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Rebuiding a 1931 90 Series Engine


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Re swinging the engine in, I have a list - somewhere - on file that Buick sent me in the 1970s of all the individual component weights of the early 1930s models. From memory the weight quoted for the 90 - fan to clutch - was 1100 lb. 

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The motor is in!

The lift handled it fine but it was slow going. Without taking the fenders and such off it was tight. Lining up the torque tube too...…..ughh!

It would have gone much easier with 3 people instead of 2..

But, its back in so now the reassembly of all the hang ons begin. 

Ballparked the valve clearance for now, installed the generator and distributor (went over the distributor first and it was packed with old grease in the centrifugal advance. Don't think those weights were moving much), set up the timing, installed the starter. etc.

Gonna finish the passenger side stuff then move on to the drivers side. I'll post as I go.

Engine in 1.jpg

Distributor 1.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

Finally had a chance to start hanging everything back on the engine. It might be ready to fire up next week. Got the manifolds, steering box, fuel pump,  generator, water pump and distributor installed, along with the starter and starter pedal, steering wheel and light switch.

 

I'm having a problem with the filter housing I bought from Bob's way back. I wrote down the filter number (but stupidly tossed the original filter), but the replacement filter I bought does not thread on though it crossed from the Wix number that was in the housing originally. It is definitely 13/16-16 and that is what the new filter is but it does not thread on. I have another 13/16 adapter for a tractor and the filter threads right on that one. Maybe I wrote the original number down wrong. I had #5106. Can anyone verify that? I'll call Bob's tomorrow and see if they'll tell me. The one on the right is the one from Bob's housing.

 

Anyway, other than that things are coming along.

Engine in Drivers almost 2.jpg

Engine in pass almost.jpg

Engine in column almost.jpg

Adapters.jpg

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  • 4 weeks later...

It’s alive!!!!!!

 

The filter in Bob’s housing is a NAPA 1061, threads right on, the Baldwin replacement is a B6, same thread size, will not screw on. Couldn’t figure out why so I’ll just keep buying 1061 filters.

Anyway, finished timing, cold adjusting the valves, 12 guards of oil, and coolant, preoiled the top end, filled the fuel bowl and carb with gas, cranked it a few times then switched on the ignition. Small shot of starting fluid and boom she started right up!

I was suprised that there was zero smoke out of the exhaust at start up.  Have a small oil leak at that darn filter housing and a couple small exhaust leaks but oil pressure is great, no fuel or coolant leaks.

Thought I had my camera on video for the start up but I still had it on camera.

Anyway, have to fix the few minor things, put the rest of the car back together and start driving it to break it in.

Hallealuah!

 

Chuck

 

DDAEF1C4-976B-4B56-B919-9F6629C19057.jpeg

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I had Ross bump our 31' to around 6.5:1.  They should have my profile in there for a 31'.    I remember them being around 2500 bucks about  8 years ago.   It's a strong car.

 

Our 31' has terrible brakes.  Really good until speeds exceed 45mpgh.  This is a problem since our cars happy speed is 60mph.   I've tried three different linings and it easilly outdrives the brakes.  I blame it on the steel drums.  The shoes just don't bite into the steel.  I've set ours up by the book and also with a brake doktor and they just aren't good.  Somebody please get a set of cast iron drums made and sell me some.  

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On 8/14/2018 at 11:06 AM, Janousek said:

Our 31' has terrible brakes. 

Hmmmm. My 1930 Dodge Brothers 8 has very good brakes with pressed steel drums. Even the Warrant of Fitness tester said it had remarkably good brakes - they are tested in a brake machine.

 

Are you sure you have them adjusted properly?

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7 hours ago, Spinneyhill said:

Hmmmm. My 1930 Dodge Brothers 8 has very good brakes with pressed steel drums. Even the Warrant of Fitness tester said it had remarkably good brakes - they are tested in a brake machine.

 

Are you sure you have them adjusted properly?

 

Yes.  I have nothing against mechanical brakes.  I set up about 3 cars a years with them and non have skunked me like our car.  They are fine brakes until you get past 45 mph.  Then it has a good pedal and the harder you push the shoes just don't dig in.   The harder you push it never translate into a progressive stop.  They'll stop you but if someone ever pulls out when were cruising were smoked.  I really want to try a set of cast drums but I don't have the time to go through the process.  We live in the country and our driving is mostly back roads so I just tolerate them.  

 

Buick engineered it to have one long shoe for front braking and a short shoe for reverse.   I have a 33' Cadillac in the shop now that needs brake work.  It will be intersting to compare the two when I'm done with it.

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Do you have woven lining on the brake shoes?  My  32-58 will skid the tires.  Of course it has cast drums.  I do hav some 32 50 series brake drums if you ever want to fool around installing them.  I doubt that the coefficient of friction is much different from steel to cast iron.  The biggest difference is less fade with the cast iron.

 

Bob Engle

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Right now I have woven shoes.  I've tried them both and woven work the best.  I have to get some drums made for a model30 packard so it has me thinking about getting a set done on our car also.  At this point it would be nice to experiment.  

 

If I was to do one thing different on our 31' Engine it would be to eliminate the oil temperature regulator.  At least gut it and have it appear correct.  It's a possible failure point of coolant dumping into the engine.  

