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Technical Why are good parts so hard to find? 1953 Oldsmobile 88

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by chstitans42, Sep 20, 2018.

  1. chstitans42
    Joined: Feb 7, 2011
    Posts: 714

    chstitans42
    Member
    from Anna, TX

    Getting super frustrated trying to find parts for my 53 Olds. Since buying it I have found that the previous owner had "picked and pulled" quite a few items from the car. The number one aggravating thing is the starter and solenoid that I didn't notice was missing. Turns out, the starter is the first year for 12 Volt, and the last year that the engine had a certain number of teeth on the flywheel so it HAS to be a '53 starter. As for the solenoid, I can't buy anything new with a warranty, I have to buy a "NOS", one that may or may not work, with no recourse when it fails. Anyone have anything like this happen to you? I guess if I wanted an easy project I should have bought a Mustang!
     
  2. Is there a BOP group that may be able to help?
    Also check with Owens salvage here in Texas.
     
    G31270Oldsmobile1938 likes this.
  3. J. A. Miller
    Joined: Dec 30, 2010
    Posts: 1,492

    J. A. Miller
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Central NY

    I think Ross Racing Engines has high torque mini starters that will work. They know an awful lot about early Olds engines.
    Also, Rockauto shows solenoids for 53.
     
  4. bobwop
    Joined: Jan 13, 2008
    Posts: 6,098

    bobwop
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    don't be bashful to buy from a reputable salvage yard. Those starters are pretty durable. Checking with Ross is a great idea
     
    G31270Oldsmobile1938 and Hnstray like this.

  5. town sedan
    Joined: Aug 18, 2011
    Posts: 1,290

    town sedan
    Member

    I spent a good bit of my youth growing up in Lawrence KS. At the time there were several salvage yards in the area good for vintage parts.

    In 1983 I went into the army. When I got out in 1987 I couldn't wait to get back and Shop for a thing or two at my favorite yard. While I was gone they crushed out and loaded back up with import cars. This happened all over. That's one of the many reasons you are having trouble finding anything old any more.

    There's still a few yards left, but there few & far between. One is in Great Bend KS, think the name is Nobody's Auto Recycling (620) 786-4428 / (620) 793-3557. Don't know if they'll have what you need, but it's worth a try.

    Another is Lorenz Service in Corder MO. (660) 394-2423. This is a small one man operation. Don't know if he will have anything you could use, or not.

    Good luck, I'm sure others will chime in too.
    -Dave
     
    G31270Oldsmobile1938 likes this.
  6. Is there a chance that a later flywheel/starter combo would work out?
     
    Tim likes this.
  7. 302GMC
    Joined: Dec 15, 2005
    Posts: 6,478

    302GMC
    Member
    from Idaho

    Just find any '50 up Olds starter & use it on 12 volts. The tooth count is the same back to 1950.
     
    sunbeam, belair and nochop like this.
  8. RichFox
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 9,981

    RichFox
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    That is what I did. 6volt starter works great on 12. Original high torque starter
     
  9. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 47,450

    squirrel
    Member

    I'll take an NOS part with no warranty any day, over a modern garbage repop part with a warranty
     
  10. There is a kid on U Tube Corvette Ben. He is currently working on a 53 buick. And he bought a new starter. And that new starter quit working before he ever got a first start. The easiest Hamb type vehicles to find parts for are chevy cars and trucks made from 1955 to 1964. The Fords are a close second. Everything else ya gotta work at it and have a bit of good luck.
     
  11. This guy working on a 53 and the new starter done quit working
     
    G31270Oldsmobile1938 likes this.
  12. engine138
    Joined: Oct 5, 2007
    Posts: 1,674

    engine138
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Commack NY

  13. engine138
    Joined: Oct 5, 2007
    Posts: 1,674

    engine138
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Commack NY

  14. engine138
    Joined: Oct 5, 2007
    Posts: 1,674

    engine138
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Commack NY

  15. I haven't ever bought a New or rebuilt starter ever. Ive got a armature tester. a huge number of old starters and a lot of bushings and brushes. I take junk starters apart. Test the armature on my old tester. test the field coils by hooking a battery to them. And field coils can be wound right or left so you need to pay attention. And I fix all of armature tester 001.JPG armature tester 002.JPG my own starters. Ive even made bushings from rigid copper tubing
     
    elgringo71, bobwop, 1oldtimer and 4 others like this.
  16. chstitans42
    Joined: Feb 7, 2011
    Posts: 714

    chstitans42
    Member
    from Anna, TX

    Funny thing, that is ME! Thanks for sharing.
     
  17. junkyardjeff
    Joined: Jul 23, 2005
    Posts: 7,740

    junkyardjeff
    Member

    When I built my 53 35 years ago there were quite a few still in the junkyards around here but not now,the remaining two old years still have the ones I grabbed parts of of and are stripped of good parts now so I would recommend joining the Oldsmobile club Of America which I did and when they have the national show there usually is a good swapmeet there. Been wanting to build another 53 again but if I do would have a slightly newer Olds drivetrain and suspension.
     
    bobwop likes this.
  18. What Jim said.....and as far as my stuff goes....rebuilt or re-fixed most all of my Studebaker parts from 1970 on...until the great EBay - parts were not that easy to find for a non - GM or Ford car.
     
  19. junkyardjeff
    Joined: Jul 23, 2005
    Posts: 7,740

    junkyardjeff
    Member

    Would a 56 starter work.
     
  20. I always had a good auto-electric shop in my back pocket. One was an old guy who had a shop behind his house, he was good with the stock car stuff, starters that would spin with an engine that was at 240 degrees. Another was in town, but they folded up around 1990. Now I have one run by 2 guys maybe 5 years younger than me. I bring in my starter or alternator, tell them what I want and they do it. They run it like an old school business and I had one problem with an out of warranty alternator (voltage regulator) and they popped in a new one for $15.
     
