The continuing saga of my Wildcat

ChuckBridges

Member
118
21
18
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
1966 Wildcat 2 door
Hello All Chuck here. I am starting a new thread to post the continuing renovation on my '66 Wildcat Sport Coupe. Up to now, it has been fix the rust, tune the engine and repair the carburetor. Now, today I have to talk to the mechanic and arrange to bring her in for an engine "re and re" as my brother calls it. I want to ensure that the mechanicals a up to snuff. I am not, shall we say, mechanically inclined. I have, in the past, worked on mechanics when required, but since about 1999, haven't had to touch anything. I was going to say 1989, but remembered a 1989 Cavalier that I had. It went through 3 water pumps. One in the parking lot of our Church. It had steam coming out of the engine compartment and when I touched it, it actually fell off. My friend asked "what now?". I said, go to Church.

At least, with these older vehicles we can work on them. On my 2012 F150 Ecoboost, I cannot even find the spark plugs.
 
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ChuckBridges

Member
118
21
18
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
1966 Wildcat 2 door
Well, Bob has done some research and told me that $3000 was just not going to be enough. Parts for my 425 seem to cost about 3 times what a part for a small block Chevy cost. Then, with labour, sending the heads out, and painting, we are going to be $5500+. I just cannot afford that right now. I ordered all of the parts that he recommended originally (Timing chain, timing chain sprocket, Oil pump, gaskets timing chain gasket kit, Piston rings). Ray has a hone and a timing light, as well as a garage so, in the spring, we will fix it up.
 

ChuckBridges

Member
118
21
18
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
1966 Wildcat 2 door
Well, Bob has my old girl to install the mechanical gauges. Since it is -31 C (-24 F) today, I won't mind if he takes his time and does them at his leisure. It was - 25 C when I drove her down and by the time I got downtown to where his shop is, the heater was putting out really good heat. Fan is a little noisy, but, it is 54 years old. I creak and make more noise than I use to as well. Got a bad cold today (thanks to my Granddaughter, still love her to pieces), and do not really want to go back out again. On the way down, I kept trying to look for a temperature gauge, like in my truck. Well, on the way home I will be able to see it.:D So, stay warm anyone who has to go out in the weather.
 
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ChuckBridges

Member
118
21
18
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
1966 Wildcat 2 door
I purchased an Equus 8086 tachometer to install in the car when Bob is done with the gauges. He has promised me the car back early next week, probably Tuesday. I told him that people with problems with their daily drivers should come first. I ordered a steering wheel off eBay, from a 1966 Electra. If the parts for the horn on the wheel don't fit mine, I will refinish this one. It will only take a few weeks of work and since I am retired, I have the time. It will be nice to get rid of the small "Sport" steering wheel Ray put in. Got to keep the wife happy.:sneaky:
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ChuckBridges

Member
118
21
18
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
1966 Wildcat 2 door
I just got my car back from Bob. The gauges look great. Bob used copper instead of plastic for the oil pressure. Just to be safe, copper will stand up better. As soon as I got it home I put in the new tach. It all looks great. All gauges are back-lit and adjust with the dash lights.😄 .I had to go to Canadian Tire to get a large hose clamp. I didn't want to drill into the steering column. 3 different people gave me the thumbs up. That made me feel pretty good. I put braid over the exposed wires to contain and protect them. This tach came with the option of inductive pickup, but I decided to go directly to the negative of the coil. I don't like doing things halfway. The wire to the coil is hidden in the split loom under the hood. I know some people don't like split loom, but I like to protect the wires. I don't hide things, splices are soldered and heat shrink.I love working on the car. While under the dash I found a wire that was splice with one of those clamp-on splices. Removed, soldered and heat shrink on it. I can't do things half-way. It just isn't in my nature.

