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1979 Buick Estate Wagon Limited - Southern Belle


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Thanks for your concern and well wishes guys. Third doctor, a retina specialist says no laser surgery required at this time as was suggested by yesterday’s doctor. Said she can travel but I’m not feeling good about it. And along with the issues still cropping up with the car, time to be making some decisions. 

 

 

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On 6/11/2019 at 10:49 PM, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

Well, dang it , man.   Be safe.  Hug Miss Rita for us.

 

 Do you have a temp gauge? Or just the light?

 

  Ben

 Just the light for now Ben, I have a set of gauges I will be installing soon I hope. 

 

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As there are side effects to using a gun to try and determine transmission pan temps 

Sizzzle

 

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Edited by MrEarl (see edit history)
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Thanks Chris, and Rita sends thanks. Since we missed the great trek west, she is looking for somewhere maybe south or east for SouthernBelles maiden towing adventure. 

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11 hours ago, MrEarl said:

As there are side effects to using a gun to try and determine transmission pan temps 

Sizzzle

 

 

 

That is one uncooperative Buick!  What did the prior owner do to that to cause it to act up so much?  😁

 

But now that you point it out, if the Catylitic Converter is still in there I wonder if that is partially plugged and causing the overheating situation?  Miore likely it would cause a loss of power when exhaust gases got backed up but there is a chance that it is contributing to the higher engine temps.

 

However, I can relate a story to you about a 69 Olds Cutlass without AC which used to run hot enough to light the light after a one or two hour highway run.  It was observed when we got caught in traffic and it was remediated by increasing the engine idle and putting the heater on.  But it was eye opening alright.  And only to point out it may be the nature of the beast, so to speak. 

 

Edited by JohnD1956 (see edit history)
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Removing the cats and going with a modest dual exhaust will make a substantial improvement in performance AND it'll run cooler. I believe even California has a rolling 25-year exemption for smog tests so you should have no problems. I wonder if there's a dual exhaust system already designed for these cars, ready to go?

 

Seriously, it might be the single best modification you can make that has exactly zero downside. 

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In addition, i feel compelled to point out that while it may not be illegal in some states, the rule was not changed at the Federal level, as far as I know.  If anyone knows more I'd be interested to hear about that.

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States are typically responsible for regulating auto emissions and set their own requirements. Feds set the floor for the automakers, but states are free to do whatever they want in terms of enforcement at the consumer level. Most seem to follow California's lead, as do the automakers, simply to reduce the number of different variations of car they have to build. One car to meet the toughest standards makes sense. 

 

I'll admit that I'm not an expert in all 50 states of vintage automobile emissions testing, but I have to assume that if California is exempting cars 25 years old or older, few other states are going to do anything more stringent. If they're going to crack down on a middle-aged guy in a station wagon for yanking a plugged cat, all those guys with late-model Mustangs, Camaros, and Chargers with off-road H-pipes should be sweating bullets...

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In Massachusetts, any vehicle 15 years and older is required to have a yearly safety check but not an emissions check.  Some states leave inspections up to the county (OH, as an example).  MA now requires that no license plate frames be in place for any year vehicle.  It also requires that only the inspector drive the vehicle into the inspection station...but a lot of them don't know how to drive a standard shift!   

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I'm not commenting on whether you should do it or not, but here in Washington State nobody would know or care.

 

It is illegal here for a professional shop to do it for you. Last I heard, people who want or need that drive across the border to Idaho.

 

Years ago it would have had to pass a tailpipe test in the past if it was registered in certain counties. Nobody would even look at the exhaust unless it leaked so air so badly that the test station couldn't get a clean sample. There was an upper limit for CO+C02, and that is how they determined the exhaust was diluted. In that case you would fail until you fixed the leak. Passing a tailpipe test with a mechanically solid well tuned car was almost never a problem here.

 

 

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On 6/14/2019 at 9:27 PM, JohnD1956 said:

But now that you point it out, if the Catylitic Converter is still in there I wonder if that is partially plugged and causing the overheating situation?  Miore likely it would cause a loss of power when exhaust gases got backed up but there is a chance that it is contributing to the higher engine temps.

