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38 Century Driveability Hiccups...


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Finally took the car out today after working on it for a couple of months! It idles very smoothly, except while under load I get a little Hiccup... Anything over 30 MPH and I get a blip, blip, blip...@$!%! I had it up to 45 MPH. Wonder if I have the mixture a little too lean. It is set up about 1-1/8 turns. Points are new and set up @ 0.15, the plugs are the R45 set up @ 0.25 with a new condenser as well. Temperature is 175°-180° and oil pressure at idle 25-30 psi. I did not replace the plug wires or checked the timing. The vehicle starts right up, so I figured it can be that far off.

 

What should I check next? Would carbon build-up cause this problem?  When I first started the car some of it came out through the tailpipe. Big enough to see on the ground...

I imagine years of an improperly adjusted carburetor, a malfunctioning manifold bypass valve, and little service would contribute to this problem...

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I don't think you can adjust the cruise mixture, only the idle.

 

Check the timing.

 

Too much timing will cause the engine to kick back on itself. It could easily start well with the timing advanced (or not). There are too many variables to guess.

 

Does it have the factory cover over the plug wires? If so, you could try removing it.

 

The top of the rotor has to make contact properly with the center of the distributor. IIRC on the Buick, it is spring loaded carbon brush in the center of the bottom side of the distributor cap. Make sure it is there and sticking down to contact the rotor.

 

Look at the ends of your ignition wires for big balls of blue corrosion, especially under the boots at the distributor cap end and coil.  Some darkening of the brass wont hurt. When you see the blue mess you will know.

 

Are the plug ends of the wires booted or bare? There could be trouble here too. Inspect.

 

You can check wires with a multimeter if you have one. Resistance will be a few ohms if they are copper, around 2k ohms if they are resistance wire, with the long ones higher than the short ones, maybe as much as 3k ohms. This wont tell you anything about the insulation, and they could pass this and still be bad, but USUALLY a wire that blows out its insulation also fails the resistance test, so it is a useful thing to check.

 

 

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When I first got my 1937 Century, it was running very rich due to a carburetor problem. That black soot was quite an issue with it running too rich. After I got the carburetor straightened out, it was still acting like it was running rich, black smoke under acceleration, etc. Lots of people thought the car ran really well. I was convinced that it was running like it should but I later figured out that it was just barely firing. The plug wires and distributor cap contacts were showing lots of sign of corrosion. After I replaced the points, plug wires, and distributor cap and rotor, the car no longer has any black smoke or soot coming out of the tailpipe under acceleration and it runs much better than it did before. Check all of the wiring and contacts in the ignition system. Clean or replace them as needed. Check and adjust the timing as necessary and make sure your vacuum advance is working correctly in the distributor. If you take care of all of those, I suspect your car will run much better.  

 

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I can certainly check the plug wires for resistance, they have rubber boots also, but they're old about 15 years. It seems that to most of you guys this is an electrical problem as opposed to a carburetor problem... I was surprised to hear the valve adjustment as a cause of a misfire... There is no soot, smoke or anything coming out of the tailpipe now, only after the first startup...

 

What are the timing specs . for this? Remember it is a 1947 engine...

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http://www.carnut.com/specs/gen/buick40.html

 

Apparently its the "ADV" mark. I am not finding a specification in degrees.

 

A "hiccup" sounds like either over advanced timing, or a cylinder that goes away under load due to excessive resistance in the ignition. Yes, it could be a lean misfire due to a carb problem, but that is tougher and more expensive. Start with the easy stuff.

 

Octane selectors are usually set in the middle to start. Still hiccups? Try retarding it a bit. If that doesn't help, it probably isn't timing. Once the trouble is sorted, you can probably run a little more advance than stock... I think. I will defer to the straight eight Buick drivers on that.

 

Don't forget to check your vacuum advance.

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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Well, I just looked at the car and it seems to me that what they call octane selector in the distributor are simple the two bolts used to advance or retard... No other means of adjusting. Just 40's lingo! As for the vacuum advance, what is the best way to assure it is working properly? 

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44 minutes ago, philipj said:

As for the vacuum advance, what is the best way to assure it is working properly? 

 

You disconnect it's line, and suck on it with a vacuum pump, or maybe you just suck on it. It is kind of tough on these old ones because there is no hose, and the little pipe runs all the way to the carb, it is tough to get a seal for a test.

 

With the distributor cap off you can watch for movement. These cannot leak air at all. You should be able to move the breaker plate in the distributor, and it should not snap back until you release the vacuum.

