We are getting close to finishing the repairs on our '53 Roadmaster, and getting it back together is in sight! We have a little more interior prep and then we'll paint the body. As we mentioned in our article about repairing hydraulic windows, (see the Archives section of www.southernwheels.com, click "Replacing Hydro-Electric Window Cylinders", February, 2006, the interior is completely out and the hydraulic system and dash gauges have been rebuilt. Our floor boards were stripped to bare metal and no rust was found. To protect them, as well as inside the doors and rear quarters, we painted them with POR-15 Silver rust preventative. We brushed it on to get down into every crevice. We always wear rubber gloves, because once you get this product on your skin, it can only be removed by wearing it off! After all surfaces were sealed, we waited about three hours until the POR-15 began to dry, then sprayed primer on it. This helps the primer to bond. If you wait until the POR-15 dries, the primer will not bond to it. Now with the primer dry, we laid out our adhesive-backed rubber sound deadening material. Then, using a matte knife and scissors to cut the material, we fitted it into all spaces. We have not had any luck with just using the adhesive made onto the material, so we always run several beads of waterproof construction adhesive onto the back of it.
Once this is applied, the material stays put, especially up inside the doors (this really makes the door sound solid when closing it!). Over the sound deadening material, we add a layer of foil-backed insulation. We also glue it down to prevent it from moving around under the carpet, and we put a layer under the door panels and on the back of the rear seat as well. Care should be used in putting it under pedals, especially the accelerator pedal. We just cut out around it, to prevent excess thickness from allowing full pedal travel. Of course, we don't glue around bolts at the dimmer switch, seat bolt holes, etc. Now with our insulation in, we are ready to refinish our dash in Gloss Black, clean the red leather headliner, and install our new interior. It has proved to be a good idea to wait before putting the interior back in after rebuilding our hydro-electric window and seat system. We had replaced all of our lines except two metal ones, and replaced all of our cylinders except the one for the seat, and everything worked fine. Then, when we checked the system the other day, guess what leaked?? You guessed it--the seat cylinder and the two old lines! So, we replaced them and now everything is new, and no leaks! One other problem that we had was with our driver's door. It wouldn't hold itself open when we were getting in and out of the car. If you've ever had a '50s Buick door close on your leg, you know this is a problem! Most old car doors are held open by a steel door check that clicks in and out of a groove to let the door be held open or released. The Buick has an ingenious door check that incorporates 2 springs for counterbalancing, which prevents the door from slamming shut. The springs also assist in opening the door. Once the door is in motion, about one-third of the way into its travel, the springs kick in and open the door for you and hold it open. The door check is made up in one unit and attaches to the door jamb, then a rod passes through a hole in the door, attaching inside the door. To fix our driver's door, we removed the check from both doors. The right front door worked well, and provided us with the information we needed to fix the problem unit. We got a break on this repair. All the problem unit needed was cleaning, greasing and adjusting. There are two screws for adjusting that slide back and forth in oval holes. These screws attach the check to the door. With our units serviced and back in the doors, they work great!
The '53 Roadmaster has a machined facing on the middle part of the dash. The machined facing is a Di-Noc decal. In a future issue, we will recondition our dash, and show how the decal is applied, and where to get it! Enjoy your cars, and keep em driving!