Jump to content

My 1931 Buick project- the saga begins...

Recommended Posts

So a month or so ago I bid on and won a 1931 Buick model 8-66S that had been partially restored when the owner apparently either ran out of money or passed away.  The restorer ended up owning the car and it appears he wasn't too interested in finishing it either.  I'm an old retired geezer who really needed a wintertime project to get me up off my posterior.  This car is the 3rd 1931 Buick I have owned since I was 18 yrs. old and comes along just about 50 yrs.  later (oops- did I give away my age?).  The restorer took this car all apart, sent engine and trans out for restoration, repainted the chassis and all the running gear, reassembled the chassis, painted the body, restored the artillery wheels, re-chromed the radiator  shell, headlamps, nickel plated an incorrect shift lever, shifter cover and hand brake (these turn out to be 1933-4  parts) and reinstalled the body and doors.  It has no windshield but I have material to build a frame and seals are available and I have a good crank-up windshield mechanism.  The radiator front shutter and the dash are incorrectly painted burgundy and will have to be repainted.  The headlight cross bar was incorrectly chromed and will get painted.  The doors were hung with most of the original hinge pins, one was missing, there were no door checks, bumpers, dovetail pockets and covers.  The heat riser system which is the heart of the fuel handling system was reinstalled and butterflies in both heat riser and exhaust damper are there and operable.  They are even connected but the most important parts of the Marvel heat riser linkage were missing and the car was run with a fixed heat setting and improvised accelerator linkage hooked to a makeshift wood pedal.  You get the picture, this car, while impressive to look at needs a heap of work.


The first project i started on was body closures, the doors first.  They have slight alignment issues, the bottom rear edge of the door skin hangs out from the B-pillar by about 3/8" at the bottom.  I found some door check rods on E-Bay and got them installed with new bumpers from Bob's.  I temporarily installed a replacement hinge pin on the driver's door center hinge to replace the 1/4-20 bolt i found there.  I found some reproduction Cadillac dovetail pocket castings at Classic Exotic Car Service in Troy, MI.  They will have to be modified slightly to install on the original B-pillar door jamb but will work fine with reproduction bumpers from Steele. 


Then one day I happened to really look at the shifter and hand brake lever setup and figured out pretty quickly that those were not correct for the car and the hand brake pivot was on the shifter cover instead of on the side of the bell housing.  the result was a funny looking shifter with an extra ben in it and a hand brake lever that could not be used to set the parking brake because it stuck up almost 2 inches above the bottom of the dash and was trapped in front of the dash sheet metal.   After a lot of questions on the Tech forum I got some excellent pictures from another member of the forum of his original 1931 8-66S.  It turned out to correct the shifter and hand brake installations to original I needed a litany of parts, hand brake pivot pin, bell housing vent cover, the hand brake rack gear that installs on the right side of the transmission, correct hand brake lever, correct shift lever and shifter housing. 


I solved most of the missing part issues by finding  a complete 1931 60 series transmission on E-Bay.  The trans, complete rear end and torque tube drive and all the original brake backing plates and cables were removed from a 1931 model 8-67S sedan that was resto-rodded with the common Chevy 350 small block.  I bought the trans and my wife and I drove 780 miles round trip this past Thursday from Port Huron, MI to Acme, PA in driving rainstorms through the pits of downtown Detroit's I-94 freeway and a big detour around I-75 south which is closed for repair for several miles.  We finally got to PA an hour late to promise but got the trans and shift lever parts and headed back to Michigan.  I cannibalized all the parts except the hand brake lever from the newly acquired trans and the pictures below tell the story of what the car had in it when I brought it home to what it has now.  The correct hand brake is installed temporarily just to prove out the parts compatibility, I will assemble the rest of the lever parts for now and eventually the hand brake and shift lever parts will go to Graves Plating. 


My fingers are tired and your eyes are getting red so I will stop for now...






The shift lever and handbrake lever in this picture wasn't available until 1932.  With the brake lever mounted on the gear shift lever cover it's too tall to clear the 31 instrument panel.


DSC_0001 (4)_LI.jpg


I chased down a 31 60 series trans and cannibalized the correct shifter, shifter cover, handbrake lever and ratchet gear for 31.







Edited by Str8-8-Dave
Add pictures (see edit history)
  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

After correcting the shifter and hand brake issues I decided the next big project would be body closures, including doors, vent doors, rumble lid and glass, particularly the missing wind shieId.  worked on the doors on my 1931 Buick model 8-66S to correct problems with door alignment and gaps particularly at the lower rear edges that resulted in lower doors dragging on entry moldings and hard door closing efforts.  When viewed from the rear the bottom rear edges of the door skins stuck out from the B-pillar sheet metal about 3/8" and with all hinges and pins in place and hinge attaching screws tight the belt molding feature lines don't line up at the rear of the door indicating some sag.  On a modern car this would be corrected via hinge and striker adjustments and maybe shims.  There are no adjustments to the hinges, what is imperative is to make sure they are fastened tightly, I re-screwed mine, all hinge pins are present and not sloppy and the hinges are not bent.  I installed new upper and lower B-pillar door bumpers from Bob's.  There are no Dovetail door bumpers installed yet as the pockets, covers and rubber inserts were MIA when I got the car.  I bought pocket castings that are actually for Cadillac from Classic Exotic Car Service in Troy, MI and have Steele bumper inserts.  The castings are longer than Buick used but can easily be modified to fit original recesses in B-pillar wood so that is what I plan to do.  I will fab covers in brass and send out for chrome.  so here are my questions:


After consulting 2 Fisher Body manuals and discussion with members on the technical forum I was made aware of 2 methods to correct the door alignment.


1: Adjustment of body shims, especially those under the hinge pillar and those near the lock pillar on the car (bolt location #s 2, 3).

2: Addition of an adjustable tension rod to correct the shape of the lower door skins to better follow the body contour after completing step 1 if necessary. 


In this post my pictures show where I started.  In the next post I will explain what I did to correct my door alignment issues.

Door align 001.JPG



Door align 002.JPG

Edited by Str8-8-Dave (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

After a couple of days work I finally got enough body mount shims installed under body bolt location #2, the door hinge location.  The actual work involved loosening or removing all body bolts, then jacking the body up just far enough to get access to the shims between the lower body sill and the frame of the car.  I was all excited the first day I worked on this because I found an exposed portion of the lower body sill that I could get a jack under and safely raise the body one side at a time without using prybars between the sill and the beautifully painted frame.  After installing 1/8" shims at #2 on both side of the car the door alignments both looked much better and they closed much better.  Then I reinstalled the remaining bolts including adding missing bolts at the #3 lock pillar location and to my horror the doors that lined up and closed so nicely before tightening the bolts were as bad as before!  RATS!  After the pity party was over I took all the bolts out again and added a 1/4" shim on the driver's side which sagged the most after tightening the bolts and I replaced the 1/8" shim on the passenger side with a 1/4" shim.  Being skeptical that I might have to add even more shims I started by just tightening #2 on both sides.  The doors remained lined up nice and closed nicely.   Next I tightened #1 and #3, checked the doors and both were ok.  I finally finished off the last of the bolts and happily I think the door alignment is now acceptable.  This also seems to have cured the misalignment of the lower trailing edges of the door skins which eliminated the need to add tension rods inside the doors. 


A picture of the reproduction reinforced rubber shims I used and the after pictures of the drivers door are below.  I found the shims from a guy named Norm Smith from Saskatchewan Canada while looking on E-bay one night.  Norm was selling these for early Chevrolet on E-Bay and I contacted him to inquire what thickness shims he could produce and whether or not the rubber was reinforced.  Norm produces these in 1/8" and 1/4" thicknesses. 


Door align 003.JPG


The door alignment, belt line molding feature now lines up and the gaps at the lower rear of the doors is much better because raising the rear of the doors makes the contours of body and door skins agree.


Door align 004.JPG



Door align 005.JPG

Edited by Str8-8-Dave
Add photo (see edit history)
  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

The next project on the doors was tracking down and installing dovetail door pockets and bumpers.  I had never seen these items on a car but found a local place that makes die cast replicas for Packard and Cadillac.  I bought a set of the Cadillac units and was in the process of modifying them to fit the lock pillar recesses.  After modifying them pretty drastically they still did not fit correctly and I would still have to fabricate covers.  I finally contacted Roger Fields in Ohio on the long shot that he might have a set of the original parts which he did.  When they arrived I wasn't sure if they were correct but I finally stumbled onto pictures of the originals in my 31 Buick Fisher Body manual and the screw holes on the pocket assemblies lined up with the screw locations on the lock pillar of the car.  I re-painted the parts and installed new rubber components and installed them on the car.  I think they look pretty good.  Roger also had a set of lube doors so I now have them on both running board aprons.




As received the car had no dove tail pockets.


Dovetail pockets 002.jpg


I bought these pockets from Roger Fields in Ohio, cleaned them up and painted them  and fit new Steele Rubber inserts and installed them on the B-pillars.


dovetail pockets 004.JPG


The car did have nice chrome wedges but they were attached with incorrect screws.


Dovetail pockets 006.JPG


Now the car has grease doors on both sides.


Lube door 001.JPG

Edited by Str8-8-Dave
Add photo descriptions (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

As we approach Labor Day I think I have survived the last vacation camping trip for this summer so now I get to work on my car again.  I took a little detour from my work on body closures to replace the clutch and brake pedals in the car with correct 1931 part number pedals, part number 124011 clutch and 124012 for the brake .  The previous owner of this car installed later model pedals with sheet metal rectangles riveted to the top intended for rubber pedal surfaces rather than the original ribbed steel surfaces with anti-skid side tabs.  The pedals I removed are part number 1261989 for the clutch and 1261990 for the brake and are in good restored painted condition.  The starter pedal is still a later pedal but it will soon be replaced with a correct for 1931 pedal.  I will sell off the later clutch and brake pedals at some point.  The pictures below show the later clutch and brake pedals that were installed on the car and the original style pedals I replaced them with.  I did some work on the clutch pedal with my Dremel Moto-Tool to restore some of the worn off tread ribs on the pedal surface, then fill-primed and sanded several times to fill the rust craters on the levers and cannibalized a good set of original toe-board clearance adjusting bolts which were thoroughly cleaned and greased to prevent rusting.  What is still missing is the pedal return springs and the bell housing mounted tab they attach to.  Eventually I would like to find a set of original pedal springs and tab but for now I will install a home fabricated tab on the bell housing and use a set of available tension springs from McMaster-Carr.   These items are below the floorboards so the casual observer won't see them.  You will have to crawl under the car to see my temporary parts.



These brake and clutch pedals are either modified or are for some later model year.  They are designed for rubber treads.  All 31's had solid steel pedals with cast treads.







The starter pedal is definitely an improvised part.




Here we have the original style pedals with cast on tread and side guards to prevent wet shoes from slipping off the pedals.



Edited by Str8-8-Dave
Add photo descriptions (see edit history)
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a quick update.  I rounded up a set of pedal return springs and a spring bracket to attach ends of the springs not attached to the pedals to the flywheel cover.  These ARE NOT original Buick parts and at some point may be replaces with OEM items but these have the original style brake and clutch pedals returning to the pedal stop bar that the pedal height screws act on. 


The other project this week was to get rid of the plain water in the cooling system and replace it with some anti-freeze before winter sets in.  I read a timely article in a recent Buick Bugle warning NOT to use the yellow "Organic Acid Technology" permanent anti-freeze, the so-called "Extended Life" anti-freeze because it is harmful to our old copper clad head gaskets and  other cooling system components and if it gets into the oil it loves to munch on babbited bearings (YIKES).   I also corrected another originality item for the car while doing this.  When I got the car the hose connecting the lower radiator to the water pump was just a length of spiral hose.  There is supposed to be a metal tube with a drain cock between two sections of short spiral rubber hose.  I fabricated one from a piece of heavy wall steel pipe, a threaded weld bung and a nice old style brass drain valve I found on E-Bay.  After having the weld bung brazed onto the tube I painted it, installed the drain valve, and now have something that looks pretty correct and makes draining coolant a snap.




A picture of the aftermarket pedal springs and the attaching bracket I made which is not an original part but is similar in design and attaches the same way the original bracket attached.  These parts will undoubtedly be re-visited with original parts.




Here is a picture of the drain tube I made for the cooling system.


Lwr rad drain tube 002.jpg


A weld bung was attached to the bottom of the tube and a petcock was installed making coolant changes much easier.  In this picture the tube is installed with the petcock toward the rear.  In a later installment the plain rubber hose and worm gear clamps are replaced with Buick script hose and roll-lock clamps and the tube is turned around so the petcock is over the hole in the right side engine compartment splash shield.


Lwr rad drain tube 003.jpg

Edited by Str8-8-Dave
Add photo descriptions (see edit history)
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

So during the past week I have again made some progress and discoveries.  Looking back at the last post regarding adding a tube with a petcock drain, there will be a bit of a re-do coming after I test-fit the right hand engine compartment splash shield.  There is a 3" hole in the splash shield that the petcock in the tube should be directly above so that when coolant is drained it has a direct path out rather than spilling all of the splash shield.  The tube will need to be removed and turns so the petcock is oriented toward the front of the car and the connecting rubber hoses will need to be trimmed a bit.  For now I'm waiting for an order of 1/4-20 bolts that will attach the splash shields on both sides of the engine and fasten various sheet metal such as front and rear fenders to  the running board aprons.   


The major repair I  actually accomplished this week was correcting the movement of the steering wheel mounted throttle and light switch levers.  It appears that someone repaired or altered the steering column tube that houses the throttle control and light control shafts.  There is a keyway at the steering wheel end of the housing tube the determines the position of a base plate.  That base plate then limits the arc the throttle and light switch levers can move thru.  I had no experience with the housing tube because the last 2 1931 Buicks I owned did not have a problem with steering wheel control movement.  I determined that the housing tube had been re-welded to the diamond shaped base plate that attaches the tube to the bottom of the steering gear. Unfortunately whoever did the repair welded the tube with the keyway at the top of the housing located 90 degrees out of it's proper orientation to the mounting plate.  this was the root cause of the incorrect lever steering wheel control travel.   I wound up removing all the steering wheel control parts and the steering wheel, then partially removing the exhaust system to finally allow me to remove the housing tube assembly from the bottom of the steering column.  Once all of the parts were removed and cleaned I took the hosing tube to my local fabricating shop and  had the tube and plate re-welded in the proper orientation.   After making a new gasket for the housing tube mounting plate and reinstallation of the parts I was able to mount the headlight switch at the bottom of the column for the first time. Now I have a steering wheel throttle control lever that travels from 12 o-clock to 3 o-clock as it should and a steering wheel light switch lever that cam be moved from the 7 o-clock park lamp position to 6 o-clock lamps off to 5 o-clock low beam headlamp to 4 o-clock high beam headlamp positions as Buick intended.


