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?

PhotoGrid_1548247606232.jpg

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Steering column parts all cleaned and ready for reassembly and paint

20190123_225820.thumb.jpg.02a84e6f5e764cca34386f534c9f4a86.jpg

 

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

20190123_222646.thumb.jpg.9a6c3970e2e91440e23354b7a913da6b.jpg

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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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