Edwin The Kid

My 1951 Model 52 Buick Super

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Posted (edited)

Hello helpful Buick forums! I'm going to need your help. I bought a 1951 model 52 Buick Super as a project car for the summer, and my goal is to get it running and driving on the roads, for as little money as is safe. Before I start asking questions, here are some pictures of my new car!

 

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Here's the car how I got it. 

 

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I got some cheap tires and had my friend pull me around the yard so I could wash it. We also discovered that some of the brakes work on the car!

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Here's the car in where I work on it, a nice dirt floor that gets wet if it rains too much. Old tables, doors, and wood are used to keep the car up and parts off the ground. 

 

 

 

Looks like I reached the upload limit, so it's question time!

 

I've been working on the engine first, and it is currently very stuck. I got some friends to help me get the engine disassembled down to the block, and the cylinders have been soaking with atf and diesel for a few weeks now, and still having no movement. Do any of you guys have some magic recipe or tips that will get this thing unstuck? Would it be a good idea to pull the engine out of the car to see what's going on inside, and will it be necessary to send the engine to a machine shop to get the cylinders cleaned out?

 

I'm not looking to do a full restoration on the car right now, but I would like to make the exterior look a little nicer. What would be a good way to go about getting the dents out of the doors, as there are large dents on both sides of the car. 

You might have noticed that the car is missing a front bumper. How would I go about getting a new one of those? 

 

The interior of the car has had... rodents living in it for who knows how long. The seats are in fairly good condition, as the front bench had a cover over it, but there are holes in them, obviously made by mice. How expensive is it to get them redone, or how hard would it be for my sister(who is good at sewing) to try to fix them. Also a problem with the interior is the rather large hole in the floor of the drivers side. Whats a good way to fix that? I've also been trying to get the front seat out, but the heads of the bolts are stripping and I think I'm going to have to cut them, but on the drivers side there is a lever for adjusting the seat or something and I can't get the trim off because of that, anyone got experience with that? Also in order to access the hole, I need to take the rubber floor mat off, but I'm having trouble removing the gas pedal, I think the screws are stripping or something, advice on that would be appreciated.

 

That's all my questions for now, thanks for reading and thanks in advance for your answers!

 

Edited by Edwin The Kid
to reduce confusion (see edit history)

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First, welcome to the forum, and it is a neat car you've got.

Lots questions there, and I'll try to help on some, at least. With the damaged screws and bolts, try to do as little more damage as possible, as that will make it more difficult to get things back together later on. I know that's tough. Don't know what you mean by stripped? Are the heads damaged or broken, or do they turn, but don't come out?

Depends on the resources and experience you have, there are various concoctions of penetrating solvents that can help, usually available at many places that sell lubes and that kind of stuff. Spray the area generously, and give it some time to work. That can be the hard part, as who knows how long it takes, a few minutes, or days. Also, when you get a stuck bolt moving out a bit, go back in, and give it a squirt of lube, and then turn it out again. This is one way you can try to avoid breaking the bolt in the thread.

 Stuck engines are difficult. One never knows, as it really depends on how long its' sat, and how bad its' frozen. You might get many opinions on this, as there is no sure way, and sometimes its' impossible. One thing that often helps, is a 50/50 mixture of acetone and auto trans fluid, pour a few once's in each cylinder through the spark plug holes and wait. It can take anyway from days to weeks. The idea, no matter what you use, is that the lube is thin enough to penetrate into the rust. Using a socket on the end of bolt the holds the front pulley on will give some leverage to try to move it. I always want to go easy, and complicate matters even further by breaking things by using too much force. If its' a standard trans, you can put it gear, and rock it back and forth to try to get the engine to turn. If you get it turning, make sure that you crank it over enough the clear whatever you've put it the cylinders. If the cylinder is half full of oil, is will lock, and maybe break something if you put the plugs back in and hit the starter.

 If you get it free, then make sure that you change the crankcase oil before starting it.

 Also, there are likely to be fuel system issues, use a portable can direct to the carb, hooked up safely, as gas is pretty dangerous stuff!

