Grizz

New guy, old car

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New to the forum. I just got a 54 chieftain. From what i can tell everything is there. The frame has been powder coated and suspension has been repaired. (New bushings control arms etc...) the car is full of spare parts including lots of chrome. Along with the car are two truck loads of spare parts including another flathead motor and two transmissions. Not sure if those trans go with the car but i get them anyway. The front clip is off but also comes with the car. I’ll be starting a build thread and asking LOTS of questions. I’m just a young whipper snapper and this is the oldest car I’ve owned. I currently have a 67 Chevy c30 and the next oldest was a 72 mustang i had briefly. Once i get everything sorted out and identified I’m sure I’ll have spare parts as well. I sure hope there are still Pontiac people in here or else I’ll be forced to the h.a.m.b.

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Welcome!

 

This isn't as active as the Buick section,  but there's a few of us in here. My Pontiac is a 1936 Master Six. There a lot of similarity between all of the Pontiac flathead sixes from 1935-1954 and the eights from 1933-1954. You may find a lot of info in old threads here that applies. Also check out:   http://www.earlytimeschapter.org

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)

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Hey,

Did you get a straight six cylinder or an eight cylinder?  These motors are not the most valuable but perform pretty well for a flat head when they are in good condition.  The manual transmissions are pretty good and were a shared with Buick and possibly other GM divisions.  However those 3spd manuals don't hold up very well behind a hopped up motor.  The Hydromatics are pretty good but are not a performance automatic transmission.  I would read that early times article about the engines.  Yes they were used from the 30's to the 50's but there horse powers gains made through the years.  I would try to get the engine number of the deck of driver side of the engine block near the water pump and see just what year that engine was manufactured to verify that it is either original to your car or that it is the last version (most horsepower) of the flat head.

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Good info. Thanks!!! It’s an 8 with the hydramatic. I’m still cleaning the parts out of it. I discovered to day the front seat in excellent condition after having two rear bumpers and a front along with boxes of chrome and various parts piled on it for years. Also there is a sticker on the window. Pontiac Oakland club. Is this still a thing? Wonder if the previous owner was an actual member. Maybe someone remembers the car? Either way, the sorting and cleaning have begun. My first goals are to hook up the steering and brakes so that i can move it around easily. Next I’ll look into rebuilding one of the two carbs that also came with fresh gaskets and seals and try and get the motor  Going with a spray bottle of gas. I sure could use tips, hints or suggestions on where to start here!

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The Early Times Chapter is an off-chute of the Pontiac Oakland club.  You should consider joining at least the Early Times Chapter as this chapter has a better focus of flat-head Pontiacs.

How many years has that car sat?  Have your got the motor to turn or is it frozen?

 

Chris

 

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Great. I guess i could join both huh? I’m still in the process of going through all the parts that were in and around the car. I haven’t tried the motor yet. There are two!!! One in the car, hooked up and another yet to be picked up from the seller. I haven’t looked at any #’s so i don’t know which came with the car and which was acquired later. The one which is installed has relatively new(compared to the car) coil, wires, cap, button. Along with all the parts i found a stack of pictures from 79’ (i think) showing the complete car. The pictures serve as a guide as they are marked showing wire routing and certain things the original owner wanted to remember when putting back together. (Very cool!) i assume the motor turns. Gawd that would really slow things down...i stay at home with two little ones who have been “helping” organize and sort the two and a half truck loads of parts. It’s hard to focus on anything that requires any attention other than the 2 and 4 year old. The cars and bikes get attention after the wife comes home! I’m hoping to drain the oil, pull plugs, drop some oil in the cylinders, check compression  and see what kind of noises the motor makes when turning with a socket on Sunday. If it turns......i have high expectations. Any advice? Am i overlooking anything? I need all the help i can get!!!

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Edited by Grizz (see edit history)
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I would say put the oil in the cylinders NOW so it will have time to soak before you try to turn it. Oil is ok, but diesel, marvel mystery oil, or transmission fluid is even better. If it is not stuck, it is still much nicer to the engine if there is time to soak before anything moves.

 

The plug holes are not over the cylinders on a flathead, so you kind of need to squirt sideways. Hint: Liquid Wrench is very diesel-like, and comes in a spray can. Be careful not to drop the little red tube in.

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YES!! Good thoughts bloo. I know i have some marvel. Would something in an aerosol be better? I also think I have something called “freeze off” in aerosol I have an oil squirt can for the marvel. When you say side ways do you mean away from the exhaust manifold. Towards the left side(drivers side)? As i stated before this is my first flat head and i intend to keep it. I think the flat heads look so cool.

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No need for aerosol, I just mentioned it because it makes it super easy to do. The spark plug holes are over the valves, the pistons are actually on the drivers side of the car. A "zoom spout" oiler bottle from the hardware store (they are full of mineral oil, which would be fine also)  is another easy way to get oil over there. I only suggested aerosol because it has to go sideways, unlike an overhead valve engine where the spark plug hole is right over the piston, and you can dribble anything in there easily.

