Vintage Oldsmobiles Curved Dash, Limited Touring, Models 40, 53, 66; Series 60, 70, 90

1955 Super 88 - New member, new project

Old July 9th, 2019, 11:41 PM
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1955 Super 88 - New member, new project

Hi, John Livingston here in Portland, Oregon. New member to the group, and a first time classic Oldsmobile owner. I purchased a 1955 Super 88 about a year ago, but not having a group like this to help me, my restoration work on my car has been slow.



So, I am so glad to find you all, and thankful for the help!



Presently I am working on getting my instrument panel lights working. .

I found a video on you tube of someone removing and reinstalling a headlight switch on a chevy. Couldn't find one for a 1955 Oldsmobile, but hopefully they are similar enough.

The guy in the video reached behind the dash and said that there was a button to push which would release the push rod that is used to turn on and off the headlights. Is that the case on a 55 Oldsmobile Super 88 as well?



I ordered a new headlight switch a couple days ago from Fusick's so, I am trying to get an idea how to install it before it arrives.

A little about my car.



My cars body and chrome are in quite good shape I think. It is a two tone Dark Green and Mint Green. The previous owner had it painted and with original colors. He also put original fabrics on the front and back seats. The car was owned though most of it's life by ladies, and well kept.



Engine runs. The original carburetor was replaced with an Edelbrock carb. I also had the points and condenser replaced with an electronic ignition. I think it all needs some fine tuning, but is running ok!



Overall, this car is all original. It's all there and quite original through out I guess you would say. Quite a few things do though.


Here is a list of things to do that I am aware of so far.

Automatic Transmission is working, but now and then seems not sure what it should do, there is kind of a pause or lurch in it. Especially now and then when going up or down a hill it would seem.


Non working Horn
Non working windshield wipers.



There was some oil around the engine, possibly from the valve cover, so a friend helped me today to replace the gaskets on them.


Someone suggested replacing the U-joints so picked up a new set of those today. Same friend who is going to help install them.


Three windows with cracks in them that need replacing.


Broken pin in a back door hinge. I put some lubricant on the hinge bolts, but one is really in there good and I haven't been able to loosen it up yet to take off the old hinge.


Most of the doors I think are missing some little rubber stops that help stop the door from closing too much. Any idea what these would be called and would Fusicks or someone have them?

Some kind of fumes inside, engine related or exhaust. Not heavy, but enough that I don't want to drive it too far yet.

Radio missing one **** and not working. Clock not working.


Needs new floor mats. Needs the hard cardboard like pieces that cover the walls in front of the front doors.


Gas tank door - some little piece of sheet metal that this door hinge is connected to is cracked, so the door doesn't close quite right.


Interior heater and fans not working.

That's quite a list, and I know there is probably a ton more beyond this. But I really like the car, and the look. I will try to post some pictures for you all soon.

Thank you so much for your interest, and support.
John in Portland Oregon





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Old July 10th, 2019, 05:22 AM
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John, your Olds is definitely a cool project. Have you acquired a Factory Service Manual for your car yet? That manual along with the Chassis Service Manual would have all the information you need on removing/installing switches and *****. You can probably find it through Fusicks.
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Old July 10th, 2019, 06:36 AM
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Welcome to classicoldsmobile ;
1. Yes , the headlight switch is removed in the fashion described in the video . Most GM cars of the era were that way .
2. The problem with the transmission may stem from the installation of the Edelbrock carb . There is linkage from the carb to the trans that tells the trans the throttle position .
Improper connection , or lack of a connection , would cause a problem such as you describe . My suggestion would be to toss that Edelbrock carb , get an original 55 Olds carb , and rebuild it . Making sure the linkage to the transmission is connected and adjusted properly according to the Oldsmobile Shop Manual .
3. The wiper problem may be as simple as disassembling the wiper motor and cleaning out the old hardened grease inside of it . The wipers were assisted by a vacuum pump
on the top of the fuel pump . It may need to be re-built.
4. Most of the other problems seem to be electrical in nature and can be diagnosed with the help of a wiring diagram . There is a good wiring diagram in the 55 Olds shop manual . You can get one here ;https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fro...963+oldsmobile
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Old July 10th, 2019, 06:38 AM
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Welcome to the site John! Yes, we're looking forward to seeing pictures of your car. I'm down in Medford and have 1955 and 1954 parts cars if you come up needing something used, maybe the door hinge I may be able to help with that. John
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Old July 10th, 2019, 09:41 AM
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Welcome John. If you are going to drive the car very much I would recommend installing a Newport Engineering electric wiper motor. It is very easy and is a bolt in. The cost is a little over $200 and well worth it. At their best vacuum wiper leave a lot to be desired. We sure would like to see pictures.
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Old July 10th, 2019, 11:58 PM
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Thanks everyone for all the input! I really appreciate it. Weather was bad today, so I will take some pictures tomorrow. Lots to do and information to process. But little by little we will get there.

