martinez8

1954 Pontiac Chieftain newbie!

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Hello to everybody! Just bought a 1954 Pontiac Chieftain. Have been looking all over the place to decode the body tag and no real waterproof information after many hours of research on the matter! Just by reading thru the forums looks there are many very knowledgeable fans around on this site! I would greatly appreciate if you could point me to the direction where such an information can be obtained.

Style N 54-2511WD

Body N BF 491

Trim N 71

Paint N5400 that one i know it is black if i am correct

Top ACC

VIN F8ZH2272

Thank you in advance! And good luck to everybody with keeping up with the toys!

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Style: 54 (1954) - 2511W (2-Door Sedan) D (Deluxe)

VIN: F (Framingham, MA Assembly Plant) 8 (8-cylinder Engine) Z (1954) H (Hyrdamatic Transmission) 2272 (Unit Production Number)

I recommend the Pontiac Chieftain Club on Facebook and the Pontiac 1950's Group on Yahoo Groups - there are several people on those sites that have a wealth of information.

Also I recommend joining POCI (Pontiac Oakland Club International, www.poci.org) if you haven't done so. They are working hard to make the club better including improving their Smoke Signals magazine.

Lee

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Thank you Lee for help on decoding the VIN and TAG information!

I will definitely join the Oakland Club! I have a lot to learn about the car for sure!

Mart.

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BTW - congrats on your purchase. The data I provided was from the Standard Catalog of Pontiac by John Gunnell. A lot of information about the Pontiac models from 1926 to 2002 and it is still available.

I own a 1954 Pontiac Star Chief Sedan (also a 1956 Chieftain wagon and 1941 Torpedo coupe). My wife and I enjoy driving our cars - always get compliments, people talk about not seeing these cars on the road anymore.

You don't state where you are located but if you are near Michigan, the Early Times Chapter of POCI is having their annual gathering (Flathead Reunion) after Labor Day in Muskegon. We are relatively new to the Pontiac group but have enjoyed talking to several of the members. 2015 will be our first Reunion.

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trim code 71 = 5471, which is light grey pattern cushions and seat backs with dark grey gabardine bolsters.

charles l. coker

1953 pontiac tech advisor

tech advisor coordinator

poci

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Hi Charles!

Thank you for the explanation of the trim code!

You are at the moment my bible for sure! Your knowledge about the Pontiacs is unbelievable! I have already learned many things by just reading your posts.

Looks like the interior color has been changed, at the moment door panels and seats are in a combination of white and red! Rest of the car is pretty much original with 47000 miles on it! Not so many factory options....less thing to worry about i guess!

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Hi Charles!

I been looking for the 1954 Pontiac Fisher body manual for a week now and no luck! If you have any information which direction to run to get one i would very much appreciate it!

How is your Catalina coming along?

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Hi Charles!

I been looking for the 1954 Pontiac Fisher body manual for a week now and no luck! If you have any information which direction to run to get one i would very much appreciate it!

How is your Catalina coming along?

hi, the catalina still work in progress, is sleeping in the garage until much warmer weather shows up, lol. i have everything printed for 1953 & 1954 pontiacs that i have ever seen in 41 years, i have never seen a fisher body manual for these pontiacs, i have the shop manual, the hydra-matic manual, the master parts catalog, the service craftsman newsletters, moulding & clip book 1954 - 1957, and much more, but no fisher body manual.

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Hello Charles!

Which Fisher body manual can be used which matches most closely to 1954 Chieftain 2 door sedan! The car was in the middle of the restoration 5 years ago and the previous owners run out of money! Before it was returned to owner every thing what was taken off was packed in boxes and thrown in the car! You can very much picture the lego what i am trying to figure out here! Quite sure that with your experience it would not seem as bad, but for me it is like bull looking at the new barn door!

I actually got two cars...one 1954 Chieftain 2 door which i bought and the other one is 1954 Chieftain 8 4 door which previous owners bought as for the parts and gave it to me! Car was driving when they bought it and has most of it intact. Later on i will most likely put the car out for the parts! Just for you to have it in the back of your mind for future reference!

Thank you Charles!

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i don't know if there were fisher body manuals then, i have never seen one that old. i have never seen anyone offer one for sale. i can tell by pictures what part goes where on the car. where are you located ?

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i don't know if there were fisher body manuals then, i have never seen one that old. i have never seen anyone offer one for sale. i can tell by pictures what part goes where on the car. where are you located ? you can look up factoryautomanuals.com , they offer a reprint of the 1949 fisher "A" body manual for olds, pontiacs and chevies, 1953-1954 pontiacs were a slightly enlarged and modified 1949 to 1952 pontiac bodies.

charles l. coker

1953 pontiac tech advisor

tech advisor coordinator

poci

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I live in Newton MA and i have not brought the car home yet from Warwick NY. Rebuilding the carburetor at the moment, most likely need to change all the liquids and remove the gas tank to be cleaned! After will get it on the trailer and haul it home!

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Can i just replace the oil in the engine at the moment or would it be wise to remove the oil pan first and get it cleaned before trying to start it up?

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How long has it been since it was last ran? The safest bet, in my opinion, is to drop the oil pan to inspect and clean BUT at a minimum drain the oil and look at what is in the pan through the plug hole... if there isn't much sludge then you are probably OK just changing the oil for the time being. Also look at condition of oil - it can tell you if there are other issues that you may need to look into.