 

Here is a Pontiac 8 with the head off (6 is nearly identical):

 

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Edited by Bloo (see edit history)

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7 minutes ago, pm5471 said:

I droped the little red tube in mine so now what should i do?

 

 

I dont know. Try to get it out. It least it is soft plastic that wont break anything. If the engine is free, get a bright penlight to shine in the plug hole, try to crank the engine slowly with a wrench to make the piston come up and maybe push an end up where you can see it. Maybe you can grab it with a skinny needle nose ot a mechanical grabber. Worst case, you take the head off.

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I carved out some Time Thursday and while the little girl was napping the boy and I pulled plugs and squirted some marvel mystery AND a shot of kroil into all the cylinders. The plugs actually looked ok ,could probably used a good cleaning. I was watching the boy pull the last of the plugs and was kinda leanings on the fan and it turned. So i can go out there and turn the motor just by spinning the fan by hand.... I feel like it spins a little too freely. The belt is on and the crank spins in time with everything else. Is this normal? 

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Edited by Grizz (see edit history)

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If the plugs are out and nothing is seized up it should turn over pretty easy by turning the fan.  Seems like you have an engine that you can drive with.  How much do you pay your assistant mechanics???:)

Good luck with the rest of your project.

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Well you have an engine that you may be able work with. but you really can't tell what kind of condition it's in.  Since you have a 2nd engine it would be advantageous to try to get the engine in the car running in order to prove it to be a solid motor.  I would think you should make this one of the first things you do.  You would hate yourself if you put that car together and fired it up only to find out that motor has a bad knock.  Check the oil to see if the are any signs of water in it?

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On February 7, 2018 at 5:44 PM, pm5471 said:

I droped the little red tube in mine so now what should i do?

 

 

Hey Pete : are you a welder and have an oxygen tank on hand ? If not , have a friend bring one. Make a nozzle with some small , easily bendable metal tubing. Get a few of those little red plastic tubes and do some flammability tests. After studying the enhanced burning from the oxygen feed , shove some kindling (something like kerosene soaked cardboard - try burning this also with the oxygen.) in after the the plastic tube , feed oxygen slowly until everything is burned up. This should be a whole lot easier than fishing , even more so than yanking the head. A lot more fun , too ! It'll bring out the seven year old in you ! Sound like a plan ?    - Carl 

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9 hours ago, deac said:

Well you have an engine that you may be able work with. but you really can't tell what kind of condition it's in.  Since you have a 2nd engine it would be advantageous to try to get the engine in the car running in order to prove it to be a solid motor.  I would think you should make this one of the first things you do.  You would hate yourself if you put that car together and fired it up only to find out that motor has a bad knock.  Check the oil to see if the are any signs of water in it?

I definitely want to at least get the motor running before putting the front clip back on. I havent picked up the second motor yet but I gave it a quick once over. No plugs and rust pouring out where the exhaust mani. Bolts up. It’s in rough shape. I do need advice on how to go about this. I have 2 original carbs and a bunch of new gaskets. I’m thinking stick The best on on. Someone told me it would be easier scratch these and buy a Holley. I would prefer as much stay original as possible. Also the fuel tank has been removed. So in order to fire up this motor I should put that back in and redo my lines or should I wait for some reason? My goal right now is to get the thing moved from under the car port to the basement garage until I get the big garage built in the back. (I’m wrestling with the city about permits currently). My other thought was to just put the carb on, get the ignition hooked up and try to start the car forcing current to the starter. I do know a major priority is to get the steering column back in and brakes working because it really ain’t moving if I have no way of steering or stopping. 

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I hope you took this project on as an ongoing hobby and not pressured or pressed for time.  That said, get a carburetor kit and rebuild the carburetor and hope the fuel pump still works.  Then confirm the ignition system is in a workable states:  points, condenser, rotor, cap, wires and plugs.  Then try to fire it up 

 

I went though a similar situation with my friends '41 Pontiac Metropolitan with a flat head straight 8.  It was a time consuming process but the car now runs like a top.  We reversed flushed the cooling system, replaced the water pump, had a new core installed in the radiator, replaced the cap, wires, rotor, cap, points, condenser, and plugs.  We rebuilt the carburetor and fuel pump and blew out the fuel lines and cleaned out the fuel tank. 

 

I don't want to overwhelm you.  This will not cost you thousands dollars either.  However it will cost you time.  

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Regarding carburetor, I would be willing to bet the factory carburetor was a Carter brand and the model most likely is a WCD.  Those WCD carburetors can be rebuilt and are pretty reliable.  Carburetors usually have a metal tag attached to the float bowl cover and are attached with a screw and indicate the actual model number of your carburetor.  Rebuild kits are available from California Pontiac Restoration.  

