings. Sure wish I had. I am not sure if I cleaned the lower outer ones. Outer uppers were cleaned  when removing/replacing the shocks.   So what am I  saying?   Wondering if the lube is getting to the entire bushing, or just bypassing and exiting the side away from the zerk,  giving false assurances that the bushing is well lubed?

 

  Ben

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Tim works fast! Dropped the car off yesterday (Saturday) and just got word that it's ready to go. I'll pick it up tomorrow and we'll see how it sounds and then start doing some suspension experiments.

 

I guess I should get back to work on that Lincoln sooner or later, too...

 

And the '29 Cadillac needs fuel lines and leaf springs rebuilt...

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

Tim works fast! Dropped the car off yesterday (Saturday) and just got word that it's ready to go. I'll pick it up tomorrow and we'll see how it sounds and then start doing some suspension experiments.

 

I guess I should get back to work on that Lincoln sooner or later, too...

 

And the '29 Cadillac needs fuel lines and leaf springs rebuilt...

 

 "No rest for the wicked"  I have heard.

 

  Ben

Link to post
Share on other sites

Picked up the Limited from Tim Shaffer at the exhaust shop this morning and as pleased as I was with the first round of exhaust upgrades, I am just as pleased with these modifications. The car is nearly silent with the addition of that second little muffler at the back. The idle, which was already pretty muscular, has taken on a deeper baritone sound but is quieter, so it sounds wonderful. There's a video below but it's so quiet that you can barely hear the idle above the ambient noises. Nice!

 

On the highway (of course I had to test it) the drone is COMPLETELY gone. You can't even hear anything but the wooshing wind anymore, and maybe a little bit of that noisy fan belt singing, but that seems to be getting better. The drone, which sounded like a bad wheel bearing rumbling along, has vanished. Very pleased with that.

 


Tim also changed the pipe going over the axle so it won't be in danger of bottoming-out ever again. Beautiful work as always, and he only charged me $150. The guy is superbly talented and very reasonable. If you ever need exhaust work in Ohio, I can't recommend him highly enough. He's an artist of the highest order!

 

ExhaustFinal1.thumb.jpg.8cabbc139ca4c27ac370dc391a72677c.jpg  ExhaustRev2-1.thumb.jpg.bd3bb7a8adabb9ad81d5229817c08cc4.jpg

Before and after of the over-axle pipe.

 

ExhaustRev2-2.thumb.jpg.24c8dbf52b407ef085f814d2c6ed10f7.jpg

Mini muffler installed. I think it's too shiny, but it

isn't very visible unless you're under the car. I may

paint it hi-temp satin black anyway.

 

And as I pulled into the parking lot this morning coming back from Tim's shop, I found this waiting for me, fresh off the trailer:

 

51RoadmasterWoody1.thumb.jpg.4caca410149afec673b2d7d7ecbc1e79.jpg

 

1951 Buick Roadmaster 79R wagon. A real-deal one owner all original car with just 59,000 original miles. Totally untouched time capsule of a car and a desirable big series wagon. I mean, it still has its original T3 headlights! Starts and runs effortlessly and sounds like a sewing machine with those hydraulic lifters. So smooth! We're going to service it and then I'll get better acquainted with it. New arrivals are always exciting, but I've been expecting this car for a while so it was a very pleasant surprise to see it in my parking lot when I arrived this morning. Too cool!

 

20200701_105311a.thumb.jpg.a2d05b3c895c964e8eb075e3f25d7915.jpg20200701_105421a.thumb.jpg.ed027d0297ea56b9285aebae16efe020.jpg

  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites

Just noticed the speedometer reads to 110 mph like Buick did in 1940.  But, Buick changed the speedometer to read to 120 beginning in 1941.  Why the flopping around?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Matt.....it can take endless amounts of time and money to get a car right......but once it's done, you never have to pound your head against the wall ever again. Then you have the "new" problem...........time goes by faster than you realize, and milage adds up......all of a sudden you realize its been five years and you haven't touched a thing except air in the tires........been there, done that. It's time to enjoy the car with your family.......

