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61 skylark


El Chapo
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Please help.... this is my first buick need to talk with someone that can give me some guidance. I have a 61 skylark that I want to do disc brake conversion on but everything says its for a 62 and up...

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6 hours ago, El Chapo said:

Please help.... this is my first buick need to talk with someone that can give me some guidance. I have a 61 skylark that I want to do disc brake conversion on but everything says its for a 62 and up...

 

Welcome. The spindles on the 1961-63 Y-body cars are all the same. If the conversion fits a 62 Skylark, it also fits a 61. Be careful, however, as some vendors claim that the kits for 64 also fit earlier cars. They do not.

Of course, the bigger question is, do you REALLY need this? I have a 1962 Olds F85, which is mechanically identical. I've properly maintained the stock brakes, but I converted to a dual circuit brake system with a 7/8" master cylinder instead of the stock 1". This dramatically increases brake force for a given pedal pressure. I drove the car 2600 miles on Hot Rod Power Tour in 2019, which included freeway and winding, hilly back roads, and I had zero brake issues. Just because magazine articles promoting their advertisers' products tell you that you MUST convert to disc brakes doesn't mean that you actually have to.

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We've toured coast to coast and border to border, 

driving cars with 4-wheel Drum Brakes,

and once even drove hundreds of miles along with dozens of POWER TOUR participants while we drove our 1954 Cadillac - surely a well-powered car with Drum Brakes.

We had absolutely no issues, and have never seen the need to re-engineer a perfectly decent design.

Of all our collectibles, none but the ones built in the 1980s and 1990s have Disc Brakes - they were built that way by their respective manufacturers,

and there is no verifiable reason to change them.

Edited by Marty Roth
typo (see edit history)
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On 1/20/2021 at 8:19 AM, joe_padavano said:

 

Welcome. The spindles on the 1961-63 Y-body cars are all the same. If the conversion fits a 62 Skylark, it also fits a 61. Be careful, however, as some vendors claim that the kits for 64 also fit earlier cars. They do not.

Of course, the bigger question is, do you REALLY need this? I have a 1962 Olds F85, which is mechanically identical. I've properly maintained the stock brakes, but I converted to a dual circuit brake system with a 7/8" master cylinder instead of the stock 1". This dramatically increases brake force for a given pedal pressure. I drove the car 2600 miles on Hot Rod Power Tour in 2019, which included freeway and winding, hilly back roads, and I had zero brake issues. Just because magazine articles promoting their advertisers' products tell you that you MUST convert to disc brakes doesn't mean that you actually have to.

 

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Joe

Thank you so much.. my wife and I are just starting in the antique car ride... former Harley riders, jeepers now we are old and want to redo this 61 skylark...if you could lend any advice or reliable part sources.  It would be greatly appreciated 

Thanks 

Ken and paula

Edited by El Chapo
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These cars are not popular to restore and are not well supported in the aftermarket, so there is no "one stop" source for parts. Vendor recommendations depend on what parts you need, exactly. Kanter has been a good source for brake, suspension, and steering parts, which are pretty much unobtanium otherwise. One weak spot on these cars is the idler arm, which uses a metal-on-metal pivot bushing that is under-designed and wears rapidly. I replaced mine just before that trip on Power Tour in 2019 and at 1,000 miles I had slop in it. The 1963 cars used a revised design with a conventional bearing, but it does not retrofit to the 61-62 cars without replacing the entire steering linkage to match. Body and trim parts are pretty much nonexistent in the repro world, so get used to searching for good used items. Steel Rubber surprisingly sells all the weatherstripping for these cars. Ames Performance sells upholstery for the Tempest, which will work but will not look correct. If you want correct upholstery, SMS Auto Interiors can provide the original material and you'll need to find an upholstery shop to make seat covers from it. SMS can also rebuild your door panels, but expect that to take 18 months or so. The 215 aluminum V8 is actually the easiest thing to get parts for, since it shares a lot with later Buick V8s and also the Rover engines. The two speed automatic is unique to the 61-63 Skylarks. Fatsco is about the only place I've found that sells parts. No other newer trans swaps easily, as these cars use a unique bellhousing bolt pattern. D&D sells reproduction manual trans bellhousings if you want to convert - the T5 is a nice swap. US Radiator sells stock and oversize radiators for these cars, in brass and aluminum. There are a few pockets of fans of these cars on the web, and as the 64-72 A-body cars increase in value, these early ones are becoming more popular. Good luck.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Wow... THANK YOU! YOU HAVE GIVEN ME HOPE.. LOL.. WE ARE GETTING THERE... WOULD A DISC BRAKE CONVERSION BE A GOOD IDEA OR NOTI I

On 1/27/2021 at 8:21 AM, joe_padavano said:

Here's my 62 on Power Tour in 2019 (including replacing u-joints in Sparta, KY).

