Matt Harwood

1941 Buick Limited Limousine

Recommended Posts

I think you were right about the taller brackets.  Looks a lot better!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interior Lighting

 

Another project and another job that was way harder than it had to be thanks to ghosts of hack mechanics past. Before I get into the details, I'm going to do a little digression on doing the job right. I have enough hassles with my own cars, plus the hundreds of cars that come through my shop, to know that the hacks outnumber the careful workers. By A LOT. There are thousands of you on this message board, and I know there are hacks among you--sorry, but statistically, it has to be true. I suspect there are two kinds of hacks: the guy who cuts a corner to save a buck and the guy who just doesn't know any better. One is obviously a much greater crime, but I encourage all of you to always, always, always do the very best you can on any job on your old cars. Just because YOU don't care doesn't mean the next guy won't, and no matter what you think, you are only the temporary owner of your cars. They will outlast us all and someone, someday will have to deal with your work. Do you want that future person to think you're a craftsman or a fool? In our shop, it is my explicit policy to always do the job as well as it can be done--nothing leaves here with my name on it with hack work underneath. It costs more and it takes more time to do it right, but I don't ever want someone to look at work that Harwood did and think we don't know what we're doing. Being careful matters. And it's not just about impressing people--doing it right means things work properly and continue to work properly in the future. Patching it up to get it home is one thing, but if you decide you can live with it, you're making a mistake that will come back to haunt someone, someday, maybe even you. And if you're just fixing (or duplicating) what someone else already did, even if you know it's wrong but it worked well enough, then you're only adding to the problem. Do not assume that the last guy knew what he was doing or he did it right--he probably didn't and he probably didn't. Just because it works doesn't mean it's right. Don't screw yourself by following his lead. You know better. You DO.

 

OK, sermon over. My project today was one that should have taken two hours but took ten. All I wanted was to make the courtesy lights at the base of the front seat work properly. But not only did I have to make the courtesy lights work, but I had to reverse-engineer someone else's idea of how they should work and fix a whole lot of cobbled up workmanship. I mistakenly thought that there was no wiring at all, but it turns out that someone already took a swing at making these lights work and gave up, but along the way, they chopped out all the original wiring so there was no guide. Interestingly enough, my car has a brand new wiring harness in it that's just beautiful. Unfortunately, it was installed by some hack who cut it, re-routed it, and did all kinds of awful things to it to make it "work." As I fix various systems on the car, I'm correcting all that, but it's incredibly stupid to have something that's right and be too dumb to make it work, so you resort to something half-assed. If you don't know how it works, find out. Don't just make something up. Get a wiring diagram, as I did thanks to a fellow board member who directed me to the 1942 Buick Service Manual, which does have a full wiring diagram for the Limited, including these courtesy lights (the 1941 manual does not include this information).

 

1896087815_WiringDiagram.thumb.JPG.39fa83149f9e47defa25454203412b46.JPG
When in doubt, consult the manual. 1942 Buick Service Manual
has full wiring schematics for all the Limited's unique features.

 

Ugh, I keep digressing. I'm sorry. What happened in this case is that the guy who tried to make these courtesy lights work clearly didn't understand how the door jamb push-button switches work.They are the ground path for the lights--that way there's no power in the door jambs that could short out or shock someone if it's wet. The circuit is only grounded if one of the push-button switches is released (the door is open). Obviously, both switches have to share the same ground path to the bulbs so that either door will activate the lights. Power for the lights comes from some other source, and that source doesn't really matter as long as it's unswitched (that is, not connected to the ignition). On this limousine, the dome light is separate from the seat lights and is not designed to go on when the door is opened (the rich guy in the back doesn't want the dome light shining in his face whenever the driver gets in the car, right?). The dome light is on a switch, like a room in your house. But the guy who tried to make all this work decided that the dome light would come on with the doors, and somehow tried to wire the switch in as well. Of course, none of it worked and there's evidence that his job just left the lights on all the time, so he just started cutting wires until they went off again. Jackass.

 

So I started from scratch, beginning with removing all his old wiring. I managed to find some of the original wires that were feeding these under-seat lights, but it was so cracked and broken that it was unsafe. I also found the original power wires, but they were cut so short I couldn't possibly reach them without tearing out some of the interior, and I had no interest in that. I simply secured them so they wouldn't short out. My first step was to pull the dome light switch and see where those wires were going. A voltmeter with a continuity test setting is invaluable for tracing wires. Fortunately (or unfortunately) it seems that this guy didn't even really know how a switch worked and had one ground and three hot wires connected to the switch, with two of the hot wires going to the dome light. What are you thinking, dude? And sadly, the wires that were inside the pillar were much too stubby to work with. I was eventually able to pull out enough to get a pigtail soldered in place. I used the original wires as fish lines to pull fresh wires up to the dome light, found the +6V hot wire, and hooked it up properly. Voila! Working dome light.

