Jump to content

1979 Buick Estate Wagon Limited - Southern Belle


Recommended Posts

3 minutes ago, wndsofchng06 said:

Good to see the Argosy is already Elvis approved!

 

He needs to learn to climb the steps though, I ain't pickin his fat *** up and settin him in anymore.

  • Haha 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, MrEarl said:

 

He needs to learn to climb the steps though, I ain't pickin his fat *** up and settin him in anymore.

 

 Unless Miss Rita =======

 

  You will need only one equalizer/anti sway rig.  The front part slides into the receiver on whichever tower you are using. The rest is clamped to the trailer.

 

  Ben

Edited by Ben Bruce aka First Born (see edit history)
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MrEarl said:

 

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

The 63 had the 401. I didn't 

 

1 hour ago, MrEarl said:

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....

 

IMG_0471.JPG

 

Elvis would have loved this "broad" 

 

IMG_0473.JPG

 

IMG_0480.JPG

 

IMG_0477.JPG

 

IMG_0479.JPG

 

IMG_0488.JPG

 

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.

 

IMG_0490.JPG

 

 

Here, hold the wheel again hon,

IMG_0503.JPG

 

IMG_0512.JPG

 

IMG_0510.JPG

 

 

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

 

IMG_0634.JPG

 

IMG_0620.JPG

 

IMG_0521.JPG

 

IMG_0525.JPG

 

IMG_0531.JPG

 

IMG_0637.JPG

 

IMG_0601.JPGIMG_0641.JPG

 

 

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

 

 

IMG_0643.JPG

 

 

and a good cigar...

IMG_0649.JPG

 

 

As I look at this picture, I'm trying to envision what the Argosy would look like if the upper half were to be painted the yellow of the Southern Belle and the lower half done in a wood grain that matched that of the Belle.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MrEarl said:

 

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

My Riv has the 401.  What I didn't mention but you may realize is that 1963 was the last year for the Dynaflow.  I've never had experience towing with a Dynaflow, anyone care to comment?

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 year later...
On 11/26/2017 at 12:50 PM, RivNut said:

I don't know about the wagons but I do know that the Rivieras equipped with the 403 Olds engine came with the TH400 transmission.  

 

For a ton of information on Oldsmobile engines - making power, reliability, interchanges, type this in your browser (I can't get the link to work)  www.442.com  Under the heading on the home page is a list of  links.  The 2nd one from the right is FAQ.  Click on that for a detailed explanation of everything you'd want to know about Oldsmobile engines.  Good info and good reading.

 

Not finding that site available anymore Ed, any idea how to access it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, MrEarl said:

 

Not finding that site available anymore Ed, any idea how to access it.

I think it's under "new management."

 

Try this site.  www.oldspower.com/oldsfaq/

 

 

Sorry it didn't 'link'.  You'll need to copy and paste

 

Edited by RivNut
Sorry (see edit history)
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Over the last couple months I have been studying the requirements for tailoring a '79 Estate wagon for safe trailer towing. In my case the trailer will be a 26'  1974 Airstream Argosy which loaded will likely weigh around 5,200 lbs with a tongue weight of 650 lbs. I have already received some great information through emails and messages from several of you and wish to thank you for that. Thanks also @Brian_Heil for the catchy title I borrowed from your PM.

 

I've been overwhelmed with all the research that has to be done for each item I consider and the time that it takes to decipher it all. Not to mention busting budget a couple times already.

 

Thankfully the Wagon came with a towing package which included:

3.23 geared Limited Slip Differential

Heavy Duty Cooling (High-capacity radiator with internal transmission cooler and a fan clutch)

80 Amp Delcotron Alternator

Firm Ride and Handling Package w/Automatic Level Control (much more on this later)

Heavy Duty Battery

7-wire trailer wiring harness

 

I will try and recall all I have already done and add it here as well as update it regularly as I do more. I have been met with a few surprises, a couple good but a few not so good.

 

 

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

You are overthinking. Hook up and GO!

