For all of you who have been following our '53 Buick restoration series, we have an update on our Dynaflow transmission. We road tested it after the rebuild (see April '05 Issue) and had some pump noise . It sounded like gear grinding. We pulled the transmission pan to see if there was any metal debris in it from the pump, and there was! We removed the transmission once again. This time, after disassembly, we found 3 large brass spacer washers from the drive assembly worn almost in two. With the transmission disassembled, each part was checked for wear and tolerance. We had to replace the pump gears once again. To insure clearance, we cut .300" off the torque converter where the pump rides, making it impossible for the torque converter to pound and destroy the pump. This was done with a flat file, then cleaned up with a die grinder and wire brush. We have talked with other Dynaflow owners, and the consensus seems to be that with these twin-turbine Dynaflows, there must be clearance between the flywheel and the torque converter. Ours has about 1/8" clearance now, and from all of our research and consultation, that is about right.
The transmission was put back together and installed, and we took it for a test drive, in primer, no hood and all! Previously, the pump had self-destructed in about 10 miles of driving, so we drove about 25 miles, up and down hills, along the bypass at speeds up to 60 mph, then back to the shop to pull the pan once more to check for any metal debris indicating pump damage. As the pan came off slowly, the tension mounted, then it was off and no metal! It appears that the problem has been fixed! Before putting the car into the paint shop, we drove it around for a few more miles with no problems. The pump runs continuously, and with the car in Park at an idle, you can hear the pump run. The Dynaflow repair manual states that some pump noise is normal, and we assume that noise would be a rotational sound as opposed to a "gear grinding" noise which was what we had before. We compared the sound of our '53 with our '58 Special, which also has a twin-turbine and the sounds are very similar, with the '58 having a slightly lower pitch. I feel it is important to note these sounds, because most manuals don't mention them, and we were only able to find reference to them in a hard-to-find Dynaflow rebuild manual. We thank everyone who helped on this Dynaflow project. It took a team effort and that certainly is much appreciated!
Before the car went to the paint shop, we stripped and refinished the undercarriage. This was done with a steam powered pressure washer. The steam really melts off the years of road grime and dirt. Within a few hours we had the underside down to the metal, and continued our cleaning with a die grinder and wire brush, cleaning and checking all of the front end steering parts as we went. We replaced the front stabilizers, but everything else was fine. The gas tank was pulled, cleaned, sealed and fitted with a new sending unit and ground wire. We were pleased to see the floor pans were rust-free and the frame was in good shape. We waited for over a week to let everything thoroughly dry before putting on our POR 15 rust preventative paint. We coated all of the floor pans and the frame. Care must be used when using the POR 15 products. They work well, but are toxic, so we always wear a paint suit, gloves respirator, etc., especially if we are spraying these products (we brush on whenever possible). The time to apply primer over POR 15 is when the POR 15 is just tacky, so we primed the underside and let it dry, then the frame and front end pieces were painted with frame paint and the floor pan and inner fender wells received several coats of black undercoating applied lightly (the semi-gloss and gloss look good together). We removed the wheels, sand blasted the rims, then primed and painted them car color (Majestic White). Then a new set of Coker Firestone 4 1/4" wide white walls were installed and balanced. We chose the optional 820-15 because it makes the car sit up and the larger tire looks in balance with the Buick's fat-fendered appearance. The rims were balanced on the inner side, so as not to detract from the factory wire hubcaps, which will be put on later.
While the tires were off, we pulled the brake drums to go through the system. Buick made a change in their Roadmaster brake shoes in late '52 because of an anchor pin change, which was noted in the '53 Buick Product School booklet. The change consisted of raising the adjusting screws 23/64" toward the center of the backing plate and lowering the anchor pin 3/16" toward the center of the backing plate. By doing this, the self-energizing action of the shoes is increased, providing less pedal effort. As a result of this change, new secondary linings were needed. To service our brakes, the backing plates came off and were cleaned and painted, new wheel and master cylinder kits were installed, as were NOS brake shoes and spring kits, drums turned, brake line hoses replaced and new grease seals installed. The Roadmaster was available either with power brakes, or without as ours is. The only Series that had power brakes as standard was the Skylark. Our car stops pretty well, but we might add a brake booster later. If we do, we will cover it in a future article.
See you next month when we will continue our paint and body work series. Enjoy your cars and keep 'em driving!