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22 Buick needs someone to get it running


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Can you move your posting to the "Buick Pre War Technical" section.  Either move it or repost it.  This is where your help will come from, and more of us that will help your car (being it is a Buick) monitor that thread more than this one.    Welcome, and tell us where you want to start.  It looks like you have a great project.   Posting photos is already a good start.   We have another 1922 Buick on this thread that has just started this past week.     




Also posting my "New Buick Owners" notes  There is a lot of pot metal in these cars that has to be addressed.   .  I have lots of other technical documents already posted so try a search but don't be afraid to ask if you don't find what you are looking for.    Hugh    


New Buick Owners Guide & Prewar Starting guide.          Hugh Leidlein                  12-22-19   C

Welcome to Buick ownership.  Here are some tips to get you started.

The following books are necessary for Pre war Buick Ownership.   They come based on 4 cylinder or 6 cylinder models prior to 1925, or for Standard or Master 1925 and up.  Basically around 115” wheelbase is the smaller Buick series and 120 to 128” wheelbase is the larger Buick series. 

The Buick Heritage Alliance sells the following books.  The quality of the copies is only “fair” in many cases.  This may work for some people, depending on how many pieces your car is missing or needing.  I suggest buying an original book of parts if you can find it due to the better print quality.   Also try Faxon.  

1)      The “Book of Parts” for your year.  

2)      The “Shop Manual” for your year

3)      The “reference book” for your year (of lesser importance if you can find a shop manual).

It is helpful in many cases to obtain copies of the parts books for 1 or 2 years before and after your model year.  Many times there is additional information or photos that will help with your understanding.

Note: Only a handful of parts used on a 4 cylinder model fit a 6 cylinder model.  Same with so few Standard parts will fit a Master.  The 4 cylinder line became the Standard, and the 6 cylinder line became the Master so there is interchangeability in that order.  Parts interchange is closest based on wheelbase of the models      

There is also available a big book of parts “Buick Master Parts List 1916-1932”.  This 3” thick book provides a listing of the years and models for each part.  You will have better luck finding a part knowing it’s year and model range rather than just looking for a single year.   This book does not have a lot of pictures and will not be a good substitute for the book of parts for your year, but I refer to this book frequently.   Some find it of little use - based on how many parts they are missing.

There are almost zero “exploded views” of parts, so take a lot of photos and notes during disassembly. 

------------ Precautions------ THESE ARE NOT MODERN ENGINES------Damage can occur.

The first order is usually to see if the engine will turn over.  Do the following first.

1)      Pull the Water pump hoses

 The water pump is on the side of the motor.  The issue is that the camshaft gear is fiber on 1924-1928 Buick 6 cylinders, and it drives the waterpump.    If the water pump is frozen or drags, it will destroy the timing gear teeth.  Parts will fall in the engine.  The camshaft gears are expensive and new gears are not of the same quality as the originals.  The first order of business should be to remove the water pump hoses to ensure the pump rotates on the shaft.   Without the hoses, it should rotate 180 degrees. Note that some earlier models have a water pump housing bolt that also needs to be removed.       

Water pump shafts are steel unless a recent replacement to stainless.  The water pump bearings are bronze.  If the antifreeze was not cared for, rust on the WP shaft could wear the bronze bearings out quickly.  The WP seal is graphite packing.  The wear surface should be smooth and the packing should only be tight enough to prevent major leaks of the waterpump.  It should drip a little bit here and there.  If it does not, the packing is too tight.  Most people replace the shaft with a stainless steel shaft.

2)      Change the oil (and filter if it has one).  Strongly consider dropping the oil pan as well. 

An oil change is probably long overdue.   Don’t cut corners and skip dropping the pan.  Pre 1926 cars had no oil filter.  Non detergent oil was used for years, and there is likely a lot of sludge in the oil pan.  I have seen the oil pick up screens clogged from sludge, and this will starve the engine and could suck the screen in.  Bob’s Automobilia or Olsons Gaskets has an oil pan gasket set.  This is not a hard job.

3)      Oil the Cylinders

Pull the spark plugs, put some oil in the cylinders.  If penetrating oil or Marvel mystery oil was used in the cylinders, you must follow it with regular oil once the engine begins to turn. 

4)      Pull the valve cover. 

Squirt oil on the rocker assembly.  Bump the rockers with a rubber mallet over the valve springs to ensure that all the valves move.  Drip oil on the valve stems if you can.

5)      Pull the engine side covers.

Squirt oil on the cam shaft rollers (and cam bearings if you can get to them). 