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/1/2020 at 3:20 PM, edinmass said:

......all of a sudden you realize its been five years and you haven't touched a thing except air in the tires........

And then about 10-12 years you get to do a lot of it all over again.

 

I always liked dad's mentality of car purchasing:  "is that a serviceable product ?"

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Took the Buick and Melanie's Chrysler to a 4th of July car show that a friend asked us to attend. No problem. Easy drive there in the morning on surface streets, 35-45 MPH. Car stayed nice and cool even though temperatures were already well into the '80s at 10 AM. Show was decent, although it was filled with mostly garden-variety stuff and  a bunch of home-built hot rods. We stayed for about three hours but it just got too hot so we headed home with temperatures in the low '90s. Buick was fine, showing about 195 at long stop lights but 180-185 on the roll. That seems to be normal now. And now that I'm paying attention to the ride, I feel that the front end is VERY floaty. I wasn't paying much attention, but now that I am, it feels like the front of the car is bobbing up and down all the time. More [anecdotal] evidence that I probably need thicker oil in the front shocks.

 

About half way home we ran into some construction and there was one of those steps in the pavement between the old surface and the new area where they're working--you know, one of those cliff faces about five inches high. Ka-BOOOM! I thought both front tires had exploded. A new significant thump under the car presented itself afterwards, so we hustled home and parked it. No visible damage to the wheels and tires, but man, that was a hard hit. Maybe I should be glad for these heavy truck tires. 

 

This afternoon I put the car up in the air and poked around underneath. Nothing visible damaged or loose. I found a few loose fasteners, like those holding the front fender speed ornament in place, but I doubt that's a source of such a big rattle. I used rubber hoses and wrapped the brake lines that run along the trailing arms to the rear brakes, as they seemed to be making one of the "small loose part" sounds. Still not the source of the loud thump that started with that big bump yesterday. Hmmm...

 

Then I noticed a sliver of light in the right rear wheel well that I hadn't noticed before. Looking closely, I saw that the fender skirt's forward hook was just barely holding on to the fender. By shaking it a bit, I could cause it to make something akin to the booming sound I heard. It appears that a combination of the fender edge being a bit flexible and that massive bump allowed the bracket to work itself loose. I'm glad it didn't fall off while I was driving; it was just barely holding on by a thread.

 

7-5-20-1.thumb.jpg.aad81424bee1da2af08241767545fbf9.jpg  7-5-20-2.thumb.jpg.0df78899d9fe8f38476c7d8fa2cf3408.jpg

Things moved around enough at the fender skirt's forward bracket

mounting point that it was just barely holding on.

 

7-5-20-3.thumb.jpg.e10ec1e4fb5a22eeafc4ec5e5586934e.jpg

Here's how it should fit.

 

The metal of the fender is in good condition, but obviously my rubber gravel guard is coming apart. While taking these photos, I noticed that the gravel guard doesn't even hug the contours of the fender very well, leading me to believe that it is for a Super or Roadmaster, whose fenders are much more rounded in this area. I've been aiming to replace them anyway, but a set of new gravel guards is more than $500. Ouch. I've been putting it off for obvious reasons.

 

Anyway, I assumed that the fender skirt's bracket would be adjustable, but it was solidly riveted in place. I drilled out the rivets and re-positioned the bracket so that it would pull the fender skirt tight against the fender (you'll recall I installed new fender skirt gaskets last year). Interestingly enough, the bracket is slotted like it's supposed to be adjustable, but the holes in the skirt only line up one way, so there's no point to the slots and no real adjustment. Instead, I just tack-welded the bracket in place--as strong as the rivets, semi-permanent, but removable if I need to adjust it in the future. Once the welds cooled, I painted the area black and reinstalled the skirt. Voila! Tight fit that's far more secure than it was before.

