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bluej
bluej UberDork
4/7/20 2:47 p.m.
Daylan C (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to bluej :

My grandma's couch always smelled like cigarettes. Just like the last Buick I was in.

Yeah, that's definitely a part of the "'eu de '80s gm" melange.

Maybe that's another team name option: "Granny Gamblers". That car looks like an Ethyl to me..

volvoclearinghouse (Forum Supporter)
volvoclearinghouse (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
4/7/20 9:31 p.m.

In reply to bluej : 

 

"yep, I had the discman and tape adapter permanently set up ('99 ish)"

You were fancier than I. We rocked cassette tapes of songs recorded off the radio in my Merry Oldsmobile.

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
4/8/20 7:03 a.m.

Cotton Is winning this thread so far.  Better step it up, Tom!

wawazat
wawazat HalfDork
4/8/20 9:51 a.m.
AngryCorvair said:

Cotton Is winning this thread so far.  Better step it up, Tom!

Roadhouse!

bluej
bluej UberDork
4/8/20 10:06 a.m.
volvoclearinghouse (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to bluej : 

 

"yep, I had the discman and tape adapter permanently set up ('99 ish)"

 

You were fancier than I. We rocked cassette tapes of songs recorded off the radio in my Merry Oldsmobile.

You just took me back to my junior year of high school, and taping the entirety of radiohead's kid A album as played by WBCN in Boston late night the first time it aired ever. I blasted that through so many tanks of gas in that crappy olds, spinning E36 M3 tires everywhere with the steady torque of that heavy motor out front. I had no idea about anything to do with cars yet, but that's what freedom felt like at the time, so I'll always be grateful to that old besty.

 

11GTCS
11GTCS New Reader
4/8/20 4:13 p.m.

Here's the template as originally posted in the hotlink thread:

 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
4/11/20 8:56 a.m.

So, we dragged the Buick home, parked it in the garage, and started polishing. Why? Because with just a little bit of elbow grease, we knew this thing would shine better than the day it was built.

JUST KIDDING! WE HIT THE LOCAL 4x4 TRAIL!

First, though, we poured in a cocktail of magic mystery oils to clear out some shelf space for more CRC products:

This fixed the flickering oil pressure light at hot idle (a GM tradition...), so then we hit a mild local trail. This wasn't the Rubicon or anything, more like the place high school kids take their dad's sweet K5 blazer to do some muddin' y'all!

Unfortunately, I don't have any photos of the Buick on that trail. On a completely unrelated note, I have a policy against documenting trespassing. 

But, we learned some things. First, traction isn't an issue. No, it's not a Jeep by any means, but driven carefully and with some momentum, the Buick could pull itself through typical Florida mud and soft sand without any issues. Clearance, though? Yeah it's a problem. The lowest point on the car is the transmission pan, and we put a few dents in the floorboards carefully threading the trans through obstacles. This thing needs ground clearance badly!

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
4/11/20 9:00 a.m.

So we took it home and started scheming ideas. Then, it hit us: We had a brand new set of 32-inch tall Toyo Tires meant for our F-250 Project Car, and they were both A. Tall and B. Skinny.

We rolled them over next to the Buick, took a few measurements, and came up with a plan: We'd put the takeoff all-terrains we were replacing on the F-250 onto the Buick! They weren't great–see that project update for details on the dry rot and cupped tread–but for a trip through the woods in a beater they'd be perfect. 

One problem: They're tires for 16" wheels, but our Buick has 15s. To Facebook Marketplace! After a few weeks of searching, we scored a set of '90s Camaro wheels and tires for $80. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
4/11/20 9:05 a.m.

Of course, we couldn't just pay somebody nearly $100 to mount and balance these. What's the fun in that! Instead, we decided to take another approach. After all, the Camaro wheels came with old mismatched Chinese tires, which are probably worth their weight in gold, right? 

To the used tire store! We drove to the nearest tire shop with a pile of crappy cars and crappier tires out front, found the manager, and made our pitch: How would they like a FREE SET of terrible off-brand Camaro tires in exchange for mounting our truck tires on our Camaro wheels?

After some haggling and some explaining the Gambler, they agreed to mount and balance the set of four for just $20. They said their price to mount and balance a set is normally $80, meaning we'd sold our Camaro tires for $60. Nice! 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
4/11/20 9:06 a.m.

And here's what the new tires and wheels looked like next to the Buick. LUGGURY!!

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
5/4/20 2:20 p.m.

