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Todays I started.... long way to go with my Wildcat

ChuckBridges

Member
42
4
8
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Buick Ownership
1966 Wildcat 2 door
As I mentioned when I introduced myself, My brother-in-law Ray gifted me his 1966 Wildcat 2 door with a 425 Nailhead. As backyard mechanics go, I am a good Journeyman Electronics Technician (times 3). Unfortunately, there is very little in the car that my role as an Electronics/Telecommunications Technician has prepared me for. I thinks I may have a steep learning curve ahead of me.

Well, today, being a Sunday when I do not have to watch my Granddaughter (Both parents work), I thought I might as well dive in and see how it goes. Today's projects, Repair the shift linkage, replace the motor mounts and replace the thermostat.

Step one.... Pray for patience and wisdom (and any random advise the mechanic across the street who came over yesterday can provide)

Step two: - Repair the linkage. Now, I am actually better with a standard than I am an automatic. My Dad refused to own an automatic so, until I started getting newer vehicles, always drove a standard. I have replaced clutches. I got my son to sit in the car and move the shifter. Yup, it has come apart on the transmission. I put the car on jack stands, crawled under to look. Hmm, doesn't look too difficult. Right away, I noticed where the rod goes through the bracket on the wall is really loose. It looked, to me like there should be a grommet in there to support the rod. Off to Canadian Tire for grommets, new kotter pins. I put it all together and now the shifter is tight like in my truck. yeah, I'm not helpless, he can be taught.

Step three: Drivers side motor mount. Now, Ray told me this was an easy job and wouldn't take me long. Okay, loosen up the bolts. First two, the bolts to the outside of the mount. Easy, of course, they have been sprayed with WD40 daily for the last 5 days. Front 2 bolts into the block. Once again easy, as move wd40. The back two bolts...… now my arm has an elbow and a wrist. How come I seem to need another joint? And, of course, I cannot see the bolts for the oily dirt buildup. Off to the toolbox for my wire brush. These bolts took me an hour to loosen. If anyone has seen Inside Out, Anger says he now has access to the whole curse word library. Surprisingly so do I it seems. Everything under there wants to bite me. Now, cut a board and lift the motor from the oil pan with my floor jack. It then took 2 hours for me to replace that mount. Passengers side.... another day.

Step Four: Thermostat - When Ray drove the car down to me, the car over-heated on him. Being in the middle of nowhere, and a night, he simply removed the thermostat. At last, an easy job. This one only took me about 15 minutes, most of that time ensuring that all of the old seal was removed and the surfaces clean. Replace everything, tighten down, refill antifreeze and run with cap off for a while.

Done (For today)

Okay, I seem to have remembered some of what Dad tried to teach me. With the shop manual, friends and some determination this is going to be interesting, challenging, and, keep me out of trouble for some time to come. I have to admit, at some point, I wondered what I had gotten myself into.:whacko:
 

ChuckBridges

Member
42
4
8
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Buick Ownership
1966 Wildcat 2 door
So far, I have fixed quite a number of small items, as well as the defrost hoses. The cable that changes from heat to defrost had let go at both ends. I fixed the ends and made a bracket for the leaver end to relieve the pressure and move it to a lower point on the cable sheath. The bracket that holds the hoses to the heater was broken and I need it to work before I can get an inspection. I took it, cleaned it, cut new hoses (as the old one disintegrated upon touching them) and silicone it into place. Then next day I checked it out and found the air flow was weak. I checked the outside on the firewall and, lo and behold, a lot of leakage. I loosened it off and applied silicon and re-tightened it. Tomorrow, I will see how it is. I removed the items from the front (grill...) and from the passenger wheel well and washed, wire brushed and wiped it down. I then painted it all. tomorrow, the drivers side (more to remove there). I sent pictures of what I have been doing to Ray. He is pleased and says he knew I would take care of her. I purchased plug wire spacers as the mechanic across the alley suggested them. I an going to order a new sticker for the air cleaner as the old one was held on with duct tape. My trunk looks like my tool box puked in there. I may need a new box for the car.:unsure:
 