 

111818-1.thumb.jpg.c8cd5918c5c137f96fde1a7182e0fcc0.jpg 111818-2.thumb.jpg.7887d4ba58fbea639c0ffdb834bf1a81.jpg 111818-3.thumb.jpg.19c014e11fa04d7b4e07f2e50c965e06.jpg
Hacked-up wiring inside the B-pillar made connecting the switch EXTREMELY difficult, but by getting creative, I was able to solder
a pigtail in place and connect the switch properly. I also replaced that connector which was barely held together with electrical tape.

 

The real project was making these little lights on the seats work. I think lights are neat but I was missing one of the lenses for one of these seat lights. I finally found one on eBay, so I thought I'd tackle that project. Quick and easy! My first bit of confusion came from looking at the socket itself, which appears to have two terminals, which, to me, means a dual-filament bulb. I couldn't figure out why a dual-filament bulb would be used and I could't wrap my head around how the ground circuit worked (since the only ground for these bulbs MUST be the door jamb switches). Dual filament, grounded housing, what the...? Again, fellow board members came to my rescue and pointed out that these were special bulbs in an insulated housing--one terminal was power, the other was ground, and the housing was not grounded to anything (or at least, it didn't matter). Someone even pointed me at the correct bulbs. Nice! Big thanks to Don Micheletti, Joe Indusi, Frank DuVal, ILIKECARS53, and 1939_Buick for getting me on the right track.

 

SeatLight4.thumb.jpg.db2615e0b8a4410bdaae524b7daa8eca.jpg SeatLight1.thumb.jpg.7aecc25a921d0d4254dd02cca2de0360.jpg
Unusual socket has two leads, and I ultimately learned one was power and one was ground. No ground through the housing itself.

 

I started with the ground wires in the doors and the push-button switches. I bought two new switches from Bob's Automobilia (a little expensive, but no hassles). I was also planning on using new wiring throughout and just skipping what was already there, since I didn't trust any previous work. When I pulled out the driver's side switch, I saw a brand new wire, and better yet, it was already the right color (white). I traced it up through the dash, over the glove box, and down to the other side. OK, it's right where it should be. I can use that. Except, wait, no I can't--they just spliced into some ancient wire that's crumbling. No problem, just cut the wire before the splice and splice in a new ground wire (I am using 14-gauge white wire, although it is not cloth covered--I figured for this project, nobody would ever see it).

 

111818-4.thumb.jpg.5cd4931b7b264e7aec92bd5e99a85f3f.jpg
Huh. New wire on an old switch. OK, I can work with that.

 

111818-6.thumb.jpg.811043c1b3b52104d6532c6ab0f2f0ca.jpg
Fresh spade connector and new push-button switch.

 

 

I ran the new wire over to the passenger side which is where I figured I would connect everything and run it under the carpet to the seat. Fortunately, when I removed the kick panel, I found a big 10-gauge wire with a crude splice--someone in the past installed this to power the divider window. It works, so I'm not going to mess with it, but it's the perfect place to pull power for the courtesy lights. Unlikely that the lights will overwhelm that circuit and we almost never use the divider anyway (I installed a 30-amp fuse on the engine side when I first got the car and got the divider window working, although I never knew where this wire went once it disappeared into the firewall). This was a good source of unswitched +6V power. 

 

111818-5.thumb.jpg.665a4d804bd330e59441441638a73aa9.jpg 111818-7.thumb.jpg.ff14576d9bccf4accfd43d54beb4185f.jpg
Large wire is +6V power for the divider window. Crumbling old wires

are the original ground wires for the push-button switch.

 

OK, so I have my ground wires and my power, now I have to get it to the lights in the seat. I had some armored cable left over from my fog light installation, just about the right amount to go under the carpet from the kick panel to the under-seat area. Perfect! The armored cable lays flat, has power and ground, and shouldn't be damaged laying under the carpet. I connected the white wire to the two ground wires from the push-button switches and the black wire was spliced in with the power wire, a splice I soldered and covered in heat-shrink tubing (in fact, all my joints are soldered and covered in heat-shrink), so it should never have a problem. I also found some neat little wire clips inside the A-pillar that weren't being used, but they were obviously for just this purpose so I used them to secure the wires and ran the armored cable down and under the carpet.