Edited by lalautze (see edit history)

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There is a special type of Pontiac only filter used on flathead engines 1948 to 1954. Drive the car and get the engine warm, drain the engine oil and refill with Dexron ATF fluid and run the engine at high Idle ( NO LOAD) for 15 minutes, drain oil, remove the pan and Pontiac filter and clean. While the pan is down you can check rod bearings without removing caps to get a general idea how the bottom end is. If you can move a connecting rod back and forth with your two fingers the rod clearance is excessive. If you can move the cap back and forth by tapping lightly, your clearance is probably acceptable. If you cannot move the rod by lightly tapping the cap with a brass hammer the clearance is too tight. You can also measure the rod to crankshaft side clearance with a feeler gauge while the pan is down.

image_20.jpg

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Hello Helfen!

Thank you for your input, it makes a lot of sense as i am the freshman to the old engines! And a good article about the oil system! I made a little research about installing the external oil filter and after weighing all what has been said i got quite valuable lesson that the modern oil filters restrict the flow of the oil and only the high flow areas will get proper lubrication!

Been following many of your posts as well as Charle's and really learning many good lessons off of them!

Thank you very much!

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You're welcome. One thing about newer engines ( post 1955 Pontiac ) and oil filters that come on them. If for any reason there is restriction in the filter, the system is designed to by-pass so that full pressure is always constant.

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Hi lalautze!

As much as i know the engine worked last time around 5-6 years ago! I pulled out the oil stick, oil looked pretty clean! The oil plug trick is definitely a wise on! As far as the car has been sitting for few years whatever information the oil may have is most likely sitting in the sludge in the oil pan! Thinking to make a little hook out of the wire and try to scrape some sludge out thru the plug hole to see if it has some small metal particles or whatever information i can get out of by visual inspection!

Quite cold here in Boston tonight, Michigan must feel like a Siberia at the moment.

Thank you and stay warm!

I was trying to post a picture of the first restoration, somehow it keeps telling me it failed the upload, just wondering what i am doing wrong here! :rolleyes:

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Hi lalautze!

As much as i know the engine worked last time around 5-6 years ago! I pulled out the oil stick, oil looked pretty clean! The oil plug trick is definitely a wise on! As far as the car has been sitting for few years whatever information the oil may have is most likely sitting in the sludge in the oil pan! Thinking to make a little hook out of the wire and try to scrape some sludge out thru the plug hole to see if it has some small metal particles or whatever information i can get out of by visual inspection!

Quite cold here in Boston tonight, Michigan must feel like a Siberia at the moment.

Thank you and stay warm!

I was trying to post a picture of the first restoration, somehow it keeps telling me it failed the upload, just wondering what i am doing wrong here! :rolleyes:

60 degrees here today, 34 tonight and still snow on the ground from last week. New years Eve we really got dumped!

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Hi lalautze!

As much as i know the engine worked last time around 5-6 years ago! I pulled out the oil stick, oil looked pretty clean! The oil plug trick is definitely a wise on! As far as the car has been sitting for few years whatever information the oil may have is most likely sitting in the sludge in the oil pan! Thinking to make a little hook out of the wire and try to scrape some sludge out thru the plug hole to see if it has some small metal particles or whatever information i can get out of by visual inspection!

Quite cold here in Boston tonight, Michigan must feel like a Siberia at the moment.

Thank you and stay warm!

I was trying to post a picture of the first restoration, somehow it keeps telling me it failed the upload, just wondering what i am doing wrong here! :rolleyes:

I used the hook trick to clean out the sludge out of my '54 when I bought it but the car was running (just not driven more than a couple times a year). After doing that and an oil change we haven't noticed any issues. It did need a good tune up though.

Can't help you with posting pics - I haven't tried to do that.

We got 8" of snow last night and high temps of -9 for the next day or two. Not happy but we got off easy in December, just have to make it through the next two months.

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Hi helfen!

This is definitely most wise way to go, i mean to remove the oil pan and clean out whatever doesn't belong there! I will be doing it in next few days in upstate NY, where the car is located at the moment in the garage at the 15 degrees! Driveway has a quite a slope in front of the garage, don't want to take a risk trying to get the car on the trailer without having much of a control over it! Finished carburetor today....oil pan, gas tank, fuel lines.....too many things to list before i can crank it up, drive it to the trailer and get it to Boston

Youhaa....will be cold but a fun few next days!

Thank you for your help!

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Hi there!

Finished carburetor today and will be driving to NY tomorrow, gas tank will be next to come off the car and so on one step at the time until i can hear the hearth of the beauty ticking again!

Quite cold in my neck of the woods, must be brutal around where you are!

Enjoy the winter!

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Hi helfen! I removed the oil pan and tried to move the connecting rods and they were really moving side to side without much of an effort!

So, the question is does that mean i need to rebuild the whole engine or just change the connecting rod bearings?

Thank you!

Mart

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Hi helfen! I removed the oil pan and tried to move the connecting rods and they were really moving side to side without much of an effort!

So, the question is does that mean i need to rebuild the whole engine or just change the connecting rod bearings?

Thank you!

Mart

If you can move the rods back and forth on the journal by hand as mentioned before, I think you are going to have to have a look. Start by removing the loosest a cap and inspecting the bearing and the journal condition, next get some Plastigauge from your local parts supply and install and torque the cap, then remove the cap and check the bearing clearance. This will give you a good indication on what your next step will be.

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