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1916 D-45 JUST DAYS AWAY FROM START


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Here is the latest information on the engine video as of 07/22/21.  I tried once again to start the engine this morning.  There was an electrical issue with the Combination Switch (sparks flew) and the Starter / Generator did not 'motor' after that.  The switch has gone South.  There is an old saying that I have heard my entire life and it goes like this  -  God looks after Drunks and Fools.  He was definitely looking after me this morning.  I parted out a D-45 rolling chassis quite a few years ago and had the presence of mind to save the Combination Switch out of the cowl section of the car.  This switch is in really good condition and is going into the dash panel on the car.  Here are a couple of photos of the original switch and the small piece that is no longer attached where it should be.  Here is some better news.  The steering wheel will be back home Wednesday.  The replacement switch will be installed before the wheel goes back on and HOPEFULLY the engine can be started and running soon.  There are times when a person almost feels like giving up.  It just seems like things are fighting me every step of the way.  I am just thankful that this happened right here in my shop instead of out on a tour somewhere.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

AACA Life Member #947918

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Terry, we have been on vacation so I have been away from this site but happy to hear you had the engine running. Ramp up your patience quadrant just a little more and hang in there for everything to come together in a few days. Looking forward to the video as all the other folks are but know you want it to be running correctly first. Sending positive vibes,

 

Chuck

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Terry, 

    Congratulations out there in doo dah land.   That is very exciting that you are now getting into those final stages and so many things are checked off and working well.  Huge progress when you are down to the small stuff.  Makes you wonder how it ever ran when there are so many things to fix.  I am sure it will be a great video.    Hugh 

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I want to report that I think we're headed in the right direction again.  As posted about earlier the original Combination Switch developed an electrical problem that could have been way worse than it was.  The spare switch that I had for years was checked over very thoroughly and found to be in better physical condition than the original.  This was installed into the dash and the wiring was connected and finished up this afternoon.  The starter/generator 'motors' quite nicely like it is supposed to.  I put the battery charger on the battery on the slow setting and I will give it another try in the morning.  I got an email update from UPS telling me that my package (steering wheel) will be delivered Tuesday instead of Wednesday.  I keep asking myself - what the heck else can go wrong.  It just seems like it is one thing after another the closer the finish line gets.  As for the original switch, I am going to hang onto it because it can be taken apart and rebuilt.  Who knows, there might be someone out there desperately needing it.  I might add that I'm not interested in dealing with this switch again anytime soon.  The opening in the dash panel is a strong 1 3/4" high X 4 1/4" long.  For a guy with fat fingers it's not the most comfortable situation to find yourself in.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

AACA Life Member #947918

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Mr. Riviera,

 

THANK YOU for the compliments and kind words.  About the only thing that I can say is I am trying the best I can to get a good result.  In answer to your question - no, I am not going to do anything toward putting any bumpers on the car.  The dual spares setup on the rear would really be a challenge to say the least.  Then again, the car left the factory without bumpers and I think we are going to leave it at that.  I am not really sure when Buick had front and rear bumpers as standard equipment.  Hopefully, someone on here will know that and chime in for us.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

AACA Life Member #947918

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Well, here is the latest news from out Doo Dah Way.  The steering wheel and controls are back in place and that really makes a difference in how the spark and throttle actions work.  Now, it's on to the next BIG issue - the carburetor.  I found out on Sunday that the float in the fuel bowl is Cork and you guessed it - it ain't coated.  I simply got lucky in getting the engine to start and run a few times before the float sunk.  I had heard folks say that coating a cork float with Super Glue would seal it up against any of the modern fuels.  I pulled the float and let it bake in the hot sun to get dried out.  I gave it a good coating of Super Glue and let it dry for 24 hours.  I gave it a second coating and let that dry for 24 hours.  Put the float back in the bowl and it promptly sunk.  So, I'm here to say that whoever started that myth about the Super Glue did not know what they are talking about.

