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Our new 1955 Special


Buicknutty
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8 hours ago, Buicknutty said:

 Doug, according to be understanding the ring gear is only for the 54 and 55 264's only. It's the lonely child in the nailhead family, as it was only made for those two years. All that said and understood, I don't know how different the balance would be using a 322 gear, but would much prefer the correct one.

 By all means send me a couple of pics, and we can try to figure out if one of those might be right.

 Thanks.

 Keith

 

Ok Keith,

Managed to take this shot of the one engine today that I have but don't yet have the engine number to verify the year or engine size.

Does it look like what you might have?

238862192_1955EngineFlywheel.thumb.JPG.d3fbf0dc7107dd20427c1c77603c6afd.JPG

 

 

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It does look like the right, but as was mentioned in a post a short while the stamping on the plate will be definitive. It does look to be in an awkward place to have an good look at it, and the stamping is quite light, I'll try to get a shot of the one on ours.

Thanks Doug.

Keith

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I'll post more for you later but let me know where to look for those numbers and see if i can verify. 

Should it be what you need I'm sure I can get this to you after the holidays (such as they are...). 

I might just bring that NOS hood ornament base plate with me for you to look at in person then too.

Who knows right?

Doug

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 Thanks, Doug. I had a look at the flex plate tonight, but could see the number stampings. So I get wondering if they might be on the convertor side? I cannot remember, sorry guys. I'll do a bit more research over the weekend, unless one of the other gents here can chime in and give us more info.

 Keith

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  • 1 month later...

 After a break doing other things the '55 is back in the workshop to have the right side rocker panel replaced. The other side was a bit of operation in discovery as I didn't expect nearly as many problems as I found. This side appears much better, and this time I was ready to just cut it all out and put the new in.

 Which worked out not too badly. The front sill area is still solid, but a lot of the back was bad. Fortunately the dogleg area is better, and I could save it to help me keep everything is good alignment.

 It took us several hours to get the new panel cut, and in particular, fitted. Nothing on the replacement panel was quite right. The bottom was bent too narrow, so I had to flatten that out, and re bend it to the correct profile, even the door sill bends weren't right. The curve across the visible part of the panel was also not correct. Good thing this isn't going to be a 400 pointer.

 Tall stands were used to support the front and back of the car to keep everything in alignment while the tacking and welding was done.

 After all of that the welding was easy! Still a bit tricky as the old stuff was thinner than the new 18 g, but I got it welded nice and solid without distortion and the doors fit well too.

 Here are a few pictures of it tacked into place, plus a shot of the left side, ready to have it's brakes put back together.

 Keith

BackingPlate.jpg

NewRocker2.jpg

NewRocker1.jpg

Edited by Buicknutty (see edit history)
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 So I got the rocker welded in solid, which was a bit tricky, welding onto the old steel, but I got it done, and everything is still in alignment. Now it is nicely ground down and I'm starting on the rest of the reconstruction in the dogleg area.

 I've shown a shot of one of the stands I use to support the chassis during the setup and then welding in.

 Keith

 

NewRockSupport.jpg

RockerRearSill.jpg

RockerRear2.jpg

RockerRear.jpg

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  • 2 months later...

 So Folks, a quick update. After some additional research and quite a bit of back and forth with Doug, we able to determine that one of the engines he has is actually a 264, complete except for exhaust manifolds, and it came out of a Dynaflow car.

 Today we drove out to Doug's place and got it loaded into the back of my Jeep. Kind of a tight squeeze as it has a highish floor and the tailgate doesn't open as high would be nice, but we got it in and fairly well stabilized. The trip home went without incident, and now it's still in the back of the Jeep awaiting removal. First I want to build a dolly cradle with casters to be able to move it around the garage, then we'll work at getting it out.

 

New_Nailhead.jpg

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Keith,

Glad the trip home was good. It sure was a beautiful day!

Yes it was a bit tight getting that 'boat anchor' inside but with three sets of eyes and not rushing things, seemed to be OK.

Now,

Getting it out should be interesting for you.

Wish we were closer so I could bring my engine lift over...

Good luck with the parts you need.

Doug

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 Well folks, we got the engine out of the back my Jeep and onto a makeshift dolly. I have some long pieces of 2X10 Ash which gave a not too steep slope so we were able to gently slide it down and onto the dolly.

