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1926 Buick gauges and levers

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Trying to learn about the switches broken on our 1926 Buick.  What do the two switches do?  Also trying to figure out what all the levers do on the steering wheel.

842934A6-A412-463F-84BC-7EF181C36067.jpeg

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Go down to the bottom of the steering column, and watch what happens when somebody moves these levers. Should be attached to gears that adjust the throttle, the timing, and a third thing I don't know.

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The third small lever on the steering wheel is the headlight dimmer. 

 

On the dash, left lever is ignition, right lever is light switch. 

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Posted (edited)

Be cautious to not break any parts as the 94 year old grease is likely dried out, and you have many pot metal parts that swell together.  Some of the pot metal can be salvaged (which is why you have to be careful during removal).  

STEERING LEVERS

- THROTTLE - right lever- This should pull the gas pedal down to the floorboard when operating correctly.  It is used mainly to raise the idle when cold and to lower the idle when shifting into first when cold.   It is not a great cruise control as the brake will not shut it off.  I use it to raise the idle when I start the car as my right foot is on the starter pedal.  The left foot should be on the brake during starting.  Lever up is the idle position

- SPARK ADVANCE - left lever - This is used to turn the distributor to advance or retard the spark.  There is a slot in the distributor hold down plate that matches the full travel from full advance to full retard.   Put a magnet on your distributor housing.  It won't stick to potmetal.  If you have a potmetal one, it is likely frozen into the generator housing.

You will want to locate a used steel distributor.  Remove the cotter pin in the end of the rod that is attached to the distributor base plate.  Ensure that the distributor will rotate before trying to move it with the steering lever.    Lever up is full spark advance.

There are tubes inside of tubes within the steering column tube with the steering levers on the top end and bevel gears on  the bottom.  These have pot metal gears at the base of the steering column.  The smallest is the most fragile and the gears come in a set, so if you break it, you buy the whole set (if available).   The matching bevel gears work the cross shaft for the distributor and the throttle

HEADLIGHT DIMMER - In 1926 the headlight dimmer was added to the steering column.  This is the bottom lever.  

 

DASH BOARD (Working left to right)

CHOKE PLATE - The face plate is pot metal.  Yours is remarkably not broken.  Bob's Automobilia probably carries all these parts.  The choke knob is inexpensive, but the face plate and the lever arm are not so.  You will use the choke, but will not use the heat control, but you want the lever in the dash.  Modern gasoline does not need this system to operate.  

IGNITION SWITCH/LIGHT SWITCH - The housing and the levers are pot metal.  The holes in the housing grow smaller, and the levers shafts grow bigger.  Then the handles break off.  The housing (on Standards)  grows into the dash boards.  You have to salvage all the parts except the pot metal parts.  Bob's sells the housing, levers, glass,  some faceplates, or they can sell a rebuilt unit.  I have instructions on how to rebuild the switch yourself.

OIL PRESSURE & TEMP GAUGE - one of the few items that may not have disintegrated with time.  

SPEEDOMETER - AC BRAND.  These are a mess.  Several internal pot metal parts.  The most common failure to all of these is the speedometer yoke that holds the speed wheel grows and stops the speed wheel from moving.  If the part is JB welded together, it will just fail again later.  The magnets usually have to be recharged.  Some of the internal driving parts fail, and some of the odometer encasements (potmetal) self destruct.  I am currently working to make some parts available for these.  Do not try to spin it with a drill.  The housing has to be taken off very carefully to prevent damage as there are no replacements available.  Set this one aside and I hope to have more information soon.  Do remove the speedometer cable and grease the cable.  Use the cable to gently turn the speedometer to see if it will move.  Note that the grease is 95 years old, but you may still have a working odometer.  

Hugh  

 

 

 

Edited by Hubert_25-25 (see edit history)

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Some interesting points on the light switch. It has four on positions:

First turns on the tail light only. I presume this is a manual brake light as 1926 Buicks did not come with a brake light. At least that is how I use it.

Second is tail and cowl lights.

Third and fourth are both head and tail lights. Inside my switch there was what I think is an original jumper wire jumping these two positions together. My supposition is this switch was a carryover from 1925 before the light dimmer moved to the steering column and one of those two positions was dim and the other was bright.

The little round knob on top turns on the instrument light. 

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I believe that 1928 was the first year that Buicks came from the factory with a brake light.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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1 hour ago, Bob Atkinson said:

 

First turns on the tail light only. I presume this is a manual brake light as 1926 Buicks did not come with a brake light. At least that is how I use it.

 

What do you use for a brake light when driving at night, when the taillight is already on? 

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I am just reasonably certain that 1928 was the first year for a factory brake light.  The 1927 would have had a tail light and a license tag light.  I will get into my 1928 Sales Brochures and see what is listed.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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Posted (edited)

Bob, 

   You are correct about the 1925 switch.  On most Delco ignition and light switches, the switch positions are not labeled.  I do have one 1925 switch that is labeled.  There is a winding of wire on the DIM position.  The headlight is a single filament bulb.  It works on the Head and the Dim positions.  The Dim position is additional resistance to dim the lights.   Funny how they did not label the dash dimmer knob.  

I would also suggest that you consider adding an actual brake light switch and a dual filament bulb as a minimum.  The tail running light is not a good substitute for a bright brake light.  I have all the instructions on how to install this if you are interested.

