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1953 Convertible project


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I have somehow deleted the project form the forum so I will start over with the story of my project.  That must be why at work they say stay away from the computer.

 

My project was so rusted most people would have said that it is a parts car. I am far enough along with the rust repair I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I will keep pressing on, I was lucky enough to find a four-door parts car with little or no rust. It had the drivetrain removed and some other parts pulled but the body was still intact it has provided many needed floor parts.

 

 I have floors cut out and replaced, Trunk floor cut out and replaced. I will post a few pictures before and after.  I am working on the frame and chassis now, Engine assembled and test ran broken in on test stand, ready for install, once the Dynaflow is ready. Differential has been taken apart checked out and is ready for install. Brakes are at the reline shop now, found an old hand that does this just up the road he will arc the shoes to the drums when he is done, Brake booster is back and installed it should stop as it did back in the day. I have come to realize how important pictures are when working on a project. I use this site checking how others are dealing with their project; this helps me keep going forward. I also use my parts books cross checking part numbers and looking at the exploded view.  I wish I had taken this car apart but I did not I found it lying all over the floor and on shelves and some parts missing, I must like a challenge.

I want to thank everyone that has helped me get this far on my project  

Steve 

1003171318_rustedfloorbefore.thumb.jpg.1beb3f407d9d44a0b5f898b14f8e510f.jpg1081485155_rustyfloor.jpg.3d8dd9c5a40a134cd18debcaa5ae6dae.jpg1639521341_floorrear.jpg.f874e5016308212928fe73901e721000.jpg1552497917_floorinstalleddriver.jpg.ba441862eed19bf0e23237c2fb739bcd.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

top view floor.jpg

20170903_153915.jpg

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I am working on the front end, kingpins and springs.  The dust seals for the upper outer are a giving me trouble. The manual says pull them over the shock arm and pull the seal back over the pin when done. The seal looks like it will tear if I do this, if someone has a method that works on installing dust seals let me know. I have attached a few pictures.  I suppose it is possible  I have been sent incorrect seals. 

 

 I also have my drums and brakes back, shoes relined and arching done that will match each drum. The last shop that I knew of that did this this type of work  closed.  One of guys that worked  there for  40 plus years opened a small shop and now does custom work, best part is he is 30 minutes from my house  

Steve

king pin job.jpg

shock and seal knuckle.jpg

brakes in drum.jpg

frame with steering.jpg

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Made progress on seals after a night’s sleep they went on with a little help moving the spindle up and down and a hook to get the seal over the pin, did this before the lower was installed.   The lower pin and seals are very straight forward. I plan to add a little paint on the new parts and this side will ready for the backing plate and brakes.  I have added few pictures of the seals and other parts. The brake reservoir is also pictured I have two with the mounting tabs and one that is missing the tabs, it will be in the junk soon.

 Does anyone have a color picture of this so I can try to match the color, and a paint or coating that will resist brake fluid?   I also have a picture of the differential any color information on correct paint  for 1953 diff would be a great help.

Thanks 

Steve

knuckle upper seals installed.jpg

lower seals knuckle.jpg

brake fluid res.jpg

diff primer.jpg

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Good evening Mr. 195354!  Glad you are able to recreate your post.  I lost mine, too and have been recreating a condensed version of it.  I'm curious about the Diff color as well.  I'm not familiar with the year of your car, but it looks like your torque tube unbolts from the differential.  How convenient!

 

Your progress is now being stalked by me!

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Ken I have been watching your 1940 project   you are making progress and doing a great job, keep posting pictures as you go.  When I see other folks, doing the impossible it fuels my engine.  

 My project is going slow, I now figure about double or triple the time on any one item.  Mine was pulled apart years  ago before I purchased it so it is a slow go, hunt for parts, check parts books, and hope I have the correct part. I tell myself where is Waldo some days he is easy to find and some days not so much.   

Ken you put this in one of your posts

 I’ve met some terrific people in the BCA that have helped me along tremendously with parts and their knowledge.

I have also meet great people at three national meets this group is very helpful and welcoming. Unfortunately, not many Buicks in my area so I need to travel for my Buick fix.  Thanks to those that have helped me with my project, I would not be this far without it. Many of you have helped and do not know it; I look for pictures and ideas on how to do parts of my car in the forum.

Steve   

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On ‎9‎/‎17‎/‎2018 at 11:26 PM, 195354 said:

Does anyone have a color picture of this so I can try to match the color, and a paint or coating that will resist brake fluid?   I also have a picture of the differential any color information on correct paint  for 1953 diff would be a great help.