Gauges 1.jpg
 
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ChuckBridges

Member
118
21
18
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
1966 Wildcat 2 door
To fend off the replies, already got a response on TeamBuick.com, I am not keeping this steering wheel in the car. I am refurbishing the original steering wheel to place back in. I love the original steering wheel but Ray, when he got the car, tried to fix it with epoxy. It looked, well, really ugly. He then replaced it with what you see. I asked him for the original and, while not complete, looks much better. I will post a picture below. Thanks to member TruckMoney on V8Buick.com, I have purchased a 1966 steering wheel from an Electra. If the electrical parts to make the horn work from that one don't fit, I will refurbish it and put it into the car. But.... original is far better.

Steering Wheel 2.jpg
 

ChuckBridges

Member
118
21
18
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
1966 Wildcat 2 door
Ok, new plan. I took the car around to paint shops today. $30,000 to $16,000. Nope, can't do that. In concours condition, the car is only worth $23,000 US and it isn't concours condition. But, my brother-in-law Gordon has taken autobody and painting and is certified in it. Presently out of work, I texted him and offered him $1000 to help me do the motor and paint in his garage. Ray has the compressor and automotive paint gun. I would do the work stripping and masking, remove chrome... We will have to see what he says. Fingers crossed. I priced out the paint. Primer, paint (2 gallons blue, 1 gallon white) and 1 gallon clearcoat. $860 US ($1100 Canadian). Well worth the money. We are going up in May so, the weather is warm then. Reality kicks me in the butt again. Also, I was driving my F150 today (should have kept driving my Buick) and the radio let out a click, then wouldn't do anything. Frozen screen. No radio, cd, Aux, Bluetooth, anything. I turned the truck off and on again (Old computer trick) and lo and behold, radio works. Weird, eh?
 

ChuckBridges

Member
118
21
18
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
1966 Wildcat 2 door
I checked the mileage on my car today. I never really looked before. 01,563, so 101,563 miles. Cool. I have more miles on my 2012 F150, 175,000 Km (108.750 Miles). Made me laugh to think my truck has more miles on it than my car. Tomorrow we are are going to put the spring boosters in to lift the back end until I can afford new springs. My wife is starting to run out of patience with the cost, but is willing to stick with it until we are done.
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HotZ28

Full Member
7,876
677
113
1996 Roadmaster Limited Collectors Edition 58k - 1996 PAU
As long as you & the wife eat well and pay all utilities, taxes & insurance on the existing home (Hopefully Paid in Full) you should be able to realize some satisfaction from the money you are investing in that car! We are all different here, but should save all the money we have for hard times coming soon!
 
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ChuckBridges

Member
118
21
18
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
1966 Wildcat 2 door
As long as you & the wife eat well and pay all utilities, taxes & insurance on the existing home (Hopefully Paid in Full) you should be able to realize some satisfaction from the money you are investing in that car! We are all different here, but should save all the money we have for hard times coming soon!
Yup. House is paid in full. My wife is waiting until the car is ready to retire. My brother in law is going to do the work for me. So, May the car will be done to the standard I want.
 

ChuckBridges

Member
118
21
18
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
1966 Wildcat 2 door
I just ordered a new set of rear shocks. I thought they were good but my younger brother, who is into vehicles, looked at them and told me that although they are not leaking now, they are sagging and should be replaced since I am driving it regularly (But not today, it snowed last night.)
They were a special order so will be in Saturday. Weekend job. At least replacing shocks on my car is a lot easier than trying to do struts in newer vehicles like my wife's 08 Escape.
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ChuckBridges

Member
118
21
18
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
1966 Wildcat 2 door
I got notice my steering wheel is out for delivery. I checked it's location and, lo and behold, it's still in Toronto, Ontario. The distance between Toronto and Lethbridge... 3315 KM (2060 Miles). They say delivery Friday by end of day. It is going to have to be on a plane to get here by that time. On the up side, the steering wheel looks identical to my wheel, except it says BUICK on the horn bar and mine has the Buick emblem. The guts should fit right into mine. I will probably restore this one as well, just because I can.

