NZ Buick

1919 Buick Roadster

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NZ Buick,

I want to pass some information along to you that could save you a lot of grief and aggravation.  When you go to pin the starter/generator coupling to the shaft, the 'Oldham' coupling will be in place.  The coupling uses a taper pin to ease in disassembly if needed.  You will want to leave .040" to .050" total linear gap in that coupling.  If you do not do this the starter armature will not be able to 'motor' as it is supposed to do when the ignition switch is turned on.  In other words things will be in a bind.  The armature has to turn to be able to engage the starter sliding gear.  If things do not go back together in this manner you will be taking things back apart to fix it so it will work properly.  A friend of mine passed this on to me before he passed.  He was helping another friend with his S/G unit and he told me that they did this three times before they figured out what was causing the problem.  Hope this will be of some help for you.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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Thanks Terry, information like that is absolutely priceless to someone like me who is trying to piece together a 100 year old puzzle! I have deliberately left that end of the shaft un drilled at this stage so I can set up the coupling with the required clearance once I have the starter generator remounted to the engine. I have been pre occupied doing some study lately but have now just about got the engine ready for the sump to go back on. Only have to replace the old oil pick up screen, install the oil feed pipe and then make some new sump gaskets and it will be ready. 

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NZ Buick,

When you have the engine all back together and ready to set the timing, please post a photo or two and I have some other information that I will pass on to you with regard to that.  My friend, the late Del Carpenter, was extremely helpful to me in the fact that he passed on what he and others had learned the hard way about setting these old engines back together after being torn down.  

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

 

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Thanks Terry that sounds great! I have noticed that when the timing marks on the cam and crank gear are aligned the engine doesn’t appear to be at TDC like I expected is this normal? 

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NZ Buick,

I am going to go ahead and give you the detailed timing procedure now so that you will not have to take some things apart to get the result you are wanting.  You can do this with the engine in the frame or on a stand - either way will work.  Everything works off the number one cylinder.  You will want to base everything off the number one cylinder intake valve.  If you will install the valve cage and pushrod minus the sealing ring (you will want to remove the cage to check for TDC of the piston) you can rotate the crankshaft to the TDC of the piston and work forward from there.  You will want to have the pushrod installed to verify that the intake valve is in proper relation to the piston.  Verifying crankshaft gear and camshaft gear teeth marks are in proper position will be the very first order of business.  Once you are in the proper positions of the piston and camshaft you can go to the starter/generator unit and turn the distributor input so that the rotor is positioned to the number one terminal in the distributor cap.  The timing gear case cover will be removed  so as to verify the gear marks.  By going through these steps you can get the engine timed close enough to get it started.  There is adjustment in the rotor that can be done to get the timing adjustment lever on the steering wheel to operate properly if that is needed.  Once the starter/generator unit has been removed from the engine the odds are pretty good that the distributor drive will have been moved.  The fact that these old engines used a starter/generator like this makes it a little more complicated, but, if you will follow the procedure that I have told you about here, you should not have any problems at all.  Take your time and be very careful and things will fall right in place for you.  If you or anyone else has any questions about going through these steps, please feel free to ask.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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Is it correct that the timing gears are marked with one dot on the crank gear that aligns in between two dots on the cam gear? With these lined up like so it appears to me looking at the cam lobes that cylinder one is beginning it’s intake stroke and cylinder six is just past TDC on its power stroke. In other engines I have mucked around with the timing gear marks are usually a true TDC.

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I would put your front piston (#1) on TDC.  Ensure that you have a good mark on the flywheel, and a good pointer on the bell housing so that you know exactly when you are on TDC.  Is there an opening in the bell housing for the flywheel marks?  Could you put a timing light on it?   On the 1922 Dodge I have worked on, there are no flywheel marks or a hole, and this drives me crazy.  If it were my car, I would put a hole on the bottom of the bell housing and mark the flywheel so that I could see it with a timing light and it still looks like I have not modified anything.  Once your motor is all bolted together, you will wish you had a TDC mark on the flywheel if it is not there already.  The other thing I would do is calculate using the diameter of the flywheel and make a 7 degree before TDC mark on the flywheel.  This will come in handy later for easily setting up the motor ignition timing. 

