neil morse

Neil's '41 Super Model 51

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Checking Dimmer Switch

 

Here's a little video of me checking the operation of the headlights and dimmer switch after I hooked up the wiring to the switch.  

 

 

 

When I embarked on this project, I was nervous about whether I was going to be able to do it.  I kept imagining laboriously hooking everything up and waiting for the "big day" when I connected the battery to see if everything worked.  Now that I'm into it, I am so glad to find that there are plenty of ways to check on your work as you go along.  It's really pretty damn simple when it comes down to it! 

Edited by neil morse (see edit history)
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 @neil morseThanks for advising how it is going.  Glad to hear it is a bit easier than you expected.  You should be driving it again real soon.

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You're welcome, John.  I'm actually not in a hurry, which makes things easier.  I will keep you all posted on my progress.

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Wiper Towers

 

A post by Matt Harwood about the rubber seals around the wiper towers made me realize that I needed to do something about the ones on my car. I didn't even know that the seals were supposed to be there.  No wonder water leaked down from the cowl to the floor mat when I washed the car!  Also, the rare times when I tested my wipers (since I very rarely drive my car in the rain), I could see that the towers were loose and moved a bit from side to side.  I figured that if there was ever a time to try to do something about this, it was now when I had everything under the dash taken apart.

 

First thing was to remove the defroster ducts.  As far as I can tell, the position of these ducts makes it absolutely impossible to reach the nuts holding the wiper towers in place.  (I'm saying this in a qualified way since Matt says that he was able to access these nuts with the defroster ducts in place -- all I can say is that Matt must have a very skinny wrench!)  Unfortunately, I do not have a photo of the ducts -- I find "under dash" photography to be a bit too challenging.  But anyhow, I was able to remove both ducts, which are each secured by two sheet metal screws.

 

Here's what the wiper towers looked like when I removed them:

 

wipertowers.jpg.6f23e855b7a15da477073a5976f170e7.jpg

 

wipertowers2.jpg.47a3204852ad5e98936184e9bae2d0e8.jpg

 

You can see the calcified remains of the rubber seals stuck to the base of each tower.  After some concerted effort with a screwdriver and some acetone (plus removing and wire brushing the nuts and lock washers that secure the bottom shaft) they looked like this.  (I also cleaned a re-lubricated the "chain drive" as best I could -- I had no interest in disassembling it!)

 

wipertowers3.thumb.jpg.736c95cd888c4d773f8d51d812b4b679.jpg

 

I got new seals from Steele.  Here's a pic showing the new seal on one of the towers, plus the bracket and bolt that holds the tower in place:

 

wipertowers4.jpg.966a4643f8c64bf1f4d6deb4fd63bacd.jpg

 

Tower back in place with the new seal.  My towers are now secure and hopefully leak proof.

 

wipertowers5.jpg.a2f8a3267c01da5d855eb58ba49b759e.jpg

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Ammeter/Temperature Gauge

 

Part of my rewiring project involves also rebuilding my ammeter/temp. gauge, which as you can see had been completely cooked from years of exposure to the sun.

 

Temp_Ammeter.thumb.jpg.ab9d3747ad5e222a8cc1e11568a07e9a.jpg

 

I found NOS gauge heads on Ebay for both parts.  As I have discussed previously in this thread, the temp. gauge appeared to be DOA, but after sending it to an expert I was happy to find that it just needed to calibrated.  I tested it in boiling water when I got it back, and the needle moved all the way, so I was happy with it.  However, in getting it ready to put into the car, I realized that I hadn't checked it against a thermometer so I really didn't know how accurate it was.  So I got out a saucepan of water again, but this time I put a thermometer in the pan to check it.

 

As before, boiling water sent the needle all the way to the right:

 

220.thumb.jpg.3d65c3f96d184d98ae34221076b15873.jpg

 

At 180 degrees, it was just about dead center, right on the money.

