Jump to content

Me and My 1956 Buick Super 4 Door Sedan


usnavystgc
 Share

Recommended Posts

John, great thread and thanks for including all of that original information from your library.  My comments: (1) Wow - 3 quarts of oil in that rear end!  The Kia Soul my wife had previously held 3.5 quarts in the crankcase!  (2) My '64 GP also lacks a drain plug for the rear end.  I used one of these https://www.harborfreight.com/oil-suction-gun-95468.html?utm_source=go&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=shortener to suck the old oil from the fill hole.  It doesn't extract every drop, but it also won't disturb anything that has settled to the bottom of the housing as long as you're careful.  My axle was performing without issue and I just wanted to refresh the oil, so I wasn't concerned about leaving 5% behind.  (3) Before drilling the 5/8" torque tube hole it might be worth going to NAPA (or other nearby parts store) to see what they have available in the "Help" section (or behind the counter) with regard to rubber plugs.  Find one that looks like it will do the job and then drill the hole to fit the plug.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As an aside, FWIW my stream of thought of an abbreviated “Top 5” list if your objective is get it to run then see what it needs….lots of different COAs and experience on the forum.  This just reflects my approach on a student budget when this was my only hand me down ride in the 80s.  Disregard if you’ve already thought it all through or done the steps.
 

1) my recommendation would be resist the urge to run the engine much until you replace oil and filter, replace the fuel pump and flex line (avoid fuel on hot surface when diaphragm or top seal goes), flush cooling & block so sediment doesn’t foul the radiator, ranco valve, heater core, water pump.  Replace radiator and heater hoses, check rad cap so they don’t let loose from dry rot under pressure and scald someone.  You can do the panty hose trick in the top hose to catch sediment also.  Replace fuel filter, drain tank and fresh gas so sediment/varnish doesn’t foul the carb.  Consider a tank sealer to slosh around in there if you decide to drop the tank.

 

2) Fix the exhaust so you don’t asphyxiate yourself from leaks into the garage.  Yeah the old car exhaust smells great and fans work but you get the point.  Make sure your exhaust heat riser valve is free and not frozen closed (pass side manifold on your car).  Could warp something or cause high engine temps/ poor response if rusted closed.

 

Follow on to 2- Since my crossover pipe was good and the nuts would not budge I did not drop the oil pan to clean it right away.  The oil and filter were changed every few hundred miles then every 3k.  Did not motor flush.  I did drop the pan to clean it many years and miles later when the y pipe deteriorated.  During the y pipe removal cracked one of the exhaust manifolds irreparably.  The engine had about 80k on it then and I didn’t rebuild it until it had about 100k on it.  My pan was full of dirt, rocks and sludge because the car primarily ran the strip mine dirt roads daily between Shamokin, Mt Carmel and Centralia as it’s livelihood but even so always had good pressure.  Yours may not be that extreme but likely sludgy.  If you choose to drop the pan here’s a link for a look ahead, anticipate its same for 56, it was straightforward when y pipe and idler arm were down.

 

https://forums.aaca.org/topic/67190-55-roadmaster-oil-pan-removal/?tab=comments#comment-273553

 

3) sounds like you are going through the brakes.  Hoses and cylinders all around, don’t skimp, lines too or as needed.  Really stand on the pedal before you head out.  Check the e-brake too.  No reserve hydraulic cylinder on these cars.  One leak and your downshifting, ebraking, pumping the pedal and doing fast mental math on rate of closure to obstacle or find an escape path.  Obviously you’ll check the shoes, hardware, drums for reuse/replace.  Clean and repack front wheel bearings inner and outer while in there.  Grease the chassis, look for anything excessively worn.  You’ll be getting ready for a drive.

 

4) if it’s running good assume you can check the charge with all the electrical loads on so you don’t kill the battery as you run it although it will run quite awhile on just the battery alone.  Make sure brake lights and signal systems work.

 

5) it’s easy to drain the trans and torque converter via the drain plugs, drop the pan and wipe it out.  I ran it a bit and then changed it again and gtg.  Yeah the trans leaked for many years until I had it rebuilt but not so bad that a viscosity improver and a sheet of cardboard worked out fine.

 

6).Tires and diff fluid level.  Nuff said.