 

111818-10.thumb.jpg.bde52a196843cacb6b3f9f5510d3e004.jpg 111818-11.thumb.jpg.d990a81251b61a9154428a7ed5b293a4.jpg 111818-12.thumb.jpg.9629471376a739d5aaeb91e7fb66ff6f.jpg
Found some neat little factory clips already in place to hold the wires. Note how much neater and safer it is when you do it properly.
Ground wire for push-button switch has a splice that connects it to the driver's side wire and the white wire in the
armored cable (just barely visible at the bottom going through the conduit). Then I ran the cable under the carpet to the seat area.

 

I've hit the photo limit, so I'll finish the installation in the next post.

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To connect the lights under the seat, I needed to make another 3-way splice, with power and ground coming in, then branching off to each light fixture. You'll also note the light fixtures originally used bullet connectors, so that's what I used as well. I don't like the plastic sheath on the modern connectors, and I debated cutting it off, but it does protect the bare connection from shorting out so I left it intact. Nobody will see it and it's safer, but it bugs me to have that bright blue plastic in there. Oh well. I also added a little piece of shrink tubing on each of the light socket's connectors to protect them from shorting out. No exposed conductors that might touch the metal seat frame.

 

111818-15.thumb.jpg.7e6cb73b23bc3de5b45a232b12e20bf2.jpg
On the seat side, I made my splice for the two light fixtures. This
will all tuck under the seat and out of sight, but it was easier to

work on it out here then pull all the wires from inside the seat frame.

 

111818-14.thumb.jpg.05504cbf527f56c4abfc49157cab3a43.jpg 111818-13.thumb.jpg.cc3a3c96a3486248b2e5658f4ef27ac6.jpg
Pull the short pigtails through the mounting holes, install the bullet connectors, then attach the light fixture. I hate
the way those blue plastic bullet connectors look, but they're safe and nobody will ever see them.

 

111818-16.thumb.jpg.598c5bafdf5a5ac9aac5066aef608e82.jpg
Before you button everything up, test the lights. 

 

Once I was certain the light was working, I screwed the socked into place on the seat, then pulled the ground and power leads to the driver's side where I installed two more bullet connectors, attached the light socket, and tested it again. 

 

111818-18.thumb.jpg.956f7d544f0cff4d18b9e8fadedd629e.jpg 111818-17.thumb.jpg.9dbb34d7eb47350c3c7ca05d6c87ddb7.jpg
Pull wires to the driver's side, connect the socket, and test. Nice!

 

Still, it wasn't quite time to celebrate. One push-button switch was damaged when the door slammed on it before I had it installed. Damn it, that's my fault. So I cleaned up one of the old ones and installed it on the driver's side after testing it with my voltmeter, and installed a new one on the passenger's side. I'll order another new one from Bob's and swap it out later. With the switches in place, I closed both doors expecting to see the lights go off. They did not. What the?!? I pulled out both switches and unplugged them to kill the ground path but lo and behold, the lights were still on. There was a stray ground somewhere in the circuit. Scheisse, those are VERY hard to trace. I had a few suspicions, including one of the housings grounding through the seat frame, but if that were the case, wouldn't only that light be on? There had to be a stray ground somewhere else in the circuit. I had all new wiring, so there wasn't a frayed wire somewhere, all my splices were secure and covered in shrink tubing, so what could be causing it? After about two hours of trouble-shooting and testing wires and checking for continuity, I finally found the culprit, and once again, it was some dope in the past who didn't know what he was doing combined with me deciding to trust him.

 

Remember that brand new wire I found on the driver's side connected to the push-button switch? Yeah, that moron somehow spliced in a second wire inside the door pillar and attached that wire to the dashboard as a separate ground. No wonder he couldn't get the lights to work properly--he probably had the same problem I was having right now with the lights not shutting off when he closed the doors. They were permanently grounded so the switches did nothing and the lights were always on (which would explain the hastily cut wires--he probably gave up and just cut them to avoid killing the battery). Clearly he didn't understand how the switches worked, or any of the system for that matter. So I just removed the extra ground wire and then everything worked like it should. See what I mean about never trusting the guy who was there before you? I saw a new wire, it was the right color, the right size, and it was in the right place, but that guy STILL managed to screw it up. Trust nobody!