Thanks again!
John
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Old July 11th, 2019, 12:03 AM
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Thank you Charlie for the advice on my 55 Super 88. I actually received the original carb with the car, but never thought about rebuilding it. Just assumed the Edlebrock was superior. But you think the car would run better with the original carburetor??
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Old July 11th, 2019, 12:06 AM
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Awesome, yes if you have a door hinge that would be great. It is the drive side/left side rear door hinge, and the one on the bottom. I have all but one of the screws loosened up on it to remove it. One seems to be pretty rusted in place. But I am hoping with a little more time and lubrication it will come loose.
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Old July 11th, 2019, 02:41 AM
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John, in addition to the service manual, here is a cool 11X17 laminated wiring diagram, that you can also use as a place mat:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1955-55-Old...ss!01754!US!-1

I second the motion for converting your wipers to the New Port Electric motor. There is a thread on this site with helpful installation tips.

As mentioned, the light switch is easy to remove once you push that button on the bottom that releases the shaft.
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Old July 11th, 2019, 05:03 AM
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Welcome John ! I did the Newport wiper kit also. A couple of days ago I got caught in a severe thunderstorm and the wipers bailed me out. Lots of great help on this site.
Rick
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Old July 11th, 2019, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by johnlivo View Post
Thank you Charlie for the advice on my 55 Super 88. I actually received the original carb with the car, but never thought about rebuilding it. Just assumed the Edlebrock was superior. But you think the car would run better with the original carburetor??
My guess would be that the linkage from the carb to the trans was not properly connected , if at all . And that would make for all the weird shifting problems .
Here's a thread on re-building this carb .https://classicoldsmobile.com/forums...c-carb-127376/

Here is an image of a 1952 throttle control linkage , It is typical of a 1955 .
Attached Files
File Type: pdf
IMG_20190711_0001_NEW.pdf (586.1 KB, 5 views)
File Type: pdf
52oldsthrottle cont.pdf (586.1 KB, 0 views)

Last edited by Charlie Jones; July 12th, 2019 at 04:41 PM.
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Old July 11th, 2019, 09:30 PM
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Thanks everyone for all the information and advice! I took some pictures of the car today, a little late in the day, but I will post a couple in a few hours after I figure out how to upload them and such.
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Old July 11th, 2019, 09:33 PM
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Old July 11th, 2019, 09:34 PM
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Old July 11th, 2019, 09:35 PM
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Old July 11th, 2019, 09:38 PM
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As you can probably see, the exterior was painted a couple years ago with it's original colors, and some of the interior fabrics have been restored as well, but still quite a bit to do. Will take some more pictures when it is sunnier and not so late in the day.
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Old July 11th, 2019, 10:03 PM
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Nice! Thank you for sharing the pictures.
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Old July 12th, 2019, 02:44 AM
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Very nice John. Four door sedans are my favorite!!
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Old July 12th, 2019, 04:24 AM
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Oh yeah!
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Old July 12th, 2019, 09:10 AM
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Very nice. You are starting with a nice car.
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Old July 16th, 2019, 12:22 AM
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Thanks everyone for the kind words! Good news I was able to install my new headlight switch today, and was so excited to see all the instrument lights come on. Probably the first time for them to shine like that in many a year.