 Then the real fun starts right? The bolts on the end of the crank came off easily enough, but it was rusted to the crank, plus it is seized solid. I let it soak for the 5 days or so with lots of penetrating fluid and have refreshed it on a more less daily basis, along with a few well placed hits.

 Tonight I went at it again, and after the first tap it just dropped off at my feet. So easy it scared me, as I was expecting another fight!

 The other interesting thing is the engine is missing it's rocker shafts too. Not a big deal, but it did seem as if it was complete except for the accessories.

 

IMG_20210329_2049223.jpg

IMG_20210329_2049522.jpg

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Hmm....  

I don't recall having taken the covers off to notice that Keith.

Do you need a set?

Would the set from the other motor fit if so? That one will be gone in two weeks or so...

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I don't think I need any, but I'm not sure how the ones on the engine are yet. If you get the chance take a look at the ones on the other engine and pull them for me. Somewhere along the line we connect up. I believe the 264's and 322's take the same rockers. They might be spares for the '56 engine as well.

 

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No problem Sir.

I plan to disconnect as much as I can before it goes to scrap as I have no more room for another complete engine with transmission attached...

 

I hate even reading this back but I'm seriously at my limit for extra parts of that size!

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 I realized I hadn't updated this since I did some paint work on the lower parts of the front fenders and the rocker panel. Other parts are left in primer/sealer for now.

 The lower parts of both front fenders needed some metal work, but otherwise they were in decent shape. In this case I bought fresh primer and black due to the issues I had with fish eyes on the left side, and it went on without any issues. The gloss is reasonable, but not fab, though it is so much better than what you can see on the doors. This is a driver not a show car, though this is a modern paint with hardener, so it can cut and buffed if needed to remove any imperfections.

 

 The section on the rear quarter near the door you can in primer had to be cut out and a new piece fabricated and welded in. The tricky part here was that the rust damage extended around the fold to where it is spot welded onto the inside part. That piece took a couple of tries to get it right, but with some careful welding I got it just about perfect. That section will be painted grey to match the upper body. However, this is where we have some tough choices to make. The original colour is called Windsor Grey and is close to this repaint, but not quite right.  So when I paint the other parts do I try to match this paint, or get the correct colour? I want to get the correct colour, but then that means painting the rest to match, which will be a good thing, really, as we also have to change the hood too.

The original hood had something large and heavy land on it at one time, it was straightened, but the fit isn't right.

 My son is anxious to get it on the road later this year, so he knows that will slow things down. But if I have to paint it, I'd rather do it in the right colour.

My productivity is not what it used to be when it comes to body work, mostly due to arthritis in my hands.

 

 Also, we changed the heater core to the tested one. That's the ugly one! Once we got things off we could see where it was leaking, but it looks so nice! But the one I got last year tested out as good, so that's in the car now. Then it was getting the blower motor hooked up again. We had no idea if any of this was in working condition as it had been disconnected as well.

 It turned out the blower ran beautifully, so silent, esp on low speed. The controls on the dash had never worked right, some seemed to be stuck. So that took quite a bit of under the dash work, with me and Graham tag teaming each other one guy working the controls, the other on the floor. Two issues, one cable was stiff, so some lube cured that, and then our old friend, the "previous person" left things in some wrong places. Must have trying to fix something, and simply got it wrong. Like so many other things on the car.

 The result is the heater and defroster work as designed now. This is more of an certification issue, as all these are required to work to get a license here.

 Keith

 

 

 

RtFrntFender.jpg

RtFrtFender.jpg

RtRearDoorRock.jpg

RtInnerDog.jpg

RtRockerEnd.jpg

Heater55New2.jpg

Heater55OldNew.jpg

Heater55NewCore.jpg

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52 minutes ago, JohnD1956 said:

Even though it is a driver, Graham does not expect to use it in the winters does he? 

No, not at all. He will be driving one of the modern cars most of the time.

I don't know if I set a good example for my kids or not, because my daughter has a convertible for summer driving and a little 4X4 for winter! Now Graham is getting into doing the same thing.

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 So we spent a day or so doing a few little things, then it was time for choices. What next? The transmission re and re, or some more body work. We voted for bodywork, not that it's going to be easy.

