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1957 Pontiac


deac
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Posted (edited)

I replaced the plugs yesterday.  The old plugs were sooty but dry, no wet oil build up.  If you get beyond the soot the plugs were pretty good.  Sooty plugs are often caused by a rich condition. I guess is the former owner did not know how to get a balanced air/fuel mix on of a Rochester 2bbl car and drove it in that condition. Better he drove in the too rich condition rather in the too lean condition!

 

I wasn't able to complete the swap as I ran out of time. But I did manage pull the right & left valve covers and the cylinder heads looked good so were the inside of the valve covers didn't have any greasy build up on them.

Edited by deac (see edit history)
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On 3/28/2022 at 6:56 AM, deac said:

Here's are the manifold and valve cover

PXL_20220326_145319302.jpg

I think you need to change the color of your engine. The Pontiac 1955-57 (Except Bonneville Fuel injection) is presented below;

1957 Pontiac Safari Station Wagon | S30 | Branson 2009

 

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Thanks for your input. I was aware of that deep green being the factory color in'57. two thing factored into my decision; first, I don't have any intention of pulling the complete engine for repaint of the block. Second the block is painted a lighter shade of paint then what I applied.  So I was thinking the color difference wouldn't be too stark between the block/heads and the manifold/valve covers.

 

I pulled the radiator and sent it out to a shop because when I pulled the upper radiator hose off a bunch of rubber chunks were present in the radiator neck.  When picked it up the radiator shop told me that a good part of my radiator was plugged up. So it looks like I will have rebuilt the cooling system when I'm done.

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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

My 57 is coming along. I have accumulated all the hard to find parts. The chrome bumper end caps, front seat end trims, throttle linkage, the Carter AFB carburetor and the corresponding manifold.  I have completed the cooling system rebuild.  I sent out the clicking and inaccurate speedometer for repairs and when it comes back I will replace all the instrument lights and under the dash including the speedometer.  A lot time and money spent on this car. Looking forward to driving a bitchin 57!

 

I want to comment that refers to a post made much earlier in this thread about the manifold purchase.  As I may have mentioned earlier I bought the manifold and the valve covers from a wrecking yard in Arizona called Desert Valley Auto Parts. These guys know you need parts for your car and charge ridiculous prices for them. Needless I don't recommend these thieves. But I do give them credit for having these older cars.  If you do business with them know what you want and have an idea what the average price is on ebay and other sites otherwise they'll cause you pain in your wallet.

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

I found the the arm of the neutral safety switch had broke off from the switch itself. So to fix that issue, the former owner decided it was good idea to bypass the switch and twist the wires together and not use solder, shrink wrap or electrical tape. I replaced that switch and properly connected the arm. I will wait until after the engine is running to make the electrical connection and adjustment until after the engine is running  Old cars.... expect the unexpected!!!  I got the speedometer back from Gail's Speedometer and it looks great. They said the it was a mess inside. They rebuilt the odometer and the speed cylinder as well as repaired the magnet shaft and hairspring.  I will reinstall it this weekend. Anyone who needs speedometer and gauge repair I would recommend Gail's @ (949) 646-9120. 

 

I found that the manifold mounted throttle linkage and bracket were missing.  Desert Valley in Arizona said they had what I needed and the total was $300 for those parts. It was then that I realized DVAP is a ripoff. It took a bit of patience but I finally found those parts for a total of $75.00. I installed them and everything fit like a glove. I am going to know a whole lot about the 57 Pontiacs when I get done with this car. 

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On 5/15/2022 at 12:05 AM, deac said:

My 57 is coming along. I have accumulated all the hard to find parts. The chrome bumper end caps, front seat end trims, throttle linkage, the Carter AFB carburetor and the associates manifold.  I have completed the cooling system rebuild.  I sent out the clicking and inaccurate speedometer for repairs and when it comes back I will replace all the instrument lights and under the dash including the speedometer.  A lot time and money spent on this car. Looking forward to driving a bitchin 57!

 

I want to comment that refers to a post made much earlier in this thread about the manifold purchase.  As I may have mentioned earlier I bought the manifold and the valve covers from a wrecking yard in Arizona called Desert Valley Auto Parts. These know you need parts for your car and charge ridiculous prices for them. Needless I don't recommend these thieves. But I do give them credit for having these older cars.  If you do business with them know what you want and have an idea what the average price is Freebay and other sites otherwise they'll cause you pain in your wallet.