 

 

65298813_2249041572023374_6096769543403732992_o.jpg

MG_8945-2.jpg

U joints Sparta KY Wed1.jpg

 

received_649955715894377.jpeg

received_305629997336029.jpeg

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8 hours ago, El Chapo said:

Wow... THANK YOU! YOU HAVE GIVEN ME HOPE.. LOL.. WE ARE GETTING THERE... WOULD A DISC BRAKE CONVERSION BE A GOOD IDEA OR NOTI I

 

Not a good idea.  The original brakes worked fine when new and will work fine now when properly repaired and adjusted.  Plus you do not end up with a frankencar.  Just IMO and quite a few others.

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On 2/16/2021 at 5:16 AM, El Chapo said:

Wow... THANK YOU! YOU HAVE GIVEN ME HOPE.. LOL.. WE ARE GETTING THERE... WOULD A DISC BRAKE CONVERSION BE A GOOD IDEA OR NOTI I

 


NOT A GOOD IDEA IMO. Buick engineers back in 1960’s would have spent a lot of time and effort and money to engineer a brake system that was safe, reliable and economical to manufacture. For the average driver of a classic vehicle, the standard drum system should be safe and more than adequate if adjusted properly and maintained.

 

Unless you have access to a brake engineer and a test facility, I imagine you could make the brake system unsafe. I would be very reluctant to install disc brakes in a system that was designed around drum brakes.

However, love your wagon and the Skylark coupe. I don’t know much about these, my experience only with owning a ‘64 Skylark sports coupe for many years, as a daily driver. It had power drum brakes and it stopped OK. And I’m about to reignite the love affair with a ‘63 convertible if it checks out. Enjoy!

Rodney 😀😀😀😀😀😀

 

Edited by rodneybeauchamp
Remover errant text (see edit history)
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On 2/19/2021 at 4:10 AM, bryankazmer said:

I'd be on the lookout for stock wheels and covers.

Not to butt in or anything, but I'm turning one of my two 1962 skylarks into a restomod (the other one is staying stock) and I have atleast two wheels with original bias ply tires that I won't need. As well I have 6 or 8 spare "Turbine" style hubcaps, that were specific and original to skylarks. Let me know if you're interested, as I need to start subsidizing the costs of the engine work I'm doing (stroking the original 215 to a 292) 

20200201_170728.jpg

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Thanks! Yeah there's only one machinist left where I live so he can charge pretty much whatever he wants and take a while to do it. I got my con rods' small end resized, block bored a little, and my crank touched up. The parts allocation took a while but eventually I got a buick 300 crank which bolts into the bored, 4 bolt main version of the original 215. 

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received_649955715894377.thumb.jpeg.3c6051aaaf2e58ce4ee0b856cf19a9e1.jpegreceived_305629997336029.thumb.jpeg.5acf103aeabcb1c7942f0e92cc1663a7.jpegThis is our first try in antique cars.... went from Harleys to jeeps now cars.... I know nothing about finding parts... I am going to do a painless harness... there are just to many gremlins. Easier to redo than chase down all the issues... do you know if my 61 came with the clock on top of the dash... I think thats all I'm missing.. the stainless trim is complete and in great shape... here she is.. would it be ok to ask you questions we encounter? I need a buick guy...lol

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Before you do too much changing, you might find a lot of those gremlins in the electrical are due to age. I find if something isn’t working, then find the electrical connector and clean it up. The male terminals are easy when exposed however a small jewellers flat screw driver will help remove the female connector.
 

Then use a fine brass brush, fine wet and dry paper or a Dremel with a small wire brush attachment ( is what I prefer) to clean off all the black oxidisation and corrosion. .Use glasses because the bits will fly off! And be thorough and you will be amazed at the difference clean, bright shiny terminals will make to reduce resistance in the circuits.

 

You will find once you restore connectivity, things start to work. 
 

And a shop manual on both chassis and body will be your second best friend!

 

I just did all the headlight connectors on my new ‘63 Skylark ( that’s 10 connectors ) but I only want to have to do it once. All working, all bright, all happy!

 

Just my Bob twos worth

Rodney 😀😀😀😀😀😀

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5 hours ago, rodneybeauchamp said:

Before you do too much changing, you might find a lot of those gremlins in the electrical are due to age. I find if something isn’t working, then find the electrical connector and clean it up. The male terminals are easy when exposed however a small jewellers flat screw driver will help remove the female connector.

 

^^^This. I've had this problem with the connectors in my 62 F82. The Packard 56 series connectors aren't weather sealed and they corrode over time. I've had to methodically search out and clean offending connectors. The fuel gauge still isn't reliable for this reason. Unless your harness is melted or mouse-chewed, you'll likely be better off fixing what you have. These "painful" aftermarket harnesses are one-size-fits-none. You still have to route the wires, cut to length, and crimp terminals on at least one end of them. They don't have the correct light sockets for your fixtures. They don't have the correct dash pod connectors. They probably don't match your switchgear, either. I've found a lot of my problems are in parts that don't come with the new harness anyway - for example, on my Olds, the front parking light housings are aluminum reflectors with steel light sockets crimped into them. 60 years of galvanic corrosion has interrupted the ground path from the socket to the reflector to the bracket, and since they are crimped, you can't easily remove them without damaging the fragile aluminum reflector. I ended up soldering a ground wire to the bulb and running that to a mounting screw to fix the problem. A new harness isn't going to fix a problem like this.

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