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The Octane Selector is basically a pointer and a scale on the bottom of the distributor. Your later engine may not have the Octane Selector on the distributor. You adjust the timing for your normal octane and set the pointer at zero. If you were then to be driving in an area of the country that had a lower or higher octane fuel available, you could then adjust the timing using the pointer and scale, and then when you were back home with your "usual" octane fuel, you could simply readjust the distributor using the pointer and scale without needing to use any tools other than the wrench to loosen and tighten the distributor bolts. In the 1930's that was necessary. Today, it will still enable you to make slight adjustments and then return it to the original adjustment, but probably not anything you will use with modern fuels and driving conditions. 

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Very interesting concept and practical for the day regarding the octane selector... It is actually a good idea to have marks to go to. Regarding the vacuum advance, I am able to move the plate and it snaps back. Other than that, replacing the line and lubricating the distributor is all I have done... Wish I had other tools to do this test right but I will give it a try...

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Here is a photo of the octane selector.

The scale is bolted to the block and the pointer is attached to the distributor body.

If nothing else, it makes it easier to get the engine back in time if you remove the distributor for some reason - like new points.

DSC_5309.JPG

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That is a pretty neat feature... All and all and despite the car not being 100% my wife and I went for a night ride and enjoyed the car immensely... Next week I hope to cure the driveability issue and go to the next thing. Plug wires are at least 15 years old with insulators, but I will replace them... Any recommendations for vendors?

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9 hours ago, MCHinson said:

The Octane Selector is basically a pointer and a scale on the bottom of the distributor. Your later engine may not have the Octane Selector on the distributor. You adjust the timing for your normal octane and set the pointer at zero. If you were then to be driving in an area of the country that had a lower or higher octane fuel available, you could then adjust the timing using the pointer and scale, and then when you were back home with your "usual" octane fuel, you could simply readjust the distributor using the pointer and scale without needing to use any tools other than the wrench to loosen and tighten the distributor bolts. In the 1930's that was necessary. Today, it will still enable you to make slight adjustments and then return it to the original adjustment, but probably not anything you will use with modern fuels and driving conditions. 

Yes, but remember that when Buick was equipping their cars with Octane Selectors, premium fuel AKA Ethyl was 78 octane.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Trying to drive the car as much as I can... I actually hit the 60mph mark and felt pretty good. Seems smooth and steady at that speed, more so than 35 mph... If we have good weather tomorrow evening, I am going back out again...:)

 

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Octane selector eliminated starting with 1939. Explanation according to the 39 Shop Manual was it was infrequently used. My 39s distributor has a vestige of the pointer cast into the base between the mounting bolts. Same is true with the distributor in the 47 engine I have installed in my 37. As Grimy noted premium fuel for these cars was 78 Octane,so we should be able to slightly advance the timing on our prewar cars to take advantage of our 87 and 89 fuels today.

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So you think that advancing the timing will smooth the car out completely? I always thought that you could risk damaging an engine if the timing is too far advanced...  The question is if I stick to 89 Octane fuel,  how far from the 6 BTDC should I go? Advance it a little does not yield a specific number that I can work with, unfortunately; whereas if you say, set your timing light at 2 ATDC I can actually compare the results and make changes...

Edited by philipj (see edit history)
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Watch out for a frozen heat riser between the intake and exhaust manifolds.  Its operated by an spiral thermal spring on one side of the manifold and a counter balance weight on the other side. Make sure that this mechanism operates freely. Mine was frozen in my '37 and caused the carburetor to get too hot, making the engine feel week and feeble above 40 mph after ten minutes of driving. 

 

Even though I managed to get it free (copper hammer repeatedly on both ends of the hinge pin), there is enough residual rust in the hinge pins to prevent proper operation. To remedy it I set the mechanism to a non-heat position (full frontal CW) and putting the thermal spring on backwards to keep it permanently in the non-heating position. The car runs fine now at all speeds. Since I don't drive the car in winter weather I really don't need to have this device operating.

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And if you do get carburetor icing, just idle for 5 or 10 minutes, shut it off, go and fetch your sun glasses, jacket, bottle of water, better clothes etc, then start up and drive away with no icing. The warm manifold will fix the problem.

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All humor aside, since I am not finding anyone with a similar experience, I am going to recheck my point gap and timing with a different light... I also have a new problem where the car does not start at the first crank when hot... It starts at the first crank when cold only. Wonder if I have to revisit the carburetor again...@#$!! Could the float height be too low? I wonder... Other than that, with a properly functioning heat riser valve and new rebuilt fuel pump, I don't know where to go...