I'm here to tell others that it doesn't work.  I have a call in to Gregg Lange for one of his Nitrophyl (I can't spell it) floats that I'm told will do the job for this engine.  I have a lot of time, expense, and effort in this carburetor and I expect it to do the job.  With the float not working there is a steady leak out the air intake opening and it is not supposed to do that.  My '20 doesn't do that.  We are ready to drive this car!!

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

AACA Life Member #947918

 

 

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I've had good luck with the nitrphyl floats in My 18 and 32.  I keep a block handy just in case a friend needs a float.  I've also had good luck marking the inside of the bowl about 1/16" below the idle jet tip.  Setting the float level to that mark has worked for me.  

 

Bob Engle

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I learned my lesson with cork floats in 1981 on my first car. 

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Terry - the foam floats are SUPPOSED to not absorb fuel, as they are "closed-cellular" in construction.

 

But, used in some concoctions of fuel, they WILL absorb fuel, and sink IF NOT COATED.

 

I am aware of two substances which may be used to coat FLOATS WHICH HAVE NEVER BEEN IN FUEL:

 

(1) POR-15

(2) Model airplane dope used to coat the fabric bodies of model airplanes

 

There are probably others.

 

We have tried lots of different "this one works for me" cure-alls to seal floats which have been in fuel. To date, zero have passed our tests.

 

We  suggest to our customers to coat the float AFTER the pontoon has been attached to the float arm.

 

Jon.

Edited by carbking (see edit history)
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Nitrophyl floats caused so many unnecessary carb failures in the 80s and 90s I refuse to use it. Is it better than cork? Maybe. It's not as good as brass. I shouldn't complain. I made a lot of money fixing those. Still, the failures were pervasive and unnecessary. It's something that never should have happened, like plastic radiators, and plastic timing chain sets.

 

If you are using cork (or Nitrophyl for that matter, but Nitrophyl isn't supposed to require sealing), be sure and take Carbking's advice on how to seal it, and do not skip the step with either material. The original sealer for cork was shellac, and the solvent for shellac is Alcohol, Ethanol for example. That is why the floats no longer look sealed, the shellac is long gone. That means you cannot use a period method to seal the float.

 

If Nitrophyl and cork are the choices I'll stick with cork. Is a conversion to brass out of question for this carb? The buoyancy is a little different, so there is always a dance getting the float level right. In my opinion, nothing is more reliable.

 

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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Bloo - we switched to the Nitrophyl because we were unable (at the time, have not tried since) to purchase natural cork. The cork we were, and are, able to purchase is a composite material (ground-up remains from the natural cork used by the "big boys", mixed with a "binder", and pressed into sheets). The binder changes the bouyancy of the cork, AND IT WON'T FLOAT!

 

I certainly agree about brass floats being superior.

 

At one time, there was an aftermarket brass float available to replace the early Marvel floats. I posted a picture on these forums a few weeks ago. But they have not been produced for almost 100 years. And unless I find some more buried in some of my cabinets, I am out!

 

Over the years, we have had 7 different floats reproduced here in the USA. The problem is that the companies (there are 2) that reproduce these floats have a line item minimum of 1000 pieces (IF they still have the original tooling).

 

As for current production CHEAP import brass floats, their quality has been well-documented. I wouldn't give these things away if someone paid me to do so!

 

So how long would it take to sell 1000 Marvel brass floats? ;)

 

Jon.

Edited by carbking (see edit history)
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Fighting with all of this is about enough to make a person want to set down and cry.  I don't know how many times that I have heard over the years that the Marvel carburetors were nothing more than junk.  I remember my Dad being told when he got this car back in the early 60's that the carburetor was really touchy and that the car simply could not be made to run right.  I bought into this thinking and I was the Poster Boy for anything but a Marvel.  I don't remember now who it was that told me about the folks at Classic Carburetors in Phoenix.  Our 1920 Buick Six was running very poorly and it seemed like that anything I did in the way of adjustments really didn't help much at all.  I contacted those folks and gave them all of my sad story.  Mark Buber told me to send the unit down to them and that they would see what they could do for it and me.  I was never so surprised in my life.  The car started and ran a whole lot better after the rebuild.  I sent the other two units from our Buicks down to them for rebuilding.  This unit is the last one that they did for me and I have every reason to believe that once the float problem is corrected this one will run very well also.  I know that a whole lot of folks do not like Marvel carburetors and that is OK.  But from my own personal experience I will say that if one of these units is rebuilt correctly and adjusted properly, they really aren't all that bad.  It's a personal preference issue.  It really is a shame that Mark Buber's father-in-law passed when he did.  Those guys knew and understood those Marvel units like nobody else in the country.  I am a huge fan of originality and this unit left Flint on the car we now have.  I do have a source for non-alcohol fuel in our area and that is what I plan to use in it whenever possible.  Should I coat this new float that I'm getting from Gregg?  You tell me.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

