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New to the forum. I just got a 54 chieftain. From what i can tell everything is there. The frame has been powder coated and suspension has been repaired. (New bushings control arms etc...) the car is full of spare parts including lots of chrome. Along with the car are two truck loads of spare parts including another flathead motor and two transmissions. Not sure if those trans go with the car but i get them anyway. The front clip is off but also comes with the car. I’ll be starting a build thread and asking LOTS of questions. I’m just a young whipper snapper and this is the oldest car I’ve owned. I currently have a 67 Chevy c30 and the next oldest was a 72 mustang i had briefly. Once i get everything sorted out and identified I’m sure I’ll have spare parts as well. I sure hope there are still Pontiac people in here or else I’ll be forced to the h.a.m.b.

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Welcome!

 

This isn't as active as the Buick section,  but there's a few of us in here. My Pontiac is a 1936 Master Six. There a lot of similarity between all of the Pontiac flathead sixes from 1935-1954 and the eights from 1933-1954. You may find a lot of info in old threads here that applies. Also check out:   http://www.earlytimeschapter.org

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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Hey,

Did you get a straight six cylinder or an eight cylinder?  These motors are not the most valuable but perform pretty well for a flat head when they are in good condition.  The manual transmissions are pretty good and were a shared with Buick and possibly other GM divisions.  However those 3spd manuals don't hold up very well behind a hopped up motor.  The Hydromatics are pretty good but are not a performance automatic transmission.  I would read that early times article about the engines.  Yes they were used from the 30's to the 50's but there horse powers gains made through the years.  I would try to get the engine number of the deck of driver side of the engine block near the water pump and see just what year that engine was manufactured to verify that it is either original to your car or that it is the last version (most horsepower) of the flat head.

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Good info. Thanks!!! It’s an 8 with the hydramatic. I’m still cleaning the parts out of it. I discovered to day the front seat in excellent condition after having two rear bumpers and a front along with boxes of chrome and various parts piled on it for years. Also there is a sticker on the window. Pontiac Oakland club. Is this still a thing? Wonder if the previous owner was an actual member. Maybe someone remembers the car? Either way, the sorting and cleaning have begun. My first goals are to hook up the steering and brakes so that i can move it around easily. Next I’ll look into rebuilding one of the two carbs that also came with fresh gaskets and seals and try and get the motor  Going with a spray bottle of gas. I sure could use tips, hints or suggestions on where to start here!

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The Early Times Chapter is an off-chute of the Pontiac Oakland club.  You should consider joining at least the Early Times Chapter as this chapter has a better focus of flat-head Pontiacs.

How many years has that car sat?  Have your got the motor to turn or is it frozen?

 

Chris

 

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Great. I guess i could join both huh? I’m still in the process of going through all the parts that were in and around the car. I haven’t tried the motor yet. There are two!!! One in the car, hooked up and another yet to be picked up from the seller. I haven’t looked at any #’s so i don’t know which came with the car and which was acquired later. The one which is installed has relatively new(compared to the car) coil, wires, cap, button. Along with all the parts i found a stack of pictures from 79’ (i think) showing the complete car. The pictures serve as a guide as they are marked showing wire routing and certain things the original owner wanted to remember when putting back together. (Very cool!) i assume the motor turns. Gawd that would really slow things down...i stay at home with two little ones who have been “helping” organize and sort the two and a half truck loads of parts. It’s hard to focus on anything that requires any attention other than the 2 and 4 year old. The cars and bikes get attention after the wife comes home! I’m hoping to drain the oil, pull plugs, drop some oil in the cylinders, check compression  and see what kind of noises the motor makes when turning with a socket on Sunday. If it turns......i have high expectations. Any advice? Am i overlooking anything? I need all the help i can get!!!

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Edited by Grizz (see edit history)
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I would say put the oil in the cylinders NOW so it will have time to soak before you try to turn it. Oil is ok, but diesel, marvel mystery oil, or transmission fluid is even better. If it is not stuck, it is still much nicer to the engine if there is time to soak before anything moves.