 Floors can be patched, sometimes with sheet steel and rivets, fibreglass, but by far the best way is to cut out the bad stuff, and solid weld the new in. Also, depending on the safety standards of your area, it might need to be done this way. Here in the province of Ontario, Canada, they changed the rules about how such patches can be done. My son is working on a '55 that has old patches in the floor, which though they work, now have be properly patched. That's the better way by far. Just be careful of the fuel and brake lines which run along the frame when you're cutting or welding. Make sure all of the carpet and soft trim is off, or protected. I almost had a car catch on fire because of a spark into the felt under lay of the carpet. It can smolder for a while, and you might not notice. Use fire prevention methods, and make sure you have extigisher's and water nearby.

Dents can be taken out a few ways, depends how bad they are. Taking the trim off of the inside of the doors will give you some access to the outer skin. Look some stuff up on youtube. You'll need various dollies and hammers to get them out. I've often made my own out of pieces of steel and hardwood. In general, you work from the area the was bent last, which is the smallest deflection, as what you are trying to do is to reverse the damage, so work from smallest to the deepest. There are also ways to pull it out from the front, depending on your resources. Like I said, look some of this up on you tube.

 You could put a wanted ad for a bumper here in the buy and sell.

 Hope that this is at least a start for you.

 Lots of people with expertise here.

 Keith

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10 hours ago, Edwin The Kid said:

 

I've been working on the engine first, and it is currently very stuck. I got some friends to help me get the engine disassembled down to the block, and the cylinders have been soaking with atf and diesel for a few weeks now, and still having no movement.

 

Soaking the cylinders is one part.  You also have other moving parts that may have to be soaked.  I assume you have the water pump /generator fan belt off?  If not, do so. 

2nd, I assume you have removed the side covers for the camshaft and push rods?  If not do so and put some atf in on the cam bearing areas.  

3rd, I assume you have drained the oil engine oil,  but have not yet removed the oil pan for cleaning.  You may want to consider removing the oil pan to both clean the inevitable sludge out and to allow access to spray the cylinder walls from the bottom side.  Here I would use some sort of penetrating oil in a spray can and spray not only the bearing surfaces for the crank and the piston rods, but also the bottoms of the pistons and the wrist pins.  I say spray penetrant because you want to force some product up the circumference of the pistons to get at the rings from the under side.

 

Mostly you have to budget enough time for these products to work.  It will not be a fast job and if you need fast then I would start to scour the best advertiser products in your area for another engine, even if it is weak, just to get you through time to rebuild what you have.  Using force on a stuck block will increase the likelihood of significant damage and increased expense to repair, if it can even be repaired. But there are a lot of folks tearing apart cars of this vintage for their customs and hot rod projects, and sometimes one can find useable parts closer to them than they think possible. 

 

The good news is this time it takes to unstick an engine can be used for other needed repairs.  As far as the floor goes, do not forget that the brake master cylinder is under that floor board, and there needs to be access to the reservoir for adding brake fluid. 

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10 hours ago, Buicknutty said:

 

 Also, there are likely to be fuel system issues, use a portable can direct to the carb, hooked up safely, as gas is pretty dangerous stuff!

 

 

This reminds me, I took the gas tank out and...

The hole was not that big when it came out but the metal was so flaky it got bigger if you looked at it wrong. 

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regarding the stripped bolts, they are the bolts that hold down the seat and go through the floor and are exposed on the underside of the car, so are rusted to heck. I put a wrench on one and it stripped the head of the bolt. 

 

IMG_2108.thumb.JPG.5b1fbdfd47ce0e9e6b55c0b6e0100374.JPG 

 

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10 hours ago, Buicknutty said:

Using a socket on the end of bolt the holds the front pulley on will give some leverage to try to move it.

Never use that bolt to turn it unless it is already free.  Your will get more turning force with a pry bar between the ring gear and block.

Some of the problems are from prolonged "storage"...others are why it was parked in the first place.

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Oh boy... took the bottom cover off the transmission to see the flywheel, and it was full of stuff!

 

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I'm getting ready to pull the engine and transmission sometime in the next few weeks, so hopefully I don't miss anything(fingers crossed)

 

I also discovered the distributor is completely seized, and that being in park does nothing to the wheels.