My next goal is to get the horn working again. I looked over what I could find in my 1955 Olds Shop Manual. Got some ideas from that how to start to trouble shoot it. Couldn't find anything on youtube.

Do horn problems tend to be with the horn switch in the steering wheel???
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Old July 16th, 2019, 12:27 AM
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I would like to replace the rubber door stops/bumpers on all my doors. Some are very hard and others are missing completely. Seem important in helping the door not to close to far and hit metal. Can anyone tell me the correct name for them, and where can I buy them?

Thanks as always guys!

John
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Old July 16th, 2019, 02:58 AM
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Originally Posted by johnlivo View Post
Thanks everyone for the kind words! Good news I was able to install my new headlight switch today, and was so excited to see all the instrument lights come on. Probably the first time for them to shine like that in many a year.

My next goal is to get the horn working again. I looked over what I could find in my 1955 Olds Shop Manual. Got some ideas from that how to start to trouble shoot it. Couldn't find anything on youtube.

Do horn problems tend to be with the horn switch in the steering wheel???
John, stand outside the car with the hood open. Reach in and "beep" the horn. The contacts on the horn ring may be a bit worn, so try beeping in different spots around the wheel. If you hear a "clicking" sound, (it's loud- you'll hear it) the horn contact and relay are working, and you have a problem with the horns. No clicking? check the fuse and check for power. If it turns out to be the horns, I've taken mine apart and cleaned them to get them working.
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Old July 16th, 2019, 04:20 AM
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John, did you check Fusick and Kanter for those door stops? You might also check Steele Rubber or Soff Seal:

https://www.fusickautomotiveproducts.com/

https://www.kanter.com/index.aspx

https://www.steelerubber.com/

https://www.soffseal.com/
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Old July 16th, 2019, 08:28 AM
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Just a couple of things I might add if the information from inachuck if it doesn't get you to a noisy horn. If you take the steering wheel off you will probably noticed a plunger and spring pressing on a insulator bakelite plate. If for some reason that plate spring or plunger is cracked or missing no horn. Don't lose those parts they are hard to find. Also there is a rubber gasket that holds the wheel Kinda a big rubber donut that has a tendency to deteriorate ans short out this also can be a problem. That part can be had from Fusick but is a little different but workable. This is from memory so look at your motor manual if I have gotten out of sequence. There are two electrical wires coming from the fuse box (I think) that cross over on top of steering column these are the ground and hot leads. There is a chance they are disconnectedt but if not it is a good place yo check if the juice is getting there and not somewhere in the steering wheel ..

Just take it one problem at a time and each success will be a victory and eventually the war.. Good luck and always remember we all have been there before., These guys are very knowledgeable and good for excellent advise...... Lost in the fifties ...Tedd

Last edited by Tedd Thompson; July 16th, 2019 at 08:05 PM.
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Old July 16th, 2019, 10:36 PM
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Is this the horn relay in the picture?

Hi guys I started troubleshooting my non-working horn. The manual suggests beginning with the horn relay. Of course Iíve never seen a horn relay before! I took this picture assuming that this is it. Can anyone confirm if this is the horn relay or not? 1955 Oldsmobile super 88.

1955 Oldsmobile super 88.
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Old July 16th, 2019, 10:45 PM
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If that silver mechanism on the left is the horn relay, then I see one obvious issue with it. The center wire which goes to the battery/power has been cut. Not sure even then how to remedy the problem, but appreciate any light you guys can shine.

John
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Old July 16th, 2019, 11:15 PM
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Thank you for the advice on the rubber door bumpers. I found a close fit for my 55 Olds Super 88 at Steele Rubber Products. Just placed an order with them, and look forward to putting them on in about five days.

John in Portland OR
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Old July 17th, 2019, 03:56 AM
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Originally Posted by johnlivo View Post
If that silver mechanism on the left is the horn relay, then I see one obvious issue with it. The center wire which goes to the battery/power has been cut. Not sure even then how to remedy the problem, but appreciate any light you guys can shine.