 

7) Assuming it’s a fair weather daylight car at first and wipers check out.  They run off manifold and fuel pump vacuume.  Check the hoses and the vacuume motor on the firewall if sluggish. Rain X is your best friend.

 

That ought to keep you busy enough to hit the high points and get it a few laps around the block or the backyard, get some time on it before you venture further and see what it needs.  Lots of fine tuning to go from there.  Like I said the above was just my approach - if I missed something or got it wrong am sure the forum team will help fix it.

 

Back to JDs driveline thread not to hijack it.
 

Have fun!

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by KAD36 (see edit history)
  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well my trip got pushed back to the 29th so, I started back at it last night.  I got brake lines plumbed in the back.  One thing I thought about before I quit for the night was, I'm missing one side of the two piece plastic/nylon circle that holds the plunger rod to the brake pedal.  Does anyone know what I'm talking about and if so, does anyone have any idea where I might find one?  Junkyards typically laugh when I say 56 Buick.  In looking at the diagrams for 55, 56 and 57 Buicks, it appears this is a one year part.  It basically looks like a white nylon circle, cut in half.  It fits over the ball at the end of the plunger rod of the power assist master cylinder and is fastened to the back side of the suspended brake pedal.  I will try to post a pic of it when I get home but, I figured you all would likely know what I'm talking about. 

 

I have circled the approximate location in this picture (although it is not pictured here).

 

1983607032_brakepedallinkage.PNG.b4d4d6c91411f4ead6077ef04b598c55.PNG

 

Also, does anyone know where to get a leather seal for the power booster?  Mine was pretty cracked when we opened it.

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

Yes, I know what you are talking about.  Have you tried contacting the various vendors listed in the Buick Club magazine?  Some of them are listed in this thread: helpful vendors thread  I would also try that yard Pete P posts about, Browne Auto Salvage in Texas.  I believe that French Lake Auto in Minnesota can help also.  It's a small part but it is essential.  I have no idea on the leather seal. Is it something one could make at home?

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some good news to report (knock on wood), The torque tube leak seems to have stopped.  I don't see a single drip since the day we started it.  We did put it in drive and reverse that day and that seems to have stopped the leak.

 

It can't be this easy can it?  Lol

  • Like 2
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought mine stopped leaking once.  But it was just very low on fluid.  

 

With some use I would think the seal may soften and stop leaking.  But sitting in one place will not be the definitive test. I believe that area gets trans fluid when the vehicle moves, and so it may appear to only leak after you stop and have it sitting for a while.  Just keep monitoring the situation, and refill as needed.  I notice a difference in the feel of the car if the trans is two quarts low. Then I put that in and it's back to normal.  

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

8 hours ago, usnavystgc said:

 

It can't be this easy can it?  Lol


Glad it sealed up sometimes a little running will swell seals and slow leaks down to seeps.  Sometimes.

 

Keep a lot of beer on hand. The whole car will simply fall together.  You’ll see….😆

 

 

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

  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/24/2021 at 6:58 PM, JohnD1956 said:

I have no idea on the leather seal. Is it something one could make at home?

Good news on this front too.  I found the leather seal from Fusick.  Not cheap but, where else can you find one.  I'm not confident in my ability to make one so, I bought it.

 

http://www.fusickautomotiveproducts.com/prodinfo.asp?number=PBK376004

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just thought I'd provide an update.

 

I'm still working on the brakes and they have to proven to be a challenge.  I got all the hard lines replaced and bled the brakes but, the pedal would not return on its own.  I took the booster/master cylinder assy off and noticed the hydraulic piston is pitted and is catching on the lip of the master cylinder seal.  I took some emery cloth and sanded it down the best I could but to get all the pits out would likely result in a piston that wont seal.  Here is a pic,

piston.jpg.8e51e25e88878c000ef3eff198f44bb1.jpg

As you can see, the pits are kind of deep and are about 1/3 of the way down from the end that goes into the cylinder.  

 

The only two fixes I can think of is to have a machine shop make a new one or have them do a weld build up on the piston and machine it back to factory specs.  If anyone has another idea, I'm all ears.

 

Other things in progress are, 

 

I removed the tank last night and will begin the cleaning/sealing process tonight. 

 

I also ordered and received a new exhaust and plan to install that this Saturday.  

