My 1969 GS400

Discussion in 'Members Rides' started by FLGS400, Nov 30, 2020.

  1. Stage 2 iron

    Stage 2 iron Platinum Level Contributor

    I think Buick missed the boat in 69 not having that color available. Hey I still have that sandalwood 15 inch rally steering wheel available.
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  2. FLGS400

    FLGS400 Gold Level Contributor

    Well last night, I finally had another opportunity to work on the car. Installed the AC Delco, Roadmaster starter, new dipstick and tube, and new crankcase breather and hose.

    The starter was a pretty easy swap, though it did require a spacer for the smaller bolt, a new terminal on 2 of the small wires that go to the large post, and a modification to the terminal on the pink wire that goes to the small post (enlarge the hole in it). It's hard to believe that little thing cranks the 400 with ease! I just have to get used to the different sound of it now. LOL

    Sorry, I didn't take any pictures.

    Next it's on to the Cold Case radiator, upper and lower hoses, and thermostat housing replacement!
  3. Max Damage

    Max Damage I'm working on it!

    I know that thermostat outlet housing looks like an easy get, but maybe use the search function here first to see all the problems people have had with this?

    I recently replaced mine with the T/A version, and it took me three attempts to get it to seal! This finally included making my own cork gasket and using "special" gasket adhesive (3M weather-strip stuff).
  4. FLGS400

    FLGS400 Gold Level Contributor

    This will be my 3rd attempt as well! This time I am replacing the housing. The one on it now is the original and has a LOT of deep pitting where the bypass hose connects. I told myself if it leaks again, I would replace it. I was able to pick up a couple of used 455 ones from 1969RIVI, that are in much better shape. Larry gave me some tips on installing them too. If it leaks again, I'm going to try your method!
  5. FLGS400

    FLGS400 Gold Level Contributor

    So, over Memorial Day weekend, I replaced the stock radiator with the Cold Case 2-core, replaced the thermostat housing with one of the used ones I got from 1969RIVI, and replaced the upper and lower hoses with AC Delco ones. I finally took it for a drive tonight, to pick up dinner. It was great!!!! After a few miles, the temperature never got over 180, even while sitting in Checker's drive through, waiting on my food. I'm so stoked!! For the first few miles, the temperature jumped around quite a bit. I'm sure it was just the system working out the air pockets after the thermostat fully opened.

    Looks like the thermostat housing leak has been fixed now too. Thanks to you all for the tips on installing! I need to go check it again now and I'm sure I'll have to add some more coolant.

    I did have to make a few mods to help the radiator fit better. Nothing that couldn't be reversed if someone wanted to put it back to an original radiator. Had to swap the rubber bushings at the top, so the raised part was to the inside, and made some 1/2 spacers for the fan shroud, so it would not rub on the radiator. The cold Case Radiator sits about 1/2" closer to the fan than the stock one did. It's that much thicker at the core part. The bottom of the shroud fit right into the tabs with no problem. I added some edge protectors to the core support, made form split 3/16 vacuum line, to protect the radiator, too. Being thicker than the original, the front edges of the tanks were right up against that edge. The rubber bushings at the bottom were close enough to make work, as they were.

    Next thing on the list is to fix the fuel gauge. For some reason it quit working after I replaced the starter. I think it's just a coincidental though It wouldn't make sense that the starter has anything to do with it. I'm thinking that the sending unit took a crap, as the gauge just goes as far to the top as possible, when you turn on the key. I ordered a new sending unit from Summit with some parts for the other car that I needed (to make the free shipping minimum). If it's just a ground issue, I'll keep the new one in case of the eventual failure. Anyone use a sending unit from Autometal Direct yet? That's the one I bought, due to the lower profile of where the 3/8 line exits the unit. I read on here that others have had problems with the Spectra units being too tall a profile.
    Max Damage likes this.
  6. FLGS400

    FLGS400 Gold Level Contributor

    Here are some picture of the finished product. And the thermostat housing did not leak!