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The covers on the regulators are prone to rust through from water eddy currents.  I would suggest plating the inside or epoxy coating the inside.  

The oil pressure through the unit should be much higher than the water pressure.  Oil in the radiator would be  the indicator of a leak.

 

Bob Engle

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So the car is running but I am struggling to get a good idle and under load I need to choke the engine to keep from backfiring through the carb.

I double checked my timing, valve adjustment, and tried setting the carb. I can make it worse but I can’t make it better. As soon as I think I have a good idle it starts stumbling and wandering again.

I’m done today but I’m thinking of two areas to check.

1. A vacuum leak on the intake side.

2. My distributor shaft has some play in it so I’m going to try to get to the bottom of that though I don’t know that it could be causing my issue.

 

I was having this problem with the car before I rebuilt it so it is frustrating, but at least I don’t have the rod knock any more.

 

Any other thought or ideas out there?

 

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The problems I have encountered with my 29 are similar to yours. Yes check intake gaskets , I doubt it as thorough as your work appears. I would totally verify condition of the heat riser tubes . A tiny hole in a heat tube  can cause erratic engine operation.  The next will be distributor bushing, advance mechanism and contact points condition. My updraft Marvel still likes to run with the choke slightly closed at times. I have no real explanation as to why other than venturi mechanism not being consistent in operation or main jet becoming partially clogged from being parked too long. The venturi in mine has been replaced and was operating flawlessly last time my carb was off, but that was years ago.

Edited by raydurr (see edit history)
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While a long time ago, my '31 liked to have a bit of choke. I fiddled with it a lot and finally just lived with it.  Today I wouldnt tolerate that.

 

When I got the car running after full restoration, It wouldnt run over about 5 mph. Drove me crazy. I was just sure I had a fuel starvation problem. Finally I noticed the the condenser was not on the distributor (outside on the dual point). It was amazing how adding the condenser made it run.  Actually, I was surprised that it ran at all.

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What's the spark plug color?  That will tell you rich or lean condition.  Marvel carbs are notorious for warpage on the diecast Air valves.  there are some old threads about checking the clearances on these air valves.

 

Bob Engle

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Chuck:

Before I reattach the head and accessories to my engine I am rebuilding my spare Marvel carb.

 My carbs venturi block was warped and the center had at least a 1/16" bulge. After much redressing with a file to get it flat and fitting the tail clearance it is to factory spec (.009-.017clearance).DSCF7001.thumb.JPG.08999daa72f148fe811f8adadb550f3a.JPG I have it at this moment .010.

DSCF7002.thumb.JPG.7d3bc235df1f8db10996572075827a44.JPG

I used the Marvel book from BOB-s as my reference. On my original carb there was no tail clearance and dashpot vane was open about 1/8". (also someone had previously installed the venturi block upside down) I had done that one also as the vane contour was warped to the bore and took a LOT of fitting. When I pulled the carb off for the engine rebuild, I found that I will have to re do some of the tail clearance fitting again. That darn die cast grew again in just 2 years!

 Best of luck.

Larry

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Rebuilt the Marvel........again. The venturi are good. Tweeked the timing a little more. It’s running better. Still have to choke it slightly under load, but better.  I’m still chasing a vacuum leak I think but I can run it up and down the road. I’ll check the plugs in the next couple of days and see how they look. 

 

Thanks for all the suggestions. I’ll  let you know when I figure it out.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The engine is really starting to run well as she starts to break in. The timing and carb are good now though I hate that Marvel leak at shut down.

 

I am getting vapor lock during my last two break in runs though. It’s hot out here but not crazy hot. I think the 1932’s had a shield to help with this so I might fabricate one.

Any other ideas out there other than shielding or wrapping the fuel line.

 

Other than that she’s coming along

 

Chuck

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To remedy the vapor lock , the first thing that I would do is completely block exhaust from going thru the heat riser,  if you have not done so already. You can temporarily wrap the fuel lines and fuel pump with heavy aluminum foil to see if that helps. If that helps there are  proper wraps that would help keep the fuel lines cooler. A heat shield for the carb and fuel pump would have to help this tremendously. Different fuels are also affected by heat differently.  Good luck.

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Well I’ve decided to do two things this weekend. Take the loop out of the copper fuel line and add a switched fuel pump. The pump is mostly for starting the car after it sits more than a couple of weeks but it might help with the vapor lock too if I notice it. I’ll only run the pump at initial start for the most part. I hate grinding away when first starting.

 

i had already blocked off the exhaust heat exchanger.

 

I’ll report back.

 

Chuck

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I will need to be doing the same on my 37. I had it out for 4 days before all the rain. We drove it for our regular errands. Starts up right away without a problem every day and after all the short drives.  Let it sit for a week and it will take forever to start. I would bring a small container of gas, remove the side plug on the carb and fill it runs out the hole. Give it a squirt of gas down the throat of the carb, hit the starter and it fires right up and idles ....for about 5-10 seconds, then it quits.  The fuel in the carb is gone and it is still waiting for delivery from the fuel pump. 

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  • 1 year later...

It is running well now. I was still having problems dialing it in and went back to square one, double checking everything. Found some small holes in the heat riser tubes. After I replaced them it all fell in place and it is running good. I can hardly tell it’s running while idling. It still doesn’t like it when the weather is really hot but it runs.

Thanks for all your help.

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