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1940 Buick Super Restoration


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I'm getting the steering column reading for painting. Does anyone know what the original brown colour is called?

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The upper darker brown is what someone painted the interior with. The lower lighter coloured brown is original. I actually think its a rather ugly colour but I want to keep everything original. 

Does anyone know how to correctly paint a steering column? I assume the brown colour down to the where the column enters the steering box. What about the steering box? Chassis black or natural cast iron? i think all the other components such as gear levers aluminium or plain steel?1540244949_20190113_203524(2).thumb.jpg.c61d5d41d59170843d13961acfe8aa7f.jpg

 I ordered a steering column jacket from CARS(on right) but its very different to what was was there(on left). The colour is close to the original but it doesn't cover the hole in the firewall wall all the way. Why would the say this is the correct jacket for my model car?

 

 

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The '37's called for "Marsh Brown" on the column.  (...and some other components)

I painted mine "Savoy Brown", mixed non-metallic only because I liked the deeper color next to my wood grained parts.

 

But the Marsh Brown is proper for the '37 Buick.  

I used SEM "Trim Black" on the box to match the chassis components.

 

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15 hours ago, Gary W said:

The '37's called for "Marsh Brown" on the column.  (...and some other components)

I painted mine "Savoy Brown", mixed non-metallic only because I liked the deeper color next to my wood grained parts.

 

But the Marsh Brown is proper for the '37 Buick.  

I used SEM "Trim Black" on the box to match the chassis components.

 

 

Where did you find that chart? I have 9 books related to 1940 Buicks and not one states interior paint detail except for trim and seat fabric

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Back in June, 2017, I got my steering column / box back from Lares.  I was just in the process of sanding, prepping.....

 

Matt Hinson sent me a link from the July-Aug 2016 Toque Tube II:

 

From Matt:

"The colors for most of the interior components are listed on the 1937 Buick Paint Chart. You can find it reproduced on page 4 of the attached issue of the Torque Tube II.

VOL 9 No 4 JULY-AUG 2016.pdf

 

Of course, this is for  1937, but maybe the '40's are similar?  I don't know the "original source" for the chart though. 

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I would suggest you find a 1940 DuPont Buick Paint Chip brochure. I don't have experience with 1940 but both the 1937 and 1938 Paint Chip brochure has the information regarding interior and trim paint colors as well as the exterior paint colors. 

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The steering column jacket has been a problem for me also. I would contact Doug Seybold, or Dave Techney for a solution on this. Save the old one, as they will probably need to use your existing one for a core to rebuild this. Steele Rubber sells the same thing and for the price it really is a disappointment. If you find a better way around this, please let me know.

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I had Kris Arneson revulcanize my old one.  The original had deteriorated like everyone else's but was still a good pattern.  The seal is made up of two different pieces of sheet metal with the rubber holding them together at roughly a 30% angle. It is backed by insulation and is slipped onto the steering column before the turn signal assembly is installed.  I recall there being two screws holding the piece onto the horizontal portion of the firewall.

 

I do not recall what it cost me to have this part revulcanized as I also have my stone guards done at the same time.

 

http://www.runningboardrubber.com/contact_us.html

 

 

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17 hours ago, kingrudy said:

The steering column jacket has been a problem for me also. I would contact Doug Seybold, or Dave Techney for a solution on this. Save the old one, as they will probably need to use your existing one for a core to rebuild this. Steele Rubber sells the same thing and for the price it really is a disappointment. If you find a better way around this, please let me know.

While I bought it from CARS it's actually made by Steele Rubber. A big waste of money

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I hate it when people state the obvious, but I will. If I were in your position, I would resolve the floor column plate issue before installing the steering column. Once the column is back in the car, there is not a good way that I know of to install the column plate. 

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6 hours ago, kingrudy said:

I hate it when people state the obvious, but I will. If I were in your position, I would resolve the floor column plate issue before installing the steering column. Once the column is back in the car, there is not a good way that I know of to install the column plate. 