    20210609_195610.jpg 20210609_195521.jpg 20210609_195540.jpg
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  7. FLGS400

    FLGS400 Gold Level Contributor

    Just in case anyone was wondering, I ended up installing the new sending unit form Autometal Direct. It also seems to have a slightly taller profile on the fuel line, that hits the trunk floor when the tank is installed, just like what I heard about the Spectra unit. I was able to gently bend the line down a bit and that helped.

    At least now the gauge works!
    Max Damage likes this.
  8. FLGS400

    FLGS400 Gold Level Contributor

    Latest update: After fixing the fuel gauge, I decided to go ahead and tackle the leaky pinion seal while the back was up in the air. I purchased a new seal from monzaz back in December, but just had other more important issues to deal with since. After taking it all apart, installing the seal, and painting the cover and pinion yoke, the car had to sit like that until a a couple weeks ago (damn the life crap...). The pinion yoke seal surface seemed like it was in pretty good shape, so I just buffed it up with a scotchbrite pad and brake cleaner before I painted the rest of the yoke. Put Mobile 1 synthetic 75W90 in it due to having it left over from another project. This car does not have a posi yet.

    Finally got to take it for a drive last night to put more gas in it and no leaks, yay!

    Sorry, no pictures with this update...
  9. Brian Albrecht

    Brian Albrecht Classic Reflections

    Pinion seal & fuel gauge - I sold my '69 GS400 in 2017 needing both of those. Way to tackle 'em!
    FLGS400 likes this.
  10. FLGS400

    FLGS400 Gold Level Contributor

    Thanks Brian!

    It just made sense since I had the back of the car up in the air anyway... :)
  11. FLGS400

    FLGS400 Gold Level Contributor

    So tonight I had a chance to work on the GS400 again. Been a while, since I had to move all of my crap out of the house and garage in Pinellas Park by July 1st, and add it to the already pretty full 3-car garage in Zephyrhills. This included getting the 74 Malibu that was in the garage at the Pinellas Park house running again, and drive it here (done, but not a very pleasant drive). Finally got the garage in order to where we can fit the Buick, the Grand Cherokee, a scooter, a Triumph Daytona 675, and all of my tools and crap in there. There is still enough room to work on the Buick, too. The Malibu is covered up in the drive way now. I think it's going bye-bye pretty soon.

    I got my carburetor back from Cliff's High Performance a couple weeks ago and finally put it on the car tonight. After some very minor mixture screw and idle screw adjustments, I took it for a quick drive and it runs great!

    Next may be the front disc brake kit I bought a while back. Might wait until after the Auburndale BOP show though, just in case I run into a snag and it has to sit. There are other things it needs too that are way less labor intensive.
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  12. jannhall

    jannhall Member

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  13. FLGS400

    FLGS400 Gold Level Contributor

    Thank you!
  14. Max Damage

    Max Damage I'm working on it!

    If your original engine is still in place, you DON'T want to run 89. These cars were built to run-on leaded high test(factory claimed 10.25 to 1), and they like/need higher octane fuel. If you can get 93, use that, or blend in some racing fuel if you can get it. You will be amazed at how the car runs and you can then set the timing according to Larry's thread...
  15. FLGS400

    FLGS400 Gold Level Contributor

    That seems to be the general consensus. I actually did set up the timing by Larry's Power Timing Thread, with 34 degrees total, starting at 900 and in by 2,800 RPM. Felt really peppy, but pinged like mad on the 89. Also idled really weird. So I ended up dialing back the initial timing and installed slightly stiffer springs in the distributor, so I have now 31 degrees total, starting at 1,100RPM and all in by 3,000 RPM. It ran really good on this set-up, on the 89 Non-Ethanol, using a carburetor than I bought off eBay to use, while Cliff's had the one that came with the car. I think that carburetor ran a little bit on the rich side. It also had the MSD 6AL box on it too.

