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owning, fixing and driving a Snapper's era Buick


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Yes, Keith, I bought Mr. Forester's 1915 McLaughlin from a Kijiji ad by phone and I was very happy with the condition when I saw the car.  Bruce told me he owned the car from 1969 to 2015 when Bev and I acquired it, 45 years.  You likely have heard the old joke when someone has owned something for a long time,  "just two more payments."

 

My upholsterer told me he plans to restart finishing the car on August 10th.  So it is nearly restored.

 

Thanks, Gary

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Part of driving Snapper era vehicles are these banners which are given out during tours.  The owner ties them to your car during the event to show you are part of the group and are really works of craftsmanship.  They highlight great slogans such as Brass Does the Fruit Belt, which by the way was over a hundred cars and our largest tour or Wheelin' 'Round Woodstock.  After the tour the car owner keeps the banner and they are too nice a souvenir to throw out, but then what.  I tie them up in my workshop, they age and get dirty and remind me of interesting days.

 

No banners this year, Gary

 

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Driving around Elgin County with a group of friends in seven cars, EMF, Renault roadster, REO, couple of Fords and White.  It is very encouraging to have three young adults, including a third year sports medicine student and a Ford engineer working out of Dearborn.

 

Bev and I left the trailer home to save wear and tear and made the 70 mile trip along quiet back roads in our 1913 Buick, one more day and home to isolation.  There is talk of another trip with the group in September.

 

All the members of our group are masked up to protect one of our ladies who is a survivor of a particularly nasty cancer.

 

Stay strong,  Gary

 

 

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During our drive last weekend my 1913 Buick began leaking oil from the right rear outer axle seal and made a dirty mess of the wheel's spokes and tire.  We completed the drive of about 250 miles round trip with the loss of about a half inch of semi fluid grease.

 

No problem, I was reminded of Larry Schramm's saying " Drive it, break it, repair.  Repeat."

 

Stay well, Gary

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5 hours ago, cxgvd said:

No problem, I was reminded of Larry Schramm's saying " Drive it, break it, repair.  Repeat."

 

Stay well, Gary

 

Actually, Drive it, break it, fix it, repeat.  

 

What did you find wrong with the axle leaking oil?

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"Drive it, break it, fix it, repeat."

 

I have begun to fix my rear axle leak last night by removing the wheels on both sides.  Not sure of the problem or the solution yet and I will post the fix it as I go.  The rear end was outfitted with modern bearings and seals? before I acquired the Buick.

 

On another note yesterday I visited a good friend who recently bought a curved dash Olds and he did the antique equivalent of tossing me the keys and invited me to take it for a spin.  The car was beautiful to look at, black, shiny with well done copious striping, the Olds ran perfectly climbing a short but steep grade.  It was the thrill of a lifetime for me because I've wanted one forever but Bev is uncomfortable and says she feels as if she sitting on a park bench high in the air.  There is no Oldsmobile in my future.

 

Stay well, Gary

 

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Problem identified.  A sleeve which is pinned to the axle cracked and broke, but was held in place by the housing.

 

At the same time I will have the asbestos brake linings replaced.  I drop the parts and the shop sandblasts and powder coats the brake bands, replaces the friction material with modern lining and glues them on.  Turnaround time is within a few weeks.

 

Life is good,  Gary

 

 

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Joe wins.  This year at the AACA Grand Nationals in Gettysburg, Pa Cardinal95 won the Zenith Award, second consecutive year Buick was chosen.  Here is my photo of Joe's 1958 Buick wagon, taken at Flint, Mi last summer.

 

Congratulations Joe, you deserve it.

 

Stay well,  Gary

 

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On 8/20/2020 at 4:55 PM, cxgvd said:

replaces the friction material with modern lining and glues them on.  Turnaround time is within a few weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

Backtrack on that - this is how you get bad brakes on a car this age - you need woven linings that are riveted on (that maybe at best will last 10K miles and that your lining guy will look at you perplexed at why you will want such a thing) - new lining material is not suited for a car of two wheel brakes (IT IS NOT BETTER - NOT WORTH PUTTING YOUR LIFE AT RISK). 

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When I get advice as adamant as I got from John concerning my new brake linings I have to take it.  Thanks John.  I already had the 1 3/4" X 3/16"ths woven material and rivets on the shelf and a tool to install them.  Here you go, parking brakes are finished.

 

I have shop trying to source a new bearing sleeve before they have to turn one up.  Perhaps the Buick will be back and running by Labour Day, fingers crossed.

 

Classic Coachwork's Stan Uher phoned and said he is installing a new top on the 1923 Gray Dort touring car and it looks fabulous.  Great work.  In another month the car will be finished and on it's way home to northern Manitoba.  Hood and fenders are painted, Stan has to fabricate and cover the runningboards in gray linoleum and give it a test drive.  Hope to get a ride before the Gray Dort leaves for the West.

 

Two things to look for in the photos, I copied the dark blue colour on my 1915 McLaughlin, with Stan's permission and notice the wings ( or strengthening ribs ) on the top beside the rear window.  They are unique to this model and rarely seen on other cars.

