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New guy joins the Buick world


MrFreeze
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Hello everybody.  I bought my first Buick yesterday after a fairly length search - 1964 Riviera.  Just got it home today.  Pic attached because who doesn't like pics?

 

I'm mainly posting to say hello.  This car is in pretty good shape, but of course it needs a lot of little things because it's 58 years old.  Before I unleash a barrage a questions I wanted to start by asking what are the best manuals & reference guides to have for this vehicle?  Most of my prior automotive experience has been with Mustangs, so I have a bit of a learning curve here.

 

Plans are to basically make it a bit safer for modern roads and drive it is much as I can.  Initial list includes new suspension bushings (rubber looks to be original and is pretty chewy), front disk brakes with somewhat bigger wheels and tires, and a dual-reservoir master cylinder.  Might need to deal with a leak or two, first.  And get the AC working again - system looks to be complete, but charge has been lost, so there is a leak somewhere.

 

Thanks in advance for any advice.

 

Best regards,

MrFreeze

1964-Buick-Riviera-American Classics--Car-101771958-6af5005b9a495250f85bad1f007ffb6c.webp

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Hey Mr Freeze

lots of useful knowledge here with these guys who know their Rivs I have been using the manuals that came with the car which is what they have suggested to you only comment I make is i will be buying the cd as the electrical circuit diagrams are testing my eyesight so think on screen will help!!

Enjoy the  ride

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Unless you’re towing a trailer down long hills, disk brakes are not necessary. The Buick finned aluminum drums are more than sufficient.  The dual reservoir master cylinder is a good upgrade.  The Riviera Owners Assn is a great tool for restoration. Tech advisors, a magazine with a large classified section, and a web site with a Tech Tips section. (Here’s where you’ll find the step by step for installing a dual master cylinder.  

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Agreed........the giant drum brakes on your car have more stopping power than disc brakes, and in

addition the pedal travel is a lot less.  Contrary to popular belief, often when a dual master cylinder

goes empty due to a leak in the system, there are no brakes at all.....I've seen it many times. I go with

my single master and check the fluid level regularly, and I have a fully operational emergency brake if needed.

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Thanks for the service manual advice, gentlemen.  I will be ordering body and chassis manuals momentarily.

 

I am aware that the first gen Riv's had excellent drum brakes, but I have some things working against me here:

 

1. Current single bowl MC is leaking

2. Current front drums are not aluminum, but cast iron reproductions (and it appears that the aluminum drums are no longer available?)

3. PO ground much of the fin material off of the front drums in order to make the new wheels work (it looks like something I would have done 30 years ago when I was young and dumb)

 

Given that I need a new MC and new drums anyway, it seemed sensible to change over to front disks.  But I am always willing to listen to anyone who wants to talk me OUT of spending $$.  So given my situation, what would you guys suggest?

 

My plans for the future do include some lengthy road trips, with the inevitable mountain passes, so keep that in mind - this is not going to be a car show princess.

 

Here's a pic of the butchered front drum.

 

Best regards,

MrFreeze

 

Front drum.jpg

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Beautiful car. I will start with a question. How attached are you to the wheels? I have been there, done that on my 63. Dual MC in good working order made a HUGE difference in stopping my car. Disc brakes were on my list, but moved we down on it after. Find used aluminum drums and either add a spacer behind the wheel or if you plan to change them anyway, check backspacing and diameter before you buy new ones. I went with 17s, so I did not have this issue. Your car, your decisions, but the dual MC should be at the top of any lists made, especially if yours is leaking.

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As @Seafoam65 said above, adding a dual circuit master cylinder will not improve the brake performance under normal circumstances and doesn't guarantee that you'll have the ability to safely stop the car if there is a failure.  I'm not against adding the dual circuit system, but just want to set the expectation...

 

When these cars were used as daily drivers in the snow-belt states (like here in NY) it was common to have a brake line rust through in five or six years.  A dual circuit system can maintain minimum stopping performance in that case.  The line to the rear wheels in my '04 Silverado failed a few years ago and I still had to shift to neutral at every stop in order to limp home...

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16 hours ago, Seafoam65 said:

Agreed........the giant drum brakes on your car have more stopping power than disc brakes, and in

addition the pedal travel is a lot less.  Contrary to popular belief, often when a dual master cylinder

goes empty due to a leak in the system, there are no brakes at all.....I've seen it many times. I go with

my single master and check the fluid level regularly, and I have a fully operational emergency brake if needed.