 

I'm hoping to drive the car in about two weeks.

 

 

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

5 hours ago, usnavystgc said:

I got all the hard lines replaced and bled the brakes but, the pedal would not return on its own. 

The rod that holds the brake pedal in the bracket is built with an eccentric to it. If your brake pedal sticks the nut on the end of this rod should be loosened and the rod can be turned to provide a better alignment. 

 

20200502_141312.jpg

 

Note: In this picture above I have not put the return spring back into the proper position.  In the picture below is how the spring sits in final assembly.

 

20200502_133815.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're  welcome.  Yes. I think the piston will be okay. I dont think the hydraulics seal at that point but vacuum may leak there. You might try filling the pits with something that can be sanded smooth. Not sure the best product to use but it may not even be a big cause for concern

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/16/2021 at 3:01 PM, usnavystgc said:

Just thought I'd provide an update.

 

I'm still working on the brakes and they have to proven to be a challenge.  I got all the hard lines replaced and bled the brakes but, the pedal would not return on its own.  I took the booster/master cylinder assy off and noticed the hydraulic piston is pitted and is catching on the lip of the master cylinder seal.  I took some emery cloth and sanded it down the best I could but to get all the pits out would likely result in a piston that wont seal.  Here is a pic,

piston.jpg.8e51e25e88878c000ef3eff198f44bb1.jpg

As you can see, the pits are kind of deep and are about 1/3 of the way down from the end that goes into the cylinder.  

 

The only two fixes I can think of is to have a machine shop make a new one or have them do a weld build up on the piston and machine it back to factory specs.  If anyone has another idea, I'm all ears.

 

Other things in progress are, 

 

I removed the tank last night and will begin the cleaning/sealing process tonight. 

 

I also ordered and received a new exhaust and plan to install that this Saturday.  

 

I'm hoping to drive the car in about two weeks.

 

 

 

If you have any doubt, you can get a new shaft if you have a Moraine unit here:

 

http://www.oldbuickparts.com/product_info.php?cPath=35_64_180&products_id=2345

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/16/2021 at 3:01 PM, usnavystgc said:

but, the pedal would not return on its own.

If this happens only when the engine is running after the brakes are applied, as a test remove the bellows below the brake pedal.  This needs to be vented and new ones seal "too good".

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

All great info.  Thanks @lancemb and @old-tank.  

 

Now I have another question Lol.

 

Regarding the plug that screws into the master cylinder, the shop manual talks about a secondary cup support (see below pic) but I cannot figure out what that is.  Does anyone have an exploded view of this cylinder plug?  I'm trying to make sure I have all the parts I'm supposed to.  It seems someone has been in here before because one of the Orings was on the center ring of the plug but the manual says that should be open and the orings on the outer two slots.  This makes sense since there are two tiny holes in the center slot ( I assume those holes allow brake fluid to pass thru for lubrication).  

 

Uno mas questions por favor (I'm not hispanic but, I like to use the language).  Does anyone know how to remove the vacuum cup retainer and and vacuum cup?

 

853493539_MasterCylinderPlug.PNG.b1a0c8d821612eaf1c9416f2939bcfdf.PNG

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

  • 2 weeks later...

As a result of the power brake booster/master cylinder rebuild, I am now an expert on this unit Lol.  All kidding aside, I do now own this tool (J5794).

 

J5794.PNG.da4af9500c63906abeb74b8b1daf9bdf.PNG

 

If anyone would like to borrow it, let me know and we will make it happen.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I don't want to make any predictions but, here's what I'm currently working on.

 

The fuel tank and fuel lines were both shot so I'm in the process of replacing them now (bending fuel line as we speak at the kitchen table).  :)

I have the old tank out and the new fuel tank is in my garage.  I hope to have that done by this weekend.

 

I ordered an exhaust system for it but, when I received it, it did not fit.  The vendor has promised to make it right but, I'm still waiting on the replacement.  I am now exhaustless on the pass. side so, I don't want to run it like that but, those are the only two things holding up the victory lap.  