 

180.thumb.jpg.b4b6abcf775701d94fe132eecf8a8a79.jpg

 

Today, I checked the ammeter by putting it in a circuit with the headlights.  It worked great!  (After I made this little video, I tweaked the needle a tiny bit because it wasn't quite lining up to zero with no current.)

 

 

Ever onward and upward!

 

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Neil,

The work that you are doing looks great. I know there was quite a discussion about the engine turning of the dash. What is the plan in that regards? Also, can you tell me (now that your dash is mostly disassembled) how is the dash secured to the car?

Thanks,

 

Mike 

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Thanks, Mike.  I'm not planning on doing anything to fix my dash panels other than clean them thoroughly (and carefully).  My glove box door is almost perfect, and my instrument panel has the areas you can see in the photo above where someone polished off the pattern with overly-aggressive attempts at cleaning.  As I've said before, my goal here is just to end up with a strong and reliable driver, and I don't feel it's worth it to spend a big chunk of money getting the panels refinished.

 

The instrument panel is held onto the dashboard with five nuts that go onto studs in the panel.  This pic is not the panel from my car, but it shows how the panel is attached:

 

dashpanel4.thumb.jpeg.064a82d4846524e7f981b2a0ac683e64.jpeg

 

The gauges are then held onto the back of the panel by the smaller studs.  Getting to the nuts that hold the panel on is a bit of a challenge, but nowhere near as hard as I thought it was going to be.  Once you get the radio supports and the big chrome piece off, access to the area behind the panel is much better.  The trickiest nut is the one in the upper left-hand corner, but a deep socket and a U-joint got the job done.

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Turn Signal Circuit

 

Another test today.  As you can see from the video, I have completed my rebuild of my charge indicator/temp. gauge, and I've started working on the wiring under the dash.

 

 

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A banner day today.  I got enough hooked up to run the car, so I was able to fire it up and check out all my work.  Here she is out of the garage for the first time in a month.

 

startup3.thumb.jpg.492f3169fbae6936714deb6db8013426.jpg

 

New charge indicator/temp. gauge working:

 

startup1.thumb.jpg.c080de6617b4a974dd21136f767690b8.jpg

 

Gas/oil pressure gauge working:

 

startup2.thumb.jpg.b92301926edeb3543ba0e32829b12a2c.jpg

 

Dash still not together, but enough to test everything:

 

startup6.thumb.jpg.159ae612786bbeb6dd98c0b3bcad78d7.jpg

 

Special seat -- cinder blocks and an old silk pillow -- the lap of luxury!

 

startup4.thumb.jpg.ae53c28572e23404cf96d1d2784d5702.jpg

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What Started it All

 

When I bought this car, I knew that I couldn't live with the charge indicator/temp. gauge in its current condition:

 

1505548013_Temp_Ammeter(2).thumb.jpg.0194fa0b2dfe51cc67bbd467ac06e29f.jpg

 

That's what led me to start looking under the dash and figuring out what I needed to do to replace this.  When I looked under the dash, it was immediately evident that the forward wiring harness had to be replaced.  As we all know, the most dangerous six words in the old car hobby are, "As long as I'm in there." But in my case, there really wasn't any choice.  The wiring looked so scary that I wasn't comfortable leaving my car in the garage without disconnecting the battery.

 

So I was very happy today to replace my old charge indicator/temp. gauge with this:

 

startup1.jpg.7a4fa1cd7265c729cb7ee86b8bec76b7.jpg

 

Notice that the fonts are different.  I haven't figured this out -- maybe there were different fonts for 1940 and 1941, but now the font on my charge indicator/temp gauge matches the font for the gas/oil pressure gauge.

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Great news, Neil!

All you have to do is button it up.

 

I am probably a week behind you. I am still removing

wires from under the hood. I identify and label as I go.

 

Your postings are truly helpful and encouraging!

Thanks for all your help.

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Nice work Neil.  Having the car off the road for a month doesn't seem so bad, but then you've got a nice driver there.  I've got a project on one car that at every turn of progress a new unforeseen problem becomes manifest and delays me until the next part shipment.