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On 5/18/2018 at 10:23 AM, philipj said:

So you think that advancing the timing will smooth the car out completely? I always thought that you could risk damaging an engine if the timing is too far advanced...  The question is if I stick to 89 Octane fuel,  how far from the 6 BTDC should I go? Advance it a little does not yield a specific number that I can work with, unfortunately; whereas if you say, set your timing light at 2 ATDC I can actually compare the results and make changes...

 

You can safely advance the timing beyond factory specs--my Limited seems happiest with it about three degrees more advanced than the book recommends. The highest octane fuel you could get in 1938 was something like 72 octane, so you don't have to worry about detonation from advancing the timing too much. You won't hurt it--it'll start to run like crap before you go far enough to do any damage. But you should experiment with various settings and see how it works with today's gas. There's no ideal setting, it's just a trial and error kind of thing.

 

Secondly, don't use 89 octane, use the cheapest, lowest-octane fuel you can find. You're not doing the car any favors with "the good stuff," it doesn't have any properties in it that the cheaper grades don't and it isn't cleaner or better gas (in fact, 89 octane is a 50/50 blend of regular and premium, mixed right at the pump). What you might be seeing is incomplete combustion and misfires due to that higher octane. These 6-volt electrical systems don't really have a lot of energy to start with and with higher-octane fuels, they can struggle to light the mixture and to burn it completely. That's what octane is--a fuel's resistance to ignition. The higher the octane, the more difficult it is to ignite. Seems odd when talking about gasoline, but I have definitely experienced cases where old cars ran better on cheaper, low-octane gas. It's a factor you might consider and even if it makes no difference, you can save a few bucks by skipping the more expensive grades. Your Buick doesn't need or want it.

 

Ben, above, isn't wrong about the lower vapor pressure of today's gasolines. In 1938, the gas was not very volatile and that's why you have heat risers. They had to get the gas hot to help it atomize properly. We have the opposite problem today where the gas will atomize/evaporate (literally) at room temperature. That's why an electric fuel pump can be helpful--both to refill the carb after it has been sitting for a few days (the fuel will evaporate out of it) and to force liquid fuel into the carburetor when maybe it's too hot and it's boiling in the lines and bowl. I have electric pumps on all my old cars and use them for priming to start and it often cures the "hiccups" when it starts to stutter after, say, sitting in traffic in high-heat conditions. Again, a simple, inexpensive upgrade that can't hurt and may help.

 

I don't think you have internal engine issues, but a valve adjustment might be a worthwhile undertaking. Double check your heat riser valves to be doubly sure they're in the right position to direct heat out the pipe rather than up around the carb. I made block-off plates for my '29 Cadillac to totally close them off, and that might be a good idea here--you can do it with a thin sheet of metal and some gasket material. You may also want to double-check things like the condenser. Even a new one may not be a good one and I've heard that many of them are junk right out of the box. They're cheap enough that trying another one certainly can't hurt. Same with the coil. Swap them out and see if there's any change. Remember that 80% of carburetor problems are ignition.

 

It's going to be something basic, but this is all part of the sorting process on any old car. Invest the time now to check every single part and get it tweaked just right, and it will stay like that for many years. The problem is that a lot of guys get it "close enough" and figure that old cars never ran well and that's just how it is. Then you end up with cascading problems that mask each other. Get it right and it will be a joy. But it takes time and dedication. It took me more than three years to get my '29 Cadillac exactly right and once I'm done with my Limited manifold project, I expect I'll spend the rest of the summer tuning and tweaking to get it right again. But the results are worth it.


Keep us posted!

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Hello Matt,

 

Thank you for the very detailed response regarding fuel... The last 5 gallons I used were just regular. I will keep it that way from now on. You're right on the money with regards to most peoples attitudes as " that's close enough" and having cascading problems masking one another... All they do is drive you crazy, and eventually, you see a for sale sign on the windshield out of frustration...

 

I'm not there yet! My driveability issues are minor, but I know these cars, especially these cars were made to very high standards and should run like glass provided the motor is in good shape... In fact today in order to get around this issue, and since I got conflicting results with a fancy timing light before, I took the cheapest and simplest timing light I have, and after readjusting the points I barely moved the distributor... I did notice that I was not able to get a steady reading. The timing mark would move slightly over and under the line. After revving the engine up it did return to the timing mark fairly quickly though... Then I went for a ride, the stumble seems to come after 40mph, instead of 30mph at first, but then after stepping on it hard in second gear it went back to hesitating around 30mph again...

