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  1. GM PARTSMAN here, or should I edit my name to RETIRED GM PARTSMAN? 47 years and two weeks of dealership life was enough. How about contacting the Detroit Historical Museum? Here's a link They have a warehouse with rotating display automobiles, the have the Mustang prototype. And as a P.S. they have the body drop assembly line section from the Fleetwood Assembly Plant on display. Good luck! I will drop in here more often......a lot more time available now!
  2. From memory, 1973 was a real milestone in GM, my experience was mainly Chevrolet. Fuel mileage dropped that year, 11-12 mpg in full size Impalas and Caprices on a good day. Paint issues, flaking off and rusting, the steel used in those bodies was poor quality at least until 1975. Lots of warranty claims. Then starting in 1975, the small block camshaft debacle. Let's see, service time. Lube. oil, filter, change camshaft. Enough poor quality, now let's get to screwups on the line. Friend's parents bought a new 1970 Caprice. One fender had a 350 badge, the other a 400 badge. We had a new 77 Camaro that came in from the plant, had vinyl seats EXCEPT for the passenger, it was cloth. At least it color matched, Firethorn red. 77 Monte Carlo built without tilt column, window sticker showed tilt column as option. Wrong door trim panels, meh, no biggy. Now the best one I ever saw was a 72 Vega that was built as a "tag car" for a GM manager. That one got the "Full Monty" treatment. Service repair "hard copies" stack pushed down to flatten them out and it was still an inch thick, three years of service visits. Best part on that one, it was speced out as a two barrel engine, it had a one barrel carburetor on it.
  3. That was the only key cutter we had when I started in GM dealerships in 1970.
  4. padgett 299 AACA Member but all of my cars are licensed & have garage doors. Members 299 15,748 posts LocationOrlando · #44 Posted Tuesday at 08:04 PM · Report post Thought it got the 262 in the Federal group and 350 in Cali. Could be rong, am a Floridian. I was working in a Detroit area Chevrolet dealership parts department at that time. We had a white 75 Monza 2+2 towed in with a pretty severe front end hit. As the owner was a GM executive secretary and the car was extremely hard to get at the time we had to fix it. That was an experience as almost everything took a lot of calling and mentioning the name of the executive to get special handling. That one faired better than one of the last 1975 Caprice convertibles built. We totaled that one out, a dead on front end hit that buckled the frame and pushed the engine back into the cowl panel. I shed no tears when that one got "washed out".
  5. The underdash low coolant light module was a recall, probably late 74 or 75. It added that and a overflow tank. I actually had pretty good luck with my 73. 2bbl 4 speed. Bought it new for $2313.00 and drove it like I stole it. Powershifted that Saginaw and was still on the original clutch when I got rid of it in 76 at about 95k. Original engine, replaced a head gasket at about 50k. I used the old GM E.O.S. P/N 1052367 with each oil change. Recurved the distributor, Mallory ignition components and "accidently" lost the TCS solenoid about the first month I owned it. Only reason I got rid of it was the rear shock mount tore away from the underbody, frame shop wanted $250 to repair it. Was offered $600 on trade in, so bye bye. Also. early production 1975 V8 Monzas were 350 equipped as the 262 scheduled did not pass the 50,000 mile test for valve wear. The 350 was certified, so it was installed. They were nothing to write home about either powerwise, 2bbl equipped.
  6. Regarding your photos, a good trim shop should be able to remove the seat cover and replace the material there including the stitching on the center seat trim panel I'm more concerned that in the photo with your hand it appears the hard plastic side panel is broken and missing the front chrome tip that caps the end of the chrome piping.
  7. I used to work on car show organization, judge and occasionally show my cars but quit all that in the early 2000's. If I want to argue with people I'll run a for sale ad in Craigslist or have a garage sale........ Seriously though, the last two shows I worked at we went to participant judging. Then if anybody had a complaint about not winning a trophy we could say " see your fellow participants". Last judged show I worked was taken over by outside interests. It originally was a community event, 600 average car turnout. Money went to the fund to perpetuate the event. Old name music acts was a big draw. One year we were "gifted" with a large cash (10K) donation by a very large corporation with no strings attached on how to use it. Minority of the board wanted to improve the goodie bags and upgrade the awards. Majority wanted to give cash awards with trophies. We argued that this would change the flavor of the show and not for the better. The event chairperson wanted to "take it up a notch" so they did. Please note that I brought up the fact of "what happens if this corporation does not participate in the future?" and I was told that it was ASSURED that it would be continued. Well the "oohs and ahhs" during awards was expected. Participants were told "wait until next year it'll be bigger and better". Guess what happened the next year? The ASSURED participation was cut off as the company was bought out and the new owners did not see the value in participating. That year was interesting, nothing was said on entry forms about any changes and some participants got downright nasty when they found out there were no checks, just cheezy trophies that year. Not for just that reason but that was the last year that I worked on the committee. The organizers ran the whole thing into the ground. It's pretty bad when that last year I was there they could not even give the workers bottled water like in previous years even though we were on the asphalt thirteen or more hours running the event But the top people had a VIP area for their use.........