ChuckBridges

Member
42
4
8
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Buick Ownership
1966 Wildcat 2 door
Today I removed everything from the drivers side of the engine compartment, including the bttery. Then, my wire brush and I went to work. We cleaned off a decade of accumulated dirt (according to Ray, that was the last time he cleaned under there). II then washed it and used a soft brush to reach into the crevasses. A rinse and a little time later, start to paint. I painted everything that was attached to the firewall that looked like it was painted originally, removing covers to paint things if it came off. While under there, I found a broken wire. Well, no problem, strip, apply heat shrink, solder and heat shrink down. Good as new. I replaced the battery and all the pieces that came off, as indicated in the pictures I took first. Then, off with the air cleaner and brush, wash, scrub, wash and paint. (when I was a kid, my dad would hand me a part he took off. I was expected to wash this part in gasoline and return it to him looking new. Now, we don't use gasoline to clean parts any more (worked really slick back then though)). My boys are going to get me a new sticker, Wildcat 465, to replace the one that Ray had duct taped on. eBay is your friend here. $22 USD and 15 Can delivery. Fathers day gift from my sons. I asked Ray to check the auto wreckers by him (They have a lot of old cars, really old) to see if they have a jack that will fit the car. They do not have one down here and sellers on eBay seem to think that they are made of gold or something. I oiled the electric antenna. It only goes part way up and down. May need to replaced it.

I just had a guy come look at her as I was spraying the black sections of the under side of the hood. He asked a number of questions, and then, out of the blue, offered to trade me straight across for an immaculate 1997 Cadillac, with a safety inspection. I laughed, reminded him that I said this was a birthday gift, and that I also had admired it for 12 years while Ray had it. I told him it wasn't going to happen. I like my car and my wife likes the car.

I am really looking forward to completing the work I need to do to get it onto the road. The paint job, well, that will have to wait, for now.Wildcat engine compartment.jpg
 

2007LucerneCXL

Full Member
2,836
851
113
Illinois
Buick Ownership
2007 Lucerne CXL. and 1995 Lesabre currently, past 1973 Riviera, 1968 Riviera
Nice write up and the engine bay looks to be in good shape. The only thing that I noticed is that it has a single master brake cylinder and that may be something to consider changing it to a dual. I grew up with and around the single cylinders and it's never a good day without brakes, which is usually at the most inconvenient moment lol. Good luck on the project.
______________________________
 

ChuckBridges

Member
42
4
8
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Buick Ownership
1966 Wildcat 2 door
Thank you. This is something to consider down the road. As I mentioned, electronics tech, mechanically inept. I am hesitant to play with something that is working that I don't fully understand yet. Plus, there is a money issue. Right now I am not driving it so can wait, but thank you for the advise.
 

HotZ28

Full Member
7,064
329
83
Buick Ownership
1996 Roadmaster Limited Collectors Edition 58k - 1996 PAU
You have a plan & ambition to restore that car. In addition, I noticed the tomato stake holding up the hood. That may require new springs, or hinges. You have a lot of work to do, but keep up the effort!
 

JoeBlog

Buick Newbie
67
64
18
Wichita
Buick Ownership
1967 Wildcat Convertible, 2019 Regal TourX Essence
11603F5E-100B-41A0-A25E-2525A0649FD0.jpeg
17731663-49A3-4114-9B9A-1D9FEF5F47B2.jpeg
Where I started to where I ended up. Took a while, but it can be done. All the sheet metal, driveline and mechanical work was done by me. Paint was mixed by me and applied by people who were much smarter. If I can do it, anyone can, so you’ve just gotta get on it and be willing to make a mistake and learn from it.
 

