Jump to content

Noobie and his '39 Century


C-Lamb
 Share

Recommended Posts

So, progress continues!  Took out the plugs and added oil into the cylinders a few times and turned it by hand. Added 3qt of oil in the top rapidly to try to fill the valve cover and get oil in a few passages.  Next day drained out all that oil and put in 6qt fresh.   Turned it by hand a few times over the week. 

 

Hooked up a battery and let it spin a few times without plugs. (after unsticking the solenoid)  Put in the plugs and gave it a few more spins, but no spark.  Popped the distributor cap and found the points were corroded.  Dad couldn't resist the challenge so we applied a bit of emory paper and gas in the carb... success! https://photos.app.goo.gl/rztJANoieWY28nNGA

 

Moving on to getting more systems running - fuel pump is loose and ready for future work and tonight I pulled the master cylinder.  Would love to replace it with a dual circuit version, but haven't found anyone with a clear recommendation yet to keep it simple. Next step open up the front drums and see what we've got.  Gradually try to get stuff going and maybe easy upgrades as I go.  

 

Would love to find a way to flush the brake lines and fuel lines . 

 

more good news, tail lights and rear blinkers working well.  Thanks for the advice along the way!

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

 

 Good progress, C.

  I would not be concerned about the single master cyl.  Failures where a double helps are RARE.

 

  Ben

True, but parts are cheap and readily available.  Partly leaning that way because I would like to be able to drive it a reasonable amount and don't know how the original brakes will work. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The brakes on a 60 series are wider than 40 series.  They are large compared to 1960's and 1970's brake drums.

In good condition they do the job.  1939 Buick Engineers knew what they were doing

 

A view of disc vs drum --> https://forums.aaca.org/topic/348924-64-wildcat-disc-brakes/

 

Edited by 1939_Buick (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have made a positive brake bleeder that works great for flushing and bleeding the brakes.  I took an old canister oil filter and attached a rubber hose to the bottom with an airline female quick disconnect on the end.   I drilled a hole in the top and  installed a tire valve stem in the hole. I took a master cylinder fill cap and drilled and tapped the cap and installed a mail airline quick disconnect.  

partially fill the cannister with brake fluid, hang on a bungy cord over the master cylinder, connect the hose to the cap on the master cylinder and apply 1-2 psi air pressure to the cannister.  go to the right rear wheel push a piece of clear vinyl tubing onto the bleed fitting and the other end into a catch pan.  open the bleeder and let the  fluid flow till it is clear and bubble free.  Do the same to the other wheels.  Don't let the cannister run out of fluid as you will let air into the system.  

 

Bob Engle

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/13/2020 at 9:14 PM, C-Lamb said:

True, but parts are cheap and readily available.  Partly leaning that way because I would like to be able to drive it a reasonable amount and don't know how the original brakes will work. 

 

I am sure that the 1939 Century brake system is as good as those on my 1937 Century and 1938 Century. The original brake system in proper condition will lock up all 4 wheels. Restore it back to original condition and you will be fine. 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/14/2020 at 11:35 PM, MCHinson said:

 

I am sure that the 1939 Century brake system is as good as those on my 1937 Century and 1938 Century. The original brake system in proper condition will lock up all 4 wheels. Restore it back to original condition and you will be fine. 

Thanks Matt, that's helpful and good to know.  Has anyone upgraded to the larger drums/spindles from ~'42 or so?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have driven my 1937 Century from North Carolina to a tour in Indiana and back to another tour in Ohio and back home the next year. The car is a 6 volt, bias ply tire, unrestored non-modified but well maintained 1937 Buick. The Buick engineers knew what they were doing in that era. The cars were designed to be driven. Properly maintained, they can still be driven anywhere.  Lots of people seem to think you have to modify cars to make them "better" or "reliable". My personal experience tells me that they are mistaken. Fix what is wrong with it, and you will be fine. You don't need to "upgrade" or "modify" anything. 

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, MCHinson said:

I have driven my 1937 Century from North Carolina to a tour in Indiana and back to another tour in Ohio and back home the next year. The car is a 6 volt, bias ply tire, unrestored non-modified but well maintained 1937 Buick. The Buick engineers knew what they were doing in that era. The cars were designed to be driven. Properly maintained, they can still be driven anywhere.  Lots of people seem to think you have to modify cars to make them "better" or "reliable". My personal experience tells me that they are mistaken. Fix what is wrong with it, and you will be fine. You don't need to "upgrade" or "modify" anything. 

Thanks! That's helpful.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 About the brakes. I have a '41 Roadmaster which I restored as a driver some years ago, and I do drive it quite a bit. The brakes are stock, and work very well, I keep the emergency brake in good condition, just in case.

 As a previous poster said, mine will also lock all the wheels up at speed.