John
Yes , that is the horn relay .
It is possible that there was an intermittent short between the relay and the horn button that caused the horn to blow while turning the wheel .
Rather than fixing the problem , the PO just disconnected it . Hook it up and try it .
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Old July 17th, 2019, 08:03 AM
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Problem MAYBE the rubber donut that has deteriorated and is shorting out when the wheel turns, that will cause that problem. As a test you can remove the wheel and try a repair with silicone as a short lived fix or test. You will probably need a wheel puller if the wheel hasn't come off in a decade or two. That two wires mentioned in my previous post would have been a lot cleaner way to stop this short if that is what is happening. As a test you can take a jumper and go from the battery directly ahead of the cut and see what you get, ...Tedd
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Old July 17th, 2019, 12:51 PM
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If we're thinking that the problem is at the steering wheel, remember that the "rubber donut" actually stops the horn ring from making contact. You push on the horn ring and the "rubber donut" gives and allows contact. If the "rubber donut" breaks up and falls apart, and it does over time, the horn ring gets sloppy and makes contact and the horn beeps whenever it wants to (embarrassing). As mentioned, that may have resulted in cutting the wire to stop the horn.

IF a '55 is like a '56, you don't have to remove the steering wheel to fix the horn contact. You should be able to take the center cap off the steering wheel (not easy- lots of years of grime) and then remove the horn ring.

As mentioned, Fusick has the "rubber donut, and it fits with a little trimming I could not ever find the contact brush, but I was able clean mine up and it works just fine.
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Old July 18th, 2019, 12:13 AM
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Thanks everyone, I will do a little more trouble shooting tomorrow. Is it also possible that the horn relay itself went bad, and why the wire from the battery was cut? Maybe to stop a constant beep?

Are horn relays cheap to replace?

I know, talk to Fusicks ^_^

Really, appreciate everyone's input.

John
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Old July 18th, 2019, 02:31 AM
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John, it's fair to assume that the wire was cut to stop the horn from beeping. The relays are easy to find- Rock Auto, Advance, e-Bay, Fusick
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Old July 18th, 2019, 07:26 AM
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But other stuff works off the horn relay, doubtful it's the relay though it does look a little crusty in the wire contact department. Sometimes a test can be made by just backing the steering wheel nut off a 1/2 turn and take some of the smash out of the donut If it works that way get a new donut.... Tedd
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Old July 18th, 2019, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Tedd Thompson View Post
But other stuff works off the horn relay, doubtful it's the relay though it does look a little crusty in the wire contact department. Sometimes a test can be made by just backing the steering wheel nut off a 1/2 turn and take some of the smash out of the donut If it works that way get a new donut.... Tedd
I don't have a 55 wiring diagram handy, but I do have a 56 wiring diagram. I don't know what else the horn relay does on a 55, but on a 56, it only makes the horns beep:

The horn relay has three wires. Green goes to the horn button. Red goes to the voltage regulator. Black goes to the horns. The easiest way to stop the horns from beeping is to cut the red wire. I believe this is what has happened
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Old July 18th, 2019, 01:48 PM
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John, here are some important numbers for you:

Group 2.815 Relay,horn 1953 thru 1957 All 12 volt Part #1116781

Group 2.816 Cushion, horn, button cap 1955 & 1956 All (Deluxe Wheel) (Rubber) Part #566369
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Old July 18th, 2019, 02:59 PM
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Thanks everyone! The 55 is in the shop, having some work done on it that is beyond my ability. I will let you know how it all goes, and also update you about the Horn Saga.

Have a great weekend.

John
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Old July 18th, 2019, 06:50 PM
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The easy way would be that two wires under the steering column. they have slip connectors and only need to be pulled apart and can be reinstalled by just pushing back together. Buy the way you are correct the relay doesn't operate anything but the horn as you said, my mistake.... Tedd
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Old Yesterday, 02:20 AM
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John, on another subject, I have replaced my rear door window glass. Try Vintage Glass. Excellent.
https://www.vintageglass.com/
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