Tag Archives: Buick

Fixing the old Buick for ShutterFest

While this doesn’t have anything to do with photography, per se, it does have to do with my upcoming trip to St. Louis next month for ShutterFest. All of my vehicles are old. I have two 99 Fords and a 98 Buick that I bought from my dad about 6 years ago when he couldn’t drive any more. My Fords are an Explorer that has engine problems and an F250 with over 350,000 miles and both get about 10 miles to the gallon. There was no way I was going to be able to drive round trip and afford the gas.

So, I decided it was time to get the old Buick back up and running. When I brought it back home last July I parked it because I couldn’t afford the insurance. The driver’s side window would not go up all the way, all 4 outer door handles were broken, the back doors wouldn’t open from the inside, the glove box was hanging open and the ashtray was broken.

The first thing I did was buy an outer door handle for the driver’s side. The front window wouldn’t go all the way up and the old door handle was actually missing, so I didn’t have a lock for it. I replaced the outer door handle on the passenger side the other day, put everything back together and no go. It still wouldn’t open. I took it apart today and pinched the metal clamp tighter and put it back together. I now had 2 doors that would open from the outside. The key would not turn the lock though.

I decided that it was time to tackle the back doors. I moved the front seats around and climbed in the back. I was able to get the interior trim off the door so I had access to the bolts that hold the door handle on for the rear driver’s side door. Jacob (my middle boy) was kind enough to contort himself and was able to remove the bolts. I removed the old door handle, pushed the mechanism from the outside and the door promptly opened. I checked the child-proof lock tab and sure enough, it had been moved to the lock position. We now had three doors that would open from both the inside and outside. I put the trim back on and it’s sooo much easier when the door is open!

On to the fourth (and final) door. I climbed back in to the back (through a door that now works!) and removed the interior trim. Jacob and Jonathon (my youngest) both helped to remove the bolts from the old door handle. I took it out, pushed the mechanism and… nothing! Ok, so I wasn’t sure what was going on yet, it was starting to get late and the kids were getting hungry. I sprayed the mechanism with penetrating oil and went and made some sloppy joes for supper. After we ate I went back outside (now getting close to dark) and used my flashlight to see what was going on as I manually moved the lever. The lever felt like there might be a broken spring. I went back to the driver’s side and looked at the mechanism that worked. I could see where the tab connected with the lever and I didn’t remember it being quite the same on the passenger side. Back around and sure enough, the lever had been so stiff that it had actually not moved in to the correct position when I pushed on it.

I took a flat-bladed screwdriver and pushed down on the tab. The door popped open! Hooray! But now the door wouldn’t shut. The tab stayed down. I went and grabbed a short nail-pulling prybar and hooked under the tab and pulled it back up. The door stayed shut! Ok, now we’re getting somewhere. I sprayed a little more lubricant in and worked the tab up and down. It came free! I now have all four doors working on the old gal! Now I need to order 2 rear door handles. When I get them I can put them in and have a decent car again.

I glued the ashtray back together with JB Weld and it’s drying now. Tomorrow I’ll run to the junkyard and try to find a catch for the glove box (the old catch had been bent so bad that while I did get the glove box to close, it catches and will hardly release, not to mention that it hangs open about a half-inch.

I now have a care that gets about 24mpg city miles which means I should get much better on the trip to St. Lou! I can now afford the gas! I am so looking forward to ShutterFest! It’s getting hard to wait!

EDIT: 10:35pm 03/09/2015

The rear door handles have been ordered! I should have bought the front door handles online. Way, way cheaper than where I got them in town. $38 for the pair.