 

Once I was sure everything was working properly, I secured the wires under the seat using the original clips that were still there. They hold two wires rather neatly and tuck them underneath where they'll never be in the way of the mechanism (it's not like the seat in a limousine moves much anyway). Once the wires were secure, I vacuumed the area, reinstalled the seat, and everything was good to go!

 

111818-21.thumb.jpg.488a05a53a7c48e11ef7ae40186c9b6a.jpg 111818-20.thumb.jpg.14cc059ddd4a9ff7388e0417551c4573.jpg
Heavy-duty little clips under the seat hold the wires securely and safely.

 

111818-19.thumb.jpg.7b4f2b391c8aef461c12c06c575eb1e7.jpg 111818-22.thumb.jpg.2c0dbcf313adca5bfe2b546931282ab2.jpg
Finally done. What should have taken 2-3 hours on a Saturday ended up eating a lot of a weekend just because I had to fight
the hack work that was already there. Don't be that guy! Please! Always do it right so that the job never has to be done
again and future owners won't curse your name.

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dash Lights

 

Speaking of lighting, you guys know I've been on an LED kick trying to get things a bit brighter on the old cars. I found another LED bulb supplier with a greater selection of 6-volt LED bulbs and bought a package of the little BA9S bulbs for our instrument lights. If you look at my earlier LED thread, I found some that I tried but they only threw light forward so they made a few bright hot spots on the plastic faces but didn't light everything up very well at all. I went back to the old incandescents. Then I found these little guys that seemed to be the hot ticket because they shine in all directions:

 

111918-4.thumb.jpg.0a8cd534620b6b01937ca5923619c8c9.jpg

 

 

So I popped them into the dash. Sadly, because of the bundle of snakes wiring that's behind the dashboard (a formerly brand new wiring harness that some dope cut up and re-routed), I broke two of the LEDs trying to fish them back into place--they are extremely delicate. Good thing I always buy more than I need and I had spares. As you can see, the improvement was tangible. The only downside was that the three-position dimmer switch no longer works, but I can't imagine wanting the gauges dimmer--that's why I wanted the upgrade in the first place. Very pleased with this inexpensive upgrade (total cost was less than $10 plus shipping).

 

111918-2.thumb.jpg.0a7c9b8e4d4f5025060cbbb939a8650a.jpg
Left gauge pod and speedometer have LEDs, right gauge pod still incandescent.
This is a SERIOUS improvement over stock, even in the daylight.

 

111918-1.thumb.jpg.af6cf92432bba7857d10b5509054b559.jpg
All LEDs. Nice, right? Even with my tired eyes, I should finally be able to see all
the gauges at night.

 

While installing these LEDs, I realized that the outer two sockets for the gauge aren't for dash lights but for the turn signal indicators (so the outer two pods only have one bulb each, the speedometer has two). I put one in the left-most socket and it wouldn't light up and I figured the bulb was bad, but testing with a known good incandescent and it still didn't light. Then I remembered why. Sadly, my indicators have never worked, so I guess I should add that to the project list.

 

For those of you wondering, these are from http://www.LEDLight.com and the SKU is 23694WW. They are a #1847 BA9S base 6-volt soft white bulb. They also make them in bright white, which might work a little better since the gauges are naturally yellow plastic. I might give them a try to maybe get them to match the bright white LEDs I used in the auxiliary gauges under the dash, but I doubt they'll really be that brilliant. Nah, good enough.

 

493109862_2017-09-1620_21_04.thumb.jpg.684fb30804d296ab980d90acc1bf2337.jpg
Maybe bright white LEDs will match the auxiliary gauges a little better, but probably
not. Better to leave well enough alone, I think...

 

I also bought some LEDs for the dome lights in the Buick, as well as for the front seat lights I just installed. I haven't installed them yet, but that'll be later this week. I also picked up some for the Lincoln's gauges, which are especially dim, but they don't quite fit and haven't figured out why. I'll worry about that after it comes back with a healthy engine. I love lights and making them work well. I don't know why.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great find, Matt.  I have already followed your advice for my tail/brake lights and front and rear turn indicator lights.  I will definitely be picking up some of these bulbs when I do my dashboard project.  Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/19/2018 at 5:24 PM, Matt Harwood said:

They also make them in bright white, which might work a little better since the gauges are naturally yellow plastic. I might give them a try to maybe get them to match the bright white LEDs I used in the auxiliary gauges under the dash...

