Any progress updates?
Any progress updates?
I've just been buried with other stuff in life these days so no time to post here lately. Part of that "stuff" has been bustin' butt on the '60. It's gotta motor itself out of the garage and into the storage barn before the snow flys here. Latest progress...........
A quick pic of the original 401 flexplate to show where the added weight is. you can see the "extra" metal in the area I shaded with a marker.
I really wanted to use the original that came with the car. It's very clean and in really good condition. Plus it's the correct 3 speed unit with no trans cooler. Much nicer than the one in the parts car. A couple of small problems though. The bottom mount was mashed into something mangling the bracket and bending the upper mounting ears. Amazingly the hit didn't hurt the tanks or the core. A little torch, vise and hammer work straightened these out OK. Second problem was a small crack in the upper tank. I took it to my radiator guy and he did a quick 2 minute solder job on the crack and sent me on my way with a warning......... Having not tested this with pressure cross your fingers when you run it in the car.............
It worked great when I fired and ran the 401 in the LeSabre for the first time. After I shut the engine down, about five minutes later I heard a little hissing sound. Damn..........the crack spread just enough under pressure to leak. OK....... now we gotta do it the right way. Back to the shop. This time the radiator was dunked and stripped cleaned. The little crack turned out to be a badly spidered area about the size of a quarter. The right fix would be a new tank. $$$$. For now Matt did the ugly but effective fix over the area. He also discovered a leak under the right upper bracket and fixed that too. Sixty bucks later..... it ain't pretty but we have good working unit.
Back in '60 the blowby gases were just vented with a metal draft tube from the valley pan to the ground. Both oil caps in the valve covers are also open vented.
When I drove the parts car around I could smell the blowby stench inside the car. Yeck...... Plus the underhood area in the LeSabre was totally slimed in oil from the valve cover oil caps venting a worn out 364.
I deemed a PCV system mandatory on this driver. The problem is the original Carter AFB carburetor has no provision for a vacuum source for the PCV valve. I have some other Buick AFBs with the vacuum source but none of them have the engine starter switch mounted on the base. 1960 is the last year for the "tap start" throttle pedal starting system (lucky me......) so I have to run the original setup. I decided to add a 1/2" spacer under the carb and drill it for the vacuum source. Summit Racing has a spacer for a Holley carb that I modified to fit the mounting hole spacing of the AFB. I just scribed it out on the spacer using the original AFB gasket. Clamp the spacer to the drill press with another alumium unit for a bit guide and drill away....... A quick hole drilled in the back of the spacer for a vacuum port and I pressed in a chunk of 3/8" metal fuel line for vacuum line to mate to. Everything fits and clears well on the engine. The air filter housing just barely clears the hood with the extra height.
Next I gotta make a tube from the valley cover to the air cleaner....
'79 Electra Limited 350-4
'95 Roadmaster Sedan 350-LT 1
W.O.T. without a Cat
OK Steve; I would strongly suggest a soft parts overhaul for the 401. If it had blow by in the Invicta sedan what makes you think you won't have it in your Lesabre?
You can probably get a master kit for about $500. and with the machine work, cleaning up the heads and a hone you'd be in it with your labor under a G. You can also detail it to the 9's while it's apart and that isn't but a couple of rattle cans of Buick green or Ford diesel green to really make it look nice. After all, you have gone to quite a bit of trouble getting the project to where it is now.
You're 1st and goal, why not? Mitch
PS: I'm sorry if I was spending your money because it's easy to spend other people's money!
I see your used to working on SBC's. I think you'll be hard pressed to find a China master kit for a "Nail" for $500.00
Classic and Muscle Automotive
12 Cook St.
Norwalk, CT 06853-1601
Day Phone 203-324-6045 ET
NailHead Mini-Starters '53-'66
Adjustable Roller Tip Rocker Arms - All NailHeads
Custom Forged Pistons
Many parts to numerous to list
"If I can't get it, you don't need it!"
Looks like she is coming a long way, good luck with getting her moving this year yet.
~ Stupid huts ~
good progress so far, steve.