I have the original single on my 65 too. No problems so far, stops well. I dont hot rod the car so that may be a factor

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Welcome to the Riviera family! Please consider joining the Riviera Owners Assn. (www.rivowner.org).

 

If you prefer real paper shop and body manuals instead of CD/DVD versions, watch ebay for "1964 (Buick, Fisher) Manual". You will surely find listings for used chassis and body manuals. Personally I prefer a book I can thumb through or set on the fender while I am working on the car.

 

Also, if you have other questions you need answers to, please consider searching this forum first because your questions have probably already been asked and answered (several times! 🙂). If you don't find the answers you are looking for, fire away with your questions.

 

Enjoy the ride and the experience of Riviera ownership!

Edited by NC1968Riviera (see edit history)
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13 hours ago, steelman said:

Beautiful car. I will start with a question. How attached are you to the wheels? I have been there, done that on my 63. Dual MC in good working order made a HUGE difference in stopping my car. Disc brakes were on my list, but moved we down on it after. Find used aluminum drums and either add a spacer behind the wheel or if you plan to change them anyway, check backspacing and diameter before you buy new ones. I went with 17s, so I did not have this issue. Your car, your decisions, but the dual MC should be at the top of any lists made, especially if yours is leaking.

The wheels 100% have to go - IMO they are not appropriate for the look of the car.  At least, not the look i want.  Planning for what I think of as "Magnum 500" style wheels, hopefully in a large diameter.   Mind sharing what size 17" wheels and ties you went with?  Or even a pic maybe?  I'm thinking about a 225 width would look appropriate on this size car, but I don't want to shrink down to a rubber band sized sidewall.

 

I'll keep an eye out for aluminum drums, still not decided what to do there - would appreciate input from anyone else who has faced this decision.

 

Here's a pic of the type wheels I mean - these are on my Mustang, but I believe I have seen essentially the same wheel on early Buicks with different center caps.

 

Best regards,

MrFreeze

90719011.jpg

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17 hours ago, MrFreeze said:

The wheels 100% have to go - IMO they are not appropriate for the look of the car.  At least, not the look i want.  Planning for what I think of as "Magnum 500" style wheels, hopefully in a large diameter.   Mind sharing what size 17" wheels and ties you went with?  Or even a pic maybe?  I'm thinking about a 225 width would look appropriate on this size car, but I don't want to shrink down to a rubber band sized sidewall.

 

I'll keep an eye out for aluminum drums, still not decided what to do there - would appreciate input from anyone else who has faced this decision.

 

Here's a pic of the type wheels I mean - these are on my Mustang, but I believe I have seen essentially the same wheel on early Buicks with different center caps.

 

Best regards,

MrFreeze

90719011.jpg

I like and wanted a tall tire. I like the slightly larger wheels, but didn’t want “rubber bands”. My fronts are 235/55/17 on 17x7 wheels with 3 5/8 back spacing. Rears are 255/55/17 on 17x8 wheels with the same 3 5/8 backspacing. Fronts will rub slightly in a hard, full lock turn. I try to avoid those situations. In all my pictures, I have none of this car at ride height. All are dropped with the bags fully deflated. Maybe this will give you an idea on wheel size.

2CFEB7B4-5CB3-4A89-AB39-30FD12454509.jpeg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Welcome to the forum, and congratulations on your new '64 Riviera - sharp looking car!

 

I see you're in Seattle.  I bought my '65 in Seattle from someone who lived near NE 45th Street, by the University of Washington.

 

If you ever get up to BC let me know.  I'm in Vancouver and would be happy to meet you and talk Buicks, especially Rivieras!

 

Cheers,

Alex

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  • 1 month later...

The man who designed the Buick Formula Five/Rally wheels/Road wheels also designed all the chromed wheels for GM/Ford/Chrysler/AMC.

He ALSO designed the Motor Wheel Spyders of which I have a set. Could be talked into selling IF the $$$ are right. Comes with NOS CORRECT lugs nuts & looks to be NOS center caps.

15x5x6

 

Tom T.

 

 

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16 hours ago, Paul K. said:

+ 1 on swapping for a set Buick Road Wheels. 

Are "Buick Road Wheels" different from "Buick Rally Wheels"?

 

Can anyone point me to where those can be purchased in a 5 on 5 pattern?