 

Thanks for asking @KAD36.  I know my 4 door post sedan is not that sexy but, I'm having a lot of fun with it.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing (among many) that has amazed me about this car is, the exhaust manifold valve spins freely.  I was so worried about it being seized up but, it wasn't.  I never even had to lube it to get it to spin but, I have since lubed it and it spins like a champ.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Nice solution!  After years of driving mine with a cracked rim surface, I noticed a pungent odor when first entering the car. Not sure if it was detriorated plastic of the wheel or years of sweat packed into the cracks in the wheel. Cleaning it several times did not seem to help so I blew the old car budget one year and got a recast steering wheel. Its one of the best investments I've made on the 56 as it is right in your face everytime I get in the car.   But your idea looks just as good AND very nicely done!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice job - looks great!  I had an '85 Olds that had a couple of cracks in its wheel and did the same thing.  Actually, the way it's done it looks better than new IMHO.  The leather also feels nice on your fingers!  ;)

 

Waaaay better than those ugly 'laced-on' covers...

 

61FvBNc5yyL.jpg

  • Like 1
  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, JohnD1956 said:

Nice solution!  After years of driving mine with a cracked rim surface, I noticed a pungent odor when first entering the car. Not sure if it was detriorated plastic of the wheel or years of sweat packed into the cracks in the wheel. Cleaning it several times did not seem to help so I blew the old car budget one year and got a recast steering wheel. Its one of the best investments I've made on the 56 as it is right in your face everytime I get in the car.   But your idea looks just as good AND very nicely done!

 

You're right about blowing the budget...but the results are nearly unbelievable.  I did this with a 55 Pontiac a few years ago and Steering Wheel Bob did the work.  It was almost $1k but there aren't really any other options out there.  It's not like you can go to the junkyard and pick up a nice one.

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

1 hour ago, Smartin said:

 

You're right about blowing the budget...but the results are nearly unbelievable.  I did this with a 55 Pontiac a few years ago and Steering Wheel Bob did the work.  It was almost $1k but there aren't really any other options out there.  It's not like you can go to the junkyard and pick up a nice one.

Its one of those things that really stabs to the heart when doing it but, every time it is driven later the memory of the horror at that one transaction dims.  

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

I got a couple things accomplished this weekend.

 

Got the steering wheel mounted and I think it looks great.  :)

 

2053563611_SteeringWheelmounted.jpeg.b9fe5d8eeac68790023130638f048648.jpeg

 

I also got all the fuel lines ran and mounted the new tank.  

 

456752713_Gastank.jpeg.40bd7db71952669e327f5f0be1dc9a23.jpeg

 

Now its onto the exhaust install and then the first drive in 53+ years.  

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/21/2021 at 1:12 PM, JohnD1956 said:

Its one of the best investments I've made on the 56 as it is right in your face everytime I get in the car.

 

I also bit the bullet and had my wheel recast last year.  I was very fortunate to find someone who did a fantastic job for only $500.  I agree completely with John.  It's not only "in your face" every time you get in the car, but it is literally the way you "connect" with your car.  It adds so much to the experience of driving.

 

I really like what you did with the leather, USNavy!  Did you do it yourself?  Such a nice job.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, neil morse said:

I really like what you did with the leather, USNavy!  Did you do it yourself?  Such a nice job.

Thank you for the compliment, yes sir, I did do it myself and I have to say it was a painstaking process but, the cost was minimal (<$100).  It really did turn out nice but, I must say I had some help from a YouTuber that goes by the name of Cechaflo.  He is an absolute expert on upholstery,  He is hard to watch because he is so meticulous about what he does and he doesn't speak English so, there's no audio on any of his videos.  If you ever have trouble sleeping, turn on Cechaflo  LOL

 

Regarding this car, I'm trying to do as much as I can by myself.  This is my "practice car" in the hopes that one day I will get a car that is a candidate for a complete restoration.  This car is not a candidate for a complete restoration for many reasons but, its really giving me a lot of practice.  Who knows, maybe I will change my mind about that but, for now, she's gonna be a runner and a driver.  

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was originally going to have the one on my 57 75R redone, but aside from the cost, after looking at another one that had been redone and having found a really nice (but not perfect) one on a parts car I changed my mind.

