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1941 Buick barn find


Eric Erb
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so my dad has this car in his garage.  1941 buick.  mod 41SE, style No 41-44090 (last digit could be an 😎  Body 2724, trim 906 and color 560.  I know precious little about cars, but it would be really cool to be able to drive this someday.  It does not appear to have ever been restored, but i could be wrong in that (not knowing what to look for).  I have no idea when this last ran.  Is there some kind of checklist on what to do and in what order?  or perhaps more of a book on how to go about it?  Also, are there people that will do the restoration?  i'm not unwilling to try some myself but honestly i don't have the skill set and want it to be done right.

 

thanks

Eric

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Location and photos would help get a response

If has been sitting for a long time need to careful when starting - oil circulation, oil circulation and oil circulation. And then cooling system.

All need to be checked

======

Being not from USA I have always wondered why so many people in USA lose barns! (a very over used term)

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Welcome, don’t try to start it!  You want to try and see if the engine is free or stuck before you do anything. Take the spark plugs out but number the wires so you know where they go first. Then try to move the engine by turning the lower pulley connected to the crank shaft. You may want to put some oil in each spark plug hole - very small amount. If it’s free then you are ahead of the game. If stuck you will need to do more to it to try and get it free. Others that know more will chime in soon. Just wanted to be sure you don’t try to start it with out oil or miracle oil or some other things in the cylinders. 
dave s 

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16 hours ago, mike6024 said:

Don't ever supply gas to the carb like that guy is doing in the second video!

 

 

 

Using a cup to pour is dangerous for sure.

One back fire and a startled mechanic and you may have a fire.

I do this on occasion, but use a squirt can, more contained.

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6 hours ago, JACK M said:

 

Using a cup to pour is dangerous for sure.

One back fire and a startled mechanic and you may have a fire.

I do this on occasion, but use a squirt can, more contained.

 

A tiny little back fire. Barely a burp. A hiccup............

An instant fire ball as the mechanic reels backwards splashing gas on the car and himself. Both engulfed in flame. Car a total loss. Mechanic survives but carries the scars that the skin grafts, plastic surgery and 2 months in the burn ward could not fix.

THINK!................Bob

 

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6 minutes ago, mike6024 said:

OK the fuel pump is not delivering, and the fuel we put in the carburetor bowl ran out so I'll just pour some gas down into it while you crank the engine. I will use a plastic measuring cup.

An old tin soup can (or something similar that's made of metal) would be the safest.

 

Craig

Edited by 8E45E (see edit history)
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What Bob commented is very true, happened to my neighbor. In his case, besides the burned up car and severe burns to face and chest, he suffered very badly burnt throat and breathing channel. Misery and suffering for all. 

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Last summer in Waterville Washington a Ford dealership built in 1925 caught fire and burned to the ground.

 

The elder gentleman owner of the brick building was trying to start inside  an old Econoline old enough to have the engine midships. Apparently he was trying to start the motor by pouring gas into the carburetor. According to a person watching the engine belched back catching the interior on fire as well as the man pouring the gas. 

 

The sad result was the man died and the historic Ford Dealership was burnt and the building collapsed on it self into a pile of rubble. A sad end to a elder man and a neat old Ford model t building. There is a U tube video if you search.

 

brasscarguy 

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I know I'd be proud to own it; a handsome car that should slowly come back to life just fine.

 

Ditto on gasoline & backfires; one day back around '80 my Dad was helping a friend try to start 50s Dodge. His reward was catching his leg on fire. His suffering through the recovery sticks in my memory (I was pretty young.)

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How about a few pics of the interior.

Also, is the engine free - can you turn it by hand using the fan?

It looks like a solid car that will need quite a bit of work to get back on the road - brakes, fuel system, tires etc......That's what happens when a car sits, unused, for long periods of time.

It can be made roadworthy but you stated that you don't have the skill set to tinker with it.

There are plenty of shops that will work on the car. I would estimate the cost to get it back on the road would be $3000-$5000 - It adds up quickly

 

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On 10/5/2021 at 4:21 PM, Eric Erb said:

i'm not unwilling to try some myself but honestly i don't have the skill set and want it to be done right.

 

thanks

Eric

No one is born knowing how to do anything. Willingness to try will take you far.

 

Find an AACA or Buick Club of America group close to you and get involved. You need to associate with people who are in tune with OLD cars and not the LS/modern-everything-on-an-old-car-body crowd.

 

Start acquiring a basic set of SAE hand tools. Sockets/ratchets, combination wrenches, screwdrivers etc. Used tools in well-cared-for condition will be a great start. These cars are very simple for the most part and don't require a lot of fancy stuff to service them properly.

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Thanks everyone.  So I’ll start by seeing if the engine is free to turn.  Then brakes and fuel system?  What to look for there?  As far as I can tell there’s no leaks, at least the floor under the car doesn’t show any.  What should I look for when vetting a shop to do some work?

