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53 Super V8- cycling RPM at highway speed- help!


bsrosell
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Hi, first post (busy working on my 57 Studebaker Golden Hawk last 10 years, Model-A before that).  I bought my dad's '53 Buick Super V8 convertible years ago,  which we've had since 1974, and is STILL up at the farm where 95yr old dad STILL has driven it to church on Sundays til the past year of Covid. So all I've ever done is occasionally change some fluids and try to keep the power windows working over the years. 🙂   In all those years, it has never stalled (except parade vapor lock).  95,000 original miles, engine partially rebuilt 30 years ago, otherwise original but for 50 yr old paint and upholstery. (and occasional tune-ups, new starter, MC, all over a decade ago or more)

 

Problem:  last weekend, I went up to the farm and took it out for the usual 4 mile round-trip just to keep things lubricated jaunt.   I got 2 miles down the road, purring like usual, when all of a sudden the RPMs dropped off, but then (maybe went from 55mph to 40? never thought to look) it came back up to speed.  This continued all the way home ; imagine an old police siren cycling up and down, that was my RPM.   When I got to the farm driveway, it died completely, but perhaps because i slowed for the turn.   Enough momentum to coast all the way down the driveway and 1/2 way into the old car shed.   Thought "shoot, how am I and dad going to push this in now? Without denting the bumper?".   Put it in Park, pressed the accelerator (start) and roared to life.  Revved it up and down as high  as I dared, smooth as silk for 15 minutes.   But now I don't dare drive it out on the highway again, and really get stuck out there and no way to get towed home!

i think it is completely coincidental, NEVER an electrical issue in the 50 years we've owned it, but I DID turn the lights on (getting dusk) slightly before the cycling started.  I turned them off, "just in case", and didn't affect anything.  Again, all lights work, no gauges are burned out, no shorts...

 

I put an NOS Delco fuel pump in .... probably 15 years ago now (hoping to help with  the vapor-lock stalling; it did not).  But less than a 1000 miles on it since then I'd bet.   Not convinced a fuel pump would cycle like that anyway.

 

Carb was maybe rebuilt about 20-25 years ago (mom and dad still driving it all over Minnesota with Alexandria Car Club) , but I can't think of ANYTHING that would make it cycle like that, vs spitting and dying like a bad coil or condensor or other electrical would do.  Or clogged carb jets.

 

Oh, also put in fresh premium non-oxy fuel a few weeks ago with Stabil and SeaFoam (and had driven it several miles after that without issue).

Dad's health is starting to fail more quickly, and I need to be able to drive the Super to Mpls/St.Paul area (~3hrs) with confidence when that sad day comes (or after farm auction at least).

Any ideas what would cause engine RPM cycling like that?     Was going to rebuild the carb "just in case", as I can't think of anything else TO do with it. 😞

 

Thanks!   Hope to join the club and restore the car to CITY driving capability someday when this Golden Hawk is FINALLY done.    (and rebuild the DynaFlow, instead of putting in 3qts of Dexron every spring! only leaks in the winter...)

Barry Rosell   Lake Elmo, MN

1422224566_DadandBarry2020.JPG.9d696a86729b36e03b130314fa340fd8.JPG1442679632_BarryandBuick2021.jpg.d40c22996d5633161c0a9c10c82025ab.jpg

Edited by bsrosell (see edit history)
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I had a similar issue with my '56 Cadillac right after I bought it several years ago.  It turned out to be a clogged screen where the fuel line enters the carburetor--stuffed with rust particles.  The prior owner had re-plumbed the the car and eliminated the fuel filter.  I cleaned the screen, added an original style fuel filter, and that solved the problem.  Drove the car on a 400 mile trip the following week without any trouble.  So, my suggestion is to check/replace the fuel filter, and also that input screen, if your car has one.  (BTW, a 15-year-ago NOS fuel pump may be ? many years old total.  I think it works on a flexible rubber diaphragm, so perhaps...)