 

Which part do you want the color of?  If the brake reservoir, I believe it is aluminum and would have been unpainted from the factory.  Yours look like there is some external corrosion but being aluminum they may clean up enough externally with some 400 wet dry sand paper, then some aluminum polish.

 

BTW, I would not toss the one without the mounting tabs.  In an emergency it could still be mounted by making a u shaped bracket to imitate the tab positions.  No one will ever know if that was original, and it may be that the other reservoirs have enough damage that it goes through the tube to the interior.

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On ‎9‎/‎17‎/‎2018 at 10:26 PM, 195354 said:

. . .  Does anyone have a color picture of this so I can try to match the color, and a paint or coating that will resist brake fluid?  . . . 

brake fluid res.jpg

 

 

Steve,

The top-half of your brake fluid reservoir on the right gives you the best idea of the OEM factory finish. I call it an anodized aluminum olive green finish. Color is close to a G.I. Army Olive Drab. Apply sandpaper to the finish and watch it disappear in no time. Here's what mine looks like.

 

1-IMG_4233.thumb.JPG.f46d4022f1e11f9ba2327aa2c8d30b0e.JPG  1-IMG_4224.thumb.JPG.87b6d7644febe91c7724a4c1df77de86.JPG

 

Al Malachowski

BCA #8965

"500 Miles West of Flint"

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 Al thanks for the pictures of the brake fluid reservoir, I am working on a paint that is close on color and might hold up to brake fluid. I have also contacted a shop in town that does some anodizing also Zinc plating, they say they can get close on color will see.

The Differential am I close on  the color I have used?  

I have made a little more progress on my project. I try to do something on this project every day, clean and paint or locate parts for the next step.  Front springs are installed Backing plates are going on and brake lines are on the run.  Will be working on the rear axle soon 

Steve 

front spring.jpg

front spring install.jpg

front backing plate.jpg

back of front backing plate.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

Little more progress, I am now on the hunt for a transmission should have looked at mine earlier in the project  it is  a true basket case. 

 I   changed the rear bearing races. I also installed the drive line on the differinatal and slid the assembly in the chassis. 

Steve 

rear axle bearing cut.jpg

spliting rear bearing.jpg

new bearing pressed on.jpg

diff shaft front.jpg

press torque tube.jpg

diff in car.jpg

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 Great progress on your project! It certainly looked daunting in your first picture. I do remember reading at least some of your lost thread about this car.

 Anyway, glad you were able to recreate the thread, as well as the car! Another one that is being saved is always good news to me.

 Keith

 

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I need a little advise on the rear wheel bearing lube. The manual just has WBL called out and check when relining brakes,  is this the standard  wheel bearing grease? I am thinking of trying a synthetic wheel bearing lube  like Mobil  Mobilith SHC 007 I have used this at work and it works great, wheel end maintenance does go down with this type of lube. With  modern seals I would think it would work. Has anyone tried a synthetic lube on  wheel ends?  

Steve 

786175752_rearwheelbearing.jpg.1b5a52df3f13de4c21e10e701d427a43.jpg

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Any WBL will work and your choice will outlast you. FWIW I use vv985 valvoline front and rear with no problems. Most of our cars never had those bearings serviced after leaving the factory until there was a leak in that area.  When inspected all evidence of grease was gone with just some differential oil and maybe diluted with tranny fluid.  I have seen some where the inner seal was omitted and it depended (satisfactorily) on differential oil. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have my chassis moving around on tires for the first time in a few years big day for me. I am thinking the factory must have added some kind of marking on the differential cover when they added oil  Does anyone know if the factory had a check mark?  

 

I am also wrapping up the brake lines, does anyone have pictures that would show the clamps that go on the brake lines these are the bolt on clamps around the brake booster to reservoir. I have holes for bolts in the frame the parts book only shows two clamps but it looks like a few more clamps are in order. The line that goes to the rear axle from the brake switch is the one I think needs some type of clamp. 

Thanks for the help 

Steve 

diff cover no oil.jpg

black chassis wire.jpg

chassis with wheels.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

Here are a few pictures of the vacuum check valve for the brake booster.  After cleaning it out and testing it does not hold vacuum. I see a small impression were the rubber seal seats against the cover this is most likely the leak. Many years ago, I had parts that had a rubber seat repair vendor replaced the seats in parts for air brake valves, it was about this size. I will try the vendor but I doubt they still offer this service.  .  

 Has anyone had these apart and repaired them with any success, I could just put an inline check valve in one of the rubber hoses to resolve this if needed.