Are you going to junk the road draft tube from the nailhead? If so, I'll take it! Im in need of a draft tube for mine. PM or email me.
The second step to the blowby gas into the car situation will be to thoughly seal up the firewall so there are no holes whatsoever. The parts car had a comepletely missing throttle boot on the firewall plus the heater box was left unsealed from a previous repair. That's the main reason for the stench in the car. There will always be some blow by on an engine with some miles under it. The 401 checked very healthy with great compression and very little visible blow by. I would have loved to rebuild the 364 but it's just too pricey for the budget and the overall value of the car doesn't justify it.
Also, you'll notice I'm not spending alot of time on visual details and restoration. This car will be a driver that will see miles and it will get dirty. The proper function of all the mechanicals is what's really important to me. Just doing the best I can to bring this old girl back to the road on a really tight budget.
Steve weim55 Colorado
Last edited by weim55; 10-08-2010 at 02:26 PM.
Steve.. great work you are doing !
I am going through the same steps with my '60 electra. I actually have a strong smell in the car when the roof is down. Blow by, unburnt exhaust, I am not sure but my gfriend will actually almost get a headache and our clothes will smell.
I will go through the engine once winter hits....
Question: Are you eliminating the road draft tube ? If so why ? Aren't those fumes just getting sucked out under the car ? I have smoke coming off the valve cover breathers. I assumed the smell was coming from there (through all the missing rubber grommets in the firewall).
I'll be eliminating the road draft tube. I'll use the old road draft tube hole in the valley pan and make a new pipe that will go straight up into the air filter housing. Making a truly closed PCV system. Some trouble areas for fumes in the car: Missing or bad throttle boot. Steering column seal. Sealer around the heater box. Boot between the heater box and the fan housing. (hard to see this one well without using a mirror) I also wonder about the rubber seal between the hood and the top of the cowl. Could this be how fumes are getting inside the car with the top down? Over the windsheild? Or maybe past that same seal into the heater vent inlet at the base of the windsheild?
Steve weim55 Colorado
Last edited by weim55; 10-08-2010 at 08:26 AM.
The 401 has the typical GM points distributor from the era. Thought I would try one of the points replacement modules that are out there. Heard good things about the Pertronix units so I tryed to pick one up. I went to three sources and they were back ordered at all of 'em. My next choice was an Accel unit from Summit. I've had alot of Accel stuff over the years and have always been happy with the brand.
I gave the distributor a through a clean and lube before installing. The install couldn't be easier. Nothing has to be modified. Even uses the same reduced voltage power source as the point system. So no wiring mods. The onlr problem I ran into was the nuts that hold the firing wheel to the advance plate would hit top of the module. A quick hit to the nuts with the grinder and they clear just fine. Good thing I checked that. The module also has that wonderful Made in China sticker. (so much for made in USA Accel stuff anymore....) That said I'll definatly keep a points set, lead wire and a screwdriver in the trunk just in case. New high quality Accel cap and rotor. These look like the good solid quality peices I'm used to seeing from Accel. Made in USA.
For the ignition wires I decided just to use the ones that were on the 401. Packard wires that show a 1973 date. They're a nice replacement set that fit perfectly and have the correct boots. Rubber still healthy and pliable. All check good for resistance with an ohm meter. It might seem odd that I would use a 30 year old set of plug wires. Like many other things these days I'm very leary of new product quality. Old quality is good quality most of the time. So I will gladly put a little time into the old stuff to bring it back around rather than take the easy road to new. Saves $$ too. Here's a tip that I used on the plug wires that works well for anything rubber. Just use a waterless hand cleaner like Goop, slime up the rubber and rinse. Scrub a little with a light brush should it need. Looks like new when you're done.
Steve weim55 Colorado
Last edited by weim55; 11-04-2010 at 09:38 AM.
1960 is the last year for the torque tube driveshaft and rear axle setup. It's also the last year for the slide rail 3 speed non synchro first stick transmission (lucky me once again......) I've read and heard bad stuff about these things too. Leaks, loose clunky couplings, pricey repairs, hard to find parts....... I'm determined to make it work with no leaks and smooth operation.
