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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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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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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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  • 2 weeks later...

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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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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I pretty much was able to move every single one of them without any force literally back and forth, Plastigauge most likely will give some answers!

I thank you very much for all the input to my questions, learning thru every word from your replays!

Will keep you posted! Drained the oil yesterday and it sure looked like a roof tar! There was quite a bit of sludge in a oil pan and filtering system was half way clogged as well! Had to do all this on my back under the car on the jacks and my nose against the frame! :cool: Got a lot of paperwork from the previous owner, so have to make a little research to find the history about the car to have some knowledge how it was maintained and serviced!

Mart.

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Just persevere, I admire your energy especially when you were talking about lying on your back as it brings back memories. Use large pieces of cardboard to lie down on to insulate yourself from the floor. Keep us posted.

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Removed the oil pan and Holy Molly, whatever it was in there, if i would be close enough to it, most likely it would have bitten me! I had to drag the damn thing out with the force! Seems that engine has been rebuild at one point and whatever fell in oil pan was left there and the pan and filter looked like they have never been cleaned in 60 years. Found one connecting rod bolt and two split valve retainers in the sludge which literally stretched as a chewing gum! Gas tank was cleaned and sealed most likely by previous owner, so no worries just fuel sending unit was about to fall apart! Toke the fuel pump apart and it sits in a solvent now! There was a tag on it with writing CaPac Rebuilt 9630R and on the other hand inside of the pump housing was the number 5623105 the first can also be S....trying to figure out which number to go by here. It is with the glass bowl so, must be correct pump for the 1954 model! Hopefully next week will hear the sound of the "Black Diamond".....had to come up with the proper name to her!

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number 9630 is the GM AC division part number for that fuel pump, 53-54 Pontiac six cylinder, Pontiac's part number was 5592657, most parts rebuilders then would use the AC number with something added.

charles l. coker

1953 Pontiac tech advisor

tech advisor coordinator

poci

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Hi Charles!

So the 9630 was for the 6-cyl...i have the 8 cyl. Did the Pontiac use the same pump on both engines at the time or six cylinder model pump was installed by somebody between me and the factory? And also i have the other Chieftain (as for parts), i removed the garburator, disassembled it and everything matches with Carter WCD except casting number on the throttle body which says 1-1148. (there is some strange differences on the throttle body)I have been thru many pages and catalogs and cannot trace that number for some reasonas to Pontiac at the time!

Your help is greatly appreciated!

PS. I have been reading your posts about your Catalina and taking some serious notes while building mine!

Not a copy cat, just learning from the man with wisdom!

Thank you!

Mart

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  • 1 year later...

Hi Everyone - New to this forum, as I am pursuing a local mystery/legend. The attached photo is an image of a vehicle at the center of a ghost story. It is purportedly the wreckage of an automobile that met its doom when a careless husband failed to take his vehicle out of gear while stepping out to take a photo from a cliff. According to the legend, his wife and child suffered an untimely death when the car proceeded to roll over the edge, and the vehicle has remained at the bottom of the cliff since. There is a detailed ghost story surrounding this artifact, but no one seems to know any facts in the case. 

 

I am following up on multiple leads in this story. But first: can anyone on this forum confirm our suspicion that this is a 1954 Pontiac Chieftain? If it is, where would we locate the VIN? We believe finding the VIN would provide additional leads.

 

Thank you for your help!

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 1.25.33 PM.png

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There is a bright metal VIN tag about 1"x3" inside the drivers door post.  There is also a painted tag on the firewall under the hood about 2" x 3" with body info but that would require getting the hood open.  Post any numbers here and we can help you with them, Todd C 

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