Str8-8-Dave

1931 Buick 60 series headlight switch, throttle control mis-oriented

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I'm trying to correct the orientation and travel of the throttle control and headlight switch levers mounted in the center of the steering wheel that orbit the horn button.  The lever orbits are restricted by the cam plates shown in pictures 1 and 2 below  The base cam in picture 1 controls the orbit of the throttle lever directly and the light switch secondarily.  It is keyed to the largest of 2 tubes inside the steering wheel shaft that runs all the way down into the steering gear.  The base cam can only be installed in one position controlled by a slot in the top of the largest tube and a cast-in locating tab on the base cam.  The upper cam plate in picture 2 can be mounted in 2 positions 180 degrees apart.  This cam controls the light switch orbit directly but the base cam also controls the light switch orbit secondarily because the upper cam plate is screwed to 2 bosses on the base cam.  The position the upper cam is shown in comes closest to allowing the light switch to move thru the correct arc but if the outer tube is rotated to allow the throttle lever to move thru it's intended arc the upper cam might need to be rotated 180 degrees to it's alternate position to allow the light switch to travel thru it's intended arc.  The smaller tube  runs all the way down and out the bottom of the steering gear and operates the warm up throttle.  Finally a small shaft inside the small tube controls the light switch mounted on the bottom of the steering gear.  Picture 3 shows the throttle and light switch levers rotated as far as they go counter clockwise.  Picture 4 shows the throttle and light switches rotated as far as the go clockwise. 

 

I believe the correct arc for the throttle lever should be from 12 o-clock to about 2 or 3 o-clock when connected and adjusted to the heat riser throttle.

 

I believe the light switch lever should travel from about 7 o-clock for parking lights to about 4 o-clock for high beams with 6 o-clock being the lights off position and 5 o-clock being the low beam headlamp position (These positions have been corrected and verified from my original post).   It has to hit those positions or the light switch mounted at the bottom of the steering gear will not operate in all of it's intended positions.

 

I'm thinking the large tube is rotated out of the correct orientation and I don't know how to correct that.  If someone else has dealt with this or has illustrations showing how the large outside tube can be rotated and how to adjust it so it makes all the light switch positions work I'd really appreciate your input.  Thanks in advance...

 

Dave

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Edited by Str8-8-Dave
Correct light switch positions (see edit history)

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So I wound up removing all the steering wheel horn button/switch gear/covers and finally the steering wheel and the ignition switch.   The ignition switch needs to be re-keyed and cleaned up and after cleaning up all the switch gear I did a mock assembly on my work bench and discovered the light switch and throttle levers WILL MOVE thru the appropriate arcs if the keyway that sets the orientation of the base cam to the steering column is rotated in either direction by 90 degrees.  Either I have the incorrect base cam, I.E. the locating spline is in the wrong position by 90 degrees or the key slot in the housing tube that house the throttle and light switch shafts has it's locating slot in the wrong position.  That housing tube is welded to a diamond shaped plate that attaches at the bottom of the steering gear with a stud on one side that attaches the light switch and by a large round head screw on the other side.   I am now faced with either removing the column and gear from the car or removing the exhaust system to get the manifold header pipe out of the way so I can withdraw the base plate and housing tube which is about 5ft long.  I destroyed the 80yr old paper gasket discovering how the housing tub is held into position so it all has to come apart so a new gasket can be installed.  The plate and tube can be withdrawn about 18" before it crashes into the exhaust header pipe.  The next quandary is how to move the locating spline or key slot 90 degrees.  One way is to separate the diamond shaped plate and the housing tube and re-weld them but that is pretty tricky.  Another way is to fill the existing key slot at the top of the tube and have another slot machined into it.  I'm still weighing my options there.

 

If anyone has knowledge of whether or not I have an incorrect base plate please chime in...

 

Photo 1:  The housing tube key slot that needs to be rotated 90 degrees is just above the steering wheel nut. 

Photo 2:  The diamond shaped cover at the bottom of the steering gear.  The housing tube is welded to this cover so the keyway at the top of the tube cannot be rotated out of location.

Photo 3:  Top row left to right- steering wheel outer trim ring, base cam, throttle lever.   Second row left to right- horn button/light switch lever, light switch travel limit cam, light switch that mounts on the bottom of the steering gear.  Bottom row- copper horn contact slip ring.

Photo 4:  Closeup of base cam, the cast-in locating spline that engages the housing tube key slot is shown at the top of the center hole.

 

Dave

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Sorry I can't help you, my knowledge is  on 32 Buicks and they adjust the location of the light switch on the bottom.  There is a slot in the bottom stamped metal bracket where a piece clamped on the shaft  has a tab that fits into the slot.  I think I have these pieces if you want to attempt a conversion.

 

I hope these photos are self explanatory.

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Be very careful with the bottom die cast piece for the throttle.  They easily break  at the key slot.

 

Bob Engle

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Hi Bob and thanks for your response and offer.  The problem I have is at the top of the steering column, not at the bottom.  Because the key slot in the housing tube just above the steering wheel nut in picture one of my second post or the locating spline in picture 4 are misoriented  by 90 degrees, both at the top of the column, the light switch lever and throttle lever cannot be made to travel from 12 o-clock to 3 o-clock positions for the throttle (idle to maximum auxiliary throttle) and the light switch cannot be made to travel from 7 o-clock (park light position) to 4 o-clock (high beam position) because the movement of both levers is restricted by the position of the spokes on the base cam and the upper cam.  It has nothing to do with the light switch or the throttle arm, neither of those parts are even installed at this point.  Even without the light switch or throttle lever you cannot move the steering wheel levers to their intended positions. Either the key slot on the housing tube or the spline in the base cam have to move 90 degrees to correct.

