'53-'54 Buick Skylark Club

Moraine Products Division

Al Malachowski

Another division of the General Motors Corporation whose name you might recall seeing on a few original 1953-1954 Buick Skylark parts is the Moraine Products Division (Moraine) who called Dayton, Ohio, home for the majority of their later 1923-1991 years of operation. Originally created by GMC as a manufacturing division for their research division, Moraine pioneered the development of two significant components during their early years for cars and trucks: engine bearings and porous-metal filtering elements. Moraine’s patented Durex 100 bearing material consisted of a steel backer bonded to a nickel-copper matrix with a babbitt overlay that was produced in strip form and later machined for main and connecting rod bearings. Filtering elements consisted of metallic powders bonded to form durable and reusable oil and fuel filters, diesel injectors, and fuel/water separators. As a side note that’s also worth mentioning, the Delco Brake Division of DELCO (originally Dayton Engineering Laboratories COmpany) and Moraine combined efforts in 1936 to develop early hydraulic brake controls. During the WWII effort, Moraine was a major supplier for air, marine, and land-craft engines and military armament. It was during this time that Moraine introduced their disc-shaped gasoline filter’s porous-bronze filtering element on the 1942 Buick carburetor. This style continued to be original equipment on Buicks through 1956. Moraine also built a glass-bowl style gasoline filter, their Durex-labeled Model #830, using the same porous-bronze filtering material but in a different shape for other makes of cars and trucks. Additional original parts that were built by Moraine and can be found on 1953-1954 Skylarks include brake wheel cylinders, starter and generator bushings, the improved 1954 MORVAC power brake cylinder with its auxiliary electric vacuum pump that replaced the problem-prone 1953 Kelsey-Hayes power brake cylinder, and the Hydro-Lectric pump for the convertible top, seat, and window operations. In the early-1960s, Moraine merged with another Delco division to form Delco-Moraine.

An original gasoline filter on a Buick Skylark V-8 engine with either the Stromberg or Carter four-barrel carburetor (1956 Buick Rochester’s also) can be found attached to the rear of the carburetor with a threaded nipple to the fuel supply’s inlet port. This filter is in addition to the fine-mesh cylindrical strainer (.4375”-diameter x .8750” long on a Carter WCFB) that’s located in the carburetor’s fuel bowl just inside the inlet port. A picture on page 84 in a 1952 Buick Shop Manual with cleaning instructions confirms that the Moraine disc-shaped style and not the easier-to-clean glass-bowl style of gasoline filter is the correct gasoline filter for the 1953-1954 Skylarks. The first of four pictures below also shows this correct style of filter. Note the threaded-metal drain plug’s location and the inlet port. The outlet port on the front side of the filter, not shown in any of the pictures, is located in-line with the inlet port.

All the cleaning instructions in the 1953-1956 Buick Shop Manuals also apply to this drain-plug style of filter: to do a quick occasional cleaning, remove just the threaded-metal plug . . . for a more thorough job, you need to remove the filter from the carburetor and gas line and back-flush the assembly from the outlet side. Here are a few items that the Shop Manuals don’t tell you: the filter is not exclusive to Buick, it was used on other GMC marques and independents, two and four-barrel carburetors, and the filter doesn’t come apart. The front-half is crimped over the rear-half and unless you peek through the drain/inlet/outlet holes, the composition of the filtering element is unknown. The second picture above is a rare shot of what you see after you filet the filter with a Dremel cut-off wheel. As advertised, the porous all-metal filtering element looks like micro-sized bronze beads glued together somehow to form a more-durable than a fabric or pleated-paper style element. A thin cork gasket seals the two 2.50”-diameter halves together, the assembly holds one liquid ounce and the beaded element mic’d out close to .100” thick. Moraine labeled this disc-shaped style filter as their Model #100; Buick parts books list this under Group 3.203, Part #1390612; I call it the 400-point style.

Fourteen years later in 1956, Moraine came out with a better way to clean out years of accumulated rusted-metal fuel line particles/water/varnish/dirt from their early-style disc-shaped gasoline filter. Moraine labeled it their Take-A-Part Model #150 filter and it is shown in the last two pictures. Buick lists this as Part #5452170; I call it the 399-point style. Note the centrally-located machine bolt that holds everything together after you align the nibs on the bottom. Moraine also came out with a replacement kit for this style, Part #5452162, which included the bronze element, plastic spacer and the 2.50” x 2.25” x .125” rubber gasket. I have not heard of any leakage problems with this Take-A-Part style since corn gas came out; a replacement nitrile gasket could fix that. In 1957, Buick relocated the gasoline filter inside the gasoline tank at the tank’s lower outlet port. A better way yet? Your roadside mechanic will let you know after you inform him that you just topped-off the gas tank a few miles back. TOODLE-LOO!