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I agree with the above!  I had (still have) an older import 4X4 truck that had similar issues. The truck would run fine around town, but take it off road where you needed more power and it would sputter and cough like crazy.  New 3 dollar fuel filter (35 years ago) and problem solved.  Check and clean/replace all fuel filters and give it a shot. Others will chime in with better information, but there may also be a sock on the fuel pickup in the fuel tank. The fact that it acted up while driving makes me think that when it stalled the crud on the tank sock may have fallen off into the tank and allowed you to restart easily. If this is the case the tank needs to come out and be cleaned or it will happen again.

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thanks guys, sounds very reasonable, especially since I've got dad's 29 Model-A roadster torn apart because of large flakes in HIS shutoff valve and strainer (and carb with no screen)

For my '57 Stude and '30 Ford, i have all the parts catalogs, can order (from the guys on the forum even ) everything by part number, which there are SO many permutations of even same year on the Studes.

I only have the 52 Buick Shop manual and the 53 supplement for the V8s.    Where would I find a good resource to find out WHAT filters / screens are on my 53 Super, the part numbers,  and good Buick vendors to buy them? (assuming they are probably not NAPA stocked parts anymore 🙂 )    

 

PS:  as Dad has driven less and less (used less fuel each year), i've started using SeaFoam and Stabil (and convinced him finally to use non-oxygenated gas).    Does SeaFoam gradually loosen up the old scale in these original tanks?   If this is the problem, odd both the Buick and the 'A would have large scale coming through fuel lines after all these years, at the same time.  SeaFoam IS supposed to clean the deposts off your engine parts after all; maybe doing the same to the gas tank; undesired side-effect?

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By the way, a neat old timer trick on the A, if you are having rust flake issues in the tank, is to remove the cutoff valve and solder about 3/8 inch of a quarter-inch copper tube onto the inlet end.  It reduces your effective fuel capacity, but keeps the heavy particles from entering the valve.

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As for your question, best reference is a shop manual.  Though the post war Buick guys on this forum might be of assistance.  I think the Buick Club of America also has tech experts for the various years.  (And if you are lucky enough to have an older NAPA store in your town, don’t write them off too quickly).  Just some thoughts.  Keep after it, and you will solve it eventually.  It can be frustrating, though.

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11 hours ago, bsrosell said:

. . . . . I only have the 52 Buick Shop manual and the 53 supplement for the V8s.    Where would I find a good resource to find out WHAT filters / screens are on my 53 Super, the part numbers,  and good Buick vendors to buy them? . . . . .     

 

All the information on a 1953 Buick OEM Moraine fuel filter is pictured and described on PAGE 84 in a 1952 Buick Shop Manual. The 1953 filter is the early style (you can't take it apart) that had a drain plug at the bottom and required disconnecting the filter from the carburetor and fuel supply line and backflushing the debris for a thorough cleaning. You might want to soak it in a container of Evapo-Rust or similar overnight. The preferred later "take-it-apart" style came out in 1956 that had a center bolt that held the front/bronze micro-beaded filter screen/rubber gasket/back together. 

 

Moraine supplied several marques with this filter and both styles pop up on eBay often with different part numbers. GOOGLE "Moraine fuel filter" or do a "SEARCH' on this forum for more pictures and info. 

 

Al Malachowski

BCA #8965

"500 Miles West of Flint" 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/29/2021 at 11:44 AM, bsrosell said:

Hi, first post (busy working on my 57 Studebaker Golden Hawk last 10 years, Model-A before that).  I bought my dad's '53 Buick Super V8 convertible years ago,  which we've had since 1974, and is STILL up at the farm where 95yr old dad STILL has driven it to church on Sundays til the past year of Covid. So all I've ever done is occasionally change some fluids and try to keep the power windows working over the years. 🙂   In all those years, it has never stalled (except parade vapor lock).  95,000 original miles, engine partially rebuilt 30 years ago, otherwise original but for 50 yr old paint and upholstery. (and occasional tune-ups, new starter, MC, all over a decade ago or more)

 

Problem:  last weekend, I went up to the farm and took it out for the usual 4 mile round-trip just to keep things lubricated jaunt.   I got 2 miles down the road, purring like usual, when all of a sudden the RPMs dropped off, but then (maybe went from 55mph to 40? never thought to look) it came back up to speed.  This continued all the way home ; imagine an old police siren cycling up and down, that was my RPM.  

