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1979 Buick Estate Wagon Limited - Southern Belle


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Y'all can discuss torque and performance all you want, it's rather a mute point to me since Saturday when I floor boarded it from a stand still at the bottom of the steep hill just below my house (some of you know the one of which I speak I'm sure) and once I gained traction she pulled the hill lickety split. While I appreciate the suggestions of improving performance, the whole idea of buying the car was to side step the process of swapping rear ends , transmissions and possibly the engine of one of my '54's.  Southern Belle is basically a turn the key and go quality tow for the size trailer we are looking for.  Of course there are some things I will be seeking help from you all on but at this time I'm pleased with the performance end. Thanks again for the suggestions though. 

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5 hours ago, avgwarhawk said:

Very nice! I am and always will be a wagon fan.   Thanks to two 1973 Buick Estate wagons from my past.   Enjoy! 

 

Thanks Chris! This is my second Buick wagon, the first being a rust bucket 65 Sportwagon.   Rita really likes her too and can't wait to take her to get this years Christmas tree. 

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1 minute ago, MrEarl said:

 

Thanks Chris! This is my second Buick wagon, the first being a rust bucket 65 Sportwagon.   Rita really likes her too and can't wait to take her to get this years Christmas tree. 

My wife seems to prefer Large Marge to her 17 Encore.  It's just plain roomier. 

 

Does the rear seat fold down in Southern Belle? I know that when I put the rear seat down in Large Marge, I can lay a full sized 4 x 8 sheet of plywood flat on the floor thanks to the two-way tailgate / rear door.

 

Bench seats mean that you can sit close to you sweety as well. ?

 

Ed

 

PS - You need to ad Southern Belle to your signature.

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1 hour ago, RivNut said:

My wife seems to prefer Large Marge to her 17 Encore.  It's just plain roomier. 

 

Does the rear seat fold down in Southern Belle? I know that when I put the rear seat down in Large Marge, I can lay a full sized 4 x 8 sheet of plywood flat on the floor thanks to the two-way tailgate / rear door.

 

Bench seats mean that you can sit close to you sweety as well. ?

 

Ed

 

PS - You need to ad Southern Belle to your signature.

 

Tha's affirmative on all accounts (or is that "all counts" Mr English Major ?)  See pictures above. And the front  55 / 45 front seat is indeed very conducive to holding hands on the armrest and leaning over for a snuggle evrery once in awhile. Or move the arm rest for some real action?  In fact Rita happened to ask why don't we sit close like we use too. I told her " not sure hon, but if you notice, I haven't moved" ?

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On ‎2017‎-‎11‎-‎26 at 12:01 PM, MrEarl said:

During my 2 hour drive home from picking the car up from Bruce's in Marietta, window down, cruising along about 65, I heard what sounded like a balloon pop. When I arrived home, much to my dismay I discovered what the "pop" had been.

Note here, before leaving Bruce’s  a slit in the woodgrain and a bubble just above / behind it.

 

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Apparently the wind had gotten in behind the woodgrain vinyl and literally burst, leaving what you see here.

 

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Needless to say, a bit upsetting. 

 

 

Ouch!  When I purchased my EW, the same thing appeared to have happened around each door handle.  At every corner was a quarter sized piece of woodgrain missing.  Given how clean the paint was underneath and the fact there was no residual adhesive remaining, the same thing must have happened.  Luckily I have a small bit of replacement di-noc so on a nice hot day, I created some templates from tinfoil pressed into the gap and carefully cut and placed small pieces of di-noc in the 8 missing areas... tedious but easy.  Given the age and weathering of the di-noc on the car, the match isn't perfect, but it does end up looking passable for what I use the car for. 

 

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Edited by dmfconsult (see edit history)
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Veneer coming off,,,,,, reminds me of a friend that had a car with veneer on many interior trim pieces.  He and his wife took their young relative to the zoo, driving home he kept hearing a snapping noise.  He kept an eye in the mirror, and the young one was sitting quiet and looking out the window.  He continued to hear the snapping, well when he got home he took a look in the back,  well, the kid had picked off most of the veneer,  NOT A NICE FIND.

 

Fitty fo, just be glad that kid didn’t get close to your wagon,   That was his BUBBLE WRAP.  

