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Newbie that's not sure where to start (1920 4 door buick model K )


David Scranton
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Hi, my name is David Scranton.  Just turned 21 in January and have been getting into cars alot more the past year, but I've only ever helped my dad in the garage and the oldest car I've helped him with was my 1999 jeep.  So I have hardly any experience doing things on my own which brought me to this forum because of a car I've taken great interest in that I've known about my whole life, but have never even seen it be moved.  My grandmother has had what I believe is a 1920 4 door buick model K sitting in her barn for what I'm guessing has been the past 80 years, and I would like to work on it just for fun and see if I can get it running.  I dont have any pictures at this time as I have not been down to her house since covid began, but I know the windows are broken and the interior is ripped up. But the frame and body are in good shape if I remember correctly.  Planning to get down there soon and would like to know what potential problems I should look for and where, and if it's possible how the problem could be fixed or if it will need replaced.  I apologize in advance if this post doesnt give alot of detail on the car's current state,  as I said I dont really have much experience doing this sort of thing so not entirely sure what to look out for other than frame damage amd if the engine block is cracked, and I havent actually seen the vehicle in about 2 years.  Thank you for taking the time to read this post and I greatly appreciate any and all information that anyone can give 

Edited by MrEarl (see edit history)
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David,

 

I would suggest you repost this on the Pre-War forum.  This car should draw considerable interest there.  You might indicate where you lived (in general), or where the car is located (in general).  I have only slightly newer models, so not much help.  Good luck with the car.  I do know you will want to see if the gas tank is leaking, I assume empty be evaporation by this time and try to turn the belt by hand and see if there is a chance the engine is free.   You might want to be sure that no animals (mice, mostly) have built nests in the air intake.  Plan to remove the oil to see what comes out, before trying to start.  You will sure need a new battery.

 

Good luck, It is nice to see a young person getting into the hobby, and I am sure many on the Pre-War section will be of much more help tan I.

 

John

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Welcome to the AACA Forums, David.  I would suggest you start your work on your grandmother's car by cleaning the body with soap and a little water, degrease the engine and driveline and vacuum the interior.  Save anything you find since it may or may not belong to the Model K.  Photograph everything.

 

Join a car club, read history and repair books, don't be in a hurry.

 

Ask questions.

Hope your grandma is well,  Gary

 

 

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  • MrEarl changed the title to Newbie that's not sure where to start (1920 4 door buick model K )

David, you journey sounds fascinating as well as challenging. I have a 1921 Model 45 Buick Touring and you have found the right place for expert advice, not me but the 8-10 fellas who regularly post here and are a wealth of knowledge on the mid teen to late 20’s Buicks.  The one thing that jumped in my mind as I read your post was, oh—that’s going to be a challenge to start since the fuel system draws the gas by vacuum created by the engine from the tank to a vertical cylinder mounted on the engine by the carburetor.  Trying to get that vacuum established after sitting all these years will be a challenge. You might want to make a makeshift fuel tank out of a one gallon paint  thinner can, rig up a hose and connect directly to the carburetor.  That way you are getting fuel directly to the engine without having to hope the vacuum system works.

 

The experts on this pre-war site can comment and clarify or correct my thoughts.  I bet one or two of the gentlemen would be willing to develop a post listing the step by step start-up procedure to go by after the initial clean up and then photos.  Good photos of the engine plus dash will give them a sense of the car’s condition and whether the engine is complete including the carburetor, coil, distributor, fan belts, fuel vacuum reservoir, spark plugs and wires etc.  It would be good to know if the ignition is intact with a key that locks and unlocks it. Of course you will need a new 6 volt battery to get it started and check lights etc.  lets hope the wiring harness is intact and the varmints have not ruined it.

 

Good luck and keep us posted. 
Chuck Nixon

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I have sent as PM to David as to getting any local help. Also to make him aware that there may have been a mechanical reason the car has sat for 80 years. Preparation to reanimate these slumbering engines takes care and planning.

 If he does come back to us as we have done this many times. Sometimes after an initial contact there is no further word. 

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Many of us have been through starting a car that sat for a long time.  Usually there is a reason the car sat so long.  Change fluids, engine, transmission, and differential, and look for metal fragments in the oil.  

Remove spark plugs and squirt some light weight oil in the cylinders.

Remove the rocker arm cover and tap each valve with a rubber mallet to check for stuck valves.

Then try to hand crank the engine with the spark plugs out.  No excess force!  If it won't turn, you will need to investigate many other possible stuck or frozen parts.

Members of this forum are always willing to share their knowledge and experience.  We want you to enjoy your new car.

