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1922 steering wheel spark/throttle advance levers question?


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Does anyone have any photos of the the Sector spark and advance lever setup on 1916-1923 6-cyl Buicks?

 

While taking them apart to get the aluminum pieces polished, a couple of springs and friction shoes shot out of the sector spark lever(I Think) and I'm not 100% sure how they all go back together.

The parts I need help with are the two friction shoes, two springs and electric horn washer.

 

Hopefully someone has some pictures.

 

Thanks,

Mark

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I experienced the "shooting shoes" too. I ended up just copying the shoe and spring from the other lever.

No photos though.

 

The shoes are "T" shaped and the width is the same as the diameter of the spring hole as a slip fit. The top of the "T" is about 3/8" long if I remember right. I made it out of phenolic.

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I found this pic in one of my videos. They look a little different than yours but the idea is the same. One has a concave edge that goes along the outside of the sector, the other is convex and goes on the inside. The spring fits down the hole inside the spark or throttle levers, and into the spring housing in the friction units.

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Edited by Morgan Wright (see edit history)
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I spoke with Mark a little while ago about the spark and throttle levers.  I told him that I seem to remember my Dad saying something about these rub blocks being made out of Soapstone.  Can anybody comment on that?  To me that seems like a logical material to use in this area.  Mark thought that they could be made out of Bakelite.  If they are indeed Soapstone, that would lend a little bit of lubricity to the mating surfaces.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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3 hours ago, Terry Wiegand said:

I spoke with Mark a little while ago about the spark and throttle levers.  I told him that I seem to remember my Dad saying something about these rub blocks being made out of Soapstone.  Can anybody comment on that?  To me that seems like a logical material to use in this area.  Mark thought that they could be made out of Bakelite.  If they are indeed Soapstone, that would lend a little bit of lubricity to the mating surfaces.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

 

Do you want lubricity on the friction pads, or do you want friction? 

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Aw cripe - mine are frosted glass. In most photos they don’t look like it because you see through to dim background colors, but in this screen-grab from a video I shot you can plainly see the flesh of my pinky finger showing through the spark lever one. (Spent a LOT of time going through pictures and videos looking for one showing the transparency too.)

Someone almost certainly stuck these in to replace something lost. Doubt Buick ever used glass even on the little 4-cyls.

Of course the parts-book gives no material description and illustrates only a black blur with the rough shape of the things.

Maybe the car isn’t 100% correct after all.

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Edited by Ben P. (see edit history)
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4 hours ago, DonMicheletti said:

I'd think that steel against that pot metal of the quadrant was a poor combination.  The expensive part wears out.

 

Of the 3 that I have taken apart, none were steel.

 

OK I went back and tested again, and it's not steel. The file I used was very fine and made dust particles which were so small they stuck to the magnet via static electricity. Today I used a rougher file and made bigger filings, which DO NOT stick to the magnet. It's a metal though, not bakelite. It might be pot metal. Here are some pics:

 

 

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Today while waiting to get my throttle sector back from being polished,  I decided to pull the shafts for them out from the steering column to clean and grease.  Seemed like the old grease was a graphite grease so that’s what I put back in.  I cleaned both shafts with brake clean and re-greased them with synthetic graphite grease. I used a steel rod with paper towels taped to it to grease the inside parts.

 

I also took this time to strip the steering wheel so I can re-stain it.  That’s is some tuff stuff to take off whatever it is that’s on that wheel. I stripped it five times and all that is left are some black spots that are impossible to remove

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The original grease was probably graphite powder mixed with vaseline, that was extremely common to use in those days. People who restore old Victrolas still use it to grease the drive spring in the can. It's just common knowledge and traditional among Victrola restorers, because it's what Thomas Edison used on everything.

 

http://victrolagramophones.proboards.com/thread/1200/columbia-grafonola-advice-needed

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In my quest to try to figure out why my wooden steering wheel has so much black in the crevices and grain of the wood, I am beginning to think the steering wheels were painted black on the open cars.  If you compare these photos I copied from a very nice Buick brochure of the steering wheels of a touring car and an enclosed car,  there does appear to be a real difference in finish.  I know they are black and white photos,  but you can see a real difference.

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Mark, I’d be surprised if that steering wheel were ever painted black. Looks like wood exposed to standard weather/moisture staining to me.

If you really want to know, (assuming ALL paint then had lead, and I’m pretty sure it was) maybe this cheap lead test could be the tell? https://www.lowes.com/pd/3M-Lead-Check-Swab-Disposable-Lead-Test-Kit/4329974
 

Top pic below: An original 1918 wheel from my E-35 which the restorer stripped with glass in 1968. He did that just to use that wheel as a pattern to recreate new wheels for use on the car. 