Steve

 

vacuum check.jpg

vacuun check 1.jpg

vacuum check 3.jpg

vacuum check 2.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have been working on the inner fenders, Right inner fender was in OK shape other than the front splash apron was in tough shape. I had a set of inner fenders from the car and a set from a parts car; I cut and welded a good set for the car.  Left fender was good other than the rear splash apron was damaged in an accident back in the day and the front top was rusted and gone.  I removed needed parts from the parts car fenders and spot-welded the parts on. I had to make modifications to one panel; the original has a removable panel.  The parts car is at the end of production for 53.  My car is early production as time marched on Buick must have made changes in these.   Notice the notch in the splash pan at the front latter production does not have this; same with the removable panel, latter inner panels are one piece. 

They are test fitted on the chassis and ready for primer . Here are few pictures

Happy new year! 

Steve 

 

 

RH inner  cut for repair.jpg

LH inner  rear splash removed.jpg

LH inner fender before repair.jpg

Inner fenders on frame.jpg

lh inner fender inside.jpg

LH inner fender on frame.jpg

lh inner fender repair.jpg

LH inner splash modified.jpg

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On 9/17/2018 at 10:26 PM, 195354 said:

Made progress on seals after a night’s sleep they went on with a little help moving the spindle up and down and a hook to get the seal over the pin, did this before the lower was installed.   The lower pin and seals are very straight forward. I plan to add a little paint on the new parts and this side will ready for the backing plate and brakes.  I have added few pictures of the seals and other parts. The brake reservoir is also pictured I have two with the mounting tabs and one that is missing the tabs, it will be in the junk soon.

 Does anyone have a color picture of this so I can try to match the color, and a paint or coating that will resist brake fluid?   I also have a picture of the differential any color information on correct paint  for 1953 diff would be a great help.

Thanks 

Steve

knuckle upper seals installed.jpg

lower seals knuckle.jpg

brake fluid res.jpg

diff primer.jpg

Here my reservoir going in my 1953 Pontiac chieftain custom Catalina 

0806161141b.jpg

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  • 4 weeks later...

Pontiac 1953 thanks for the picture of your Brake reservoir; did you use a paint product that will resist brake fluid? My reservoir is not done at the coating company here in town I am little concerned that it is taking this long. 

I have been working on the right rear inner fender, need to finish sand a few spots but it is close to done. The inside needs a weld in a few places and the rubber stop mount for the convertible top welded back on. I plan to add a few more spot welds and call it good; I test fit the panel through the process to keep everything in line.  The left inner fender needs rust removal and repair  also but it is not as bad as the right side.

Steve 

 

 

RR wheel house 1.jpg

RR wheel house 3.jpg

right inner fender 12.jpg

right inner fender 15.jpg

right inner fender 16.jpg

right inner fender 17.jpg

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  • 3 months later...

 I have torque ball corrosion, the socket ball has corrosion  to me it does not look like it is in the seal area. A torque ball retainer with the seal is on the way should arrive late this week. Then I will be able to confirm the area it runs on.  If I fix this corrosion area, my thoughts are JB weld or similar product and smooth it out as needed.  Has anyone run into this before, and come up with a fix?  I have not looked in the manual yet it is  not with me today does the torque ball have an orientation? I would think the oil hole in the bushing is at 6 o'clock 

Thanks in advance for the advice 

Steve

ball torque tube.jpg

torque tube ball.jpg

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Steve, if you are getting the outer torque ball retainer with the bonded rubber, it looks like it will ride in the smooth area.  I have used JBWeld as a filler.

Orientation:  if it is like my 55's the the torque ball and torque tube bolt holes need to match (they go together only one way).

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Willie Thanks for the response, the orientation is fool proof just like your 55 it only goes one way. The new torque ball seal is going to work it will ride in the smooth areas.

I made some progress this weekend engine and transmission is in chassis at last.  Here are a few photos 

Steve

trans about installed.jpg

engine in front.jpg

engine with trans lifted.jpg

engine installed rear shot.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

I installed the engine and transmission and a few other items and decided to take my chassis to a local show about a month ago. Not many people get the opportunity to see a project at this point.  Now that I have my brake reservoir, I will try to wrap up the chassis this summer.  Who knows I might even drive it without the body and test it  before all the sheet metal is in the way.  

Steve  

53 buick chassis show.jpg

53 chassis at JC.jpeg

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  • 1 month later...

Few of the summer projects around the house are wrapping up. I am getting ready for my fall and winter work in the shop. I have seen clamps on the lines on the engine on a few core engines. I have been looking and have yet to find a supplier see picture. If anyone knows of a supplier let me know.  I am also working on the Exhaust hangers I have this hanger from a parts car and will most likely replace the belting and clean it up. The tail pipe hanger a few vendors have for sale is this a  correct a hanger for a 53 V8 or is it a universal type hanger they sell? 

