1940Super

1940 Buick Super Restoration

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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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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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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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Posted (edited)

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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Used a hydraulic pipe bender to bend the rod straight again. 

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Sorted the spring problem in the draglink and reassembled. Also cleaned brakes, painted and reassembled. Only had to buy new springs as old once were a little stretched. 

 

 

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If that axle end is tapered, I presume you will clean off all that grease before putting the brake drum on?

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4 hours ago, Spinneyhill said:

If that axle end is tapered, I presume you will clean off all that grease before putting the brake drum on?

That is wheel bearing grease on the front steering knuckle

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Of course it is. How dopey of me.

 

I have always put the drum on with the axle dry. I want the movement to be in the bearing, not between the bearing and axle. Am I wrong again?

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19 minutes ago, Spinneyhill said:

Of course it is. How dopey of me.

 

I have always put the drum on with the axle dry. I want the movement to be in the bearing, not between the bearing and axle. Am I wrong again?

My apologies I was just stating what it was and I was confused as to what you were getting at. Maybe other models/makes you do keep it dry but the 1940 manual states: 

"When inspecting or replacing front wheel bearings, it should be determined that the inner race is free to revolve on the steering knuckle. Polishing steering knuckle and applying bearing lubricant will afford clearance and prevent rust forming between race and knuckle. The bearing inner races are designed to creep on knuckles in order to afford a constantly changing load contact"

 

I dont have any experience in old cars apart from this 1940 Buick so if I read something in the manual i just assume its standard practice for other cars of the era but I have been learning Buick tended to do alot of things differently from other manufacturers 

 

 

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It should be greased a little or it could rust from condensation, and that could get in the bearings. There is also a cavity in the hub between the wheel bearings. Some cars want grease packed in there, others explicitly don't, but either way it should be coated with enough grease to prevent rust.

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51 minutes ago, Spinneyhill said:

Thank you. Something new for me.

We both learned something 🙂. What car do you have?

 

Btw as for the different lengths of the drag link springs I tested the springs by applying wieght and measuring the travel distance. Converting the measurements of the springs to a percentage they were very close. I added the difference of length to the spring stop by welding on some more round steel. Then tightened up plug in the rod until the stops bottomed out and backed off the specified 3 to 3.5 turns. Only difference being the plug sticks out about a 1/4 inch before that there was plenty of thread to allow that. 

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