 

I'm curious about the font difference as well.  It seems that our listed 1940-41 Buick expert(s) do not participate in the forum so our search for details on authenticity takes a little more time.  I've started another thread seeking information on this detail. Thanks for noting the detail.  After some recent '40/'41 authenticity questions, I'd submit that we've begun to raise a new crop of experts.

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I never noticed that about the fonts on the gauges. I'm going to do some looking and I'll post whatever I find on Ken's gauges thread.

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Speedometer

 

This is what my speedo looked like when I bought my car:

 

1910620645_IMG_1513(2).thumb.jpg.9c9a3e9a88cfb3fc839143161cc6f6db.jpg

 

I had it rebuilt and recalibrated by a local speedometer shop, and did a cosmetic restoration that involved using a reproduction part for the plastic face.  It was okay, but the ivory plastic piece had a greenish tinge that I wasn't too happy about.  Then, just when I was getting ready to put it back in the car, I felt very fortunate to find this NOS face for sale online:

 

speedo_face.thumb.jpg.135da5ad9b3416e265f4110776124e51.jpg

 

I substituted the new face for the reproduction, and I'm very happy with the result:

 

speedo_done2.thumb.jpg.dba3206099def9333c68d3a3a8820c85.jpg

 

I'm just about ready to reinstall the instrument panel, and then I have to put the rest of the dash back together.  All in all, this has been a very satisfying project!

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1 hour ago, neil morse said:

Speedometer

 

This is what my speedo looked like when I bought my car:

 

1910620645_IMG_1513(2).thumb.jpg.9c9a3e9a88cfb3fc839143161cc6f6db.jpg

 

I had it rebuilt and recalibrated by a local speedometer shop, and did a cosmetic restoration that involved using a reproduction part for the plastic face.  It was okay, but the ivory plastic piece had a greenish tinge that I wasn't too happy about.  Then, just when I was getting ready to put it back in the car, I felt very fortunate to find this NOS face for sale online:

 

speedo_face.thumb.jpg.135da5ad9b3416e265f4110776124e51.jpg

 

I substituted the new face for the reproduction, and I'm very happy with the result:

 

speedo_done2.thumb.jpg.dba3206099def9333c68d3a3a8820c85.jpg

 

I'm just about ready to reinstall the instrument panel, and then I have to put the rest of the dash back together.  All in all, this has been a very satisfying project!

It looks great, Neil.  I like your attention to detail!

I have a way to go with the wiring. The harness is ‘in place’. Connections come next.

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Another banner day here for this project -- everything back in the instrument panel, and the panel back in the dash.  Getting the gauges back in the panel and the panel back in the dash was the most challenging part of the project, no question about it.  I'm hoping it will all pretty much be downhill from here on -- I just have to put the rest of the dash back together, install the switches, radio, glove box, etc.

 

dashpanel5.thumb.jpg.c472a5307021257c512d160d4088c3ad.jpg

 

 

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Hey Neil

            Picked these up today. Hope one pair is correct. Lemme know please. Thanx!20191017_164654.thumb.jpg.26f5095dac3524fb295a0d4fbc95dd7c.jpg

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Hi Greg:

 

Thanks, the bottom pair look like what was on my car.  I will call you. 

 

Neil

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Touch Up Paint

 

I wanted to post some information that might be helpful to others who are looking for touch up paint to match the color of their car.  My car has an "older" paint job that's in pretty good shape, but there were a bunch of chips and dings that I wanted to take care of.  Also, as I posted earlier, the cowl vent was never properly repainted and had a stripe of primer right across the middle.

 

We have very strict environmental laws in California that made it pretty much impossible (as far as I could figure out) to find any oil-based paint locally.  I'm pretty sure that paint on my car is lacquer.  I went online and located an outfit in Florida called "Dr. ColorChip."  https://www.drcolorchip.com/  I sent them one of the door jamb switches from my car, and they used it to do a color match.