 

The plug holes are not over the cylinders on a flathead, so you kind of need to squirt sideways. Hint: Liquid Wrench is very diesel-like, and comes in a spray can. Be careful not to drop the little red tube in.

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YES!! Good thoughts bloo. I know i have some marvel. Would something in an aerosol be better? I also think I have something called “freeze off” in aerosol I have an oil squirt can for the marvel. When you say side ways do you mean away from the exhaust manifold. Towards the left side(drivers side)? As i stated before this is my first flat head and i intend to keep it. I think the flat heads look so cool.

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No need for aerosol, I just mentioned it because it makes it super easy to do. The spark plug holes are over the valves, the pistons are actually on the drivers side of the car. A "zoom spout" oiler bottle from the hardware store (they are full of mineral oil, which would be fine also)  is another easy way to get oil over there. I only suggested aerosol because it has to go sideways, unlike an overhead valve engine where the spark plug hole is right over the piston, and you can dribble anything in there easily.

 

Here is a Pontiac 8 with the head off (6 is nearly identical):

 

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Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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7 minutes ago, pm5471 said:

I droped the little red tube in mine so now what should i do?

 

 

I dont know. Try to get it out. It least it is soft plastic that wont break anything. If the engine is free, get a bright penlight to shine in the plug hole, try to crank the engine slowly with a wrench to make the piston come up and maybe push an end up where you can see it. Maybe you can grab it with a skinny needle nose ot a mechanical grabber. Worst case, you take the head off.

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I carved out some Time Thursday and while the little girl was napping the boy and I pulled plugs and squirted some marvel mystery AND a shot of kroil into all the cylinders. The plugs actually looked ok ,could probably used a good cleaning. I was watching the boy pull the last of the plugs and was kinda leanings on the fan and it turned. So i can go out there and turn the motor just by spinning the fan by hand.... I feel like it spins a little too freely. The belt is on and the crank spins in time with everything else. Is this normal? 

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Edited by Grizz (see edit history)
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If the plugs are out and nothing is seized up it should turn over pretty easy by turning the fan.  Seems like you have an engine that you can drive with.  How much do you pay your assistant mechanics???:)

Good luck with the rest of your project.

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Well you have an engine that you may be able work with. but you really can't tell what kind of condition it's in.  Since you have a 2nd engine it would be advantageous to try to get the engine in the car running in order to prove it to be a solid motor.  I would think you should make this one of the first things you do.  You would hate yourself if you put that car together and fired it up only to find out that motor has a bad knock.  Check the oil to see if the are any signs of water in it?

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On February 7, 2018 at 5:44 PM, pm5471 said:

I droped the little red tube in mine so now what should i do?

 

 

Hey Pete : are you a welder and have an oxygen tank on hand ? If not , have a friend bring one. Make a nozzle with some small , easily bendable metal tubing. Get a few of those little red plastic tubes and do some flammability tests. After studying the enhanced burning from the oxygen feed , shove some kindling (something like kerosene soaked cardboard - try burning this also with the oxygen.) in after the the plastic tube , feed oxygen slowly until everything is burned up. This should be a whole lot easier than fishing , even more so than yanking the head. A lot more fun , too ! It'll bring out the seven year old in you ! Sound like a plan ?    - Carl 

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9 hours ago, deac said:

Well you have an engine that you may be able work with. but you really can't tell what kind of condition it's in.  Since you have a 2nd engine it would be advantageous to try to get the engine in the car running in order to prove it to be a solid motor.  I would think you should make this one of the first things you do.  You would hate yourself if you put that car together and fired it up only to find out that motor has a bad knock.  Check the oil to see if the are any signs of water in it?

