neil morse

Neil's '41 Super Model 51

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Plaid Tour

 

I attended a great local event today.  It was SUCH a pleasure to drive my car over 100 miles (including a lot of long downgrades) and not have to worry once about it popping out of third gear.  I am so used to anticipating it, that it's hard to believe that the problem has actually gone away!

 

My car was the only Buick in the crowd, but there were plenty of other nice cars there, to be sure.

 

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@Grimy (George) was there with his magnificent '34 Pierce Silver Arrow (not Grimy in the pic -- just a bystander).  I was fortunate enough to drive behind this car for a few miles and it looks even better in motion than it does standing still.  "Majestic" is the word that comes to mind.

 

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Also present was this very nice '31 Plymouth PA sedan with great period "air conditioning."

 

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Sure is great when a repair does what it is meant to do.  Congratulations.  I understand the "anticipation" bit. I kept grimacing  when shifting into 3rd. But no grind!  And no bearing howl. Now have to listen to the FAN!

 

  Ben

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Here's another pic from today -- following George's Silver Arrow, with a wonderful Buick speedster in between.  (Okay, I was wrong when I said that my car was the only Buick at the event because I forgot about the "one-off" speedster made from a 1919 Buick chassis and engine.)

 

Plaidtour3.thumb.jpg.941b6ec02fcd2d25412cc8f2e03b7fef.jpg

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

Sure is great when a repair does what it is meant to do.  Congratulations.  I understand the "anticipation" bit. I kept grimacing  when shifting into 3rd. But no grind!  And no bearing howl. Now have to listen to the FAN!

 

  Ben

 

Thank you, yes, it's great when things work out, isn't It?  So glad to hear that your repair worked out as well.

 

Neil

Edited by neil morse (see edit history)

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Thank you, Neil!  It was great to see you and your Buick again, and having a chance to admire the beautiful instrument cluster you worked so long and hard to achieve.

 

And it was a great relief for me, being ahead of you on downgrades, that your pop-out-of-3rd-gear issue has been successfully resolved!  🙂

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Thank you for your kind words, George.  Always a pleasure to see you, too!

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Oil Pan and Pump

 

With a shut in order in place, I was looking around for another project to take on so I decided to finally drop the oil pan on my car and take a look at the oil pump.  First, I had to seek advice on the technical forum because I couldn't figure out how to get to the front bolts on the pan.  I got immediate and welcome help, as I figured I would.

 

I followed Dave Stovall's step-by-step procedure, and got the pan off pretty easily.  The only difficulty was (as Dave warned me) the four bolts -- two on each side -- that are in between the front bolts and the remaining openly accessible ones.  These are hard to reach, but with a socket extension, a U-joint, and a lot of patience, I eventually got them out.  The only thing I would add to Dave's list is a tip I got from Don Micheletti.  I got two 2" bolts and put one on each side before I used a screwdriver and a hammer to finally pry the gasket loose.  This way the pan was caught by the two long bolts when it dropped.  Also, as indicated in the other thread, I actually had to remove the pump before I could wrestle the pan all the way out because the bottom of the pump was hanging up on the forward baffle in the pan.  Here's how it looked when I got the pan and pump out.

 

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The pan has about 1/4" to 1/2" of sludge in the bottom, which I guess is pretty typical.  The pump looks fine, but the pick-up screen was pretty clogged up with the same kind of sludge.

 

oil_pump3.thumb.jpg.248ce22701461af32cbffe31a9ec858d.jpg

 

The plate at the bottom of the pump didn't look too bad, but I will go through the routine of sanding it smooth to see if it gives me a little more oil pressure.  (My car's pressure is okay, but not great.  It's about 45 lbs. on cold start, but goes down to 10 lbs. at idle when hot.  It maintains about 30 to 35 under load when warmed up.)

 

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So that's all for now.  I have the messy job of cleaning up the pan and then plan on giving it a new coat of Dante Red.  I also have to clean up the screen and then sand the plate and check the clearance with Plastigauge.  Standby for more reports.

 

 

 

 

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One further photo: Here's what my crankshaft looks like.  The pistons look very new, which is good news.  (As I've said earlier in this thread, I don't have a good history on this car, and don't know what has been done to the engine -- although it runs very well.)

 

Crank.thumb.jpg.b8bcb58be18ff23046bf46e20c357c80.jpg

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Posted (edited)

If it ain't broke, don't fix it! Please don't let anyone tell you to pull a main bearing cap or two and check the clearances, "just in case." Yes, maybe it's a good idea, but at the same time, it can lead you down a road of misery if things go sideways. Remember when someone told me to pull the bearing caps in my Limited rear end "just to have a look" and I dropped one and broke it? Yeah, don't let that be you. If it's running well, button it back up and go drive it!

 

Also remember to pack the oil pump with Vaseline before you put it back in so it can pull a prime when you fire it up.

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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Yes, thanks for that advice, Matt, although I had already come to the same conclusion.  Dealing with main bearings is way beyond my job description, at this point, and I agree that there is no indication that anything is wrong with them at present -- so that's the way I'm going to leave them!

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1 hour ago, neil morse said:

The plate at the bottom of the pump didn't look too bad, but I will go through the routine of sanding it smooth to see if it gives me a little more oil pressure.  (My car's pressure is okay, but not great.

 

If you sand it you run the risk of increasing the clearance between the plate and gears and losing more oil pressure.  The fix for a weak oil pump is usually to install a plate to take up the clearance caused by wear.  I do not know if a plate is made for your engine but suggest it probably is. 

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If that stuff on the pickup screen is hard carbon chunks you have either broken or severely worn piston rings.