Thanks for any advice

Steve

 

 

clamp lines top engine.jpg

clamps engine lines.jpg

exhaust hanger 1.jpg

exhaust hanger 3.jpg

ehsahst hanger 2.jpg

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  • 5 months later...

I haven’t posted anything for a while thought I would update my slow progress.

Rolling chassis is complete other than bleed brakes, and inner fenders, radiator, and hoses. I then hope to take short drive. I repaired a few more places on the inner fenders and painted them first time I have ever done paintwork.  From what I can tell, the engine compartment should not be gloss paint. I have also went back at rust repair, trunk is now in place 100%. I am  now going along and fixing all the other rust damage. It is closer than it was but still a ways before it is back on the frame.

Steve   

inner fender paint.jpg

paint rad.jpg

trunk work.jpg

LR wheel well.jpg

truck weld 1.jpg

CHASSIS 1.jpg

steering center link.jpg

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This project is my therapy after working. I am trying to keep moving steadily forward it is has more twist and turns then I expected. Learning paint is a new experience . Thanks for all the  positive comments 

Stee 

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The radiator strap has rusted where soldered to the upper tank. I had this repaired about a year ago; I am surprised to see this. Should I clean it up, use a rust encapsulator, and paint over this area?

I now need to locate or source all the correct bolts and washers needed. I am trying to locate all the needed parts when I take a break doing rust repair.  

 The paint I used on the inner fenders is not very tough. I can scratch it very easy.  After I have the body ready and installed I might paint these with a different product. Part of the learning curve I guess.

Steve

 

install radiator.jpg

rust repair left fender.jpg

RR LR.jpg

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  • 3 months later...

I am trying to position the tab that welds on the floor for the power seat. I never had a good way to make a pattern on this before I removed what was left of the floor.  If anyone has a picture and a few measurements on the correct location, it would be a great help.  I have looked at my parts book and what I have for the track and I do not see how the seat track works, I must be short on a few key parts.   

Once this tab is in place I am done with the lower rust repair. Then I have rust in a few other places that need repair it is all high window frame and trunk upper seal area.

 My seat track I am using for a pattern is not much good I have another one but it is in storage and buried  

Thanks

Steve

 

 

 

 

 

 

power seat mount.jpg

power seat trac 1.jpg

power seat trac.jpg

seat power 1.jpg

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  • 7 months later...

Chassis in this picture is ready for a test drive.  My driveway is long enough to test operation and even leave black marks in the road. It is nice not having to push this around when it needs moved.  Power brakes work as they should few leaks on the SS lines for DF  they have been corrected.  Once the weather changes paint the body under side and install on the chassis. Who knows  this might be completed if I keep at it  and the  CFO  Does not have too many things on her list for me to do.  

Steve 

 

 

E8EF8959-8E63-4DE3-ADB9-C523D7558CEB_1_201_a.jpeg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Working on the battery cover and hold down. My parts book is lacking  in this area, I believe the hold down bolt slips in a notch in the bottom battery tray. Then the hold down keeps the battery in place it has 4 cushions  then you use a wing nut  with a flat washer. I have a grommet that goes in the hold down I think but the  grommet is larger than the factory hole.  I have also seen a few pictures of a strap from the inner fender that attach at the hold down bolt is this one or a strap to each hold down. If anyone has a picture or two  showing how this should be assembled  it would be a great help. 

Thanks in advance 

Steve 

 

 

Batt cover .JPG

batt top .JPG

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  • 2 months later...

When you finish this project you will be an expert on ‘53 convertibles. I have found two more for you! A Special and a Roadmaster. The photos are in reverse order. These should be a cakewalk now that you have the experience!😅

F93D032C-B5B2-45ED-B6C4-E53E8070BAF4.jpegAnd no, the grill bar is broken.

36480A37-FAC6-43DD-8619-36125000E2C6.jpeg

Edited by Rusty Heaps (see edit history)
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Steve:

 

Late to the party on this one, but just saw your battery tray posting. Had a few photos on my phone somewhere, but cannot find them at the moment. Have this one of the top assembly (if it's of any help to you).

4BB08A4D-16EA-43B2-8FB5-4DF41BFB5B31.jpeg

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Rusty heaps 

Thanks for finding my next projects little TLC and they will be road ready. I love soft tops and hate to see them waste away. 

 

JBP thanks for the photo it helps, when you bring a car home that is in boxes it is a slow process pictures confirm I am on track 

Steve 

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Seem to be missing several shots from this sequence. Sorry, Steve, I may have deleted them. 
 

I really liked your 2019 post where you took your chassis to the car show. Reminded me of this photo with the new V8 on display for all the prospective buyers to admire...

82C40FD5-F780-4C90-915D-F8729286FA1C.jpeg

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