 However, lining type is very important. I also have a '56 Roadmaster, which actually has slightly wider drums, and power assist, but after replacing the entire system a few years ago, and it needed it, the stopping power was terrible. The lining material was a newer, and harder type, which did not grip the drums nearly as well as the original.

 I am now running Kevlar lining material, which seems to be much better, though I don't have them very well broken in yet.

 So with a properly set up system, they work very well.

 Keith

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, Buicknutty said:

 About the brakes. I have a '41 Roadmaster which I restored as a driver some years ago, and I do drive it quite a bit. The brakes are stock, and work very well, I keep the emergency brake in good condition, just in case.

 As a previous poster said, mine will also lock all the wheels up at speed.

 However, lining type is very important. I also have a '56 Roadmaster, which actually has slightly wider drums, and power assist, but after replacing the entire system a few years ago, and it needed it, the stopping power was terrible. The lining material was a newer, and harder type, which did not grip the drums nearly as well as the original.

 I am now running Kevlar lining material, which seems to be much better, though I don't have them very well broken in yet.

 So with a properly set up system, they work very well.

 Keith

Thank you for the insight, I will stick to stock and see how it all looks for now.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pulled the front hubs today, look very good inside, below. 

 

Questions:  

The drums seem to be attached to the hub with 3 pins that don't look like they are easy to remove...  Should I mess with them at all?

 

Starter - I was able to start it the engine with a bit of gas in the carb and pressing the accelerator.  But when the gas ran out, the starter resumed cranking immediately.  Seems like that's not the right answer?  What prevents the starter from re-cranking ?

 

Thanks!

Chris

IMG_20201017_201756.jpg

IMG_20201017_201738.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you read through my 1938 restoration story on this site, you will see how to disassemble and go through the brake system. That is exactly how the Buick accelerator start system should work. If the engine is not running and the accelerator is pressed, it activates the starter system. If you don't have a factory service manual, you need to get one. It will explain how all of the systems work and how to work on them. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As  above you need to get a manual

 

Download the 1942 Buick shop manual for free. All of it section by section.

Or click the pdf link to pay.

http://www.oldcarmanualproject.com/

http://www.oldcarmanualproject.com/manuals/Buick/1942/Shop Manual/

It is very comprehensive and has information that can be used with all straight 8’s.

It has more information than was included in older “Shop Manuals” before 1942

The 1942 has a good explanation of how the accelerator starter work.  Often it is bypassed with a hand switch.  But good if it works

 

https://www.teambuick.com/reference/index.php

https://www.teambuick.com/reference/library/52_shop/index.php

 

The brake drum will come of the hub. CRC-WD40 or/and a little heat. Be gentle. 

Be careful not to put too much force and distort/crack the drum

 

Edited by 1939_Buick (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, MCHinson said:

If you read through my 1938 restoration story on this site, you will see how to disassemble and go through the brake system. That is exactly how the Buick accelerator start system should work. If the engine is not running and the accelerator is pressed, it activates the starter system. If you don't have a factory service manual, you need to get one. It will explain how all of the systems work and how to work on them. 

Thanks Matt, I'll dig into the threads more now that it's getting colder out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, 1939_Buick said:

As  above you need to get a manual

 

Download the 1942 Buick shop manual for free. All of it section by section.

Or click the pdf link to pay.

http://www.oldcarmanualproject.com/

http://www.oldcarmanualproject.com/manuals/Buick/1942/Shop Manual/

It is very comprehensive and has information that can be used with all straight 8’s.

It has more information than was included in older “Shop Manuals” before 1942

The 1942 has a good explanation of how the accelerator starter work.  Often it is bypassed with a hand switch.  But good if it works

 

https://www.teambuick.com/reference/index.php

https://www.teambuick.com/reference/library/52_shop/index.php

 

The brake drum will come of the hub. CRC-WD40 or/and a little heat. Be gentle. 

Be careful not to put too much force and distort/crack the drum

 

Thanks `39, will do, been avoiding spending all my free time on the computer during this fabulous weather we have had.  After a long day on email and zoom, the car is a nice break!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, 1939_Buick said:

As  above you need to get a manual

 

Download the 1942 Buick shop manual for free. All of it section by section.

Or click the pdf link to pay.

http://www.oldcarmanualproject.com/

http://www.oldcarmanualproject.com/manuals/Buick/1942/Shop Manual/

It is very comprehensive and has information that can be used with all straight 8’s.

It has more information than was included in older “Shop Manuals” before 1942

The 1942 has a good explanation of how the accelerator starter work.  Often it is bypassed with a hand switch.  But good if it works

 

https://www.teambuick.com/reference/index.php

https://www.teambuick.com/reference/library/52_shop/index.php

 

The brake drum will come of the hub. CRC-WD40 or/and a little heat. Be gentle. 