  Hugh 

IMG_7814.thumb.JPG.2b9ac0fc58c63a960d79bdd707824b1e.JPG

Edited by Hubert_25-25 (see edit history)

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Posted (edited)

Kevin, 

    That 1927 tail lamp is real interesting.  I see no bulb in the upper section.  It looks like light shining into the clear section (such as a car behind you) would hit the parabolic reflector and that would make a red reflector light up.  There was no rear reflector either.  

Are there 2 bulbs in the bottom section.  That would allow you to have a running and a stop lamp.

I will point out that the 1927 Standard maintained just a single rear indicator lamp and no brake switch or brake bulb in 1927.   This is a fancier lamp as would have been found on a Master.

 

Edited by Hubert_25-25 (see edit history)

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One bulb in upper and one in lower with 2 conductors. I put a piece of paper inside in lieu of the reflector so it would photograph.

Lower bulb illuminates the license plate and lower red lens, which must be the running light correct ?

Upper bulb illuminates both center clear lens and upper red lens.  If not a brake light, then what ?

Kevin

2020-01-08 16.jpg

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Kevin, 

    Thanks for the better photo and the detail.  That looks like they were using the upper for the brake light.  I do know that some of the early stop lamps were not just using red, but also just a bright white rear light as a stop indicator.   The emphasis was more on a bright rear light and less on that it was red.     Hugh

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My 1925-45 Mclaughin Buick has a brake light activated by the brake pedal activating a switch.Leon

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Kevin:

 From what I understand the taillight you show is for the 1928.

The 1927s have the same single taillight as the 1924-1925-1926. Either in the Standard or the Master form. I have seen many which had the accessory 280A "Yankee" Buick Type C. Dave Chambers' Buick article in the March-April 1973 Antique Automobile Magazine indicates that it was available for 1925-1927 cars.

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 I set my Standard up with a double filament contact plug and I use a repro Model A Ford switch for a brake light.

 

 

My Master already had a separate aftermarket STOP light.DSCF5656.thumb.JPG.d2ec6d5796425f51f8f8954e58281aff.JPG

DSCF5801.thumb.JPG.bb6502689d85e638ffdd1f83b671761d.JPG

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I have a Type C light with 2 wrong bullet lenses.    Its all apart now for repair work.

Type C lights have 3 lights and conductors.  What other equipment or switches would be added to the car's wiring to operate 2 additional lights ?   was there an early turn signal switch accessory to activate the 2 outboard lights ?

Kevin

Buick type C.jpg

Edited by Oregon Desert model 45
edit (see edit history)

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Some years (can;t recall which) had a switch on the trans that would light the brake or taillight when shifted into reverse.   One learned real quickly not to park in reverse as the battery goes dead!

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Very good point! Here is a compilation of the reference I sited.

 

             img20200109_10325759.thumb.jpg.3103eceb3b01c3bbc28f51b886cf7d4b.jpg1817060461_DSCF7539(2).thumb.JPG.018f6a80e6e9cea79a9b8ada1a94c29c.JPG

                              img20200109_10272331.thumb.jpg.dd077e432521b652c680743940f7406c.jpg

650674812_img20200109_10272331-Copy.thumb.jpg.313a55171bd5cefdd4732b362b16fdec.jpg

 

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19 hours ago, Oregon Desert model 45 said:

1927 tail lights have 2 bulbs, so wouldn't brake lights also have been introduced in 1927 ?

 

1927 Buick Tail Light.jpg

27-28 tail light housing.jpg

 

That's the 1928 taillight pictured. 

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Hugh,

Thanks for the offer. I may be contacting you. I actually have another tail light that I bought years ago from a guy that said it was a dealer sold accessory tail light. It has a similar but smaller round red lens and a blue rectangular lens above it that would serve as the brake light, two separate bulb sockets. It has the period Buick logo in the blue glass. Only problem  is the blue lens is cracked in half. I suppose I could glue it.

The bulb in my current tail light is plenty bright to serve as a stop light. My biggest problem is forgetting to turn the switch off after using it. I do use hand signals in addition, but most people today don't know why my hand is hanging out the window.

Last summer is the first time in 8 or 10 years I have driven my Buick after dark. Another problem with night driving is the dim headlights. We are spoiled!

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Bob, 

     Here are 2 links.  The first is what I did to install a brake light switch on the Buick, and a dual filament bulb into the original tail lamp.  The other link is installing turn signals on my 1925 Buick.  There are lots of ways to do this.  The very minimum is installing the brake light switch.  Reaction time is reduced significantly for the driver behind you if you are making a panic stop and the light is not operated by the foot switch.  Adding the foot switch also prevents your battery from running down as the brake switch will not be left on.    Hugh  

 

https://forums.aaca.org/topic/337485-brake-light-installation-mid-20s-buick/?tab=comments#comment-1968834

 

https://forums.aaca.org/topic/337486-turn-signal-addition/?tab=comments#comment-1969695

 

 

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Here is a photo of the very back page (specifications) of one of my 1928 Buick Sales Brochures.  It lists a combination tail, stop, and back-up lamp.  This is the first mention of a 'STOP' or 'BRAKE' lamp in any sales brochure up until this time.  This is the first time that I have taken the effort to verify what I had been told.  I guess this proves that whoever told me that 1928 was the first year for a brake light on Buick automobiles knew what they were talking about.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

P1090703.JPG

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