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My 1931 Buick project- the saga begins...

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Have you thought about going with a replacement float from say Bob's Automobelia (ie what do other people who have used the reproductions say) ?   I ask as it is also a weight thing and often hard to get a home-built float to really float (and equally have had reproductions floats for various X cars and they were too heavy or ...). 


I too agree, I would rather have rich than a burnt valve, though too much advance can lead to other issues and car really should be able to run on junk gas (ethanol free of course). 

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Aren't those floats supposed to be cork? If so, my guess is balsa has a different buoyancy, alters the adjustment.


Don't worry about water in the exhaust too much. It is a byproduct of burning gasoline. In fact, if it were possible to burn gasoline perfectly the exhaust would be only carbon dioxide and water.

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Have you thought about going with a replacement float from say Bob's Automobelia (ie what do other people who have used the reproductions say) ?   I ask as it is also a weight thing and often hard to get a home-built float to really float (and equally have had reproductions floats for various X cars and they were too heavy or ...). 


Hi John, For sure I have considered the Bob's float and rejected it.  It is made of nitrophyl plastic which I have had several bad experiences with in a really valuable 1969 RA IV GTO I bought new as a teenager.  The Rochester quadra-jet carburetor supplied as original equipment had a nitrophyl float which is supposedly sealed or closed cell on the surface but inside was porous and absorbed fuel over time and sank.  I started the car up in my garage and it stumbled and stalled on it's way out of the garage, then there was a pop and smoke began pouring out from under the hood.  The car had less than 10000 miles on it and that ruined the pristine engine compartment.  Later in the life of that car I had another one of those floats get saturated and sink and I wound up with the q-jet in pieces on a zero degree day inside a dirt floor garage in East Jordan Michigan.  So I will NEVER use one of those floats again.  


I consulted with Carb King who counselled I could certainly make a float but should not use modern cork to make it from as most of it is reground cork held together with glue and it does not float like virgin cork.  He suggested the balsa float route.  I was skeptical but researched virgin cork flotation capability vs balsa and learned balsa actually is lighter and floats better.  I have a ton of balsa in the basement having built wood model airplanes and riverboat models for years.   Bottom line- I like balsa, easy to shape, seal it with SIG Supercoat clear butyrate model airplane dope and it is impervious to fuel, alcohol products and many thinners. I have had no trouble with a balsa float.

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14 minutes ago, Bloo said:

Aren't those floats supposed to be cork? If so, my guess is balsa has a different buoyancy, alters the adjustment.


Don't worry about water in the exhaust too much. It is a byproduct of burning gasoline. In fact, if it were possible to burn gasoline perfectly the exhaust would be only carbon dioxide and water.

Bloo- read my post above about using balsa, got the idea from  a contributor who spent a lifetime with carburetors, balsa floats better than cork.


I agree there is water produced as a by-product of gasoline combustion.  It is negligible without the ethanol.  It made a spray gun out of the heat riser plumbing under the hood of my car so i quit using it.  Ethanol free  produces a little, if you like a sprinkler in your exhaust system use 10% ethanol, you wouldn't believe the difference.

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Good to know about the balsa. If it floats better, than I agree you can make it work. If the balsa is more buoyant though, the setting will have to be different.


As for the water, I think we will have to agree to disagree. The chemistry of a gasoline fire is what it is, and water is a main component of exhaust. Maybe the alcohol is causing it to burn cooler. I am in no way arguing in favor of ethanol gas, and I wish we could get rid of it. I set my cars up on 10% ethanol gas because I can't depend on getting non-ethanol gas on trips.


Best Regards.

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Since I was mentioned in this thread, thought I should check in:


Many older carburetors were originally equipped with cork floats. We have always supplied replacement float pontoons in rebuilding kits for these carburetors. We still do, except for those used in the Cadillac/Johnson carbs, but that is another story.


The original cork floats were made from natural cork. We are not suffiently important to warrant the suppliers selling us natural cork when they can sell all they have to the BIG users. The cork available to us is "composite". The scraps from the big users are gathered, ground, and recombined with glue. The resultant composite cork will not float! We use the modern foam.


It has been mentioned that the poly-nitrophil (spelling, and too lazy to look it up) floats used as O.E. in the 1970's and 1980's had issues.


This is true! But true because our benevolent government changed the requirements of fuel to the oil companies every time the sun set in the west! The company that made these floats changed the sealing compound at least a dozen times, and it would work, for awhile. And then, when the fuel changed, the float would fail.


The current foam SUPPOSELY is closed-cellular, and the ethanol/fuel will not permeate the cell walls (I'm from Missouri!). We suggest to our customers that they install the original float arm onto the new pontoon, AND THEN SEAL THE FLOAT AND THE AREA CONTACTED BY THE ARM! We cannot do the sealing ahead of time, as installing the arm would break the seal.


Two products that I KNOW will work for sealing are P.O.R.-15 and the fabric dope used to dope the fabric used on model airplanes that fly. Other products MAY work, but I have no knowledge of them.


Occasionally, we get a customer that had issues with the foam in the '70's and '80's and does not wish to use the foam. I understand, and don't argue. We suggest balsa wood as an alternative to these customers, but stress that the surface MUST be sealed where the arm makes contact. Balsa also is fairly readily available to those who need a float NOW and don't like our backlog (as a matter of fact, neither do I ;) )!


Buoyancy differences between the cork and foam and balsa have been mentioned in this thread. I personally do not feel there enough difference to be concerned with, but most updraft carburetors require a guesstimate for an initial setting, and then measurement of the fuel level with the carburetor mounted on the engine and the fuel line, and fuel, connected.


Which brings up another issue: NEVER bend one of the old brass float arms unless you (A) own a casting shop, or (B) are independently wealthy! Never is a word I rarely use! The fuel level in the bowl may be adjusted by changing the thickness of the gasket (or gasket pack) between the fuel valve seat and the casting. By changing this gasket thickness, one changes the height of the valve, and thus changes the required height of the float to acquire the correct fuel level.


For those who may be new to carburetors, MANY carburetors REQUIRE the float setting at a specified fuel pressure. Yes, the shop manual will have a suggested initial setting for the float, but many of the more expensive carburetors had "sight plugs" in the bowl into the late 1950's. The float(s) was/were set at the suggested initial setting, the carburetor installed, a fuel pressure gauge installed at the carburetor, the engine started, and the sight plugs removed. Different companies had different settings, but generally, the fuel would just weep from the sight plug passage at idle if the fuel lever were correct.



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33 minutes ago, carbking said:

NEVER bend one of the old brass float arms unless you (A) own a casting shop, or (B) are independently wealthy!

Amen Jon- that's why I modified my balsa float.  I knew if I tried to bend the Marvel float arm I would quickly be in the market for some un-obtanium...

Not sure if anyone had a brass float for a Marvel updraft?

Carburetor 001.jpg

Carburetor 021.jpg

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1 hour ago, Bloo said:

As for the water, I think we will have to agree to disagree

What you are missing with the alcohol is the fact that while gasoline in not hygroscopic ethanol IS hygroscopic.  It absorbs water.  Left in a vented container where it has access to ambient air it absorbs lots of water, then evaporates away leaving water, suspended for a brief period of time, but then it settles to the bottom of the fuel tank.  Once the alcohol completes evaporation you have phase separation of the gasoline, the chemistry is compromised and the octane falls off and is regarded in engineering circles to be no longer suitable as a fuel for spark ignition gasoline engines.






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  • 3 months later...

Hello to all;  It's been awhile since I updated this thread and part of the reason is because we had to finish out our summer visits to the cottage in Michigan's upper peninsula.  We finally drained the water system and closed for the winter a couple of weeks ago.  I will miss our trips until spring on the one hand but am happy to be able to spend some quality time in the garage working on the Buick.  I've had a project going for awhile to get a bunch of parts powder coated.  The list included front bumper support bars, support bar clamps, wheel rims, lug clamps and the spare tire carrier and brackets.  Around 2003 or so I bought a 68 Pontiac GTO and set to work restoring it.  That car's front suspension led me to discover a local powder coater in Macomb, MI, Dun-Rite QC Coatings owned by a chap named Bill Walker.  They did a fantastic job on the upper and lower control arms on the GTO.  When you get good service and reasonable prices in this hobby you remember. 


Getting the front bumper support bars off the car involved removing the chrome (spelled painted silver) bumper bars, my accessory turn signals and Trippe Jr. driving lights.  Getting the spare tire carrier off the car was straight forward enough, I removed the spare rim and unbolted the carrier.  The task I was dreading was removing the remaining four rim and tire assemblies and getting the tires and tubes off the rims.  Once I started I quickly learned getting the tires off the rims was not too bad of a job even without a tire machine or even a rim tool.  I started with the spare just to make sure the job was do-able.  After deflating a tire I flipped it up on our chest freezer in the garage  and using a hammer and drift unlocked the split rim, then pried the tire off with some king-sized Stanley screw drivers.  I locked the split rims back together for powder coating.


It had been a long time since I dealt with QC Coatings but I discovered through a Google search that they were still in business and had a website.  I used web-mail in mid-September to contact Bill to see if they were working or if they might be closed due to COVID19.  Bill responded next day that they were completing a move to a new shop location and were not be running pending utility hookups for blasting cabinets and curing ovens.  He had me bring my parts in but told me it would be mid October before he would get to them. 


A few days before we were going to leave for the cottage I got the golden phone call that my parts were ready for pickup.  In total I left 32 pieces for powder coating and Bill only charged $299 for the lot.  The rims and lugs that went for powder coating had been sand blasted and installed sans-coating of any kind.  One of the front bumper bar clamps was badly cracked and after trying for weeks to find a replacement I gave up and had the broken part welded.  The primary bumper support bar was bent on the right side of the car so I had it straightened.  The spare tire carrier and brackets came from another car and were painted brown.  I had all the parts powder coated satin black.