I definitely want to at least get the motor running before putting the front clip back on. I havent picked up the second motor yet but I gave it a quick once over. No plugs and rust pouring out where the exhaust mani. Bolts up. It’s in rough shape. I do need advice on how to go about this. I have 2 original carbs and a bunch of new gaskets. I’m thinking stick The best on on. Someone told me it would be easier scratch these and buy a Holley. I would prefer as much stay original as possible. Also the fuel tank has been removed. So in order to fire up this motor I should put that back in and redo my lines or should I wait for some reason? My goal right now is to get the thing moved from under the car port to the basement garage until I get the big garage built in the back. (I’m wrestling with the city about permits currently). My other thought was to just put the carb on, get the ignition hooked up and try to start the car forcing current to the starter. I do know a major priority is to get the steering column back in and brakes working because it really ain’t moving if I have no way of steering or stopping. 

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I hope you took this project on as an ongoing hobby and not pressured or pressed for time.  That said, get a carburetor kit and rebuild the carburetor and hope the fuel pump still works.  Then confirm the ignition system is in a workable states:  points, condenser, rotor, cap, wires and plugs.  Then try to fire it up 

 

I went though a similar situation with my friends '41 Pontiac Metropolitan with a flat head straight 8.  It was a time consuming process but the car now runs like a top.  We reversed flushed the cooling system, replaced the water pump, had a new core installed in the radiator, replaced the cap, wires, rotor, cap, points, condenser, and plugs.  We rebuilt the carburetor and fuel pump and blew out the fuel lines and cleaned out the fuel tank. 

 

I don't want to overwhelm you.  This will not cost you thousands dollars either.  However it will cost you time.  

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Regarding carburetor, I would be willing to bet the factory carburetor was a Carter brand and the model most likely is a WCD.  Those WCD carburetors can be rebuilt and are pretty reliable.  Carburetors usually have a metal tag attached to the float bowl cover and are attached with a screw and indicate the actual model number of your carburetor.  Rebuild kits are available from California Pontiac Restoration.  

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Welcome to the club. I understand your motor is loose. I would focus on getting it to fire with gas from a bottle like you said. I think that sound of a motor wanting to come back to life is the best motivation to continue on. I also see you have a good helper...   Keep us informed. We all have been right where you are at some point..! John

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Haha. I wouldn’t call him “good”. Took him an hour to pull all 8 plugs and shoot em with oil but he did it!!! But I think I was 12 the first time I pulled a spark plug and it was on a Weed eater. I’ve still got to “get to know the car” haven’t even pulled all the spare parts out yet. John, That fire wall looks good! I’m planning on taking the clay bar to mine once the weather gets good. Thanks for all the input. I’ll get some shots of these carbs when I go up to the shed and get the steering column down to be cleaned and installed. 

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On ‎2‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 8:09 AM, Grizz said:

Someone told me it would be easier scratch these and buy a Holley. I would prefer as much stay original as possible.

 

Virtually any "car guy" friend you have and everyone on the HAMB will tell you that.  They will tell you the only answer to this project is to scrap the whole front of the car and install a Chevy 350 since that is all they know.  They have never seen a straight eight or any other authentic part and cannot be bothered to learn anything about them, they only want to cut and "build" (whether they are capable or not).  If you don't have them you should immediately buy a 1954 Pontiac factory service manual and owners manual, photos below.  You should be able to get both for under $40.  Go to www.pontiacparts.net and get their free catalog, this is a parts house specifically devoted to Pontiacs of the 1950s and earlier with good service and fair prices, they may have the manuals too.  

  

My friend is the technical advisor to the Pontiac club for 1949-52 (the same car) and if you politely introduce yourself at www.50scars@frontier.com with any questions he will help you (he is retired and helpful with advice).  Good luck, Todd C   

 

 