Be careful not to put too much force and distort/crack the drum

 

Downloaded the manual, but title indicates 52, not 42?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, C-Lamb said:

Downloaded the manual, but title indicates 52, not 42?

2 different manuals.

1942 from http://www.oldcarmanualproject.com/manuals/Buick/1942/Shop Manual/

1952 from  https://www.teambuick.com/reference/library/52_shop/index.php

Both could have been downloaded at no cost

1942 better for '1939's

Edited by 1939_Buick (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, 1939_Buick said:

2 different manuals.

1942 from http://www.oldcarmanualproject.com/manuals/Buick/1942/Shop Manual/

1952 from  https://www.teambuick.com/reference/library/52_shop/index.php

Both could have been downloaded at no cost

1942 better for '1939's

Yup, just seemed better to have the whole thing, much faster to look through and easier to share with Dad. 

Appreciate the prod to start using the available materials ;-). 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Gary W said:

And here's the brake rebuild step-by-step:

 

 

Thanks Gary, will review tonight.  Honey-do's done, a few more outdoor tasks and then it's time to catch up on email and planning for the work week 😞  appreciate the links to the hot spots!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Those linings look like there are not worn much, and might be good for some time as long as they are not cracked or contaminated.

 As for pins holding it on, do you mean the bolts which hold the backing plate to the spindle, or do you mean the spring loaded gizmos which are holding the shoes on?

 Unless there are some issues, the backing plate doesn't have to come off for a usual type of brake repair. If you are needing to kingpins, etc., then that's a different matter.

Keith

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, Buicknutty said:

 Those linings look like there are not worn much, and might be good for some time as long as they are not cracked or contaminated.

 As for pins holding it on, do you mean the bolts which hold the backing plate to the spindle, or do you mean the spring loaded gizmos which are holding the shoes on?

 Unless there are some issues, the backing plate doesn't have to come off for a usual type of brake repair. If you are needing to kingpins, etc., then that's a different matter.

Keith

I have seen that the drums are available as a separate part from the 'hub/bearing carrier' and wanted to know if it came apart easily. 

There's no sign that it comes apart easily, look like there are 3 conical pins that are riveted on the back of the hub portion and prevent me from separating the two pieces. 

 

Based on the appearance of the drums and pads, I don't see any reason to take them apart.  Just making sure I understand what's possible etc. 

 

Thanks

Chris

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If the car has been sitting a while, you should pull the brakes apart and rebuild the wheel cylinders in addition to the master cylinder. From the photos, I think you will be fine with reinstalling the same brake shoes and springs as long as you don't have any broken springs. If you find broken springs on any of the wheels, you can just replace the springs and reuse the brake shoes. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/19/2020 at 5:12 PM, MCHinson said:

If the car has been sitting a while, you should pull the brakes apart and rebuild the wheel cylinders in addition to the master cylinder. From the photos, I think you will be fine with reinstalling the same brake shoes and springs as long as you don't have any broken springs. If you find broken springs on any of the wheels, you can just replace the springs and reuse the brake shoes. 

Thanks Matt, agree, that needs to be part of the plan.  I've got the master honed and reinstalled. Today unblocked the drivers side front flex line and flushed it out pretty well (shoes clamped down).    Next clear out the passenger side and then push it out in the driveway and clean up after myself.  

 

Then see what I can do to rig up the radiator an let the engine run a bit and see what that looks like.  Probably have to re-core the radiator. 

 

Then, we'll start making a plan to get it on the road and cleaned up for real. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hope you have or will replace the flexible brake hoses.

 

I would also not be so quick to re-core the radiator. If the Radiator needs anything it will be worth your while to drive down I40 to Wallace and take it to Bobby's Alignment and Radiator in Wallace. I had a local radiator shop that kept my 1938 Buick Radiator for 6 months without doing anything to it. I took it to them to replace a rusted out strap on the bottom of the radiator frame and check the core. After 6 months they told me I needed to have a new core installed in for $800. I picked it up and took it to Bobby's. I also took them the gas tank from my 1938 Buick to check. I had the radiator and gas tank back in less than a week and they charged me $80 to repair the radiator and check the gas tank. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So many things can go bad with age....... my '39 pulled hard to the right when you first applied the brakes.... pulled the front wheels and had a broken return spring.

I thought that was the problem but it was almost as bad with new springs. 

Turned out the flex hose to the wheel cylinder was badly cracked and damaged on the inside ... new hosed corrected the problem.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/30/2020 at 8:41 PM, MCHinson said:

I hope you have or will replace the flexible brake hoses.