    Now without the MSD 6AL, and the Cliff's rebuilt carburetor it runs good, just has the slight ping under heavy load, when you first get into it. Cliff told me to run the 93 in it and that it won't hurt the carb. I may try that and go back to 34 degrees total. My fear is that this car can have the same gas sit in it for 6-months or more. I don't want the ethanol fuel to go to s*it on me during that time.

    I'll probably drive it more when I get the disc brake kit, new suspension bushings, ball joints, shocks, and springs done on it, and most importantly.... FIX THE AC! I have everything except the springs, rear control arm bushings, and R12 Freon to fix that stuff, so far. It's more of a time-to-do-it thing now.
  16. Max Damage

    Max Damage I'm working on it!

    Although sitting for 6 months isn't ideal, It doesn't seem to hurt mine. The second tank might run better... I had this same choice (no ethanol 89 or premium) and Premium works better.

    When I know the car is to sit for a while I fill it first.
    FLGS400 likes this.
  17. FLGS400

    FLGS400 Gold Level Contributor

    So, I went to take the car for a spin yesterday and it would not start. It sputtered a couple times and that was it, until the battery died from cranking it too much. It was getting fuel, as I could smell it when I took the air cleaner off. I was immediately thinking, Ugh... here we go with the ignition crap again. checked all of my wiring and it was good. Had 12V at the coil with the ignition on and 8-10V with the key in the start position. I popped the MSD distributor cap and rotor off and inspected it really good. There seemed to be some mild corrosion on the brass contact points all around it, as well as a bit on the tip of the rotor. I cleaned them all up with a fine wire wheel on my Dremel tool, blew it all out, put it back together, and it fired right up!

    Feeling good about the whole situation now, I took it to the grocery store, then cruised around town for a while. Ran great and started right up when shut off... I love driving this car!

    Anyone else have this issue with distributor caps and rotors? Right now the ignition consists of the FAST module and PS20 coil, MSD cap and rotor, MSD super conductor wires, and NGK UR4 spark plugs gapped at .040. The MSD 6AL is currently not part of the combination.

    By the way... Big kudos to MSD! I contacted them about the problem I had with no output on the 6AL box. It took a couple weeks, but they sent me a brand new one, even though the one that failed was purchased 6-8 months ago, from their eBay store. I may just wait on installing that, until I can get the distributor I want done by Dave Ray.
  18. FLGS400

    FLGS400 Gold Level Contributor

    I'm going to bite the bullet and put 93 ethanol gas in it, the next time it needs it. I'll then try the timing at 32 and 34 total again.
    Max Damage likes this.
  19. FLGS400

    FLGS400 Gold Level Contributor

    One thing about this car that I never liked was the way the tail pipes stuck out from under the bumper. Just 2 ugly pipes...

    The previous owner gave me some pretty nice chrome 90-degree exhaust tips that he he purchased but never got around to installing. So , that was this weeks project. I cut the driver side back to where I thought it looked best, then measured it up and cut the passenger side to match. Sawzaws are amazing tools! This also gave me a chance to finally use the Miller mini-mig welder that I got about 5 years ago. After cursing at the splatter tacks that I put on the tail pipes, I realized that the Pypes exhaust is stainless steel and the weld is set up for regular steel. Oh well, they aren't going anywhere and you can't see them.

    Since I had the back of the car up on jackstands, I decided to polish the rear bumper. All I can say is wow... what a difference!

    Here are some before and after photos.
    Ex Tips 4.jpg Ex Tips 3.jpg Ex Tips 2.jpg Ex Tips 1.jpg
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  20. PGSS

    PGSS Gold Level Contributor

    Oh yes, the tail pipe tips look alot better:)
    This is one well optioned GS400.
    Only thing I can think of that is missing is the posi, not sure if it has the F41 and rear sway bar?
    I would mention the Stage1 option but those were super rare and wondering if the dealer even knew?

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