  8. The rear of the crankshaft has a pilot hole in the back that faces the transmission. On a manual transmission a ball bearing is used to center the input shaft of the transmission to the crankshaft, pressed into the hole machined into the rear flange. The Dynaflow has a larger diameter center pilot on the front of the torque converter that centers into the crankshaft. At least on the Nailhead V8's the service crankshafts were all machined for the larger pilot hole of the Dynaflow, There was a spacer ring that pressed into the crankshaft which reduced the size of the hole to accept the earlier mentioned pilot bearing. At least on the Dynaflow the difference between the pilot holes was about 1" IIRC. Engineering wise I cannot tell you the reasoning for the larger Dynaflow pilot as I cannot offhand remember any other engine the used different diameters but as the amount of Dynaflow cars soon outnumbered manual transmission Buicks (3% of all Buicks in 1955 were manuals IIRC) it made more economic sense to service one crankshaft and add a sleeve for use of the pilot bearing. On drilling the rear of the crankshaft, if and that is a BIG if you can drill it straight, great. If not centered you will have a transmission that will jump out of third gear on deceleration, poor clutch operation and possible excessive wear on transmission internals.
  9. 81's had a problem with Coolant Temperature Sensor failures, two wire yellow and black wire. It could be showing that the engine is cold all the time, that could cause a over rich condition. Also, those sensors had a propensity to leak coolant between the metal body and the plastic housing. The coolant actually would be drawn up the wire harness and into the ECM. We had a BUNCH of those under warranty back then with coolant leaking from the ECM onto the floor as a small drip. Might be worth looking into and check the wiring for any traces of corrosion. Also check the connections, all ECM sensors work on milivolts, the smallest amount of corrosion can casue havoc with the readings.
  10. Two finds actually. Complete front end overhaul kit for a 67 Pontiac Catalina from Kanter's about 1994. A local salvage yard would call me whenever they got in a 67 big car Pontiac. I popped the trunk cylinder and under a opened soggy bag of dry dog food and a couple sleeping bags with marinating with funk and mildew there it was. I was acquiring all the parts for the front end build and power steering conversion and was about two days away from ordering that same kit from Kanters. All Moog parts except the tie rod ends. Summer of 87 I was starting to collect parts for this car (long term project slowed by moving across country and lost four years of work time on it) and needed the clutch cross shaft and bracket. Of course pre Internet days and no one sold big car parts. Hemmings and Cars and Parts Magazine was about the only hope and that was hopeless. I was a GM dealer parts manager out west at the time, so anytime someone came in from the little settlements I gave them a copy of the parts catalog illustration showing what I needed. One guy said he saw one somewhere in his back lot and thought the parts were still there. Owned a small towing service and bought a part for his tow truck that broke down that day in front of my dealership As he was about 150 miles from my dealership I didn't hold out much hope.that he would find anything, figured he forgot to check or just said he would.and blew it off. About three months later he came in and said "Remember me?" Before I could say anything as I was on the phone he reached into a grocery bag and pulled out the parts I needed. I was stunned to say the least. I then traded a locking gas cap that he wanted for his pickup, cost me all of nine dollars!
  11. '53 Powerglide transmission equipped and all 54's had four 1/4-20 screws holding the valve cover to the head. 53 manual transmissions and earlier had the center bolts. 53 manual transmission were not full pressure lubrication engines, they used dippers for conn rod lubrication. 53 Powerglide and all 54's were full pressure lubrication engines. The casting date on the head, C 9 1, March 9 1951. Guessing here but I think the casting number being a 38XXXXX is not a '41 casting number, those were in the 36XXXXX range IIRC but I could be wrong as I no longer have my 1929-1954 parts catalog to use for guesstimate referencing.
  12. Still kick myself today as in '79 I had a chance to buy my own brand new 9C1 Police Package Nova. I worked at a Chevy dealership that ordered two instead of one. Once the new car sales manager found out that I was looking at it he was all over me like a cheap suit. Only problem was that I could not talk my new bride into trading her non A/C Pinto off for a black four door Nova. I even offered to give her my 77 El Camino that she loved (modified 350, Corvette YJ8 wheels) as she didn't want another car payment.
  13. Subframing my front end and changing the rear suspension on my car was ruled out early on. Back of the frame had previous severe damage that was poorly repaired before I got the car. While the frame was solid and rust free the rear crossmember was badly damaged and backyard repaired and I had some issues with the frame rail being kinked and the body mounts at the rear being "engineered" in place. Because I wold have used leaf springs on the rear I was not real comfortable due to misalignment. In fact when we removed the body there was about an inch height difference corner to corner.
  14. I'm in the process of putting a '55 Buick Special on a "78 LeSabre frame. Had to lengthen the frame and modify front and rear. Body mounting was the least of our worries. Had to build the rear section from behind the rear springs to the back of the body from square steel stock. Front mods were to section the front frame horns. IIRC lengthened about 6" Had to fabricate a mount for the master cylinder. Steering was probably the easiest part, a column from IDIDIT, a coupling, two u-joints and a steering shaft, good to go. Mounted the column to the I.P. with a heavy duty muffler clamp, aligned with the original bolt holes. Engine had to be set back in the frame toward the firewall about 6", fabbed mount plates.
  15. Yes, Chevrolet and the amazing disappearing camshaft lobes. How I would like to forget that fiasco. Lost one of them in my 77 El Camino with 36k on it and two years almost to the date in service. Factory rep did everything to try and avoid paying for it even though I worked in a Chevy store at the time. Best thing was the alleged "abuse" of the car PER OUR DEALERSHIP REP. I ordered a El Camino Classic and within a year had changed the factory steering column for a tilt column, added factory cruise control, added a factory tonneau cover and replaced the crap factory steel belt radials for BFG Radial T/A's along with a set of Corvette YJ8 option aluminum wheels that the 'Vette guys were almost trading their first born child for. I vowed to never buy another Chevrolet product which is true to this day.