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As far as vetting a shop to do some work the main thing, and probably the most important one, is taking it to a shop that 

works on old(er) cars . I'm sure you will get recommendations from here on shops by you that will work on your car

If you take it to a place that deals with the new stuff you might as well work on it yourself.

They won't know much, if anything, about dealing with carbs, points etc... Plus, there won't be a place for them to plug in a computer to TELL them what's wrong.

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Helps to know where you're located since someone here may know of a shop capable of servicing your Buick.

 

Suffice to say a garage that mainly works on newer vehicles will not be a good choice. A garage here I've used for decades can barely service my 93 F150 anymore. I can't imagine taking a non-computer car to them now.

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Your car looks very similar to a 41 Olds that I acquired last February in same exact general condition. It has been in storage at a barn for 30 years. I had no previous experience but did exactly what is recommended in prior responses: got good basic tools, acquired a portable lift (Quickjack.com), purchased several old manuals including Body Parts Manual, Shop Manual, Fisher Body Manual and started working on it. Manuals are a must in my opinion. 

 

This is the "check list" I used chronologically, which I think may be helpful for you:

 

1. Checked if engine was stuck adding Marvel Oil to the spark plug holes overnight and was able to rotate engine by hand (was free)

2. Replaced fuel tank and a couple of short fuel hoses in the front part of the car

3. Verify the exhaust was not occupied by mice or other unwanted creatures

4. Placed a NAPA 3EH battery labeled Commercial Grade (is 0.5 inch longer and thicker than the original)

5. I did not replace the spark plugs initially (I did afterwards when tuning up)

6. Added coolant

7. Drained oil pan and added new oil

8. Then was time to fire up and see what happened. It worked well. Initially  the exhaust was spitting black smoke like crazy but after about a week of frequent firing up and letting run for a while it started to clear

9. Then I rebuilt the brake master cylinder and all 4 wheel cylindes and replaced all brake shoes and all brake hoses

10. A lot more fine tuning after that including a trip to a shop because I could not get the timing right

11. If you are close to Western South Dakota I will provide you the name of the shop that helps me when my skills are surpassed. They do excellent mechanical work and are constantly working on cars from the 50s on and a few older ones.

 

Take a look at the pictures of my car and you will notice the similarities in its condition (only difference is that mine was already washed by the time photos were taken). Your paint probably will be very decent after cleaned and polished. I hope this is helpful. Good luck.

 

 

Right side.jpg

Rear view.jpg

Grille, center.jpg

Engine 6.jpg

Engine-Air cleaner  1.jpg

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If you can get it to Morris County, call New Vernon Coach and Motor Works.  They service my modern cars, but they also handle older stuff.  Lots of rare things, in all parts of the spectrum.  Mostly foreign.  At one moment there might be a Morris Minor, an older Rolls-Royce and a Ferrari in the parking area.

 

Gil Fitzhugh, Morristown, NJ

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50 minutes ago, Eric Erb said:

Thanks for the tips and checklist!  
and thanks for sharing your car, it looks great!

 

the car is in union county, nj

There's Hibernia Restorations in Rockaway N.J.

Mind you, if you do bring your car to a shop like this, IF they can fit it in, the cost is going to be up there.

I used to live in South Orange and Union NJ and it has been a loooong time since then so I don't know of any places presently that would/could work on your car. I now live about an hour from Union, NJ

I don't have much time with work/my own car(s), but I'd gladly give you a hand. If you need any help/advice give me a shout. I may be able to 

help - a little......

Joe

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I would suggest removing the carburetor. Then at least clean and inspect. Or overhaul with new gaskets. Clean all passages with spray Carburetor Cleaner. You can have water in a carburetor due to condensation. And of course change fuel lines and a new fuel filter.

Maybe you can find a video on overhauling a vintage carburetor.

 

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1 hour ago, mike6024 said:

I would suggest removing the carburetor. Then at least clean and inspect. Or overhaul with new gaskets. Clean all passages with spray Carburetor Cleaner. You can have water in a carburetor due to condensation. And of course change fuel lines and a new fuel filter.

Maybe you can find a video on overhauling a vintage carburetor.

 

From the photos' the car has dual carbs :)

 

Download the 1942 Buick shop manual for free. All of it section by section.

Or click the pdf link to pay.

http://www.oldcarmanualproject.com/manuals/Buick/1942/Shop Manual/

It is very comprehensive and has information that can be used with all straight 8’s.

It has more information than was included in older “Shop Manuals” before 1942

 

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13 hours ago, Joe Cocuzza said:

There's Hibernia Restorations in Rockaway N.J.

Mind you, if you do bring your car to a shop like this, IF they can fit it in, the cost is going to be up there.