 

The cat is gone but one of the PO's apparently backed into something and bent in the tail pipe at the 90* bend at the rear. It was on my list to take to a muffler shop and have replaced but like a few other items never got to it. Does anybody know if perhaps someone offers just the 90* bend?

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On 6/16/2019 at 8:00 AM, MrEarl said:

 

The cat is gone but one of the PO's apparently backed into something and bent in the tail pipe at the 90* bend at the rear. It was on my list to take to a muffler shop and have replaced but like a few other items never got to it. Does anybody know if perhaps someone offers just the 90* bend?

 

 The shop may have a pipe bending machine. 

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On 6/16/2019 at 8:47 AM, EmTee said:

A vacuum gauge will tell you if there's an exhaust restriction

 

On 6/16/2019 at 9:01 AM, JohnD1956 said:

I am sure you could buy one of those in the auto parts house.

 

On 6/16/2019 at 8:37 PM, EmTee said:

f you have an oxy-acetylene torch, you can try heating and bending it back...

 

12 hours ago, avgwarhawk said:

The shop may have a pipe bending machine. 

 

Ordered a mandrel bent elbow from Summit, thanks guys

Edited by MrEarl (see edit history)
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After having the transmission rebuilt I installed a B&M 4 3/4 " deep pan with 3 quart additional capacity but it hung so low I knew it was just a matter of time before it bottomed out and got busted.

 

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I pulled it and replaced with a Derale deep transmission pan that holds 2 additional quarts of fluid and has tubes running through the bottom of it to help in cooling the fluid. The B&M didn't really seem to make much difference in the transmission temperature compared to the factory pan when them with a gun. The Derale however gave a definite 15-20* lower  reading. I doubt there will be much if any benefit while sitting in stop and go traffic but when on the road pulling hills and between hills it should certainly help keep the fluid temps down.  

 

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https://www.summitracing.com/parts/der-14200

 

I'm still working on a couple different scenarios for the engine cooling and depending on what I do with that I may do something different with the current transmission cooler set up.

 

 

Edited by MrEarl (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/16/2019 at 8:47 AM, EmTee said:

A vacuum gauge will tell you if there's an exhaust restriction.  ;)

 

Don't have one @EmTee  Guess I should buy one and learn how to use it, looks like it my could have told me something. Not only was the pipe bent but there was the rust scale pieces hung up in the flattened part.

 

Got the correct size tailpipe 90* bend this morning, cut the bent one off and installed it.

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The rust flakes were loose in the engine side of the pipe.  I never realized how closed up it was until I was able to see it from this perspective. 

 

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Spent the afternoon cruising the countryside and checking power, shifts and temperatures. Happy to report conclusively an improvement in temperatures. Ambient temperature 92* Top of thermostat housing 188-195. Bottom of thermostat housing never exceeded 225 where as that was where the high of 250-60 was when checked while towing. Radiator cap never got too hot to put hand on whereas before it definitely did. Transmission  pan never exceeded 195 and I kicked it down on quite a few steep hills. 

 

I really want to believe that I saw some improvement in acceleration and overall engine performance but afraid it may be a psychological thing upon having finally gotten that bent pipe replaced. It still backfired a couple times and hesitated when going full throttle from low or half throttle. The real test would be taking the Argosy back on the same roads and hills as before. 

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2 hours ago, MrEarl said:

 

 

 

I really want to believe that I saw some improvement in acceleration and overall engine performance but afraid it may be a psychological thing upon having finally gotten that bent pipe replaced. It still backfired a couple times and hesitated when going full throttle from low or half throttle. The real test would be taking the Argosy back on the same roads and hills as before. 

 

Accelerator pump.......

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10 hours ago, Bloo said:

it backfires under hard acceleration? Just once when you crack the throttle? Or repeatedly?

 

 

 

Typically just once @Bloo

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 6/15/2019 at 9:58 AM, Brad Conley said:

The biggest issue with a dual exhaust is procuring a double hump transmission crossmember.

 

 

Any idea where one might look for one of them hens tooths?

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