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Lisa P

1951 Pontiac Chieftain 8 Oil Pressure and First Start

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Hello again!  I have wired the car for first time starting and would like to hear any insight you all may have regarding priming the engine with oil and connecting (plumbing) the oil pressure gauge.  I believe that the oil pressure gauge gets plumbed into one of the oil galleys on the passenger side of the block but am not sure if it should be in front of, or behind the oil pump.  Also, the engine was rebuilt several years ago and has never been started, so should I add zinc to the oil?  Thanks in advance for your insight.

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If no one comes up with a better way, you can generally prime an engine with oil by removing the spark plugs and cranking with the ignition off. The lack of spark plugs makes the engine spin much easier and faster. Crank until you have oil pressure on a mechanical gauge, then keep going just a bit longer.

 

I don't know where Pontiac connected the gauge on your car, but any oil galley with a plug in it should work.

 

You will get a bunch of opinions about zinc. The Pontiac's cam is low-stress compared to later cars. It probably never needed the zinc. On the other hand, It couldn't hurt. If it were me I would probably put some in for the startup.

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Thanks for the reply Bloo.  How long should it take when cranking for oil pressure to build?  I have read about people putting grease or Vaseline in the oil pump to help prime it while others say it isn't necessary.  Any opinions on packing the pump? 

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If you put Vaseline in there it will prime almost immediately. Great idea if you are going to take the pump apart. If not it could take a while... anything from 30 seconds to 3 or 4 minutes.

 

Don't forget to give the starter a break or two if it is taking a long time. Avoid getting it hot.

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Good news!  We have oil pressure around 20 lbs. when cranking, bad news is that I don't have spark.  I have checked the timing and it seems the distributor and rotor are installed correctly.  There is power to the positive side of the coil when the key is on, but cannot seem to find any power in the distributor with the key on.  And I purchased one of the long 6 volt batteries and a new coil and have installed them but the battery doesn't have enough juice to turn the engine over. It reads 6.21 volts with a multimeter.  I don't give up without a fight, so maybe more on this tomorrow.  Thanks again for the help. 

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Hey Lisa, great job finding the AACA forum, an excellent resource.  I am one of John Harvey's Decatur Pontiac friends and he told me of your purchase when we met up last Sunday. 

 

If you go to www.pontiacsafari.com you will find a site full of free information posted by another Pontiac friend of mine.  It focuses on 1955-57 but the manuals go back to the early 1950s.  If you go to the GARAGE section of this site you will find a 1956 Pontiac Master Parts manual that you can download in sections.  There are lots of parts diagrams that will be helpful and being able to look up original part numbers and listings can become very helpful.  Take a look and good luck, Todd C   

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Gary, I do have a new heavy gauge positive cable attached to a nice clean connection, as well as a heavy braided negative cable attached to the block.  I did clean the paint off the block where it is attached.  I also have a "new" 6 volt battery but it had been on a shelf for a while so it is currently on the trickle charger.  The good news today is that with the 12V battery, I was able to get the vehicle to start and run.  I didn't let it run long (maybe 5 seconds) because I am not sure what the proper break in procedure of a rebuilt engine should be.  Between the great advice I have received here, and my mechanic mentor that returns from vacation in a couple more weeks, we might have a smooth running vehicle by summer!  Of course it will be on to the body work then..

 

Todd C, thanks for all of the great information!  I am now a member of the POCI, and hope to be an Early Times Chapter member soon so maybe we will meet someday.  I am grateful for the information that your friend has shared on the web, it will be very useful! 

Edited by Lisa P
Added more information. (see edit history)

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17 hours ago, Lisa P said:

Todd C, thanks for all of the great information!  I am now a member of the POCI, and hope to be an Early Times Chapter member soon so maybe we will meet someday. 

 

Actually I came along to see your shop once with John; you made a big impression on me being so enthusiastic about working on the Franklin and Desoto.  After that a solid old Pontiac should be a piece of cake, keep up the good work

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Thanks!  When I see you again, I'll remember ya'.  I am glad that you enjoyed the visit to my shop.  I hope someday I can get a 4 post lift in order to make life easier for myself and others.  The Pontiac is certainly a joy compared to the cars I'm usually saving!

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I think saving old cars from the salvage yards is a great thing. I love old cars keep up the great work!

 

Chris

 

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Lisa, here is a picture of my 53 in progress. The factory oil hook up is just In front of the fuel pump, behind front motor mount plate. There is a1/8" capillary tube that goes back along the lower edge of the valve covers and turns up and ends right about at your throttle bracket on fire wall. The vacuum line carb to wiper motor ends here also. Hopefully I can post picture for you. I also installed a gauge in the block to monitor pressure without a working dash.. john

IMG_20171026_155358790_HDR.jpg

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John, this is exactly what I needed, thanks!!!  This photo also helps me sort out some other mystery parts and their locations.  When they say a picture is worth a thousand words, it really is true.  It looks like your 53 is coming along beautifully!

Edited by Lisa P
Added more information. (see edit history)

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On 4/2/2018 at 6:42 PM, Lisa P said:

John, this is exactly what I needed, thanks!!!  This photo also helps me sort out some other mystery parts and their locations.  When they say a picture is worth a thousand words, it really is true.  It looks like your 53 is coming along beautifully!

I agree! I saved the picture as a reference. I need all the help I can get

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You guys are fantastic!  Thanks to the advice and the photographs, I have a flathead that runs well, has good oil pressure and even impressed my mechanic mentor (which is nearly impossible to do).  He helped me run it through the proper break in procedure with no problems whatsoever.  The no spark condition seemed to have been caused by that little wire in the distributor grounding against the body.  After moving that wire away from the body of the distributor, the car fired right up!  Thanks again to everyone for your insight and help.

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