When I first purchased the car John Codman here on the boards helped me understand and ID much of the 3 speed and rear axle stuff. I had never set my eyes on animals the likes of these. He looked up the tranny and rear axle numbers and found the standard axle ratio to be a 3.91 and a first gear ratio of the transmission to be a 2.17. Once I had the driveline out of car I checked 'em both and this proved to be true.
What was Buick thinking on that one? Now I know why the 364 was so worn out. The original owner had commented to his son how great the car would run on the highway at 80 to 90 MPH. that little nailhead would be screaming close to 4000 RPM doing that. Not a highway cruiser. And what a shame..... Why didn't Buick use the standard Dynaflow LeSabre 3.07 axle with a first gear around 2.80 for the stick car? A much better economy setup.
If I still lived in the city I would probably leave the 3.91s in the car. Since I live in the sticks, I want this car to be highway cruiser. So that gear has gotta go. Since I have it and it's free I'll use the 3.23s from the Invicta parts car. I would rather have 3.07s from a Dynaflow LeSabre but I'm afraid to go that high with that lousy 2.17 first gear. I think I'd be smokin' the clutch just to get the thing rollin'. Even with the 3.23s, the math shows redline in first gear (4200rpm) to be 48 MPH! 2500 rpm is 30 MPH! That's a loooooong first gear!
So that's the plan, to run the 3.23s. Hopefully I won't regret the decision to make the change. The fun of the three speed stick is one of the main reasons I purchased the car in the first place. Need to keep it that way..........Lets dive in..............
Steve weim55 Colorado
Last edited by weim55; 10-08-2010 at 02:31 PM.
3 Speed Transmission
Compared to muscle era stuff I'm used to working on this is one strange gearbox. The first order was to check the overall condtion and address leaks. With the top cover off a peek inside showed normal wear. The main shaft comes out and apart easily. Bearings,syncros and gears all look good. I tossed it back together then on to the first problem area.
That would be the u-joint bolted to the end of the tailshaft that is enclosed in the torque tube "ball". U-joint is wet inside the "ball" lubricated by splash 90W oil inside the transmission. Looks like the transmission was run low on oil (I'll talk about the whys of that in a bit...) starving the u-joint, ruining it. The joint cross had alot of slop but it wasn't destroyed. Too worn to run it that way though. The output yoke shaft that rides inside a bushing in the torque ball is badly worn too. Too loose to hold a seal that rides on it keeping the transmission oil out of the torque tube. And last the yoke splines that slide on the output shaft of the transmission are rolled and loose too. Because the yokes are shot I can't just rebuild the joint cross. Add to that this is a 3-speed stick only asseembly. Good luck finding another one of those.......
Time to get crafty......... I pulled the Dynaflow joint to take a look and see if I could piece one together somehow. The two assemblies are close in design but not interchangable. The plus side is the Dynaflow assembly is in perfect condition. Wet fed just like the stick version but with ATF instead of 90W. The thing is if you run a Dynaflow low on fluid the car quits moving. So the the joint is more likely to survive over time. Less chance of abuse and "hit" from the stick transmission also.
In the end I decided I would try to modify the Dynaflow unit to work. The yoke that slides onto the transmission is the only difference. It's too long and the speedo gear is in the way. A quick check of the yoke on the output shaft showed a good fit, just too long. In the pics you'll see how I used a puller to move the speedo gear up the the measurement I needed the yoke to be to match the stick unit. Then using the gear as a flat guide I used my 4" cutoff disc grinder to whack off the the area that was too long. Pulled the speedo gear off, dressed the cutoff area and wala!...... One 3 speed stick u-joint assembly ready to rock! For free! I like that! Where the yoke bolts on the shaft I shimmed the bolt and washer for about a .002 to .003 play back and forth. The yoke is supposed float a little bit here.
What I thought was going to be a major roadblock in the project turned out to be an easy solution. Chalk another one up to just how valuable a parts car can be.