AACA Life Member #947918

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Nitrophyl is lighter than cork. My cork float weighs 8.5 grams and the nitrophyl float I got from Jon (Carbking) is the exact same size, weighs only 6 grams. It can take a nice thick coating of 2 or 3 grams of Seal All and still be the same weight as cork. Just gob it on nice and thick. 

 

Seal-All Gas & Oil Resistant High Strength Liquid Gas and Oil Resistant Adhesive 2 oz - Ace Hardware

 

.

Edited by Morgan Wright (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, carbking said:

Bloo - we switched to the Nitrophyl because we were unable (at the time, have not tried since) to purchase natural cork. The cork we were, and are, able to purchase is a composite material (ground-up remains from the natural cork used by the "big boys", mixed with a "binder", and pressed into sheets). The binder changes the bouyancy of the cork, AND IT WON'T FLOAT!

 

I cant' remember where I read it but I vaguely recall someone talking about being able to get natural floating cork from a fishing supply place (for nets) - never tried so don't know how practical it is

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I was under the impression that by going to the Nitrophyl material that put an end to the 'coating' issue.  I feel like I know less now than when I started asking questions.  Somebody, please explain to me and everyone reading on here just what in the world is going on.  The car is completely put back together and this issue is the only thing stopping me from taking a short drive with it.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

AACA Life Member #947918

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It is supposed to put an end to the coating issue. Gm thought so. They got away with it for 70-80k miles and then they all sunk. I have not heard until today of coating a nitrophyl float, but I would be strongly inclined to take Carbking's advice about that if I were to use one.

 

Regardless, it should be OK for quite a while.

 

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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The phenolic (foam) floats of O.E. fame were molded. All of the outside surface of the molded float has a hard coating. But, as Bloo mentioned, eventually virtually all of them sank.

 

The aftermarket floats for the older cars are not molded, they are machined from a larger molded block. So where the machining takes place, the hard surface is removed.

 

The manufacturer told me that it didn't matter that the hard surface was gone, each individual cell was closed, and they wouldn't leak. Well, the very first two I sold DID absorb gasoline. AND the one I then tested ALSO absorbed fuel. It took less than 3 weeks!

 

I am not a chemist, and do not pretend to be one. But my guess is that fuel in certain areas is more stressful than others. Maybe there are areas with fuel that will not cause the foam to fail, I don't know. I do know that without sealing, we have had failures. And I can tell you that a customer is not happy hearing "well, the manufacture of the foam says it is not supposed to absorb fuel" when the customer's float HAS absorbed fuel.

 

I would suggest sealing the float once the float arm has been attached. If nothing else, call it an "insurance policy".

 

Jon.

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Years of messing around with carburetors.............we ONLY make brass floats regardless of time or money. I hate sitting on the side of the road. For EVERY CAR I own, it gets brass.

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Terry - we have successfully used POR-15 for years. And hundreds of our customers have successfully used the model airplane dope used to coat the fabric wings on flying model airplanes. And hopefully, the fuel you burn is no worse than what we have here in central Missouri ;)

 

Good luck with it.