 

I would also not be so quick to re-core the radiator. If the Radiator needs anything it will be worth your while to drive down I40 to Wallace and take it to Bobby's Alignment and Radiator in Wallace. I had a local radiator shop that kept my 1938 Buick Radiator for 6 months without doing anything to it. I took it to them to replace a rusted out strap on the bottom of the radiator frame and check the core. After 6 months they told me I needed to have a new core installed in for $800. I picked it up and took it to Bobby's. I also took them the gas tank from my 1938 Buick to check. I had the radiator and gas tank back in less than a week and they charged me $80 to repair the radiator and check the gas tank. 

Thanks Matt, I will definitely consider that, sounds like a great shop.  There's a radiator shop just down the street (Bull City Radiator),but if their answer isn't promising then we'll have a nice little road trip!  Next step, extract it and see what we're up against. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/30/2020 at 9:55 PM, Barney Eaton said:

So many things can go bad with age....... my '39 pulled hard to the right when you first applied the brakes.... pulled the front wheels and had a broken return spring.

I thought that was the problem but it was almost as bad with new springs. 

Turned out the flex hose to the wheel cylinder was badly cracked and damaged on the inside ... new hosed corrected the problem.

Yes, these hoses were clogged with black goo but weren't too hard to clear.  The outside looks remarkably good.  However, they are on the short list of stuff to replace.  Once I've been around the block and the short list has become long!   I'd like to find out the scope of the challenges and might be badly wrong and then make a long term plan.   I think a lot of these things were addressed when the previous owner did the interior back in the '70's as the brakes look excellent.  Hopefully, I can move it around the yard and such soon... but next to test the wheel cylinders and see if they move. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A couple of other random questions for the experts: 

  1. What is the recommended solution for the lack of lead in modern gas?
  2. I have seen that there were several upgrades to the oil pump out there, what's the recommended source for the best pump and gaskets?

Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/3/2020 at 6:06 PM, C-Lamb said:

A couple of other random questions for the experts: 

  1. What is the recommended solution for the lack of lead in modern gas?
  2. I have seen that there were several upgrades to the oil pump out there, what's the recommended source for the best pump and gaskets?

Thanks!

Gas is a whole other subject. If you can get ethanol free use that. If your engine burns a little oil it will lube the top end itself. If you are concerned,  add a little - like a cupful of oil to a tank of gas.  ATF works well ( generic dexron) not the fancy expensive stuff for the new ones.  If your carb and fuel pump have been rebuilt in the last 20 years they may withstand ethanol. Modern kits have rubber that is ethanol proof, old ones don't.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your engine should be fine without lead. It is not really a high enough compression engine to have a problem without lead. Later higher compression muscle car owners might be concerned with it, but modern fuel will be fine for you. Non-ethanol is far superior for a collector car that spends more time in the garage due to not being driven every day. Modern fuel is more volatile and will evaporate out of the carburetor very quickly. You probably want to add an electric pass through fuel pump near the gas tank to use to prefill the carburetor bowl when starting after the car has been sitting. It can also be used on very hot days to prevent heat soak from causing vapor lock which I only need when having to use ethanol containing fuels on tours away from a non-ethanol fuel source.   

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just a quick update.  Been slow, but got thte parts washers setup and the front brakes pretty well flushed.  Brake pedal is firm but no movement from either cylinder.  Rebuild kits are $5 at NAPA, so picked those up and I hope to do one this weekend.   Cleaned one of the wheel-bearings, looks excellent, so that's promising as well.  As soon as I get the brakes close to working, I'll tackle the radiator. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good evening, quick update on the brakes.  Front wheel cylinders have been out and soaking for a few days but aren't budging.  Can hammer them in a bit but can't move them out, even 100PSI from the air-compressor and they don't budge.  Same when torquing it down pretty seriously with the vice and a socket for a ram. 

 

Looks like it's time for new ones, NAPA has them for $35, should be able to get 20% off unless someone has a better idea.  At least that will be easy!

  • Like 4
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What solvent are you using? My 1938 Century sat outside for 23 years near Boston before I got it. All four wheel cylinders were frozen. I found that on mine, I hosed them down with a 50/50 mix of acetone and automatic transmission fluid. After waiting 24 hours, I was able to use a wooden dowel and a hammer to tap the pistons out of the wheel cylinders. All of them were freed up and able to be cleaned up and reused.  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're getting excellent advice from the forum about gas with ethanol, your car will run fine using it. Be aware gas containing ethanol can rupture the diaphragm in your fuel pump and  it's not a bad idea to replace the diaphragm with modern ethanol resistant material. In answering the question about oil pumps it's mainly a problem with 248 engines 1938, 1939, and maybe early 1940. The oil pump gears prior to 1940 are 1 inch in diameter and the later oil pump gears 1941-47 are 1 1/4 inches in diameter which allows for a higher oil out put. The 60-80-90 oil pumps also have 1 1/4 inch gears for 38-47

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...