After doing the above 5 items, you could rotate the motor, even crank it with the starter.  If the engine is or was frozen, let the cylinders soak for at least a week in penetrating lube.  It is best to try to unstick a frozen engine from the flywheel end and not the hand crank end.  The handcrank is not that strong.  Put the transmission in 1st gear.  Use 4 people (2 in front and 2 at the back) to rock the car back and forth in an effort to free the pistons.  Parts frozen by rust come apart easier if you work the frozen part back and forth rather than continually forcing the rotation thru the rust.  Reversing rotation allows some rust to move out of compression between the parts.

Note that the pistons are removed only from the bottom of the engine on early Buick motors.  If you do get the engine to rotate, strongly consider pulling the pistons out the bottom and cleaning the cylinder walls and the ring grooves and doing an inspection - prior to reinstalling and firing the engine.     

It would be great to get a compression tester.  Around 60 lbs pressure in each cylinder is a good motor.  There should be less than 10% deviation in each cylinder.  Spark plug adapters are available from Ford Model A parts suppliers.    

Cranking the motor is a good thing to check off the list.  A compression test gives a good check on the health of the motor. 

Preparing for starting – knowing that the motor turns over:

1)      Pull the carburetor. 

a)      Clean out the fuel bowl. 

b)      Use carburetor cleaner to ensure all internal passages blow thru. 

c)       Consider installing a Nitrolphyl float – available from Bob’s Automobilia or Gregg Lange. 

d)      Check that the air valve lays smooth against the carburetor inside diameter and that there is a narrow gap at the base of the air valve.  You may need to file the pot metal venturi block.  There are AACA forum posts on this – search using the quote “Marvel Carburetor Rebuilding”.

2)      Check that the exhaust manifold valve (on the front end of the exhaust manifold) is open.  There are AACA forum posts on this – search using the quote “Buick Exhaust valve removal”.

3)      Rebuild the distributor.  The distributor should rotate by the advance levers on the steering column.  Several years of distributors were pot metal and the distributor housing will grow and freeze into the generator housing.   Replace with a steel Buick distributor from other years.  Do not force the movement as there are potmetal gears at the base of the steering column that are not that strong.  There are AACA forum posts on this – search using the quote “Distributor Replacement”.  Also search for “Distributor rebuilding”.

4)      Rebuild the Water pump. (see the forum for upgrades to the seals and shaft). There are AACA forum posts on this – search using the quote “Water Pump Rebuilding”.

5)      The fan hub is an old design that requires frequent oiling and will leak oil all over the motor.  Replace it with a sealed bearing hub – Several suppliers for this.  Search the AACA Forum “fan hub replacement”.

6)      Rebuild the vacuum tank and gas tank * I prefer to do the “fuel supply” system later as there is a lot to this.  For a first start, I hang a 1 quart used lawnmower tank and feed the carburetor with this from a reinforced rubber fuel hose, or just pour gas in the vacuum tank.  It will hold about a quart. Search the AACA Forum “vacuum tank rebuilding”.


Other notes:

Oil and grease is usually long overdue for removing the old and installing new (and not just installing new.)  Clean out as much of the old as you can first.


Engines that have laid dormant for decades may have significant rust in the engine block.  You do not want this in your honeycomb radiator as they cannot be rodded out.  Consider installing a Gano filter into the top radiator hose to catch sediment and keep rust out of the radiator.  Also consider removing the engine freeze plugs and cleaning any rust out of the block, or at least reverse flushing out the engine water jacket with water and without radiator hoses just prior to start up.

The firing order is 142635.  (Reverse of a modern engine).


Pot metal failures cause problems.  The following areas will likely need attention

1.       Distributors – housing growth prevents spark advance.  discussed above

2.       Carburetor – venture growth – prevents easy starting and idling – discussed above

3.       Ignition switch – switch shaft grows, housing hole grows smaller-  Bob’s Automobilia has parts-replace both housing and switches.

4.       Speedometers – internals freeze up.  Disconnect the cable to prevent cable damage. 

Edited by Hubert_25-25 (see edit history)
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  • 1 year later...
On 6/17/2020 at 10:47 AM, Shlattman said:

Engine was rebuilt just never put back together. Steering column needs connected as well. We are in Mt Juliet TN 371222. Thank you!





I see your from Michigan what part of Michigan?  I’m in Ovid MI which is north of Lansing. I’ve got a 22-4-36 I’ve been gathering some parts for but the engine is intact. Did you have any luck getting help to get it started? 

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These are interesting posts.  The guy obviously needs help or appears to need help.  He makes one posting, in June 2020  1 1/2 years ago, then nothing.  No thanks, no follow up.  Lately I have noticed more of these.  Wondering if these folks are even legit.  I have seen several like this where the number of posts are in the less than 5 range.    Hugh 




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I think when some guys get a new toy they get all excited and start asking questions on several forum sites.

Then as they lose interest and forget just which forums they visited we get the feeling that we have been ghosted.

In the meantime, us regulars get educated.

And do we suspect that the thing still doesn't run?  Two possible answers.

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