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1953 pontiac chieftain custom catalina restoration


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1 hour ago, Fr. Buick said:

You will enjoy the 56 6-way power seat.  I put one on my '54 Buick.  It was an easy adapation, and with my bad back, a nice feature wit the adjustable tilt.

yes, it has the same bolt pattern where the seat cushion mounts to the 6 way frame, and where the floor mounts are the same - the rear mounts may need a short spacer.

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  • 1 month later...

Well finally got the 1959 Pontiac 389 engine separated from the 1959 strato flight hydra-matic transmission, and got the 389 mounted on the engine stand, with the help of a good friend Jim Vanderwerf from Kentucky. So now I'll run a compression test, start cleaning and derailing the 389, I was able today to look inside the engine to determine if it had dish or flat head pistons, I was happy to see flat head pistons. 

28904.jpeg

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2 hours ago, pontiac1953 said:

Well finally got the 1959 Pontiac 389 engine separated from the 1959 strato flight hydra-matic transmission, and got the 389 mounted on the engine stand, with the help of a good friend Jim Vanderwerf from Kentucky. So now I'll run a compression test, start cleaning and derailing the 389, I was able today to look inside the engine to determine if it had dish or flat head pistons, I was happy to see flat head pistons. 

28904.jpeg

A dream come true. The engine ( well at least a 287 ) that should have been there if Pontiac Division had their way. 

From the factory at least, a HydraMatic equipped 389 would have flat tops. A 10:00 to one compression ratio. The last of the reverse cooled engines sorry to say.

I had one of those short elbow hoses to the head split in my 59 Catalina while drag racing. I had just crossed the finish line at a little over 100mph when it blew. Couldn't see anything and the wipers just made it worse. What a mess.  

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1 hour ago, Pfeil said:

A dream come true. The engine ( well at least a 287 ) that should have been there if Pontiac Division had their way. 

From the factory at least, a HydraMatic equipped 389 would have flat tops. A 10:00 to one compression ratio. The last of the reverse cooled engines sorry to say.

I had one of those short elbow hoses to the head split in my 59 Catalina while drag racing. I had just crossed the finish line at a little over 100mph when it blew. Couldn't see anything and the wipers just made it worse. What a mess.  

 

20200914_123148.jpg

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2 minutes ago, pontiac1953 said:

thank you john

 

Hey Charles, wonder if you could show it as a special interest car or what if car at a POCI event or convention? Let Pontiac fans know how the corporation seemed to always screw with Pontiac's intensions!

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2 minutes ago, Pfeil said:

Hey Charles, wonder if you could show it as a special interest car or what if car at a POCI event or convention? Let Pontiac fans know how the corporation seemed to always screw with Pontiac's intensions!

well with all the re-engineering, it may have to be put in the modified catagory

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  • 2 weeks later...

i pulled the four spark plugs from the left cylinder head to view inside the cylinder to find out what kind of pistons were inside, such as dish pistons, flat top pistons with valve reliefs, or domed pistons. i really didn't except domed pistons since this was a two barrel 389 with strato-flight hydra-matic from a 1959 Catalina station wagon, if i found dish pistons i would changed them to flat top pistons, what i did find using my endoscope attachment for my cell phone, was indeed flat top pistons - but with no valve reliefs, puzzling since all the 389 flat top pistons i've seen had the reliefs. i plan on hooking up a battery and doing a dry and wet compression test, if the readings are good, then i won't need to think about new rings or a valve job.

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i got out to the garage and the 389 engine today, took out all the spark plugs, so i would have an easier time turning the crankshaft over by hand and after finding #1 top dead center, i could tell the timing chain was a little stretch, having some play that i could tell by working the crankshaft in both directions, i have a brand new dual idler gear geardrive for the timing set, no more stretched timing chain in the future. i removed the single action fuel pump, the left cyl head coolant inlet elbow, i did verify that the engine block is a 1959 389 by finding the casting date next to the distributor mounting hole, and A 6 9 is what i found, so it's january 6th 1959, the two cyl heads are like A 16 9 so they're january 16th 1959. when i'm turning the engine over by hand, i can feel one spot that's doesn't want rotate as smoothly as the other 350 degrees, making me think there's one cylinder wall that might have a slight rusting in one spot from the engine sitting for the last couple of years, all the pushrods are straight and as i turn the engine over they're rotating as they open and close all the valves. i have the valley pan off. i tried to remove the harmonic balancer but the big bolt wouldn't break loose, so i went ahead and removed the weight and the pulleys, tomorrow i'll hook up my impact gun and break loose that balancer bolt. 

Edited by pontiac1953 (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, Pfeil said:

Make sure before you do a compression test or just turning the engine over in general to oil prime the engine. You don't want to wipe out the bearings!

this is a used engine, now under no compression stress, having unknown mileage on it but still in very good running condition, i heard the engine run for several minutes before i decided to buy it. there's still good clean oil in the pan. before i'm done with the 389 being on the engine stand, i'm going to drain the oil, drop the pan, inspect the bottom end including checking the bearing clearances with plastic gauge and looking over each bearing for condition before reassembling the bottom end and installing a high performance oil pump with a wilcap pontiac oil pump pick up and screen, the wilcap oil pick up doesn't float on top of the oil like the stock pick up, but stays submerge a little deeper in the motor oil.

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  • 5 months later...
On 10/4/2020 at 10:39 AM, pontiac1953 said:

this is a used engine, now under no compression stress, having unknown mileage on it but still in very good running condition, i heard the engine run for several minutes before i decided to buy it. there's still good clean oil in the pan. before i'm done with the 389 being on the engine stand, i'm going to drain the oil, drop the pan, inspect the bottom end including checking the bearing clearances with plastic gauge and looking over each bearing for condition before reassembling the bottom end and installing a high performance oil pump with a wilcap pontiac oil pump pick up and screen, the wilcap oil pick up doesn't float on top of the oil like the stock pick up, but stays submerge a little deeper in the motor oil.

You know Charles, if I were checking bearings I would find their size and replace them with Moraine 400 bearings instead of the stock Moraine 100's.

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