 

I bought a one oz. bottle of touch up for starters, and was very happy with the color match.  I then ordered an additional spray can ($30.00) so I could take care of the cowl vent problem.

 

Here's are before and after photos on the cowl vent:

 

cowlvent2.thumb.jpg.9b5326e1415b1a2d9c548a9944bd2255.jpg

 

cowlvent7.thumb.jpg.d498b659c4d1256ba32243a833502151.jpg

 

Here's what the paint looks like:

 

paint3.jpg.2ab0d3e533cab598221513551c140515.jpg

 

The spray can actually came from a company in Wisconsin even thought it was supplied through Dr. ColorChip:

 

paint2.jpg.077efdb0f73b530595382871a4a1206c.jpg

 

I was very pleased with the results, and would recommend the good doctor to anyone looking for a good paint match.  The people were very nice on the phone, and the orders were handled very efficiently.

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On 10/17/2019 at 7:36 PM, neil morse said:

Another banner day here for this project -- everything back in the instrument panel, and the panel back in the dash.  Getting the gauges back in the panel and the panel back in the dash was the most challenging part of the project, no question about it.  I'm hoping it will all pretty much be downhill from here on -- I just have to put the rest of the dash back together, install the switches, radio, glove box, etc.

 

dashpanel5.thumb.jpg.c472a5307021257c512d160d4088c3ad.jpg

 

 

 

 I like those a lot better than the 1950.

 

  Ben

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4 hours ago, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

 I like those a lot better than the 1950.

 

In my modest, completely unbiased, opinion 😁, the '40 and '41 Buick dash is one of the most attractive of any mass-produced car.  One of the reasons I ended up with my '41.

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On 9/12/2019 at 4:38 PM, neil morse said:

A banner day today.  I got enough hooked up to run the car, so I was able to fire it up and check out all my work.  Here she is out of the garage for the first time in a month.

 

startup3.thumb.jpg.492f3169fbae6936714deb6db8013426.jpg

 

New charge indicator/temp. gauge working:

 

startup1.thumb.jpg.c080de6617b4a974dd21136f767690b8.jpg

 

Gas/oil pressure gauge working:

 

startup2.thumb.jpg.b92301926edeb3543ba0e32829b12a2c.jpg

 

Dash still not together, but enough to test everything:

 

startup6.thumb.jpg.159ae612786bbeb6dd98c0b3bcad78d7.jpg

 

Special seat -- cinder blocks and an old silk pillow -- the lap of luxury!

 

startup4.thumb.jpg.ae53c28572e23404cf96d1d2784d5702.jpg

Always nice to see the work of a professional upolstery/block layer person. 

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9 minutes ago, 2carb40 said:

Always nice to see the work of a professional upolstery/block layer person.

 

Why thank you, Greg.  I also thought I did a pretty good job with those cinder blocks. 😜

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Back on the road

 

Everything is back together, and I've had a successful shake down cruise.  Here she is today after a good wash:

 

washed.jpg.d79f07cec59c5a54e5c7c646741f4f88.jpg

 

The dash is all back together and looks great -- I also added a new horn button I got off eBay (but now my steering wheel looks more shabby than ever -- typical problem!).

 

dash3.thumb.jpg.1ffe479b1a271e2c83cf77acf5f171ea.jpg

 

LED's in my instrument lights (Thank you, @Matt Harwood for the idea) make everything sparkle at night.

 

Instlights.jpg.47a34ebac3daa6fd2c246d8b3d8cafbd.jpg

 

Also, thanks to Matt's suggestion, my directional signal arrows are nice and green.

 

greenarrow.jpg.8e7fad55fa3ba1a6424e9cf7ba71a393.jpg

 

So I'm very happy with my rewiring job.  By the way, the harness from Rhode Island Wire Services was perfect in every way (as were their charts and instructions), and I would recommend them without reservation to anyone looking for a new harness.

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