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A few '37 Pontiac 6 questions


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I have a few questions I'd like answered from someone more knowledgeable than me.  I'm working on a '37 Pontiac 6 Touring Sedan, original 16" rims in good condition.  I'm having them powder coated this week anyway.

 

#1   Does anyone use or recommend the use of flaps on the original riveted rims to cover the rivet seats?  I understand the purpose of flaps but wonder if anyone had any problems with the rivet seats and inner tubes?

 

#2   I notice the other day the blades of my fan do not have the same twist.  That seems strange to me.  Is this normal?  I can't fathom anyone doing that to a fan purposely but again I'm learning many things while doing this restoration on grandpa's car so who knows?

 

#3   Why is one post on the brake stop switch taller than the other post?   It never crossed my mind to wonder why, until just the other day realizing I had no idea.  Since they make the effort to construct them that way, there must be a good reason.

 

#4   I need to get to the water pump and fan blade.  Is it possible to remove the hood and nose piece with grille without also removing the front fenders?  Or would it be possible to just remove the radiator and still have enough room to work from above?

 

Thanks guys, in advance, for taking the time to answer!

 

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Kookie1:

 

I am far from an expert and hope to learn if/when some of our more knowledgeable members chime in, but here are my thoughts:

 

#1: No clue ... haven't had the old tires off yet.

 

#2. I think all of the fan blades should have the same angle.  However, I seem to recall that there was a detailed discussion of this very issue on this forum in the last 6 months.  While the car under discussion may not have been a '37, here is the link:

#3.  I think, but this is my guess ... not fact, that the brake pressure switch has two different length electrical posts to minimize the chance that the two terminals don't short out if they rotate.  If one is above the other and one or both rotate, then the only thing that would cause a short (which indicates your brakes are depressed) is that you have actually depressed the brake pedal and increased fluid pressure.  If the two posts were the same length and one or both terminals rotate, suddenly your brake lights are on all the time ...

 

#4.  I have pulled the radiator and replaced it by removing the hood, the two hood "stretcher" bars, the fan, the fan hub, and the water pump.  I didn't remove the hood nose or the fenders.  To make sure that I didn't damage any of the fins, I taped cardboard over the fins.  If you look at it, you will see that the top of the radiator has to move toward the block by about 3 inches to clear the section of the nose piece to which the hood "stretchers" attach.  In other words, it comes up and out at a bit of an angle leaning back towards the block.

Because the radiator is heavy, my arms are weak, and the positioning is a little delicate as the radiator moves up and down, I used a lightweight chain hoist attached to a ceiling joist in my garage so that I could raise/lower with one hand while I controlled the position of the radiator with the other ... and the chain hoist would hold it's position if I let go if I needed to reposition something with two hands, get the bolts started etc.  I also fashioned two threaded supports out of 5/16-24 (at least that is what I think the bolts that hold the radiator to the shell are ...) bolts that I had cut the heads off.  With these two temporary "studs" hand threaded in the radiator shell, I could lower the radiator onto them for support, then push the radiator up against the shell, and start the first two "real" radiator bolts in the upper holes.

 

Oops! I realized that in #4 I answered a question that you didn't ask.  On my '37 6 cylinder, I have removed the fan, the fan hub, the fan belt, and the water pump (in that order) without removing the radiator.  I'm not even sure that the hood has to come off.  As I recall, the fan is held on by two nuts and two bolts.  There isn't much clearance between the radiator and the fan ... but there seems to be enough room to get the fan off without damaging the fins of the radiator.  Then the fan belt sheave comes off the rotor of the water pump, and, finally, the water pump can be unbolted.  and removed.  You may want to remove the two studs from the water pump rotor before you remove the water pump so that you have fewer protrusions to scrape against the fins of your radiator.

 

I hope that offers some help.  I can't send you a picture of the side view of the radiator because I am in a different state than my Pontiac ... and that will likely be true for the next two months.

 

Good luck and stay safe.

 

John

Edited by jdshott
Correcting my posting ... (see edit history)
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1) I have no idea. I'm running tubeless radials on my 36. The rivets don't leak air, so must be really tight. I imagine looseness would cause tube chafing, but then you would have more to worry about than tube chafing. Collecting good condition wheels was the hard part. For what its worth, none of the tires I took off of used wheels I bought had flaps inside. Flaps couldn't hurt I guess but would add weight. Are you in Early Times Chapter? The club president has a well-sorted 1937 Eight that he and his wife have driven cross country multiple times. I know he runs Lester bias-ply tires with tubes in them, and has driven enough to wear out 2 sets in fairly recent years. I never thought to ask him about flaps. PM me if you would like his contact info.