 

Great story, Matt -- best part is the (ultimately) happy ending!  Looking at the pictures of your new dash illumination I came to exactly the opposite conclusion.  My thought is to go back to incandescent bulbs in your auxiliary gauge pod in an attempt to better match the yellowish glow of the original cluster..  ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem with those aftermarket gauges is that they use modern spade sockets designed for 12 volt bulbs. They had 12V incandescents in them, but obviously they didn't work with 6 volts. The only 6V LEDs I could find were the bright white ones I'm using now. There weren't any soft white ones. I keep checking the various sources and hope to get something a little less harsh, but at least all the gauges are visible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's time to get these manifolds on the car so I can fabricate the exhaust and have it ready to rock. No waiting until the last minute this year!

 

Before I install everything on the car, I want to mock it up in full so I can see how everything fits together, then move it over to the engine in the car. I'm using Remflex gaskets, which are about 1/8-inch thick, thicker than most, and made of a material that doesn't burn. I've had good luck with them before because they don't shrink or blow out, and since I'm dealing with two dissimilar materials with the cast iron intake and the lightweight steel headers, they should handle it. It's probably worth noting that I am not using the copper rings in the exhaust ports, although I probably could given the thickness of the gaskets. They won't fit in the header ports anyway.

 

12-1-18no2.thumb.jpg.31c3de6a7823b7eb5df939581168fd16.jpg
Remflex gaskets are considerably thicker than the usual copper
or laminate gaskets used on the Buick straight-8.

 

I also decided to use studs to mount the manifolds on the block. That'll make it easier to hang both parts in the engine bay. I found these nice studs that are 3/8-16 for in the head and 3/8-24 fine threads for mounting the manifolds. I also bought some locking nuts that won't back off and don't need lock washers, but aren't the standard nylocks so they look right and aren't affected by heat. To get an idea of how everything will fit, I installed the studs, the gaskets, and then hung the manifolds on the engine.

 

12-1-18no1.thumb.jpg.9b8f1c5cb9b42a872b360811dc6ec6c9.jpg 12-1-18no3.thumb.jpg.ba7963321cfaac1935b9a2d43cdaa3e7.jpg 12-1-18no4.thumb.jpg.4c300873ccc83f8a0222f1c8d0df2b3c.jpg

Studs will hold the manifolds in place while I install all the hardware. Everything fits together nicely with no interference. Nice!

 

You'll note that the end holes and the center hole on the header don't support any part of the intake manifold, so I'm just using some bolts with small heads there. The big problem is figuring how how to secure both manifolds now that their flanges are two different thicknesses: the original intake is 3/4-inch thick while the header flange is 3/8-inch. I have two thoughts on this: one, use some spacers that I made from a spare exhaust header flange or two, use some round spacers that would just fit snugly around the stud. For this mock-up, I used the header flange spacers, which fit flush against the pipes with a bit of grinding and finesse. 

 

12-1-18no11.thumb.jpg.b2daef6b9e2e9e88c3a680a03e77fb10.jpg 12-1-18no13.thumb.jpg.8385cd444920c1736708cee9af816e64.jpg
 Center position is simply secured with a bolt. Spacer fits well and makes it easy to secure all the manifolds. I'll have to make 
enough to fit all the slots where there's a stud.

 

I also found these great square washers that are 1/4-inch thick and with some grinding, they fit neatly and hold everything tight. They're thick enough not to flex so I can torque them down and they'll hold everything securely to the head. Remflex recommends 20 ft-lb which seems a little light to me, but we'll start there and see if it leaks. I will say that those spacers and the washers are ridiculously tough to grind for clearance around the tubes. I figured it would take a little touching up, but it turned into a major project where I was only able to make four sets in about three hours of work. They do fit neatly, though.

 

12-1-18no9.thumb.jpg.0684783a3277ee60be79bdfa79e72912.jpg 12-1-18no8.thumb.jpg.e9e9e3ff03bfbb887a2f75bbdfc6b3ed.jpg
Spacers and washers took a lot of work but fit nicely and look great. 

 

12-1-18no11.thumb.jpg.b2daef6b9e2e9e88c3a680a03e77fb10.jpg

The center two studs will have pretty tight clearance so I'm not sure I'll be

able to use studs in there. Maybe bolts of some kind with washers with a little

more clearance ground into them. 