After returning from the cottage I set to work, first reinstalling the front bumper support bars and clamps and the lights that attach to the primary bumper support bar.  Then I started reassembling tires, tubes and rims.  I bought a Coker Tire reproduction BF Goodrich 550-19 4 ply black wall tire, an exact match to the rest of the tires on the car to replace the Allstate tire I took off the spare carrier.  I also bought 5 new heavy duty inner tubes from Coker.  I used talcum powder in the tire casings to promote seating of the tubes.  After putting talc in the tire carcass I unlocked a split rim, soaped a tire bead and bent the first side on the rim.  I then partially inflated a new tube, just enough to give it shape, fed the tube into the tire carcass, fished the valve stem thru the rim hole and soaped and carefully bent the opposite side of the tire onto the rim.  The last step was to re-align the ends of the rim split and using  two C-clamps strategically placed over the rim lock and bead, then carefully forced the hole in the lock over the alignment pin on the rim, then drove the latch hook back into place with my hammer and drift.    I then put just enough air in the tire to give the tube final shape inside the tire carcass and bounced the rim and tire like a bicycle tire on the garage floor to get the tube to settle.  Last step was to inflate the tire to 35 PSI and let it sit for an hour after which I checked the tire pressure to make sure I didn't have any leakers.  This process got repeated 5 times without too much incident.  I had a screwdriver pop off and tag me right between the eyes ramming my glasses thru the tender skin on the bridge of my nose resulting in lots of blood and bent glasses frame but the blood didn't scare me and I was able to repair my glasses.  The other issue I had was one of the rim ends had a slight curve that made it very difficult to it to lock up. It took an hour to get that sorted but I finally won.  I did two rim and tire assemblies and got them back on the car my first day, same the second day and finished with the spare on the last day.  Last night I got the spare tire carrier back on the car and today I installed the new spare on the carrier.  The pictures below give some idea of the scope of the project.




This is the front of the car before I started with the powder coating project.  The front bumper bars were painted

silver and will be chromed before I reinstall them. 

BW 070.jpg


The rims and wheel lug clamps were sand blasted and were never painted before new tires were installed.

Tires 007.jpg


The spare tire carrier was a Hershey swap meet item and showed up- you guessed it- chocolate brown.  The rim

had a nice old Allstate tire on it and quite a dent, but was blasted and not painted like the others.

ST 002.JPG


This is a shot of the torn down front bumper assembly and you can see the front tire and rim assemblies have been removed.

Pwdr coat 002.jpg


The main front bumper bar had some interesting unscheduled bends, clues of a traffic mishap in it's past.  It went to

B&L, the local fabrication shop, for straightening. 

Bmprbar 003.jpg


I tried for weeks to replace the cracked front bumper clamp on the left side of the car but no one had a replacement.

I finally prepped it and took it to B&L and had it MIG welded.

Frt bmpr clmp 017.jpg


Here we have front bumper support bars, rims, spare tire carrier and carrier support brackets read to go to the

powder coater.

Pwdr coat 008.jpg


All of the lug clamps and the 2 bumper support clamps also went for powder coating.   One of the clamps had been

weld repaired but I can't tell from my pictures which one it was...

Pwdr coat 011.jpg


$299 and six weeks later and I got 32 parts back in black satin powder coat.

Pwdr coat 015.jpg


Pwdr coat 013.jpg


Here we have the modern tire change bench.  Nothing but the latest high tech equipment here...  Those little tire irons

in the picture were for motorcycle rims and not up to the task at hand.  They were quickly replaced with 2 big Stanley


Pwdr coat 016.jpg


Pwdr coat 017.jpg


First items to go back on the car were the front bumper bars which allowed front lighting

to be reinstalled.

Pwdr coat 005.jpg


This picture shows some new center bolt hardware that replaced a soft and incorrect

carriage bolt.  There is an original spacer taken from another bumper just ahead of the

rear nut.

Pwdr coat 006.jpg


I forgot to get a picture of the completed lamp installation until after the wheels and tires went back on the car.

Pwdr coat 004.jpg


Here are pictures of the wheels with powder coated rims and lug clamps in place- right rear,

Pwdr coat 017.jpg


right front,

Pwdr coat 018.jpg


left rear

Pwdr coat 019.jpg


and left front.

Pwdr coat 020.jpg


Finally I installed the spare tire carrier and the new spare tire.

Pwdr coat 022.jpg


Pwdr coat 023.jpg


Pwdr coat 026.jpg


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Hello to all;  If you read my last post regarding powder coating you know that I took parts to QC Coatings in Macomb, MI while they were in process of moving and getting a new facility up and running.  So what to do with 6 weeks of down time?  Seems as how I always find something and the project I took on in this post turned out to be substantial.  There are a few projects that have to be completed for the interior of the car before I can put it on the road.  I need to send the shift and hand brake levers out for chrome plating.  Once those come back I can do a hard install of the front floor and toe boards which are just sitting in the car now, then I can install the rubber floor mat and new gas pedal.  Then, at minimum the seat needs to be reupholstered and installed.  The last items, upholstering door panels and wood graining window moldings would be finishing touches but not essential to make the car drive-able.   


I have a so-called forensic layout of soft trim items in my basement which has helped with re-creating some of the interior trim items.  Over in the corner of that layout sat the adjustable seat frame and the original, still upholstered seat cushion.  That seat cushion, while wearing tired mohair, is actually in remarkably good shape.  The original paint is still good on the mesh bottom covering of the springs, there are no broken springs and not much sign of moisture damage. The seat back is missing, no springs, nothing.  


Initially I thought I could just repair the seat adjuster mechanism which was frozen up solid and do some minor repairs to the wood seat frame.  Close inspection revealed the corner joinery was falling apart on the wood framework, wood screws were rusted to the point of not having threads left, it was dirty and in such bad shape you couldn't take it apart and fix it, it needed to be replaced.  An upholsterer would have probably insisted on building a replica or having me contract someone to do that before taking the seat in for upholstery.  Having survived making a new wood frame for the golf door and doing a lot of replacement woodwork related to the partition that separates the interior from the rumble compartment I decided to order some lumber and build a new seat frame.      


The main parts of the wood frame are ash and the side rails were 3/4" plywood.  I ordered six 6" x 48" x 3/4" pieces of ash from Baird's Lumber in Ohio and found a 36" x 48" x 3/4" piece of birch plywood on E-bay for a reasonable price.  Then I set about inventorying the fastener hardware required for the seat and found it required no less than 104 pieces of flat head wood screws, machine screws, square nuts and flat and lock washers.   I replaced most of the hardware bits with stainless from Bolt Depot.  The seat adjuster and seat slide keepers used a special 5/16-18 fillister head screw and of 12 required I only had 2.  I sent a picture of one of these screws to Dave Dunton who has an original unrestored 31 Buick 8-66S and he contributed 8 original screws.  I substituted a couple of modern replacements in 2 seat adjuster locations that hide beneath a vinyl trim finish panel attached to the bottom front seat board.  I was also missing one seat track keeper which is basically a piece of 3/16" thick x 1-1/2" wide x 18" long steel bar stock.  It has 4 tapped screw holes and a 1/4" wide by 1/16" deep x 18" long slot machined down one side of it.  I ordered the bar stock material from Online Metals, carefully located the 4 screw holes and drilled and tapped those, then gave the part to Superior Engine and Machine to have the slot milled down the side.  The slide went from about $10 for the material to $70 for the completed part but nobody has seat track keepers for 31 Buick seats that I know of so this was one way to get the missing part.


One evening I spent a little quality time freeing up the seat adjuster with Kroil penetrating oil, a brass wire brush and a pair of miniature vice grips to break the worm screw loose in the follower nut.  Eventually it cooperated and I cleaned it all up and painted some parts of it and wire wheeled the rest of it and sprayed it down with Boeshield T-9 rust preventive oil.  After that I photographed the rest of the wood frame, side braces and sheet metal side pans paying particular attention to how parts were joined, then I took the original frame completely apart.  Metal side braces, seat slides and sheet metal side pans were cleaned up and painted with black Rustoleum.  The wood pieces were very carefully preserved to serve as patterns for new wood parts.


I started replicating wood parts with the 4 sides of the seat base frame.  I carefully clamped each side of the base frame to the original wood piece it would replace, traced the shape, copied 15 degree angle cut along the back edge and dadoed the relief slots in the bottoms of the side boards where the side braces attach. The corner joints of the original base frame were deep robust mortise and tenon joints which I decided to substitute with dowelled corner joints because I am not a master woodworker and buying mortising equipment was expensive.  Instead I made a simple drill fixture to accurately locate the dowels in adjacent pieces of the frame.  Each joint has three 3/8" dowels that extend into the edges of each side member a minimum of 2 inches.   The front board features a 1/2-round trench to package the worm screw for the seat adjuster.  I used the original board screw holes to locate and drill machine screw holes at locations that attach the seat adjuster parts and the seat slide keepers.  After the whittling was done I glued the corner joints and dowels with Gorilla Glue and squared and clamped the assembly to dry.  After the glue dried I temporarily attached the seat slides with the keeper bolts which are smaller than the holes in the metal slides allowing the slides to be moved around a bit.  To get the most accurate position for the slides I then took the bottom seat frame with slides attached and installed it on the metal tracks in the car.  I then carefully maneuvered the slides to align the seat perfectly to the tracks in the car and adjusted them to minimize side clearance which I hope will result in a smoothly operating seat adjustment mechanism.  Once the slides were properly positioned I tightened the keeper bolts to prevent moving the sliders, removed the seat base frame, drilled the holes for the #12 wood screws that permanently locate the slides on the bottom of the seat frame and installed the screws.  Once those 4 screws are installed the seat slide locations are fixed.


The next parts to make were the two side rails which I traced onto the birch plywood, sabre sawed to shape and dadoed the edges to flush-fit the sheet metal side pans.  The top wings of the wood side rails were originally made up of 2 pieces with mortise and tenon joints cut in such a manner as to turn the wings in toward the center of the seat about 15 degrees.  I improvised by sawing thru all but 2 plies of inside surface the side wings, then clamped the side rails to a flat table saw cuts up, filled the saw cuts with Smooth On A4 Metal-set industrial epoxy and using some wedge blocks bent the wings up closing the saw cuts and achieving a 15 degree angle just like the original parts.  


The last parts to fabricate were the 2 piece vertical strainers, the back rail and a couple of corner extensions used to brace and locate the bottom strainer mounting locations.  I re-used 3 strainer ribs the previous restorer fabricated, they were new wood and in good shape for reuse.


After all the wood parts were replicated I coated the parts with Rustoleum Woodlife copper preservative, same stuff I used on the running boards, then coated all the wood parts with Minwax ebony oil stain.  I wasn't sure how compatible this chemistry was but the stain went right over the preservative with nary a problem.  Finally it was time to assemble the parts.  


Assembly started with the side rails, braces, pans and corner strainers and extensions.  Next was attachment of the back rail, then the 3 center strainer ribs.  When I started assembling the seat adjuster I had trouble with the worm screw bracket hole alignment.  Careful examination of the original front seat frame board revealed that I had missed a relief pocket the front edge of the metal worm screw bracket sets into to make it flush with the front surface of the seat frame board.  I clamped the seat frame to the top of my work table, measured and laid out the recess and used a router to cut the recess.  Problem solved.   