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thank you Todd! I’ll get a manual and talk to your buddy. I have a parts manual and a carter carb manual. All came with the car. I’m with you 100% on keeping it original. The giant 8 flathead was what sealed the deal. I love flat heads. Just love them!!! I was at a car show explaining my interest and love for old flatheads to a biker buddy of mine who was asking. I told him anyone can throw in a 350 and they do, but to have an actual old flathead or original motor is too cool in my book. Later on as this guy is bragging on his car my buddy says “well it’s got that 350 in there and anyone can do that..”:lol: when he looked at me for approval I acted as if he formed that thought on his own and kept walking. I found the box with the carbs only to discover there was another one in pieces. One carb looks ok. The other one looks rough but cleanable. And one more in pieces(3) This is my first time dealing with a carb this old so I need to learn a lot. For example when I was loading all the boxes in the truck I glanced down in the box and saw the carb float. I thought it must be part of the fuel sending unit. That’s the level of ignorance we’re working with here. My plan is to slowly take apart and clean the dirty one, while cleaning and putting together the one in pieces. This way I’ll know what’s good and usable and a can take the best stuff from all three. Does that make sense? Found a lot of pictures from 1979 and 1980 of the body off and frame being restored also found one of the car together! This might be the first car I’ve had where the longer I’ve had it and the deeper I dig the BETTER it gets!!!

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Edited by Grizz (see edit history)
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33 minutes ago, Grizz said:

I have a parts manual and a carter carb manual. All came with the car. I’m with you 100% on keeping it original. The giant 8 flathead was what sealed the deal. I love flat heads. Just love them!!!

I found the box with the carbs only to discover there was another one in pieces. One carb looks ok. The other one looks rough but cleanable. And one more in pieces(3) This is my first time dealing with a carb this old so I need to learn a lot. For example when I was loading all the boxes in the truck I glanced down in the box and saw the carb float. I thought it must be part of the fuel sending unit. That’s the level of ignorance we’re working with here. My plan is to slowly take apart and clean the dirty one, while cleaning and putting together the one in pieces. This way I’ll know what’s good and usable and a can take the best stuff from all three. Does that make sense? Found a lot of pictures from 1979 and 1980 of the body off and frame being restored also found one of the car together! This might be the first car I’ve had where the longer I’ve had it and the deeper I dig the BETTER it gets!!!

 

Well you have the right attitude talking like that, very good.  Flathead Pontiacs were made for over 20 years and are well engineered and serviceable, but odds are local mechanics will not have a clue.  Mechanical parts are available and not that expensive, they are just not available on the shelf at Autozone.  Even 1950s Hydramatic parts are readily available by mail order.  The driving experience is more leisurely than we are used to today but that is part of the charm.  You should take a look at joining POCI (Pontiac Oakland Club Intl at www.poci.org ) and that will give you access to technical advisors like my friend and the Early Times Chapter mentioned by Bloo.  Good luck, Todd C      

 

PS--one other parts tip.  Your friends will assume that lots of Chevy parts must be interchangeable because that is usually the case in the 1960s and later.  Your body shell is partly shared with Chevy and the roof, glass, doors and most related trim and weather stripping are the same.  BUT the frame, floors, suspension & brakes and pretty much everything from the firewall forward is unique to Pontiac so stick with www.pontiacparts.net to deal with people who know.

 

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These Carter WCD carburetors have metering rods and when you are rebuilding them those rods need to be properly adjusted.  Carter put out tools to do this very adjustment.  The tools are still out there but you have look for them.  I stumbled across and bought a complete set of Carter tools which include the metering tools at a swap meet.  You may try ebay or there's a guy who posts here on these AACA forums goes by the name 'carb king' and he could probably set you up the appropriate tools and he's very knowledgeable.  Whey buying a rebuild kit for your carburetor make sure it is compatible with today's ethanol fuels.  Also you should get a gallon can of carburetor cleaner.  It is paint can sized and you dip the carburetor parts in it and it does a nice job.

 

That Carter book/binder you have is nice thing to have.  I am not sure what it encompasses but a good OEM manual by Carter is very helpful.  Originality is king - Keep the faith!

