Build sheet

Discussion in 'The "Paper Trail"' started by BQUICK, Oct 28, 2019.


    BQUICK Well-Known Member

    Looking thru some papers and found part of a build sheet of a GS that I no longer have.
    Didn't know that rt and left front springs were different.
    165213 last 6 of vin (body number)
    engine PB
    trans KA
    axle LK
    Maybe someone has this car still..... build.jpg
  2. dynaflow

    dynaflow shiftless...

    ...A/C cars use a stiffer RF...
  3. Duane

    Duane Member

    All the cars used different front springs for the left & right sides. That is a Flint "Production Order Chassis Paint" build sheet. They are quite rare.
  4. Wildcat GS

    Wildcat GS Wildcat GS

    Hi Duane,
    Can you list the build sheet varieties and the chronology of their use in the car build? I assume there was a body build sheet and final assembly but I dont understand where this chassis/paint sheet fit in? Thanks,
    Tom Mooney
  5. Duane

    Duane Member

    Well I will try.

    For Flint built cars, for say 1970 to 1972;

    At Fisher Body.
    The Body shells, from the firewall back, were built by Fisher Body in their own facility. These "shells" were stamped out, welded, assembled, painted and then trimmed out by Fisher Body. The interiors were complete, with the exception of the front carpets, front seats, and anything on the dash/firewall. Fisher Body used the large "Body Shop Inspection Sheet" to build the shells. Once the shells were finished, the shells (on their body carts) were loaded into trucks and shipped across town to the Buick Final assembly plant.

    (Not to confuse the issue, but these sheets were also used by the "Quality Control" guys (at Final Assembly) to track say 1 in 50 cars to verify everything was done correctly. Once completed these cars were taken to another part of the facility and were checked over to make sure everything was absolutely perfect. You often see these sheets on cars that required special procedures, like GSX's, however sometimes you find them on regular cars because they were "QC" cars.)

    At this time the shells were checked out by BUICK technicians for fit and finish and were checked against the Firewall ID plates, to make sure they were built correctly. If there were problems with the shell, the "flaws" were noted on the sheet, and the decision was made to either accept the shell, (probably with some type of monetary deduction), or reject it. If everything checked out they were "Bought" by Buick. The Inspector then Punched his initials into the "Body Shop Inspection Sheet", and often rolled up the sheet and stuffed it into the A-pillar post. At this time the shell was sequenced into the line.

    At Buick Final Assembly.
    As the shell went down the line the various parts were assembled on the firewall and the front seats and carpet were installed. The small sheet, which I often call the "Fisher Body Cheat Sheet" was put on the bottom of the passenger side of the front seat before it hit final assembly. (The number at the very top of the sheet corresponded with the number that was crayoned onto the driver side saddle bag.) These sheets were supposed to make sure the correct interiors were installed in the right cars, but we know that was often not the case. The Gas tanks were also installed on the shell. The "Production Order Body Final" and sometimes the "Production Order Chassis Paint" sheets were taped to the top of the gas tanks. Again they were supposed to make sure the correct tank was used for the right car, but again we know that was often not the case. The POBF sheet was used by "Buick" at Flint to make sure all the correct components were put on the right cars. I know there were more then 1 copy of this sheet used during production, as I had 2 copies of the same sheet in my old 71 GSX 350 car. One was taped to the gas tank, and the other was found under the front carpet, where it fell on the floor before the Final Assembly workers installed the carpet and the front seats.

    Concurrent with this, at another part of the plant the chassis started being assembled. Again at Flint the "Production Order Chassis Paint" sheets were used to make sure everything was correct and sometimes were taped to the top of the gas tanks.

    Although not a build sheet, the number that was crayoned on the driver side saddle bag was also crayoned onto the wheels. This was done to make sure the correct wheels went on the right car.