The last part of my seat frame build was covering front and back of the seat with panel board, then stitching up a replica vinyl trim cover for the front of the seat frame and installing it.  Somewhere in a box of loose parts that came with the car I discovered the seat adjuster knob which had been nicely rechromed.  I'll let the pictures below do the talking but I'm pretty happy with my new seat frame and suspect my upholsterer will appreciate it too.  





This is my forensic soft trim layout which has been whittled down as I discovered some of the

parts were not from the Buick after all.     

Forensic 001.jpg


This is the seat frame with nice original seat cushion but no back cushion or springs.  I'm hoping

a Snyder's seat spring I bought will be suitable for the back cushion.  Only my upholsterer knows

for sure...

Forensic 001 (2).jpg


These are some pictures of the original wood parts to show their tired condition.

FSF 010.jpg


FSF 011.jpg


This is the original seat base frame after I disassembled the seat.  The once strong mortise and tenon corner

joints were so loose they could easily be pulled apart.

FSF 019.jpg


Here are a couple of pictures of the adjuster mechanism which consists of a worm screw on the

handle bracket which drives a worm nut on the scissor mechanism below the seat.  The ends of 

the scissor arms fit into slots in the track attached to the floor of the car surrounding the tool

compartment.  A little Kroil penetrating oil and some persuasion from a mini vise grip freed the

stuck mechanism.

FSF 001.jpg


FSF 002.jpg


This is a test layout after the 4 sides of the new base were cut out but before dowels were installed and before

gluing. Note the back edge is cut on a 15 degree angle to agree with the seat back angle.

FSF 025.jpg


These nifty corner extensions locate the corners of the corner strainers.  Those black pieces are the originals

inside the frame.  The numerous angle cuts to make these little parts gave my scroll saw quite a workout.

FSF 026.jpg


Here we have the world's cheapest dowel drill fixture attached to one of the side boards of the seat frame.  I

think my dentist used something like this for my last root canal...

FSF 023.jpg


This is the drilling operation.  The little block of wood over the drill bit restricts the depth of the drilled hole to

about 2-1/4" depth.

FSF 022.jpg


This is one of the side pieces of the seat base with dowels temporarily installed.

FSF 020.jpg


After the drilling and test fitting the parts were glued, squared and clamped flat.  Those slots in the side boards

are dado blade cuts to recess the metal corner braces.  The little slots in the bottom rail locate the center strainers.

FSF 034.jpg


Pictured here is the seat base frame after gluing with the 2 side rails cut from a sheet of 3/4" birch plywood.  Note

the half round recess in the front board of the base frame to accommodate the worm screw for the seat adjuster..

FSF 029.jpg


Here are the corner strainers which are made in 2 pieces then glued.

FSF 052.jpg


This is a layout of all the new wood parts along with cleaned and painted side braces

and sheet metal side pans. The long curved piece in the foreground is the chair back.

FSF 055.jpg


The last couple of steps before starting assembly were applying Woodlife preservative...

FSF 058.jpg


then staining all the parts with Minwax ebony oil stain

FSF 061.jpg


The assembly gets busy in a hurry.  Here we have side rails edge screwed to the base frame, corner strainers

installed, then the sheet metal side pans with their many screws tie the 3 parts together.  The chair back is

sitting on the table top awaiting it's turn in the installation process.

FSF 063.jpg


In this picture you can see the corner strainer installation and the metal side support braces are installed.

FSF 064.jpg


Here is a better picture of the side pan installation.  The edges are dadoed in so the sheet metal is flush with

the plywood. 

FSF 065.jpg


On the bottom of the frame we have the side braces recessed into the dado slots and the adjustable seat

slides screwed in place.

FSF 067.jpg


FSF 068.jpg


Finally the chair back is attached.  Now the frame is taking shape and gaining strength.

FSF 069.jpg


FSF 070.jpg


Next the seat adjuster mechanism was reinstalled.  This wasn't going well at first because I missed machining a

recess the handle and worm screw bracket recesses into that allows the bracket to install flush with the front

edge of the seat frame base.

FSF 071.jpg


Here is a picture of the scissor mechanism that the worm screw actuates to move the seat fore and aft.

FSF 072.jpg


Here we have a picture of the center strainer installation and some unstained filler blocks that support the seat

back panel board.

FSF 076.jpg


These little filler blocks fill a hole between the edge of the seat base frame and the sheet metal side pans.

FSF 078.jpg


Now the front panel board is nailed in and the vinyl trim is installed on the front rail of the seat base frame and

the pretty chrome adjuster handle is installed.

FSF 085.jpg


FSF 086.jpg


FSF 087.jpg


These are the seat track keepers.  The top one in the picture is an original and the bottom is one I fabricated

to replace one that was missing.  They keep the seat from lifting off the track in the car.  Those are original

fillister head screws.

FSF 090.jpg


You can see the little slot milled into the edge of this original keeper.  It cost $50 to have this 1/4" wide x 1/16"

deep x 18" long slot milled on the new part.  Worth every nickel by the time the machine shop does the setup.

FSF 091.jpg


So I thought I was all done at this point but no- Dave Dunton said "Hey- there is panel board on both sides of the

strainers man!"   Ok- so here is the back cover...  Now the seat frame is finished.

FSF 098.jpg


FSF 100.jpg


This was a test fitting of the seat cushion and the new Snyder's back cushion spring set.

FSF 083.jpg

Edited by Str8-8-Dave
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  • 2 months later...

Where did you get the wiper blades?  I am working on mine and need both blades.  Tomorrow....is the Ignition.... points, condenser, coil, cap, rotor.... first time...  Will try to start it in about two weeks... I hope.


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A17528D listed in the Snyder's Model A Parts under wipers/wiper blades.  The ones I picked are black painted replicas of Trico blades.  If you have the original arms these should go right on.  They carry arms as well and some are Trico replicas.  I had to do a little silver soldering to create arms for my car as I had none and I wanted to link the arms for a dual wiper setup.  Here is a link to the Snyder's catalog page and a cropped JPEG shot of the original Buick drawing that shows the arm detail with my modified arms.  I also made the remote right hand pivot from this drawing to hang the second wiper  on.





Wiper 0032 (2).JPG


Wiper 0026.JPG


Wiper 0027.JPG


Wiper 0028.JPG


Wiper 0030.JPG


Wiper 0039.jpg


Wiper 0040.jpg

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Hello to all;  It's cold in Port Huron, MI and our garage, while attached to the house, is only heated when I leave the kitchen door open to feed it some heat from the house.  that makes it cold and drafty for my wife to work on her Sudoku games at the table so, well, it;s cold working in the garage...  That said a few projects have been addressed.  This post is going to be confined to replicating original Buick exhaust parts. 


While crawling around under the car one day a couple of months ago it occurred to me that something was missing on the front exhaust pipe.  Up to that point the front exhaust pipe's only attachments to the car were at the damper valve on the exhaust manifold and the muffler inlet, there were no support brackets on the front pipe.  I found some under car pictures on the internet of the front exhaust pipe on other 1931 Buicks and came to the conclusion there were 2 support brackets missing on my car.  Dave Dunton confirmed my suspicions and I got him to send me a couple of pictures of the exhaust brackets on his 31 model 8-66S.  I put a parts wanted post on the AACA website but didn't get much response.  Then I had a brainstorm that suggested if I had drawings I could make or have the parts made.  I contacted Chuck Hoffman who some may remember has a 31 Buick that was previously owned by a GM engineer who had the presence of mind to research GM drawing records and made copies of numerous 1931 Buick drawings.  Chuck checked his big box of drawings and found drawings of the brackets and one of the exhaust pipe clamps and sent them to me.  Some time ago I bought a Harbor Freight compact bench bender.  I bought hot rolled strip steel from Metals Depot, took the bender out of it's storage box and set it up and went to work.  The pictures below show what I came up with on the brackets.  




This first picture is a shot of the underside of a 31 Buick 8-86 coupe and I marked it up to show the missing brackets.

Pipe hangers 000_LI.jpg


Original Buick drawing- front hanger- courtesy of Chuck Hoffman

Hanger- Exh Head Pipe Frt Drwg.png


Original Buick drawing of the rear hanger...

Hanger- Exh Head Pipe Rr Drwg.png


This is my $59 Harbor Freight compact bend bender hard at work making the front hanger.

Pipe hangers 003.jpg


This is the completed front hanger.  The exception to the drawing is material thickness.  These brackets were

originally fabricated in 0.250" thick stock.  Due to the capability of the bender I went with 0.187" stock which

is still overkill, just not as much overkill as the original Buick design...

Pipe hangers 007.jpg


The bender is now working the rear clamp...

Pipe hangers 008.jpg


Pipe hangers 009.jpg


Here is my completed rear clamp.

Pipe hangers 010.jpg


A shot of the front clamp installed on the car. 

Pipe hangers 011.jpg


Here is a picture of the rear clamp installation on the car.  The springs in the background are clutch and brake

return springs.

Pipe hangers 012.jpg


This is an original Buick drawing for the front muffler clamp.  I don't have a drawing for the rear clamp but they

are essentially the same design except the front clamp is sized to work with a 2.25" inlet pipe and the rear is

sized for 1.875" pipe.



NOTE:  Please see the next post for details of the muffler clamps.

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This is a continuation of my exhaust pipe hanger post above and describes the muffler clamps and future plan to complete an authentic exhaust system.


Here is an original Buick drawing for the front muffler clamp.  There is a second clamp required for the rear

muffler connection to the tailpipe which is the same design, differing only that the front pipe size is 2.25"

where the rear is 1.875" pipe size.  I made both clamps as seen below.

Muffler Clmp-Frt Drwg.png


This is the front clamp fitted over a 2.25" diameter pipe. 

Muff clmp 002.jpg


This is the rear clamp fitted over a socket that conveniently measured 1.875" diameter, same as the outlet

size of the muffler.

Muff clmp 008.jpg


Pictured below is the reason I got interested in making muffler clamps for the car.  On the left is a modern saddle

clamp which is cheap, readily available and provides far superior clamping but I'm trying to keep my car authentic

and the original clamp style is vastly different in appearance.