Yes which I why I ordered a replacement to go on column now while its pulled apart but It looks like I'll be reusing the old one. I would have liked to have ordered a new firewall insulator too but I would not like to see the shipping cost of one of them to Australia. 

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18 hours ago, kingrudy said:

Ken, I would be more than happy with what you came up with. Although not perfect, it does look good. 

Considering that the older one I show is in Terry Boyce's car and the one I had was hardly recognizable, yeah I'll take it.  

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Bought some new pitman shaft bushes. The new bushes are tight on the outer wall and will need to be pressed in. The old ones are loose on the outer wall. The old bushes had a hole in the lube channel which suggest they are ment to move freely. Can't find anything in the manual, anybody have an answer?

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On 1/18/2019 at 8:29 PM, 1940Super said:

Bought some new pitman shaft bushes. The new bushes are tight on the outer wall and will need to be pressed in. The old ones are loose on the outer wall. The old bushes had a hole in the lube channel which suggest they are ment to move freely. Can't find anything in the manual, anybody have an answer?

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I've worked on this part and might be able to help.  I couldn't find bushings so I went to a bushing supplier and got piston pin bushings for a 1920's Reo truck engine as replacements.  I had the bushings pressed in, you are right, mine were floating in the housing which doesn't seem correct.  I also drilled the holes in the bushings which are to let lubricant penetrate to the shaft face.  I will check that when I get home tonight.  On the bushings, I got the two bottom bushings, but could not find the bushing for the top of the pitman shaft.  Where did you find it?  As for the thrust bearings, I could find new races for $15 or so but the roller bearings were nearly $200 each.  I called a couple bearing suppliers and couldn't get most to even admit to having access to the bearings.  Mine are in good shape so I will reuse them.

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The bushing at the top of the pitman shaft and pressed into the gearbox cover was not loose.

 

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I also attempted to determine how much wear I have on the pitman shaft and steering shaft worm gears.  I attempted unsuccessfully to mic the width ofd the gear at its' center.  Greg Johnson says that overly worn out steering gear was subject to tightening adjustment that tended to wear the center neutral steering contacts in the worm gear.  What you would then notice is normal steering straight ahead but the steering would bind going left or right.  If you loosened the adjustment, then the car would sort of float around the center neutral point, but be nice and tight left or right in any turn.

 

I'll get more pics tonight of the bushing.  The bushing that you show for the top of the pitman shaft looks too big.  Is it an optical illusion?

On 1/18/2019 at 8:29 PM, 1940Super said:

 

 

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Just looked at my steering box and the bushings are pressed in with the spacer located between them.  I also have oil holes in the bushings but they do not go to any oil passage or relief in the steering box case.  Not sure what to tell you though I have taken two apart in the last year and both were the same as described above.

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The gear box takes a fairly thick oil but since the pitman shaft is vertical and extends to the bottom of the gear box the oil naturally works its way down. I think the grooves in the bushings and spacer between these two lower bushings provides a reservoir of sorts.

 

The common failure in these gearboxes is the bottom end seal failure. When these cars were still viable used cars, seal failure would allow the gearbox to go dry and the car would be driven without most people checking that fluid level. 

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17 hours ago, kgreen said:

 

I've worked on this part and might be able to help.  I couldn't find bushings so I went to a bushing supplier and got piston pin bushings for a 1920's Reo truck engine as replacements.  I had the bushings pressed in, you are right, mine were floating in the housing which doesn't seem correct.  I also drilled the holes in the bushings which are to let lubricant penetrate to the shaft face.  I will check that when I get home tonight.  On the bushings, I got the two bottom bushings, but could not find the bushing for the top of the pitman shaft.  Where did you find it?  As for the thrust bearings, I could find new races for $15 or so but the roller bearings were nearly $200 each.  I called a couple bearing suppliers and couldn't get most to even admit to having access to the bearings.  Mine are in good shape so I will reuse them.

 

The bushing at the top of the pitman shaft and pressed into the gearbox cover was not loose.