 

I do have to say I'm pretty pleased with how it looks and how it fits together. I don't think many people will notice that it's not stock and most of the header stays out of sight under the intake. The intake itself, despite the modifications, looks totally stock from any angle except right underneath, but nobody will be able to see that once it's in the car. 

 

12-1-18no10.thumb.jpg.b5f36377796bf62f12d8a821982fc690.jpg 12-1-18no6.thumb.jpg.dbd44d1ca63fb84a4f3b0ffde77cbdd1.jpg 12-1-18no7.thumb.jpg.700e77bf03aa81dee80b6442ad1b78a0.jpg 
Everything fits together beautifully and actually looks pretty stock. Most folks won't notice the changes and they certainly don't
look like hot rod parts. There's also plenty of clearance between the intake and the header tubes so heat transfer should be negligible.

 

Tomorrow I'll finish making spacers and square washers. I haven't decided how to finish them yet, but I'm leaning towards just painting the spacers and washer some kind of hi-temperature satin black. That should help them blend in well enough and protect them from corrosion. I'll also install the carburetors and air cleaner just to mock up the full assembly and see how it looks and fits. Once everything is adjusted, we'll just unbolt the old stuff from the engine in the car and bolt the new stuff on. Easy!

 

 

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

 Where did you find the washers?

 

 

Home Depot, believe it or not. Not in the hardware aisle, but over in the electrical supply aisle. They are used to hold conduit into channels that are attached to block walls. I saw them in our building holding some pipes to the wall and figured they would be exactly what I needed.

 

12-2-18no3.thumb.jpg.02f0ea519c5fdddbc99f4627e95351bd.jpg

 

The downside (if it can be called that) is that they are made of some substance which presumably fell to earth from outer space and are therefore tougher than any known material used to make shaping and grinding tools. Each of the washers I used on the engine took about an hour to shape and trim to fit. Each pair is roughly identical (1 and 8, 2 and 7, and so forth) so I was able to use one side as a template for the other, but that didn't really save much time. So I have two days' time invested in grinding washers to fit. Think about that for a moment. TWO DAYS.

 

12-2-18no1.thumb.jpg.37fb9d18b32d7d7edba1ede28e86847a.jpg 
To get that washer into a shape I could use took 
about an hour. That steel is TOUGH.

 

Here's how tough that steel actually is: I burned through FIVE cut-off wheels on my die grinder just trimming them into rough shape. FIVE cut-off wheels for EIGHT washers. The engine is located in the front of the shop in the main showroom by the offices while my bench grinder is in the back in the mechanics's area, which is about 80 yards away. Eventually I got sick of making that walk over and over. I'd grind a little, go see if it would fit, go grind a little more, test it. After about two hours of making that walk back and forth, I went to Home Depot and bought a cheap $50 bench grinder and just plugged that in next to where I was working. I used this bench grinder for ONLY this project and for ONLY EIGHT washers, just to trim them to fit. Note that the grinding wheel (the coarse one) is just about burned down to the nub. Like I said, these stupid washers are made of kryptonite or something.

 

12-2-18no4.thumb.jpg.1074c80572aa5adc38088e10c4346933.jpg
Brand new grinder wheel used up after trimming only eight of these washers.

 

And I almost got everything mocked up, but I ran into one problem, which is that the studs are too long to work in the center two spots. They just barely touch the exhaust tube, and obviously I can't get a nut on there if it's touching. I also tried using a bolt with a small head, but it, too, had some difficulty getting in there. Then I tried pushing the bolt into place while the manifolds were off the engine, and then threading them. Unfortunately, I'm not a five-armed man and there was just no way to keep the two manifolds aligned properly, thread the bolt into the head, AND keep the washer and spacer in place, all while supporting about thirty pounds of metal. And if I can't do it here on the engine stand, there's no way I'm going to be able to do it in the engine bay. I'm going to have to think about solutions--the obvious one is to dimple the exhaust tube, but I really don't want to do that. Maybe a thinner washer of some kind and a shorter stud? Maybe glue the spacer into place? I don't know. I'll have to think on it.

 

12-1-18no11.thumb.jpg.858642cb577ba36b2484c8c91e3dff59.jpg 12-2-18no2.thumb.jpg.9d3205e88d5be813329e4533bced49d8.jpg
I have to figure out how to get fasteners outboard of those two middle ports with the exhaust tubes in the way. Frustrating.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So it has been about six weeks since I started trying to mock up the manifolds and it's been mostly frustrating. I did finish shaping all the square washers, I stamped numbers into all the spacers and washers so I know where they fit and how to orient them, and then I painted them using some high-temp satin black paint so they'll blend in. Progress? Meh.