Other problems with the steering column installation were a steering column floor seal was missing that has to go on the column tube below the ignition lock and switch and the original Oakes steering lock and ignition switch was missing a key so the ignition and steering could not be locked and the ignition switch lever was broken off.   I bought a second lock and ignition switch assembly on E-Bay that came with an aftermarket lock cylinder and keys like the one Bob's Automobilia sells.  I already had a new re-pop ignition switch lever and the column seal.  I spent an afternoon making one good column lock and switch assembly out of the 2 units and installed the missing seal and the reworked column lock assembly.  I'm not totally satisfied with the aftermarket lock cylinder, it sticks up 1/4" above the column lock housing, was so sloppy when I first installed it that it would not reliably lock the column, the keys are not original style and the finished unlock and lock position of the key slot are horizontal where the original Oakes lock cylinder has the key slot finishing in a vertical orientation.  In a judged car show an knowledgeable judge will kill you for that. 


I also got a correct safety glass windshield from The Glassman this week that will be the subject of a future update.


Today I expect to get the missing original throttle lever that mounts on the bottom of the column and the linkage that connects the column lever to the heat riser throttle shaft, an original 1931 starter pedal and return spring from Jon Henry in MA.  I have a donor heat riser with all the missing linkage parts that will be installed on my heat riser system in another future update.  


The first pictures show the limits of the steering wheel control lever travel before the repair to the housing tube.







Here the steering wheel control parts have been removed for evaluation and repair.




Before the repair the  in the tube was incorrectly welded to the bottom mounting plate causing the cam plate keyway (just above the steering wheel nut) to be rotated 90 degrees out of proper position.




Right to left- housing tube, throttle control tube and light switch shaft removed from the column




After the re-weld of the tube to the mounting plate with the keyway now rotated into correct position, steering controls shown in the throttle closed/lights off position.




The missing floor seal was installed while the steering wheel and ignition switch were off the column.




Here is a picture of the reworked steering and ignition lock...




The headlight switch was dangling from the horn wire when I got the car.  Here it is correctly mounted at the bottom of the steering gear for the first time since I got the car.



Edited by Str8-8-Dave
Add photo descriptions (see edit history)
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello to all;  We just got back from our summer home in Garden, MI after taking our new 5th wheel camper up to store it for the winter.  We delayed going by a couple of days due to impending severe weather and the arrival of a box of Buick parts from Jon Henry in Marion, MA.  The travel delay put us in the crosshairs of a windstorm that closed the Mackinac Bridge to high profile vehicles and caused a 6.6hr delay crossing the bridge and making a typical trip of 7hrs into a 13hr white knuckle ride.  Anyhow after returning home I went back to work on the Buick. 


The box of parts included a warm up throttle lever for the bottom of the steering column along with the linkage rod that connects the steering column control lever to the throttle butterfly shaft on the heat riser.  Also in the box was 1 wheel lug and a couple of lug nuts to replace missing items on the left front wheel and a correct for 1931 60 series starter pedal, spring, pedal shaft and woodruff key. 


Today's project then was to clean, paint and install the correct starter pedal parts to replace parts from a later model Buick.  Having the correct return spring offered a side benefit of letting me remove the jury-rigged return spring setup which was a light extension spring stretched from the incorrect pedal to a 1/4-20 x 1-1/2" shiny bolt installed in the pivot screw hole of the flywheel timing access cover.  I eliminated all that stuff and installed a correct 1/4-20 round head machine screw with lock and flat washer.  Here are a few pictures of the starter pedal installation...




The incorrect starter pedal from a later car is shown here.




Here are pictures of the correct for 31 starter pedal and return spring.







The brass tube that runs along the side of the transmission and ends above the timing mark cover allows a few drops of oil to be delivered to the throw out bearing.  This is another part that was missing and cannibalized from another 60 series transmission that was the donor of the correct for 31 shift and emergency brake levers and hardware.







The now correctly installed flywheel timing access cover.




A picture of the incorrect starter pedal, return spring and spring anchor bolt I removed.




These are all the pedals I removed and replaced except a wood accelerator pedal that will be replaced with a Bob's 1931 Buick reproduction when the floorboards go back in.



Edited by Str8-8-Dave
Add photo descriptions (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

A couple of posts ago I dealt with the steering control levers that wouldn't go were they were supposed to go and got that all straightened out.  The bottom of the column was waiting for a throttle control lever that attaches at the bottom of the column and the link rod the lever acts on when you move the throttle control and then connects to the throttle shaft on the heat riser.  Jon Henry said he had these parts and he gathered those and a missing wheel lug and nut and an original 60 series starter pedal, shaft and spring and sent them to me.  I was disappointed at first with the throttle lever and the link rod, the lever had massive aluminum weld repairs and the link rod was a ball of rust with the adjustable end of the link frozen on and threads on the rod were barely visible.  I finally spent a couple of hours with a Dremel and a selection of files and emery cloth and got the die cast lever re-shaped so it was at least recognizable.  Jon Henry and I talked about the link rod and he said it was probably the best one he had and wanted me to try giving the adjustable end of the link rod a rap with a hammer on the anvil of my bench vise, then working the end back and forth with lots of penetrating oil and he was right, eventually I got it off and there were enough threads present to hold the adjustable end in place.   Then I tried to install the link lever on the column and when I just snugged the pinch bolt I heard a pop and the lever went limp.  The pot metal used in these parts is pretty fragile and is highly suspect after heating to do any kind of repair but now I was stalled because I didn't have a usable lever and wasn't sure the one I had was worth repairing.  I decided to look of an acceptable replacement. 


After thumbing thru pages of E-Bay listings I found 2 possible replacement parts, one was a stamped steel Weber DCOE throttle lever that got me away from dealing with pot metal but would sure look odd at the bottom of the steering column of a 31 Buick.  Then I found some diecast aluminum throttle levers made by Speedway.  They lacked the shape of the Buick part, the distance between the shaft hole and the link rod hole was 0.30" short and the shaft hole diameter was 0.287" where the Buick throttle shaft diameter was 0.375".  I considered drilling the shaft hole out but there was not enough metal width at the big end of the Speedway link, I probably would have broken it in the drill press.  Finally I stumbled onto a listing from Classic & Exotic Service, a pretty good restoration shop in Troy, MI that makes reproduction parts for Cadillac, Dusenberg and other marques and lo and behold they had a lever they cast in bronze for 37 Cadillac V-16 that looked very similar to the Buick part except it had an extra arm cast on that was easily removed.  It had the correct distance from the steering column throttle shaft hoe to the link rod hole, the link rod hole was the same as the Buick so the link rod can be assembled with no modification.  The one stumbling block is the Cadillac throttle shaft is 0.500" dia. and the Buick throttle shaft is 0.375" dia. so I found a bronze bushing on E-Bay to size the Cadillac lever hole down to the size of the Buick's throttle shaft.  I think the Cadillac piece looks pretty close and it will work fine and unless you really over tighten the pinch bolt on this cast bronze unit you won't break it. 


The original Buick levers are hard to find and easy to break.  This looks like a pretty viable and robust solution.  The Classic and Exotic Service part number for the 1937 Cadillac V-16 throttle lever is  CAD-0182 and lists for $85.  You can visit their site at www.classicandexotic.com if interested.   I found a pure bronze 0.500" OD x 0.375" ID x 1/2" long on E-Bay.




This is a broken repaired original Buick throttle lever




I found a better replacement throttle lever.  This is a Classic Exotic Service reproduction 1937 Cadillac V-16 throttle lever in cad plated bronze, their part number CAD-0182.  The original linkage rod and adjuster are also shown.




I found a pure bronze (not an oil lite item) in just the right size to step the Cadillac control shaft hole which is 0.500" down to the Buick's 0375"  control shaft diameter on E-Bay.   The bushing was 1/2" long and was shortened slightly to replicate the recess in the Buick throttle lever.




Here is a shot of the bushing installed in the new lever with a saw cut to allow the lever to be clamped to the column throttle shaft.  I used a Dremel with a cutoff wheel to cut a slot in the bushing before it was installed in the Cadillac arm. I put a drop of red Loctite on the bushing to keep it from creeping in the arm hole while installing it in the car.




 I cut the arm extension off the Cadillac part, the Buick setup doesn't require it.




The new throttle control lever installed in my car.






Edited by Str8-8-Dave
Add photo descriptions (see edit history)
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

It's been a couple of busy weeks split between chasing parts for my Buick, the annual color tour of Michigan's UP and actually working on the car a little.  After coming up with the warmup throttle lever replacement in my last post I got a note from John Opp in NY who had seen my list of WTB parts and said he thought he had the starting crank I was looking for and the headlight harness connecters.  In the course of working on the warmup throttle stuff I asked Dave in GA (Dave39MD) who must have the most original 1931 8-66S Special Coupe  to take a picture of his warmup throttle linkage.  The picture he sent showed a part I had forgotten existed, a cover for the light switch at the bottom of the steering column.  When I responded to John's E-mail I mentioned I was now looking for a headlight switch cover and he said he had that too!  John sent a picture of 2 starting cranks he had and asked me to pick the one I thought was correct which I did.  John was packing for his winter escape to FL but sent me a an excellent crank and headlight switch cover.  John didn't have time to look for the headlight parts but promised he would when he returns in the spring. 


Before John's parts came I decided to redo my lower radiator hose and pipe installation and install the right side engine compartment splash pan.  I ordered some Buick script hose and correct style clamps from Bob's and had to round up the nuts, bolts, flat washers, some thick fender washers and the lock washers to install the splash pan.  I fussed with that for a couple of days before I got everything installed to my satisfaction. 


The next parts player was Rich Baumgarten (Thehandleman)  in TN whom I dealt with earlier for a good unmolested light bar.  The one that came with my car is a dazzling chrome with a front license plate frame that was rewelded out of position.  That part is supposed to be gloss black, not chrome.  Rich had one from a 1930 car that had headlights on it which are different that the 31 headlights but it turned out the bar was the same so I bought it. Later when Rich was loading his trailer for Hershey I found out he had a rear mount spare tire carrier and after trading measurements I committed to buying it.   I also asked if he might have the spit rear bumper parts that go with  He replied that he had what he thought might be the correct rear bumper so I bought it along with the tire carrier.  I couldn't go to Hershey and Rich asked me to find someone who lived in my area of Michigan to pick the parts up and bring them back rather than shipping them.  I posted an inquiry to see if someone on the AACA forums might be going and got an immediate response from Larry Schramm who planned to go to Hershey and he brought my parts back to Michigan. 


While everyone was at Hershey I packed up my wife and her mom and we headed for the UP for the color tour.  We hit the fall colors at absolute peak and spent an enjoyable Saturday on the back roads taking in the breathtaking colors.   While I was on that trip I was looking at 1930 and 1931 Buick E-Bay parts listings and came across a California estate seller's listing for an original horn button supposedly for 1930/31 which is not possible, they're totally different parts for the 2 model years.  Had quite a price on the horn button too, $450 Buy-It-Now!  I was looking at the pictures and they had just the ignition switch component of the OEM Oakes steering and ignition lock assembly Buick used from about 1930 to mid or late 30's and the way it was pictured they thought it was part of the horn switch.  One of the pictures from the horn button listing had a picture of a box with 2 tin cans of parts  and I couldn't believe my eyes, there was an original Oakes lock cylinder complete with Briggs & Stratton key and the infamous pin you have to drill out to get the cylinder out of the ignition an steering lock assembly.  I contacted the seller through E-Bay and gave them a little coaching and counselling about the parts they had pointing out that the ignition switch was not part of the horn button and asked if they would be interested in selling just the Oakes lock cylinder and key.  I got a note thanking me profusely for the advice and soon they put up a separate listing for the lock cylinder and key and used the same box of parts picture.  I used the Buy-It-Now feature and scored the lock and key for sure and I'm hoping I get the box with the other parts in it as a bonus. 


Meanwhile Larry Schramm returned from Hershey with my tire carrier and bumper and I picked them up from Larry Tuesday.  Wednesday temporarily installed the tire carrier which Rich was skeptical about selling to me when I told him my rims were 18-1/2" dia. and Rich measured the carrier and found it was 18" dia. measured vertically and 19" dia. measured horizontally!  I thought about that for about 35 seconds and figured out it was bent out of round slightly, collapsed vertically.  Sure enough I got it mounted on the car and my spare rim wouldn't go on which I expected.  I took a couple pieces of 2x4 and a bottle jack to the vertical walls of the carrier and after a couple of attempts got it trued up enough that my rim now goes right on so it is the correct carrier.  


The half bumper turned out to be a bigger challenge.  I worked on it today to see if it could be installed on the car.  My car had the inner bumper bar that mounts on the end of the frame and goes across the entire car.  The inner bumper bar that Larry brought back with the rest of the bumper parts is dramatically different as where the inner bar I had was curved a little toward the front of the car the bar that came from Rich was curved a lot toward the front of the car.  I noticed while playing with the bumper parts Rich sent that the bolt holes in the inboard brackets that pick up the inboard end of the chrome bumper bars didn't line up well with their corresponding holes in the inner bar.  My first inclination was to remove the inner bar on my car and put the bar Rich sent on the car thinking the chrome bars would not work with my straight inner bar.  That didn't work because the lower chrome bars and the end bolts would hit the rear fender tails on the car.  I almost gave up resigning myself to the idea that I bought the wrong bumper.  I decided I had nothing to lose by reinstalling the straight inner bar that came with my car and exploring whether the rest of the rear bumper parts might work with it.  Low and behold I got the inner bar reinstalled, installed the inboard brackets and bolted them to the inner bar and the chrome bars lined right up with all the bolt locations!  Yippee!  


I'd like to thank everyone who has helped with parts or information as I work on this car.  Besides those mentioned in this post I'd like to thank Jon Henry of MA who helped with the starter pedal and return spring, a missing correct style wheel lug and nut and the warmup throttle linkage parts.  I'd like to thank Roger Fields of OH who helped with headlight stands, lube doors, original rumble seat steps, wing 8 radiator cap, dovetail pockets, clutch pedal and many other parts.  I'd also like to thank Rand Broadstreet of Vintage Carburetor in OH who sold me a 31 60 series Marvel heat riser that has complete correct linkage parts (casting is broke but all the linkage parts are there).   


Ok everyone wake up now, here come the pictures...






The updated lower radiator hose  and right splash pan installation.


Lwr rad drain tube 006.JPG


Painting radiator front shutter which should be black for all 31's is a future project.


Hand crank 001.JPG


Here is the hand crank I got from John Opp which will never be used to start the car, just to turn the engine by hand to deal with ignition timing and valve lash on a regular basis.


Hand crank 003.JPG


John Opp also sent a really nice headlight switch cover.




In this can is an original Oakes lock cylinder with Briggs & Stratton key and the infamous pin that keeps casual thieves from defeating the lock.  Could it be NOS?  Will I get the whole box of parts pictured?




These 2 pictures show my temporary installation of the tire carrier.  It will come off and go for blasting and paint and that nice Allstate spare tire will be upgraded to a tire matching the other four from Coker Tire.







The last 2 pictures show the temporary installation of the rear 1/2 bumpers.  There will be some tweaking of the chrome bars before removal for re-plating and blast and paint for the inboard brackets


RR Bmpr 0005.JPG



RR bmpr 0003.JPG

Edited by Str8-8-Dave
Add photo descriptions (see edit history)
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/1/2018 at 3:40 PM, Str8-8-Dave said:

I know everyone has been sitting on the edge of their chairs waiting to see what the old geezer has done to that poor 1931 Buick 8-66S this week so here we go...