 

Thanks.

 

Dave

Edited by Str8-8-Dave
Revise description (see edit history)

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So today I believe I got to the bottom of the problem, literally.  Because the housing tube starts from the bottom of the steering gear and exits at the top of the steering wheel shaft I thought I would have to remove the column and steering gear to get the housing tube out.  I tried withdrawing it out the bottom of the steering gear and it promptly ran into the exhaust header pipe.  Then I thought it might be easier and less damaging to painted parts to see if I could move the exhaust system out of the way.  Since this exhaust system was recently installed on the car as part of the chassis restoration removing bolts was pretty trouble free.  I removed the front mounting bolt for the left rear shock absorber where the tail pipe attaches, loosened the center support bolt on the muffler and removed the two 3/8"  exhaust flange bolts at the diverter valve housing and presto, the exhaust system moved just far enough to let me sneak the housing tube out of the steering column.  What I found there is a pretty amateurish braze job where the housing tube is joined to the diamond shaped bottom steering gear cover.  It makes me very suspicious that I'm not looking at a factory weld job, someone guessed at the correct orientation of the tube at the cover and they were 90 degrees off.  I will take it somewhere tomorrow and see about getting it re-brazed.

 

Picture 1  The 3 musketeers, small shaft on left is headlight switch control shaft which fit into the throttle control tube in the center which fits into the housing tube on the right.

Picture 2: Closeup of diamond shaped lower steering gear cover.  You can see where the housing tube is brazed on, the tube needs to turn 90 degrees to allow steering wheel switchgear to operate correctly.

Picture 3:  shows key slot on light control shaft (left) to index it to the light switch and key slot on the throttle shaft (center) that engages warmup throttle lever at the bottom of the column.

Picture 4:  View of top of steering column ends of shaft and tubes.  Keyway and set screw hole in light switch shaft (left) engages light switch lever, key in throttle tube (center) and key slot on housing tube locates the base cam which (picture 4 in my post above).  The key slot on the housing tube needs to rotate 90 degrees to correct light switch and throttle lever travel at the steering wheel.

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Glad to see you solved your mystery.  I was surprised to see how different the 1932  Assembly is from your setup.  Only 2 tubes on 32's and locating mechanisms are on the bottom at the light switch.

 

Bob Engle

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I wasn't aware of the headlight switch change that came in '32 but not surprised.  It seem like 1932 was a banner year for updates and new ideas such as the Wizard Clutch.  Ever time I thumb the pages of the Bob's Automobilia catalog I spot something else different between 31 and 32 from the Buick headlight bar in front to the new dual tail lights in the rear....

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The 1932 model 56 and 57 only had one taillamp.

 

Did 31'S  have ride control shocks??

 

Bob Engle

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No ride control in 31, Delco Lovejoy knee action at all 4 corners with no user settings, just a maintenance task to add oil in the 31 specs and adjustments manual.

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So today was payoff-day.  I made a makeshift fixture out of a flaring tool tubing vice, a drill bit and a 3/8" pipe weld bung to facilitate some way of accurately rotating the diamond base plate at the bottom of the housing tube.  The idea was to hold the housing tube in the 1/2" tube hole of the vise with the mounting bolt holes in the diamond shaped cover plate at right angles to a 1/4" drill bit mounted in the 1/4" hole of the vise.  The theory was we could use an oxy acetylene torch to heat the braze joint, then rotate the diamond plate 90 degrees until one of the mounting bolt holes lined up with the drill bit.  I was nervous  that there were only 50 ways the guy at the fab shop could screw up an 87 year old car part so I insisted I be there when he did the work.  The rotating part went exactly as planned but then we could not get flux coated brass rod to make a secure solder joint between the tube and the plate.  The guy finally convinced me to let him weld the part with silicon bronze TIG wire welder.  And that worked. 

 

Last night I a good part of my evening making one good column mounted ignition switch and steering lock out of 2, the one I had and another I bought on E-Bay. 

 

Today I cleaned and painted the diamond plate, made a new gasket for it, installed it and all the steering wheel parts long with the missing floor seal that is supposed to be installed below the switch and my new ignition switch an lock.  Now, finally, my steering control levers move thru their intended travel ranges.  I am waiting for a throttle lever to show up but I did install the light switch temporarily for the first time since I've had this car and it works perfectly. 

 

Picture 1:  Light switch in the off position, warmup throttle in the closed position, the controls could not be put in the 6 o-clock and 12 o-clock positions when I started.

Picture 2:  The light switch installed for the first time.  I will have to remove it to install the bottom of column throttle lever when it shows up.

Picture 3:  The snazzy new column lock and ignition switch.  It has a Bob's repro switch lever and a Bob's repro lock cylinder.  I'm not satisfied with the lock cylinder, it's stiff, finishes with key slot oriented horizontally and does not positively engage the column lock plunger.  After you turn it to the lock position you have to push the end of the ignition switch lever in toward the column to lock the steering.  I have another switch and lock that has an original Oaks cylinder.  If I can figure out how to get it out I will take it and have it re-keyed and install it in the assembly in the car.

 

  

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Edited by Str8-8-Dave
Revise pictures (see edit history)

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