 

Dale in Indy

 

 P.S. I’m making progress on my BUICK SIXTEEN.  Two Straight Eights hooked end to end in my 36” long race car model. I’m keeping FItty Fo posted with pic’s.  It’s my most involved/detailed piece.  No Visor though. Got to love that Ben.

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  • 1 month later...

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The average dog is a nicer person than the average person. Andy Rooney

No Elvis I did not just refer to you as average. You’re above average... slightly...

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3 hours ago, old-tank said:

Elvis reminds me of one of my childhood dogs that my father aptly named "Pot Licker".  Sorry Elvis!

 

probably some kin. Boy's got a tongue!! can scoot a 12 inch bacon skillet across the kitchen floor in about 3 seconds flat, therefore negating the need for me to wash it. Tha's my boy Elvis!!

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On 2017-11-26 at 9:31 AM, MrEarl said:

 

Thanks Kevin! Re the seats, I have never been a fan of hot in the summer and cold in the winter vinyl seats and was pleased that the original owner apparently ordered the optional "Trim 766-55/45 seat in tan cloth front-vinyl rear " seats. (see last item on the window sticker above) But gotta admit that tan vinyl is gorgeous. 

As for Elvis riding in the back seat, I have a feeling the back seat may have seen it's last daylight as he really likes the full length floor in the back. 

 

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Probably a good move to have Elvis guard the "luggage" underneath. ??

 

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The Reatta is set up that way [only a lot smaller area]. Our German Shepherd really likes the "flat" area to lay in. Still room for the wife and I and plenty of storage in the trunk. All about the "creature" comforts...

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  • 4 weeks later...
43 minutes ago, RivNut said:

CSA ?

 

No sir!!!  Southern States of America. The states Southern Belle will be towing a travel trailer through, some day!  Big Red the Tahoe will take on  the northern and northwestern states.

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33 minutes ago, MrEarl said:

 

No sir!!!  Southern States of America. The states Southern Belle will be towing a travel trailer through, some day!  Big Red the Tahoe will take on  the northern and northwestern states.

Similar outlines, just curious.  If you make it to Missouri, you might as well venture into Kansas. Many wineries, and craft breweries in the northeast corner of the state.  ??????

 

Plus the hospitality center at Raner's Riviera Restoration Ranch.

Edited by RivNut (see edit history)
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Oh, we’ll definitely make a point of hitting Kansas. I like that style of barbecue and  Boulevard Beer and definitely want to stop by the RRRR?

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6 hours ago, MrEarl said:

Oh, we’ll definitely make a point of hitting Kansas. I like that style of barbecue and  Boulevard Beer and definitely want to stop by the RRRR?

You could kill two birds with one stone.  The 2018 ROA event is about 15 miles from the RRRR.

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2 hours ago, RivNut said:

You could kill two birds with one stone.  The 2018 ROA event is about 15 miles from the RRRR.

AND, if you're attending the BCA National, June 19-23, head straight east through CO & KS and attend the ROA National, June 25-28.

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  • 1 month later...

Could have sworn I posted these Griswald cousins a few times removed Christmas photos before but perhaps not. So for the sake of historical notation:

 

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Friday, the love and joy of my life Rita,  joined me in retirement from the Athens-Clarke County Government, she from Landscape Management and me 5 years ago from Public Works Engineering. Combined we worked almost 80 years to make ACC a more beautiful and better place to live for all Athenians. We met at work back in the summer of ‘79, she a pretty little girl of 23 on the flower crew and me an aging 29 year old wild hippy surveyor. 

 

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The Mayor and old friend presenting the Greek Athena award

 

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Isn’t she beautiful   V

 

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My son Jordan V

 

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We now have a pair of Athena’s  on the mantle 

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And banana pudding 

 

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41 minutes ago, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

What a ride!  Congratulations, folks. 

 

 Almost a shame to cut into that cake. Almost.

 

  Ben

 

Thanks Ben!