For the past week or so I decided it was time to address floppy fenders, missing fender welt and the exhaust system that has the nifty cobbled together head pipe that was hard against the rear shackle bolt of the front drivers side leaf spring.  This entire car has been an adventure sorting out the short cuts used to quickly assemble a bunch of nicely restored parts into a complete saleable car for the E-Bay auction from whence it came to me.  I'm working still to get to the bottom of swapping out drywall screws used to attach items such as interior window sill moldings, door latch and window regulator hardware and a scant few 1/4-20 bolts that held the front fenders to the car and incorrect and missing bolts to attach the rear fenders.  For fender welt I did get a 30 or so foot roll of fender welt I fished out of one of the loose parts boxes that came with the car.  The effort this week was to populate every front fender mounting bolt hole with a stainless steel bolt, nut, inner and outer flat washers and a lock washer.  In order to properly assemble the fenders securely to the car I also installed fender welt.  I really had no idea what seams in the front fenders had welt and while I was sure the rear fenders had welt I wasn't sure where the welt installation should start and stop.  Dave39MD from Georgia was once again my go-to guy for correct information because he has one of these cars that has never been torn apart.  Dave happily sent pictures of the front and rear fender welt installation on his car and later when I had questions about attaching the gas tank cover to the rear fender tails Dave sent photos of the attaching hardware I was missing and the picture he sent also confirmed the use of oval shaped fender washers under the rear fender attaching bolts.  I'm not interested in makeshift installation of parts on this car, I'm interested in making the car authentic to original as possible.  I actually hate using Bolt Depot stainless bolts in place of hundreds of original bolts the previous owner lost or discarded because they were dirty or rusty.   I would love to find a source of the old style plain steel hardware as originally installed on the car with a chart or diagram explaining what hardware was used where.  The bolts originally installed had no markings on their heads, nuts in many cases were square, flat washers were a particular size and split lock washers were heavier than todays parts.  What I did try to do was make the closest possible substitution for these old fasteners I could find in modern hardware.   Rounding up some of this stuff, particularly oval fender washers and bead clamps to attach the gas tank cover to the fender bead took a little research.  The oval fender washers came from Moss Motors, a British car restoration source.  The bead clamps are actually supposed to be brake line clamps and came from National Parts Depot for the princely sum of about $1.70 each. 


The first group of pictures below are from Dave39MD's car showing welt installation and the last picture from Dave shows the bead clamps with slotted screw attachments to clamp the tank cover to the rear fenders.  Dave explained to me that the front fender welt stops at the rear of the front fenders and does not continue along the running boards.  Rear fender welt starts from a tuck-under location where the body opening starts at the front of the fender and ends similarly at a body tuck-under point in the rear.  There is no welt installation at the vertical joint between the running board apron and the front of the rear fender but I guessed there should be fabric or rubber in this joint to prevent 2 painted metal panels from rubbing and working against each other so I cut the bead off a section of the bead tail and just installed the flat material between these 2 parts.  Dave stated there was a strip of welt between the gas tank cover and the fenders at the rear of the car.  The first batch of pictures of my car show my feeble attempt to replicate the welt installation from Dave's info. 


The other small project that I thought I was gonna fail at was removing a cobbled up front exhaust pipe that doesn't fit the car correctly while I wait for Waldron Exhaust in Centreville, MI to make a correct front exhaust pipe for my car.  The muffler and tailpipe on the car look to be new and correct and I'm hoping to have saved a little money by getting Waldron to supply the front pipe only.  Assuming the muffler location and inlet size are compatible with the Waldron supplied pipe I will have fixed another item on the list.  I cut most of the pipe off with a cutoff wheel in my die grinder, that was easy.  The hard part was removing the remaining stub from the muffler inlet.  I started off by putting a heavy piece of hydraulic pipe over the stub, then reinstalling the muffler clamp near the cut off end of the stub and using the hydraulic pipe as a slide hammer.  That did nothing.  I took the pipe off and reinstalled the clamp and started wailing on it with a 3lb ball pein hammer which after several licks resulted in the clamp sliding off the end of the pipe stub.  Finally I drilled a hole thru both walls of the pipe stub and put a 3/8" bolt thru the pipe to pin the muffler clamp so it could not slide off the end of the pipe and finally got the stub to move a little in the muffler.  The last move I made that resulted in success was spraying the pipe joint at the muffler inlet with WD-40  and wailed on the muffler clamp with the hammer and looks like it came out just before the bolt was gonna fail...




The first 3 pictures show the body welt installation on Dave39MD's unmolested original 31 Buick 8-66S.


FW 0003.jpg



FW 0001.jpg



FW 0002.jpg


The following 4 pictures show my welt installation including welt between the fender and the gas tank cover.



FW 0009.JPG



FW 0010.JPG



FW 0011.JPG



FW 0012.JPG


A picture of the gas tank cover to fender bead clamps on Dave39MD's car.  Note the oval fender washer under the fender attachment bolt.



FW 0008.jpg


My gas tank to fender bead clamp installation and oval fender washers.



FW 0014.JPG


This is the inner rear fender to running board apron attachment.  Dave39MD said there is no welt between these parts but I installed cloth/vinyl material cut from a section of welt to prevent chafing. 



FW 0015.JPG


These 2 pictures are of the front fender to running board apron and side of the car's frame.


FW 0017.JPG


FW 0019.JPG


 Here are pictures of the empty muffler inlet and a picture of the pipe stub I brutalized to get it out of the muffler. 


Exh 0002.JPG


Exh 0003.JPG

Edited by Str8-8-Dave
Add photo descriptions (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Turning from body panel installation in the previous post, this post is a bit more mechanical.  One of the things I noticed right away was the heat riser that came on my car had parts on it I was not familiar with having been experienced with 1931 model cars only.  Linkage that coordinates heat riser damper/valve/throttle and control idle throttle opening seemed to be missing on the right end of the throttle shaft and the warmup throttle linkage parts were missing on the left.  This situation became obvious shortly after I acquired the car and set me on a search mission to find the linkage parts.  Enter Rand Broadstreet and Vintage Carburetor in Ohio.  While perusing 1931 Buick E-Bay listings one night I spotted listings for 2 31 Buick Marvel carburetors listed by Vintage Carburetor that looked like new.  I used the Contact Seller facility on E-Bay to see if Vintage would have any linkage parts for 31 Marvel heat risers and lo and behold, Rand answered that he had a complete 31 60 series heat riser with all the linkage parts intact.  The casting was toast as you will see in the pictures that follow.  I bought the riser back in May and added it to my parts collection in the garage, not knowing when I would get to playing with the heat riser system on my car.  It seemed appropriate to get the riser system squared away before while the front exhaust pipe was out of the car (see last picture and comments in the previous post for details).  What I expected to be an easy swap of linkage parts from one heat riser to another quickly became a whole different project...


I noted the riser castings were not the same part number, the original unit from Vintage stamped "146-106 and 2F"  and the casting that came on my car stamped "146-80 and 1"  I took numerous pictures of both units to show condition, differences in linkage and to make sure I could reassemble the viable casting from my car with the donor casting's linkage.   The next thing I noticed was while the throttle shaft diameters of both riser units was the same, the ends of the shaft that came with my car were round where the ends of the donor casting's throttle shaft had a single flat machined on the warmup throttle end and 2 flats machined on the primary throttle or accelerator linkage end.  At first I thought who cares, I'll just install the donor throttle shaft and parts in the viable casting.  Not so fast Tinkerbell!  The donor riser uses 1-1/4" dia. throttle butterflies and my car's riser uses 1-5/16" dia. butterflies.  Not realizing the implications I transferred the cam plate to the new riser and proceeded to install the throttle shaft from the donor riser.  Oh, and guess what, the throttle shaft from the donor riser is 0.375" shorter than the one in my car which translated meant the shafts are not interchangeable, nothing lines up in the throttle bores and there isn't enough shaft sticking out of the  casting to install the warmup throttle linkage parts!  I was ready to give up.   


I toyed with the idea of taking both throttle shafts to the local machine shop and trying to get them to machine the same flats on the shaft that came with my car, then hopefully transferring the linkage parts from the donor unit's throttle shaft.  My wife knows when my brain is in overdrive at night because I don't sleep well.  I lay in bed one night trying to figure out if I could modify my shaft to accept the diecast linkage jewelry from the donor.  What I came up with was a plan to use the vise from an old flaring tool to clamp first the old shaft using throttle butterflies to index both shafts into exactly the same position, then using a straight edge laid against the machined flats of the donor shaft I would scribe lines on the flaring tool.  Then I installed the shaft from my car and indexed the shaft using the butterflies and setting the exposed shaft to the length of the machined flats on first the warmup throttle side, then the primary throttle side, then hand filing flats on my car's throttle shaft using the scribed lines to set the angle.  Well, I had really good luck on the warmup throttle end filing the single flat and getting the warmup linkage to install with no problem.  Then I moved to the primary throttle end.  First I had to rescue the diecast parts from the original donor unit shaft.  The primary throttle diecast lever was a light press fit onto the brass throttle shaft and the end of the shaft was peened over and pinned with a tapered steel pin.  I got the pin out easily and used a Dremel Moto-Tool with a cutoff wheel to carefully cut away the peened over brass shaft allowing the diecast lever to be removed.  Once that was done and the shaft from my car was set up in the file guide made from a flaring tool vise I carefully filed the 2 flats on the round shaft and as I got close began taking a few stroke with the file, then trying to fit the diecast lever.  after a couple of hours of screwing around with that I got the parts to assemble.  After this operation was completed I test-fit the modified throttle shaft in the good riser, spent some time cleaning up the 1-5/16" butterflies and installed those.  Functional tryout was good, all the coordinated throttle and damper parts worked well together.  There was just a touch of free play in the fit of the diecast lever to the throttle shaft.  Since these parts were intended to be permanently assembled I decided to use some high tech epoxy to permanently install the primary throttle diecast lever to the modified throttle shaft.  That worked very well and  then I had to put the riser project aside while we went for a long weekend last stay at our summer home in Michigan's upper peninsula to winterize it and close it up for the winter.   


We dodged around some treacherous weather on our trip to the UP.  We went up on a Thursday and had clear sailing to the cottage.  Thursday night it began to snow and we got 6 inches for starters.  That would be no big deal if we were right on the main road but we are on an unmaintained gravel side road and right on the side of a hill to boot so getting in and out with a front wheel drive Ford Focus is a little exciting.  The snow continued all day Friday, then on and off Saturday.  We got down the hill Saturday to the neighbors for a last of the season turkey dinner.  Sunday it snowed hard and we got another 3-4 inches.  I decided I better clean the car off and after clearing the windows set out to drive the main road to see what we might expect Monday on our trip home.  I almost didn't make it up the hill.  Monday was cold and windy but clear.  We loaded the car, drained the plumbing and poured gallons of recreation antifreeze down drains and locked the door at about 1PM on Veteran's Day Monday.  I carefully backed the car up and tried to make the turn to get us down the hill for a running start and promptly the car skidded and we were stuck half in the driveway, half on the road.  After a few minutes of white knuckle maneuvering I got the car to back down the hill and we got the running start we needed to escape.  We stopped in our little town to pick up an order of meat from the market, then made it 405 miles home in 6 hours without running into snow or hitting a deer which sever other less fortunate folks did.


Today I finished up the heat riser, installed a missing stud that picks up one end of the damper valve shaft anti-rattle spring, cross drilling the hole in the primary throttle shaft and reaming it with a 3.0 taper pin reamer to allow the tapered drift pin to be reinstalled coated threads of the throttle shaft butterfly screws with Loc-Tite 262 to keep them in place.  The pictures below detail the major steps that I hope have resulted in a fairly authentic if somewhat hybrid version of the Marvel heat riser.  The next installment with cover restoration of the manifold damper valve unit which is another adventure...


Happy Thanksgiving and to our veterans Thanks so very much for your service and know we will never forget...






The first 4 pictures are of the 2 heat riser assemblies before the process of transferring linkage parts began.  The natural iron broken casting is from a 1931 60 series car.  The black painted casting is the one that came with my car and is a later casting intended for 1933 or later.













These 2 pictures show the throttle shaft from the 31 Buick 60 series donor.







These 5 pictures show some of the process of modifying the shaft that came in the heat riser on my car to accept the 31 linkage parts.  I believe the casting that came on my car is in pretty good shape internally, I got some rust and carbo out of it but it looks like the interior of  the casting is still thick and strong.  The slight upsize in throttle plate size (1-1/4" vs 1-5/16") may improve performance slightly. 
















The last 7 pictures are the resultant hybrid heat riser assembly would be hard to distinguish from the original unit for the casual observer, the casting numbers would give it away for a subject matter expert.





















Edited by Str8-8-Dave
Add photo descriptions (see edit history)
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites



Saw that the outer door handles are not on your car and that your door panels are off.  Do you know how the outer door handles attach to the inner mechanism?  I have a Fisher body 1930 Cadillac and am missing one rear door handle and the one on the front just spins but doesn't open the door.  Luckily I can still get in the passenger's side!  The Fisher body manual isn't too clear on this (at least for me).  Curious what you have learned from your car about this.


Looks like the car is coming together well, have really enjoyed reading your updates.


David Farlow


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi David;  My experience with Buicks is limited to the one year I became interested in as a teenager when the first one I had came home to our house, a 1931 model 8-86 4 passenger large series business coupe.  The other thing that fascinated me about 1931 is the fact Buick converted their engine offerings from 4 and 6 cylinder OHV models in 1930 to 3 series of straight 8's that had to fit in carryover engine compartments.  That was a paradigm shift for Buick. 


The door handles then for 1931 Buicks were made by Ternstedts in Detroit.  The ends of the handles were square and engaged a square hole in the latch mechanism and were held in place on the inside of the car by a very thin head nickel plated steel bolt screwed directly into the square end of the door handle shaft.  The head of the bolt was decorative and large enough to prevent the handle from being pulled out of the square hole in the latch.  Very simple but effective.  If the latches are the same design all I could imagine with the spinning handle is that the handle shaft is too short or the end either was never square or has corroded and the corners are sheared off.  They made like a kazillion handle lengths to accommodate various Fisher and other GM bodies so it could be the handle is just not correct for the application. 

Good luck...



Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Hello to all, hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.  I have now mostly completed restoration of my car's Marvel heat control system.  Since the last post which shows work done specifically to the heat riser itself which amounted to adapting a later riser casting to the 1931-unique linkage which changed in 1932 and was very different by 1933.  After that post I replaced a missing swivel on the heat riser cam that accepts the end of the link rod that connects the heat control lever to the cam linkage, rounded up the original accelerator link rod, made a link rod and barrel nut that connects the cam linkage on the heat riser casting to the diverter valve, made up the inner exhaust delivery pipe.  Then I went to work on the diverter valve.  I drilled out numerous rusted out set screws that hold inner and outer riser pipes in position on the diverter valve, added a pair of stainless anti-rattle springs and repaired the diverter valve control lever that had one side broken off.  This was all done on my work bench.  Later I installed the heat riser, carburetor, riser pipes and the repaired diverter valve on the car. 