ChuckBridges

Member
42
4
8
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Buick Ownership
1966 Wildcat 2 door
Thank you all for your kind words and advise. I assure you that all is being noted and filed away for the proper time in the restoration sequence. The hood will stay up, but not at the height I want. I did decide that since the springs will not hold the hood up all the way, I wold replace them. All in good time, as money is tight right now. JoeBlog, that is incredible. I love the way you have restored your baby. Thanks all!
______________________________
 

ChuckBridges

Member
42
4
8
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Buick Ownership
1966 Wildcat 2 door
Ok, to take off the heater fan, and the housing around it to seal it, you have to remove the fender. This has been fun. :cautious:It is 30 C (86 F). I grew up in Northern BC, where 19 C was a warm day. When I lived in Yellowknife, it hit 20 C (68 F) and the entire department played hookey and went to the beach. The district manager walked along the beach (he was no slouch, he knew where we were) making certain we would all feel well enough to go to work the next day. 86 F, I am melting. Nothing moved easily. a lot of WD40 and 1 bolt hacksawed off. Take off housing, seal it. Remove fan, take off the blades. Oil, run, oil, run... Much better. faster and a little quieter. I don't think it was ever quiet, at least since I have seen the car. Done, replaced. Now, replace the fender...loosen the fender off, align it. Retighten! Done for the day. Tomorrow is another day.
 
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ChuckBridges

Member
42
4
8
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Buick Ownership
1966 Wildcat 2 door
Well, I painted the drivers side of the wheel well and, after that, the car will not start. I suspect that the paint is insulating something that needs a ground. I will go out soon and ground off the paint from the connections. I used my wire brush (It is getting a lot of use lately) and washed and brushed the rims. Once I had everything loose off, I washed them again and let them dry. I painted them with Rustoleum black gloss paint. They look really nice now. The hub caps I also cleaned and washed. I painted them with chrome paint( 6 light coats then one medium coat). Once they dried for 2 days. I polished them and then used a clear coat on them. I put the centers back in and let them dry for two days. Between the rims and the hub caps, they look really nice now.

Okay, in Telecom we use the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle. I went out, removed the voltage regulator and the junction block from the battery to the car, ground out the mounting holes and replaced both. The other 2 things, windshield washer bottle and horn, even I know they play no part in starting the car. Nothing!:confused:. At that point, lightning hit and the KISS principle kicked in. It can't be just a low battery... could it. I pulled my truck next to the car, ran the cables, got into the car and... it turned over. Pump it twice, then twice more and she roared to life.:D Of course, now I feel like a fool, but, satisfied. Some one had had a tach on the column and there were wires loose on the column. I had removed these, as original is my goal. I was afraid I had removed something I needed even though all four wires were cut off and bare.

I then finished (at least, as much paint as the can held) painting the under side of the hood. Looks much better now. I didn't think I would enjoy this as much as I am!
 

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ChuckBridges

Member
42
4
8
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Buick Ownership
1966 Wildcat 2 door
Thank you very much for your kind words. I thought of that, but finances (my wife) told me do not spend any more money right now. Retirement, and the refrigerator dying, definitely put a crimp in my wallet. $2200 Can ($1656.16 US) for a new one. Ah well, you cannot go without a fridge. I have time to work on the car. I ordered an oil pan gasket (Only one in Canada, in Quebec. I am in Alberta) and need to replace it to stem an oil leak. I think I will wait until I can afford fresh oil and filter though. My wife suggested I leave it without oil for the meantime, but I am a little forgetful since my concussion and might try to start it to hear it run. I don't want to risk it. I am really getting into the repairs though.

Well, have a great day and, once again, thank you.
______________________________
 

ChuckBridges

Member
42
4
8
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Buick Ownership
1966 Wildcat 2 door
Today I purchased the oil and the filter to do an oil change. I think I will put it up on the ramps because I will be pulling the oil pan and putting the new gasket on. I will need room to scrape and clean the surfaces to ensure a good seal. (Thanks Dad for the things I do remember!) The torque setting are listed as 8 - 12 ft. lbs. Time to put my new torque wrench to use. Have to be another day as we are having a day of thunderstorms rolling through.
 