Muff clmp 006.jpg


But there is more to the story here.  The front pipe I have on the car came from Waldron's Exhaust and is correct

to Buick engineering drawings.  I bought this pipe to replace a shop cobbled front pipe the car came with that was

in hard contact with the chassis and actually interfered with the movement of the drag link, meaning it could cause

a steering problem besides being noisy.  When I installed the correct front pipe I discovered it was a couple inches

short of reaching the muffler. 

Exh 0004.JPG


I should have been tipped off that the muffler was not correct by the "INLET" marking stamped on the case.  No

muffler of the 30's ever had such a marking that I know of.  But the clincher was the weld line just in front of the

center support bracket on the muffler.  This muffler looks long like you would expect to see on a 30's car because

it was fabricated by welding 2 mufflers together.  That explains why the front pipe doesn't reach, the muffler is not

faithful to the original Buick design.

Exh 014.jpg


I have a muffler and tailpipe on order from Waldron's Exhaust.  Unlike the first time I went to Nottawa, MI in the early 70's to pick up an exhaust system for the 31 8-86 coupe I inherited from my brother, Burt Waldron who started the company has passed on.  I pulled up in front of an old open bay service garage with mostly dirt floor and a hydraulic pipe bender in the middle of it on a hot July day and was greeted by Mr. Waldron dressed in bib overalls and a straw hat.  He gave me the 2 pipes and original NOS muffler coated in black tar.  I asked where he got the muffler from and he pointed to a huge wood farm barn behind the shop and said there were lots of mufflers in there.  Today the business has moved just up the street to Centerville, MI where a new generation still runs a family business making exhaust systems to original prints for many early cars in your choice of aluminized steel or stainless, original tone mufflers or 2 levels of louder free flowing mufflers at great prices with excellent customer service.  I ordered just the muffler and tailpipe and the muffler is manufactured to the original design by a sub-contractor which has 8-10wk lead time.  Once those parts arrive I will update this post.

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Hello to all...

One of the objectives I set last summer was to get most, if not all of the chrome plating done on my car during winter and spring of 2021.  Indeed most of what I planned to get done is done, some items back on the car, others on the car for the first time and a couple of stragglers that have been plated but sit on the shelf waiting for other projects to be completed. 


One of the significant items in the waiting for other projects category is the passenger door ashtray which awaits the availability of door panels.  I decided I will try to make the door panels since to do otherwise means the car would have to go a few hundred miles away to the trim shop that I will give the seat upholstery to.  I'm currently waiting for 3/8" windlace to show up that goes around the perimeter of the doors, and some cotton pad to go under the mohair plush velour upholstery material.  I have acquired the rest of the material and have already cut the door panel trim board substrates.  


The other items waiting for other project completion are the 3 front bumper guards.  I sent the bumper guards, ashtray parts and a host of other small items to Graves Plating in Alabama.  I didn't want to ship the front bumper bars so those were given to Fini Finish, a local plater, to work on.   The front bumper has 2 chrome bars and one of them had been repaired.  It turns out the repair welding was done with stainless steel rod and the stainless will not accept chrome plating.  Fini Finish sent that bar out to a welding shop to see if they can re-weld the bar with plain steel rod. 


The 2 items for the interior of the car were the shift lever and hand brake lever.  I had to get those items plated and back on the car before I could install the front floor boards and the front rubber floor mat. 


Graves Plating got a box from me in early December containing the following items:  2 Buick screw on hubcaps, Wing 8 radiator cap, crank hole cover, 4 each hooks and spring rods from the hood latches, 3 front bumper guards, 2 rumble seat steps, 2 rear bumper trim caps, shift lever and dust bell, hand brake main lever, release handle, link rod, rod nut, release handle screws and nuts, and the 2pc ash tray assembly.  The pictures below show the newly plated parts that are installed on the car.  The quantity and size of the picture files may require a couple of continuation posts.




The front bumper bars are still out for plating pending re-weld of the circled area originally welded with

stainless rod.  The stainless will not accept chrome plating.

Fini Finish 003.jpg


Before and after pictures of the original Ternstedt Buick winged 8 radiator cap

Graves 004.jpg


Graves 025.jpg


Graves 026.jpg


Graves 029.jpg


Graves 030.jpg


Before and after pictures of the crank hole cover

Graves 007.jpg


Graves 033.jpg


Continued- next post...


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Graves plating pictures continued...






Hood latch parts before and after

Graves 008.jpg


Graves 009.jpg


Graves 037.jpg


Graves 039.jpg


Buick screw on hubcaps before and after

Graves 015.jpg


Graves 016.jpg


Graves 017.jpg


Graves 018.jpg


Rear bumper trims before and after- I'm particularly happy with these trims.  They were a

couple of ugly parts when I got them from Roger Fields.  I was happy to get them in any

condition as they just don't exist.  Repairs I did included de-rusting, straightening, grinding off

original attaching screw brackets, making reproductions of the brackets and spot welding

bracket and screw parts in assembly to the trims. 

Graves 002.jpg


Graves Plating sent the parts out again for more metal finishing, then plated the trims. 

Graves 019.jpg


Graves 020.jpg


Graves 021.jpg


The rumble steps are parts not previously installed on the car.  The bottom step cast in bronze carries the Buick

logo on the underside. 

Graves 013.jpg


The upper step is a cast aluminum reproduction.

Graves 012.jpg


These steps and the original bumper support mounting bracket came from Roger Fields.

I cut a 1/8" thick pad from black neoprene to put between the fender and the step which

hopefully will provided some protection for the paint and keep the elements out from

under the step casting.

Graves 045.jpg


Continued next post




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Continued from previous post- this post will be updated when the front bumper bars come back from plating and are installed on the car.


The interior parts included the ash tray assembly...

Graves 010.jpg


Graves 046.jpg


The shift lever and dust seal bell before and after. 

Graves 003.jpg


The shift lever had to be separated from the transmission housing.  This required compressing

the heavy spring, then removing a keeper pin that retains a stamped cup washer.  I wound up

making a tool from a socket and putting the lever in my drill press vise clamped between a couple

pieces of wood and using the drill press quill to compress the spring.  While the lever was gone I

cleaned and painted the housing and made a new gasket to seal it to the top of the transmission


Graves 043.jpg


The last and most complicated part was the handbrake assembly which consists of the main handle,

a ratchet pawl linkage rod, the release handle, a trunnion nut that attaches the pawl rod to the release

handle, 2 machine screws, nuts and lock washers that attach the release handle to the main handle and

the link rod to the release handle,  leaf spring that sits under the release handle and pawl rod trunnion

nut to prevent side slop, a spring/washer/cotter pin setup at the bottom of the assembly to tension

the pawl causing it to lock the handle position when the release lever is let go and the pawl, pivot

screw and another cotter pin that attaches the release link rod to the pawl and a grease fitting. 

Graves 006.jpg


The only parts of this assembly that are not plated are the 2 springs, 2 cotter pins, 2 lock washers, spring

washer, the pawl, pawl pivot screw and the grease fitting.  I spent about 2 hours veeerrry carefully reassembling

the handbrake assembly to avoid scratching it.  The plated crank hole cover and reassembled hood latch parts

are also pictured.

Graves 040.jpg


Graves 041.jpg


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Hello to all-

Having gotten the shift lever and handbrake assemblies re-plated allowed me to install those items on the car permanently, install floorboards permanently and install the front floor mat and accelerator pedal.  In the next couple of months I hope to have door panels in place, get my front seat upholstered and installed and get the new muffler and tail pipe installed.  At that point I would have a drive able car.  But one step at a time.  after I got looking at the floor boards I had for the car, the Fisher Body Manual guidance on front toe boards and floor boards I learned there was a little pre-work to do to make the toe boards complete and serviceable and be able to attach the toe and floor boards together and screw them down in the car.  Once again I am very fortunate to have gotten most of the parts for this car from the previous owner, often in pieces, but pretty much all there.  That was the case with the floor boards.  There is a somewhat complex sheet metal and felt insulation that makes up the accelerator pedal floor bracket, some steel surrounds and a felt pad for the clutch and brake pedal stems to pass thru, some brackets that attach the floor board to the toe board near the gear shift and hand brake levers and a rubber seal that surrounds the starter pedal.  Better than knowing that all this stuff is required is having in present in some repairable form.  The pictures below will take you through installation of the floor and toe boards followed by the finishing floor mat.




This first picture is of the combination accelerator pedal bracket and center floor insulator disassembled and

sitting on top of the toe board..  I took the assembly apart to copy and replace a fabric dust boot that slides

down over the hand brake lever to provide some protection for the ratchet pawl at the bottom of the hand

brake.  I think the idea was to cover the pawl to keep dirt and gravel out of the teeth of the ratchet and pawl


Toe flr bds 010.jpg


The dust boot was in bad shape and I had to remove about 10 split rivets to separate 2 sheet metal plates and

get the felt insulation pad out of the assembly the dust boot is sewn to.   The u-shaped piece above the old

boot in the second picture is a tired rubber starter pedal surround.  I used it as a template to fashion a new

surround from 1/8" black neoprene.

Toe flr bds 008.jpg


Toe Flr Bds 007.jpg


This is the insulator pad with the dust boot removed.  The old starter pedal surround upper left was still

attached to the toe board in this picture

Toe flr bds 009.jpg


A new boot was fabricated from some upholstery scrap and sewn to the felt pad. 

These are pictures of the accelerator pedal bracket and insulator reassembled

with the new dust boot installed.

Toe flr bds 012.jpg


Toe flr bds 014.jpg


Toe flr bds 015.jpg


Here are pictures of the toe board in place.  Note the new starter pedal surround and the clutch and brake pedal stem

insulator held in place by 2 identical steel plates, one below the toe board and one above the toe board.

Toe flr bds 003.jpg


Toe flr bds 002.jpg


In this picture the toe and floor boards are both installed along with the accelerator pedal bracket and

insulator assembly toe board fastened with 1/4"-20 machine screws, floor board attached to body wood

with #10 x 1-1/4" wood screws, accelerator pedal bracket fastened with a combination of wood and

machine screws.

Toe flr bds 020.jpg


A layer of jute pad insulation is then installed to cover the toe and floor boards before the front mat goes in.

Toe flr bds 021.jpg


Finally the floor mat was trimmed and installed along with the accelerator pedal.