Another related project was installing the driver's side under hood splash panel/exhaust heat shield and  replacement of the front exhaust pipe.  The pipe that came with the car was cobbled up in pieces of welded together pipe.  The rest of the exhaust system looked ok behind the front pipe.  I decided to try ordering just the front pipe from Waldron's Exhaust n Centreville, MI.  I discovered Burton Waldron in the mid 1960's via an Hemming's Motor News ad.  At the time the business address was Nottawa, MI which  is about 2 miles from Centreville.  Burt was dressed in bib overalls sitting in front of an old dusty garage building that had pipe all over the place and a pipe bender just inside the garage door.  Behind that building was an old barn that Burt explained was loaded with original mufflers starting from the 1920's.  For about $120 I came home with a complete system for the 31 8-86 coupe I was working on.  It went on the car easily fitting very nicely and sounded wonderful.  The pipe I ordered showed up for my current car and at first I thought something was drastically wrong, I routed the pipe through the hole in the splash shield at slid it into the muffler inlet with no problem but then the header flange was 4 inches low and 4 inches to the rear of lining up with the diverter valve.  It turned out the horizontal run of pipe is 4 inches too short to reach the muffler inlet when the pipe is bolted up to the diverter valve.  Every other aspect of the pipe routing was perfect, it's no where near hitting the shackle bolt the old pipe was hard against.  I ordered a 2.5" dia. by 12" long extension pipe and a second pipe clamp.  As soon as those parts show up I will finish hooking up the exhaust.  I also will make up a rod to connect the heat control lever on the instrument panel to the heat riser cam linkage and replace the throttle return spring with a better spring.. 


But wait- there's more... 


Another  niggling project I posted a thread about was the fact this car had been apart and under reconstruction for a long period of time.   Somewhere over time the original serial number tag was removed from the frame so the frame could be cleaned up and painted, then subsequently lost.  I got the firewall tags with the car but no serial number tag.  I didn't notice that until months after buying the car and bringing it home.  A couple of texts to the seller including offering a finder's fee did not produce the tag.  Finally after almost giving up I did an E-Bay search on "serial number tag" and brought up a short list of offerings which included a listing from a seller identified as "DataPlates4U" located in The Netherlands of all places.  I couldn't believe my eyes, the sample tag in his listing was for a 1932 or later car with a 7 numeric, 1 alpha character tag with the Buick logo on the correct size tag.  A guy named Robert de Ruyter answered my contact seller inquiry and said he could make an authentic tag for my 1931 car.  I wound up ordering directly from his website and 6 weeks later I had a tag which I riveted to the frame today. 


I'm still looking for an oil filter mounting bracket only with it's original mounting bolts.  I also ordered a repro wire harness today from Harnesses Unlimited in Warren, PA.  Once I have that installed I will probably start the car for the first time since I've had it.




Pictures 1-4:  Pictures of the heat riser on the bench with the home made link rod  and barrel nut connecting the cam linkage on the heat riser to the diverter valve.  These pictures illustrate throttle effect on the diverter valve, I.E. the diverter valve always returns to vertical when the throttle is open wide.  Picture one is heat off idle throttle position- diverter valve routing heat away from the hear riser.  2nd picture is heat  off wide open throttle- diverter valve turns vertical to offer least exhaust restriction for high engine speed.  3rd picture heat full on idle- diverter valve routes maximum exhaust heat to the heat riser.  4th picture, heat full on wide open throttle- diverter valve turns vertical for least exhaust restriction for high engine speed.










Pictures 5-6:  Driver's side splash/heat shield installed






Picture 7:  New Waldron exhaust pipe installed in the muffler, note the mismatched alignment to the diverter valve




Pictures 8-13:  New exhaust pipe bolted to the diverter valve is now short of reaching the muffler but the routing is excellent.  I will add a short extension to mate the header to the muffler




Exh 0004.JPG


Exh 0005.JPG


Exh 0006.JPG


Exh 0007.JPG


Pictures 14-15:  DataPlates4u info and serial number tag reproduction installed on the car 






Pictures 16-21 The Marvel heat system and carburetor installation on the car.  Picture 16 is an overview shot, 17 shows the original throttle linkage rod that connects the butterfly shaft to the firewall accelerator bell crank, 18 is a linkage closeup behind the heat riser, 19, 20 are shots of the warmup throttle linkage and 21 is a picture of the heat riser to diverter valve link rod. 













Edited by Str8-8-Dave
Revise pictures (see edit history)
  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

I have just come across your topic. It is a good read and a nice car. Keep it up!


On 8/25/2018 at 4:38 AM, Str8-8-Dave said:

I read a timely article in a recent Buick Bugle warning NOT to use the yellow "Organic Acid Technology" permanent anti-freeze, the so-called "Extended Life" anti-freeze because it is harmful to our old copper clad head gaskets and  other cooling system components and if it gets into the oil it loves to munch on babbited bearings (YIKES).

This is a load of rubbish. If coolant gets in the oil, of course it is good bye to your bearings, whatever type they are! It has nothing to do with what is in the coolant: it just is not a lubricant and you will run bearings when they get hot.


In addition, the current anti-freezes with their anti corrosion additives have to work much harder than they ever did in the past, with aluminium and magnesium in the system as well as iron and copper bearing metals and so on. Remember that Al and Mg are at the top of the galvanic series so will corrode fastest in the right conditions. Copper is a good way down and the steel or Al or Mg beside it will corrode well before the copper starts -  this is pure galvanic corrosion. This is all mixed up because of a case in the '80s when Dexron attacked a GM gasket. I find my antifreeze says on the bottle it is safe with ALL METALS and it is OAT.


The thing is, we don't NEED the added protection of the latest technology in anti-corrosion additives in anti-freeze. The old style stuff is fine and is cheaper! Remember, colour is not a good indicator of what it is.

Edited by Spinneyhill (see edit history)
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Happy new year everyone.  I haven't posted in awhile so thought I would do a quickie to let you all know I'm still workin on the 8-66S.  I'm bogged down as far as posting trying to bring a couple of projects to completion.  The heat riser project is all done except I need to figure out how to replicate a drain or overflow tube that attaches to the bottom of the air cleaner housing, I suspect the idea of it was to drain liquid fuel from the air cleaner in the event of flooding.  Save for that and application of a repro AC air filter service decal that project is done.  Another big project that has been proceeding in the background that fits under the body closures heading is installation of a windshield system consisting of glass, frame, cowl seals, run channel, a-pillar trims, regulator and trim boards and windshield wiper system.   The windshield system was missing parts, no glass, no frame, incorrect wiper motor, right side wiper pivot, wiper arms and blades.  Some of this stuff I have never seen before, like I never had a windshield glass out of a car nor the regulator board off to see how the regulator lifts the glass.  I found a few listings n E-Bay of old original windshields from early 30's Buicks and with some luck and imagination I made a frame for the windshield.  The original Trico mirror attached to the center of the regulator board was missing a claw bracket that attaches the beveled glass to the mirror frame.  Someone attached the glass to the remaining claw bracket with 2 sided rubber mounting tape which is absolutely a more robust method of mounting the glass but the mirror didn't look right with 2 claws showing under the bottom edge of the mirror and no claws at top edge of the mirror.  I created the missing bracket from a piece of 16 gauge sheet metal and my crude metalworking tools, hack saw, files, a Roper Whitney hand punch, an automatic center punch and a bench vise.  The mirror looks complete now.  The trim board was also missing above the regulator board.  I worked with Dave39MD in GA who has an unmolested original 31 8-66S, getting pictures and measurements from him and was able then to make up a replica of the missing board.  Dave also helped with pictures of the metal trim plate that trims the hole in the left engine compartment splash shield which can be removed to allow the front exhaust pipe to be R&R'd and prevents excessive intrusion of road splash when  it is in place.  I'm not sure I ever had or saw up close a 31 Buick with a complete tandem wiper system but found an old post about another AACA Buick forum contributor Chuck, who bought a 90 series car from a Michigan man's estate and found out the previous owner had retired from GM while he owned the car and went thru and reproduced original GM drawings of many of the parts.  Chuck happened to post a picture of the drawing for the wiper system tandem connecting rod that actually shows the right hand pivot and wiper arm hangers.  I copy-pasted the drawing onto my hard drive and printed it.  Not having the original the scaling is off but there were enough dimensions on the drawing to let me compared specified dimensions with the size on the drawing to develop some crude scaling.  The weather here is finally winter-like so I decided to use the time while waiting for tools and parts for other projects to arrive to fabricate the missing wiper parts starting with the right hand pivot.  Using the purloined copy of the drawing and drafting equipment left over from my high school drafting class in the mid-60's I did a flat layout of the pivot on a piece of sheet metal and carved it out, punched holes and bent it to the intended shape.   I bought a cheap Mac's Parts model A Ford tandem wiper kit which consists of chrome arms, blades, RH pivot which is just a shaft that goes thru the top header panel on the model A to attach the RH wiper arm and the tandem connecting rod, all for about 30 bucks.  I pirated the pivot shaft and modified it to allow the arm hanger to be installed in the pivot assembly and so the pivot could be replaced if it ever wore out. This is an official trailer of the movie to come on the windshield project so if interested, stay tuned...




Picture 1,2:  This is a copy of the photo of the original   wiper connecting rod drawing along with what's left of the model A right hand pivot shaft.  Note that I silver soldered the attaching nut that came with the MAC's tandem wiper kit to the inside of the Buick pivot bracket.  Note also that the portion of the pivot shaft I cut off the model A part consists of a threaded barrel sleeve on the left and a completely independent wiper pivot shaft  just to the right which allows the pivot to swivel freely in the barrel sleeve. 


Wshld 067.JPG


Wshld 069.JPG


Picture 3:  A side view of the assembled bracket and pivot shaft parts.


Wshld 070.JPG


Picture 4:  I trimmed the length of the threaded barrel so that when it is screwed in just far enough so the end of the barrel won't interfere with flat mounting of the assembly there is about 0.050" clearance between the tip of the pivot and the nose of the bracket.  That's narrow enough clearance to prevent the wiper arm hanger from ever coming out of the pivot bracket.  I can't show that yet because I haven't made the hangers yet.  I filed a screwdriver slot in the end of the threaded barrel as an assembly aid.


Wshld 071.JPG

Edited by Str8-8-Dave
Correct text (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hiya Spinneyhill;  I know about the tube that runs diagonally from the bottom of the air cleaner, the mystery is the fitting that attaches it.  My air cleaner as a home made plug capping the hole the line is supposed to connect to and it's like 1/2" SAE fine thread.  I wonder if that fine thread is coincidental with that of a large double compression nut that might have been used with 3/8" brass tube?   It's just one of fitting brain teasers on the car.  Thanks for the picture but I will still have to do some research to get this right.



So here's the update that makes me think I'm losing it...  Shortly after reading your post and being bored to death today I went out to the garage and took the air cleaner back off, brought it in the house, removed the makeshift plug, dug around my Blackhawk double compression fittings and found that a 5/16 double compression nut, which is threaded 1/2-20TPI, screws right in the bottom of the air cleaner into what is obviously the other half of a double compression fitting.  Oh by the way I just got some 5/16 brass line so stay tuned, I can now finish the air cleaner job which almost completes the left side of the engine compartment.  I still need to bend and install a brass wiper vacuum line from the intake manifold to the interior of the car but that's minor.  Spinney- thanks for the kick start, I got this now...



Edited by Str8-8-Dave
An enchanted moment occured with my 31 Buick! (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

This will be the last installment of the heat riser project and really extends to completing restoring the left side of the engine to something close to original.  Mostly this was detail stuff but does include some important items like making a missing splash pan cover, restoring the original accelerator linkage and making the drain tube for the air cleaner and the connecting link rod that connects the heat lever on the instrument panel to the heat riser cam.  I made a couple of pictures with reference numbers of major things I touched and will explain them in the picture descriptions.  I'm also now looking for an original road draft tube lower clamp shown in one of the pictures and am awaiting delivery of some double compression fittings for 5/16" line from Blackhawk to be delivered so I can make the vacuum tube for the wipers.  Thanks to Spinneyhill for the pictures and kick start noted in my last post and many many thanks to Dave39MD who never seems to get frustrated when I ask for pictures of  or info about his unmolested original car.  He has made a lot of the authenticity of my car possible.




Picture 1:  The completed left side of the engine.




Picture 2:  Some of the items addressed that are shown in the picture are 1:  Heat control lever to heat riser cam link (fabricated) 2:  Air cleaner clamp (fabricated)  3:  Air cleaner service decal added  4:  Air cleaner drain tube (fabricated)  5:  Exhaust pipe trim cover (fabricated)  6:  Headlight switch cover added  7:  Warm up throttle lever (fabricated- modified  v-16 Cadillac lever)  8:  Warm up throttle linkage for steering wheel control added  9:  Left engine compartment splash pan installed  10:  Complete heat riser system made up of a good casting from a 32 or later car, modified/hybrid throttle shaft from later car, original linkage parts from a donor 31 heat riser from Vintage Carburetor in Ohio.  Detailed build and restoration of the heat riser system covered in previous posts on this thread  11:  Restored 31 diverter valve with repaired butterfly lever, internal exhaust pipe (the inner pipe) added  12:  New correct reproduction 31 60 series exhaust pipe from Waldron Exhaust replaces cobbled front pipe that was in hard contact with chassis components  




Picture 3:  shows  13:  Original 31 accelerator linkage added  14:  Correct style double compression elbow for wiper vacuum added




Picture 4 shows 15: Firewall heat control link grommet with keeper added  16:  Throttle return spring modified from later Buick hood latch spring added




Picture 5:  I'm looking for the road draft tube clamp shown in the picture if someone happens to have one they'd be willing to sell.  The road draft tube is unique to 60/80/90 cars and the clamp must be large enough to accommodate the road draft tube's 1-5/8" dia.  If you have one in good shape are will sell it please contact me.



Edited by Str8-8-Dave
Add text (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello to all…  This post falls back into the topic of body closures, it’s the windshield “system”.  I say system because 1931 Buick’s had a Fisher Body feature called the VV windshield which was a flat glass windshield but had a Ternstedt regulator system that allowed the windshield to be raised via a regulator handle mounted above the windshield.  I have known about the feature for 50 years since having my first 1931 Buick in the late 60’s.  That said I never really understood the mechanics or saw one that actually worked.  The first car I had didn’t even have a regulator handle on the windshield, just a rusty broken stub where one resided at some time in it’s life, the second car I had in the 90’s had the handle but the regulator mechanism was broken and the windshield hadn’t been opened in decades.  If you’ve been following this thread from the beginning you know I bought this car in an E-Bay auction.  When I saw the pictures I thought the windows looked really clean and clear and the side and rear windows were but imagine my surprise the day I went to pick it up in Cary Illinois that I discovered it had no windshield.  The seller bought the car from the restorer who gave up on the car when the original owner died so there was no hope of learning much about the windshield. 