ChuckBridges

Member
42
4
8
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Buick Ownership
1966 Wildcat 2 door
So today my wife asked me why I used a stake to keep the hood open so I showed her. Well, she didn't like the fact that with the stake removed the hood staying up was, well, not ensured. Marching orders, find hood springs. Ok, off to the auto wreckers. The first one I went to was connected to all the others.... and... nothing older than 1990.:rolleyes: All the wreckers on the network do not save anything older than 1990. Try Airport Pick-Your-Part they recomended. They have a few older vehicles, but nothing that will work. Next, Napa.... nope. Okay, my go-to auto parts store that has found parts that Napa and others couldn't, Silver Automotive. I want a what? Let me look..… nope! Try the wreckers. I explained they can't help me. Try eBay was their suggestion. Off to eBay I go. Only one seller had a set of springs. With shipping, $132($98.62 US). At this point, I am starting to dig in my heels and say I will keep looking. Buy them my wife says, this is a safety issue. She doesn't like my tomato stake. Okay ordered and they should arrive around the end of July. I mentioned that the car has had a tomato stake holding up the hood since 2007. Jenny says that then, it wasn't her responsibility as Ray owned the car. Now it is my car so, safety issue. No wonder I love her so much:). I am looking forward to getting them.

I went to find out what I had to do to get insurance and registration on the car. Go to the insurance company, they say that I need an Out-Of-Province inspection before they can issue insurance. Now, without insurance, I cannot get a permit to move the car to get an inspection. Without insurance, or a permit, how do I get the car to the mechanic? Tow it I am told. Another expense. This is going to have to wait as I am running out of cash.

I washed the engine after spraying it with a cleaner. Much better, but I missed some areas. No problem, I have another can. I will spray it later as the next 3 days are going to be rainy with thunderstorms. It looks much better than it did. When I take off the oil pan I am going to clean and paint it with the left-over Chrome paint. My Dad always told me that when you take something off, it should look like new when you put it back on. This is definitely taking a large portion of my spending cash.

Well, good day to all. I hope you have a great evening.
 

ChuckBridges

Member
42
4
8
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Buick Ownership
1966 Wildcat 2 door
I degreased what I could of the rest of the motor and the underside of the transmission and oil pan. I put the car up on ramps to do this and used gunk degreaser. Seems to work well. I contacted a garage about getting an inspection. They charge $160 plus GST (5%). If they find anything needing repair, then you have 10 days to repair and present it again for them to verify, or have them fix it. That is the part that makes me nervous. As far as I can see everything seems good, and Ray said everything is good, but if they find something, I am not certain I can afford to fix it right now. All the glass is good, all the lights work, e-brake works, heater and vents work. Windows roll up and down, all electrical works. I ordered a stereo with MP3/WMA/USB/line in/4.1 inch TFT screen. I broke down, the AM radio is the only thing that cannot stay. We do not get AM stations here. What I don't know about is brakes and steering. Ray says they are good, so I will have to wait and see I guess.

Done for the day, this is going better than I thought it would.
 

ChuckBridges

Member
42
4
8
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Buick Ownership
1966 Wildcat 2 door
Well, today I purchase some split loom wire wrap and re-did everything under the hood. It had been wrapped in electrical tape and starting to let go, so I felt it should be done properly. Took about 3 hours, but it looks a whole lot better than it did. I ran some speaker wire from the front of the cabin to the back, under the door trim and behind the armrests. While I had the armrests out, I cleans and painted them. They are not seen but my Dad always told me to put things back in better condition than you got them, so, paint. The wires are now on the back window area, waiting for my speakers to get here. I am building a box to contain the front speakers as I refuse to cut holes to add them. They will sit on the hump between the driver and passenger with the speakers at an angle out, sort of like a small house roof. I have to wait for the stereo and, as I said, speakers to arrive for the back, but purchased 2 50 Watt 4 ohm speakers for the front. I am starting to run out of things to do. Not a bad thing I guess. I will be able to spend more time with my Granddaughter Aria.
______________________________
 