 

When the Piston is on TDC on these Buick engines, the camshaft timing marks should "mesh", but I don't think that they mesh directly in the line between the camshaft and the crankshaft centerline as you would expect.    Turn the engine to a location just after TDC (shown here as the 1-6 line).  It is less than a tooth after TDC, so pretty easy to find.  This is the point at which the slack is out of #1 inlet valve valve clearance and the valve can begin to open.  I would use this method to check my timing.  This procedure is from the 1925 Buick Standard shop manual. 

 

     

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So I’m gathering from these comments and from the marks on the flywheel which I have now found that the base timing setting for these engines is 7 degrees? I will be making up a piston stop and using it to confirm my true TDC no.1/6 and will time up my distributor from there. It will be slightly different for me as I have modified my distributor internally so it has electronic ignition rather than contact breaker points but the correct timing setting will still be the same I will just fine tune it with a vacuum gauge once I’m happy everything is ok.

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Yes, 7 degrees.  With electronic ignition.   Set the flywheel on the 7 degree mark.  Remove the coil wire from the distributor and use something to hold the end of the coil wire 1/4" away from the block.   Energize the coil.  Rotate the distributor where you lock it down as it just sparks.  

 

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These engines are timed for 7° AFTER TOP DEAD CENTER  (as mentioned in the manual) with the spark lever in the full retard position. That is if you do hand crank the engine to start it, it will not fire and snap back and hurt you as it would with a BTC setting.

The spark lever in the running position will give proper spark advance.

 

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Ah perfect! That answers everything for me! I was wondering  why the 7 degree mark is ATDC on the flywheel. I have used the Hall effect ignition pick up out of a mid 90’s ford falcon distributor inside of mine as a trigger and have also made the falcon cap and rotor fit. For the ignition module I have just used an external Bosch type European hall triggered module. I have used these components as they’re all readily available and very affordable here at the moment.

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This is from the 1919 -20 Reference Book.  I think its pretty much the same as Hugh said.

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hi so Are you changeing to 12 volt to make the electronic ignition work when i did my car up i fitted a hq holden disburter to it just a little lathe work 

kept the points cap etc cheap for replacement parts

Edited by tonybuick (see edit history)

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yes I am converting to 12 volts to make the electronic ignition work. I have basically just grafted the top half of a falcon distributor onto the Buick one making sure I do everything in such a way that I don’t have to modify the Buick parts so should I have to I can return everything back to factory with ease.

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With starter generator being 6 volts, how are you going to deal with that?

Will you have an extra 12V alternator and then use 12 V on the starter? (dangerous to its life)

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The starter generator should have no worries operating on 12 volts I may limit it’s field current with a resistor on the generator side if it is too high but the starter side will just run on 12 volts as it is only used for short bursts. 

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I dont understand how a resistor in the generator field circuit of the generator will allow  it to pump out the 12V.  I am no EE so I am curious.

Right now I am in the process of rebuilding a spare SG for my '18.  Fairly robust unit, but parts are hens teeth I think.

 

I agree the starter shuld bo OK. Mnany 6v starters have live on 12v.

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The generator itself doesn’t know what voltage it is. in a constant current charging system like this it’s the battery that is used to hold the voltage down at 6 volts if there was no battery or load on the system a generator is typically capable of producing 40-50 volts sometimes more sometimes less. The windings for 6 volt are twice as heavy and half as long as 12 volt as a general rule of thumb therefore the armature windings etc are more than capable of producing 12 volt but the field winding is half the length/resistance that it should be for a 12 volt unit which could cause it to heat up in operation at 12 volts therefore in THEORY if you double this resistance of this field circuit you should be able to run the generator in a 12 volt system without it even realising there is a difference. The big thing to remember is that the theory is not always correct as when heat is introduced ohms law goes out the window so to get the right resistor requires some experimenting. also as it is 12 volts the current output needs cutting in half by adjusting the third brush so if the book says to set it at 15amps then 6 or 7amps will be plenty.

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And here it is all sealed up ready to be turned upright and have all the valve gear installed. What are people setting their valve clearances at on these engines??

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