    Therefore for a 1970 to 1972 Flint car you could have the following sheets;
    Body Shop Inspection Sheet
    Fisher Body Cheat Sheet
    Production Order Body Final
    Production Order Chassis Paint

    The other Plants were run by GMAD (General Motors Assembly Division) NOT Buick. These Plants used different procedures and different Build Sheets to produce their vehicles. They use the large "GMAD" style sheets as their build sheets. (Often referred to as "Chevy" style sheets.)

    One other thing to note is this. The various GMAD plants coded their parts differently. Some coded parts by color codes, while others coded them by the last 3 digits of the part numbers. You can see which plants did what if you start decoding them.

    The different GMAD plants also used different build sheets. Fremont used a bigger more detailed "Fisher Body Cheat Sheet" to install their interiors, while Framingham cut their large GMAD sheet into 1/3rds and used usually the left 3rd of the sheet to build the interiors. I often call them "Framingham Thirds" and they are often found hog ringed to the springs on the rear seats.

    There is one other thing to mention, if you look at the Assembly Manual of a particular model, you will see exactly what was done at Final Assembly. If a part was not shown being installed in the manual, then it was part of a "sub-assembly" that was built off site and shipped to the factory. Case in point, they do not show carburetors being installed at final assembly because they were part of the engine/trans sub-assembly that was shipped to the plant.

    These sub-assemblies also changed over the years. If memory serves me correct for 1972 the front spindle with the entire brake assembly was installed as a complete unit, which was not the case in previous years.

    Hope this gives you an idea of what was going on back in the day, and sorry for the long winded answer, but some questions have roots.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2019
    BUQUICK likes this.
  6. Mike Jones

    Mike Jones Platinum Level Contributor

    Good read Duane, thanks. Question for you. If Buick did not own the plants outside of Flint, and it was GMAD that assembled the cars outside of Flint, did Buick send employees from Flint to oversee the other plants for QC? Or was it enough to have GM do the work and have the expectation as to what needed to be done and to what level?
  7. Duane

    Duane Member

    From what I understand there were HUGE issues with "jurisdiction" going on back then.

    The Flint Michigan Plant was run and operated by Buick, just like the Lansing Michigan plant was run by Oldsmobile. Those 2 plants, and there was probably one for Pontiac as well, decided what hardware they wanted , what parts they wanted etc. and built the cars how they wanted them to be.

    When a car was built at a GMAD plant, they told Buick what hardware and parts they were using, period. These plants were basically run by "Chevrolet" in most cases, as they had the most volume of cars going down the lines. Buicks built at GMAD plants had different brake cables, hardware, sometimes rear axles for the Canadian built cars, etc. They had their own QC people, and I imagine Buick was often told to stay out of their plants. GMAD plants were run with volume in mind, as that is basically how it had to be to get the job done.

    This is another reason why all the GSX's , or cars that came with GSX parts, ie. front spoilers, rear spoilers, and hood tachs were only built in the Flint plant. It was a matter of jurisdiction, and GMAD probably told Buick to forget about building those types of cars in their plants, as there was no way they would allow anything to slow the process down.

    At this time there were basically 3 different companies that assembled the Buicks;
    Fisher Body (for the shells, plus various sheet metal items like air cleaner assemblies, gas tanks, etc.)
    Buick (Final assembly at the Flint Michigan plant)
    GMAD (Final assembly everywhere else.)

    It only got worse in later years, as they started combining/discontinuing engine combinations on the various platforms. The "brand run" production facilities were "antiquated" in regards to the GMAD plants, and could not deliver the same type of volume. Eventually they were basically phased out. Just the fact that the bodies of the Flint cars had to be trucked across town was an indication of how old their systems were. In the GMAD plants the "shells" were sometimes slid through a hole in the wall between Fisher Body and GMAD Final assembly, or in some cases simply crossed a line painted on the floor, with Fisher Body employees on one side and GMAD employees on the other.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2019
  8. Mike Jones