 

 

That approach may work for you and others but not this unlucky soul. When you hear what I've discovered and have been dealing with over the last couple weeks I think you'll see what I mean. It has put me way behind schedule and even threatened to cancel the planned trip but I'm maintaining an "Oklahoma City or Bust"  attitude. Off to the AC shop to see what surprises lie in store there....

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yea, learning what a fusible link is and that they like to hide behind starter heat shields which just happen to be directly under the leaking end of the leaking valve cover..... fun....

 

my main motivation for being so proactive.... I care not to be sitting on side of the road and seeing the look of "was this avoidable" on Mama Rita's face. 

  • Like 3
  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry to hear you're having difficulties. It is in an old car's nature to stab you in the back. With towing, you really don't want to take a chance, but think of all the millions of miles cars just like yours have traveled with similar trailers behind them. Prior to the '80s, full-sized station wagons were the go-to vehicles for pulling trailers of all kinds and since yours is already equipped for it from the factory, I think it should still be a good choice. Given that some pickup trucks today can pull 35,000 pounds and even VW SUVs can haul 10,000, putting 6000 pounds behind a full-sized V8 wagon like this (as long as everything is in top condition) should not be a big risk. Make sure the trailer equipment is in top condition, especially the brakes, controller, and break-away unit, put high-quality tires on it, and that will cut down on much of your risk. I bet a set of 3.73 gears in the wagon would really help, although it'll push cruising RPM up a bit, and an auxiliary transmission cooler is never a bad idea (we even added a second one to our Suburban 2500 when we were seeing trans temps above 220 degrees while hauling).

 

Make sure everything is in top shape and I think you'll be fine. You're not going through the Rocky Mountains so the flatlands out there shouldn't really pose any threat to your rig. I kind of think they under-rated things just to keep people from doing anything truly stupid. You should be within the safe range.

 

Keep us posted and good luck with the challenge!

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, 60FlatTop said:

 

Don't let 'em git you down!

028.thumb.JPG.52e9a1eafb3d57cc178d3af2d7a0b9e3.JPG

 

That's Sean McNew's Pierce-Arrow coupe. That guy really did drive it across the country. He stopped in at our shop on the way and it was really impressive to see him undertake that venture. The big old car took good care of him and he made it all the way. No trip is ever incident-free with an old car, but that trip should inspire us all. Thanks for reminding me of that, Bernie.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MrEarl said:

Yea, learning what a fusible link is and that they like to hide behind starter heat shields which just happen to be directly under the leaking end of the leaking valve cover..... fun....

 

my main motivation for being so proactive.... I care not to be sitting on side of the road and seeing the look of "was this avoidable" on Mama Rita's face. 

 

That $3 fusible link hidden under the starter can ruin a whole day.  I feel your pain. 

Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

I intended to keep this updated more often but with what all I have been working on and the luck I've been having just haven't had the time. I'll try and do a fast catch up mostly with pictures. 

 

First and most important, music. I had the 8 track player that Roberta gave me reconditioned and an auxiliary line added that can be used to play Apple music and at the same time the sweet little Google Maps lady calls out directions. Also found all my old 8 tracks. 

 

B9C7E5D7-9F03-4D06-B5B3-DA4357938CCC.thumb.jpeg.dfd8ce892b1932909eb494e1a875643a.jpeg

 

Edited by MrEarl (see edit history)
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Good news:  Had the brakes checked and was pleasantly surprised to see all the new parts and shoes and pads in great shape

 

 

1278935036_48D6E8B1-8B39-4874-B475-263894852FE62FL02F001.thumb.JPG.36d8514343249465ef8e77a0a74a4ac6.JPG

 

1051982878_4712E6D2-E561-415F-BD38-9CD18BAE6DA12FL02F001.thumb.JPG.ef18adc65db00bf82088640fd056cb42.JPG

 

2048831260_5593371A-68B6-4438-A08C-A92D3F9B4B472FL02F001.thumb.JPG.abb2e1321e1c857d3e7dd12926e7e0cf.JPG

 

 

 

Bad news: The front upper control arm bushings and one ball joint was bad. Ordered upper A arms from Rock Auto and had installed and front end aligned. Also discovered the front swaybar bushings worn and bar bent. More on that later

Edited by MrEarl (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Removed the rear auto level shocks and installed Moog variable rate rear coil springs and Monroe HD coil assist load adjusting shocks rear and KYB gas shocks front. Both the coils and shocks perform pretty much as stock until under load and then they firm up. Together they should outperform the stock self leveling air shock and springs. I am very pleased with their performance and ride thus far.