Toe flr bds 034.jpg


Toe flr bds 036.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Hello to all;  This is a quick update of my chrome plating progress.  I sent all the small parts to Graves Plating in Alabama with whom I have had good luck before.  Some stuff was already plated, notably the radiator shell and headlight buckets so I got a pass on those, that was the way I bought the car.  Additionally I bought a set of already plated rear bumpers for the car on E-bay.  The last big item I had was the 2 front bumper bars.  I decided I wanted to take those to a local plater, if I could find one, to avoid shipping them.  Larry Schramm suggested Selfridge Plating as I guess he had them do some parts for him.  They told me they were commercial only by the time I called them but suggested Fini Finish in Warren, MI.  Just as I was ready to take my front bumper bars into their shop I discovered a weld repair on one of the bumper bars that was poorly finished.  I spent a couple of hours on the weld on both sides of the bumper bar, then took them to Fini Finish.   The owner spotted the repair on the bumper and said he thought it needed some more work to avoid having it affect the quality of the plating job.  He agreed to take them but would not estimate the plating until he could have the bars blasted and inspected.  A few days later he called with the estimate and I gave him a down payment.  6 weeks later he called and informed me the unrepaired bar was  plated and ready to go but the repair on the other bar turned out to be a stainless steel weld which chrome would not adhere to.  I told him bumper bars were not that easy to come by for the car and he agreed to send the bar to a local welder to grind out part of the stainless, them fill weld with steel rod.  I took the bars to him in December and decided to check on them last Friday.  Tuesday the owner called and said the weld repair was successful and bar was going thru the copper plating/polishing step.  Yesterday he called and said they were ready.  I went and picked them up and didn't even look at them yesterday, we have a major construction job going on in the house and sleep is kind of hard to come by.  Today I got to catch up a bit on the sleep and headed for the garage.  I think they look pretty snazzy...





These are the front bumper bars.  Someone went to the trouble of painting them silver...

Fini Finish 001.jpg


This is the weld defect.  It turns out whoever welded it used stainless rod to which chrome won't bond.

Fini Finish 003.jpg


I ground some of the stainless weld off before taking these in to Fini Finish.  They were not impressed...

Fini Finish 006.jpg


Fini Finish 007.jpg


These are reproduction bumper guards from Bob's Automobilia.  They went to Graves Plating for chrome.

Graves 001.jpg


The bumpers and newly plated repro guards went together nicely.  I had to fabricate backing plate for the center


Fini Finish 009.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Hello to all;  It's been unseasonably warm in Michigan the past few days and we put my wife's walk in shower project pretty much to bed so I'm back out in the garage messing with my favorite Buick.  Since I got this car running it has been using a surrogate distributor I bought because there were so many incorrect modifications and parts to the original distributor I felt it couldn't be used.  The worst problem it had was the fact someone replaced the very light advance springs designed to bring in full distributor advance in the 2800-3000rpm range for some springs more suitable for use in a Honda grand prix motor which revs to 16000rpm or so.  These springs would have not even allowed centrifugal advance to start in the Buick's rpm range.  So I set the original distributor aside and overhauled the surrogate and put it in the car.  I had always planned to restore the original distributor and put it back in the car, particularly because like the relatively early build number of my car (8164th build of 107594 60 series cars built) the distributor is a fairly low serial number (3388 compared to the surrogate SN of 86111). 


Over the winter I bought another parts distributor that had all the original correct hardware which I carefully cleaned for use in the original distributor.  I cannibalized the original Buick rotor shaft, weights, springs and shims from the donor and cleaned those all up.  The donor distributor also had all 3 cam screws intact, 2 are used to adjust point gap and one rotates the movable secondary point to allow it to be synchronized with the primary point set.  I cleaned everything on the bench and built the original distributor up with all the correct hardware and NOS Delco points, condenser, rotor and an early style brown cap,  I direct replacement condenser with integral case soldered 2 screw mounting bracket was N/A so I used a Delco condenser used on many early GM 6volt cars and made a 2 screw bracket from brass sheet metal.


The purpose of this post is twofold, 1- to show the restored distributor and 2- to step thru installation and static timing. 


First- What's in it?


This first picture shows the disassembled rotor shaft assembly including main shaft, cam shaft, fly weights, springs, oil wick, shims, drive gear and drive pin

Dist 86111 011.jpg


Here is a closeup of the assembled rotor shaft

Dist 86111 013.jpg


After the rotor shaft assembly is installed in the distributor body the fixed and movable breaker plates go in, points are installed and set to 0.018" clearance, the terminal post and insulated jumper bus and the rotor are installed.

Dist 3388 008.jpg


The spark advance lever and condenser are shown installed on the car's original distributor in these pictures

Dist 3388 016.jpg


I was able to source a new drive gear from Tom VanMeeteren who is an AACA member.  He has a treasure trove of NOS

ignition parts.

Dist 3388 018.jpg



Dist 3388 019.jpg




How do I install it?

As described in the 1931 Buick Specifications and Adjustments manual the engine first needs to be rotated to the correct position to fire the #1 cylinder.  That position is actually a few degrees before top dead center.  The flywheel has a mark on it for the position but you have to make sure the #1 piston is on the compression stroke.  To do that Buick suggests you have to remove the valve cover and crank the engine until the exhaust valve for cylinder #3 begins to close.  #3 exhaust valve is the 5th valve from the front of the engine.  When the valve begins to close you can use a large blade screwdriver inserted into the flywheel teeth at the bottom of the timing window and push down to pry the flywheel up a couple of teeth at a time until the ADV ____ xx mark appears.  Avoid passing the mark and turning the engine backwards as this will cause a timing error equivalent to the lash play in the timing gears.  You want to center the line on the flywheel mark in the observation window.  

Dist 3388 022.jpg

Looking down on the top of the distributor #1 wire terminal is just behind the engine side cap clip.  Note that the

distributor rotates counter-clockwise.

Dist 86111 022_LI.jpg


When the distributor is correctly installed the condenser will be forward in car with one cap clip against the pushrod cover on the engine. Here is a picture of the distributor installed in the back of the generator with the clips and condenser oriented correctly and the rotor pointed directly under the #1 terminal of the distributor cap.

Dist 86111 030.jpg


At this the instrument panel operated spark advance button cable needs to be installed in the cable clamps on the lifter covers and connected to the set screw attachment on the advance lever under the distributor.  It is imperative for the success of the rest of the timing procedure that the cable is adjusted so when the spark button is pushed all the way in on the instrument panel the spark advance lever is rotated clockwise to the full advance position at the end of the slot as shown in this picture.  This is the correct position for timing the distributor.

Dist 86111 027 (2).jpg


How do I time the primary point set?


The following is a little more modern way of adjusting point timing than the arcing hot spark method described in the Specifications and Adjustments manual.  Instead of doing that you can remove the condenser wire from the terminal and connect a volt/ohm meter or continuity tester of your choice to the wire terminal on the distributor and ground.  In this case I set my Fluke to read Ohms and the reading with points closed was about 3 ohms.  Then rotate the distributor body clockwise until the meter reads open circuit (0.L) indicating the primary point set has just opened. 

Dist 3388 023.jpg


Tighten the clamp screw on the advance lever and the primary point set timing is locked in. 

Dist 3388 024.jpg


How do i synchronize the secondary point set?


Next the flywheel needs to turn another 90 degrees until the SYN___6 timing mark is aligned with the center of the observation window.  You can hand crank the engine a little less than 90 degrees then finish with prying the flywheel with a screwdriver or if you want to count teeth and aren't in a hurry

you can count 30 teeth on the flywheel and do it all with the screwdriver. 

Dist 3388 026.jpg


The rotor should have moved one full terminal to the #6 terminal.  If you sight down the length of the rotor you will see it is positioned just about the center line of the 2 points sets. 

Dist 3388 027.jpg


In this picture the rotor is still pointing at terminal 1 but what I want to show is the cam screw that rotates the secondary points set.  Make sure the 2 clamp screws shown in the second picture are loose, then rotate the cam screw first to a position where the points are closed then rotate the cam screw back until the the points just break.

Dist 3388 028.jpg


Tighten the 2 screws shown in this picture to lock in the secondary point timing. 

Dist 3388 029.jpg


Now you can reconnect the condenser and the primary coil lead to the distributor terminal, install the distributor cap and close up the timing port on the bell housing and you are done.  

Dist 3388 030.jpg

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Posted (edited)
On 4/7/2021 at 2:53 PM, Erndog said:

Good luck setting up the dual points. I've heard it can be tough.


Actually I've done this quite a few times but the Buick has been giving me a hard time for the past month or so.  I replaced the muffler and tail pipe on the car recently and it took me 2 days and quite a few newly invented delete expletives to get the tail pipe hanger back on the car.  It attaches to one of the Delco Lovejoy lever shocks at the frame and I could not get the bolt to start back in the shock housing. 


I'm trying to help a guy in Quincy IL with his grandfather's 1931 Buick 8-64 roadster and one of the topics is installing the distributor which was removed along with the generator some 25yrs ago.  I was just getting ready to install the original distributor in my car when we met via PM.  I told him I would walk him through the process when he was ready and told him it wasn't that difficult. 


Edited 4/12/21

When I put the original distributor back in the car I got the primary point set which is set at the ADV___11 mark on the flywheel timed quickly and figured the rest of the job would be a piece of cake.  But alas the secondary point set could not be synchronized at the SYN___6 timing mark on the flywheel.  I finally gave up and pulled the distributor back out of the car.  On the bench I discovered there are 2 positions the cam screw pictured can be put in when the movable secondary point plate is installed and in one of them the secondary points on the movable points plate cannot be advanced far enough to synchronize with the primary set.  I removed the movable point plate, turned this cam screw 1/2 turn and reinstalled the movable point plate.   I reinstalled the distributor, re-timed the primary points to just break at the ADV___11 flywheel mark, rotated the engine to the SYN___6 flywheel mark and was quickly able to set the secondary points to just break.  Voila- now the primary and secondary points were synchronized.  After sitting all winter the engine started right up and runs perfectly.

Dist 3388 028.jpg

Edited by Str8-8-Dave
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2 hours ago, Str8-8-Dave said:

Actually I've done this quite a few times but the Buick has been giving me a hard time for the past month or so.  I replaced the muffler and tail pipe on the car recently and it took me 2 days and quite a few newly invented delete expletives to get the tail pipe hanger back on the car.  It attaches to one of the Delco Lovejoy lever shocks at the frame and I could not get the bolt to start back in the shock housing. 


