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1920s Muffler Elbow Assembly plug. Why?


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Does anyone know what the purpose of having the "Muffler inlet elbow plug" in the elbow of the muffler elbow assembly was? This elbow attached between the end of the exhaust pipe coming into the front of the muffler. This was on cars whether or not they had a floor heater bypass, and that by pass was on the exhaust pipe prior to the muffler elbow so what was the puprose of the plug in the elbow?, and was the plug removed to attach anything to the elbow, if so then what? See picture

20200829_113447.jpg

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And how....

 

I was actually going to ask about this but was waiting to hear what others had to say.

 

One of the goofy things on my otherwise correct ‘18 is that it appears the previous owner made himself a crude version of this (access point?) that my mechanic noticed and mentioned he was going to ‘fix’ to avoid an exhaust leak. I assumed it was an access point but for what reason I haven’t a clue. That part of the exhaust pipe on mine is cast iron, or at least I think it is. It’s THICK.

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This picture is off of my 1922.  Its a cast iron elbow piece with a brass plug?  I assumed it was for a heater accessory.  I believe its original because everything else on this car has been.

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My 1917 d45 has an exhaust cutout just before the muffler.  It is foot pedal operated.  These early car"s engines were tuned and and trouble diagnosed by listening to the sound of the exhaust.  I suspect by 1922 this was used less, so they left the option with a removable plug for those that were used to the cutout method of tuning.

 

Bob Engle

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Larry, does your ‘18 truck have an exhaust cutout?

Hate to hijack the thread, but my E-35 has the top section crudely cut out of the exhaust pipe at right about this point before the muffler (and I know this [cast iron?] pipe is original to the car because it appears in the 1968 restoration photos. In fact it was about the only intact part of the whole car) and at some point someone wrapped it with steel sheet to close it back off.

At first I assumed an exhaust cutout had been there but looking in the reference book and parts-book there is no mention of a cutout on the 4-cylinder models. So I then I assumed someone either tried to fit an aftermarket one in or created an access point for some other reason. So the question on this thread caught my attention....

Edited by Ben P.
Typo (see edit history)
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There is the same cast elbow with plug on my 1925 Master.

 In the Shop Manual there is only one reference to a muffler let alone any thing concerning the exhaust system.

  Part One Diagnosis

           Engine

 Engine lacks power...
#8 Back pressure in muffler or heater.

 No information as to the reason for the plug.

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Good morning all - my 23 Opera coupe has the plug as referenced on page 51, - book says for engine firing but I suspect (humor) it was an early type of "glass pack" or "loud pipes save lives" if removed as HD riders say - be healthy all!

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13 hours ago, Ben P. said:

Larry, does your ‘18 truck have an exhaust cutout?

Hate to hijack the thread, but my E-35 has the top section crudely cut out of the exhaust pipe at right about this point before the muffler (and I know this [cast iron?] pipe is original to the car because it appears in the 1968 restoration photos. In fact it was about the only intact part of the whole car) and at some point someone wrapped it with steel sheet to close it back off.

At first I assumed an exhaust cutout had been there but looking in the reference book and parts-book there is no mention of a cutout on the 4-cylinder models. So I then I assumed someone either tried to fit an aftermarket one in or created an access point for some other reason. So the question on this thread caught my attention....

Ben, does your car have a rear floorboard heater? The section cut out off your exhaust pipe right before it gets to the mufflers is for an exhaust bypass valve. When you wanted heat to the rear passenger quarters, you would pull a lever mounted on the driver's side floorboard, this would divert the hot exhaust from the muffler, through another pipe that led to the floorboard heater, the hot exhaust would run through a series of tubing in the floor heater and then out a second exhaust pipe on passenger side. This is how my 1924 Model 51a Brougham is. Which is why I posted the original question because I couldn't figure out why there was a plug in the elbow. Attached is a picture out of the 1924 "Book of parts" showing the exhaust pipe with the cut out for the heater exhaust bypass and the bypass that fits over the exhaust pipe.