 

2) A fan blade must be perfectly balanced or it will tear itself and the water pump up, often with catastrophic results. I don't know about the 37 blades. If you believe someone has been bending on them, just replace it. There are fans on some cars that have the arms sticking out at uneven clock positions around the hub. It is to reduce fan noise. They are still balanced. I don't think this is what you meant, but throwing it out there just in case.

 

3) Like jdshott, I think it is just to reduce the chance of shorts. The ring terminals will probably be bigger around than the posts. This much I do know, it is just a switch. It makes no difference which wire goes on which post.

 

4) Probably not, because the usual setup in those days for many makes and models had you removing the nose piece, front fenders and radiator as an assembly to do work on the engine, pulling a water tube out for instance. It was supposed to be fairly easy to remove the whole nose. All these years later, with rust etc, it might not be that easy. I have not had to do it to the 1936 yet, but it looks like there are blind bolt heads everywhere, and taking the nosepiece off without the fenders would be a non-starter. It sounds like jdshott has better ideas about how to get the radiator out.

 

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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Thanks Jd for chiming in.  Yes, I think I remember reading that discussion long ago but gave up when they moved into after market fan alternatives.  I'm trying to stay original as much as possible.  I'll go back and read it again, thanks for the link.

 

I'm not aware that the brake light switch has posts that rotate.  All the ones I've seen of this style have anchored posts.  But I suppose it's also possible if the wire's ring terminals loosens, the wires could rotate and do the same thing you were talking about as in shorting out.  I really don't know either.

 

Also I'm pleased to read your experience with removing the radiator as I wondered about that as well contemplating a water pump removal.  You made some good observations to be concerned about when tackling the radiator removal.  When peering down between the radiator and fan, it looks like on my '37 they have changed the fan attachments to four bolts instead of what your '37 has.  According to the serial number, my '37 is from the later part of the year of manufacture.  My guess is they made the change to four bolts later in the year.   Anyway, I'm happy to hear it's possible to make the pump removal without taking the entire front off the car.

 

No need to send pix as I can see what's needed to do, thanks to your experience, but thanks for the offer.

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#1  Well, as usual, I always learn things I didn't know from your posts.  I didn't realize it was possible to run tubeless radials on riveted rims.  I'm guessing it's a better handling ride than on the bias-ply, tubed Lesters I'm installing.  Grandpa lived on a farm surrounded by dirt roads.  Before I turned my rims into the powder coating shop I cleaned the rims of 70 years of mud and dirt.  That was a chore.  As I remember, and I could be wrong here, but I think I remember the rivets in the center well of the rim sat in a recess to be flush or slightly below the well surface.  That may have been done to remove the need for flaps?  With the recess and mating rivet seat, that may also be the reason why your radials don't leak air.  Just a thought.

 

No, I'm not an Early Times Chapter member, though I've gleaned plenty of info off their website pages.  I have talked to the chapter's head in the past concerning other engine parts.  I may have his contact info in my files.   I'll contact you if I can't locate that info.  Thanks.

 

#2  Yes, I've noticed those uneven clock position, fan blades.  Mine is of that type.  But I didn't know the reason for it until now.  I'm learning more every post of yours I read.

 

#4  Oh, that's interesting, I had no idea that in the past they removed the fenders, nose and radiator in one piece.  Now that had to take more than one person to pull off successfully.  Since I work alone, that will not be an option!  Jdshott's approach is looking better all the time.


Thanks for all the info, Bloo!

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I don't make anything off it, but I do belong to ETC and everyone with a 1926-54 should also.  It's a great bunch of people and you get a monthly newsletter with interesting articles and ads as well as a roster listing members and their cars.  People are willing to spend thousands on an old car but are not willing to spend $25/year to belong to ETC, however they use this site and the knowledge ETC offers. The ETC website is under construction right now so if you would like an application, call me 641-648-9086 with your name and address and I will be happy to send you an application.  

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6 hours ago, kookie1 said:

I'm not aware that the brake light switch has posts that rotate.  All the ones I've seen of this style have anchored posts.  But I suppose it's also possible if the wire's ring terminals loosens, the wires could rotate and do the same thing you were talking about as in shorting out.  I really don't know either.

 

 

Yes, I was imprecise.  The two posts on the brake light switch do not rotate.  However, the ring terminals that are attached to the posts CAN rotate if the screws loosen, one or both terminals get bumped, etc.  While most modern ring terminals have blue or red plastic surrounding the portion of the terminal to which the wire is crimped to the ring terminal, I'm not sure that original ring terminal were insulated.  Particularly if that part were not insulated, a short would be quite easy.  But, if one ring terminal is on a long post and one is on a short post, rotation of either ring terminal poses less of a risk of shorting together.

 

Good luck,

 

John

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