I knew the windshield would be a big project but had no idea just how big it would be.  But I had a couple of lucky breaks, the first being the discovery of The Glass Man Classic Flat Glass in Diamond Springs, California.  They had factory prints of many antique car windshields and other glass and they had all of the glass for 31 Buicks.  For under $250 they made the windshield and shipped it across the US to my door in about 3 weeks.  I also found another online trim supplier who was closing out some C. R. Lawrence steel window channel.  I bought eight 48” channels and some glass setting tape that turned out to be too thin for about $35. The channels sell elsewhere for $20/length.   While I never understood the way the windshield assembly was constructed I saw numerous listings on E-Bay for 1930-31 flat glass windshields with old rusty frames around them and began to understand how the frame was made. 


The original windshield regulator board was in the car with original mohair covering that was in tatters with a broken gear set on the original Ternstedt regulator mechanism and the wrong style handle on it.  It also had the original Trico mirror that was dirty and the glass had been attached with two sided tape because one of the clamp brackets that attaches the glass was missing.  I will say the seller gave me quite a supply of original or replacement parts and the car also came with yards of interior fabric.  In one of the many boxes I found another regulator gear assembly that was stuck but the gears were intact.  After a couple of persuasive hours with penetrating oil, washing in fuel and copious application of the brass bristle wire brush I got the regulator mechanism limbered up. 


A couple weeks before Thanksgiving I set up a work table in the back of the living room to work on the regulator board.  I removed the original tacks from the mohair, got the old mohair off and preserved many of the tacks for re-use later.  I removed the broken Ternstedt regulator mechanism and went to work restoring the basic wooden board which had some chunks missing near the bolt holes that attached the assembly to the car.  Next I mounted the repatriated gear mechanism on the board which required drilling a few new holes and moving some of the T-nuts.  Next I re-covered the board with some of the faux mohair yard goods I got with the car.  It looked awful on the first try so I tore the material all off and tried again.  The results of the second try were much better.  I also managed to find the original Ternstedt regulator handle who’s plating was not show quality but still pretty good after some elbow grease.  The escutcheon had been re-plated and looked great.  I took the Trico mirror apart, cleaned it all up and painted it.  Eventually I fabricated the missing claw bracket and installed it and now it looks correct.  Then we had Thanksgiving followed by 2 weeks of upper respiratory crud so not much got done for a while.


Then a couple of weeks before Christmas I started fabricating the windshield frame.  I made the top and side pieces pretty much from the pictures of the original windshield I had found on E-Bay.  The hardest part was fabricating the lift brackets that the regulator gear pins engage to raise the windshield.   The lift brackets were temporarily attached to the top frame to hold them in place for welding at my local fabrication shop.  When I got the frame pieces back I discovered the 1/8” glass setting tape I bought with the channels was too thin to grip the ¼” windshield glass so I ordered some 5/32” tape from Mac’s that turned out to be just right.  This was another learning experience as I had never set automotive glass in frames before but found a goofy You-Tube movie on the subject that got my courage up.  The frames went right on with the aid of a big rubber mallet and looked good.


I had the windshield cowl and side seals on my Christmas list and Santa told me to go ahead and order them from Bob’s Automobilia.  Fortunately I also ordered a few feet of wide glass run designed to accommodate framed glass as the recommended side seals were too narrow and would have seized the glass preventing it’s vertical travel.  I wasn’t sure at all how the seals were supposed to work on the windshield and got Dave39MD in Georgia to send numerous pictures of the windshield and seals from his original car.  After the hoopla from Christmas subsided I took the cowl seal out to the garage and began my attempt to install it.  I had a terrible time with it as it was very stiff and not at all inclined to be installed in the cowl channel.  I tried dish soap, grease, bondo squeegees, you name it without much success.  I finally discovered that if you just get the seal started in the channel, then fold it back on itself, it deforms and narrows the base of the seal so you can roll it into the channel on the sheet metal.   It took about 5 hours of struggle but I finally got the cowl base seal installed and trimmed without cutting it too short.   I decided I was right that the side seals would best be made from the wide glass channel run and got them notched to fit the cowl seal and installed them the next day.


I had some insight on installation of the windshield because I bought a repro copy of the 1931 Fisher Body manual from Buick Heritage Alliance.  A few days after installing the base seal I took the windshield to the garage, maneuvered it and the left hand side seal into place and after some effort managed to work the right seal up from the bottom of the side frame and got the windshield set in place for the first time.  The windshield is held captive in the side seals by the sheet metal A-pillar trims.  Adjustment of the pressure exerted on the side seals by the A-pillar trims controls the amount of effort required to raise and lower the windshield.  If the windshield is too loose in the side seals it will rumble and possibly leak at the side seals.  If it’s too tight you risk pulling the top windshield frame off the glass or worst case scenario failing the 80 something year old pot metal gears in the regulator.  I test fit the trims and found the right side trim was perfect, the windshield moved in the seal smoothly without being excessively loose.  The left side was too tight.  The Fisher Body manual says in that case you have to plug the old screw holes with dowel rod then move the trim out a bit by drilling new screw holes.  I wanted to paint the trims before I did the final installation and had to order paint so this part of the project got held up for a bit.  


The last 2 areas I needed to address were a missing trim board that secures or hides the attachment of the headliner at the windshield header and I wanted to do everything necessary to enable installation of the vacuum wiper system on the car without having to tear the windshield installation apart again.  This included replacement of the vacuum source tube for the wiper motor and getting a correct wiper control and getting it installed,  more on these items later in the post.  I got Dave 39MD to send cellphone pictures of the missing trim board along with some measurements and made it up and covered it with faux mohair.


When I got the car it came with the wrong wiper motor. I found the original wiper motor-to-windshield inter mount in the boxes I got with the car.  I found a correct wiper motor on E-Bay that appeared to be healthy but was caked with crud.  I cleaned it all up and re-painted it.  I tried to get other missing wiper parts from The Wiper Man whom I had dealt with in the 90’s for missing parts for the 31 8-57 sedan I had at the time.  But The Wiper Man said he had exhausted his stock of 31 Buick wiper parts years ago.  I wound up buying a cheap Mac’s tandem wiper kit intended for Model A Ford and played with it for a while but it wouldn’t work because the Buick wiper motor mounts with the output shaft on the rear of the motor which is backward of the Ford setup. The right side slave wiper pivot goes through the windshield header sheet metal and board on the Model A where Buick uses a surface mounted right hand wiper pivot.  AACA contributor Midman posted several years ago that he got a whole box full of Buick engineering drawings the former owner of his 90 series car, who also happened to be a GM engineer, had printed and brought home for his car.  One of the drawings I found in the old postings was the wiper tandem link drawing which also had drawings of the wiper arm hangers and the right hand pivot.  I bought some 16 gauge sheet metal and got my high school drafting board out and laid out the right hand pivot and made the sheet metal bracket.   I cannibalized some of the right hand pivot parts from the Mac’s Model A kit and combined them with the sheet metal assembly I made and got it to work.  The way I attached the cannibalized pivot parts will also allow the pivot to be replaced in the assembly.  I will make the hangers for the wiper arms soon.  The rest of the parts, blades and lower arms, are available.


The next mystery with the wipers was what I thought was a missing control arm assembly that mounts inside the car and acts on a linkage on the wiper motor inter mount that then acts on the slide valve of the wiper motor to turn it on and off and control the speed.  I tried to get a picture of the missing control part(s) and no one had a picture.  I was looking around in the boxes that came with the car and found a lever of sorts on a bracket with a simple pivot.  Eventually I realized it was either the original wiper control or someone’s idea of one that could be made to work.  The missing piece was I couldn’t figure out how the control mounted in the car.  Finally I discovered 2 screw holes in the windshield header sheet metal I had not seen before and when I put the wiper control up against the new found holes the lined up perfectly.  Two 10-24x1/2” machine screws later and some elbow grease to clean up the control we were in business. 


The last project on the wipers got started when I discovered the metal vacuum line that goes up the inside of the driver’s side A-pillar was hopelessly plugged.  I read a section on replacing the vacuum tube in the Fisher Body manual.  I’ve come to discover the actual length of time and amount of effort required to perform a repair procedure outlined in the manual is inversely related to the length of the description in the manual.  If they are short and sweet you should start by asking the wife if she has something to do out of earshot of the garage!  I spent a good part of an hour with a big hammer and a set of vise grips attached to the end of the old line to pull it with the hammer to get the old corroded copper tube out of the A-pillar.  The manual coyly suggests after the old tube is removed you should drive and 18” pointed steel rod up thru the hole in the A-pillar to “clear the hole of any trim nails or debris”.  Then all you have to do is feed a new tube up the A-pillar until it stops at the exit hole, then use a small hook to pull the tube out where you can reach it after which you pull enough tube up and out of the pillar to reach the hole in the windshield header sheet metal opposite the vacuum motor hose port.  The last step according to the Fisher manual was to bend the retaining clips over the vacuum tube inside the car and connect a rubber vacuum line between the tube and the vacuum motor outside the car.  A piece of cake- right?


I started with 3/16” line like original.  I spent hours trying to drive a 3/16” pointed rod up the A-pillar.  It’s a challenge just finding the entrance and exit holes on the pillar.  After turning several new pieces of 3/16” tubing and a 5/32” piece to boot into pretzel shaped junk I finally ordered a 3/16” dia. 24” long bell man’s drill bit to clear the hole.  I then had to buy a drill chuck for my air ratchet because I needed a right angle drill motor, there was no room for a conventional drill motor.  I ran that drill up and down the A-pillar half a dozen times.  I also bought another piece of 5/32” copper tubing and a 10ft long piece of 0.050” piano wire with the idea of getting the piano wire thru the hole and sticking out of the exit hole then threading the rest of it inside the copper line to guide it up the A-pillar.  I reasoned I could then use the piano wire to bend the tubing allowing it to be forced  out of the exit hole to facilitate getting it over to the wiper motor hole in the windshield header.  Trouble was I couldn’t get the piano wire to feed thru from either top or bottom.  Finally I cut a 3ft. piece of the piano wire, bent a right angle at the bottom so I could twist it and bent a very small loop in the other end of the wire and fed that up the hole.  A few twists later the looped end popped out the exit hole allowing me to hook the long wire to it and pull it back thru the hole from top to bottom.  I inserted the wire in the 5/16” copper tubing and voila- it went right in…  

Somewhere along the line the paint showed up for the A-pillar trims and I got them painted ready for final installation.  Yesterday I plugged the screw holes for the left side A-pillar trim and adjusted it out enough to allow the left side of the windshield to travel freely in the glass run.  Later in the day I installed the regulator board.  Then I got my wife to help me install the trim board and I combed the wrinkles out of the headliner and trimmed off the excess.  I tried the regulator and it works like a charm, easily raising the windshield and easily seating it all the way down on the cowl seal. 

I know this is a painfully long post but it took me 2 months of work to get a windshield system in this car.  I still have a little work to do to get a functional wiper system installed and working but that shouldn’t take long.  I’m very thankful for the support from Dave39MD and Midman to get this phase of the restoration of my car done.

Best regards…



Pictures 1, 2:  My work table setup in the back of our living room where the windshield regulator board was about to be born again.  Besides the fact the regulator board assembly  looked ugly the original Ternstedt regulator mechanism had a fatal case of gear failure.  Note the original Trico mirror next to my coffee cup.

Wshld 0010.JPG


Wshld 0011.JPG


Picture 3:  The right end of the wood board had several pieces broken out of it which were repaired with some new wood inserts and industrial epoxy.


Wshld 0013.JPG


Picture 4:  The repatriated regulator gear mechanism was a replacement unit and had different mounting hole locations so new holes were drilled in the wood board and some of the T-nuts were relocated to accommodate the new mechanism.


Wshld 0015.JPG


Pictures 5, 6:  It took 2 tries to get the mohair installed without wrinkles due to the fact I tried to cut the handle shaft hole in the material after partially installing it on the board.  I wound up with a hole the escutcheon couldn't cover.  I tore the material all back off and cut a hole just large enough for the handle shaft in a new piece of material then placed the material over the handle shaft before installing with much better results.  I kept the original covering and used it as a nailing guide and re-used the original nails.


Wshld 0020.JPG


Wshld 0021.JPG


Picture 7:  An original regulator handle marked  "Ternstedt" on the knob and the Trico mirror still missing the top claw bracket.  Note the claws over the glass on the bottom of the mirror and none in the top.


Wshld 0018.JPG


Picture 8:  This picture of an original windshield glass and frame showed up on E-Bay and became a pattern from which I made the frame for the new windshield glass.


Wshld 0024.jpg


Picture 9:  The new windshield glass made by The Glass Man Vintage Flat Glass in Diamond Springs, CA from original Buick drawings along with the 3 piece frame I made from C.R. Lawrence glass channel. 


Wshld 0039.JPG


Picture 10:  The successfully installed windshield base seal which installs in a negative draft slot in the cowl top sheet metal.  My lack of experience made for a painful steep learning curve before I discovered the technique of starting the seal in the cowl channel, then back-folding the seal which causes the tongue of the seal to narrow and allows the seal to be slowly rolled into the cowl channel.   Note the lip seal on the back of the cowl seal which actually seals the glass.  The flat bottom of the seal simply supports the weight of the windshield glass and cushions it from road shock.


Wshld 0034.JPG


Picture 11, 12:  The new windshield assembly set into place in the car for the first time.  In picture 12 inside the car note the lift brackets at the top of the windshield frame and the wiper control I found hiding in a box that came with the car, now installed in the matching holes on the windshield header. 


Wshld 0045.JPG


Wshld 0046.JPG


Pictures 13:  A picture of the correct Trico vacuum motor installed on it's inter-mount.  The small hole in the windshield header sheet metal is where the new vacuum tube will exit the interior of the car then be connected by a short rubber line to the vacuum motor.   That's the wiper control hanging down inside the car behind the vacuum motor.


Wshld 0059.JPG


Pictures 14, 15, 16:  Don't have a part?  Make a part.   This was a Jpeg photo of the original Buick wiper link drawing in a post hosted by Midman I downloaded and printed that was good enough to allow me to make the sheet metal portion of the right hand wiper pivot assembly.  Note the nut brazed to the sheet metal in picture 14 which then accepts the 2 piece pivot which was cannibalized, cut and modified from a Mac's Model A tandem wiper kit.  Picture 16 shows the base of the pivot shaft with a screwdriver notch I filed into it to allow the pivot to be replaced if necessary.


Wshld 067.JPG


Wshld 070.JPG


Wshld 071.JPG


Pictures 17, 18, 19, 20:  These are pictures of the new vacuum supply line installation, which after ahem, some difficulty, was successfully routed up the A-pillar wood.  The tools on the seat are what I used, including impact ratchet with drill chuck attachment, 3/16"x24" bell man's  drill bit and a 10ft length of 0.050" piano wire.  This much frustration isn't healthy for an old man's heart or my wife's ears so if you can avoid this you will probably live longer.  Picture 20 shows final hookup of the wiper motor.


Wshld 0072.JPG


Wshld 0073.JPG


Wshld 0074.JPG


Wshld 0076.JPG


Picture 21:  A shot of the home made right hand wiper pivot temporarily installed.  I will make the wiper arm hangers, tandem link and add the lower arms and blades shortly.


