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Thread: 1951 Special with Engine Issues

  1. #11
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    Hi,

    I apologize if I came across a bit too harsh in my last post. I realize that 322bnh probably didn't mean for his post to sound condescending, and that checking out things ones self rather than relying solely on someone else (like a mechanic) is really very good advice.

    Its just that since I bought my Buick, one of the great things about it is that I have met a lot of people from varying backgrounds. Some have been true car nuts and some probably wouldn't know a camshaft from a carburetor. But they have all been "old car fans", and I have found that I have had a lot in common with them and have learned a lot from them. As such, I guess maybe I am just a little defensive about anything that may come across as "if you are not doing it yourself, you are just faking it" or other things like that.

    To me being an "old car fan" is a very broad term, and everyone should feel welcome to be part of the club.

    My apologies again.

    Pat
    - 1951 Buick Special Deluxe 4Dr Tourback Sedan

  2. #12
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    Hi,

    Here are some pictures of the engine that I was able to take today.
    x20180704_190657.jpgx20180704_190707.jpgx20180704_190533.jpgx20180704_190539.jpgx20180704_190544.jpgx20180704_190638.jpgx20180704_190647.jpg

    As you can see the engine has always tended to be a bit oily on its outside ever since I bought the car. Some you can tell is just coming from the breather cap on the valve cover, but its also possible that I have a leak in one or more gaskets as well.

    In addition you can see a bit of corrosion on the hood above the battery. That appears to be fairly new and may either just be from the car having sat so long since I last had it running (and the battery having run down) or it may be from the last time I tried to charge the battery.

    Additionally, I know that the air filter is dirty, but my mechanic has suggested that I might want to look into getting a bigger filter and housing, since the current one may be a bit on the small size for the engine. It came with the car when I bought it, and isn't too different in diameter from the old oil bath filters that the car was originally fitted with, but I suspect that the previous owner just selected that size to ensure that it fit under the hood. As such I have been looking into maybe getting a bigger unit, once I figure out what will likely fit.

    Thanks

    Pat
    - 1951 Buick Special Deluxe 4Dr Tourback Sedan

  3. #13
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    '51

    Well, not being condescending, but you have me confused. You say it is still 6V. Yet I see a 12V battery. You mention pulling the engine to do a compression check. I just pull the spark plugs. And that is really a pretty clean engine for it's age.


    Ben

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by firstofeight View Post
    Well, not being condescending, but you have me confused. You say it is still 6V. Yet I see a 12V battery. You mention pulling the engine to do a compression check. I just pull the spark plugs. And that is really a pretty clean engine for it's age.

    Ben
    Hi,

    Thank you for your feedback. I don't know how I missed that. When I first received the car one of the first things I did was replace the battery, because the truck driver and I had a hard time getting the car started once the got it off their truck.

    When buying the new battery, I carefully copied down the info off the old battery and went to a certified Interstate Battery dealer to ensure that I had the right unit, and never noticed that the existing battery (and hence my new replacement) was the wrong voltage. In looking at this more closely I see that I should have had a 3EH-VHD instead of a 3EE-VHD. This looks like it will make a big difference (over double) in cranking amps.

    As for my previous comments, I probably was a bit unclear. The point that I was trying to make was that a) I do not have the ability to pull a 800-900lb engine (if I were to go the route of trying to replace the engine) nor do I even b) have the ability at my home to do a compression check on the existing engine (if I intend to try and keep, repair, and/or rebuild that engine).

    Thanks again for your help, and sorry about the confusion in my previous post.

    Pat
    - 1951 Buick Special Deluxe 4Dr Tourback Sedan

  5. #15
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    Along with the 12 volt battery there is a 12 volt alternator, so at least part of the car has been converted to 12 volts at some time. Something that should be looked at is how much has been converted and perhaps there is a step down transformer supplying part of the car with 6 volts.

    While I like a fresh engine, it doesn't usually add much to reliability. "Reliability" is usually found in the condition of all the systems attached to the engine. The condition of the electrical system, fuel system, cooling system, etc.. When these things give problems they can be a nuisance when on the road, leaving you stranded.

    You probably know someone with a compression gage who would be happy to do the test with you, but if not, a compression tester is very cheap, and not hard to use.

    If it comes to having to pull the engine, you can probably purchase a used engine crane for not much and sell it when you are done, (or you might like it and find it nice to keep).


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  6. #16
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    Hi,

    Thanks for your help.