 

 I had finished up the work we started on the left side last year, but there were a couple of toughies to sort out. The area around the left rear door striker plate was rather rusty and we could see where it had been filled previously, and also at the bottom of the rear window. The bigger area is the quarter panel, but in a way it is a lot more straightforward body work. The doors fit perfectly so that is my big concern, to keep it that way.

 After I took the picture of the striker, I gave that spot underneath the plate a little tap, and a big chunk of filler fell out leaving a hole you can put three fingers into. So there is no doubt it needs repair.

 I've also pictured a small piece of hose. That is a drain from the rear window area, and it simply empties into the inside of the wheel well at the top of the dogleg, and allows the water to run down along the inside of it. Difficult to describe. Not the greatest design to say the least, and it was this which I think led to so much rust damage in the area.

 This was earlier today, and I have not been able to get the striker plate off, but the rust extends to underneath the bottom of it, and it is weak, so it definitely needs to come off. At this moment I'm leaning to drilling out the screw heads to get the plate off, as I've been trying to get them moving for several days and they won't budge. I can get heat on the top side nut, but not on the bottom. I'm a bit afraid to pour too much heat on it in such an enclosed space with flammable materials nearby.

 I'll get bit more work done on it later tonight.

 Keith

 

 

55Quarter.jpg

55DoorStriker.jpg

55Top_Inside.jpg

55DrainHose.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

The work continues on the left rear door jam and quarter panel. I cut out a nearly top to bottom strip from the quarter panel. This was rusty from way back and had been filled in and nicely painted over. The section on the bottom I left in place to provide some support to keep every thing in alignment, as the rest of skin was very flimsy since it was not longer attached to the door jam. So I fabricated a section for the middle part.

 It looks pretty flat, only it isn't. So I made up forms out of a piece Ash, and bent and dollied it into shape. Then a similar procedure for the top piece as well. I got a pretty good fit on both, but the upper section was a bit tougher to get fitted, due to the curvature of the body.

Keith

 

 

QuarterCutOut1.jpg

QuarterPatchClamp3.jpg

QuarterPatchClamp2.jpg

QuarterPatchClamp.jpg

QuarterPatchTack.jpg

QuarterPatch_Spotted.jpg

QuarterPatchWeldTop1.jpg

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With the quarter panel now stabilized, very solid now, even with the small gap still remaining at the bottom I turned my attention to the striker plate area.

 This is perhaps the most worrying, and scary part because if this gets distorted then it messes the fit of the door up. So careful and cautious work is the name of the game, even more than I usually am!

 Firstly we had to get the plate off, as the screws were completely rusted in. To this end I got oxy/acetylene tanks again. I gave them up when we moved, and had not had any use for them till recently.

 The top one was easy to get at, so with a #0 tip I got it hot, and my assistant, Graham, with the socket ready to move the screw, and move it did. Easily too, with the nut part red hot. It took a couple of heatings to get it out far enough that we could get some lube on it and then it came out the rest of the way.

 Then the bottom inner one was just barely accessible, but the same technique was used, and out it came. The last one was virtually impossible to get at, but the plate at this point had so much wobble on it that an easy twist and it just parted company with the rest of the car.

 The striker plate itself is in good condition, but I had to recreate the plate which it fastens onto, and kind of floats in a cage inside the door jam. I had some 1/4" steel plate, and an off cut which was close to the right size. Then cutting, drilling and tapping. Then some shaping so it would fit in behind the jam, then fabricating a replacement panel for the rusted outer section. I used heavier gauge steel for this, about 16/17 gauge, so that it would be less likely to warp during the rest of the fab and welding.

 I didn't take any pictures of this part of the work, sorry folks.

 This took a huge amount of trial and error to get it fitted, and to fit pieces on the back so that it will hold the cage in position. Then tacking into place and putting the striker plate on and making sure the door closes properly, which it did.

 Then to finish welding it in, grinding it down, then putting the striker plate on again to make sure everything is still good. Which it still was, however it had lost all of the reference marks we'd made so we had to adjust it to get a proper fit. We were patient to make sure that the door really did fit as well as it did before.

 All was well.

 This takes a few minutes to write out but it must have been 8 hours or so of work, between fabbing fitting, welding, etc.