    Mike Jones Platinum Level Contributor

    My grand father retired out of Flint Buick as a wood pattern maker in 1978. He used to tell me about the moulding process and how cast and formed items were made using his patterns.
    My dad did 41 years at Buick, working in a bunch of the different factories. He was in final assembly at one point but spent most of his time in the Hyrdamatic division doing small parts for the 350's and 400's.
    He hired in in 1964 and worked for a short period in the engine plant in 1970. He's a lot older now and his memory is fading but I distinctly remember him telling me that at one time he was operating the machine that set the heads on the 455 blocks. The machine had arms on it that held the head but you still needed to manipulate the thing and muscle the heads into the block. He said he didn't last long there and didn't enjoy it there because it was exhaustive.
    I will post a pic tomorrow of my Uncles security badges from when he was Buicks head of security. Now he has some stories about his time at Buick. It was unbelievable what the employees were getting away with back then.
    I know it's a bit off subject, all of that, but my point is, I regret that my dad didn't take me down to the plants and show me what went on inside. Found myself in "Chevy in the hole" a few times and truck and bus, but never Buick. BUMMER!!!
    pbr400 and 69 GS 400 like this.
  9. Duane

    Duane Member

    I have a picture of a guy stamping out 70-72 Skylark A-body front fenders. There is a stack of them on a dolly marked "Plant # 10". These are the initial stampings and had not been trimmed. The area where the front marker lights go is actually raised on the sheet metal. They must have stamped that area again to cut the hole out and depress the area for the light. If I find it I will post the picture here.

    At the 100 year reunion for Buick I met a bunch of the guys from Fisher Body. I spent a few hours with them, and got a lot of info about how Fisher did things. There is almost no info out there about Fisher. I actually met and talked to the guy that put all the ID plates on the firewalls for our cars.
  10. Mike Jones

    Mike Jones Platinum Level Contributor

    That's awesome. Look forward to your pic.
  11. Duane

    Duane Member

    For your viewing pleasure.

    How many of us would like to have that "stack" today even though they are not finished?

    IMG_5129.JPG IMG_5130.JPG IMG_5131.JPG IMG_5133.JPG
    corkgs, pbr400 and Brett Slater like this.
  12. Mike Jones

    Mike Jones Platinum Level Contributor

    Neat pics. I can only imagine what it was like working one of the lines back then. I'm sure it's nothing like today. My mom said that when they married in the mid sixties my dad was making just over 7000 a year and that they were doing very well.
    I remember reading an article on Flint and it said that it had the highest per capita income of any city in the US but I don't remember when that was. I think it was in the 40's or 50's.
  13. Mike Jones

    Mike Jones Platinum Level Contributor

    My uncle said they were robbing Buick blind in the 80's with stolen goods going out the back door.
  14. Brad Conley

    Brad Conley Super Moderator Staff Member

    And people wonder why Buick City was closed and the buildings demolished. This is why.
    Mike Jones likes this.
  15. Mike Jones

    Mike Jones Platinum Level Contributor

    A few pieces my grandfather did when he was working.
    My uncles badges when he was security.
    A piece that was handed down. 20191030_135010.jpg 20191030_135056.jpg
    Brad Conley likes this.
  16. Wildcat GS

    Wildcat GS Wildcat GS

    Hi Duane,
    Thanks so much for your complete explanation. I know from personal experience it takes years of research to back track into history and then to share said info via written word, especially for this 2 finger typer, is even more time THANKS FOR YOUR TIME !
    I am basically familiar with the documents and procedures at Flint assembly in the mid-sixties so can relate to most of the procedures/documents you mentioned, but as time evolved so did those procedures/documents, hence my question about the Production Order Chassis Paint form. It is obvious, compared to the mid sixties, the documents became more finely tuned as time evolved toward the seventies and in summary represented what I would expect as an overall assembly/build sheet, like Flint used in the mid sixties and what I assume the GMAD sheets represent.
    I have a couple of questions...
    What is the "saddle bag"??
    Also, I`m a little confused regarding the sequence of the fuel tank install. I was always under the impression the sheets were slapped onto the top of the fuel tank as this represented a convenient "desk top" to be used to build the chassis. Obviously to be used in this fashion the fuel tank would have been put into place early in the chassis build. This is somewhat hard to imagine and doesnt make much sense as the fuel tank straps are anchored on the trunk pan and not the chassis, unless the fuel tanks were somehow temporarily installed? At one point in your thorough explanation, under "At Buick Final Assembly", you state "The gas tanks were installed on the shell". So were the fuel tanks temporarily installed on the chassis and used as a desk top for chassis assembly until body drop or were the fuel tanks installed on the bodies at some earlier point in time never to be referenced again? It would seem there is alot of documention placed atop the fuel tanks to simply verify the correct tank was installed? Or perhaps it was at that point in preparation of the shell that the docs were no longer necessary for any reason and it was easier to slap them on top of the tank than walk to the garbage bin? Lol...
    Thanks again for your great explanation, much more than I expected,
  17. Brad Conley

