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1948 Pontiac Streamliner 8


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For those of you who were watching my ‘33 Buick, I apologize for the hold... med school is a busy time and I’ll have to save work on it for larger breaks (also the carpenter is a hard man to pin down).

 

So, I got a project that I hope to be less time consuming and labor-intensive to get it down the road:

A 1948 Pontiac Streamliner “SilverStreak” with an in-line, flathead 8 cylinder. Buying this car is a STORY all its own but now I have it for the bargain price of *drumroll*....... $1500!

The look of this car, even in the current condition got my heart racing and then I saw the flat straight 8 and that was all it took. 

The worst news first: 1) thought I’d be able to get away with some basic engine cleaning cause it did do the briefest of turnovers (even with a totally nonfunctional carb); however, after removing the head, I have some burnt and bent valves. 2) there’s rust through at the bottom of the trunk lid and in front of pass. back seat. 3) wiring is a mess but it’d run with the current set up. 

The better news: 1) turn the key and press the foot starter, turns over smooth and gave some fire with starter fluid and gas. 2)  upholstery is redone (not a huge fan fashion-wise) and very intact. 3) doesn’t look like a total piece of trash and I like it so, here it is:

 

 

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The carburetor is already professionally rebuilt and the head will be resurfaced and magnafluxed and cleaned with the manifolds this week. I have new manifold and head gaskets and new plug wires. Valves are next to be ordered and although I’ve never replaced one, I'm hoping to convince a friend to help me (if it’s possible to do without pulling the engine). 

To be clear, my intentions with this car are to get it on the road. Period. I happen to find it presentable. Start, turn, stop. That’s all I want and I’ll be thrilled!

 

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Edited by cevensky (see edit history)
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Thanks guys,

The Buick takes up over half of my garage so if I ever want that back, it has to have work done to it!

Here’s a picture of the bad valves. They’re bent? No wonder it didn’t stay running. Things musta gotten pretty hot.

Oh, the trunk floor is also non-existent... but the spare is there and the trunk lid stays up by the proper mechanism!

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Edited by cevensky (see edit history)
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  • 1 month later...

My first day out of school without rain after surviving the semester. I was outside all day and painted my manifolds and thermostat (1st coat), got all my valves out (minus 2, I’ll have to go get my battery back and turnover the engine to ease the process), cleaned up the surface, I also have my head, which looks brand new, and I got most of the build up off of the piston surfaces. Some of my valve guides are burnt to the point of crumbling and some were so tight that I could barely get the valves out. So I’ll have to figure a way to remove the old ones and install new ones with the engine in there...

Next up I’ll buy the valves, seats, and other parts for the head, paint the head, then hopefully slam it all together as fast as possible. I’ve been saving my money all semester to blow it all in this week off... on car parts.

Oh, and the color is Detroit diesel alpine green from duplicolor. It’s a very close match to whats left on the block. I think I’m just painting the head with this and leaving the block in it’s ugly overspray black rather than trying to do another ugly overspray. 

 

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Edited by cevensky (see edit history)
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Thanks! Additionally, if anyone has experience with removing valve guides... please give me some advice. I can’t afford to send it to a machine shop (nor do I have the equipment to remove this massive engine) so removing and installing guides will be done with this engine in the vehicle. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, I went to turn my engine to get the last two valves out but it seems like my engine has seized... I don’t know how. Is it possible that the pistons got locked up in the cylinders that fast? It couldn’t have been two weeks after I loosened the head bolts that this happened. Then, I thought it was an electrical/starter problem but I removed my starter and it’s fine! I need some advice for anyone that’s used some kind of liquid to unfreeze/solve this problem. Is there something I’m over looking? What else could be stuck?

 

next move would be stick it in a shop, which I literally cannot afford with just several hundred dollars to my name! SOS

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Gary- I did try to use the starter but it started to smoke as it met too much resistance and couldn’t turn at all. 

I tried yanking the fan belt, which has good traction on the crank pulley but no dice. I guess the next step is pull the radiator and try the breaker bar. It’s weird. The car sat for a decade and the engine was free as a bird. My luck. 

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I was thinking (hoping?) maybe it had something to do with the transmission but strange as it sounds, this millennial is very familiar with (built a couple) manual transmission/clutch setups and doesn’t know jack about how this hydramatic works... 

 

the starter was the first thing I took off because I’ve had a Bendix drive hang up before. It had strange linkage and I found that you actually push the gears manually forward with the foot lever into the flywheel and they are brought back by a spring... so it wasn’t a Bendix issue!

 

I want to pull it a little but it’s on a slight hill pointed at a street and it’s so big and heavy 😅

Edited by cevensky (see edit history)
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I thought it was an automatic trans. So i would think if you gave it a short pull in low gear it might work. I had a 48 olds. that i push started once by hand and started it in low gear. the car had broke down on me and the battery was bad so i just tried the push by hand and it worked and suprised the he-- out of me.

