Say, that’s a nice rear end!

Posted: April 8, 2010 in Uncategorized

Not mine (although I have been told I look good in jeans), but the “new” ’94 Buick Roadmaster wagon rear axle I got for the ’51 wagon.  Turns out, it’s a Limited Slip!  The little aluminum tag ID’ing it as so was folded up tight against the housing, covered with crud.  Funny how something little like that can make my whole day! 

The inspiration to do this comes from a couple of very practical reasons.  First, the original rear axle is a 3.75:1 ratio, which has the PCM (powertrain control module) totally screwed up as far as ground speed goes.  It thinks it’s spinning 2.93 gears, so not only is the speedo WAY off, but the trans shift points are all wrong, and, since the PCM is set up to limit top speed to 100 mph (this came from a pickup), when the speedo hits the century mark, it shuts the spark off.  VERY surprising when that happens, at about 80 mph real speed…

The second reason is that the original rear end is developing an increasingly loud “whine”.  My experience has been that when this happens, the NEXT thing that happens is that the wheels stop turning, and the vehicle slews off the road with the rear wheels locked up.  Not what we want to happen towing the trailer, boat, or enjoying a nice ride. 

I don’t really like the idea of having the car “down”, but it shouldn’t take long.  I’ll have to have the driveshaft modified to accept the later U-joint at the back end, and I’m tempted to remove the (not functioning) ABS module and re-plumb the brakes.  The master cylinder is for a disk/disk system anyway, I have a correct one.  Easy to let a simple project get out of control, but this isn’t to daunting a task.  Besides, the rear axle needs new lines anyway, so what’s a couple more, since I’ll have to bleed the brakes anyway?  Have to finish up removing the extra bracketry from the axle, clean it up and get it primed today.

On other fronts, the roadster is awaiting the arrival of it’s new, mechanical fuel pump.  NAPA to the rescue, although it’s coming from South Carolina!  Good thing we aren’t on the road somewhere with that!  I think I’ll get a new elec. pump, and keep it and some rubber gas line, and some clamps in the car if we travel, just in case.  I also mounted the two original Dodge Neon fans to the rear radiator, and put the aftermarket 14″ fan back on the front radiator.  Hopefully, this will take care of the cooling issues.  The other day on the way home from work, the temp gauge got to about 210, at 80 degrees ambient temps.  OK, but I want a little “cushion”.

Planning stage for the ’59 T’Bird project is rolling along, with artist Steve Brown working up some renderings for me.  I have to get him some more photos of the car, but he’s got rough sketches done, that really look great.  It’ll help to have some the artwork as a reference to “see” the finished project as I’m working. 

I’m thinking of maybe using some Jag XJS European style headlamps in the car if I can find some, and the top from a ’63 or ’64 Caddy Coupe DeVille is close to the artwork.  I’m in no hurry, there has to be one of these things I can get cheaply with a little searching.  The original T’Bird roof line doesn’t do a thing for me.

So, I’m back out the shop, coffee break over,  gotta  get busy!

  1. craigmccool says:

    yes, car slewing off the road with the wheels locked up would not be good.

    renderings are awesome!

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