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IMG_2272.thumb.JPG.4f8998f7a92272f44be5eccb07a41a32.JPG

Engine is out!

 

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im definitely not an engine expert so if anyone sees major problems please tell me.

 

Also, how does the transmission come off? I undid the bolts on the outside of it and now it spins around the engine, which is still stuck

 

Atf and Diesel have been soaking in the cylinders since mid april

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Well Edwin, I am not an expert either but that engine may have had serious problems before  it was parked. I am refering to the rounded edge on the front piston. Is that some material like dirt or is that piston deformed? Can you poat a better picture of the first and last piston? And are all the pistons like this #1 piston?

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In addition, while I admire your "go get em" approach, I will caution that you simply cannot learn everything you need to know about that engine from these, or any other, forum.  Did you get a 1950 Buick service manual?  If not, the 2nd best thing is to access one here :  https://www.hometownbuick.com/   and read up on engine disassembly and repair, as well as the torque converter disassembly and what to expect. 

 

But to answer your question about how to get that transmission off I will refer to your picture reprinted below:

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You will need to remove the timing chain in front of the motor 1st.  Usually that means unbolting the cam shaft gear and then working it off the cam shaft in order to remove the chain. 

Then you will need to unbolt each main bearing cap ( shown by the red arrows) and each rod bearing cap shown by the yellow arrows) with the following caution:  For rebuild purposes, it is important to keep track of each cap in terms of both orientation and location.  I did see in the other picture that it appears your main bearing caps are numbered.  So that helps a lot.  But I am not certain about the rod caps and there are eight of them to keep track of.

 

Once you have removed all the caps then the crankshaft can be removed while it is attached to the transmission.  And at that point you can remove the three bolts that hold the torque converter to the flywheel/ring gear and the transmission can be separated from the crankshaft. 

 

And as always, I welcome corrections by others with more experience. 

 

@Ben Bruce aka First Born  Thanks for that observation.  I was unaware of that turbulator design. 

 

 

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And as a side thought, you could try digging all that dirt out of the bottom of the bell housing first, and then checking to see if the engine will turn while still attached to the transmission. IMG_2243.thumb.JPG.507ae33efe45c52b263f57b06a86be30.JPG

 

This is a direct connection to the engine, and if the torque converter cannot move, then neither will the engine. 

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On 5/4/2019 at 8:39 PM, Edwin The Kid said:

 

I'm not looking to do a full restoration on the car right now, but I would like to make the exterior look a little nicer. What would be a good way to go about getting the dents out of the doors, as there are large dents on both sides of the car.  

 

Does anyone know if these parts will interchange?  The owner is about to scrap them. 

https://forums.aaca.org/topic/327194-cheap-rust-free-parts-about-to-be-scrapped-1950-special/

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 I can't help but wonder how all that stuff got into the ring gear and flywheel. It almost looks like it might of got into a lot of dirty water. Any chance that it might have been through some flood waters?

 Keith

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Just now, Buicknutty said:

 I can't help but wonder how all that stuff got into the ring gear and flywheel. It almost looks like it might of got into a lot of dirty water. Any chance that it might have been through some flood waters?

 Keith

It's definitely possible it flooded once or twice where it was stored, the waters can get pretty high in some of the areas of Iowa when it rains, and the rains have made my shed a bit of a mudhole

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On 5/26/2019 at 7:50 PM, lancemb said:

Does anyone know if these parts will interchange?  The owner is about to scrap them. 

https://forums.aaca.org/topic/327194-cheap-rust-free-parts-about-to-be-scrapped-1950-special/

 

On 5/26/2019 at 7:50 PM, lancemb said:

Does anyone know if these parts will interchange?  The owner is about to scrap them. 

https://forums.aaca.org/topic/327194-cheap-rust-free-parts-about-to-be-scrapped-1950-special/

 

 Front doors , maybe.  Back doors, no.  Back bumper will bolt up but is different. Sure hope someone grabs them. Someone needs them.

 

  Ben

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

 

 

 Front doors , maybe.  Back doors, no.  Back bumper will bolt up but is different. Sure hope someone grabs them. Someone needs them.