 

7-5-20-4.thumb.jpg.fa89d946badf1ed4d852b4214738af46.jpg  7-5-20-5.thumb.jpg.2d3001602b7fb8bbd15ce552b4bb159a.jpg

Before and after: I drilled out the rivets and relocated the

bracket to hold the skirt tight to the fender. 

 

7-5-20-6.thumb.jpg.0be5482231dcabb770990ed8eaa2a008.jpg  7-5-20-7.thumb.jpg.fbb015edce62029e36fdc1e8c155a44e.jpg

Cleaned the bracket and tack welded it in place. Ground the welds a bit and painted the area.

 

 

7-5-20-8.thumb.jpg.c5ef6dcefaa6cfd86d04019c93f48145.jpg  7-5-20-9.thumb.jpg.508ff27369e58c85c1b11435bea0c470.jpg

Now the skirt fits tightly  and is no longer in danger of falling off. You

can see how the shape of the gravel guard isn't even close to the shape

of the fender. I guess should spend the money to replace them.

 

As long as I had the car up in the air, I removed the rear shocks and re-tested them on the vice. I believed one was a little limp but both seemed to be working properly. I topped them up with the ISO 100 oil, and the one I thought was weak took a little more, so that may have been the problem. Removing and installing the rear shocks is not a big job, although it does take a bit of muscle to shove the heavy shock into the frame and hold it in place while you line up and install a bolt from the outside. A bit of work, but all good. 


Tomorrow I plan to drain the front shocks and fill them with ISO 100 oil as well, hopefully improving ride and handling. Will report back when I have results...

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

So tonight my plan was to change the oil in my front shocks. According to the guys at Apple Hydraulics, there's ISO 32 hydraulic oil in there, so my plan was to suck it out with my little vacuum pump and fill it up with some ISO 100, same as I used in the rear shocks. Step one was opening up the fill plug on the driver's side shock, and even though these shocks were "rebuilt," the plug was a little chewed up. That seems odd--I know I didn't chew it up, especially since it's just a 7/16" hex head. Anyway, I managed to get the plug out and cleaned up the flats with a file so a 7/16" socket would fit easily, like it should.

 

Then I spent some time making some little fittings for my vacuum pump, tapering down to a tiny plastic capillary tube about 1/16" in diameter, which I figured would slide into the depths of the shock body and suck out that thin oil. So I did just that--I snaked it down in there and turned on the pump. Then I waited. And waited. And waited. And no oil came out. I checked the suction by putting it in a cup of water and sure enough, it sucked up that water with no problems. Hmmm...

 

At this point I figured the worst and grabbed my little oil can full of ISO 100 oil and started pumping fresh oil into the shock. A few pumps, then I bounced the car up and down to move the shock valves, a few more pumps. Repeat until the little oil can was empty. Refill and continue until the little oil can was about half-empty again. Once the oil started bubbling up through the fill opening, I figured it was full and reinstalled the plug.

 

I didn't get to the passenger side since tonight was family dinner night and the passenger side is particularly difficult to reach, but I'm wondering: did they forget to fill my shocks when they rebuilt them or did they rebuild them poorly and all the oil leaked out? There were trace amounts of oil around the shock on the frame, but I can't be sure that it was fresh and it wasn't a lot--certainly not enough to fill a large shock. I don't think I would have installed the rebuilt shocks without cleaning the frame, so I'm leaning towards my expensive newly rebuilt shocks are leaking, just not quite as badly as before. 

 

I cleaned up the area around the shock with brake cleaner and some rags so I'll be able to see if it gets wet again. I'll change the oil in the passenger side shock tomorrow and we'll see what we see.

 

Who else rebuilds shocks beyond Apple? I suspect we're headed into the "guess we'll just throw money at the problem" stage once again.

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites
58 minutes ago, 38Buick 80C said:

Highly endorse these guys, they rebuilt mine.  I had also asked them to photograph the shock fully disassembled so I could see the guts and learn where the wear points were.  I asked them questions and came away very satisfied that they were indeed working on my shocks and doing them correctly.  I've heard your complaint about AH from others as well.

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...