 

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Ben, that’s correct. It even gave as much fire as it could with trashed valves before I removed the head and manifolds.

When I get back out to the garage I’ll make a list of things that I cannot find mechanical blockage in and post it. Thanks for the ideas, keep ‘em coming!

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Stuck before cleaning back when I thought it was an electrical thing... amazing that it turned so smoothly when I saw how dirty some of these were. I’ve kept some kind of oil on the surfaces I’ve cleaned to prevent rust. Nothing heavy till I figured the pistons might be stuck.

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  • 2 months later...

Ben, I’ve tried to use a pry bar to turn the fly wheel both ways. I tried to get a breaker bar on it to turn it over but in trying to get the harmonic balancer off, I cracked the pulley. That was pretty disheartening and with school, I have such little time that I think more and more about pulling the engine and transmission in the Louisiana heat when summer starts. I’m not sure I trust my 1 ton engine crane with this big ole drivetrain but we’ll see. Marvel in the cylinders may work out in the end but pulling it all may be easier. 

 

The other major issue is money. It’s impossible to have a job in med school so it really compounds my issues. I’m always breaking something and needing new parts. If y’all wonder why this hobby has little interest in younger people, it’s more expensive to live these days, harder to make good money without spending money (on education), and old cars are an expedient way to drain the money you set aside for “nonessentials.” Not giving up, but pulling this engine in my tiny, open garage won’t be a weekend job and definitely won’t be easy or cheap. 

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Coyote- giving up isn’t in my vocabulary, I’m just saying this would go 20x faster if I could make some cash! 

In my spare hours (they’re precious few) on weekends where I’m not studying (also precious few), I’ve been working on a 1928 Model A Tudor, taking care of my 42 jeep, a 43 jeep, a 29 dodge brothers DA deluxe, and maybe some other stuff I can’t rmemeber right now. But spark plugs, gaskets, and shift cranes are relatively cheap and not time consuming to install and a model A distributor can literally be rebuilt in a field (I’ve done it). 

So im not giving up, I’m just waiting for the right opportunity to dive in on this!

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  • 2 months later...

Working on getting the engine and transmission out right now. On the H.A.M.B., I found a super nice man who’s going to give me a straight 8 with hydramatic still attached, for free. I just have to drive to Georgia to pick it up.

Hopefully that one will run well enough for fun while I rebuild the drivetrain I pull out. 

 

If anyone has ever pulled such a large and long engine/transmission out of a similar car and has pointers, please share them!

 

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Edited by cevensky (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Today was for getting the shift linkage off, removing the rest of the bolt-ons I want out of the way for drivetrain removal, and cleaning up my starter. The magneto shop usually gets the pleasure of cleaning and painting my starters, but this old beast still works so well I can’t justify the money for a rebuild right now. 

 

If anyone has experience disconnecting this type of u-joint, I’m all ears! It’s the last thing holding this show up. 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Chugging along: I picked up the free straight 8 from Georgia. Turns out it doesn’t have a hydramatic and I think it might be a 1950 or so, but it spins freely, came with a bunch of bolt-ons that I either didn’t have or didn’t have one as nice, and almost everything can be fitted onto it to suit the setup in my ‘48. 

I tried starting it yesterday and while there was definitely some combustion happening, it didn’t seem to want to start. When I took the manifolds off today I found a bunch of junk in about 3 of the intake ports so maybe that prevented firing rather than bad valves or bad rings. I hope. 

I just cleaned and painted the block today since my plan is to use the hydramatic and bell housing from my original engine on this and I already have my other manifold set and head painted, and carb rebuilt. I painted the bolt ons all gloss black and they’re baking in the sun right now. 

Tomorrow I’ll be doing the valves, hoping the seats aren’t trash and there’s no surprises when the head comes off. 

Then new gaskets, new head goes on, new manifolds on, new carb, and we’ll try it. 

 

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If not for a stuck (now broken) and another now broken valve, I’d have a purring engine on my garage floor... tomorrow I’m going to go talk to a machine shop because I’ve had zero luck trying to save the money. I’m not planning to do a full rebuild on either because I literally can’t, but I can’t handle running into another brick wall with these, so off they go! The newer one is all taped and ready to go, but I hope to give them both when I pull the other and get back one that works. 

The new one has a gouge out of the #8 cylinder wall.... so the block from my stuck 48 will probably have to be used. Which probably means boring. Which probably means new everything. 

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It’s out, what a battle. I had to cut the deck in front of the engine, but it can be welded back in easy. This thing is as heavy as it is long. Now just waiting on someone to take us to the machine shop

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  • 2 weeks later...

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