 

So back in the garage I went, only to try to figure out another issue to do with oil... Maybe I should open up another topic but here it goes. After driving the car around I will find a substantial amount of engine oil sitting on the lower portion of the fuel pump. It is not leaking from the mounting flange, the oil filter housing or any of the oil lines... I can idle and rev the motor for up to twenty minutes in my driveway and there is no oil present anywhere. As soon as I drive the car around, there is oil. The only possible place I can think off since I have noticed moisture up front is the timing chain cover seal... @#$!! Do you guys think it is possible for the oil to move in that direction?

 

Now back to the driveability problem, I do have a spare coil and condenser, even a set of expensive R46 Acniter spark plugs that I am considering using, but I just don't want to throw parts at it. The cap is a NOS Delco as well as the rotor and points... Running the new R45 spark plugs, which don't convince me at all... I can't remember about the condenser if I replaced that or not...darnn! Just added a new set of wires and that is all. I was hoping to get it to run super smooth...

 

Willing to put the time in the car... I get a great deal of joy from driving it just about every chance I get. I know some things are tough, such as the timing chain cover seal, but if it must be done it must be done...Just hate down time!! If I decide to tackle that job I know it entails dismantling the entire nose, radiator and possibly fenders just to get to it... I need two more hands! Again, if anyone has done it I would appreciate some pointers... Thank you.

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A compression test would be a good idea just to see what we are dealing with.

 

Beyond that, check the following things:

 

1) Heat riser either working (preferably) or at least not stuck in the "heat on" position

 

2) Choke is not sticking or at least is all the way open with the engine hot.

 

3) Inside the distributor there are 2 little wires, one bare and one insulated. The bare one runs from some non-moving part of the distributor up to the breaker plate, which the vacuum advance moves. The insulated wire runs from the insulated post over to the points. Make sure that neither is broken, for instance the insulated one shouldn't stretch. Make sure that the insulated one cannot short against anything when the vacuum advance moves the breaker plate. The insulation doesn't need to be perfect, as long as nothing bare can touch when it moves. This is special wire by the way, made to bend a gazillion times without breaking. It is probably intertwined strands of copper and spring steel.

 

4) Make sure the vacuum advance moves holds vacuum, and that it can move the breaker plate.

 

5) Make sure that the points are set correctly, preferably with a dwell meter. Look on the surface of the points for metal transfer that looks like a mountain. If you find a mountain, replace the points AND condenser. Even if you don't replace the points, make sure there is a tiny (very tiny) drop of grease or Vaseline on the rubbing block situated so the cam will tend to pull grease under the block. Consider replacing the condenser on general principles even if the points are ok. A bad condenser can weaken the spark and cause all kinds of screwball problems.

 

6) Plug wires, cap and rotor are good, or at least don't have the problems I mentioned in my post above.

 

7) Timing is set to factory spec. (yes you can try advancing it but humor me and leave it stock for the moment).

 

8] Make sure centrifugal advance at least works. Disconnect vacuum advance and rev engine up while watching the timing marks with a timing light. It should move, and come back to where it started when you let the engine idle.

 

9) Clean the bakelite on the top of your coil and look at it real good under a light. You are looking for a carbon track from the center down to either the case or one of the other terminals. Inspecting the distributor cap for tracks might also be a good thing to do.

 

10) Have you adjusted your valves yet? It probably needs to be done anyway and it couldn't hurt. While the valve cover is off, remove the plugs, ground the coil wire and crank the engine while watching the valves. Make sure they are all moving about the same amount.

 

11) Is there a screen in your fuel pump that could be clogged and restricting fuel flow?

 

Good luck and let us know if anything turns up.

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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The fact that the timing light shows wander suggests that the upper bearing in the distributor may be worn and the cam is bouncing around.

With the rotor off, can you move the cam from side to side (no rotation)?

 

The only really good way to check bearing play is with the distributor out and using a dial indicator.

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Hello Bloo,

 

You just gave me a ton of homework!..;(  I may have to beg borrow or steal for some tools such as a compression tester... As for the valve adjustment, don't I have to do it with the engine running? I am going over your list here...

 

1) Heat riser either working (preferably) or at least not stuck in the "heat on" position

 

Working perfectly after a new spring and securing the plate...

 

2) Choke is not sticking or at least is all the way open with the engine hot.

 

All the way open when hot...