 

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Hey Grizz, you sound a lot like me! I'm 57 and still feel like a whipper snapper here! Only worked on cars in the 70's & 80's. I learn as I go and listen to these veterans. I picked up a '54 StarChief straight 8 last summer and still plugging away with her. Like you, she's staying original. Never thought I'd say this but I actually like the 4 door. The thing I love most of this car is it's simplicity. The guys here are fantastic and CPR can supply you with whatever you need. Some fellows can direct you to used parts guys too. You're gonna find things you've never heard of like me. My left rear drum has reverse threads. My front brake drum dust caps have "static springs" in them. The engine has a cooling "distribution tube." The best was the steering column with no park. These were all strange to me. My gas tank was resealed once and was completely gross. The sending unit was a stick of rust. I couldn't find a new one but the local shop soldered up the holes and resealed it. With a new sending unit inside of course. I got lucky and found a running Pontiac in decent shape. I pick away at it over the winter months as a hobby. Be patient and not overwhelmed. I started with fixing a leak under the timing chain cover and before you know it had the engine bay gutted, then painted it with the original colour engine enamel from Bill Hirsh. Dang looks good. Good luck and enjoy that piece of history!

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I love the white! I been down with rain and caring for my in laws in Georgia. I plan on doing some organizing and cleaning today. There are still some things in the car that need to be sorted out. I’ll probably get to vacuuming the inside out. I went to a swap meet last week and found the clock for the middle dash speaker. I have three speakers and no clock that I know of. The guy lives close by and I got his # if I can’t find it one in the boxes of parts. $40 is a good price right? I have put a hold on cleaning these carbs until after I talk to the “carb king”. I checked out the link. (Thanks) and I like the fact that they don’t answer questions through email only over the phone. All that talk about metering rods makes me want to make sure I’m not over looking anything. Still planning on getting the steering wheel installed and brakes set up first since it will hopefully have to be moved up the hill to the garage which is in the first stages of being built. How cool would it be if I could move it on it’s own by then?? I know, I know. Baby steps. Also talked to the DMV about getting a title for it. The guy sounded like it was no big deal. He said bring pictures of the car and the vin#. Wonder if pics from 1979 are acceptable???

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Thanks....it's actually Biloxi Beige with Winter White roof. Unfortunately not original but pretty close. Wasn't a fan of the engine colour but it grew on me. Up here in Canada any vehicle 20+ years or older now need to be appraised. Found this out 3 years ago when I picked up a sweet '92 GMC conversion van to restore. What a pain rule now. No more $100 sales slips. Damn taxman. Anywho, ya got me thinking about originality and took a pic of this. Found it in the glove box. 64 years later here she sits in my garage.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

ok! It has been raining non stop here for weeks. Haven’t been able to carve out a lot of time but here is where i stand. I have yet to join a club. I have an email and phone # for the president of POCI. I have a membership form for early times that I will mail today. (Promise!) I now have a shop manual. I have gone through the three carburetors and have found one that will work for now. I need to call the carb king to see about the tool to adjust the metering rod. Does anyone know what that looks like?? What else should I ask about while I have them on the horn? I’m going to work on the ignition system next. I have briefly inspected the two caps and buttons and they don’t show any signs of major corrosion. I did notice on the condenser inside one of the caps a bunch of little metal shavings magnetically attached.... is this normal? I think I will need help connecting all the wires, battery, starter, ignition coil, and all the grounds. Cross that bridge this weekend hopefully. I have been cleaning the steering gear and column.id like to get all that in the car pretty soon so I can move it around. Also there is a huge void where a plate bolts up around the column and I’m afraid of critters will be snooping around in my car! I have a question on how this pitman arm fits into this crossmember. I took some shots. It looks like the ball fits into a spot on this cross bar.3100A9C1-B9EA-4FCA-B131-CA1296EF4C7C.thumb.jpeg.bcbcc8ac3d75bfdaff7c825518f87058.jpegand then is tightened by screwing down the endCA844FBF-7282-479F-942E-CB957D665E85.thumb.jpeg.01e491d19df359da7fc702da76ca605f.jpegis this right?! Or am I missing something? Also where the steering gear bolts to the frame? There are 3 bolts. I have two. Are they all the same length? I have also added some before and after shots of the column. Thanks y’all!