 

The other car, which had been totally restored, had had its wheel recast but it wasn't the correct color, so it looked really out of place to me.  Being a very unique shade, I'd be very disappointed if I spent all that money and it wasn't a perfect match.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, the fun continues with the exhaust work.  The original set I ordered did not fit and the new set that got sent my way does not fit however, I'm certain its hard to make an exhaust for a vehicle that you don't have in front of you.  Right now I'm attempting to take both sets and make a good exhaust for the car.  I'm learning a lot about cold forging Lol.  I have learned how to shorten bubble flares, how to straighten flares enough to get the flange off so it can be turned over and to reflare using a ball hitch.  None of this is easy since I only have very basic tools but, I'm slowly but surely getting the job done.  

 

So far I have both exhaust manifold pipes installed (it wasn't easy since the bubble flares were too long).  I should be able to get both mufflers on today and hopefully the drivers side complete tomorrow.  The passenger side tailpipe is with a friend of mine who is a machinist.  He is modifying the pipe to get it to fit.  If all goes well, I might be able to take a drive this weekend.  I will keep all informed of the progress.

 

Next comes the issue of tires.  I'm torn on this, should I get wide whites or just go with blackwalls for now since the car is so far from completion.  I fear the whitewalls will get grease/oil covered with all the work left.  The tires that are on there now were free from a shop where I bought the car.  He gave them to me because they'd been sitting in his shop forever and he didn't think he'd ever sell them.  the back two are truck tires and the fronts are 15X7 bias ply.  All are old and are really only suitable for low speeds.  

 

Does anyone know the radial equivalent for 15X7.6 tires?

 

After tires, its onto repair of the front floorboards.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have what I think is a unique idea for a modern driveline for a torque tube Buick.  I haven't seen anyone propose this so I'm going to propose it here and hopefully you all will tell me the folly of my thinking or confirm it will work.

 

Take a modern front yoke for say a 700R4 and a small section of a driveshaft and weld it to a propeller shaft, cut the torque tube to allow the small section of the driveshaft to fit.  So basically, get the kit that allows for a 700R4 to be mounted to the nailhead, modify the trans mount to accomodate it, cut the torque tube back just before it goes thru the X of the frame, cut the propeller shaft about 4 inches longer that the now cut torque tube, install a yoke, U-joint and a small part of a modern driveshaft in the area aft of the tranny to the cut back portion of the torque tube, weld the small portion of the drive shaft to the propeller shaft and there you have it, a modern transmission install that saves the rear end, suspension, and nailhead engine.  No modifications to the rear end should be necessary.

 

Can someone tell me why this wouldn't work or what the issues would be?  What problems would it cause?  To me it seems like a simple way to incorporate a modern tranny in a torque tube Buick with the least amount of mods.

 

I hope my explanation is good enough for you to visualize.  If not, ask questions and I'll try to further explain.  I wish I was smart and could provide a diagram but, I just don't know how to draw it up other than on a napkin :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The torque tube is bolted to the rear flange on the Dynaflow.  That is the "front to rear" control for where the rear axle sits, and basically substitutes for the rear control arms as found on rear axles after 1960 (I believe 61 is an open drive shaft but may be off by a year).  The panhard bar behind the rear axle controls side to side location and will not be sufficient to keep the rear axle in place front to rear especially while burning excess tire tread height off. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, in addition to the mod I detailed, one would need to come up with a way to control front to rear movement of the axle.  That doesn't seem to hard of a barrier to overcome.  Could you just take the struts (i guess that's what they're called) off of the torque tube and weld them to the frame so front to rear motion would be controlled?  

 

BTW, I don't plan on doing this but, every time I see an article about someone totally modifying the driveline because the want a modern tranny, I've always wondered why go thru all that trouble when the solution seems simple.  I figured someone must have thought of this before me but, i couldn't find any real discussion on it.  

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are several types of torque tube that have been used over the years, and what the torque tube is expected to do varied by make and model. In a Buick, the torque tube *IS* most if the suspension, and if you disconnect it, everything just flops.

 

People who convert them usually use a "truck arm" style suspension because they concentrate the forces up near the back of the transmission more or less like the torque tube did. Sometimes they literally salvage the arms from a Chevrolet truck.

 

48 minutes ago, usnavystgc said:

So, in addition to the mod I detailed, one would need to come up with a way to control front to rear movement of the axle.

 

Also torque reaction. Imagine up-down motion at the front of the torque tube under acceleration and deceleration, The back tires have to have leverage against something.

 

  • Like 1
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...