 

Bob Engle

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I have a 1918 E-45 Buick. Mechanically the same as yours.

First, get an owners manual, there are reprints and there is a ton of information there. Bobs Automobilia has them.

After sitting for so long there are many things you should check before attempting to start the car or even turn the engine..

Try to move the valves by tapping on the rocker arms with a hammer, use wood between the hammer and rocker. See if all the valves will work. If you have a stuck valve and try to turn the engine, you may bend a pushrod.  Oil the valve stems with penetrating oil.

Remove the plugs and put some oil or penetrating oil in the cylinders

The water pump may be frozen with rust. Try to turn it slightly via the coupling at the Starter/ generator. It has to rotate.

Drain the oil and definitely remove the pan and clean the gunk you will find.

Remove the oil pump and clean it too.

If all is well you can try to turn the engine with the crank (that may be under the seat). Do that befor replacing the pan.

If you are lucky, the engine will rotate. If not youll have to chase down the reason for the engine being frozen and work your way through those issues...and there are whole number of those. Stuck pistons are likely.

Just be patient and think about what you are doing.

There will be a lot of good information on this site.

Good luck.

 

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Everyone,

Excuse my inactivity for the past few days, between home life mad work I've been reading the replies to my post and reading stuff online.  Some of you have asked where the car is located, and it is outside a little town called Birmingham in southern Iowa.  I however am located 5 hours north in the Rochester, Minnesota area, which is why I dont make it down often enough due to work scheduling.  I've also been taking a look at videos on youtube by a user just called Abcde with a 1971 buick hes been working on the past 3 years and got it running and driving good last year.  I appreciate all the tips and advice by you guys and will hopefully have pictures soon.

-David Scranton

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Hi David and welcome to the asylum 😇!  It is very nice to see the younger generations keeping the hobby going!!! The above advice is right on point. The one thing I will add is simply a safety thing.  The car is almost guaranteed to be loaded with rodent droppings. This can be loaded with things hazardous to your health. First off wear your mask and be careful!!  Vacuum out the interior very well and wash off the outside. After that look everything over and move forward slowly and with care!  Good luck and keep us posted. We love to follow projects.

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David, this linked thread on the resurrection of a 1917 White by @edinmass, who is a restoration professional, will give you a couple of evenings' worth of amusement and will inform you as to the Best Practices for revivifying a long-neglected antique car.  The thread is long, contains a lot of good-natured banter among friends, but will give you a *prioritized* list of tasks.  For example, always try to get an engine running rather than immediately tearing it apart.  How it runs, and whether you can improve it relatively non-invasively, will make the most of your investment of time and energy.  There are far too many abandoned projects cars whose new owners just took them all apart to do a stellar restoration--but life, lack of time, and the l-o-n-g road ahead on such a project caused their abandonment and essentially relegated them to be parts cars in the future.

 

 

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Hi David,  

My reply is from New Zealand, we are doing relatively well with this coronavirus, but still scary stuff.

 

i bought a 1922 Buick 4 model 35 Tourer about a year ago.  I took it to a mechanic who assured me. He knew all about the era of cars. $4,000.00 later I got it back running terribly.

 

What  I have learnt and what I know now,  is that you just need to ask !  I have had members of our Buick club here in NZ ( its tiny compared to your country ) help me out.  I feel rather humbled to meet the three guys that are going to help sort my car with me.  These guys have seen me struggling and formulated a plan with bits of my car going all over the country to get sorted and then be reassembled and fine tuned.   I was told today by Rob O'Keefe, (thank you) the club just want me to enjoy my car as much as they do !!

 

i was ready to sell it ( at a loss ) because I felt it had beaten me but now I'm recharged and look forward to enjoying my car well into the foreseeable future.

 

i have also had immense help and guidance from this site.   Don't be afraid to ask, there are 100's of years of experience within these clubs !!!

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On 2/26/2021 at 8:27 PM, Morgan Wright said:

I am Abcde on Youtube.

 

It's not a 1971 Buick and people get mad when I call it a 1917. Nobody knows what year it really is. Thanks for watching my videos.

Great car! Now that I know these videos are there I’ll check them out myself! 

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On 2/26/2021 at 7:27 PM, Morgan Wright said:

I am Abcde on Youtube.

 

It's not a 1971 Buick and people get mad when I call it a 1917. Nobody knows what year it really is. Thanks for watching my videos.

Lol oops, meant to say 1917, I type so fast nad the buttons are so small on this phone a mkae alot of spelling errors and miss some sometimes,  good to meet you though, I found you back in october and your videos definitely helped kickstart my idea

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