I used to live in South Orange and Union NJ and it has been a loooong time since then so I don't know of any places presently that would/could work on your car. I now live about an hour from Union, NJ

I don't have much time with work/my own car(s), but I'd gladly give you a hand. If you need any help/advice give me a shout. I may be able to 

help - a little......

Joe

Hibernia is closed . Doug Hull in Layton NJ does excellent work on older cars . 201 230 3300 

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On 10/16/2021 at 12:13 AM, Joe Cocuzza said:

How about a few pics of the interior.

Also, is the engine free - can you turn it by hand using the fan?

It looks like a solid car that will need quite a bit of work to get back on the road - brakes, fuel system, tires etc......That's what happens when a car sits, unused, for long periods of time.

It can be made roadworthy but you stated that you don't have the skill set to tinker with it.

There are plenty of shops that will work on the car. I would estimate the cost to get it back on the road would be $3000-$5000 - It adds up quickly

 

here's the dash, and back seat

IMG_0765.JPG

IMG_0766.JPG

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Nice looking cars. Make sure the brakes are working. The master cylinder is a single unit with 1 pipe outlet only. About pouring gasoline in carb is definately a no no . Only a bonehead will do that. Remove the bowl cover and fill/ reinstall. Install the air breather back. The air breather is oil filled. Drag the car outside the building.   The basic problem is being too anxious to hear the engine run.    Keep a fire extinguisher handy..  There is no short cut to safety. shortcuts ends in tragedy. There is one other important item to check and that is the flexible fuel line  near to and below the battery . When I brought home my 41 Buick special  (it was running ) I decided to do a cursory check. I touch that fuel line and it fell to pieces. I had to scramble to find a vessel to catch the fuel and plug the line.  May be it was the incorrect line in the first place. Prevention is better than cure.

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Hey, Eric...

 

Local car guys could hook you up with an old school mechanic. 

 

Too late to hit a cruise night to gather info....that would be great.

 

How about a New Jersey AACA meeting or joining a Facebook group.  https://njregionaaca.com/

 

Get a shop manual and jump in....

 

Doctor's Pontiac gave you a good list to follow and these cars are actually really easy to work on if you want to learn how to conjugate a few cuss words and trade some skinned knuckles for a "yeah, I did that" grin.

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That will be a nice looking and driving car when you get it sorted out. I have had my model 41 for 16 years. It took some work to get it working properly, especially the dual carbs. Once you have determined if it cranks over, I would replace the gas tank. We are lucky that new ones are made of this model Buick. You always want to have good gas. If not you can have issues down the road. By the way, I have never been stuck by the road with it. I drive the car at least 2K year. You will love driving it.

 

Good luck. Plenty of us 41 Buick people on the Forum to give you assistance.

 

 

IMG_4480.jpg

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On 10/16/2021 at 10:00 AM, rocketraider said:

No one is born knowing how to do anything. Willingness to try will take you far.

 

Find an AACA or Buick Club of America group close to you and get involved. You need to associate with people who are in tune with OLD cars and not the LS/modern-everything-on-an-old-car-body crowd.

 

Start acquiring a basic set of SAE hand tools. Sockets/ratchets, combination wrenches, screwdrivers etc. Used tools in well-cared-for condition will be a great start. These cars are very simple for the most part and don't require a lot of fancy stuff to service them properly.

That, Sir, is a jewel in repose, and it could be the turning point for the rest of your non-mechanically oriented life. If you hear a echo as you read this post, it is rocket raider repeating, and expounding upon a previous post I made extolling the social value of old car restoration as a hobby.

You have a beautiful canvas, one hundred percent worthy of being restored and driven, both as a tribute to your father and a launch pad for some really sentimental, and just plain darn fun, future drives.

My advice, freely given, is that you follow rocketraiders guidance, contact forum members for assistance and guidance, buy some tools, and (I unequivocally the day will come) that you sit in the seat of this jewel and be super proud that the oil spot on the floor is directly traceable to your DNA.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks all.  It will be a long slough as I don’t live near the car. The garage it’s in is also very tight.  I am visiting it today (and mom too). It looks like the spark plugs are newish, I know my dad replaced the battery, he prolly put the new plugs in it too.  I’ll try taking them out and seeing if I can move the fan at all.  
 

really appreciate all the advice, and I will definitely keep you posted with updates.

-Eric 

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Eric, I had never done body work before. I wrecked my 38 Studebaker and could not find a shop that would work on a car that old near where I live. I posted my need for help and advice and over 50 AACA forum members with years of experience jumped in on my repair thread. I had expert advice and help every step of the way. I posted pics as I did each step and my mentors would critic my work and tell me what was needed next. The help you get from these caring, experienced, willing to help forum members is great. The bonus is you will have friends to meet all over when you take your car on the road. Have fun with that great car. 
dave s 

Edited by SC38dls (see edit history)
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