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Welcome to the club. I understand your motor is loose. I would focus on getting it to fire with gas from a bottle like you said. I think that sound of a motor wanting to come back to life is the best motivation to continue on. I also see you have a good helper...   Keep us informed. We all have been right where you are at some point..! John

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Haha. I wouldn’t call him “good”. Took him an hour to pull all 8 plugs and shoot em with oil but he did it!!! But I think I was 12 the first time I pulled a spark plug and it was on a Weed eater. I’ve still got to “get to know the car” haven’t even pulled all the spare parts out yet. John, That fire wall looks good! I’m planning on taking the clay bar to mine once the weather gets good. Thanks for all the input. I’ll get some shots of these carbs when I go up to the shed and get the steering column down to be cleaned and installed. 

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On ‎2‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 8:09 AM, Grizz said:

Someone told me it would be easier scratch these and buy a Holley. I would prefer as much stay original as possible.

 

Virtually any "car guy" friend you have and everyone on the HAMB will tell you that.  They will tell you the only answer to this project is to scrap the whole front of the car and install a Chevy 350 since that is all they know.  They have never seen a straight eight or any other authentic part and cannot be bothered to learn anything about them, they only want to cut and "build" (whether they are capable or not).  If you don't have them you should immediately buy a 1954 Pontiac factory service manual and owners manual, photos below.  You should be able to get both for under $40.  Go to www.pontiacparts.net and get their free catalog, this is a parts house specifically devoted to Pontiacs of the 1950s and earlier with good service and fair prices, they may have the manuals too.  

  

My friend is the technical advisor to the Pontiac club for 1949-52 (the same car) and if you politely introduce yourself at www.50scars@frontier.com with any questions he will help you (he is retired and helpful with advice).  Good luck, Todd C   

 

 

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thank you Todd! I’ll get a manual and talk to your buddy. I have a parts manual and a carter carb manual. All came with the car. I’m with you 100% on keeping it original. The giant 8 flathead was what sealed the deal. I love flat heads. Just love them!!! I was at a car show explaining my interest and love for old flatheads to a biker buddy of mine who was asking. I told him anyone can throw in a 350 and they do, but to have an actual old flathead or original motor is too cool in my book. Later on as this guy is bragging on his car my buddy says “well it’s got that 350 in there and anyone can do that..”:lol: when he looked at me for approval I acted as if he formed that thought on his own and kept walking. I found the box with the carbs only to discover there was another one in pieces. One carb looks ok. The other one looks rough but cleanable. And one more in pieces(3) This is my first time dealing with a carb this old so I need to learn a lot. For example when I was loading all the boxes in the truck I glanced down in the box and saw the carb float. I thought it must be part of the fuel sending unit. That’s the level of ignorance we’re working with here. My plan is to slowly take apart and clean the dirty one, while cleaning and putting together the one in pieces. This way I’ll know what’s good and usable and a can take the best stuff from all three. Does that make sense? Found a lot of pictures from 1979 and 1980 of the body off and frame being restored also found one of the car together! This might be the first car I’ve had where the longer I’ve had it and the deeper I dig the BETTER it gets!!!

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Edited by Grizz (see edit history)

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33 minutes ago, Grizz said:

I have a parts manual and a carter carb manual. All came with the car. I’m with you 100% on keeping it original. The giant 8 flathead was what sealed the deal. I love flat heads. Just love them!!!

I found the box with the carbs only to discover there was another one in pieces. One carb looks ok. The other one looks rough but cleanable. And one more in pieces(3) This is my first time dealing with a carb this old so I need to learn a lot. For example when I was loading all the boxes in the truck I glanced down in the box and saw the carb float. I thought it must be part of the fuel sending unit. That’s the level of ignorance we’re working with here. My plan is to slowly take apart and clean the dirty one, while cleaning and putting together the one in pieces. This way I’ll know what’s good and usable and a can take the best stuff from all three. Does that make sense? Found a lot of pictures from 1979 and 1980 of the body off and frame being restored also found one of the car together! This might be the first car I’ve had where the longer I’ve had it and the deeper I dig the BETTER it gets!!!

 

Well you have the right attitude talking like that, very good.  Flathead Pontiacs were made for over 20 years and are well engineered and serviceable, but odds are local mechanics will not have a clue.  Mechanical parts are available and not that expensive, they are just not available on the shelf at Autozone.  Even 1950s Hydramatic parts are readily available by mail order.  The driving experience is more leisurely than we are used to today but that is part of the charm.  You should take a look at joining POCI (Pontiac Oakland Club Intl at www.poci.org ) and that will give you access to technical advisors like my friend and the Early Times Chapter mentioned by Bloo.  Good luck, Todd C      

 

PS--one other parts tip.  Your friends will assume that lots of Chevy parts must be interchangeable because that is usually the case in the 1960s and later.  Your body shell is partly shared with Chevy and the roof, glass, doors and most related trim and weather stripping are the same.  BUT the frame, floors, suspension & brakes and pretty much everything from the firewall forward is unique to Pontiac so stick with www.pontiacparts.net to deal with people who know.

 

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