    Brad Conley Super Moderator Staff Member

    Not to steal from Duane, but the "Saddle Bags" are the side of the cowl, where the door hinges are bolted onto the shell. Removing the front fender will expose them and the crayon writing Duane noted.
    Wildcat GS likes this.
  18. Duane

    Duane Member

    I do not know when the gas tanks were installed on the shell, however you Almost always find the POBF (Production Order Body Final) sheet taped directly to the top of the gas tank. Again, going back to the original reason this post was put up, the POCP (Production Order Chassis Paint) sheets are almost never there. Either sheet would work at that spot, as both have the vin & body numbers on them. Again the sheet was supposed to be used to make sure each car got the correct tank. Now for 70 there would have been only 2 different tanks available for the A-bodies, a 49 state tank, and the one for California, that came with extra outlets for emissions. I would imagine that after a while the guys just grabbed the closest one and stuck it on. We see this all the time, with finding build sheets that are a few numbers off from the vin numbers on the cars.

    My got feeling is that the POCP sheet that was found on the gas tank was probably put on by mistake. Both sheets are the same size, so it could be easily done. Also, I can count on one hand the number of POCP sheets I have even seen for a 70 Buick.

    I can also tell you this, the tanks were installed on the bodies and most likely were done when the bodies were in the air and way before the bodies were "dropped" on the chassis. It would be so much easier to do it that way, so why would a production facility do it any other way. The body shells were being worked on in one part of the plant while the chassis was being worked on elsewhere. The two only came together at the "Body Drop".

    This would mean the tanks were no where near the chassis until the body drop. I understand the shells came over from Fisher on "body carts". These "body carts" stayed under the shells until the bodies were raised into the air to install items like the gas tanks. At this point the body carts were shipped back to Fisher.

    The other thing about all of this is there were multiple copies of these build sheets at Final Assembly. They did not have just 1 to go by. I myself have seen multiple copies of build sheets from the same car. A friend of mine had a 67 Impala SS 427 coupe and we found 7 build sheets when we took it apart. He had so many that he gave me one.

    I remember talking to a GM employee once that worked at one of the production plants (It was either Baltimore MD. or Wilmington DE.) He told me it was his job to clean up the cars as they left final assembly. He said there were so many build sheets laying on the carpets that the cars looked like a mess, and his boss made him clean them all up before delivery.
  19. corkgs

    corkgs Well-Known Member

    Duane is the small piece of paper (black circle) the cheat sheet?
    20161025_214228.jpg 20161025_214447.jpg 20161025_214507.jpg Inked20161025_214310_LI.jpg

    Attached Files:

  20. Duane

    Duane Member

    Cork yes,
    That is one of the Flint Built "Fisher Body Cheat Sheets". The number at the top would match the number crayoned on the driver side saddle bag and the rims. The other numbers are the UPC codes for the options on the body.

    The next 2 pics are of the big "Body Shop Inspection Sheet" and the last one is the "Production Order Body Final".

    That's a late car and has some added information on the POBF sheet that the earlier ones never had. From the manufacturing codes on the POBF it looks like an interesting car.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2019

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