<snip>

How old is the fuel? Modern fuels go stale - absorb moisture.

When did it last have new fuel put in the tank?

Edited by 1939_Buick (see edit history)
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thanks all;

1) the 52 Shop Manual is up at the farm, but have the 53 manual here, and under "surging at high speed", lists both potential fuel pump issues (and how to check it), and the filter and strainer in the carb.  

 

2) since the shop manual considers draining and cleaning that filter as regular maintenance (and ours has probably not been off since 1974, or well before we bought it), I think I'll simply try taking that off (Evaporust is a great idea!) and see what I find.  And the strainer apparently is right under the brass plug on the carb. No mention of anything back at the tank.     By the way, mine is a 2 barrel Carter (53 Super is Series 50, the Roadmaster Series 70 had four-barrel Carter).  Mentions Moraine filter specifically, you guys were spot on. thanks.  Had my sister take a photo today and send me; looks fairly simple to get at too, pleasant surprise. 🙂

 

3) Not sure how to check fuel pump pressure on this; my gage has the Schrader(?) valve connection for modern cars, but will look.  Would be nice to rule the pump out.

 

4)  re: fuel, I've finally convinced Dad in recent years to use non-oxy premium in his big farm barrel (no tractors anymore), and he just got it replenished this summer (and I put Stabil and HEET in there).   The car has 1/2 a tank of that plus SeaFoam, so not the problem here.   

 

Thanks for all the tips.  Will let you know what I find out next time I get up to see dad.

Barry

PS: no idea what the bolt-plugged vaccuum hose is for? Wipers work.   But the red on left bottom corner is a 'wolf whistle', probably why dad agreed to buy the car.   He had to trade his in for some part on their honeymoon to Glacier park in 1949 🙂    Everyone in every small town around us has heard that wolf whistle in parades growing up from 75 til early 2000s at least! 🙂

560216682_BuickCarter2barrelcarb.jpg.9452ae54d4aa815cbd660efbdb2ab77e.jpg

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Posted (edited)
On 5/30/2021 at 9:06 AM, 1953mack said:

 

All the information on a 1953 Buick OEM Moraine fuel filter is pictured and described on PAGE 84 in a 1952 Buick Shop Manual. The 1953 filter is the early style (you can't take it apart) that had a drain plug at the bottom and required disconnecting the filter from the carburetor and fuel supply line and backflushing the debris for a thorough cleaning. You might want to soak it in a container of Evapo-Rust or similar overnight. The preferred later "take-it-apart" style came out in 1956 that had a center bolt that held the front/bronze micro-beaded filter screen/rubber gasket/back together. 

 

Moraine supplied several marques with this filter and both styles pop up on eBay often with different part numbers. GOOGLE "Moraine fuel filter" or do a "SEARCH' on this forum for more pictures and info. 

 

Al Malachowski

BCA #8965

"500 Miles West of Flint" 

Thanks Al!    Do you know if the 'preferred' take-apart Moraine is interchangeable and if I find one, would (probably) fit my 53 Carter?     The ads might say, I'll start looking.  But your tip on Evaporust is good, that stuff is amazing!

UPDATE (can't see how to delete);    searching, it does appear they would interchange, BUT, finding out how hard they are to come by.    Will stick with trying to clean mine out; is made for it after all....

