1953 Pontiac Chieftain 4 Door

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Hi Paul funny you should ask a major mile stone was achieved tonight.


A couple pictures of the engine assy. So far the engine has gone together without any issues and what should be the easy tasks have been the most trouble.  I got lucky and picked up a 2nd gasket set at the last Charlotte Auto fair. I had to dig into the 2nd kit because I managed to ruin the timing chain cover gasket.  I wish a I had a picture to show how the timing cover and front motor mount go together.  The new gasket is cork and what I took off was something else (much harder). The front motor mount share the bottom bolt holes with the timing cover and when I tightened the motor mount the first time I squeezed out the cork gasket and ruined it.Bits were cut off.  The second one I used some Indian head gasket sealer and took my time and let each step set up and so far it has worked. Also the timing chain was a bare to get back on.  I even tried the original chain and speokets with 3/4 inc of slop and it was a bare.  If the gears were not lined up just right the cam gear would not slide on.  It took an hour to get it on. Almost on slop at all.


Dad came over tonight and we were able to set the engine and transmission in the frame. I think he was more excited about it then I was, am. My biggest fear was the gasket between the flywheel and the torus.  I was not let down it must have fallen off a half dozen times.  We finally got the two units together and did not damage it.  I had read it would be a chore to install the 30 bolts that hold the two together but I did not have a problem at all. I just hope it does not leak.

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an old trick to keeping the torus gasket in place while you're putting the engine and hydra-matic back together, is to use sewing tread and tie the gasket to the flywheel in several places.


charles l. coker

1953 pontiac tech advisor

tech advisor coordinator


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Hi I cannot believe it has been a year since my last post. I am finally back in the mood to share I have not made to much progress on the Pontiac but I have been busy.  Last year I really wanted a classic car as daily driver or as close to a daily driver as possible. I finally realized I had the Midget and spent the Winter, Spring and most of the summer getting it back on the road and dependable.  I had completed a beginner (no money) frame off restoration in the early 2000's and and spent this year fixing the items I did not have money to fix or did a bad job rebuilding.  I went through the engine and gear box again and completed a few other tasks that I had been putting off.  That and its first alignment in 10 years got it back on the road for about two weeks.   Then one of the rear wire wheel hubs spun.  I knew the splines were worn but did not realize how bad.  I got lucky it spun and loosened up the nut coming off the interstate.  I then took another two months switching it over to steel wheels.  I will switch it back to wire knock offs when he budget allows. I am not sure how the pictures will line up but I thought I would share a few pics of the Midget and I thought at least this group would get a good laugh of it sitting next to such a large Nash at its first cruse in.


The rest of the pictures are of the small projects I have completed on the Pontiac.  Now that the Midget is behaving I have started working on the Pontiac and will hopefully make some good progress in the next few months.  Mostly I have been acquiring new grill parts to replace the parts damaged years ago. I still have about 4 pcs to go. So the short update includes installing the the last rear wheel bearing the grease was not dried up like the right side was but it was very thin and starting to leak.  The fuel pump was rebuilt and installed, shocks both front and rear, and the exhaust installed. I made a new fuel line out of the correct size tubing I had bought a 3/8 but it just was not right and it bugged me.  I have started cleaning up the starter this week.  It was full of sand not sure how that happened but I am glad I decided to do this it was working well when I last had it running and could have just been painted and installed.  I found the engine green paint on both the ends of the starter and ran out of paint so another can will have to be ordered. I need more for touch ups anyway. Just to be sure does anybody know for sure what the color the body body of the starter should be?  I am thinking engine green.  















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JP75, good to hear you are back on the Pontiac.


I saw your Midget at the Cruise-In! I mentioned to my wife that I had not seen that car before. She said it was 'cute' :).

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Hi again not much progress to comment on I finished the starter refresh and installed it on the engine. However I thought I would share my latest find.  I shared early in my posts that the car was hit by a Gray Hound bus in the rear left quarter back in the late sixties.  It has been a chore figuring out the poor repair work in the rocker and why the door would not line up and the amount of body filler I have pulled out of the door jamb and found in the quarter has troubled me.  I have been watching a rear quarter keep coming up on e-bay for a while and after I scrutinized the pictures as much as possible I finally talked my self into buying it. How often does what appears to be a NOS panel for a 1953 Pontiac show up. Well it showed up today and the more I look at it the more I think it is an NOS panel.  Fedex only damaged it slightly at the front of the fin you can see the small buckle in the attachment flange. I think I will be able to straighten it. 


What have I gotten myself into!!









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More pics of the repair done in the 60s.  The replacement panel has several inches of overlap and the stick weld recessed and then brought back level with body filler.  The edge of the replacement panel shows in the fender opening.






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Hi its been awhile since I posted any updates.  I have a new focus and drive to work on the car again and I have made some good progress this Spring. 

This past weekend I got a little ahead of myself and dug out the repair done in the 60's.  Lots and lots of Bondo and not a lot of welds. 

I have a question I would like the advise of the resident experts.  I have what I believe to be a factory replacement quarter panel or a good aftermarket one and the question is should I cut it up or try to replace the whole panel?  

Hopefully the 4 pictures load and you can see the two blue tape out lines. The larger oddly shaped blue tape line is the outline of the actual panel.  The smaller straight lines directly around the damage would be the smaller partial panel replacement option.

Of course none of this will happen until the body is back on the frame and the rear door hung.

Thanks in advance I appreciate any of your suggestions, opinions, tips or advise that can be shared.







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hi jp75, glad to see you're making progress, in regards to your question about starter paint color, most if not all delco remy parts such as starter, generator, distributor, voltage regulator will be glossy black, not pontiac dark bluish green engine color.

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