Saturday, 22 November 2014

Meet Beau the 1941 Buick Sedanette

Being a glutton for punishment I usually have at least three projects on the go at  the same time. This Blog entry is about one of my other projects, Beau the 1941 Buick Sedanette, a true survivor with only 46,000 miles on him.

 I bought Beau out of Savannah Georgia, USA about four years ago, parking him in the shed and didn’t do anything with him until a few months ago. His 6 volt battery had died and as I didn’t have any other 6v batteries he just stayed under cover.  I’m sure I heard him pleading with me to get him back on the road each time I visited the shed, so decided I’d at least start him. It was about this time I received a phone call from the guy in Savannah who I bought him from, asking how I was enjoying driving him! I was a tad embarrassed to tell him I hadn’t done anything since he arrived in Australia. So the universe had spoken – ‘Get Beau Back On The Road’!  After I sourced a new battery, no mean feat as it is a long and skinny type used in that era, and poured a little motion lotion down his throat Beau fired up pretty easily, he really must want to get back on the road!
I ran him for about 20 minutes to make sure all his internals were well lubricated, and drive off any condensation by bring the engine up to running temperature.  Tested the lights and horn – indicators weren’t working when he arrived, but now the head lights didn’t work either, nor the horn - old cars do not like being neglected and not driven. I thought it was indeed good timing to get Beau on the road before anything else stopped working. I shut the engine down and head a drip, drip, drip coming from under the engine, I knew Beau had a leaking water pump seal and assumed it was that, but on inspection the leak was coming from the rear left hand side of the engine…… one of the welch plugs, (called Freeze or Core plugs in the US), had corroded through and the other two weren’t too far off either. Bugger!  Oh well, it was infinitely better, and less expensive to have happened in the shed than out on the highway somewhere. After working out what had to be removed from the engine to give access for their replacement, namely the inlet / exhaust manifold, I decided that if I was going to order the welch plugs and the various replacement manifold gaskets I may as well buy overhaul kits for both carburettors, fuel pump, leaking water pump, new thermostat, radiator hoses and ignition tune up kit -  points, condenser, rotor and distributor cap. There is a supplier in California – ‘Bob’s Automobilia’ who specialises in early and classic Buick parts, great range and prices.

I’ve been working on Beau on and off for a few weeks now, removing the various bits and pieces for overhaul of just to gain access to other bits. I brought the fuel pump, carbs and water pump to my home workshop as I have more tools at my disposal. The ‘Stude Gotto’ as we call the leased shed where my cars a housed has only primitive workshop facilities. The weekend I had planned to get stuck into the rebuilds had turned hot, damned hot!  43 Degrees C ,(about 110 F in the old money), way too hot to sit dripping sweat over a carb rebuild.

 If only I had an air conditioned workshop….hang on, the house is air conditioned and has a great work bench, AKA the dining table.. Eureka! So over the past week I have rebuilt the carbs and fuel pump, as the water pump is a bit more bulky and dining table is not the place to rebuild that. 

The Buick fuel pump also contains a vacuum pump
to run the windscreen wipers. Originally the factor used what looked like coiled horse hair or similar as an air filter. Not have any horses in the back yard, or any in the neighbourhood for that matter I had to find a substitute. 'Svenja'! have you got anything I can use as an air filter. We trotted down to her studio where she pulled out a handful of Dacron fibre, (the stuffing used in Teddy bears and other soft toys). It looked a bit 'plasticy' to me and I wondered if it would stand up the engine heat without melting, some 110 degrees C or 250 F. Only one way to find out so into the oven it went at 150 degrees C for an hour - No problems.

Above at the finished carbs and fuel/vacuum pump. With inlet/exhaust manifold to clean up, paint and refit.

The hot weather has also slowed work on the Humber too, it just too damn hot to work in there. I must be getting old and soft ;-)

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