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ChuckBridges

Member
42
4
8
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Buick Ownership
1966 Wildcat 2 door
Well, the hood springs I purchased through eBay were not a fit for the Wildcat. I guess I need to keep looking. I was told the only springs that will fit are from a Wildcat or an Electra. Back to the search. The seller said he will ship me some springs if he has them, but I am not hopeful. Their chart listed a long list of cars their springs would fit, including the Wildcat, but it isn't so.:cry: I checked the classifieds on this site to no avail either. I guess the tomato stake stays, for now. The speakers I ordered gave me an email that "They are almost there". They are in Southern Ontario, about 2100 miles away. Not quite what I call Almost There. The box I built for the front speakers turned out well. They are wired and ready to go. The stereo has left China. From there, anyone's guess. I do know it flew from China to Canada. That's a good sign. Should probably be in BC by now, caught up in Customs. I have time, little patience, but lots of time.

Have a Happy Canada Day tomorrow to all our Canadian friends and a Happy 4th of July to our American friends. Bye for now!
 

HotZ28

Full Member
7,064
329
83
Buick Ownership
1996 Roadmaster Limited Collectors Edition 58k - 1996 PAU
Thanks for the update and you have a plan! Time goes by faster, the older you get! "Have a Happy Canada Day tomorrow to all our Canadian friends and a Happy 4th of July to our American friends. Bye for now!"
I have a lot of friends in Montreal Qubec Canada, the other east side of Canada. I wish you the best and keep us informed.
 

ChuckBridges

Member
42
4
8
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Buick Ownership
1966 Wildcat 2 door
Having no idea of how old the oil was, and Ray telling me that it took 2.6 quarts (2.5 Liters) of oil to come down 750 Km (466 miles), I did an oil change today. It doesn't have any blue smoke out of the tailpipe, so, leaks. I cannot afford to rebuild the motor yet, and after cleaning off the engine, found the oil pan doesn't have any leaks. Have to be from further up the engine. Next year I will be able to afford to rebuild the engine. Right not, I am doing odd jobs for the Condo Association to raise money for my Inspection that I require before I can get insurance or registration.

I added some Risione stop leak to the oil change to at least slow, or hopefully, stop the leaks until I can do the rebuild. it has a leak as I found oil on the pavement. It had good reviews, and is only a temporary solution.

The car is really coming together. I have done things that, when Ray had it, drove me nuts. Since it was his car, I kept my mouth shut. I have cleaned up the wiring, painted the fender walls, cleaned the engine (as best I can with it in the car) I fixed the vents for the defrost/heat, oiled the antenna so it works properly,... Ray only fixes them up so they have no holes and can be driven. The minutia doesn't concern him.

Well, off for now. Time to spend time with my dearest Wife, Jenny.

Have a great day all!
 
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ChuckBridges

Member
42
4
8
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Buick Ownership
1966 Wildcat 2 door
Well, I took the plunge today and scheduled the Out Of Province inspection for the car. Cross my fingers that everything passes. If it doesn't I don't have the cash to fix it. I may hit up Ray for a loan if it is a small amount. He thinks it will pass though. I have gone through the list they show and fixed all the things I can, and am allowed to work on in our parking lot. At the very least, I will have a list of what needs repair to work on. Glass is all good, windows all work, vents all work, lights, emergency brake, wipers, washer, horn, signals.

My stereo is in BC, my speakers are in Ontario (4 days ago, should be in Alberta by now, but I can't tell.) I asked Ray about helping me rebuild the engine next year when I have the money. I want it to last a long time, so a rebuild is in it's future. It doesn't burn oil, but does leak a little. That is one of those annoying things I can't let slide.

Well, that's all for now. More on Friday, (fingers crossed)🤓
 
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