 

Regards, Gary

 

 

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Interesting issue with my 1915 McLaughlin, the engine would start, run less than a minute and stall.  The car has a gravity flow fuel system and the path the fuel line takes was not obvious to me so I had a rubber temporary installed.  I thought I had an air dam so I took it out and put in a 5/16th" hard copper line, still not sure the path is correct.  Problem persisted.  Next was the Marvel carburetor,  I removed it and saw a threaded pin which the float/needle pivots on was absent.  I can only think it vibrated loose and I lost it.  Luckily the missing pivot caused the needle to shut off the fuel flow and not open the carb to fuel.  So, over time the carb bowl would fill but not open enough to replace the fuel the engine burned while idling.

 

I had a spare carb and I hated to rob a part from it but I did.  I've never had a pin loosen before but there is no thread lock and it is a brass threaded pin in a bronze carb.  I used a sharp punch and lightly tapped the joint of the pin and body to lock the threads.

 

I spoke with my " understanding" mechanic to arrange for him to come to my house and perform a Provincially required safety inspection before I can get the McLaughlin licensed for the road.  He told me the officials have made things more intolerant and he could not do that anymore.  He has to inspect the car in his shop, I will load the car in the trailer and deliver it to him next week. another problem solved.

 

Regards, Gary

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Regarding the Safety Inspection:

I remember the days when one could ask for the paper after that visit to your car provided he was confident with; 1- that you would bring it by after the brakes, signals, horn and anything else needing to meet standards were done and 2- you promised the car would NOT be driven for 30 days after the signature date leaving him clear of liability.

Obviously there was a huge trust factor there.

Clearly the clamping down was due to someone taking advantage and when there was an accident or the full picture was revealed, it's made things tighter regulation wise.

 

It's going to be exciting to have both cars at meets (when they come back in full swing again). Does Bev drive the Buick at all? 

I'm sure you have trusted friends that would jump at the chance to drive either car for you. I know I would if closer and given the opportunity.

 

Happy Motoring.

 

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Hello Doug;  Thanks for the comments and hope events improve for you and Windsor.  My mechanic has provided me with many safety inspections and he knows I would not throw him under the bus.  Since I am riding in the vehicles I want them to be safe.  However, there are only a few items such as lights, steering and brakes, horn, tires etc. which apply.

 

Bev had her first ride in the McLaughlin this afternoon, the spinning oil sight gauge seemed to delight her.  She has driven the 1913 Buick but she doesn't like it because I am a nervous passenger.

 

 

 

 

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Update my 1913 model 31 rear axle grease leak today.  The shop who relined my 1915 McLaughlin brakes does not answer the telephone and though their website is up the shop seems closed.  I got another name of another friction shop about three hours away.  Kent Fabricators is the name of a large shop in Blenheim who I believe can repair anything, farm equipment, elevators and antique cars.  I showed the broken sleeve to a fellow and asked them to source a replacement.  He said it could be TIG welded because I needed a temporary repair so I could use the car for a few hundred miles before winter.

 

I checked with a bearing store and was told there was no modern sealed bearing which would work without adapters, so that will be winter work.  I am putting the old parts back into service for one more gathering with my car buddies in Chatham, weekend of September 27th.  What could possible go wrong with my plan?

 

After much scrubbing and brushing with paint thinners the greasy wheel looks good again.

 

Regards, Gary

 

 

 

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My '13 Buick repair is back together and my '15 McLaughlin starter/generator was acting up.  I cleaned the battery terminals on the '15 and I added a heavy braided cable from the starter/generator to one of the engine bolts and that seemed to get the starter churning.

My wife and I gave the McLaughlin a major washing so I can polish the paint.  Waiting on upholstery to finish the restoration.

 

I gave Bev a lesson so she could drive the car and she handled the event well.

 

A variety of detail photos and a lady driver.

 

Stay well,  Gary

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My wife and I are members of an old car bubble which meets one weekend a month for brass era touring.  We have seven members, somehow our next tour at the end of September was announced in our Southern Ontario HCCA regional newsletter.  It's a snafu and our Chatham meet is not open to the public.  I dread the ringing telephone or email check because I have to turn my other friends away.

 

Bev and I have set up a drive with picnic lunches and a museum which is closed will have someone to greet us and give a talk and stroll while practicing social distancing.  These are difficult times but I am getting used to the "new normal" and especially getting closer to my bubble friends and their wonderful cars.  We have two each Fords, Cadillacs and Oldsmobiles coming.

 

Regards, Gary

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

On another website I follow called BrassBuicks a fellow wrote in describing a repair he made for a dragging clutch which caused me to check my linkages and clean everything up.  Here are the photos of a neat piece, a cast aluminum clutch case cover, the clutch and transmission cases showing the linkages and finally the front floor back in place.   I am a believer in fixing the car at home and hopefully drive the Buick in my old car bubble without incident.  I'd like to promote the idea Buick built good cars, while not mentioning the hours of maintenance.

 

Stay well, Gary

 

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