 

19787679_01FEFBAA-C528-46D1-9693-BC5FDA260E3D2FL02F001.thumb.JPG.ce607302bcae9a200a07d3709f144965.JPG

 

1083994030_4ED6C875-1815-41A1-94E0-6FD6CAD69F232FL02F001.thumb.JPG.ef6ddc0a57d24a161b350a6f03f857d4.JPG

 

1405345984_D288387A-BE34-44CE-A2C8-967581D9F1AA2FL02F001.thumb.JPG.e101713adc7a9484f11a844898cdbbeb.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by MrEarl (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Then it was time to do something about the sway. Using mounting brackets off of a junkyard  '96 Chevy Impala SS, I mounted a set of Hotchkis swaybars to the rear.

 

 

 

 

11F5BFEB-1934-461F-BED6-51183496977D%2FL0%2F001.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Here’s a shot of the rear sway bar forward of the Class V hitch I got from JD

E674E848-9E4E-4C30-A2F0-886FD3A7AEAD.thumb.jpeg.4c16ad983677b4f0c8b6ea5425997285.jpeg

 

and its mate up front. These have made an unbelievable improvement in the handling and ride of the car. She hugs the road and goes where you aim her  with no lean. No more having the front end in one lane and the rear in another while navigatin curves.

 

 

341754347_B8391BA8-2EA9-41D2-BE31-7376692039612FL02F001.thumb.JPG.6a7315aef4072778250c35e9764f05cd.JPG

Edited by MrEarl (see edit history)
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

While the sway bars helped with the sway, there was still side to side squirrelly movement from the weak sidewalls of the tires. Researched light truck tires and found these Uniroyal Laredo Cross Country Touring (made by Michelin)  tires and am very happy with their performance. Load range 109 so will handle the trailer weight well. Much quieter and actually softer riding than the old passenger car tires and the squirrely movement is gone. Very happy with them. 

 

 

B16912C1-603D-4C3F-94DF-23F09023DB20%2FL0%2F001.JPG

8BBBB431-B4F6-444A-833F-86F31B579E64%2FL0%2F001.JPG

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Geeze what a pita it is to have to sign out then back in in order post additional picture so will wrap this up for now.If it ever quits flash flood raining I will be traveling about 30 miles to some cat scales to finish setting up the weight distribution and sway bars.

 

1309772442_6AD45510-F667-40DE-A84E-972EB6FC6A732FL02F001.thumb.JPG.277f4561d476979b5ff52a05150cc6d9.JPG

 

2025781309_90ED30DD-5495-4ADB-8CA2-2F2CB144C9052FL02F001.thumb.JPG.1dfe53824c027da6eb3470ff9ad3cfa0.JPG

Edited by MrEarl (see edit history)
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Not yet and situation is worsening.  We have been round and round with three doctors since Sunday and so far no for sure diagnosis of problems with Rita’s eyes.  Everything is taking a backseat until this is resolved. But also I discovered yesterday the water temperature idiot light is not working, have gone into the dash and it appears not to be as simple as the bulb. So we will see...28C6CC68-4510-488F-9747-9FBA16192705.thumb.jpeg.77988f00956da667abd87f2cb69c636d.jpeg

Edited by MrEarl (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, MrEarl said:

Not yet and situation is worsening.  We have been round and round with three doctors since Sunday and so far no for sure diagnosis of problems with Rita’s eyes.  Everything is taking a backseat until this is resolved. But also I discovered yesterday the water temperature idiot light is not working, have gone into the dash and it appears not to be as simple as the bulb. So we will see...28C6CC68-4510-488F-9747-9FBA16192705.thumb.jpeg.77988f00956da667abd87f2cb69c636d.jpeg

Oh no!  I do hope the get Rita all fixed up!

  • Thanks 1
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
×
×
  • Create New...