Wshld 0083.JPG


Picture 22:  A picture of the regulator board and the missing narrow trim board that mounts above it.  The trim board covers the headliner attachment and the 2 center screws go thru the trim board and secure a center support bracket that carries some of the load imposed on the regulator board while raising and lowering the windshield.   


Wshld 0044.JPG


Pictures 22,23,24,25:  The completed installation of the windshield, A-pillar trims, missing trim board above the regulator board with shots of the windshield opened and closed.


Wshld 0078.JPG


Wshld 0079.JPG


Wshld 0081.JPG


Wshld 0082.JPG


Edited by Str8-8-Dave
Edit text (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Hello to all, hope it's warm where you are.  We had record cold followed by 50 degree warmup followed by ice storm and high winds in Michigan.  This is a follow up post to the windshield project on the topic of windshield wipers.  When I got this car there was no sign of wiper related parts installed on the car, just a cruddy vacuum tube stub sticking out of the sheet metal under the driver's side visor.  The car did come with a Trico vacuum wiper motor but it wasn't even close to the right one and I did find the steel mount with control link in a box.  I wasn't really sure what the correct motor looked like but with the mount in hand I had mounting points and the linkage layout to help eliminate ones that would not mount.  I finally saw an E-Bay listing for a wiper motor that looked right and the seller was sure it was correct for 1931 so I bought it.  I was delighted when it showed up and fit the mount.  I cleaned the motor all up and repainted it. The other mystery item was the wiper control that mounts inside the car and connects to the control link on the wiper motor mount.  While I was restoring the windshield regulator board I was digging in boxes one night and found what looked like some kind of a wiper control but I wasn't sure how it mounted in the car.  One night I spotted a couple of screw holes through the sheet metal windshield header and it turned out they matched the hole centers on the control.  Mystery solved, after installing the mounting screws for the control the slot in the control lever inside the car engaged the link on the motor mount that moves the wiper motor control valve outside the car.


I decided before I installed the windshield regulator board that I should replace the copper vacuum tube which is fed up through a 12" long hole that runs right up the wooden A-pillar, then routes across the windshield header to a hole in the sheet metal where it exits to connect to the wiper motor.  What looked like a simple job and was described as such in the Fisher Body manual turned out to be a nightmare.  From the day I removed the old vacuum tube until the day I successfully replaced it spanned a couple of weeks of trial and error.  The right combination turned out to be re-drilling the existing hole with a right angle air ratchet with a drill chuck attachment driving a 20" long 3/16" bellman's drill.  I then was able to thread a piece of 0.030" piano wire up the A-pillar hole and got it to make the bend to the right so I could see it and grab it .  I attached a second longer piece of piano wire to the first and pulled it from top of the A-pillar down, inserted it into a piece of 5/32" copper tubing and used the piano wire as an aid to pull the new tube up the A-pillar and get it to curve to the right and feed over to the hole in the body near the wiper motor.  I drank beer that night!


I tried The Wiperman for missing parts which included wiper arms and blades, tandem cross link and slave wiper pivot of which he had exactly zero samples, having sold out of those parts years ago.  While searching E-bay I stumbled on a cheap tandem wiper kit intended for Model A Ford and decided for 30 bucks I'd buy one and either get it to work or at least get some ideas from it.  Later I found an old post from Midman that had a picture image of an original Buick drawing for the connecting link which had just enough information on it to convince me to try making some of the missing parts.  I cannibalized parts of the slave wiper pivot from the Model A kit, bought some 16 gauge sheet metal, got out my high school drafting board and went to work.  After several hours I fabricated the bracket for the slave pivot, added the cannibalized Model A parts and came up with a fairly authentic and serviceable slave pivot assembly for the right side wiper. 


Other pieces of information came in the form of pictures of the original wiper setup mounted on Dave39MD's 31 8-66S.  I noticed the Buick arms looked very similar some reproduction Trico arms listed in a Mac's Model A parts catalog, particularly the upper arm attachments for the vacuum wiper motor and the slave pivot looked like the ones on the Buick drawing except they lacked the pivot brackets that attach the cross link.  I bought a couple of different styles of arms and fabricated the missing pivots and silver soldered them to the upper arm attachments and made the cross car connecting link out of 3/16" steel rod.   Today I got the rivets that would attach the cross link to the wiper arm attachment pivots and put the parts all together for the first time and after dinner I took the parts out to the car and installed them. 


Assuming the wiper motor is good I think I did a credible job of recreating the original tandem wiper system for the car.  Many of the parts are simply not available so I made them.  I think they look pretty good.




Pictures 1-3:  Wipers on Dave39MD's original 1931 8-66S


Wiper 0001.jpg


Wiper 0003.jpg


Wiper 0004.jpg


Picture 4:  My wiper motor on it's mount


Wiper 0015.JPG


Picture 5:  This is the control that mounts inside the car.  None of it is visible except the bottom 3/4" which passes thru a guide bracket mounted to the bottom of the windshield regulator board.  The rest of it hides behind the regulator board.


Wiper 0005.JPG


Picture 6:  The wiper control mounted on the windshield header sheet metal


Wiper 0011.JPG


Picture 7:  The dentist drill used to clear the tube hole in the wooden A-pillar and piano wire which was fed through the A-Pillar to aid installation of the new vacuum tube.


Wiper 0020.JPG


Picture 8:  The new vacuum tube routes up the wood  in the A-pillar from here.  The loose end will eventually connect to the engine vacuum source line from the intake manifold.


Wiper 0022.JPG


Pictures 9,10:  Once the vacuum tube gets to the top of the wood in the A-pillar it has to bend to the right and route out the hole on the windshield header sheet metal.  A short piece of rubber line then connects the vacuum tube to the wiper motor outside the car.


Wiper 0021.JPG


Wiper 0024.JPG


Pictures 11-14:  I fabricated the slave wiper pivot from the drawing shown.  Picture 14 is the completed pivot mounted on the car.


Wiper 0026.JPG


Wiper 0028.JPG


Wiper 0029.JPG


Wiper 0030.JPG


Pictures 15-17:  I also fabricated the cross car link rod and the pivots that attach the ends of the link rod to the upper wiper arm plates.


Wiper 0033.JPG


Wiper 0036.JPG


Wiper 0037.JPG


Picture 18, 19:  The completed tandem wiper system installed on the car.


Wiper 0040.jpg


Wiper 0039.jpg

Edited by Str8-8-Dave
Edit text (see edit history)
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/14/2018 at 10:17 PM, DRF said:



Saw that the outer door handles are not on your car and that your door panels are off.  Do you know how the outer door handles attach to the inner mechanism?  I have a Fisher body 1930 Cadillac and am missing one rear door handle and the one on the front just spins but doesn't open the door.  Luckily I can still get in the passenger's side!  The Fisher body manual isn't too clear on this (at least for me).  Curious what you have learned from your car about this.


Looks like the car is coming together well, have really enjoyed reading your updates.


David Farlow


The 30 Cadillac handles will be a challenge and quite expensive, but absolutely nothing you can do with originals as they turn to junk.    Here are the options: This Australian company has nice castings http://www.vintageandclassicreproductions.com/cadillac.htm  // Verdones I believe is out of business // Pete Sounders www.classicautoandmachine.com // The Filling Station www.fillingstation.com for a 1929-1930 Chevrolet handle that will get you by // Bobs Automobile https://bobsautomobilia.com  for a Buick handle that will get you by.    And, periodically someone has recast them and there are their defective castings laying out on a  table at Hershey.   And, I personally would not worry about exact duplication as cars seems to have a host of solutions on them - nice to just have 95% and functional. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi John;  I answered this question best I could back in November.  The only experience I have is with 31 Buick outside handles and they have a square shaft end that engages the lock mechanism in the door and the end of the square shaft has internal threads to accept a special bolt inside the car that actually goes thru the door panel, I.E. the head of the bolt is visible on the finished door panel inside the car.  I have all the door handles accounted for on my car, right door locking handle is a very good driver quality specimen with a key that works, non locking driver door handle, locking golf door and rumble lid handles are reproductions from Bob's Automobilia.  He doesn't have any locking door handles for the passenger door because the last several he had gotten from his Australian supplier were junk.  He sad the locks pulled out fo the door handle with the key.  He also said historically he got door handles from one of two Australian foundries and that the man that owns it is very old and about ready to call it quits. 



Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello to all;  I'm working generally toward getting this car ready for installation of a complete reproduction wiring harness.  We had a few weeks of real winter here in Port Huron with temperatures below zero which means the home heating system is taxed enough it doesn't make sense trying to heat a cold 3 car attached garage by opening the kitchen door to the garage.  One of the major projects on my list was resurrecting the instrument panel which was scuffed and scratched and improperly painted red, the faux wood trim panel that spans the width of the panel and the instrument cluster which was loaded with instruments that were not usable.  With the cold weather I thought why not pull the panel and bring it in the house to work on so one cold day I went to the garage and removed it.  Once in my hobby room I removed the cluster and started taking inventory of all that needed attention.  The panel itself needed to be repainted gloss black and needed to be pinstriped.  It was also missing the Fisher VV decals that go on the top corners of the air dam.  The faux wood insert was scratched and had one tiny chip through to the metal.  I removed the cluster assembly and found the chrome surround,   bezel plate, speedometer lamp brow and back pan were all held together with strategically placed pieces of duct tape.  The surround has a perimeter crimp rail that is supposed to hold it all together.  The bezel plate, once wood grained,  was painted red.  The back pan was thoroughly coated in white paint which I suspected was epoxy based, including the instrument lamp socket attachment ears which cannot be painted because they are the ground circuit for the instrument lamps.  All the gauge unit attaching screws were painted white probably while still loosely installed on the back pan.  There was no sign of the instrument lamp sockets and wiring.  Eventually, through pictures of another panel which I eventually bought, I figured out the instrument lamp switch was missing.  The dial glass backing plates on the back of the bezel plate were also taped, the glass backing plates were originally riveted.  One of the toy tabs was broken off the speedometer lamp hood.  Later I discovered the heat control lever was from a later car with a different design.  The speedometer instrument was dirty but intact.  The ammeter gauge face was badly bent and the needle was stuck and missing paint.  The King Seely Tele-gage gas gauge was dirty, the glass column tube was broken off just above the capillary tube joint to the glass, the temp gauge was pegged at 200+ degrees.  Later after adjusting the gauge to read at the cold end of the scale, when tested, turned out to be inoperative.  What I found that was good was gauge dials that were legible, especially the fuel gauge had a nice dial with clean markings, and the bezel surround and instrument dial trim inserts had been re-chromed.  Also the choke and spark cable assemblies were very nice with no major kinks.  Other than that it was what it was.


I wasn't sure where to start with the cluster assembly but eventually started sorting the gauges.  I started with the speedometer by opening it.  I discovered it was really in not too bad shape, just really dirty.  I cleaned the dial drum carefully with warm soap water applied with Q-tips.  I used petroleum based solvent and some artist brushes to remove the old grease, then replaced the grease and oiled the dial drum and other small pivots with synthetic clock oil.  I cleaned the housing, bezel and glass, cannibalized a missing seal  that seals the odometer reset stem to the housing can from another speedometer and carefully crimped it back together.  Next I straightened the sheet metal ammeter dial face and freed the needle which I carefully re-painted.  After an hour of fiddling with needle height and adjustments to the dial face I got an ammeter that read zero at rest and it moved to end of - to + scales without needle bind.  Then there was the gas gauge.  I carefully removed the dial and discovered the glass tube had broken off cleanly with no missing chips and the break was below the line of sight masked by the dial.  I cleaned the tube with vinegar and a clockmaker's pivot cleaning stick, re-attached the broken off tube with industrial epoxy, replaced the white background panel, leak and flow checked and re-assembled.  It turned out nice.  The oil pressure gauge needed next to nothing, I re-painted the red needle tip and brushed the back place clean with a brass bristle wire brush.  I sent the temperature gauge to Bob's Speedometer in Howell, MI and for the princely sum of $225 they replaced the sensing bulb and capillary tube, charged it with formaldehyde and calibrated it and sent it back to me.  I got it back yesterday. 


AACA member Dave39MD has an original 31 Buick 8-66S down in Georgia and as noted in my previous posts has bee a great source of pictures and information from his car.  I told him what I was dealing with regarding the instruments and cluster housing and he wrote that he had a spare cluster in a box somewhere in his shop that he bought for spares.  He found it and sent pictures of the assembly to me and I asked if he would sell it.  He had the complete cluster housing assembly that had never been apart, it still had a part number stamped on the back of it.  He also had the gauges but decided to keep those for his car.  Eventually we struck a deal and I bought the complete housing with all the mounting screws for the gauges and it had the original Delco instrument lamp switch and lamp sockets with toasted wiring that would have to be replaced.  The  original wood grain was still there on the bezel plate but was just bad enough to not be usable.  There was no doubt this housing had never been apart as base pan, bezel and surround were held together by the original crimp job.  I carefully photographed the assembly then disassembled it.  I learned a lot about the original construction and found the assembly I had was also missing  two green acetate lamp filters and their attaching clips for the outboard lamps, a gasket that goes between the speedometer lamp hood and the bezel plate and 2 anti-crush support tubes at the choke and spark cable ports.  I decided not to disturb the rivets that held the  individual gauge bezels, dial glasses and backing plates together because the wood grain was not quite good enough to use. 


As I worked to clean 88yrs worth of rust and dirt off the back pan, instrument lamp sockets and switch of the donor cluster housing I began to formulate a plan of how best to combine parts from the 2 cluster assemblies to get a pretty authentic cluster to put back in the car.  I decided an economical way to have nice woodgrain on the cluster bezel was to veneer it with real rosewood.  I bought a sheet of paper backed 0.040" thick rosewood veneer on E-Bay that was big enough to do at least 3 bezels.  I cut a piece to size using the surround to get an outline of the required piece of veneer and contact cemented it to the red painted bezel plate from the cluster that came with my car, thus preserving the original wood grained part I got from Dave's cluster.  Working carefully with an Exacto knife and a fine 1/2 round miniature file I trimmed out the gauge openings, then gave the veneer 3 coats of clear acrylic lacquer.  It looked really nice in a temporary buildup of the bezel plate, gauge bezels, glass and the chrome bezel surround. 


The next day I started  a careful re-assembly of the cluster housing now consisting of the re-chromed bezel surround, the speedometer lamp hood from donor assembly because the toy tabs were intact, the veneer wood grained bezel plate from the cluster that came with my car and the donor back pan carefully cleaned without disturbing the part number still clearly stamped on the back.  I used brass wire to hold the backing plates that secure gauge glasses and gauge bezels to the bezel plate because original bras tube rivets are not available.  I included the acetate instrument lamp filters, clips, instrument lamp switch, cable support tubes and heat control parts from the donor panel along with the nice original gauge mounting screws.  After carefully crimping the assembly all together with the surround crimp I made new gaskets for each of the gauge units and assembled all except the temperature gauge which didn't come back from repair for a couple of weeks.  I replaced the instrument lamp wiring with correct cloth covered 16ga wire and rewired the sockets to the switch.  I bought NOS Tung Sol #63 bulbs to replace a hodgepodge of old corroded bulbs that came with the donor cluster.  I took the choke and spark cables apart and cleaned and lubed them.  All the knob faces were re-painted.  Now I had a cluster that looked authentic and should be fully functional.


