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1972 Buick Skylark

mrk5

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So what is under the hood that’s fire breathing through that awesome exhaust system?
350 Buick is my guess
This:
20210211_112007.jpg


Funny aside about that. The pictures in the for sale listing looked like this:
01616_4Cj4AFTkI6hz_0CI0lM_1200x900.jpg

Because everyone knows a 2-barrel motor with a single 2-1/4" exhaust will benefit from flipping the air cleaner lid.....
 

mrk5

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why is there plasti gauge on the front seat ? has the motor been a part recently? If so, the noise from the trans maybe the front pump. If the torque converter wasn't seated correctly it will break the pump gear ears.
This is in the back seat of the car (didn't have the keys on me to unlock the door)

20210211_112028.jpg

There was something about the previous owner having some "old guy" use a crow bar held to the motor to see what was wrong. He told them there some sort of knocking noise and they figured the motor needs rebuilt.

That may be the case, but it would surprise me if both the transmission and the engine failed at the same time. But who knows. We bought this knowing that it might need to have both replaced. Based on the little bit I've seen so far, I'm not terribly impressed with the mechanical aptitude of the previous owner. I'm hoping they did a good job on the 4-wheel disc brake conversion or paid someone else to do it.
 

500$k5

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Mine was a '70 4 door, with the factory 350-4, High Compression. 315 hp, and 410 torque. Would burn a tire to the cords in one burnout, without power braking it. Would turn the right rear tire, 100 mph, in 2 car lengths and spin for over 330 ft. Right up until the spider gears would weld to the shaft, shear off the bolt, spit the shaft into the pinion, and explode the entire rear end. Had 4 extra wheels for the right rear, and a buddy who worked at a tire shop. All used 14's ended up as tire smoke. Lol 20210211_120343.jpg
 

mrk5

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Interesting day of discovery. Put the car up on ramps so we could separate the torque converter. Surprise! It already was.

So we fire it up to investigate the noise. Took a long time before we finally had it happen. In this video you can hear it at the end after the revving the motor thru a lean bog.


After watching the torque converter from under the car I realized that horrible noise is the torque converter when it catches a little on the flex plate. I think we weren't getting the noise immediately today is because it was on ramps so gravity was helping to keep the torque converter away from the flex plate.

We rounded up some torque converter bolts and bolted it to the flex plate. Then we were able to do this:


Now I almost have more questions than answers. Why did someone unbolt the torque converter? Why did they think the engine was bad? Indications are someone cared about the car, but did they get burnt out and felt like they were spending too much money on it?

What I do know:
1) Rear main leaks horribly. Worst case might be an indication main bearings are shot. However it has enough oil pressure to turn the dummy light off. In the past when I had main bearings bad enough to blow oil past the rear main, oil pressure wouldn't come up.

2) Transfluid blew out the dip stick tube while were doing laps around the yard. Could this be because someone didn't know the torque converter was unbolted and thought it just needed more fluid and proceeded to over full it? What else would cause fluid to come out the dip stick tube with enough force to push the dip stick up.

I think my next move will be to do a compression check on the motor. I'd kinda like to keep that motor if possible but bad compression will definitely rule that out. If compression is good I can look into changing out the rear main seal.

Any thoughts?
 

Bent77

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Definitely check the trans fluid level

As for why it wasn’t bolted up, your imagination is probably as good as a guess. Unless the blows the dipstick out, why not just do a quick garage rebuild and drop it back in?
 

Bent77

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Needs mufflers
 

ktmoutfront

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Should push fluid out the transmission vent tube before the dipstick. Is the vent plugged.

The Buick Wildcat I bought had been disabled so it could not be easily fixed and driven. Maybe it is a Buick thing.
 

tRustyK5

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That era had rear main seals that were basically rope. Once it begins to deteriorate it literally disappears completely and leaks so damn bad it's ridiculous. The newer style lipped seal is a much better replacement.
 

ktmoutfront

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My wildcat leaked like a SOB. Front seal. When it was dry, it ran oil out. Once it saturated, it quick leaking, completely.

But if they were in the process of pulling the transmission to fix the leak, I doubt you will be that lucky.
 

tRustyK5

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The 401 in my 65 Wildcat had a bad rear main seal leak. I got it apart far enough to find there was literally no seal left...the car had sat for a few year before I got it, so the seal probably dried up and destroyed itself when I started driving it. It got another rope seal, as the newer style weren't available back then.
 

Wes Harden

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I know you spent the kids wad on the Skylark...... but
 

mrk5

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I know you spent the kids wad on the Skylark...... but
I remember when it was easy to find that vintage Nova pretty cheap. We ended up paying $2500 for the Buick.

They probably disconnected the transmission to narrow down the source of the noise.

Cool car.

Put a 455 in it, like the good lord intended.

Martin
The weird thing is, it doesn't make noise now that we bolted it back together. I feel like this was a case where something was going on like 2 or 3 owners ago and whatever it was hasn't been communicated down the line of buyers correctly. Kinda like the grapevine game we would play as kids.
 

mrk5

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Fired the Skylark up for the first time in a few weeks. Still a bit baffled as to what people thought was wrong with the engine. Aside from finding the torque converter unbolted. Unless the mostly missing exhaust is overwhelming the bad engine noise, but I don't feel it is.

We drove around the shop neighborhood. Only negative engine issue is a stumble when you stab the throttle; probably just needs a carb rebuild.

The trans was lazy shifting. Earlier in the thread I mentioned the trans puking fluid out the dip stick tube on the first drive. Yesterday it never puked fluid and it's actually a couple quarts low. Unfortunately, I didn't have any trans fluid for it so we couldn't try bringing the level up to spec.

At this point I'm thinking we'll get some fluid for it and see how the trans runs with level where it should be.

We also found the engine is at least a quart over full. Oil at least looks relatively fresh. Obviously we'll be doing an oil change anyway.

Maybe we need to get a carfax and see what the history on the car is. At this point I'm wondering if it has changed hands several times recently and the story behind why it didn't drive has been lost. The torque converter was unbolted leading to the crazy noise when revving the engine. The back seat was full of gaskets for the engine. What if some one was looking at pulling the engine for a garage rebuild and picked up the gaskets and even started unbolting the trans when life happened and they didn't get any further. Since then following owners assumed something was wrong when really the only trouble was a disconnected torque converter.

I still want to check compression, but aside from that we might just start driving this thing and see what develops. If it all seems good, we can look at rebuilding the carb and doing an ignition tuneup. Probably need to do something with the exhaust so we can hear the engine a little better.
 

500$k5

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Buicks are bad about oiling problems to the rods, etc. Study the repairs to fix them, and do some tricks, and it should be very reliable!
 

gonefishin

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I love this project. I saw a buick skylark gs at a car show a year or so ago and fell in love. I'd love to have a 70-72 skylark gs with the 455. It's probably going to be one of the next cars I buy if I find a good deal on one.... I love the body style and I've always been a fan of the 455 anyway... Add a t56 instead of the turbo 400 and it would be perfect for me.
 
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