 

  Ben

I think they are gone one way or the other.  Ad disappeared.

Edited by lancemb (see edit history)
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On 5/26/2019 at 7:10 AM, JohnD1956 said:

You will need to remove the timing chain in front of the motor 1st.  Usually that means unbolting the cam shaft gear and then working it off the cam shaft in order to remove the chain. 

Then you will need to unbolt each main bearing cap ( shown by the red arrows) and each rod bearing cap shown by the yellow arrows) with the following caution:  For rebuild purposes, it is important to keep track of each cap in terms of both orientation and location.  I did see in the other picture that it appears your main bearing caps are numbered.  So that helps a lot.  But I am not certain about the rod caps and there are eight of them to keep track of.

 

The rod bearing caps and main bearing caps are numbered.

I am having trouble with the camshaft gear however. I took the bolt on the front off but it doesn't seem like its going to move, and the bolts underneath the gear wont come out because the gear doesnt spin, so not sure where to go from here. The crankshaft gear is not stuck either.

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@Edwin The Kiddid you try digging out the mud and debris from the bottom of the torque converter first?  Because if that's what's holding your engine from spinning, you could save yourself a lot of work and grief. 

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1 minute ago, JohnD1956 said:

@Edwin The Kiddid you try digging out the mud and debris from the bottom of the torque converter first?  Because if that's what's holding your engine from spinning, you could save yourself a lot of work and grief. 

Yes, I cleared the mud, the transmission is spinning around the ring gear, unless there is something else i need to clean out

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7 minutes ago, Edwin The Kid said:

Yes, I cleared the mud, the transmission is spinning around the ring gear, unless there is something else i need to clean out

 

And have you tried a pry bar in the teeth of the ring gear, against the block, to see if the crankshaft will now move?  To do this you may have to put two bolts back into the trans to engine bellhousing if you need to pry against the bellhousing with the pry bar. 

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BTW, if the trans spins around the torque converter, can you find the three or four bolts that hold the torque converter to the ring gear?  The torque converter has a lot of bolts that hold the converter together, but the n there are three or four that hold the converter to the ring gear.  You may be able to access those when you spin the trans around the converter, saving you from removing the crank shaft to get the trans off. 

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On 5/30/2019 at 7:00 PM, JohnD1956 said:

BTW, if the trans spins around the torque converter, can you find the three or four bolts that hold the torque converter to the ring gear?  The torque converter has a lot of bolts that hold the converter together, but the n there are three or four that hold the converter to the ring gear.  You may be able to access those when you spin the trans around the converter, saving you from removing the crank shaft to get the trans off. 

I have looked to see if there is a way to remove the trans and still haven't found a way, and either way I still do want to remove the crankshaft, so I'm not sure where to go from here. The shop manual on hometownbuick.com doesn't give much advice in these regards either

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Take the caps off the connecting rods, but keep them in order.  Then see if you can push some of the pistons out  or tap out with a broom handle.  Then prying between the ring gear and case may work.

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Hi! Nice 51' you've got there! Welcome to the group!

 

I just had the engine from my 51' rebuilt and let me tell you, it was not cheap. I've got a little over $4,000 into my original engine and it was running when we took it out of the car. 😕

 

If this were my car, I'd search out a running straight 8 motor and snag it. Shipping would be a bear, but if you can find one at the right price, you could easily swap it into your car and work on this original engine at your leisure (or keep it as a spare). Just a thought, if you haven't considered it already. 

 

Best of luck with your Buick! Glad to see another 51' being saved. 🙂

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9 hours ago, WhipperSnapper said:

Hi! Nice 51' you've got there! Welcome to the group!

 

I just had the engine from my 51' rebuilt and let me tell you, it was not cheap. I've got a little over $4,000 into my original engine and it was running when we took it out of the car. 😕

 

If this were my car, I'd search out a running straight 8 motor and snag it. Shipping would be a bear, but if you can find one at the right price, you could easily swap it into your car and work on this original engine at your leisure (or keep it as a spare). Just a thought, if you haven't considered it already. 

 

Best of luck with your Buick! Glad to see another 51' being saved. 🙂

 

What part of the rebuild was the most expensive for you?

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