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Discussion Starter #1
i recently found a cherry 55 Buick that's been sitting in a barn for about 40 years. The body is in excellent shape and i can buy it for a song. I am wondering what kind of trouble i will run into trying to get it running. I was told by the owner that the previous owner had filled the entire motor with kerosene which was recently drained. It's a nailhead motor, not sure what size, i don't know where the casting # is on these engines. Also what kind of wiring issues might there be. The car has a generator and i believe it is 12 volts but not sure. i'm assuming the valve springs will probably be shot and i just want to know what i will be getting into if i buy this car.

thanks for your help,
bret
 

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martell06 said:
i recently found a cherry 55 Buick that's been sitting in a barn for about 40 years. The body is in excellent shape and i can buy it for a song. I am wondering what kind of trouble i will run into trying to get it running. I was told by the owner that the previous owner had filled the entire motor with kerosene which was recently drained. It's a nailhead motor, not sure what size, i don't know where the casting # is on these engines. Also what kind of wiring issues might there be. The car has a generator and i believe it is 12 volts but not sure. i'm assuming the valve springs will probably be shot and i just want to know what i will be getting into if i buy this car.

thanks for your help,
bret
If its cherry , you can't go wrong, unless you can't sing very well, (Just Kidding) No it should not be that hard to turn motor over by hand with plugs removed,if it's not stuck, you could put some oil in each cylinder before you try to turn it over in case it is stuck.
I freed one up that was stuck one time, filled the plug holes with liquid wrench and try to turn it one way a little and the back the other way a little, wait till next day and repeat process, I could turn it a little more each way every day till I could turn it completely over (about a week all together).
It was slow but I didn't have to tear motor down and its running to this day in my brothers boat.
 

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Before starting I would definatly remove the plugs and spin the engine by hand then with the starter. This will allow all the parts to get oil and move before the combustion force is applied.
 

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Starting a Car that's been sitting 40 years

I agree with pulling the plugs and spraying a good portion of liquid wrench in the cylinders. Usually, given enough time, this method will work its way and free up the motor. I doubt that this vehicle will even need anything but some WD40 or light motor oil to help turn it over. However, just in case, here is what we did to free up a really frozen engine.

As a youth I was often enslaved by my father who, routinely, so it seemed, discovered old British cars. The worst one I remember was a collection of three MG's he also got for a song. I believe we ended up pulling the head on one and removing the crankshaft. With that accomplished the battle began with copious amounts of WD40 and liquid wrench sprayed around the pistons after having heated the walls with a propane torch. We used a block of wood and a sledge hammer to convince the pistons to break free. He had previously filled the cylinders with some penetrating oil and it had just sat in there for a week or so, but to no avail. The trick is to get the Liquid Wrench to begin working its' way down, but sometimes the rings are so frozen you need to bust them free of the rust weld to the walls. You want a good heavy weight solid blow, not a series of beat the heck out of it hammer strikes. You also want a solid block of wood. One which closely matches the piston. Personally we always did it the hard way with the engine in the car. More cussing that way I guess.

Again, your goal should just be to get it possible for the liquid wrench to make it's way into the rings and between the piston walls by turning the motor one direction then the other. Thus avoiding the above method.

Interestingly, sometimes these old barn finds need very little. You bleed the brakes and see how they feel. Then, if she is running OK, well you go for a short little spin, carefully feeling her out so your not surprised by something like the steering wheel coming off in your hands. Like our 1960 factory pink panther rambler once did. Ha! Surprise!

Naturally, you blow the fuel lines clean and add a new filter at the very least before putting gas in the thing. Good sense should call for you pulling the tank, cleaning and inspecting it.

Sounds like too much fun; That's what this is really about. You can't look at it as anything but enriching your life. The crazy stories our family shares every time we get together and the cars that are central to these stories.
Have fun, that's what I say.
 

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Like the others I've freed up a yee ol' barn find as well....mine was sitting 3 years short of yours, but was not in a barn (cow pasture actually) luckly the aircleaner was on it, and the hood as well....I cleaned out the pack rat nest out the air cleaner, rebuilt the carb, changed the oil, pulled the plugs and made sure it spun by hand. checked the orig wiring, put a fresh batt in it and spun it with the starter, dropped the tank and cleaned it out and blew the lines out, checked the points, shot some ether down the carb and she fired right up....gave me 3 years of daily service till it blew itself apart (216...still was running when I windowed the block...got it all the way home, figured it was already junk, may as well get it home, I wasnt even hot rodding it...like you could, darn thing only did 55 down hill with a tail wind)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The car was sitting in a corner under a tarp and it's in great shape. The motor is complete and i don't think it is lockeed up. like i said it was completly filled with kerosene. is this to prevent rust? i guess i should flush the motor. My concern was whether or not it would be fit to run after 40 years of storage. The valve springs won't be bad after some have been compressed for this long? Will the cam be affected?
 

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will i need to put a lead additive into the gas? i have read that buick engines need to run on leaded fuel.
 

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lead was a required additive back then, lubricates valve seats. truth is, it ran leadded gas, there is probably lead still on the valves lubricating them and under normal conditions, you don't need to worry, but lead additive wouldn't hurt
 

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Speaking of lead, there's probably a layer of it (in paste form) in the bottom of the oil pan. I've dropped the ,pans on old engines and had to scrape out a half inch or more... be careful, it's toxic.
 

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Doc here, :pimp:

To revive a car sitting that long, first determine the engine has not locked up..you can do that by pulling the plugs, and trying to rotate the crank by hand...IF you can do that, half the battle is won..

Next drain ALL the fluids..oil, gas and water..NONE are any good..Remove the air , gas and oil filters..replace all with new and new fluids.

Put in a new set of plugs, points, rotor,Cap, Dizzy cap and wires..The wires will deteriorate just sitting..Inspect the dizzy for alien lifeforms living in there and clean and lube.

Spray the Carb with a few cans of Carb and choke cleaner..into the passages everywhere..don't let it be dry..Spray some WD 40 on the linkages..**-->DO not stroke<--** the throttle until you get NEW fuel pumped up there..this may save the accelerator pump from tearing on a dry surface..

Inspect and replace the rubber, It rots out over that long of a time..Belts, vacuum hoses, diaphragms that may be accessible, (like Vacuum advance and booster) in fact, just replace the hoses..it's cheap enough..Fuel lines, and radiator heater hoses..

Inspect all your wiring..Rodents love cotton clad wire for nesting material and food..(after all, it is a grain..) leaving you with bare wires..

To determine the voltage, look at the regulator or generator data plates, they should have a voltage rating on them, If not pop out a headlamp and look at the number..If it is not voltage rated printed right on it, look up the number for operating voltage.

Install new battery & cables and be sure the connections are good, clean , tight and properly bonded..

Start and run the engine..Let it idle at it's lowest denominator, for like 20 minutes with no reving..This will help soak and expand rubber parts instead or blowing out brittle rubber..observe for leaks and be sure the engine monitoring is working...It may smoke for awhile..but should slack off over time...if all good..DRIVE it onto the trailer..you have a Sweeeet Deal. :thumbup:

Doc :pimp:
 
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