 

Actually, the real ride is only about to begin. We leave tomorrow morning on our way to just above Peoria, Illinois to pick up our just purchased 1974 Airstream Argosy travel trailer.  The Argosy is the “painted Airstream” and was used to “try out” such things as the front panamoric windows etc. We’ve been looking for one for some time and the difficult part has been finding one that hasn’t been gutted and either abandoned or the restoration ended with a “ new and modern look”  Additionally we needed to keep the length and weight down which was limiting our search to 22-24 footers at nmt 3650 # dry weight. When I found this 26 footer in pretty much excellent original and unmolested condition at a very good price  but weighing  in at 3875 I let my self be swayed into thinking what’s  another 225 pounds, Rita will just have to leave a couple hundred pair of her shoes at home. 

 

 

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Rita’s new 70’s vintage Avacoda green kitchen sink. DA32EF21-4EE2-4B0E-ACE3-D3E1C6F8AAD7.jpeg

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18 minutes ago, wndsofchng06 said:

A big congrats!   

 

3 minutes ago, Pinhead63 said:

Thats amazing! Tell Rita I said congratulations!!

 

Rita said Thanks Matt, thanks Mike. 

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3 hours ago, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

NICE!

 With the wagon, right?

 

  Ben

 

Someday Ben, got a few things to sort out, but tha's the plan :)

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Mr. Earl,

 

I just went back and re-read this entire thread.  Based on experiences that my 63 has gone through towing an Airstream, and the way my 94 Roadmaster Wagon is equipped from the factory with a tow package, I'd suggest that you look into a couple of things that will make towing the Argosy a lot less stressful.  You'll be cleaning and installing a new transmission filter soon I imagine.  While the pan is down, think about installing a shift kit in that TH400 so you get firm shifts between gears. Before putting the transmission pan back on, think about installing a deep sump finned aluminum pan.  It would let you use two additional quarts of tranny fliud and provide additional cooling.  Not expensive, easily done, and less anxiety.  You already have the 3.23 rear axle so you're not going to be lugging the engine. My 63 with the 3.07 needed a valve job because the RPM'S were too low at highway speed.  My RMW also has an oil cooler on it.  It's a heat little gizmo that goes between the filter and the block.  It has a couple of lines that run to an auxiliary cooler.  Less stress on the radiator in helping keep the engine cool. It also has both mechanical and electric cooling fans.  Just my $0.02.  Does your owner's manual address tire pressure when towing?

 

Ed

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On 3/12/2018 at 10:57 AM, RivNut said:

Mr. Earl,

 

I just went back and re-read this entire thread.  Based on experiences that my 63 has gone through towing an Airstream, and the way my 94 Roadmaster Wagon is equipped from the factory with a tow package, I'd suggest that you look into a couple of things that will make towing the Argosy a lot less stressful.  You'll be cleaning and installing a new transmission filter soon I imagine.  While the pan is down, think about installing a shift kit in that TH400 so you get firm shifts between gears. Before putting the transmission pan back on, think about installing a deep sump finned aluminum pan.  It would let you use two additional quarts of tranny fliud and provide additional cooling.  Not expensive, easily done, and less anxiety.  You already have the 3.23 rear axle so you're not going to be lugging the engine. My 63 with the 3.07 needed a valve job because the RPM'S were too low at highway speed.  My RMW also has an oil cooler on it.  It's a heat little gizmo that goes between the filter and the block.  It has a couple of lines that run to an auxiliary cooler.  Less stress on the radiator in helping keep the engine cool. It also has both mechanical and electric cooling fans.  Just my $0.02.  Does your owner's manual address tire pressure when towing?

 

Ed

 

Wow, that is some great info Ed, THANKS. Could I ask you to please share anymore info re your experiences of towing the Airstream with your '63? The transmission currently shifts fine but I understand you're suggesting to be be somewhat proactive and just go ahead and installing a new filter as well as a shift kit?  Any idea what that cost may amount to? Also any recommendations of the finned deep sump pan?  Thanks again!!!

 

 

On 3/13/2018 at 8:29 PM, Fr. Buick said:

What a trailer, Lamar!!!  Love it!!!

 

Thanks Doug!!

 

 

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46 minutes ago, MrEarl said:

 

Wow, that is some great info Ed, THANKS. Could I ask you to please share anymore info re your experiences of towing the Airstream with your '63? The transmission currently shifts fine but I understand you're suggesting to be be somewhat proactive and just go ahead and installing a new filter as well as a shift kit?  Any idea what that cost may amount to? Also any recommendations of the finned deep sump pan?  Thanks again!!!

