NormT93

53 Catalina 8 smoking once it's warm

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HI Guys, I have a 1953 Custom Catalina with 42k original miles on it. it's been in my family since 1979. my Dad was the 2nd owner.

It's been sitting for about 8 years now after my Dad passed away. Last summer I got it running again after replacing the fuel tank, pump and lines.

it seemed to be running fine so I changed the oil (non detergent) and it was running ok.

I have started it a couple times since to let it run but now it starts smoking quite a bit once it is warm.

Looks and smells like oil burning, the smoke is dry, no moisture in it, so it's not burning antifreeze.

I have not had a chance yet to do a compression or leak-down test on it. 

Any suggestions on what to look for or typical problem areas on a motor that's been dormant for a long time.

Thanks in advance for the help.

Norman

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Posted (edited)

It could have some stuck rings. I might try squirting a little liquid wrench or diesel down into the cylinders (they aren't aligned with the spark plug holes in that engine, so squirt over toward the drivers side of the car). Let it sit like that a couple of days. Maybe that will help.

 

How does it run? Could the carb be really rich? Choke not opening all the way or something? It has been my experience that many engines that are running slightly rich will oil smoke (blue), that wouldn't visibly smoke otherwise. Extremely rich will get you black smoke and soot.

 

Maybe it just needs to be driven. Cars that sit a lot really need it to run properly.

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)

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Thanks for the reply Bloo,

I also was wondering about a too rich situation, I'll have to check the carb and the heat riser  to make sure everything is loose and working.

My plan was to simply drive it and see if it improved after checking a few more things (waiting for good weather) and finishing the rebuild on the brakes.

Below are a couple pictures, the car is all original with the exception of the top being repainted back in the 80's.

When I was in my teens my dad bought a late 42 fastback that had been sitting for 30 years, after we got it running it smoked like crazy but improved quite a bit after driving it a while, fingers crossed it will be the same with this car. I really want it on the road this Spring it hasn't been registered since 1999.

53 Pont.JPG

IMG_0706.JPG

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Nice car! Ill bet just driving it will help a lot. Welcome to the forum!

 

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hi norm, very nice 53-2537SD you have there, out of 418,619 1953 pontiacs built from nov. 17, 1952 to nov. 20, 1953, only 17,979 were the chieftain custom catalina, i have owned the same model in the same 5315 color combination of laurel green roof over the milano ivory body since 1973, i was 17 then and i am the second owner of mine. i'm incline to agreed with bloo, about the problem most likely being stuck piston rings in the piston ring grooves. 

 

charles l. coker

1953 pontiac tech advisor

tech advisor coordinator

pontiac oakland club int'l.

53 2537sd with factory ac 002.JPG

santa monica 1973 006.JPG

santa monica 1973 007.JPG

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Thanks for the replies everyone.

I guess I'll pull the plugs and get some oil into the cylinders and let them soak while I wait for the nice weather to return.

Norman

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That is a beauty there Norman! I would take Bloo's suggestion and drive it......drive it a lot! Good Luck!

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Thanks, that's the plan, I want to get it sorted out so I'm comfortable driving it anywhere. Between my Dad and I we had many old cars over the years, but the '53 was always his favorite, it was the one he never wanted to sell which is why I ended up with it. I actually took my MGB off the road for this year so I can focus on the Pontiac. The last time I drove it was in the mid 80's, although my Dad drove it very occasionally until 1999. 

However, with 15" of snow today, Spring is looking a little further away......

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Posted (edited)

'Hey Guys, here's the latest update on the 53 Catalina.

Finely had the time to finish the complete brake overhaul, everything is new, master and wheel cylinders, hard and flex lines, shoes and hardware and had drums turned.

Got everything bled and adjusted per the manual (a very tedious process) but now have excellent brakes, the car stops very well (for 4 wheel drums).

I registered it a couple weeks ago, with a 1953 plate, and for it's first drive in ~ 20 years went to our local cruise night about 8 mile away, it was running a little rough but seemed to improve the more it ran.

As some of you guys suggested,  the smoke has pretty much cleared up the more I drive it as everything begins to loosen up. Was able to solve all the electrical gremlins (horn, turn signals, charging, reverse lights) and get it inspected, so now it's legal. The fellow doing the inspection laughed and said the inspection sticker that was on it was from before he was born!

I've put about 100 miles on it and a few more issues have surfaced, the NOS carb I put on is weeping gas from the upper and lower gaskets, so ordered a rebuild kit for that (anyone know where I can get just the carb gasket set, don't really need the full rebuild kit). One of the rear springs has a broken leaf so it's sagging a bit in the rear, good thing I have a pair of NOS springs (thanks Dad!) so I'll get those installed as well as 4 new shocks and sway bar end links, that should tighten it up a bit.

Still need to figure out why the dash lights aren't working and install the rebuilt radio and some seatbelts.

Does anyone have a suggestion on what  I should use to change the fluid in the Hydromatic trans?

After that, I'll just keep driving it until the next problem reveals itself.

I hope to drive it to Lime Rock Park for the vintage festival Labor Day weekend and to the POCI Northeast get-together in RI next month..... we'll see how that goes.

It'll also be in my nephew's wedding next month (he was very close to my Dad) as well as his 67 400 Firebird convertible.

 

 

Edited by NormT93 (see edit history)

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Nice car ya got there. My 53 is getting closer to being road worthy. Drive em, that's what they were built for.!! John

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On 8/22/2018 at 8:55 AM, NormT93 said:

Still need to figure out why the dash lights aren't working

One time my dash was out and found the fuse under the hood on the firewall had blown. Runs the tail lights too. Hoping it was just old. 

 

On 8/22/2018 at 8:55 AM, NormT93 said:

what  I should use to change the fluid in the Hydromatic trans?

I think I used Dextron III for my Hydra....check around the site first to make sure! Good Luck!

Mark

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