 

3) Inside the distributor, there are 2 little wires, one bare and one insulated. The bare one runs from some non-moving part of the distributor up to the breaker plate, which the vacuum advance moves. The insulated wire runs from the insulated post over to the points. Make sure that neither is broken, for instance, the insulated one shouldn't stretch. Make sure that the insulated one cannot short against anything when the vacuum advance moves the breaker plate. The insulation doesn't need to be perfect, as long as nothing bare can touch when it moves. This is special wire, by the way, made to bend a gazillion times without breaking. It is probably intertwined strands of copper and spring steel.

 

I have replaced both of these with brand new ones...

 

4) Make sure the vacuum advance moves holds vacuum, and that it can move the breaker plate.

 

With everything connected after I rev the engine up it comes back to the mark, though sometimes while it idles I have seen the mark disappear for a few seconds and then come back... I may remove the distributor all together and inspect.

 

5) Make sure that the points are set correctly, preferably with a dwell meter. Look on the surface of the points for metal transfer that looks like a mountain. If you find a mountain, replace the points AND condenser. Even if you don't replace the points, make sure there is a tiny (very tiny) drop of grease or Vaseline on the rubbing block situated so the cam will tend to pull grease under the block. Consider replacing the condenser on general principles even if the points are ok. A bad condenser can weaken the spark and cause all kinds of screwball problems.

 

These are brand new points that I readjusted today... The heel is lubricated. I figure I readjust after setting in. It was off, less than 0.15

How do I set up with a dwell meter?

 

6) Plug wires, cap, and rotor are good, or at least don't have the problems I mentioned in my post above.

 

Should I use the R46 spark plugs?

 

7) Timing is set to factory spec. (yes you can try advancing it but humor me and leave it stock for the moment).

 

I did the timing again today with a basic timing light...

 

8] Make sure centrifugal advance at least works. Disconnect vacuum advance and rev engine up while watching the timing marks with a timing light. It should move, and come back to where it started when you let the engine idle.

 

How different should this be with the vacuum line hooked up? It seems that what you describe is the normal operation... If I disconnect the line should the timing mark be very slow to return to its place?

 

9) Clean the bakelite on the top of your coil and look at it real good under a light. You are looking for a carbon track from the center down to either the case or one of the other terminals. Inspecting the distributor cap for tracks might also be a good thing to do.

 

I will inspect the coil tomorrow or replace with a spare I have...

 

10) Have you adjusted your valves yet? It probably needs to be done anyway and it couldn't hurt. While the valve cover is off, remove the plugs, ground the coil wire and crank the engine while watching the valves. Make sure they are all moving about the same amount.

 

The car is very quiet when it runs, though the valves have not been done since the late 90's I imagine-when the car was done. Though going by the shape of the rear bearings and carburetor, can much could it have been driven? This is going to be interesting on my own, since I have never done this with an engine running...

 

11) Is there a screen in your fuel pump that could be clogged and restricting fuel flow?

 

I just replaced the pump with a rebuilt unit....

 

Edited by philipj (see edit history)
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I don't know if you have to adjust a Buick running, I would have to look in the manual, and I am not sure where it is.

 

I suggested it partly because it probably needs it, but mainly so you could watch the valves moving, eliminating any possibility of a flat camshaft. I do not expect to see that in your car, but it would be good to eliminate it, and if you adjust your valves, the valve cover will already be off.

 

I see in some other thread you are pulling the cover anyway to replace the gasket. Watch the valves. The motion should all be about the same. A bad one moves little if any.

 

Do I recall this car has a newer engine? If it has hydraulic lifters, probably no need to adjust, but check the manual for the year of the engine..

 

30 minutes ago, philipj said:

Should I use the R46 spark plugs?

.

I don't know. If that is the correct heat range, then yes. Choices are limited these days. Any plugs known to work ok in another Buick straight 8 should be fine. In fact, literally any clean correctly gapped plugs that physically fit should be good enough to suss out the problem you are having. Do I like that they are resistor? Not really, but almost everything is.

 

30 minutes ago, philipj said:

 

How different should this be with the vaccum line hooked up?

 

Vacuum should pull a bunch of extra advance in when you open the throttle with no load, then go back away at idle. The shop manual will probably tell you how much. Pay attention to the units used in any specs. 1 distributor degree = 2 crankshaft degrees, 1 distributor RPM = 2 crankshaft RPM.

 

Centrifugal advance is just directly related to engine speed. You should still see it working with the vacuum disconnected.

 

If the condenser hasn't been replaced, be sure to try that, probably first.