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2 hours ago, JohnD1956 said:

 

If you sand it you run the risk of increasing the clearance between the plate and gears and losing more oil pressure.  The fix for a weak oil pump is usually to install a plate to take up the clearance caused by wear.  I do not know if a plate is made for your engine but suggest it probably is. 

 

This is all new to me, of course, but I am just following the procedure that has been very frequently suggested on this forum as a fix for low oil pressure.  I'm also not understanding how sanding the plate could result in increasing the clearance.  As long as you make sure you're sanding it perfectly flat (by putting the sandpaper on a perfectly flat surface -- a piece of glass in my case), aren't you going to inevitably decrease the clearance?

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37 minutes ago, neil morse said:

 

This is all new to me, of course, but I am just following the procedure that has been very frequently suggested on this forum as a fix for low oil pressure.  I'm also not understanding how sanding the plate could result in increasing the clearance.  As long as you make sure you're sanding it perfectly flat (by putting the sandpaper on a perfectly flat surface -- a piece of glass in my case), aren't you going to inevitably decrease the clearance?

 

Think in terms of "sanding off" the old finish.  To get it flat you would be removing material from the high spots to get to the low spot.  The low spot however, is where there is already too much clearance. 

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I'm always ready to learn new things, but I'm afraid I really don't follow what you're saying.  In this situation, surely the low spots were only "low" in relation to the "high" spots.  They actually were indentations in the plate.  Once the plate is sanded perfectly smooth, they will no longer be low.  The whole plate will have a uniform clearance from the gears that is less than the previous "low" spots.  I don't think your "sanding off old finish" analogy makes sense in this context.  Anyhow, I don't want to argue with you -- we will just have to agree to disagree.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, old-tank said:

If that stuff on the pickup screen is hard carbon chunks you have either broken or severely worn piston rings.

 

The little chunks on the screen are not hard.  They crumble very easily in my fingers.  Also, my car does not smoke or burn oil, so I don't think it's got bad rings.

Edited by neil morse (see edit history)
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Neil, I , too, am not sure what JD is thinking.  Your method is what I have always used.  Go for it!  Actually , your engine is pretty clean. I have seen the pump screen so plugged oil could only pass through the center hole.

 

  Ben

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2 hours ago, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

Neil, I , too, am not sure what JD is thinking.  Your method is what I have always used.  Go for it! 

 

@neil morse And @Ben Bruce aka First Born.   I will defer to your experiences with engines of this vintage.  In the interest of discussion only, not arguing, my experience comes from the oil pumps on the Buick 350- 455.  These may be substantially different from yours.  At any rate,  in some cases these later V8's develop low oil pressure because the cavity of the oil pump gets scarred or gouged by the gears of the pump itself.  Since the oil pump requires a certain clearance between the gears and the cover, when a cavity gets scarred or gouged the clearance on one or both gears is increased, and the oil pressure goes down.  To fix that a plate is installed in the cavity with new gears and that returns the clearance to it's original spec.  I applied that theory to your engine.

 

In my application of that theory I thought that if there was scaring from one or both of your gears, and you sanded your plate flat, then to get it flat you would have to sand to the bottom of the deepest gouge.  By doing so I figured that would open up the gap between the gears and the top or bottom of the cavity and thus change your oil pressure to a lower value.  But I will acknowledge that I could be incorrect and thus my earlier post should be disregarded.

 

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And now that i have thought about it more and looked at some rebuilding kits I realize that I was incorrect in my application of theory. Sanding the oil pump cover flat is right and the plate would be for the inside of the pump body where it would be much more difficult to get a flat surface. So with all these wasted digits I would say my earliest post on this topic is definitely incorrect.  My apologies. Moving on...

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No need to apologize, John.  I was actually just logging on to say I was going to send you a PM -- my intention being to take another stab at trying to help you get this straight.  You saved me the effort! 😄

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1 hour ago, JohnD1956 said:

And now that i have thought about it more and looked at some rebuilding kits I realize that I was incorrect in my application of theory. Sanding the oil pump cover flat is right and the plate would be for the inside of the pump body where it would be much more difficult to get a flat surface. So with all these wasted digits I would say my earliest post on this topic is definitely incorrect.  My apologies. Moving on...

 

 Hey, we have all been there. Few can know them all. Before starting work on George, eleven or so years ago, I thought I KNEW Buicks.  Not at ALL.  I have learned a lot. Enough to realize I am a novice yet.

 

 Ben

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Automotive Archaeology

 

From the picture I posted earlier, you can see that the pistons on my car look quite new.  Today, I confirmed that the con rods and rod bearing caps are stamped with numbers indicating the cylinders (1 through 8).  According to Don Micheletti, this indicates that the engine was rebuilt by a professional shop at some point.  Good news!

 

rod.thumb.jpg.4cb2c2e4f16b7fa82067cb8474c87c81.jpg

 

 

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Pack the gears only (I have actually seen people pack the entire pump and that is BAD) or pull the coil wire and turn it over until you have built oil pressure. 

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13 minutes ago, John_Mereness said:

Pack the gears only (I have actually seen people pack the entire pump and that is BAD) or pull the coil wire and turn it over until you have built oil pressure. 

 

So ... I have read some conflicting things about the procedure when putting the pump back in.  Several people have mentioned the importance of packing the gears with Vaseline.  I have also been told to pack the gears with grease.  On another thread (from a reputable source), the recommendation before reinstalling the pump is "Pour oil into the new-rebuilt oil pump to fill it and "prime" it.  You can feel the resistance of the gears when it fills with oil."  In any case, the idea of pulling the coil wire and turning over the engine to build up pressure seems like a good precaution.  Comments?

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