  21. chstitans42
    Joined: Feb 7, 2011
    Posts: 714

    chstitans42
    Member
    from Anna, TX

    I wish there was something like that around here for me.
     
  22. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 4,144

    Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Member

    The parts aren't that hard to find, you just need to know where to look (some great leads in this thread). The days of rolling through a local wrecking yard or parts store and finding that type of stuff are pretty much gone. If you don't have a local, old school rebuild shop, you'll have to ship the parts.
    Then it's probably a good idea to keep your eyes open for a spare core to stash away.
     
  23. chstitans42
    Joined: Feb 7, 2011
    Posts: 714

    chstitans42
    Member
    from Anna, TX

    I agree, I am working on getting a parts car at this time.
     
  24. jetnow1
    Joined: Jan 30, 2008
    Posts: 1,684

    jetnow1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from CT
    1. A-D Truckers

    Network, talk to every car guy you meet. There are still some old school rebuilders out there. I know of a small wrecking yard in town that almost no one knows about, who also does auto electric rebuilding. Going into his shop is like a trip thru time.
     
  25. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,406

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    You can change a 6v starter or generator to 12v by changing the field coils. A good rebuilder may be able to help.
     
  26. kbgreen
    Joined: Jan 12, 2014
    Posts: 339

    kbgreen
    Member

    The PO selectively stripped your car before you bought it? Darn. I bought a paint ready, just needs wiring and an interior car that looked like it was pulled from an Arizona ravine. See this thread:

    https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum...ed-wrecked-cars-trucks-old-hiways-etc.669534/

    While the PO of my car kept extolling the value of this car I had to mentally add up the number of missing parts to see what I would really pay for it.

    I've found that the generation just older than me is wearing out or dying out of the hobby and selling off their parts hoards. I highly recommend that you join the forums that are specific to your car. Be careful not to mention that you might change the car in some forums or you will get hog tied and branded. I've also found eBay to be a benefit, though some or many of those sellers think they are sitting on a gold mine of a part. Also check out global Craigslist search engines for anything in a radius that you would be willing to drive.
     
    G31270Oldsmobile1938 likes this.
  27. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 7,868

    5window
    Member

    There have been some pretty good suggestions here to help you out. But, the title of your thread is not too surprising.
    Olds only made about 240000 88s in 1953. And that was 65 years ago. There can't be too many left and so it is not unreasonable to find not many companies, or no one, is going to manufacture or stock parts for which there is such a limited market. Even keeping old parts on hand "costs" money. Best get used to making do. On the bright side, it is only about two weeks until Hershey and it a part exists, there's a good chance it will be there.
     
  28. The starter being on the left hand side makes it harder to find a replacement. Pontiacs from that era also have the drivers side mounted starters. Its possible your olds nose will fit a 55 and newer Pontiac starter?
     
  29. Ok I went and scrounged thru my stuff and took apart a couple of really crusty starters . Took some pictures. I reciently bought the remains of a 56 Pontiac. The engine and stick trans was what I wanted. And the starter was missing. So I had these crusty Gm starters no idea what they came off of. However the nose would fit my Pontiac bell if I placed it so the solenoid was on the bottom. I think they where 55 thru 57 12 volt 235 car starters. The V8 57 starter had the same 4 bolt fastening of the solenoid to the starter as the 6 cyl does. but has three holes in the mounting face. So I can use the chevy armature and field coils & solenoid. on the nose that fits my Pontiac bellhousing. I will need to be certain I have the correct starter drive to match my Pontiac flywheel. Post picture of your olds starter? The first picture is my Pontiac bell. The next three pictures are of the taken apart crusty starters. The fourt picture is the cast iron nose before I wire brushed it a bit. The fifth picture is the nose setting in place in the Pontiac bell. Notice the slot for a actuating arm that engages the starter drive is pointing down. The sixth and 7th pictures are of a tri five V8 starter. It uses the same field coils armature and solenoid as the 6 cyl version . the cast nose has three bolt holes for mounting. The last two are of the starter on my 56 chev 235. Ive watched your U tube videos. Im confident you are capable of fixing the starter on your GM startwes 003.JPG GM startwes 004.JPG GM startwes 005.JPG GM startwes 007.JPG GM startwes 006.JPG GM startwes 008.JPG GM startwes 009.JPG GM startwes 010.JPG GM startwes 001.JPG GM startwes 002.JPG olds.
     
  30. If you think it's hard finding parts for a '53 Olds, try finding parts for a '38 Olds. I've had the car for about 8 years now and I'm still looking for bits and pieces for the dashboard amongst other areas on the car. The gauge cluster is what's giving me the most trouble however. I've got two gauge housings and right now 3 options. Try to reuse the original gauges which are mostly shot, find acceptable replacements from other years which I've started to do but don't have access to Fort Knox for the price tags of parts, and lastly, completely customize one of the housings which I have also started to do. The last option, I'm finding to be the easiest and quickest of routes. I had a friend of mine make a few 3D printed copies of the head light switch. The ones I have are really only good for visual aides and parts. Don't even get me started on the radio switch which is supposed to be on the other side of the housing.
    IMG_20180930_215011476.jpg IMG_20180930_214928359.jpg IMG_20180930_222222579.jpg IMG_20180930_222504606.jpg IMG_20180930_215044834.jpg IMG_20180930_222600029.jpg IMG_20180930_222551979.jpg IMG_20180930_222120532.jpg IMG_20180930_222512883.jpg
     

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