 

I also attempted to determine how much wear I have on the pitman shaft and steering shaft worm gears.  I attempted unsuccessfully to mic the width ofd the gear at its' center.  Greg Johnson says that overly worn out steering gear was subject to tightening adjustment that tended to wear the center neutral steering contacts in the worm gear.  What you would then notice is normal steering straight ahead but the steering would bind going left or right.  If you loosened the adjustment, then the car would sort of float around the center neutral point, but be nice and tight left or right in any turn.

 

I'll get more pics tonight of the bushing.  The bushing that you show for the top of the pitman shaft looks too big.  Is it an optical illusion?

 

BOB'S had listed a 1937- 1955 pitman shaft kit

https://bobsautomobilia.com/suspension-and-steering/steering-bushing-seal-kit-.-sbk-379/

I think I wasted my my on this as it looks like the only thing I'll use is the new seal. You are right that the top bush is too big. It looks like 41 and up had a bigger shaft at the top. 

As for bearings I cleaned them up and they seem okay to reuse. Not sure how to determine wear on the worm. It's all cleaned up now so I will post some photos before I put it back together. Another 40 owner I was talking to said his bushes were floating too. I'll have to check some of my books to see if I can find out any more. 

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6 hours ago, 1940Super said:

Not sure how to determine wear on the worm.

The usual way is a bit of slack in the steering wheel. Mine has 3/4" play at straight ahead with none cornering. With load on the wheels you can feel the contact moving from side to side of the worm groove as you gently wiggle the steering wheel.

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A "normal" manual steering box has a tight spot at the center. When adjusted properly there should be basically NO slack at the center, even a little drag. The service manual probably specifies how much drag. Off center, there should be slop.

 

Once the "high spot" in the center is worn off, you can no longer adjust the slop out without getting tight spots off center.

 

The only way I know of to check it is to assemble it with good bearings and bushings and try to adjust.

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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On 1/22/2019 at 11:06 PM, kgreen said:

The gear box takes a fairly thick oil but since the pitman shaft is vertical and extends to the bottom of the gear box the oil naturally works its way down. I think the grooves in the bushings and spacer between these two lower bushings provides a reservoir of sorts.

 

The common failure in these gearboxes is the bottom end seal failure. When these cars were still viable used cars, seal failure would allow the gearbox to go dry and the car would be driven without most people checking that fluid level. 

Just curious to how you removed the eccentric sleeve? I had to make a little tool to pull it out. Did you tap your new bushes in or use a press?

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Steering column parts all cleaned and ready for reassembly and paint

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The turn signal lever has a stripped thread. After going over it with a die it does screw back in to a tight position but comes loose again as soon as the mechanism is operated. Is this a common problem? I want to clean out all the dust too, looks like it could be tricky to put back together if pulled apart so will probably just blow air through it

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The two lower pitman shaft bushings were floating so the assembly just came apart.  When I pressed in the new bushings, I reinserted the sleeve between the bushings and did not trap it between the bushings.  If I were to rebuild the unit again, I would have to use a puller like the one you created.

 

You have me curious about the loose bushings and why they would become loose. I've disassembled two different steering gear boxes.  Both gearboxes had loose lower  bushings on the pitman shaft, so my findings would not be statistically reliable.   What I found amounts to a "spun bearing", a (slang?) term describing a connecting rod or crankshaft bushing spinning after freezing onto the crankshaft.  I saw no other damage in my gearbox housing.  I'd love to disassemble a third and fourth.

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5 hours ago, 1940Super said:

After going over it with a die it does screw back in to a tight position but comes loose again as soon as the mechanism is operated. Is this a common problem?

The die nut has removed metal as well as straightened the thread, so it is now smaller. Thread cleaning die nuts are hard to find; most are thread cutting nuts.

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On 1/24/2019 at 12:45 AM, kgreen said:

The two lower pitman shaft bushings were floating so the assembly just came apart.  When I pressed in the new bushings, I reinserted the sleeve between the bushings and did not trap it between the bushings.  If I were to rebuild the unit again, I would have to use a puller like the one you created.