 

Edited by bsrosell (see edit history)
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It could also have something to do with the condenser or points. Easy/cheap enough to replace. Don't gorget to lube the rubbing block & gap the points. 

 

Tom T. 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/31/2021 at 8:05 PM, bsrosell said:

. . .Will stick with trying to clean mine out; is made for it after all . . . 

 

I agree it's the only way to go — both the original or an over-the-counter one requires maintenance. Two flared nut wrenches are all you need to remove it after the air cleaner is taken off. I wouldn't worry about using the more-convenient style later filter either. That porous bronze micro-beaded filter element was first used on 1942 Buicks and WWII military amphibious, air and ground-transportation vehicles. You're talking millions of applications and miles; more durable than paper filters.

 

Here's a pic of the front half of my destroyed 1953 filter after I sliced the crimped assembly apart; it was then dipped in Evapo-Rust. Worthy to note is that this early disc-style filter used a paper gasket (remnants show around the edges) whereas the later take-it-apart style used a rubber gasket. 

 

IMG_2813.jpg.af2a97ef0518226e4d395778fc637606.jpg

   

Good luck.

 

Al Malachowski

BCA #8965

"500 Miles West of Flint" 

 

 

Edited by 1953mack (see edit history)
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thanks Al;  are you saying DON'T use Evaporust for this (will destroy the paper gasket)?    I was thinking the "old crimped" version maybe didn't even have a gasket (advantage over the 'disassemble-able' new one).

 

Bottomline, what would you suggest for safely cleaning my original '53, crimped one-piece filter?
Thanks for the photo!  I love sintered metal filters; wasn't sure if a fine screen or what, this is best possible in my book for gas.

Barry

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Barry, I used acetone and air [ reverse flow] on mine.

 I read somewhere that 1956 was the year the "take apart" came into being.

 

 My earlier remark of just getting an over the counter one was meant to be a little tongue in  cheek.  FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.    Way back ,  seems like in another life, I made a trip from Mo, where I then lived, to TEXAS to my first BCA regional meet . Almost there, George, my car, started starving.  Added gas and ran fine. For a mile or so. I limped on to the meet, enjoyed the fellowship, installed a new over the counter filter  [ thanks for the ride old-tank], in the line ahead of the carb,  and thought every thing was hunky dory.   NOT!.  Started acting up soon after heading home.  Finally, sitting beside the road north of Weatherford,  mulling over what to do, a fellow stopped to help.  Pointing to the Morain he said perhaps that is the problem.  Nah, said I, this filter IN FRONT OF IT has been changed.  Lets remove it any way, said he.  He went to his garage for fittings needed, removed the Morain, and George ran like a scalded  { insert your choice }  the rest of the way. I never installed the Morain. 

 

  Ben

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Posted (edited)
On 6/2/2021 at 8:10 PM, bsrosell said:

thanks Al;  are you saying DON'T use Evaporust for this (will destroy the paper gasket)?    I was thinking the "old crimped" version maybe didn't even have a gasket (advantage over the 'disassemble-able' new one).

 

Bottomline, what would you suggest for safely cleaning my original '53, crimped one-piece filter?
Thanks for the photo!  I love sintered metal filters; wasn't sure if a fine screen or what, this is best possible in my book for gas.

Barry

 

When I used my Dremel tool with a cutoff wheel to splice the filter in half is when I destroyed the INLET and OUTLET covers, not the paper gasket. You should be good to go with dipping it in Evapo-Rust and pressure washing the assembly from the OUTLET side. I've added more pictures for comparison — the top-right one before the filter element was scraped-clean and dipped in Evapo-Rust. Thanks.

470589417_latestMorainepic.jpg.9174e812255c3ecd2be71769b03b084e.jpg

 

1-IMG_4036-002.JPG.877056520638dbdf82075e03bf3bb566.JPG

 

 

Al Malachowski

BCA #8965

"500 Miles West of Flint"

 

 

 

 

Edited by 1953mack (see edit history)
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