That wheel had been painted the same color (cream? Yellow?) as its hub in pic #2 below, but yet you can see a little evidence of black staining in the grain. The really dark staining near the hub is in fact grease.
If you look really closely you’ll see a little black staining in the grain of the 1968 reproduction wheels, which according to the fashion of the time, were varnished rather than correctly painted as original. I assume this happened slowly over 50 yrs time — in earlier pictures they appear much lighter.

 

But what really makes me think your steering wheel was weather stained and not painted black are these other photos stolen from the mtfca website (pics #3 + 4, below). What’s interesting to me is these wheels WERE painted black — but yet there’s really no evidence of any of it remaining in the grain of the final stripped wood.

It cleaned out quite well, and remember, the steering wheel was sanded down to a much finer finish than the road wheels were. Those were left quite rough with grain plainly visible through the paint — and all wood wheels were painted prior to 1925. Again, plain wood wheels were the restorer’s fashion in the 1960’s-70’s-80’s.

I’ve given a LOT of thought to painting my wheels per the factory, but will take a lot of time deciding since at this point they match 100% the patina of the wood steering wheel - also remade in 1968. If I paint over that and change my mind and strip it all off that match will be gone forever.

I’d also say I’ve learned not to put too much weight on the factory illustrations — the artists seem to have taken many liberties and none were photos. In trying to determine the original colors of my wheels, in some illustrations the hubs appear dark, perhaps black, while the wood appears a very light color. In others, they appear all black. None appear with the light color visible on the original hub seen in pic #2 below. BUT, I have a picture from a family album with a D or E-35 dated 1921 with light painted hubs (last pic below). Somehow, I think that one is actually correct.

 

But who knows. No telling what an earlier owner did with paint when these were new! Not many color options offered in the early 20’s. Everyone wanted something ‘different’.

 

 

 

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Edited by Ben P.
Typo (see edit history)
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Here’s the mentioned family photo of a D or E-35 Buick in 1921. The car appeared (always incidentally) in other photos, but this one shows a road wheel well. That hub is definitely not black! Doubt they repainted it on a 3 or 4 yr old car.

(Was kind of a thrill to find this Buick. Being poor farmers I’d always assumed the car was just another Model T!)

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BenP,

 

Thank you for that interesting analysis.  The moisture theory is certainly possible..  The 1922 wheels had the little bumps to aid in gripping on the underneath of the wheel vs on the inside of the wheel like they were in the teens.  Also the 20s wheels seemed to have small ridges on the top side to aid in gripping where the wheels from the teens looked smooth on top.

 

What didn't make sense with my paint theory was the fact that the bumps were all black covered and shiny with whatever substance it was.  I had to sand them all to get it off.  Looked as thought they were worn between them over the years.  I would have thought that  if it was paint that was worn, the bumps would have worn first, not the space between them.

 

I'm starting to think I should just stain the wheel with a dark stain and be done with it.  Then use a gloss poly on top.  Plus the wood is very hard and not very pretty in grain etc.  Seems very gray like it may be walnut or something 

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Without launching into too much advice/opinion - if it were mine I’d probably treat it like antique furniture and throw a few coats of varnish (or whatever clear coat or oil) on it just to see what shines out. I really liked the thread on this unknown wood steering wheel:https://forums.aaca.org/topic/337456-help-me-rescue-this-from-an-antique-shop/

It could be a surprise. I see the grip ridges you described - pretty interesting effect.

If you don’t like it, stain could well turn out nicely. At least you have it - all the wood still intact in 1968 on mine was just used as a pattern for new. Even the steering wheel.

 

Interested to see what you decide. A lot of options here....

Edited by Ben P. (see edit history)
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 Ben, the car in your photo probably traveled up a long dusty road to be there. The dark green and black wheels on my 1925 did not look green or black after a short drive thru a dusty field to park at a local Steam and gas show. Tires too also were no longer black. Fenders and all were the color of, well.... dust.

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19 minutes ago, dibarlaw said:

 Ben, the car in your photo probably traveled up a long dusty road to be there. The dark green and black wheels on my 1925 did not look green or black after a short drive thru a dusty field to park at a local Steam and gas show. Tires too also were no longer black. Fenders and all were the color of, well.... dust.

LOL, yeah I overlooked that didn’t I?

We’re probably looking at mud on the wheel/hub. So maybe the factory illustrations were right after all. Who knows.

Funny thing is - was just talking about that. That road they lived on was named after them but they called it ‘The swamp road’ — because it is, and it’s usually flooded until June. 10 yrs ago I went on a 4th of July camping trip near there - went to drive down that road and got stuck!

Called a wrecker, told him three times where I was, claimed he didn’t know where I was at, finally I said, “I’m out on that Swamp Road” and he came right out.

BTW, the toddler in that photo looking up at her mother and infant sister recently passed in 2017 - she was 98.

*this post I’ll probably delete later*

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