 

In the post previous to this, you'll note that I was having trouble figuring out how to fasten the bolts around the center exhaust ports since studs were too long. Even with shorter studs, there's just not enough clearance for a nut. I didn't give up; I've spent three or four of the past six weekends trying to find a way to make it work. Ultimately, I've failed every time and it has been unbelievably frustrating. 

 

My first idea was to use some allen-head bolts which are a bit smaller and don't require clearance for a wrench. Close, but nope. I struggled to get it in place AND hold both the intake and exhaust in place AND hold the spacer AND screw the bolt into the head. Nope.


Then I glued the spacer to the header flange so I wouldn't have to hold it and that helped a bit. I was able to get the left side bolt into place, but the right side fought me. As you can see, the angle was still not right--the bolt head was hitting the header tube. You can also see where my allen wrench was scraping the paint off the manifold. The angles just don't work, even with a ball-socket allen wrench. 

 

1-21-19no3.thumb.jpg.91daeb900feac82fd1ef350158db3d9d.jpg 1-21-19no4.thumb.jpg.1e139a374d0d7a133d3ef686df875146.jpg 1-21-19no2.thumb.jpg.280c1f3e61c8e7dc5897724047ca68c6.jpg
That bolt on the right just will not go into place.

 

I really didn't want to dimple the header tube but I was out of patience and out of options. More than once I came close to tearing the whole damned assembly off the engine and smashing it on the ground. THAT is why it has taken six weeks to figure this out--I just had to keep walking away and coming back another day. If I can't install it easily with the engine on the stand, there's no way I'm going to get it to work in the engine bay.

 

So I took a pointed nylon body mallet that wouldn't mar the finish, wrapped the header with a few layers of masking tape, and gave it a few whacks. It definitely put a dimple in the metal and fortunately it was in just the right place...

 

...and it failed. Still not enough clearance. 

 

So I have one last option, and that's a bolt with a small head. This one is a header bolt, but it isn't long enough to handle the 3/4-inch thick flanges, the 1/4-inch thick washer, and the 1/16-inch thick gasket. All the header bolts on the market are, unfortunately, one inch or less. I need 1.75 inches.

 

1-21-19no1.thumb.jpg.9ec54da12178f04db15b78da70ae8416.jpg
I need a bolt with a small head like this, but 1.75-inches

long instead of 1 inch. Is this the answer?

 

After some fairly extensive searching, I found some bolts made for intake manifolds that are 3/8-16 and 1.75 inches long, but... they have 12-point heads. They were insanely expensive (almost $30 for eight of them) but whatever, I'm way past trying to save a buck on any of my cars these days. Since I'm hemorrhaging money, who's going to notice a little more blood on the floor? I wanted 6-point heads so I could use an open-ended wrench to tighten it, but a 12-point doesn't work that way. I am hopeful that I can use a little socket on there, but I am concerned that the outside diameter of the socket will put me back in the same spot I was with the allen-head bolts. There's just not enough clearance.  Maybe a box wrench will work. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

 

61YVtUpPr3L._SX425_.jpg
Can I  make a 12-point bolt work? Who knows?

 

That's a lot of words to say I've made no real progress, but I'll have those new bolts by Wednesday so we'll see what happens from there...

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hang in there, Matt!  I have no doubt that you'll get it done in the end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So close yet still so far...

 

1637627880_2019-01-2217_46_57.thumb.jpg.b5d955e3b0626f0ba340a13be8e0c1ff.jpg

 

I can get the threads started and snug it up a bit by hand, which is better than I could do with the allen bolts, but I definitely need a 6-point bolt so I can use an open-end wrench to tighten it properly. After some fairly extensive time on the Googles, I finally found a fastener that will work perfectly: 3/8-16 x 1.75 with a small 6-point flange head. And it's even drilled for safety wire! Nice!

 

The catch? They're titanium and they cost $13. Each.

 

Guess this ancient Buick is going to get some high tech gear whether it wants it or not...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What  might pass as a simple machine by today's standards still involved a heck of a lot of thought back in the design days of 1938 through 1939 in preparation of producing a 1940 car.  The design team may have even started prior to '38 with carry over use of certain components as well.  You are making one manifold, but Buick was going to make a couple hundred thousand of these things so I wonder if a separate team wasn't dedicated to taking a design such as one as you have prepared and considered every angle possible for ease or speed of assembly.  In short, you've taken on the task of a team!  Nice work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is what $32.84 worth of bolts to fit this application looks like:

 

4954-2.jpg.24fafcfd237934306cebae79b6f90b17.jpg

 

Should have them next week. I'm travelling the week after that, so hopefully they show up before I leave. If these don't work, I'm not quite sure what the next step should be other than putting a bigger dent in the tube. Not excited about that...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

A button head Allen socket type might work for ya. Very impressive fit and finish you've accomplished! Inspirational.