The other part of the project that was going on it the background was re-painting the instrument panel in the correct for 31 gloss black.  I found reproduction Fisher VV Windshield decals at Bob's Automobilia and installed them in the original locations on the brow of the panel air dam.  The hardest part was coming up with a pattern for pinstriping the left and right ends of the panel.  I looked at a million pictures on the internet of other people's 31 Buick instrument  panel pinstriping schemes.  The layout and colors varied.  I decided to make an overlay of geographic locating points on my panel and mailed it to Dave who agreed to trace the outline of the pinstriping on his car and mail it back to me.  Eventually I made a stencil template of the layout.  I couldn't decide if I should just attach the template to the panel with magnets and spray the pattern or tape the panel, trace the template pattern onto the tape, cut the openings in the tape with a hobby knife and paint the stripes on with a brush.  I finally chose the hand-paint method which came out ok, but not great.  I almost sanded the hand striping off to do it over by the spray method but came to the conclusion that this is an amateur restoration  and will probably have a few signs of such so I left the striping as is. The panel was clear coated after pinstriping and installation of the decals.  I used a clear lacquer touchup bottle sponge brush to fill in the scratches on the faux wood grained trim panel, then polished it up with 3M Finesse It polishing glaze and save for the fact it should really have a pinstripe around the perimeter (don't look at me for this job) the trim panel turned out pretty nice. 


I don't expect the instrument panel to go back in the car anytime soon as it's easier to work under the dash without it.  The next big milestone is to re-paint the outside of the firewall black.  It is currently incorrectly painted in the red paint the rest of the body wears.  Then I will work from the inside of the car out.  I just took a million #6 sheet metal screws out of the cowl lacing and replaced them with split rivets which look correct under the hood and don't stick into space the firewall insulator will occupy.  I will install firewall tags, insulator and under dash pieces of the new wire harness before the instrument panel goes back in.  I'll cover that in another post.


Best regards...



Picture 1:  This is an old picture of my car as I got it and shows the starting point for the instrument panel.  The instrument panel was painted red and was scuffed, missing pinstripes and Fisher VV windshield decals , the faux wood trim panel was scratched and the bezel plate on the cluster was painted red instead of wood grained.  The ammeter and temperature gauges were pegged at the high end of their scales.  The fuel gauge glass tube was stained and later turned out to be broken off.  The oil pressure gauge looked pretty good, the speedometer was dirty and the painted bezel was scratched.


IP 0001.jpg


Picture 2:  A picture of the cluster housing that came with the car.  It came apart easily because it was taped together.  The wood grain on the bezel was replaced by red paint and the back pan was painted white inside and out including instrument lamp socket receptacles through which the lamp sockets are supposed to be grounded.  There were lots of missing internal parts and the instrument lamp switch and sockets were missing.


IP 0002.JPG


Picture 3:  These are the instruments plus an extra ammeter I got with the car and minus the temperature gauge which I sent for repair.  This picture was taken after numerous repairs to gauges described in the main body of my post above.  Most of the gauges have pretty decent dials, the ammeter I settled on is the upper one and has the worst dial paint but the dial is not as bent up and it has the most legible scale.  The ugly paint is not as noticeable in the cluster.  Also in the picture are the new gaskets I made.


IP 0003.JPG


Pictures 4, 5:  The donor cluster housing doesn't look that impressive at first blush but had never been apart and was complete with all the parts my housing was missing.  Note the wood grain on the front, part number stamped on the back, original lamp sockets in unpainted receptacles for grounding with toasted wiring which is connected to the Delco instrument lamp switch on the left that my housing did not have. 


IP 0006.JPG


IP 0010.JPG


Picture 6:  First time apart for the donor panel, note the inside of the back pan IS painted white but the back of the pan is bare steel. The round green things in the top picture are the instrument lamp color filters missing from my back pan.  The sheet metal pieces on the back of the bezel plate hold the individual instrument bezel trims and dial glass in place and were riveted to the bezel plate.  The back of the speedometer lamp hood has a gasket also absent from the cluster housing I got with my car. 


IP 0020.JPG


Picture 7:  The original wood grain on the donor bezel plate was not salvageable.  The little tubes are support tubes the prevent the bezel surround, bezel plate and back pan from collapsing from clamping force produced by tightening the attaching nuts on the backs of the choke and spark cable housings.  The speedometer lamp hood from the donor panel wasn't as shiny as the re-chromed one that came with my car but the donor hood had both attaching toy tabs intact where one was broken off the re-chromed piece.  The heat control lever from the donor panel is correct for 31 so I used it in place of the shinier but incorrect later model re-chromed lever that came with the car.


IP 0022.JPG


Pictures 8, 9, 10:  The original bezel plate now has wood grain courtesy of a piece of real rosewood veneer.  In picture 8 the veneer has not been clear lacquered, and is shown with the bezel plate  temporarily installed behind the chrome surround.  Picture 9 shows the bezel plate after lacquer and heat control labelling.  The brass wire was used to hold the sheet metal plates that attach the individual gauge bezels and dial glass.  The attaching plates are visible in picture 10.


IP 0028.jpg


IP 0030.JPG


IP 0031.JPG


Pictures 11, 12:  Pictures of the now assembled and crimped cluster housing without the gauges.


IP 0037.JPG


IP 0036.JPG


Pictures 13, 14:  Pictures of the cluster with all gauges installed except the temperature gauge.  The oil pressure gauge is installed in the wrong opening in picture 14, it later moved one slot left in car and the temperature gauge was correctly installed in place of the errantly place oil pressure gauge.


IP 0042.JPG


IP 0040.JPG


Picture 15:  Now the lamp sockets have been re-wired and installed with NOS Tung-Sol bulbs made in America.


IP 0045.jpg


Picture 16  I made a translucent  parchment paper overlay of the right end of the instrument panel that indexed to cluster opening on the left and panel mounting holes on the right and mailed it to Dave39MD in Georgia.  He then indexed the overlay on his instrument panel, traced his pinstriping onto the paper and mailed it back to me.  By indexing to features on the panel I not only got the pattern of the pinstripes, I got the location the pinstripes occupy.


IP 0051_LI (2).jpg


Picture 17:  The re-painted black panel awaiting pinstriping and cluster installation.


IP 0052.jpg


Picture 18:  I made a template of the pinstripe layout which was used to trace the pattern onto masking tape applied to left and right ends of the panel.  The tape was then cut out with a hobby knife.  The openings in the tape were brushed with 3 coats of white acrylic lacquer touch up paint.


IP 0055.jpg


Picture 19:  The result of the pinstriping effort is shown in picture 20.  The pinstriping is far from perfect but hey, I'm a card carrying amateur, never did this before.


IP 0056.jpg


Picture 20: One of the  reproductions of the original Fisher Body VV Windshield decals, patent numbers on the left, VV trademark on the right ends of the air dam brow. 


IP 0057.jpg


Pictures 21, 22:  The finally completed cluster assembly now has a temperature gauge and it and the oil pressure gauge are now installed in the correct original locations.


IP 0059.jpg


IP 0062.jpg


Picture 23:  This is the final product shown with the faux wood grain trim panel installed temporarily.  The trim panel is missing a pinstripe around it's perimeter but if that ever gets added someone who knows how to pinstripe will get the job.


IP 0064.jpg


Picture 24:  This is the instrument panel in Dave39MD's original 31 8-66S.


IP 0049.jpg


IP 0050.jpg

Edited by Str8-8-Dave
Edit/add text and photos (see edit history)
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

So I recently was reminded that the road draft tube is supposed to be secured by a clamp that attaches the lower tube to the top of the oil pan rail on the left side of the block.  I didn't even know there was a second clamp that attaches the fuel overflow drain tube from the air cleaner to the road draft tube.  There was a restored road draft tube and the clamp that attaches it to the block listed on E-Bay and it had been there for awhile so I asked if the seller would just sell me the clamp which he would not.  So then I posted in the Buick Buy/Sell forum and got a response from another member that he probably had the clamp.  That's when I discovered the second clamp for the fuel drain tube.  I bought the clamps and a hard to find oil line fitting.  The parts arrived lightly sand blasted and some of the rust pits were pretty deep.  I was going to just make new clamps from the original pieces but didn't have the right thickness sheet metal.  Instead I traced the formed bends, flattened the clamps on a bench anvil and massaged them on a belt sander.  Then using the tracings I bent the clamps back to their original configurations, primed and painted them and cleaned up the original screws.  They were so pretty I decided I should remove the road draft tube, which extends down through a hole in the splash pan too small to pass the clamps through,  and slide the clamps up from the bottom. of the road draft tube.  That was easier said than done, I wound up removing the air cleaner, disconnecting the carburetor fuel line, then separating the carburetor from the heat riser to get enough clearance to get the road draft tube off it's mounting stud on the engine and fish it out of the car.  The other item was I had to replace one of the oil pan bolts with a long bolt that extends above the oil pan rail to attach the road draft tube clamp to the engine.  This sounds like minutia but I'm still interested in having a complete car representative of the original.  Included in the pictures below are pictures of the clamp installation on Dave39MD's original 8-66S car down in Georgia...


Pictures 1, 2:  These are pictures of the road draft tube clamp on the bottom of the tube and fuel overflow clamp above.  The road draft tube clamp  is installed upside down and incorrectly below the fuel overflow clamp in these pictures  compared to the next pictures of the clamp installation on Dave39MD's car. 






Pictures 3-5:  These are pictures of the clamp installation on Dave39MD's original car in Georgia.


RDT 003.jpg


RDT 004.jpg


RDT 005.jpg


Pictures 6-8:  Pictures of the restored clamps installed on my car.


RDT 006.jpg


RDT 007.jpg


RDT 008.jpg

Edited by Str8-8-Dave
Move captions (see edit history)
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

You can do your own pinstripe even if a beginner (it takes a lot of practice to freehand and get nice - I started when I was about 7 years old) - for a first timer, try 3M fine line tape and One Shot sign painters enamel - you may be able to thin the paint a touch to allow for a better line - tape, then stripe, then remove tape after a few minutes, then wait a couple hours and clean up any edges with a fine cloth wrapped over a knife edge with goo gone or mineral spirits (caution - you need to know how th woodgrainer did their work so as to not damage it with anything you are doing stripe wise - ie will mineral spirits damage their work).  As plan B, most large cities have a hot rod guy who pinstripes.

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi John and thanks for the tips on the pinstriping.  If you saw the next to last picture in my post you know the stripes are already on the instrument panel.  They aren't perfect but for a first try and no experience they are passable.  I won't try to redo them now but will probably use the fine line tape and Sign Painter's paint if I have occasion to do any more.  Again, appreciate your comments...



Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Hello to all;  I've gotten a couple of things done on the car since the February 23 installment so thought I would post an update.  Item 5 in the list includes installation of a correct Buick oil supply branch fitting that screws into an oil supply fitting at the right rear crankcase and connects the inlet side of the oil filter and the oil pressure gauge.  At first I thought this was mostly cosmetic but that fitting is a metering device that restricts oil flow to the rocker arms and generator front bearing to 1qt./min. at 25 mph according to the spec's and adjustments manual.  This flow  restriction preserves oil pressure at low rpm which is intended to assure main and rod bearings get what they need to stay healthy.  The "Buick" logo is cast on the fitting.  I also salvaged the original oil pressure gauge line which I found corroded on the outside, plugged on the inside and rolled up in a ball in a box that came with the car. 


Rather than do a long writeup I will list what has been done then post some pictures...


1:  Added a top seal to the windshield.  I found some soft fuzzy seal on a stiff self adhesive substrate that is 1/2" thick, adds very little friction to the windshield, is effective and easy to install and even available in a light tan material that makes it really difficult to know it is there. 

Wshld 0058.jpg


Wshld 0060.jpg


FW 002.jpg


2:  Replaced sheet metal screws that attach the cowl lacing with correct split rivets.  Haven't done the radiator shell lacing yet but will get to that soon.  


FW 004.jpg


3: Painted the firewall matte black, installed Buick body tags.


FW 005.jpg


FW 010.jpg


FW 012.jpg


4: Pre-wired current limit relay with left/right main cowl wiring harnesses then installed cowl insulator, relay and cowl harnesses.  Note that the long insulator bolts will be cut off with a bolt cutter as they did in the factory but not until I'm sure I'm done having to pull the insulator away from the firewall to attach something I missed.   


BW 0015.jpg


BW 027.jpg


5:  Replaced incorrect oil filter cannister and plumbing with correct filter brackets, repro horizontal filter (hides spin on filter) and original clamp bands. Installed correct Buick branch fitting, fabricated brass lines,  routed original oil pressure gauge line and KS Telegage fuel gauge line into passenger compartment. 


OF 003.jpg


OF 013.jpg


OF 014.jpg


6:  Repainted ignition coil, wired coil and generator cutout relay, installed starter terminal cover.


BW 029.jpg


7: Wired headlight switch including headlight harnesses and reconnecting rear near perfect original rear body wire harness, added restored tail light connecter to rear harness, installed tail light.  


BW 030.jpg


BW 031.jpg


BW 032.jpg


8. Corrected horn and Klaxon equipment tag orientation on mounting bracket.  Fabricated my own 3 hole oval firewall grommet since both Bob's and Steele Rubber grommets listed in their catalogs are totally incorrect (too tall/ too narrow to even fit the hole in the 31 Buick firewall), wired horn.  Fabricated manifold vacuum line for wipers and connected to wiper tube inside the car


BW 037.jpg


FW 022.jpg


BW 036.jpg


9:  Installed cowl lamps and wired. 


BW 034.jpg


BW 035.jpg

Edited by Str8-8-Dave
Add pictures (see edit history)
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

May I suggest you paint the cover on the voltage regulator on top of the generator - black. 


Also, 1931 Cadillac's have the roll up windshields and the rubber to seal such is generally available via Steele Rubber - all be it looks like you found a good solution. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

So Steele doesn't have the top seal either, they have sides and base seal which are same as what Bob's has because he Bob gets his seals from Steele.  I'm not real sure there actually is a top seal, Dave39MD has one of these cars that has never been apart and his doesn't have a top seal, except I sent him a piece of the 3m whisker seal I found.  The paint on my car is new so installing the top seal was a snap because there is a nice smooth surface for the adhesive backing on the 3m seal to adhere to.  The seal also features a 1/2" wide by 1/8" thick plastic substrate which bends across the 1/8" thickness but is very stiff across the 1/2" width.  I basically threaded the seal over top of the wiper blades, peeled back an inch of the release tape on the adhesive and pushed the seal up into place at the starting end, then just shoved it up into place as I went across the windshield pulling the release tape off as I went.  When I was about a foot from the other A-pillar I cut the seal to it's final length, shoved the last foot up into place between the windshield and the sheet metal header and pulled the tape off.  I inserted  a soft vinyl body filler squeegee in at the start of the seal between the whiskers and glass and pulled that across the length of the seal to finish setting the adhesive and that was it.  10 minutes tops.  What I really like is it has such low friction on the glass you can't perceive any change in crank effort to raise the glass. 