 

 

 

Thanks Doug!!

 

 

The way I phrased I was hopeful that it would be understood that I could relate experiences that were told to me by the previous owner of  my 63 who pulled an Airstream.  When I bought the car he told me a few things about it.  The car had a full frame reciever on it. He installed an auxiliary transmission cooler, a full set of gauges, a 3.91 rear axle, and electric trailer brakes.  He installed the 3.91 because the 3.07 caused the engine to lug at highway RPMs.  

 

I've only towed by 1500 lb boat using the Roadmaster.  In the owners manual, there are instructions for increasing the towing capacities.  Rear tire pressure to the max stamped into the tire.  Addition of an equalizer bar to the hitch, and a couple of other things, but those things are for towing 7,000 lbs.  You probably don't need that.

 

The shift kit and deep sump aluminum pan can be purchased through JEGS or Summit Racing. Pans run from $100 to $150, coolers for transmission and oil run between $50 and $125.  A shift kit is around $75. Look at reviews before picking a brand.

 

Maybe not necessary but if it were me, I'd just like the peace of mind.

 

Having read your previous posts on whatever, I know that you'll not be taking any short cuts.  I've seen the post about the hitch you bought and the mirrors you purchased.  You're on the right track.

 

When I can get to my desk top, I'll post a couple of links of some things I've mentioned.

 

Ed

Edited by RivNut (see edit history)
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And we're back in good ol' warm Georgia with the Argosy. When we pulled into Peoria, IL, we were met with 28* temps mixed with wind making it feel like 22. Quite a shock after leaving a balmy 80* Georgia.  On the way home, met horizontal snow in Bloomington but pressed on and was soon out of it.  The seller could not have been any more nicer and helpful and gave us a tour of their beautiful old home. I must say however, it would not have been hard for someone to convince us that we were on another planet. So gray and flat with the big wind turbines turning. But beautiful in it's own way. The 1500HD pulled the 3800 pounds like a charm (even with no sway bars) as I expected it would. After all it is use to pulling 4400 lb '54 Roadmasters all over the country. We will be adding a weight distributing hitch and sway bars to both the Tahoe and the Estate Wagon prior to any trips with them however.  

 

 

Here, hold the wheel a sec baby, let me catch our first Argosy adventure sunset....

 

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Elvis would have loved this "broad" 

 

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Absolutely loved being able to see what was behind me. These mirrors are very lightweight which I guess is what makes them very stable with hardly any shaking going down the road. Ordered through Amazon, Dometic Milenco Grand Aeros,  under $100 with storage bag.

 

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Here, hold the wheel again hon,

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Southern Belle, meet yet to be named Argosy....

 

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Boy did Buick ever miss an opportunity for innovation when they failed to put cup holders in the tailgate...

 

 

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and a good cigar...

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49 minutes ago, RivNut said:

The way I phrased I was hopeful that it would be understood that I could relate experiences that were told to me by the previous owner of  my 63 who pulled an Airstream.  When I bought the car he told me a few things about it.  The car had a full frame reciever on it. He installed an auxiliary transmission cooler, a full set of gauges, a 3.91 rear axle, and electric trailer brakes.  He installed the 3.91 because the 3.07 caused the engine to lug at highway RPMs.  

 

I've only towed by 1500 lb boat using the Roadmaster.  In the owners manual, there are instructions for increasing the towing capacities.  Rear tire pressure to the max stamped into the tire.  Addition of an equalizer bar to the hitch, and a couple of other things, but those things are for towing 7,000 lbs.  You probably don't need that.

 

The shift kit and deep sump aluminum pan can be purchased through JEGS or Summit Racing. Pans run from $100 to $150, coolers for transmission and oil run between $50 and $125.  A shift kit is around $75. Look at reviews before picking a brand.

 

Maybe not necessary but if it were me, I'd just like the peace of mind.

 

Having read your previous posts on whatever, I know that you'll not be taking any short cuts.  I've seen the post about the hitch you bought and the mirrors you purchased.  You're on the right track.

 

Ed

 

Again, great info, thanks Ed. Curious, did the '63 have the 401 or 425? 

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