Next, it was time to lift the car so they'd fit. To the garage! 

We put the Riviera up on the lift, and were delighted to see that our hasty internet research was correct: Torsion bars! 


You know what that means, right? laugh Grabs impact gun

Two minutes later, we'd performed a precision ride height adjustment and reindexed the torsion bars to perfection. The rear was even easier, as this Riviera came with aftermarket air shocks designed for use with heavy loads. We simply pumped them up to 100 psi and let the lift down. Behold, a lifted Buick:

Just some guy
Just some guy New Reader
5/4/20 3:42 p.m.

oh this is rad

pinchvalve (Forum Supporter)
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/4/20 4:01 p.m.

Skid plates and lockers and you are done!

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
5/4/20 4:04 p.m.

With the car lifted, it was time to swap wheels. That's when we learned that Buick thought people would steal these hubcaps! I don't know what the '80s were like, but somehow these were considered stealable. Fortunately, we found the key in the trunk.

Which revealed these beautiful steel wheels:

Which are now gone. 

While we had the wheels off, we gave the car a general once-over. Surprisingly, nothing was horrible. The ball joints are still attached, the pads and shoes aren't excessively worn, and generally it appears to have plenty of life left in it.

And here's a shot of the new vs. old wheels and tires:

Of course, there was one issue: Somebody ruined these lug nuts/studs. It took everything our half-inch impact gun had to remove them, and a quick inspection showed they were garbage. We'll need to replace the studs and lug nuts before we drive this more than a few feet.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
5/4/20 4:08 p.m.

Okay, onto the fun part: WHEEEEEEEEEEELS!

First we bolted up the front:

No issues... time for the rear:

We looked it over on the lift, and... holy Buick! These wheels fit like they were made for it. The center bore is perfect, the offset just barely tucks the tires under the fenders, the steering can move lock to lock with no issues, and they look great. All Buick Rivieras should have fourth-gen Camaro wheels!

Of course, this was all with no weight on the car. Time to lower it to the ground!

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
5/4/20 4:16 p.m.

Woohoo!!! We would have never believed it, but not only did it lower to the ground with no issues, the steering still moves from lock to lock and it rolls back and forth without any rubbing!!!

Sure, there's not much clearance in the rear:

But the front is perfect!

Good enough for a test drive! We put a few not-that-stripped lug nuts on each wheel and took it for a drive around the yard. Over the fence, we could see scores of proud neighbors cheering us on–they'd never been so proud to have us in the neighborhood. Look at this class!

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
5/4/20 4:26 p.m.

Time to find a flex rock. 

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
5/4/20 5:07 p.m.

This is the donk we deserve. 

 

In true donk baller commerical livery style, in honor of 2020, might I suggest a Charmin livery. It'll also play well with all the mud from the Gambler. 

Shadeux (Forum Supporter)
Shadeux (Forum Supporter) Dork
5/4/20 5:14 p.m.

Ok, this rules!

Carry on!  

Ooh, flickering oil light at hot idle is bad news bears on a 307. Naturally, more 20W-50. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
5/4/20 6:02 p.m.

It's been perfect since I filled it with magic goo! 

glueguy (Forum Supporter)
glueguy (Forum Supporter) Dork
5/4/20 6:48 p.m.

So much awesomeness.  You are living charmed that you could do that with no rub and full steering.  Who woulda ever thought that?  

It looks amazing like that.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
5/4/20 6:50 p.m.

Well... I said it worked in the shop. Test drive results are coming in the next post. frown

barefootskater
barefootskater SuperDork
5/4/20 7:17 p.m.

Anyone with a lift has a sawzall. You don't have clearance issues, it's just time for the seasonal fender pruning. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
5/4/20 9:04 p.m.

So, after a quick drive around the yard with only the right side tires swapped... news was not good. The rear wheel was grabbing the fender lip like crazy. If only there was a fast, easy, free way to gain more clearance. 

Fender roller? No. 

Different offset wheels? No. 

Widebody kit? No.

Oh, right, we're working on a horrible car we don't care about! TO THE SAWZALL! It sure is liberating taking a break from the race cars for a weekend:


 

Nicole hit both sides with the Sawzall, I massaged the rear body mount with a 5 lb. sledgehammer, and just like that the rear tires fit great! We went ahead and pulled the chrome trim off of the front wheel wells so they matched. Gotta keep that visual balance going! 

While we were under the car we unbolted the front sway bar, too, so we could get a tad more articulation off road.

 

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