 

One other comment:

 

Now that the foam float pontoons are available ala carte (from others, we still sell them with rebuilding kits only); a really good insurance policy might be to acquire a "parts" carb identical to the one on one's car to acquire a float arm. Acquire an extra foam float, affix the arm and seal it; and place the now ready to use float in bubble wrap in a small wooden box in the glove compartment. Remember that virtually ALL of the sealed factory floats of the 70's and 80's DID eventually fail. These that are being hand-coated WILL eventually fail. Having a spare could get you home.

 

Marvel was too cheap to use brass floats in all but a hand-full of truck carburetors; and one of many reasons I don't care for the brand.

 

Jon.

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Just FYI: I have the original Marvel carbs in two of my cars.  Years ago, I replaced floats with 3 wine bottle corks glued together with Crazy Glue & coated with Red Kote gas tank sealer.  They are still working fine after several years.

 

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17 hours ago, edinmass said:

Years of messing around with carburetors.............we ONLY make brass floats regardless of time or money. I hate sitting on the side of the road. For EVERY CAR I own, it gets brass.

 

Sir: And just what is or was your source for the brass floats? Or are you saying you fabricated them yourself?

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Please don’t call me sir. I have fabricated them from scratch. Go to tractor supply warehouse. Go to the old tractor parts area and you will see a dozen different brass floats. They’re very reasonably priced. I usually start with those in modify them. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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FINALLY, some better news to report.  I got the new Nitrophyl float from Gregg Lange on Monday.  Got the new machine screws that hold the float and pivot arm together earlier this morning (only needed one but had to spring for a box of 50).  Put everything together and got the float back into the bowl.  Turned the fuel on and the float did exactly as it was supposed to do.  Not a drop of fuel anywhere except in the bowl.  I am going to get the engine started in the morning when my other half can be here.  Here are some photos showing the progress.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

AACA Life Member #947918

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Well folks, I'm back again with a different problem.  I do not want anyone thinking that I'm just offering up excuses as to why the video hasn't been done.  As I reported earlier the engine ran for me on July 10th and 11th.  I haven't been able to get it started since.  The ignition switch issue made itself known and that was taken care of very well.  The float issue came up and I think that this might be on the way to being resolved.  It seems that I have been on the phone daily with Larry DiBarry and Hugh Leidlein.  Both of these guys are very well versed in Marvel Carburetors.  I feel that it is appropriate to let everyone know just what steps I took when putting this engine back together.  Rex Curtiss and crew went through the Starter/Generator Unit for me and this thing performs wonderfully.  When it came time to install the NOS AC Titan plugs, I checked each and every one with my Multi Meter for continuity on the electrode and they all checked out 100%.  When I cut the new plug wires I checked each one for continuity to make sure that there was no opens.  They all checked out 100%  I checked the NOS Delco Distributor Cap on each post to make sure everything was as it should be and it was.  I do not think that the problem is electrical.  The engine ran with the new 6-Volt Coil and the new Onan Condenser.  I pulled each and every plug this morning and they were all dry.  This tells me that fuel is not being drawn into the cylinders.  I have tried using some starting fluid with no results.  I have followed the suggestions from everyone to close the idle jet on the bottom of the carburetor and open it back up 3/4 of a turn.  A little bit of success but not enough to keep the engine running long enough to make any more adjustments.  I looked at the timing again this afternoon and it was exactly where I initially set it.  I pulled the carburetor off this afternoon and checked the fuel level in the float bowl.  I had to tweak the pivot arm to raise the float ever so slight and now I feel like the fuel level is within the 1/16" to 1/8" BELOW the idle jet seat like the Marvel Specifications are calling for.  I checked and checked again all of the manifold clamps and nuts holding the clamps and they were all good and tight.

I am at the end of my rope here.  This thing is simply defying common sense.  After looking at everything as I have this engine should start up and run.  It did before.  I know that there are some very sharp guys out there who may have run up against something like this before and might have the answer.  There just has to be something that I am missing here, but for the life of me I cannot find the problem.  Please help get this car back on the road where it belongs.  I am going to include my phone number on here and even if it's 3 o'clock in the morning, call me and tell me what in the world is going on here with this engine.  Thank you for all of your help and suggestions.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

Phone - (620) 665-7672

email - renobuickman@gmail.com

AACA Life Member #947918

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You seem to be keying on the Carb, but do you have a good dependable spark?  If you have the original coil unclip the wire to the distributor and attach a good piece of sparkplug wire. have someone crank the engine while you hold the wire 1/4 inch from grounded metal. It should give a nice spark 3 times a revolution. 