20200830_203902.jpg

20200830_203955.jpg

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Ah, I’ll get under the car this weekend and get a better look. Going off memory I noticed no holes in the floorboards but that cut you circled in the illustration looks exactly like the crude cut in the pipe. I’d bet someone added an accessory heater at some point in the car’s life prior to restoration.

This is really interesting - thanks guys!

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The Illustrated Parts Catalog for the 1922 models lists the Perfection Exhaust Heater as a factory option.  As far as I know Buick did not install the heaters when the cars were built.  They had cars going to Florida and Montana at all times of the year.  Obviously, a person would not need a heater in their car if they were in Florida.  In this persons humble opinion, this would have been a dealer installed option dependent on where the car was delivered if the customer so desired one.  I read what Brian posted about the 'testing the firing of the engine'.  I have the same plug in the exhaust system on my 1922 Model 48.  Somebody is going to have to explain to us on here just how a person 'tests' the firing of an engine.  You raise the hood - if the engine is running, it is firing.  If the engine is not running, it is not firing.  If there is a miss, it more than likely is a fouled plug.  I don't think the car needs to be put on a lift or somebody crawl underneath it to tell if the engine is not firing properly.  What were the engineers thinking back at that time?  Enlighten me because I just don't get it.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas 

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Terry,  I think it was for engine emission monitoring.😁  It,s interesting saying the plug should never be removed for use as a warning or amusement.  Wondering if the engine backfires  when the plug is removed when driving and the foot is taken off the accelerator pedal.  Possibly they used it to help tune the engine.

Edited by Rod Wise (see edit history)
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Easier to find a miss the closer you are to the ‘event’.  After the muffler, it’s more difficult. 
 

Was it used?  I doubt it.  The plug is near impossible to remove after a very short time of use. I find a miss shorting out cylinders and finding the cylinder where shorting it makes no change. 
 

You mention above ‘factory option’.  Doesn't the factory install factory options and the dealer install dealer options?  And, I thought all closed cars came standard with the rear in floor exhaust heater.   I read that somewhere too. 

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Our 23-6-48 has the Perfection Heater and as all know, the plug you speak of has nothing to do with the heater, there is a flapper valve built into the exhaust two to three feet ahead of the plug in the elbow, you pull a lever at the front seat to open at different intervals to allow the exhaust to divert to the heater, which has its own exhaust system, problem with them over time was people were being asphyixiated from not maintaining the heater, as far as who installed it "apples to apples" - In all of my service manuals I find no mention of a perfection heater, but when you google it, it orginated in Cleveland Ohio 1915 - The Perfection - Spring Service Company of Ohio - just my three cents worth, hello Brian and nice article Terry in the Bugle - stay healthy all

 

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Just located on page 49 reference (six cylinder 23 series) - car heater equipment - specific to 41, 47, 48 and 50 - states to order direct from Perfection Heater Mfg. of Cleveland Ohio - does list parts, so I suspect a dealer would install like any other options if requested by owner

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The book that Brian refers to shows 4 cylinder - 23-36,37 and 38 as having optional heaters (all closed cars), 35 is open? so maybe that exhaust pipe with the crude cutout was the only replacement piece they could find and wrapped it  - Jim

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On 8/30/2020 at 10:21 PM, Ben P. said:

Larry, does your ‘18 truck have an exhaust cutout?

Hate to hijack the thread, but my E-35 has the top section crudely cut out of the exhaust pipe at right about this point before the muffler (and I know this [cast iron?] pipe is original to the car because it appears in the 1968 restoration photos. In fact it was about the only intact part of the whole car) and at some point someone wrapped it with steel sheet to close it back off.

At first I assumed an exhaust cutout had been there but looking in the reference book and parts-book there is no mention of a cutout on the 4-cylinder models. So I then I assumed someone either tried to fit an aftermarket one in or created an access point for some other reason. So the question on this thread caught my attention....

 

Ben,

I do not remember.  I will need to go over and look at it, but I do not think so.

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