I'm trying to help a guy in Quincy IL with his grandfather's 1931 Buick 8-64 roadster and one of the topics is installing the distributor which was removed along with the generator some 25yrs ago.  I was just getting ready to install the original distributor in my car when we met via PM.  I told him I would walk him through the process when he was ready and told him it wasn't that difficult.  Then I did put the distributor back in the car and I got the primary point set timed quickly and figured piece of cake now.  But alas the secondary point set could not be synchronized.  I finally gave up and pulled the distributor back out of the car.  On the bench I discovered there are 2 positions the cam screw can be put in when the movable secondary point plate is installed and in one of them the points cannot be moved close enough to the breaker cam to open them in time to synchronize with the primary set.  Today I reinstalled it and it took 15 minutes to do the whole job.

I'm just wanting Dave just to come on down here to Quincy and give me some hands on training! LOL


This is a great write-up Dave! 

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Posted (edited)

Hello to all;   A few days ago I reinstalled the original distributor in my car and after a bit of a hassle with getting secondary point timing set to be synchronous with the primary point timing I got the original distributor successfully timed.  I didn't immediately start the engine to verify my ignition job because brewing in the background was installation of a new Waldron Exhaust muffler and tail pipe that had not yet been completed.  The exhaust job is what I would like to discuss in this post. 


When I first got this car I had never run it myself.  I bought the car from an E-Bay listing which had very enticing pictures of a partially restored car but no video clip of it actually running.  After the seller figured out I was seriously interested in the car he volunteered 2 video clips, one was a walk around of the car while it was running and the other was a short drive on the seller's property.  The car wounded pretty good and it drove which probably clinched the deal.  I picked the car up in Cary, IL and dragged it in a rented enclosed car trailer 300 miles to our home in Port Huron, MI where several family members helped me get the car out of the trailer and pushed into the garage.  One day later in April of 2018 the car went on jack stands where it remains to this day.   One of the first major items I identified that was incorrect and needed to be addressed was the exhaust system. 


The first thing I discovered with the exhaust system was the fact that the head pipe was a home made welding project with many welds evident and it was routed in a way that interfered with movement of the drag link in the steering system.  It was also in hard contact with the frame at one location.  The rest of the exhaust looked ok, it had the expected long cannon muffler and much smaller diameter tail pipe which was correctly routed in front of and under the left end of the fuel tank.  I picked up the phone and ordered a correct head pipe only from Waldron Exhaust in Centreville, MI. 


I removed the cobbled pipe from the car and decided to install the sheet metal gravel guards that close the space between the edge of the crankcase to the frame rails on both sides of the car.  The head pipe routes through the left pan so this was opportune because once the head pipe is in place that left gravel pan can't be installed.   When the Waldron pipe came I got it installed only to find it was about 3 inches short of reaching the muffler inlet and about 5 inches short of the length it needed to be to hook up the muffler.  I bought a 12 inch adapter pipe to solve this problem, it just required trimming to length and adding a saddle clamp for the head pipe to adapter joint.  


After getting the exhaust system hooked up from front to back of the car I discovered the first of 6 missing parts, a trim panel that fills the larger hole in the splash pan required to remove or install the head pipe.  Dave Dunton in GA shared a picture of his and I fashioned this part from 22ga sheet metal and installed it.


Many other restoration projects were completed on the car and I still had not run it.  Once the engine accessory restoration was pretty compIete I  started the car and it ran reasonably well but seemed noisy.  Most of this noise was exhaust related and specifically the head pipe to exhaust diverter valve connection was leaking.  If you look closely at the picture of this connection you can see the flange clamp is not recessed to accommodate the flared shape of the pipe so the bell mouth of the pipe sits above the flange.  The pipe was ordered with a flange gasket, a flat affair was supplied that just barely covered the flare of the pipe and it did leak there.  The gasket also looked funny because it was held up in contact with the diverter casting by the edge of the flared bell mouth and did not contact the pipe flange.   I wound up replacing the flat gasket with a Fel Pro donut gasket that fit the flare of the head pipe.  That made a huge difference in sound level. 


A couple of months ago I came across a picture of the underside of a 1931 Buick 90 series coupe and looking at the exhaust system on that car it looked like I was missing at least one hanger bracket for the head pipe.  I questioned Dave Dunton on this topic since he owns an original 1931 Buick model 8-66S just like mine and he sent pictures of 2 hangers I was missing.  I tried to round up some originals to no avail, then remember Chuck Hoffman and an old post on a "big box of 1931 Buick drawings".  Chuck sent electronic copies of original Buick drawings of the entire car wiring and electrical, radiator with thermostat and linkage and wiper parts in the past.  I sent Chuck a note and he sent back several drawings for not only the 2 hangers but one of the original style muffler clamps and one of the tail pipe hanger which I did have.  I wound up making the 2 hangers and made original style muffler clamps for both head pipe to muffler inlet and muffler outlet to tail pipe.  At that point all the saddle clamps had to go because they were not used on 31 Buicks.  I called Waldron's and ordered the aluminized steel original sound level version of the muffler and the matching tail pipe.  Delivery time was 10wks for the muffler so I had plenty of time to remove my extension pipe  and the muffler that came on the car.  After I started tearing the old parts off I was really glad I ordered the rest of the Waldron system.  It turned out the muffler on my car was actually 2 mufflers welded together to make a muffler of similar length to the original which explained why the original Waldron head pipe was too short.  


By the time the muffler and tail pipe arrived I had test fit and installed the 2 new head pipe hangers.  They were made from the Buick prints and went on the car pretty easily.  The new muffler slid right on the Waldron head pipe but I spent hours figuring out how to snake the tailpipe under the fuel tank, over the rear axle and then spent a whole day trying to get the tailpipe hanger reinstalled with the tail pipe hanging from it.  The bolt that holds the tail pipe hanger to the frame actually is attached by the front bolt for the right rear Delco Lovejoy shock body.   That bolt passes thru the pipe hanger, then thru a very closely sized hold in the bottom frame rail, then into fine threads on the shock body casting.  I learned this the hard way but the way to do this is to spread the hanger open enough to snap the tail pipe into the hanger while the hanger is still mounted by the shock bolt.  You can spread it and slide the old tail pipe sideways out of the hanger to remove the pipe, then slide the new pipe sideways into the hanger without ever removing the hanger.    I had to trim a couple of inches off the tail pipe to get it into the outlet of the muffler, then I reinstalled the tail pipe in the hanger.  Then I had the whole system hanging up on the car in position waiting to just have hangers and clamps tightened when I realized I was probably still missing a part...


When I removed the old system from the car there was a bracket welded to the muffler case which attached the muffler to to a bracket on the frame.  There was no such bracket on the Waldron muffler which made me wonder if there was supposed to be a belly ban clamp that attaches the muffler to the frame bracket.  I contacted Dave Dunton and sure enough, the is a 1-1/4" wide strap that goes entirely around the muffler and has a kick-up that a bolt passes thru to attach it to the frame.


When I started this car up for the first time it ran pretty well but was noisy.  It was prone to flooding and I wasn't impressed with the fact the rubber service station exhaust hose I used to get the exhaust out the service door on my garage was leaving varying degrees of black soot on the cement sidewalk.  I have cured this over time with a series of fixes including making a new carburetor float and polishing the surfaces of the float valve and seat, adjusting the fuel level down in the float bowl, switching to ethanol free fuel, careful carburetor mixture adjustment.  Yesterday happened to be the last day of my 70th year on the planet and I decided having completed restoration, installation and timing adjustments of the original distributor and completion of the exhaust system project I would start the car up for the first time since I winterized it last year.  That turned out to be an absolute success and treat.  It started right up.  The car is much quieter with the new exhaust system.  There was absolutely no soot on the sidewalk after 30 minutes running.  The exhaust system looks correct on the car and there was a bonus. 


After all the work I did to build the car with a correct appearing wiper system the wipers never moved under their own power.  During the winter I replaced the Trico vacuum wiper motor with a restored unit from "The Wiperman"   but never ran it because the car had been winterizied.   When the car started those wipers took off- they were going like crazy.  I was so worried the vacuum supply to the wipers was inadequate after replacing the vacuum line from the engine into the interior and up the wood A-pillar to the windshield header.  Turned out that project was also a resounding success, it was a dead wiper motor that held it back. 




This is the only picture I have of the cobbled original head pipe.  I never started the car with this pipe in place.  Accessories wise the car was a mess until long after this pipe was replaced.  The pretty wires sticking out of the firewall were pretty much the wiring in the car when I got it.  If you look closely you can see the heat riser before i restored it with it's jury-rigged accelerator linkage that was connected to a wooden gas pedal inside the car.

Before 023.jpg


This picture taken after rewiring the car and straightening out the heat riser and throttle linkage and installation of the gravel pans.  That's the new Waldron head pipe going in.

Exh 0009.JPG


The correct head pipe routes in a channel stamped in the left side gravel pan.

Exh 0006.JPG


The correct head pipe turned out to be a couple inches short of reaching the improvised muffler.

Exh 0004.JPG


This is a picture of the pipe installation in Dave Dunton's original 8-66S with the trim piece in place on the gravel pan.

Exh 0008.jpg


I had to make a trim piece for my car but it is pretty close to the original design and attaches with 3 1/4-20 machine screw and nuts in the original gravel pan screw holes.

Exh 0011.JPG


This is the improvised muffler built from 2 shorter 6inch diameter mufflers welded together.  The welded on bracket just behind the weld line attached to a support bracket on the frame and is absent on the correct style muffler I got from Waldron's because Buick used a belly band clamp to attach the muffler to the frame.  The original doesn't say Inlet on the outside of the case either because the inlet was a much larger pipe size (2-14") than the outlet size (1-1/4").

Exh 014.jpg


Here is a closeup of the Fel-Pro donut gasket atop the pipe bell mouth flange.

FelPro 8194.jpg


This is one of the hangers I fabricated for the head pipe from a drawing supplied by Chuck Hoffman...

Pipe hangers 005.jpg


Here is a drawing and one of the original style muffler clamps I made.  It is a completely different design that the saddle clamp

used on more modern exhaust systems.

Muff clmp 004.jpg


Here is the belly band I fabricated to attach the muffler to the frame bracket.

Bellyband 003.jpg


From front to back- here we have the 2 head pipe support brackets and a view of the muffler inlet clamp.

Exh 019.jpg


Here is a view of the rear hanger for the head pipe and a good view of the original style muffler clamp.

Exh 020.jpg


Here is the belly band clamped around the muffler and bolted to the muffler support bracket on the frame. 

Exh 021.jpg


Here is a view of the smaller tail pipe muffler clamp.

Exh 024.jpg


That strap around the tail pipe is the tail pipe support bracket which is bolted thru the lower frame rail at the front shock bolt. 

Exh 027.jpg


That's my original distributor that I restored over the winter and just installed in the car.  It works great.

