Archive for January, 2010

First Engine Start-Up

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

It’s official…a heart beats inside of Snow White!

Rather than wait until after the front clip was installed, Greg Cook thought it best to fire it up to make sure all was well with the engine while it would still be easy to make any corrections.  He rigged some temporary supports for the radiator and a fan for a trial start…it doesn’t look pretty, but does the job

The Good:
The engine runs and sounds just fine. On initial fireup there was a lot of smoke but that’s not at all unusual. Not billowing, but unpleasant in-the-shop smoke. Some was from the treated exhaust manifolds, some was from the new exhaust system, and some was from rings not quite seated yet.  After letting it cool for 30 minutes it was restarted, smoke was MUCH better. Super throttle response. Punch it and 4 barrel works great. Oil pressure idles down to 20/25 psi hot. Crack the throttle and it zips to 50 and blows off. Just right.

The engine gets good marks.

The Bad:
The new water pump has a hairline crack, therefore it leaks. Not good, need another one.
The dash temperature gauge doesn’t work, it’s a mechanical gauge with a thermal bulb that screws into the left head, it never moved off Cold, need another one.

The Ugly:
That Rube-Goldberg contraption Greg set up for the test firing…but it worked!

All in all, a not so bad day.

~ Tom Sidoti
1959 Buick Electra 225 Convertible

1959 Buick Power Brakes

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

All 1959 Buicks with power brakes used a one-year only Delco-Moraine single reservoir system with the master cylinder mounted below the toe board.  NOS or rebuilt cylinders or parts are virtually nonexistent making rebuilding the existing cylinder the only option.  The power brake master cylinder and booster was rebuilt by Power Brake X-Change (, all new pre-bent stainless steel brake lines as well as rubber brake lines came from Classic Tube ( and fit perfectly.  New wheel cylinders, brake linings, and springs came CARS (

Below is explanation of the 1959 Buick Power Brakes, standard on the Electra 225,  from the 1959 Buick Facts Book (Click on Picture to Enlarge).

~ Tom Sidoti
1959 Buick Electra 225 Convertible

1959 Buick Power Steering

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

The Power Steering Pump and Steering Gearbox were both rebuilt by Power Steering Services (  As part of the job I decided to go with a fast-ratio power gearbox conversion . This conversion essentially changes the gear ratio inside the steering box to convert the slow factory ratio to a 12 : 1 quick ratio.  This will reduce the number of turns of the steering wheel lock to lock and vastly improve handling.  The conversion is 100% inside the gearbox and does not alter the look of original steering gearbox.

Below are a couple pictures showing the Pump and Steering Gearbox.  An NOS high pressure power steering hose was found on eBay.

Below is a page from the 1959 Buick Facts Book describing the Buick’s new Power Steering (Click on Picture to Enlarge).

~ Tom Sidoti
1959 Buick Electra 225 Convertible

More Engine, Toe Board, and a Surprise

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Moving right along…

I ordered a rebuilt Water Pump from Kanter’s ( CARS would only rebuild mine…and being that my housing had a hairline crack that wouldn’t work.

A fellow from Texas graciously contacted me and let me know he had an extra Temperature Gauge and he sent it out today.

Greg hung some stuff on the engine and firewall inside and out today and also hooked up a bunch of linkage and stuff. He mentioned what a great time he had snaking the new rubber fuel line through the inside of the frame…something about it almost being as much fun as shoving a wet noodle up a tiger’s butt.

Greg also noticed something rattling around inside the windshield washer reservoir, he took off the lid and found a surprise rolled up in plastic/scotch tape. Guess what…an extra key, just a little corroded.

Next issue is this…the shift linkage is cobbled together, this is the shift rod that goes from the lever on the steering column down to the bellcrank mounted on the frame. The twin and triple are different so they probably made this mod when the tranny was converted from 3T to 2T.

Notice that there are two foot switches.  The switch to the right with the wire leading from it (closer to the brake pedal) changes the stations on the original “Wonderbar” radio.

Here’s that key found in the windshield washer reservoir…a little corroded, but should clean up just fine.

Below is the modified shift rod that has been cut and brazed together. The end with the adjustable clevis should be a simple 90* bend on the end of the rod. Not only is this one ugly, but due to the much larger dimension it’s possible it might rub on the power brake canister. I’ll need to find a correct one for the twin turbine.

~ Tom Sidoti
1959 Buick Electra 225 Convertible