In the pics the stick joint is on the left, Dynaflow on the right.
Steve weim55 Colorado
I love it when things start out bad and quickly turn around from old stuff that is right there waiting. Even better, its free with just a little elbow grease.
Thats going to be a fun driver.
Low Flying 1964 Skylark, 355 Wildcat, 200 4R. My build link... http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.php?t=213961
1960 Pontiac Ventura. 2 door, thin pillar bubble top.
My great cars that got away;
Totaled 67 Camaro SS RS 350 4 speed.
69 Camaro RS Convert. Scored 96 out of 100. Investor talked me out of it, it's been collecting dust every since.
63 Lemans conv, white with red int, rare side skirts, low mile original, also collecting dust in a private collection.
What a shock to discover this thread.
I also have a Fawn Pearl '60 LeSabre 2-door sedan with a 364 stick. I've had it for about a month.
Amazingly similar car. I would love to compare notes!
OK Dino: I was wondering when you two would get together. Mitch
Well, it is clear that Weim55 has a much higher level of mechanical skill than I do. I am comfortable with working on the car, but this stuff is a level above.
I am very very curious about the trans and clutch in particular. I do not even know HOW to check the fluid level in this trans at this point! And I am seeing some dripping from the torque ball. So that makes me a bit nervous.
Weim55, if you have a chance, please get in touch with me. Thanks!
Checking the fluid is done through the drain plug, I have figured out. But what's the procedure? Just open the drain plug and fill it until it's oozing out of the hole?
Your finger is the dipstick. Fill to the first knuckle on your finger, that is the full mark.
350 CID, TA Connecting Rods, 9.6CR, Comp 268H, Poston Intake, 800 Q-Jet,
TH350, B&M Holeshot Converter, 3.42 Rear
Now I have not spent much time looking at the trans itself, as of yet. I have been mostly doing smaller things as I await some time for my dad to work with me (he's a gearhead from back in the day).
But from what I see, the drain plug is on the bottom of the transmission. If that's the case, how does one open the plug without losing all of the fluid?
I gotta get under there and get my face in that trans....:-/
Unbelieveable......... The exact same car?! Tell us a little about it. Does it run and drive? Post a couple of pics on this thread if you have a chance. Love to see it.
As for filling the transmission, if yours is the same that 3 speed will have two plugs. A drain plug at the very bottom and a fill plug on the passenger side of the case about 3 inches from the bottom. The plug might be covered by 50 year old grease so you might have to "dig" for it. Be sure and fill the trans all the way to the top of the fill plug hole. That fluid lubricates the u joint at the back in the torque ball too. If you drain the trans first and completely fill it it won't even hold two quarts. A little seapage at the torque ball is normal. Look under the car a day after you fill up the transmission. If there's a bunch under the car on the garage floor might need to investigate.
I'll be posting more soon. Good luck with that '60!
Steve weim55 Colorado
Steve, with the exception of the fact that you have a white trunk lid and quarter tops, the car is identical from an exterior standpoint.
The interior is very close. I have the Safety package, which includes backup lights, a parking brake indicator lamp, a map light, and speedminder. I think that's absent on your car.
I also have full hubcaps. Not sure if they were added. My car is from KC as well and I would love to exchange VINs with you. I'd be glad to send pics.
The drip from the torque ball is not terrible, but it's a few ounces or so a week. It only seems to drip if I am parked on an incline, and unfortunately my driveway is an incline. The car runs and drives pretty well. No smoke or noises, other than a noisy water pump. My carb needs a rebuild- accelerator pump is spotty - and I have some exhaust work to do. Brakes will get a complete going over as well.
You really have things in hand there. You must have a very well-stocked tool chest for all that heavy work you have done on 50-year-old suspension and driveline components. You also have some real skills.
I'll post up some pics of the car. You'll be very suprised at how similar it is.
Am I correct that you added power steering? I don't plan to but I was curious as to how easy a swap that was.
Last edited by DinoBob; 10-20-2010 at 11:12 PM. Reason: Added Content
Pics in next post.