Dist 3388 030.jpg


the wiper system I worked so hard to restore had never moved under it's own power until I started the car for the first time since winterizing the engine last fall.  A new wiper motor was installed and the wipers work great.  They are amazingly powerful with a good vacuum motor.

Wiper 0039.jpg


Edited by Str8-8-Dave
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16 hours ago, Str8-8-Dave said:





This is the only picture I have of the cobbled original head pipe.  I never started the car with this pipe in place.  Accessories wise the car was a mess until long after this pipe was replaced.  The pretty wires sticking out of the firewall were pretty much the wiring in the car when I got it.  If you look closely you can see the heat riser before i restored it with it's jury-rigged accelerator linkage that was connected to a wooden gas pedal inside the car.


The correct head pipe turned out to be a couple inches short of reaching the improvised muffler.

This is the improvised muffler built from 2 shorter 6inch diameter mufflers welded together.  


Yes, am also beginning to realise that car people have many definitions of “restored” depending on which side you are sitting. I suppose the term “kerosine overhaul” comes to mind to many.


One definition is to restore it back to as close to original by reconditioning original parts or replacing them with NOS parts or fabricating new ones close to the original design and function.

However am beginning to find out that if the owner states it has been restored then you need to look past rose tinted glasses into the guts of the thing.


It is certainly a source of frustration to find many things cobbled together because the restorer was (a) too lazy to do it properly (b) too focused on cost and to do it as cheaply as possible (c) trying to get it done in a hurry or is time poor  (d) had other people undertake the process (e) is ignorant of what is needed to be done or doesn’t have the skills, tools or equipment (e) all of these and many more


Sure there are times when these apply, but buyers need to be aware and look past the pretty colours of paint and trim and big fat tyres before paying handsomely for “a restored vehicle”


Perhaps after a couple of months, many photos and replacing and redoing bodgey parts and workmanship we could get a partial refund or a renegotiated price.


But where would the fun be if everything was perfect! Caveat emptor 

Rodney 😀😀😀😀😀😀






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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, rodneybeauchamp said:


However am beginning to find out that if the owner states it has been restored then you need to look past rose tinted glasses into the guts of the thing.

Rodney- After 50yrs with this particular year Buick there were no rose tinted glasses in play on this car when I bought it.  I knew almost exactly what I was buying.  I bought it because the heavy lifting had been done.  I thrive on the detail stuff, at age 71, I think it's pretty cool to go out in the garage and spend a couple of hours making something correct.   I've ferreted out most everything that was not correct but I didn't have to start with a rusty hulk, removing the body and trim, taking the body apart to do wood, priming, painting, overhauling all the drive train and chassis stuff.  A lot of stuff I have taken apart like brakes and wheel bearings allowed me to verify safety as well as correctness.  I bought this car on the cheap.  I've put money and time into and think the entertainment I've gotten from taking a car that had no wiring, no windshield, no lights, doors that didn't close right, no golf door, add infinitum and done that work because I could and I enjoyed every minute of it.


A couple other comments, looking at this car there was a definite change in the weather.  The original owner was paying to have a good correct restoration done of a pretty solid car and that all changed when he passed away.  The shop that was doing the work wound up owning the car to settle the bill.  They had no interest in keeping it and did the least work in the most expedient way to just get the car to market and get rid of it.  That is why there is so much detail stuff that was either wrong or just missing.  Headlights were taped together.  Fenders were hung on the car with a few fasteners.  The wiring was jury rigged to get it to start and run.  That said I got a treasure trove of parts with the car that allowed me to correctly restore a lot of it.  Other stuff like correct pedals, shift lever, hand brake lever I chased down and bought.  I have enough knowledge of these cars and access to other people who know them to try to get the details right.

Edited by Str8-8-Dave
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Hi Dave, definitely not implying the rose coloured glasses although I could suggest that about myself. Yes if you know the history then that makes better sense. Yet it all goes back to who is paying! 

As you say, when the owner was alive, the shop was undertaking a correct restoration as the customer was paying. As you say, the change in the weather certainly affected the outcome. Agree that lots of the hard yards are done but ......


I think this explains my own situation with a Skylark that the owner was restoring until he got an offer from someone wanting to purchase. Then it was a case of get it out the door quick. He also had other staff doing some of the work and no doubt farmed out other parts of the restoration. 

I suppose it does depend on what standards you want to apply. Like you,  I do the best I can given my skill set but others probably will do better. But that’s what this is all about, continuous improvement.


Enjoying the journey! 
Rodney 😀😀😀😀😀😀

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On 4/12/2021 at 7:34 PM, Str8-8-Dave said:

Yesterday happened to be the last day of my 70th year on the planet

Belated Happy Birthday last Sunday!  I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts, and watching your pictures, throughout this thread.  You are obviously VERY talented at fabricating, and I would like to say THANKS for taking the time to do such a great job on your car, and providing the details that would make for a correct '31.  Hope to see your car in person someday.  

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Posted (edited)

Hello to all;   I'm still working on the chassis on my 31 model 8-66S Special Coupe.  I put it on jack stands in April of 2018 a few days after dragging it home from Cary Illinois and am looking forward to the day when I can take it down and drive it, but it's not quite ready.  Every time I look at it I find a couple more projects that have to go on under the car so am glad I have a good set of genuine AC Delco safety stands on which the car is securely planted, just wish I had put them up one more click...


Recently one of the folks I have been trying to help with a 31 car sent me an original brake cross shaft stop pin to replace the improvised one I made from a 5/16" hardened bolt.  The original stop pin had been recovered from a chassis far out in the woods and in the weather for decades so it was a little rough when I got it but with a little elbow grease I got it cleaned up and installed on the right side of the frame. 


My improvised brake shaft stop pin made from a 5/16" hardened bolt worked fine but wasn't original even after I later cut the head off the bolt.

Brakes 023.jpg


This is a shot from under the car of the correct stop pin.

Brakes 048A.jpg


and another shot of the correct stop pin through the right side lube door...

Brakes 048B.jpg



Another project I decided needed to be addressed was the fact the torque tube ball connection to the rear of the transmission had no dust cover and was wide open to whatever the roads could serve up to rust it and make it leak.  Careful inspection of the exposed area of the ball revealed surfaces in amazingly unworn, unscratched condition with a light coating of surface rust.  In some research of old threads I found one that actually had pictures of an original leather dust cover and wire and machine screw clamp arrangement for a 50 series car from 1932.  I also reached out to Chuck Hoffman and the "big box of 1931 Buick drawings" to see if he had a drawing for my 31 60 series car.  Chuck sent drawings of the torque tube axle assembly and rear of the transmission but he had no drawings of the dust boot per se.  Also noted was the fact the original dust boot was simply a truncated cone shaped affair sewn along the edge of the sides making it one piece and requiring it be installed before the rear axle assembly is installed in the chassis and hooked up to the transmission.  I wound up improvising a dust boot of my own design that could be assembled with the rear axle in place. 


I started by laying under the car and getting circumference measurements for the outlet flange on the rear of the transmission and a flange on the driveshaft housing that the boot would seal to along with the distance from one flange to the other.  This was laid out on my drafting board to design the truncated cone shape of the boot on paper which then became a paper model to check the sizes and eventually as a template I used to transfer the geometric shape to a piece of 9 oz. leather.  After cutting the leather I overlapped the ends of the leather cone by 3/4" and joined the ends with aluminum riv-nuts inserted through 4 punched holes in the leather.  A test fit under the car indicated the small end of the cone hung way to far over the driveshaft tube flange so I took about an inch off the overall length of the dust cover.  That seemed to fit pretty well so the last part was to make up a couple of band clamps to clamp the boot to transmission and driveshaft housing flanges.  The pictures below will show what I came up with.  




My paper model was developed on the drafting board using measurements of size and placement of the flanges the dust boot seals to.

TB dust boot 001.jpg


I used the sizes of the transmission and torque tube flanges to guesstimate the size of the clamps.  They should have been just a bit longer but these

tighten up and compress the thick leather nicely against the sealing flanges.

TB dust boot 002.jpg


This is the dust boot I came up with.  The overlapping seam is connected by aluminum riv-nuts passed through punched

holes in the leather.  I tried expanding or setting a riv-nut in a scrap piece of leather and that didn't work, the riv-nuts wanted

to back out of the leather so I just left them and took up their excess height with another strip of leather. 

TB dust boot 004.jpg


TB dust boot 005.jpg


My torque ball is free of any major pits or scratches and this is how it looked after the previous custodians of the car had the

car all apart and reassembled it but never drove it.  It had some surface rust I cleaned up with some 1000 grit paper.

TB dust boot 008.jpg


I thought about how I could minimize leakage of oil from the transmission gear case, a well documented problem for the torque

tube ball installation and decided I would put a good coat of grease on the exposed torque ball's machined surface and wind

some soft felt around the surface in an effort to soak up the oil and hopefully wick it up and let it lubricate the upper surfaces

of the ball. 

TB dust boot 009.jpg


The final installation of the dust boot is shown here.  I've been scolded a bit that the leather may be too thick and the movement

of the driveshaft tube will cause the boot to work off but doing a little geometry if the rear axle moves up and down 6 inches

that is probably a degree or so of rotation of the torque ball at the back of the transmission and a little hot transmission oil with

soften the leather over time.

TB dust boot 014.jpg




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Hello to all;   This post is about an optional item that was popular in the era of early leaf spring cars.   In this case not original equipment from Buick but popular enough that the 1931 Buick Specifications and Adjustments manual mentions these can be added, they are leaf spring covers or gaiters.  The purpose for these was to keep water and mud out of the leaf springs.  The Buick service manual has advice on lubricating springs in the event of squeaking with a mixture of motor oil and graphite but warns not to get carried away with lubricating the springs because the car may become "too springy" due to the loss of friction between the leaves of the spring.  When spring covers are used Buick recommends "light lubrication" which I interpreted to mean not much lubrication at all.  I also posted in the Pre-War Buick forum inquiring about lubricating leaf springs and got advice there to just leave them alone.  I wound up installing spring covers but did not lubricate my springs before installation.  Time will tell if that was a good decision.


One of the reasons I decided to install covers on my springs is the fact I learned from Dave Dunton in Georgia that his car, another 31 model 8-66S just like mine that had never been restored was still wearing an old set of spring covers.  Dave drives his car regularly and has been an invaluable source of information on how these cars were originally assembled which helps me keep my car authentic.  I have seen spring covers on a variety of early cars and when they are in good condition I think they enhance the appearance of the car. 