My gas gauge goes from full... to 1/4... to empty. Jenny says she wants it fixed. Okay, I went to eBay and they have a NOS sending unit, without AC, for $120 plus shipping and import, so $150 Canadian. Well I don't have the money right now, but, soon I hope. In the meantime, time to start spraying WD40 on things under the car.
 

ChuckBridges

Member
118
21
18
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
1966 Wildcat 2 door
I wired in a buzzer to remind me that I left the headlights on in the car. I noticed that, since I got used to my F150 where I just leave the lights on automatic, I was forgetting the lights. I went down and bought a buzzer and then located the fuse for the dash lights. Turns out to be the same fuse that Bob used the gauges he installed. I checked power and, of course lights off, no power. I pulled the head light switch and headlights came on, but no dash lights. Hmm, they were working yesterday. Check the fuse, good. Try to remove the fuse and, of course, broke it. Even after 54 years, those fuses are tight. I cleaned the contacts and replaced the fuse. Nope, nothing on the dash lights. Okay, trace the circuit. The power goes to the switch, then the fuse panel. All right, remove the switch. While doing this, I noticed that the lights flickered on my gauges. Go into the house, get my contact cleaner and spray the switch. Work the switch for a bit and lo and behold, things work again. Now, restart working on the buzzer. Install it and then check that it works when the vehicle is off, but not when the key is on, or on ACC. Excellent, it works. Now I will get a modern notification (buzzer) if I leave the lights on.

I can tell that, my car, being 54 years old and being full of original parts, is going to test my patience, troubleshooting skills, and my tech skills. On the plus side, it keeps my skills sharp and my mind active now that I am retired. Keeping up with my Grandchildren will keep me in shape.
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ChuckBridges

Member
118
21
18
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
1966 Wildcat 2 door
I put on the steering wheel.... yesterday and today. I worked on getting the horn to work properly. It would seem to work properly, but you tap the steering wheel and it would go off, or push the horn bar and it would go off and not stop. I was missing the insulator plate, so I made one out of plastic. It was a bit of a frustrating time. Right now, I put it together without the horn working. Another day... another challenge.
 

HotZ28

Full Member
7,876
677
113
1996 Roadmaster Limited Collectors Edition 58k - 1996 PAU
I put on the steering wheel.... yesterday and today. I worked on getting the horn to work properly. It would seem to work properly, but you tap the steering wheel and it would go off, or push the horn bar and it would go off and not stop. I was missing the insulator plate, so I made one out of plastic. It was a bit of a frustrating time. Right now, I put it together without the horn working. Another day... another challenge.
I admire your patience with that horn/switch problem, which I hope that I never have that problem. If I do, I could probably just install an external momentary horn switch.
 
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ChuckBridges

Member
118
21
18
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
1966 Wildcat 2 door
You and I can call it patience. My wife has a totally different, not so nice, word for it. I am kind of a perfectionist. Comes from decades to working telecommunications. Not the guys who come to your house. Some of them I would fire for their sloppy work. I am talking about the guys behind the scenes that people never see. The Equipment Installers (me) and the maintenance techs. In the offices, everything has to be neat and complete, or it's not right and must be done once again. This attitude comes from the older techs who worked with electronics that was really finicky. This has been passed down to us, and I loved it. Now I use the same attitude in my life. I will get that horn working properly
 
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ChuckBridges

Member
118
21
18
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
1966 Wildcat 2 door
I finally have a horn in my car. I gave up with the unpredictable no horn... no off horn of the original parts. I went to Canadian Tire and bought 2 horn buttons, measured the depth and placed the buttons, wired them up and, ole' now I have a horn. I also adjusted the emergency brake cable since the pedal would fall one notch and turn on the light. If you have to have it right, that will drive you absolutely nuts. I don't think there is much more I can do until I go up north. There I will remove the chrome and start sanding the paint before priming.
 
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