    I did get a chance to take a closer look at the Alternator, which is stamped with Delco Remy on the case and has a sticker with the numbers 43 07 102 21 and 20 039. Looking through the internet there are several remanufactured Delco Remy alternators with similar stickers and the 20 039 number, which appears to equate to versions of Delco Remy's 20039 12v units. As such, contrary to what I thought I recalled from when I bought the car it does appear that it has been at least partially converted from 6v to 12v. I hope to open up the fuse box tomorrow after work to see how that looks.

    One concern that I have is in the past the dashboard light went out twice over a short period of time. I never though about it much because I was focused on other issues, and figure out it may be a short or something. However when I realized today that the car actually has a 12V battery in place of its original 6V unit I began to wonder if perhaps whoever did the change over may not have properly stepped down the voltage to the dash light. Which, if true, also has me concerned how they may have addressed electricity to other parts as well.

    Below is a couple quick pictures of the alternator, as well as the starter, ignition coil and distributor. A couple of the pieces (though not all of them) look like they have likely been replaced from the original units, but I will have to take a closer look to confirm. Since I have never had any issues with the headlights, turn indicators, brake lights, or backup lights, I'm hopeful that electrical supply to these systems was addressed correctly.

    Thanks again for your help.

    Pat

    x20180705_185502.jpgx20180705_185452.jpgxIMG_0677.jpgxIMG_0678.jpgxIMG_0681.jpg
    - 1951 Buick Special Deluxe 4Dr Tourback Sedan

  7. #17
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    12v

    When I changed mine to 12V, I simply changed all the bulbs to 12V. Installed a voltage reducer in the power line to the gas gauge. Unhooked the radio, heater and clock. Keep intending to address them, have not so far. The starter lasted about 10,000 miles before striping the "bendix" gear.
    Distributor does not care. Used a 12V coil. If yours still has a 6V coil and no resistor, your points may be giving up early. Something to check.

    Ben

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by firstofeight View Post
    When I changed mine to 12V, I simply changed all the bulbs to 12V. Installed a voltage reducer in the power line to the gas gauge. Unhooked the radio, heater and clock. Keep intending to address them, have not so far. The starter lasted about 10,000 miles before striping the "bendix" gear.
    Distributor does not care. Used a 12V coil. If yours still has a 6V coil and no resistor, your points may be giving up early. Something to check.

    Ben
    Hi,

    Thanks. I'll look into that. I haven't had any problems with the gauges or lights, other than the dashboard light, so I have my fingers crossed that those are OK. I've been looking through the paperwork of when I bought the car, because I was under the impression that the guy I bought it from had said it was all still 6V, and since I never had much any electrical problems (other than replacing the battery with the same model that I took out, and the one dashboard lite) I never really thought to check or question that. I guess I should have looked at the battery more closely when putting it in, but since it was long and skinny like previous 6V batteries that I was familiar with I guess I didn't notice.

    Thanks again

    Pat
    Last edited by PFJN; 07-08-2018 at 06:05 PM. Reason: Clean up text
    - 1951 Buick Special Deluxe 4Dr Tourback Sedan

  9. #19
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    Hi,

    I had a chance to do a little work on my car this weekend, and was able to confirm that the ignition coil and flashers have been converter to 12V as shown in the images below. However, I didn't get a chance to open up the distributor yet. Hopefully later this week I can look into that and also check my spark plug wires.

    x20180706_203433.jpgxIMG_0688.jpg
    Ignition Coil & Fuse Box

    In looking over my starter (and solenoid) I didn't see any sort of data plate or other markings, and when I compared it to a rebuilt 6V starter (and solenoid) that I saw on the internet, they both appeared to be very similar, as shown below. In researching a bit further I have seen it suggested in many places that a 6V starter should work in a 12V system, though it will spin faster. And, some sources that I have seen have suggested that there is a potential for a faster spinning 6V starter to damage the flywheel when used in a 12V system. As such I want to look into this a bit further, and also try and confirm what voltage the current solenoid is designed for.

    xIMG_0678.jpgx59933067-700-0@2x.jpg
    My starter & solenoid (L) & a Rebuilt 6V Starter & solenoid (R)

    In addition I also hope to open up the distributor and also check to resistance of my spark plug cables this week.

    Pat
    - 1951 Buick Special Deluxe 4Dr Tourback Sedan

  10. #20
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    12v

    The distributor and points do not care what the voltage is. Neither do the plugs or plug wires.

    Ben

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