Edited by Guest (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You could grind down the diameter a little bit if needed....but aesthetics aside, you could put a bigger ding in the header without worrying about killing performance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thoughts on machining a shallow circular recess into the washer ?  Or, possibly delete the bolt and use a stud with a hardened jam nut.

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Or how about using an allen head and grinding it to a smaller diameter?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, John_Mereness said:

Thoughts on machining a shallow circular recess into the washer ?  Or, possibly delete the bolt and use a stud with a hardened jam nut.

 

I tried the stud already, but the nut is too large to fit past the tubes. You can see how it worked a bit farther up the page. Same problem as a bolt--not quite a straight enough shot to the bolt hole in the head. And even if I could get it in there, there's just not enough clearance to put a nut on it. All the other holes use studs and jam nuts, but these two in the middle just don't have enough clearance.

 

5 hours ago, Smartin said:

Or how about using an allen head and grinding it to a smaller diameter?

 

I tried that, too. You can see standard allen head nuts not working, but I don't think I could grind it enough to make sufficient clearance and leave enough meat on the head to keep the washers in place. 

 

I've really tried everything. I've combed through the inventory of every hardware supplier on the 'net and found nothing that I could use. I ordered some that looked right, but they showed up and the head was way too big. I tried some flatter button-head allen bolts but the angle of the bolt versus the location of the intake manifold cross-tube, I can't get a wrench onto the bolt, even a ball-socket allen key. You can see in one of the photos above were my allen wrench has scraped the paint off the manifold as I tried to make it fit. 

 

The 12-point bolts I found would work, except I can't get a wrench on them to tighten them, hence the 6-point bolts. Unfortunately, I can't find any 6-point bolts with that tiny 3/8" head that are also 1.75 inches long. Plenty that are 3/4 or 1 inch, but not many that are longer. The 12-points I found are long enough, but I can't grab them with a wrench. Those titanium bolts are the right length, have the right-sized head, and they're 6-point. They're all I could find anywhere that were that configuration.

 

If they work, great. If not, well, I guess I put a bigger dent in the tube. I've resisted doing that simply because it's hack work. It feels like cheating. It's not the right way to do things, and that offends my sense of craftsmanship. If it's the only choice, so be it, but I want to try everything else before I resort to it.

 

In truth, the right thing to do would have been to orient that tube properly. Another 10 degrees downward would have caused zero problems--the one on the left is fine. When I was fabricating, I didn't bother putting bolts in these holes and I probably should have. So that's on me and I'm disappointed by it. I'm also going to let the folks at Sanderson know that they'll need to modify their jig to account for this so that people using this design won't have this problem. Or maybe they already figured it out, I don't know. 

 

We'll know later this week. I'm pretty optimistic these titanium bolts will work. And they'll remove a few fractions of an ounce from the car, so... zoom?

 

Thanks for the advice, guys. We'll get this figured out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Given what you just said, there is the option of making a jig and bolting manifold to it and then putting the manifold in the press and relieving an area to allow for the bolts. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What about a longer bolt with a tube to push on the washer(s) and tighten the bolt onto the tube, outside the pipe? The tube might have a sexy shape to accommodate the pipe.

  • Like 3

Share this post


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

What about a longer bolt with a tube to push on the washer(s) and tighten the bolt onto the tube, outside the pipe? The tube might have a sexy shape to accommodate the pipe.

Cool idea, that's thinking well outside the box.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Spinneyhill said:

with a tube

 

...or a coil spring.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Spinneyhill said:

What about a longer bolt with a tube to push on the washer(s) and tighten the bolt onto the tube, outside the pipe? The tube might have a sexy shape to accommodate the pipe.

 

That's a great idea! I'll try that if those titanium bolts don't fit. I'm sure I could find a way to make it look right. It's mostly hidden under the carburetors anyway, but perhaps something just long enough would work. Thanks for thinking for me--sometimes you get too close to a problem and you can't see any other alternatives. Nice!

  • Like 1

Share this post


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