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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The oil is probably coming out of the fuel pump mounting even though it migrates to the bottom of the fuel pump and the right side engine splash pan so that it does not appear to be coming from the fuel pump mounting surface. I had the same problem with my 1937 Century until I changed the fuel pump. When I tightened the fuel pump up good, it stopped leaking. Admittedly, it started leaking again when I drove the car at Interstate Speeds for two days a distance of 702 miles. I snugged it back down and the leak was fixed again. I plan to replace the mounting bolts with Grade 8 bolts so I can tighten it really good without fear of breaking a bolt off.  It is difficult to tighten those two bolts properly. They are a bear to reach. A deep well socket with a short extension on the ratchet is about the only way to reach them.  

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54 minutes ago, MCHinson said:

I plan to replace the mounting bolts with Grade 8 bolts so I can tighten it really good without fear of breaking a bolt off.

Not sure this is a good plan. Remember the old low strength cast iron you are screwing them into and the diecast metal you are clamping down on. Be sure the pump flanges are flat against the engine and not cracked. Early pumps had thin mounting flanges; they thickened up a bit later, perhaps by the time your car was made. Also, make sure the gasket does not restrict oil draining back out of the pump into the engine. If the pivot pin is worn, you might get oil leaking out around it.

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On my 1938 Century, I broke a bolt on the water pump so I am a bit paranoid of original bolts that need to be tightened down in the block. I just want to be able to make sure it is snugged down properly without fear of breaking a bolt off in the block. There is no way of knowing how many times those original bolts have been tightened or overtightened in the past 80 or so years.

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Hello Mathew,

 

A very interesting point about the mounting bolts... I have had the pump out once already after the initial replacement due to leakage from the new (1/32) gasket provided by the vendor... I made a gasket with 1/16 material and that seemed to have cured the problem but only temporarily it seems... I will be somewhat surprised to see the bolts loosening up after my second reinstall but I will check them... If so, I will just snug them and see what happens with the leak before pulling the pump yet again... @#$@!

 

As for the bolts, the original 5/16 size must be a problem, (breakage) since my block has been retaped to accommodate 3/8 size bolts. I am using replacement grade 8 bolts. Naturally, you will have to carefully drill out the fuel pump flange to accommodate the larger size. One detail of importance you mention here is the fact that these bolts will loosen up after cruising at highway speeds. In my case going faster than 45mph, only bringing the car up to 60mph...

 

Spinneyhill, from your quote here...

 

"Also, make sure the gasket does not restrict oil draining back out of the pump into the engine. If the pivot pin is worn, you might get oil leaking out around it."

 

As a matter of fact, when I removed the old pump (which did not leak at all) there was an additional gasket made for it which surely restricted the oil... I really wonder what kind of a problem it would cause... But it did not leak!

 

 

IMG_4038.JPG

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Back to the electrical aspect, I just removed the distributor from the car to inspect and replaced the plate, since the wire holder was broken. I also installed a new wire as well as a brand new condenser... The points are brand new. I have a couple of questions, first, how important is the spring tension of the breaker points (19 to 23 oz) per manual (with a small scale I do not have) second, when reinstalling the distributor the manual suggests you move to oil pump shaft slot to match #1 spark plug position on the distributor cap and then insert back in... Why is this a must, if I can put it back exactly in the same place as it was before? 

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For those pesky fuel pump bolts I would use blue Locktite, which I use on most of the bolts on my cars. It's not the permanent kind, but it does keep the bolts pretty well snugged up. Rather than cranking them extra tight to keep them from backing off, this can help. I've never had a bolt with the blue Locktite on it come loose but you can break it loose with a wrench and a little extra grunt so it's not a big ordeal. I've also used the green "wicking" type of Loktite on already tightened bolts and it works pretty well, although not as well as a few drops during assembly.

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As it happens the bolts had very little movement, enough to cause a leak... I just snugged them up. If the leak won't go away, I will then remove the pump for the third time and use the blue Locktite...

 

I now have the pump apart since it leaked oil and I am ready to re-install... Everything is clean and ready to go. I will be using Permatex #2 aviation sealant. I have another question about leakage though... I noticed that as I was cleaning the pump I got some oil coming out off what appears to be a vent on the side... If you are to blow through it the air comes out by the mounting flange.

 

My question is, during normal operation, is it possible for the oil to travel through the vent come out and make a mess? or if there is too much oil coming from here, is it a sign that there is something else wrong with the pump?

Edited by philipj (see edit history)
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