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Here is a diagram and a photo.  If you remove the plug from the end of the shaft you will find a giant glob of grease and can pull out two plugs with half round indentations in them to receive the ball socket.  There will be another plug and a spring to put tension on everything.  Clean it all out and reinstall as shown in the diagram, NOTE there is a metal cover and spring on the ball socket to seal it all up, make sure you have that and it covers the hole completely.  Good luck, Todd C

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Great, awesome, spectacular. Thanks!!!! I’ll tell you one thing right off the bat after looking at that picture. I think I’m missing all the covers I believe you mentioned (Part #6.886) the tie rods and idler arm seem pretty loose. are those cover something I can order from my parts catalog? I’m used to having everything handed to me over a counter at O’reilys. I’ll pull this joker off, clean it grease it and get back with you. I also have to dig around these boxes and find the bracket that hangs the steering column under the dash. Any pictures of that and the hardware just so I know what I’m looking for? Thanks again for all the help. We’re just getting started folks!!!

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I've used and saved a few parts diagrams from http://www.pontiacsafari.com/index.html. My advice to do a lot of digging on the internet for what you can. Save it in a folder for reference. Also keep coming here of course. You're lucky you have an O'reillys, I usually stump my local guys here in Canada. Most everything is from California Pontiac Restoration. Another word of advice, if you can't find what you are looking for in their parts book, give them a call. It's happened to me before. They're not the quickest at returning emails if you can't wait but they are pretty quick to ship. Good Luck!

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22 minutes ago, Summershandy said:

I've used and saved a few parts diagrams from http://www.pontiacsafari.com/index.html

(use) California Pontiac Restoration.....if you can't find what you are looking for in their parts book, give them a call. It's happened to me before. They're not the quickest at returning emails if you can't wait but they are pretty quick to ship.

 

See another diagram below, all from the parts manuals posted in the "Garage" section of www.pontiacsafari.com .  This is an invaluable resource kindly posted by a friend of mine in California. 

 

Dealing with parts will require research on your part and the big box stores will be of limited help.  Dealing with the factory parts manual works like this:  note the number of the part in the diagram above, say it is 6.886.  You would then go to section 6 and look up group 6.886 and make sure it is what you are looking for, in this case Cover, Steering Connecting Rod Dust.  Then look up the part number from that section, in this case say 5663589.  The California Pontiac website ( www.pontiacparts.net ) has an "NOS" (new old stock) lookup and it shows they have these covers, although they do not show the associated spring in section 6.888.  This is a lot of boring data but can become immensely useful as you go along, enjoy, Todd C 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I found the lower bracket for this steering column. So I’m ready to install. I need to do this soon because I found the cat that lives outside sleeping in the car! I have a question about the pedal plate. The one I found looks like it was glued down or is that from the old carpet?. What kind of hard ware do I need,and it looks like mine has a spot for a clutch pedal? I’m guessing the side with the paint worn off is the inside? I hope to try and start the motor this weekend. We’ll see what the weather is doing. Thanks for the helpimage.thumb.jpg.bd1ad8c364b94d94fd63cee021f296db.jpgimage.thumb.jpg.1a940f69001fd474f56ca61a6763bb41.jpg

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I took my plate off like 10 months ago and they've been sitting in a bag ever since. I barely remember but I have 2 plates. The bottom one goes on top of the one above. I think they may sandwich between the floorboards. I won't find out until it goes back and that'll be last on my list. My memory ain't what it used to be, hope this helps. 

 

 

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Thank you!!! Looks like I need to do some more digging through all these parts. I’m pretty sure I remember seeing the top plate. I was making sense of the wiring harness yesterday. It was pretty brittle and I can’t tell what the colors are supposed to be but I got the starter, generator, ign. Coil and switch all wired up. Doing this I noticed something I wasn’t prepared for. The 6volt system! What are you running? Should I convert to 12volts or just track down a 6volt battery? 

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