 

Best regards,

MrFreeze

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Originally they were marketed as Formula Five Wheels.  All of the road/rally wheels for the large bodies are 5 on 5.  The intermediate bodied car came with 5 on 4.75” wheels but thos have a definite two piece structure and most came in 14” diameter, except for a few 15x 7” wheels which came on the performance GS Skylark models.

 

When buying 15” x  6” 5 on 5 wheels you need to take into consideration what year your car is because the wheels came in three builds. The number 802 wheel fits only drum brake cars without modifications, the 853 fits both disk and drum brake cars, and the 895 wheel, 1971 - 1978 has a different offset and back spacing and may not fit over the fins on the aluminum drums and because of the backspacing may have some chassis interference problems.

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22 hours ago, RivNut said:

Originally they were marketed as Formula Five Wheels.  All of the road/rally wheels for the large bodies are 5 on 5.  The intermediate bodied car came with 5 on 4.75” wheels but thos have a definite two piece structure and most came in 14” diameter, except for a few 15x 7” wheels which came on the performance GS Skylark models.

 

When buying 15” x  6” 5 on 5 wheels you need to take into consideration what year your car is because the wheels came in three builds. The number 802 wheel fits only drum brake cars without modifications, the 853 fits both disk and drum brake cars, and the 895 wheel, 1971 - 1978 has a different offset and back spacing and may not fit over the fins on the aluminum drums and because of the backspacing may have some chassis interference problems.

Thanks for the useful info.  Do you know where these wheels can be purchased?

 

MrFreeze

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On 10/29/2022 at 5:37 AM, Barney Eaton said:

Nice Riviera......... if you are not aware,  the  Buick Club of Amarica national meet will be in Spokane next July 12-15

Hope to see you there. 

Thanks for the tip - I have it on my calendar.  Spokane is a nice drive from Seattle (at long as it is not winter), so good excuse for a road trip.

 

MrFreeze

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1 hour ago, MrFreeze said:

Thanks for the useful info.  Do you know where these wheels can be purchased?

 

MrFreeze

All of these wheels will be originals.  You can find them on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, etc. The ROA publishes a bi-monthly magazine, the RIVIEW, in which there’s a big classified section where you can sell, purchase or run an ad for Want to Buy.  There’s no real magic answer.  You might even post a WTB on this forum.  Just make sure you’re as educated as you can be when purchasing.  Know what you want and do not accept anything but.  Lots of sellers advertise all Riviera parts as “fits all.” Ain’t so.  If you find a set, which would be five wheels and four center caps, there are companies that can rechrome the wheels.  You can buy excellent reproduction caps @ www.buickcenters.com

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You need to be careful when purchasing the Rally Wheels as at least 80% of them are bent from hitting curbs, rough/inattentive handling on tire machines, etc.

No way you can tell by a pic until they are mounted on the balancing machine. 

By that time it's too late & it will be costly to return ship them even IF the seller is willing to take them back unless of course you can pick them up local.

 

These Motor Wheel Spyders are as close to NOS that you can get & they were an option on all the GM lines.

Reason you don't see them that often is exactly that, they were an option most/many didn't want to pay extra for.

 

Do a Google search to see what they look like. 

 

I know you & others will like them & you'll most likely be the only one at a show to have a set, but they are GM correct.

 

Tom T.

 

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21 hours ago, MrFreeze said:

Yes I did - after about a month of on/off negotiations.  Are you in the Seattle area as well?

 

MrFreeze

Yes, I am in Kent.  And a few weeks ago I was at a Sunday cruise-in in Renton, and spoke with the guy who had consigned it at Park Place (I had my 65 at the cruise-in). 

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14 hours ago, 71GS said:

I always thought those motor wheels were so rare because they were recalled for cracking or something? I also never knew there was any relation to GM. First I’ve heard of that. Cool wheels though

Brian, you can't scoop-them-up. You blew your budget on those awesome Skylarks!😃

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9 hours ago, cjp69 said:

Yes, I am in Kent.  And a few weeks ago I was at a Sunday cruise-in in Renton, and spoke with the guy who had consigned it at Park Place (I had my 65 at the cruise-in). 

Interesting!  Did you happen to get any details or history about the car?

 

MrFreeze

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13 hours ago, MrFreeze said:

Interesting!  Did you happen to get any details or history about the car?

 

MrFreeze

Not much, I think he said he had bought it along with a couple of other cars, and it sounded like he was just flipping it.  He had an El Camino at the cruise in that he also had for sale. 

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