 

Regarding the carb, your setting should be close enough that you could keep it running with the choke until you get it set.  sounds more like a spark issue. Are you running original coil or modern?

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Put some modern plugs in it. I wouldn’t assume any NOS plug in any box or application it is marked for is correct. Compression, spark, fuel...........and it runs. I have seen incorrect plugs cause a no start condition on early cars. Don’t over think it. Don’t guess. Don’t ask internet experts........work with guys who have a few thousand miles on the platform. If it won’t run on starting fluid.......you have timing/ignition issues. Start over from scratch. 
 

Notice Oldtech is telling you to check spark? 99 percent of carburetor issues are spark.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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2 minutes ago, Terry Wiegand said:

The 6-Volt Coil is new.  I got it from Brillman's down in Virginia.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

AACA Life Member #947918


 

New is meaningless.......test, verify, diagnose..........

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8 hours ago, Terry Wiegand said:

 I have followed the suggestions from everyone to close the idle jet on the bottom of the carburetor and open it back up 3/4 of a turn.

 

My car won't start on 3/4 of a turn (270 degrees). That's about where I put it when it's running, but to start the car I have to open it up to 1 and 1/2 turns (a full 360 and another 180) for the car to start, soon as it starts I go back to 3/4 turn to run better without smoke. But there's no way mine starts on 3/4 turn. 

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Read the post again. 

 

Didn't see where you pulled plugs and checked they were all firing while held against the block.

 

Signed,

 

The Guy Who Once Spent a Frustrating Afternoon With the Distributor Rotor in His Pocket

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Terry,

Get one of these.  Have someone try to start the car while placing this on the spark plug or distributor center wire and see if it flashes.  If it flashes, then you are probably OK on spark.  If nothing, then....?

 

https://www.amazon.com/Lisle-19380-Spark-Tester/dp/B0002STS3U/ref=asc_df_B0002STS3U/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312142020868&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=11169681861912976653&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9016962&hvtargid=pla-494321916635&psc=1

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I continue to struggle with a cheap foreign twist knob battery disconnect switch.  If this thing is not really tight, the motor will crank but there is not enough voltage left to fire the ignition.  I've proven it to myself and have a knife switch battery cutoff I need to yet install.

 

Long story but on 6v systems, check your connections and grounds.  You need all 6v.

Edited by Brian_Heil (see edit history)
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I had the little spring plunger drop out of the distributor cap once.  Found the little devil and spring too.

 

Had the points rubbing block break off on NOS points.  No point gap.  Most NOS points out there for sale have this same issue.  JB Weld 25 years and counting to re-attach.

 

Failed external ballast resistor.  Found it sparking in the dark.  Hit and miss running.

 

Dirty combination switch contacts.

 

Cooked a 6v battery because I could not turn my starter generator down low enough after it got re-built.  I now run my halogen spotlight to get my net charge down to 1 amp down the road.

 

All of this on my 1923.  I share it to let you know, you are not alone.  Rather, you are enjoying your initiation to the Buick PWD Fraternity.

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53 minutes ago, Brian_Heil said:

Read the post again. 

 

Didn't see where you pulled plugs and checked they were all firing while held against the block.

 

Signed,

 

The Guy Who Once Spent a Frustrating Afternoon With the Distributor Rotor in His Pocket

I did that too. 🤦‍♂️  😬

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2 hours ago, Brian_Heil said:

Read the post again. 

 

Didn't see where you pulled plugs and checked they were all firing while held against the block.

 

Signed,

 

The Guy Who Once Spent a Frustrating Afternoon With the Distributor Rotor in His Pocket

 

 Thanks Brian.  I don't feel so all alone now!

 

  Ben

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