JudyD

How slow is a 1952 Dynaflow?

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Posted (edited)

Hello All..Newbie here. I am not new to the antique car world as I have had a 1965 Pontiac as well as a 1955 Chevy 210 both of which my husband helped me work on. That said one of my true loves has always been the early 50's Buicks. I have an opportunity to buy a local 1952 Super 2DR Hardtop which on inspection looks to be somewhere between fair and good condition. Let's just say it needs a bit of love but the bones seem to be good. One question I had for you experienced folk is how slow should I expect the Dynaflow transmission to be? It seems it takes this car about 10 seconds (maybe more?) to get up to about 30mph. I just want to make sure that this is within the realm of what you guys experience and that this is not a warning sign for me that there is something amiss with this car.

Thanks so much for your advice!

Judy

Edited by JudyD (see edit history)

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Without direct experience I would guess that you are experiencing normal operation.  Earlier than 54-55 Dynaflows ,and even my '56 sometimes, may seem to be lackluster in off line performance.  But while it may not be the vehicles finest point, the Dynaflows are usually very reliable. 

 

What you should check is the status of the fluid level.  If my car is down a quart it seems to be working harder.  Put that one top-off quart in - and the trans pick up is considerably better.  Note also that sometimes the cap for the trans dip stick will slip and slide up and down the dip stick, thus rendering a reading difficult to get.  I try to hold the cap in the correct position when testing the fluid level and topping it off.  

 

And you may also want to reorient your perception of performance.  Cross referencing "seat of the pants experience" between the Dynaflow and the other two cars you have will have you yanking the trans for a rebuild with no appreciable increase in performance.  And before even considering yanking the Dynaflow it would be advisable to make sure the engine is not in need of any services, like a tune up, new plug wires,  or carb rebuild etc.  

 

Good luck

 

 

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Also, Dynaflows don't shift automatically.  If you really need to get it moving, pull it down into low.  Once you are up to speed, shift it back to drive.  It will hit hard, and I wouldn't recommend doing it all the time.  I don't know that it's really bad, but that shock loading has to take its toll...

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Posted (edited)

Factory claims for the 52:

 

Accelerations: 0- 60 mph 16.6© s; 0- 100 km/h 17.9© s (simulation ©automobile-catalog.com); 1/4 mile drag time (402 m) 20.7© s 

 

124 hp I would say the performance you are experiencing with this 52 is as it should be according to the factory performance specs.   

 

https://www.automobile-catalog.com/make/buick/full-size_buick_2gen/series_50_super_2gen_riviera_2-door/1952.html

Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)
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Thank you for the quick feedback and suggestions, gentlemen!

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Judy, welcome to our world.  There are a lot of Buick folks in your area.

   As John D indicated, the engine MAY need tuning. The Dynaflow of those years can handle a LOT more power than the engine puts out. 

  Matt mentioned the Dynaflow does not shift automatically. IT DOES NOT SHIFT, PERIOD.  Put that sucker in D [drive] and stomp it.  It will , if engine is right, surprise you. They are a tough transmission.

 

  Don't forget us. Come back often.

 

  Ben

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Posted (edited)

You may find this Buick publication from 1950 interesting. The paragraph headed ON GETTING AWAY AGAIN really sums up driving with Dynaflow - effortless.

 

 

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Edited by 50jetback (see edit history)
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No Buick Century models in 1952. None from 1946 through 1953. 1954 is the first Post-WWII Century (and I have one for sale, if anybody needs one!)

IMG_0190.JPG

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9 hours ago, avgwarhawk said:

Factory claims for the 52:

 

Accelerations: 0- 60 mph 16.6© s; 0- 100 km/h 17.9© s (simulation ©automobile-catalog.com); 1/4 mile drag time (402 m) 20.7© s 

 

Kind of weird. It takes 1.3 seconds to go from 60 mph to 62.1391192 mph (100 KM/H) Take a look at the speedometer in your new car and see where 60 mph and 100 km/h appear. Learned that in Germany when I was in  the Army. If you were driving a GSA vehicle, you were limited to 100 km/h even on the Autobahn.

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13 hours ago, Lawrence Helfand said:

Judy if you want a faster 52 Buick find yourself a Century or Roadmaster which make more power

Tempting! But whatever happened to "slow and steady wins the race"?

Actually I don't mind the sluggishness, just wanted to make sure it wasn't slower than it was supposed to be. You know.. a sign of a bigger problem.  

Having always heard the Dynaflow called Dynaslow...I thought I knew what to expect when driving one...and yet it was still a bit of a surprise. 

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36 minutes ago, JudyD said:

Tempting! But whatever happened to "slow and steady wins the race"?

Actually I don't mind the sluggishness, just wanted to make sure it wasn't slower than it was supposed to be. You know.. a sign of a bigger problem.  

Having always heard the Dynaflow called Dynaslow...I thought I knew what to expect when driving one...and yet it was still a bit of a surprise. 

I always liked Dynaslug and Slushmatic ...Slow and steady certainly has its advantages just ask Barry White (rip) but not for winning races except for reptiles vs rodents of course

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As Jim says "love that Dynaflow hum."  Gotta' say that driving my 63 is like driving a cloud.

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1 minute ago, RivNut said:

As Jim says "love that Dynaflow hum."  Gotta' say that driving my 63 is like driving a cloud.

As Zappa says, it's "Dinah-Moe humm". ;) 

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Just now, KongaMan said:

As Zappa says, it's "Dinah-Moe humm". ;) 

Wasn't going to touch that one with a ten foot pole. 

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3 hours ago, JudyD said:

Tempting! But whatever happened to "slow and steady wins the race"?

Actually I don't mind the sluggishness, just wanted to make sure it wasn't slower than it was supposed to be. You know.. a sign of a bigger problem.  

Having always heard the Dynaflow called Dynaslow...I thought I knew what to expect when driving one...and yet it was still a bit of a surprise. 

 

 I believe most of those using the "Dynaslow " and "Dynaslug" have never driven one.  I had a 1950 Super Convertible in 1955.  I never had a problem staying with normal traffic at traffic lights.  Or top speed.  Using L to start, could give a pretty good account of myself.  A big part of the "slow" is perception.  We hear it, but don't hear it wind up and change as does Hydramatic. And if one holds the engine RPM down to the way today's engines sound, One loses a lot.   

 

 Try this.  Try being first in either lane at a stop light.  Watch for another person near your own age, in a newer car,  stopped beside you. On green , put your foot down!  You might be surprised.

 

  Ben

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I have pretty good experience working on and driving Tom Pirrung's Buick from the Buffalo area.

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It accelerates briskly, if that is a good term. I never felt a lack of power or sluggishness at all. I took a street rodder friend out in the car to specifically show him how well it performed. At the time I had freshly tuned the car and temperatures were in the 85-90 range (no hint of vapor lock).

When his car came in the ignition breaker plate was sticking due to a lack of lubricant on the cork pad. I matched his AC plugs to some NGK that worked fine.

I would do a thorough check of all the timing functions. I would also make real sure the brakes were not dragging.

My '60 Electra is a Triple Turbine Dynaflow and lacks no performance in the transmission. It is fast enough to make Scott Heise, from the Buick Club, giggle when I put my foot into it from a stop.

 

Check the advance mechanism in the distributor, look for mud in the wheel cylinders, and 70 year old brake return springs.

Bernie

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