 

You have me curious about the loose bushings and why they would become loose. I've disassembled two different steering gear boxes.  Both gearboxes had loose lower  bushings on the pitman shaft, so my findings would not be statistically reliable.   What I found amounts to a "spun bearing", a (slang?) term describing a connecting rod or crankshaft bushing spinning after freezing onto the crankshaft.  I saw no other damage in my gearbox housing.  I'd love to disassemble a third and fourth.

I ended up sanding a small amount off the outside diameter to the new bushes to get them started in housing then pressed them in. Another 40 Super owner told me he had floating bushes and said they are supposed to even wear (I'm not sure he ment by that). He pressed in tighter bushes after rebuilding his too. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Haven't had a chance to make any more progress on the car but I did solve one issue with the rear shocks. I thought it was odd that the arm on the right shock was longer then the arm on the left and it would put the shock link on an angle. The appearance of the shocks was exactly the same but i did notice the model number didn't match up to what was used on the 40 Buick. It's a 2105t which when I looked it up came off a 1950-51 Oldsmobile. I guess the person had the car before me thought it was a close enough swap. The arm on the Oldsmobile shock is nearly a full inch longer. I assume it had been previously rebuilt as there is welding of the arm to the spline. It seems that most shock re builders do this and the only reason why i could see welding would be necessary is if the spline was stripped, otherwise I don't see why they would do it. I was going to leave the Olds shock in place but then I noticed the seal started leaking so I thought i'll source another shock. I found one on US ebay and had it shipped straight to Apple Hydraulics, in a couple of days they rebuilt it and shipped it to me. It worked out to be the same price then if I had of used the last known shock re builder in this country. Anyway i'm very pleased with Apples work, glad to see they didn't put any welding on the arm. I had used a retired local to do the fronts and I was very pleased with the end result, next time I would get them all done by Apple.

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  • 1 month later...

Steering box is back together and painted. 

Took apart the drag link. Found a first spring broken. I found a spring from a 1938-40 RHD steering linkage but it is a fraction smaller in diameter and just over a 1/4 longer. Should I try and find the same size spring or could I use the longer one with the adjusting plug moved further back?

Also there is a bend in my tube which I assumed was normal because there is no obvious damage but I I've been told it's ment to be straight. I'll have to work out how to bed it straight again without flattening the tube

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For the drag link springs, it would be best if you replaced the springs if they are below spec. The minimum service length should be in your handbook? It is in mine. If they are too short, put in new ones. The long one appears to have too many coils, but then maybe the short one is not right. What are the ball and seats like?

 

To set them up, assemble, put in the plug and screw it right in. Then undo the number of turns specified in your manual. For mine, it is 1.5 to 2 turns.

Edited by Spinneyhill (see edit history)
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I just rebuilt the steering box in my 36-40 and filed it with STP  Since the gears in the box turn very slowly and only used when making turns, etc.,  I wanted something that would always cling to the gears and not settle off.  Read about using it somewhere online.  Made sense to me.

 

Tom

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On 3/23/2019 at 10:05 AM, Spinneyhill said:

For the drag link springs, it would be best if you replaced the springs if they are below spec. The minimum service length should be in your handbook? It is in mine. If they are too short, put in new ones. The long one appears to have too many coils, but then maybe the short one is not right. What are the ball and seats like?

 

To set them up, assemble, put in the plug and screw it right in. Then undo the number of turns specified in your manual. For mine, it is 1.5 to 2 turns.

None of the books I have specify the size of the spring though someone told me from a parts book they have it should be 1 & 1/16 by 1 & 9/64 which is even shorter then the short spring. My workshop manual states tightening up the plug solid then back off 3 to 3.5 turns but the engineering info for manufacturing book I have states backing off 2 to 2.5 turns. 

Seats seem okay, 2nd from left has some indentation. Pitman arm ball stud in top right photo has minimal wear. The other connecting arm ball stud had alot more wear circled in red. However I knew someone that had a nos replacement so I bought that from them.PhotoGrid_1553514063502.thumb.jpg.e63c1f9b69e2cf041605f90950be42dd.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

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