 Keith

NewStrikerJam.jpg

QuarterTopTack.jpg

StrikerNewBack.jpg

StrikerOldBot.jpg

StrikerPlateTop.jpg

TopPieceWeld.jpg

StrikerOff1.jpg

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5 minutes ago, JohnD1956 said:

I am amazed that the nylon insert on the plate did not melt with that type of heat. 

That was a concern I had too, but I do have extras if needed. There was two layers of rusty steel in between the striker and the heat, also we were cooling it with a water spray from time to time. The heat was intense, but only for a very short time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry I haven't posted anything on this for a while, but work has been progressing.

 

The rest of the body work on the door jam and front section of the quarter panel got done, Then I decided that we should strip the paint off of the rest of the quarter panel to see how it was. In other words, what other wee surprises were hiding for us to find.

 For a change on this project there wasn't much, one piece, about 2"X6" long near the moulding had to be cut out and a new one welded in, but there was no other rust on it. Very tricky welding it in, as this part of the panel didn't have much support so would be very prone to warping. Just very patient work with the welder and it went in just fine.

 Even the low section behind the rear wheel just had a lot of pitting, but I sandblasted it clean and then primed it immediately. I also spot blasted the section of ugliness I posted in a previous photo, where roof meets the body and quarter panel. A bit I was able to weld, but much of it turned out to be factory braze, covered up with lead, all within just a few inches of each other, including spot welds, all covered up by each other in one way or another. So once clean I replaced much of the lead with filler.

 

It would be better to remove the rear window completely, but I have to admit to being worried about getting the mouldings on and off, plus the window in and out without damaging something. I did a similar bit of work to the '56 Roadmaster 20+ years ago and the mouldings have never fit quite right since. For all of the other sins this car has, it doesn't have the rust that the '56 had around the base of the rear window, and the '56 is a California car.

 Then of course sanding, fill, more sanding etc. etc. My son's least favourite job! I was kidding him about going to school and getting his body shop license, but he wasn't too amused!

 

 With that now done for now we turned back to engine stuff. The temp gauge had never seemed to work, but also it had never run all that long either and there was an assumption that it didn't work, but I wanted to test it. So, with a small tray on the manifold and the temp sensor in it, I took the kitchen kettle to the garage, boiled water, and poured it in. Then the gauge did move! So it works.

Next I suggested we pull the thermostat housing and have a look, and as I was suspecting no thermostat. Fortunately the local parts store had one on the shelf, gasket too for about $12 total with tax. Can't beat that!

 

Also it turned out that the tail light housings had been off for the previous paint job, but no gaskets put on when they were put back. So a few other things to get.

 Currently we are waiting for the rebuilt shocks, hopefully later this week, then we can get the back brakes all together again.

 Keith

 

 

 

 

JamPrimed.jpg

ThemoStatHousing.jpg

Jam and QuarterPrime.jpg

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 So we did a bit of work on the '55 last night trying to figure out why there is no power to the back up lights. All the other lighting on it works properly.

As you can see in the pictures we removed the taillight housing on the left side to facilitate priming. However I noticed a curious thing, there seemed to be a ground line coming out of the harness, which had a very aged look to it. and then was attached to the body inside the housing with a small sheet metal screw.

 My first reaction was I didn't think these had a ground in the harness, and double checking with the manual, they don't. Next Graham unravelled a lot of the old electrical tape and we discovered that the feed for the backup lights, which is a black wire coming from the front, this additional wire had been spliced into it then grounded.

Black is always ground, right! Unless the book says it isn't.

 So this must have shorted out the backup light circuit, but right now there are no blown fuses, and by the time we looked at this, the connector was so corroded it wouldn't have made a connection anyway.

 The next thing was back to the neutral safety switch. I had previously checked that terminal and determined there wasn't any power to it, but now with the aid of a long wire we checked continuity from there to the terminal at the back, and all was good. So once we had the line powered up again we should have back up lights.

 At this point it was getting a bit late so we called it quits for the night, but the next step will be to have a closer look at the neutral safety switch and see how that is.

 

 I just can't get over the image of happiness and satisfaction that the person who engineered the short in the backup light circuit must have felt after going to all the trouble to ground it out.

Keith

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