So where to get a set of spring covers became the question.  I have seen a few sets advertised on E-Bay that were NOS, looked tired and either were advertised as universal fit or had no application advice.  I considered trying to make a set myself from stretchy vinyl upholstery material.  Then one day I googled "leaf spring covers" and discovered Accents Unlimited.  Accents Unlimited is run by a gentleman who has been making custom leaf spring gaiters for 28 years working directly for a Rolls Royce/Bentley restoration service.   Eventually he separated from the Rolls/Bentley restorer and launched his own company.  He now makes custom covers for most any leaf spring suspended car in leather, a product called Everflex used on certain Rolls cars or metal.  He has a downloadable file on his website to capture spring orientation and measurements, spring clip orientation and spacing, desired material and lacing style, either hidden lacing or boot clip lacing.  Pricing is straightforward, $75 each cover 24" long or shorter, $100 for covers longer than 24". 


I downloaded his measurement sheet and laid under my car and carefully measured my springs.  It turned out springs on the left and right sides of the car are identical but I had to measure the front and rear sections of a front spring and front and rear sections of a rear spring then check the springs on the other side of the car to verify measurements are the same.  I called Accents Unlimited and talked to the owner, sent him my measurements and material and lacing preferences and got his pricing.  All but the rear sections of the rear springs were less than 24".   The rear sections measured 27".  He said since the others were all shorter, some only 21", he would do all of the covers for $75 ea!   I called him Monday and he wasn't busy and happy to get my order.  During the chit-chat I told him I considered making my own spring covers and he wisely said when I saw these covers I would be glad I decided to have them made.  He was right about that.   Friday of the same week the spring covers were on my front porch in a box.  When I opened them they were beautiful.  For a total of $610 I got 8 spring covers, lacing, a fid to lace them with and a simple lacing direction sheet. 


So now I had my covers but old geezer I am I wondered how much work it would be to install them on my car.  I started with the left front which is one of the shortest covers.  The lacing goes from the narrow or perch end of the spring and finishes at the axle.  It turned out the left front was a little harder to do than the right front due to the fact 1931 Buicks have a road shock eliminator at the front spring perch on the left side of the car only.  There is an anti-friction taffeta sheet stitched to the axle end of the cover that has to be spread over the top of the spring and tucks together under the spring to allow the spring to move inside the leather freely.  There is also a leather flap stitched along the length of the lacing seam on one side of the cover that seals the lacing seams on both sides of the cover and there is a little knack to getting the taffeta sheet and the leather flap all tucked in together but once you get a few of the stitches in place the job just flows.  After the cover is laced and the lacing is tied off there is a leather strap with a buckle at each end of the cover and once the straps are buckled these covers look handsome on the car.  Below are some pictures of the covers before and after installation and a link to the Accents Unlimited website.  I had Mr. Earl add the link to his thread on Buick preferred suppliers.


Cheers- Dave


These are some pictures of my leaf springs before covering.  Front axle front springs being shortest I started the cover installation there. 

Leaf springs 003.jpg


Leaf springs 001.jpg


Chassis 013.jpg


What's in the box!  8 custom measured spring covers or "gaiters", a copy of your measurement sheet, a sheet showing the lacing scheme, a generous quantity of lacing and a fid which is a heavy aluminum needle used to thread the lacing into the covers.  I found bending the fid in a semi-circular arc made it much easier to navigate the threading holes in the covers.   

Leaf springs 004.jpg


This is a picture of the finished or outside of the leather cover with the lacing tied onto the starting hole and fid attached. 

Those bulges fit very nicely over the spring clips.  Measure carefully- the spring clip placement measurements have to be

correct or the bulges will land where the spring clips are not.  I had no problems with that.

Leaf springs 005.jpg


This is the anti-friction taffeta liner that has to be wrapped around the spring inside the leather cover.  Intended location of

the cover is noted on the white tag.

Leaf springs 007.jpg


The leather flap shown along the length of the right edge gets tucked in along the stitch seam and covers the seam and stitches. 

Leaf springs 006.jpg


Looks or sounds complicated to manage all the layers but it turns out to be easy, flop the cover over the spring, arrange taffeta around the spring, fold the small end of the cover over the spring tucking in the leather cover flap and feed the fid and lace thru the first stitch.  Then the second stitch, tucking the flap is as you go along, keep the lace pulled tight, use your free hand to form the leather around the spring after each stitch to help tighten.  The more stitches are in the easier it gets.  This was my first cover install on the left front.  The hardest part was getting the front strap buckled because of the close proximity to the road shock eliminator shown in the lower left of this picture.

Leaf springs 009.jpg


Rear section of the left front spring...

Leaf springs 010.jpg


Right front spring front and rear sections...

Leaf springs 012.jpg


This shot is from under the right rear section of the front axle spring showing the lacing holes.

Leaf springs 017.jpg


A good side view of the rear section of the right spring at the front axle.

Leaf springs 015.jpg


The last 2 pictures are of the bottom of the spring section behind the rear axle.

Leaf springs 019.jpg


Leaf springs 020.jpg


Finally here is a link to the Accents Unlimited website.  If the webpage appears blank just scroll down a bit and you will see the content.



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Hello to all;  This is a continuation of a post I put up April 12 regarding my attempt to get an exhaust system on this car that was both complete and correct.  To summarize, previously I replaced the entire 3 piece exhaust system consisting of 2-1/4" front header pipe, reproduction of the original muffler and 1-1/4" tailpipe.  I was able to source those parts from Waldron's Exhaust in Centreville, Michigan.  I also made and installed the following parts, a sheet metal exhaust pipe trim plate made from pictures of an original part that trims the hole in the left side engine splash pan to the size of the front header pipe, then front and rear hanger brackets were fabricated from Buick engineering drawings that attach the front header pipe to the frame of the car, then a period correct muffler inlet pipe clamp made from a Buick drawing, then a belly band that attaches the muffler to a frame bracket made from pictures of an original part, then a period correct muffler outlet clamp made from a Buick drawing.  There is a bracket that attaches the  tailpipe to a bolt location that attaches the left rear shock absorber to the frame that was reused.  At this point I thought I was done, I had what I thought was a complete original exhaust system on the car that looked right, is very quiet and actually resulted in a better running car because I think the back pressure from the replica original system is different than the cobbled system that was on the car when I first got it running. 

But wait- there's more...


I found 2 more original 1931 Buick exhaust system drawings and a builder's drawing of the chassis that suggested I was still missing a hanger bracket and clamp that support the tailpipe that attach the pipe to the rear cross member of the frame behind the fuel tank.  I was able to verify my suspicion that these parts were missing by having Dave Dunton in GA to look under the back of his unrestored 1931 Buick 8-66S to see if there was a tailpipe support bracket on his car and take pictures of the parts to help me understand how the strange looking bracket attached to the car. 


The answer to the attachment puzzle led to the understanding that this bracket might have better been installed before the gas tank cover was installed because of the fact the cover comes within 1/2" of the open end of the top frame bolt hole used to attach the tailpipe bracket.  In order to get the gas tank cover off the car at this point would have meant removing rear bumpers, spare tire mount and dropping the gas tank at minimum.  The fuel filler neck and the bolts for bumpers and spare tire mount pass thru the gas tank cover and the ends of the cover are bolted to the rear fenders.   I didn't want to take all that stuff apart again so what I decided to try was to loosen or remove some of the bolts that attach the gas tank cover, then raise the left side of the tank cover, then attach fish wires to the bolts for the bracket to see if I could pull the bolts into the holes on the frame, then use the wires to pull the bolts thru the new tailpipe bracket.  This process wound up doing minor paint damage to the gas tank cover as I used a floor jack to force the cover up to get clearance for the top rear bolt.  That said I did get both bolts fished into place, bracket attached, then clamped to the tailpipe.  This was a lot of work for 2 bolts to find their way to the intended holes in the frame.  Below are some pictures.




These are pictures of Dave Dunton's tailpipe hanger on his unrestored car. The fuel tank is on the

right and the end of the gas tank cover that attaches to the rear fender is in the background.  The

saddle clamp bears testimony that the exhaust system was replaced at some point in the car's life.

Tail pipe hanger Dunton3.jpg


You can see the hanger bracket bolts that attach the bracket to the frame.  The head of that top bolt is very close to the

gas tank cover sheet metal.  Even if you can lift the gas tank cover enoughto get sufficient clearance between the tank

cover sheet metal and the top of the frame to allow abolt to be inserted thru the frame you can't reach your hand in there

to get the bolt in the hole.  

Tail pipe hanger Dunton1.jpg


I made up these 2 special bolts with copper fish wires on them to try to fish the bolts into the holes.  I drilled hole the length

of the bolt to pass the wire thru the bolt, then countersunk the head of the bolt to allow the fish wire to be bent over and

hammered into the hole.

Tailpipe hanger 003.jpg


Tailpipe hanger 005.jpg


Here are the drawings of the bracket and simple sheet metal clamp and the hard parts I made from the drawings.

Tailpipe hanger 001.jpg


Tailpipe hanger 002.jpg


The first step in getting the bracket mounted was loosening or removing bumper bolts and spare tire bolts.  Then I used a

floor jack to raise the gas tank cover just enough to allow that top bolt to tip into the frame hole at the end of the fish wire.

Once the top bolt went in and I saw enough threads protruding thru the frame to pass thru the hanger bracket and attach

a nut I thought the rest would be comparatively easy.  Fishing the lower second bolt into place wasn't so bad.

Tailpipe hanger 006.jpg


Tailpipe hanger 007.jpg


I did manage to crack the paint on the gas tank cover by jacking it up from below but that will be easier to deal with than removing the cover would have been.

Tailpipe hanger 021.jpg


Next I passed the fish wires thru the hanger holes, then used them to guide nuts and washers into place and keep the ends of the bolts exposed enough to get the nuts started.


Getting the nuts started then tightening them was challenging enough to get me talking to the car.  My wife explains to folks overhearing my tirades that I'm not really an antique car enthusiast, I'm actually an author and I'm writing the next chapter of my book entitled "How to Restore an Antique Car" 4 letters at a time...

Tailpipe hanger 011.jpg


Finally the nuts were all on the bracket and tightened, then the fish wires got cut off and the tailpipe was clamped to the hanger.



Tailpipe hanger 013.jpg


Tailpipe hanger 016.jpg


Tailpipe hanger 017.jpg


Edited by Str8-8-Dave
Arrange photos, add captions (see edit history)
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