I'm not too worried about the fit of the hood to the cowl lace, it will look fine when I get some hood latches on the car.  I will get around to painting the hood feature line moldings black to match the rest of the car. 


I just painted the radiator shutter black on the car and then figured out the guys that put the radiator assembly back in the car have the shutter return spring installed backward, it opens the shutters wide open when the thermostat link pin is removed.  The spring is supposed to close the shutters all the way when water temp  drops.  It is intended to put a 14lb preload on the thermostat bellows to collapse them back down in an orderly fashion as the water cools. I just pulled the radiator and shell off the car and have it on the bench to fix a myriad of things that are either not serviceable or not correct.   That will be another post when I'm done. 


As for the silver cutout relay, I'm hoping to replace it with an original Delco Remy cutout which were painted black. 







Edited by Str8-8-Dave
Revise text (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Hello to all;  Well, it's been a busy few weeks.  First I attempted to repaint the radiator front shutters from the red body color that adorned the shutters when I got the car to correct gloss black without removing the radiator and shell.  That turned out to be a mistake because in the process I discovered hidden behind the chrome shell the previous custodians of this car decided to overcome a dead thermostat by reversing the shutter spring to hold the shutters open instead of closing them as Buick intended.  The project that developed will be covered in my next post.  The main subject of this post is reinstallation of the restored instrument panel, it's wiring and plumbing and the resultant completion of the left side of the engine compartment. 


The instrument panel restoration from removal from the car spans months, starting with removal January 31, 2019 to completion today, April 12, 2019.  I took a panel out of the car that was incorrectly painted red, had 3 of the 5 gauges in unusable condition, was missing woodgrain on the cluster and many parts such as instrument lamp switch, lamp masks inside the cluster, instrument lamps and wiring.  As of today's writing all of those items have been corrected.  I did a pretty good post of the restoration of the panel and cluster, this post is more about reinstallation, wiring and plumbing. 


The panel went back in the car this past Tuesday with my wife's help. Earlier in the day I partially removed the right side dash insulator to facilitate installation of an accessory wire harness to support a nice set of Trippe Junior driving lights I bought from Steve Moskowitz who is CEO of the AACA.  Wednesday I laid under the panel and connected ammeter and  instrument panel lights and wired the switch for the Trippes.  I had filled the fuel gauge reservoir with red oil appropriate for KS Telegage fuel gauges (if you get this stuff on your fingers, don't touch any painted surfaces, I learned the hard way it eats paint!) and connected the spark control cable, choke cable, fuel gauge line, the oil pressure gauge line and hooked up the dash heat control.  Thursday I drained about 2 gallons of coolant from the car so I could remove some ad-hoc parts that came on the car to facilitate and accessory heater installation which I doubt I will ever do.  I removed the horn to gain access, removed the unscheduled parts, then installed the sensing bulb for the restored temperature gauge.  I made the 3 hole firewall grommet for the car having had no success buying a correct one and was able to successfully finish installing it in the firewall hole.  Later Thursday I fabricated a speedometer cable routing clamp that resides near the bottom of the steering column tube.  Earlier in the week I bought a good complete speedometer cable with correct transmission adapter and correct for model 8-66S 24 tooth speedometer gear from Dave39MD and it showed up in the afternoon mail.  I spent a little time and elbow grease cleaning the cable up and getting it ready to install.  Today I installed the speedometer cable at the speedo head and was able to verify the speedo will work by spinning the gear on the transmission end of the cable and then went on to route the cable thru my homemade steering column clip, thru a routing clip riveted to the side of the frame behind the left engine mount and installed the adapter and trans gear in the tail shaft housing of the transmission.   Below are pictures of the results.


Best regards



Pictues 1, 3:  The panel as it appeared when removed January 31, 2019 and the way it looked when my wife and I put it back in the car Tuesday, April 9, 2019, note the hanging wiring.


IP 0001.jpg


IP 0083.jpg


IP 0086.jpg


Pictures 4-6:  The organized insanity under the panel after I connected wiring, fuel gauge and oil pressure gauge.


BW 044.jpg


BW 045.jpg


BW 046.jpg


Pictures 7-8:  I removed the plumbing for the accessory heater from the water manifold preferring the simple installation of the water temp gauge sensing bulb and having no desire to install a heater.  I made the 3-hole firewall grommet from laminations of trim rubber contact cemented together.  I wasn't sure it would survive installation but it turned out better than expected


output (1)_LI.jpg


IP 0091.jpg


Pictures 9-15:  After about 2 months of searching I finally bought a correct speedometer cable from Dave39MD who has one of these cars that has never been apart.  Dave's support thru pictures, correspondence and parts have been a huge help in my effort to restore my car.  These pictures show routing from speedometer head, thru the firewall, to my home-brew steering column routing clamp, back over the rear engine mount, thru a routing clip riveted to the frame and finally to the tail shaft housing of the transmission. 


IP 093.jpg


IP 092.jpg


IP 094.jpg


IP 095.jpg


IP 096.jpg


IP 097.jpg


IP 098.jpg

Edited by Str8-8-Dave
Add pictures, correct text (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello to all;  This post will be about what appeared to be the worst case of incorrect assembly by a previous custodian of the car and how that probably turned out for the best.  I was taking a short cut of sorts by trying to paint the incorrect red radiator front shutters black without taking the radiator and shell out of the car.  At some point during the painting I removed a clevis pin on the thermostat linkage to allow me to move the shutters to gain paint access to surfaces behind the closed shutters.  I say closed, but the shutters hadn't been full closed by the thermostat since I brought the car home, I expected to just have to perform a linkage adjustment.  To my surprise, when I removed the clevis pin, the shutters snapped fully open.  I didn't think that was right and after some investigation and careful reading of the 1931 Buick Specifications and Adjustments I became convinced that the shutter spring was somehow incorrectly installed to make the shutters open, rather than close as Buick intended.  I really hated the thought of taking the radiator and shell out of the car but I finally did remove it.  The collateral work involved included removing the front bumper, loosening front fenders, removing hood sills and lower radiator stone shield.  I'm an old geezer, not in the best shape and it was a struggle for me to just lift the radiator and shell out of the car and put it on a work table but with no help around somehow I managed.  Once I got the assembly on my work table I took it completely apart.  The first to come out was the thermostat which was not functional having lost it's charge.  This job was the first inkling I had that the best thing that could have happened was removing the radiator and shell, the thermostat cover screws were frozen in the brass cover retaining ring.  I had to drill every one of them out which would have been an awful job in the car, then tapped the retainer ring 1/4-20, up one screw size from the original 12-24, then replaced the original screws with stainless items. 


There is a caution notice cast on the thermostat cover that warns the shutter link must be removed before attempting to remove the radiator from the shell in the car. The attachment to the shutter control pin is physically located in front of the radiator but behind the shutter and is not accessible.  According to the Buick drawings the shutter link is supposed to have a sliding lock arrangement to lock it to the shutter pin.  The link that came with the car was cotter pinned to the shutter control which would have made removal of the link, then the radiator from the shell in the car, impossible.  On my work table I was able to lift the radiator straight out of the shell, not possible in the car.  I made and added a slide lock to the shutter link as shown on the Buick drawing so the link pin can now be installed or removed from the shutter control pin in the car.  This was another dividend of removing the radiator and shell from the car. 


The next concern was the viability of the thermostat.  I put it in a stovetop water bath with a thermometer and heated the water to 150 degrees F and it never moved.  It should have started at 135 degrees per the manual.  I called Jim Otto in Knoxville TN.  Jim is a retired engineer who worked for Sylphon who made most of the thermostats used to operate radiator front shutters and services them.  He agreed to look at mine and called to say he couldn't service that style because there was no replacement bellows available.  The brass bellows in these old stats work harden and fracture after so many cycles allowing the reactive liquid, methyl alcohol or acetone, to leak out.  Jim told me easiest way to know the health of one of these thermostats is you should not be able to move the bellows pin by hand.  If you can move it by hand the thermostat has leaked and has air in it.  I was able to easily push the shutters open and closed by hand before I took the linkage apart.  Jim opened my thermostat and it was dry.  He suggested replacing it with a different style he had which is similar to the replacement unit Bill Hirsch sells for $399.  Jim overhauled the core he had, replacing the bellows with new, charged it with acetone and water mixture cause the thermostat to start opening at 140 degrees F.  Jim shipped it to me along with my old stat for $260. 


Finally I removed the radiator from the shell and saw the jury rigged spring arrangement the previous folks had installed, probably to hold the shutters open because the thermostat was no good.    During this time I also removed the shutters from the radiator shell to give them a proper black paint job, not possible without having the radiator and shell out of the car.  Also while the radiator shell was out of the chassis I cleaned up the front of the frame, removed a dent in the crankshaft pully that caused the fan belt to rise partly out of the sheaves and installed the right side headlight harness on the crossmember using the Buick wiring drawings to locate routing clips and wiring harness correctly another item that would have been very difficult to take care of with the radiator and shell out of the car.. 


After painting the shutters and getting a thermostat back from Jim Otto I started the reassembly process, installing the thermostat with a new gasket, leak testing the radiator, then installing shutters and radiator back into the shell with some new hardware.  The Buick drawings barely address the spring, no specifications,  only a part number which is pretty meaningless today.   According to the Specifications and Adjustments manual the thermostat must be capable of lifting 14lbs at 145 degrees.  I began looking for a spring that was around 5.5" long to stretch between the bell crank on the shutter assembly and the stationary end retainer pin.  Once I found a spring that met this criteria I wanted it to produce a starting force with the shutters just beginning to open around 4-8lbs and then not to exceed a force of 14lbs to open the shutters wide.  I used a 0-20lb range Chatillon force gauge to test some springs and settled on one made by Associated Spring that produced a starting force to just open the shutters of 5lbs and then a force of 10lbs to open the shutters wide. 


Finally the day came to put the radiator and shell back in the car.  I had my wife help me guide the studs on the bottom of the shell back into the holes in the crossmember.  While the hood sills and gravel shield were off the car I touched up many stone chips in the paint sustained when the previous restorer test ran the car on gravel road.  I decided to do the paint work only on the hood latches, they will have to come apart again for plating later.  I also installed new rubber hood bumpers on the latches and installed them on the hood sills.  I then reinstalled the hood sills which allowed me to do final headlight and engine compartment wiring attachment as the harness are held by wiring clips installed under the frame hood sill screws.  With headlight build and installation in mind as the next major project  I tracked down an original set of headlight stanchion screw plates that go on the underside of the hood sills at the attachments for the stanchion bases.  About this time I selected the best of 3 headlight bars I had, cleaned and painted it black, then installed it tying the front fender supports together.  I spent a couple of days getting hood sills, gravel shield, hand crank support bracket and fender attachment hardware all installed to my satisfaction.  I learned the hard way the gravel pan and hand crank support should have gone in before I decked the radiator and shell but after a struggle I got those items installed.    The one thing Jim Otto cautioned me about is that the thermostat he was sending had a substantially shorter bellows stud and I might have to do something to the linkage to allow it to hook up and adjust.  The difference turned out to be 0.750".  I toyed with extending the bellows adjustment nut but after looking at the original Buick radiator drawings that MidMan sent me I decided the link that attaches to the shutters should be lengthened.  I completed that task today and installed the new link.  The rest of the linkage now appears to rest in the cold thermostat position just like it looks on the Buick drawing.  I'll let the pictures tell the resto of the story for this installment.  The headlight build and installation will be documented in the next post.




Picture 1:  The paint job that started the process of correctly restoring the cooling package.  You can see the red paint I thought I would have to prop the shutters open to access, instead, when I removed the shutter linkage  pin the shutters sprung open as seen here.


Rad 002.jpg


Picture 2:  It was March 15th, 2019 that  I lifted the radiator out of the chassis. 


Rad 004.jpg


Pictures 3-5:  Getting the thermostat cover off the radiator required drilling out all the 12-24 screws which were frozen into the brass screw ring on the thermostat opening.  Eventually I got the cover off and removed an ugly thermostat.  Chances of doing this operation in the car- not good.


Rad 005.jpg


Rad 006.jpg


Rad 008.jpg


Pictures 6,7:  I re-tapped the brass screw ring on the radiator to accept 1/4-20 screws which are the same style slotted round heads Buick used and stainless.


Rad 011.jpg


Rad 013.jpg


Picture 8:  This is the complete shutter linkage that that screws onto the bellows stud of the thermostat, center link attaches with a clevis pin to the thermostat cover and the long link with the brass sliding lock I added applies the output force of the expanding thermostat to open the radiator front shutters.  The brass slide lock was a part I made off the Buick radiator drawing that facilitates attachment of the shutter end of the link and removal of same with the radiator mounted in the shell.  there is a warning cast on the thermostat cover stating the link must be removed before the radiator core can be removed from the chrome shell while mounted in the car.


Rad 029.jpg


Picture 9:  This is the thermostat that was in the radiator when I took it apart.  I cleaned it up before sending it to Jim Otto for service.  Ultimately it had to be replaced with a different style thermostat which actually appears to be the style shown on the Buick radiator drawing because a replacement bellows was not available of this thermostat.


Rad 009.jpg


Picture 10:  The incorrectly installed spring pulled the shutter rack the wrong direction causing the shutters to fail open.


Rad 021.jpg


Picture 11:  This is the shutter link sans slide lock feature.  Note that it is cotter pinned to the shutter link pin which makes it impossible to remove or install with the radiator in the shell.  You can remove the radiator core from the shell on the bench with this arrangement but you can't remove the radiator core from the shell in the car without the slide lock feature.


Rad 022.jpg


Picture 12:  The radiator front shutter looked a lot better after getting painted out of the shell.


Rad 026.jpg


Picture 13:  With the radiator and shell I was able to remove a dent in the crank shaft pulley that might have caused the fan belt to come off and it made attaching and routing the right headlight harness branch of the new Harnesses Unlimited reproduction wire harness much simpler.


BW 041.jpg


Pictures 14-16:  Here we have a correctly installed spring.  I tested the amount of force required to start opening the radiator shutter with a Chatillon force gauge.  Note the force required to start opening the shutter is 5lbs.  The thermostat produces enough force at 145 degrees to lift 14lbs.


Rad 038.jpg


Rad 039.jpg


Rad 040.jpg


Pictures 17,18:  A force of 10lbs was required to open the shutters fully, still below the 14lb minimum force capability of the thermostat.


Rad 042.jpg


Rad 043.jpg


Pictures 19, 20:  This is the reassembled radiator and shell ready to go back in the car.


Rad 046.jpg


Rad 047.jpg


Picture 21:  The radiator went back in the car April 6, 2019.  This is how the car looked with the radiator back in, hood sills reinstalled and a correctly painted black headlight bar.


Lights 033.jpg


Pictures 22, 23:  The thermostat I got from Jim Otto had a bellows stud that the linkage nut attaches to that is 0.750" shorter that the thermostat I took out of the car.  I made and installed a shutter link that is 0.750" longer to allow the linkage to be hooked up.  These pictures show the slide lock feature on the shutter link more clearly. 


Rad 050.jpg


Rad 051.jpg

Edited by Str8-8-Dave
Add pictures (see edit history)
  • Like 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...