Just curious, you said you rebuilt the cooling system. My question is; where did you get the water distribution tubes? and were they copper or stainless?

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17 hours ago, Pfeil said:

Just curious, you said you rebuilt the cooling system. My question is; where did you get the water distribution tubes? and were they copper or stainless?

I believe you are referring to the pipes that go down the frame from the firewall to the under seat heater.  Those tubes are almost impossible to find because they rotted out over the years. I guess if I was a real purest I could have gone to a plumbing supply store and bought metal pipes and put them in.  But instead I used 'green stripe' heater hose by Gates and secured to to the inner side of the frame just like the pipes were.  These pipes are not seen so I elected not to go through the trouble a fabricating them. Now there are 2 metal pipes on the left side of the engine compartment.  I had the pipe coming off the defroster core and used it. There is one more that goes below the battery tray which I have about half the length of that pipe. I'm sure I won't find that one either so I will slightly modify the one I have and use it too.  So it will look good but it won't be a direct factory match. When the car is drivable I will buy a run of pipe and have a shop bend it so it conforms to the original factory look. But for now I'm okay with the setup the way it is.  Besides the car is apart right now and I want to get it back together and get it running to confirm to intake manifold/carburetor swap and the cooling system repairs.

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2 hours ago, deac said:

I believe you are referring to the pipes that go down the frame from the firewall to the under seat heater.  Those tubes are almost impossible to find because they rotted out over the years. I guess if I was a real purest I could have gone to a plumbing supply store and bought metal pipes and put them in.  But instead I used 'green stripe' heater hose by Gates and secured to to the inner side of the frame just like the pipes were.  These pipes are not seen so I elected not to go through the trouble a fabricating them. Now there are 2 metal pipes on the left side of the engine compartment.  I had the pipe coming off the defroster core and used it. There is one more that goes below the battery tray which I have about half the length of that pipe. I'm sure I won't find that one either so I will slightly modify the one I have and use it too.  So it will look good but it won't be a direct factory match. When the car is drivable I will buy a run of pipe and have a shop bend it so it conforms to the original factory look. But for now I'm okay with the setup the way it is.  Besides the car is apart right now and I want to get it back together and get it running to confirm to intake manifold/carburetor swap and the cooling system repairs.

No, the water distribution pipes are in the cylinder head. Pontiac engines from 1933-1954 (Flathead six and eight) and V-8 from 1955-1959 have water distribution tubes. The flathead engines have the tube in the block and the OHV V-8's have one in each cylinder head.

The one below I have shown is for the V-8;

 image.jpeg.5b91e93d142940c009db484fc6ee2db6.jpeg

Those tubes direct the coolant right to the place in the head where on the opposite side of the water jacket is the exhaust valves are. This ensures the exhaust valve seats are cooled. The system is called reverse flow cooling. Cooled water from the water pump is first pumped to these tubes first before being recirculated to the block. They don't last forever and must be checked. In the time we had our 59 Pontiac (1959-1969) we replaced the tubes twice.

 reverseCoolingDiagram.jpg56EngineFront.jpg

Looking at this cutaway below, look at the water-jacket and how it's shape is pointed to the exhaust valve. The tube can also be seen in the water jacket and the holes in it are pointed towards the exhaust seat.

 image.jpeg.908aabb26782fe7e7a511e27ea2642ea.jpeg

Edited by Pfeil (see edit history)
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Oh those! No I did not replace them. I had inspected that tube in my 40 straight 8 but it didn't need replacing. This engine looks pretty clean and it runs strong so I left them alone. I did replace those 2 short hoses going from the water pump to the heads. I am pretty sure CPR will have new ones if I find that need them. This weekend I may just pull them out and double check them... Thanks for the heads up!

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7 hours ago, deac said:

Oh those! No I did not replace them. I had inspected that tube in my 40 straight 8 but it didn't need replacing. This engine looks pretty clean and it runs strong so I left them alone. I did replace those 2 short hoses going from the water pump to the heads. I am pretty sure CPR will have new ones if I find that need them. This weekend I may just pull them out and double check them... Thanks for the heads up!

The only way to inspect them is to pull them out-or if you have a bore scope you can look through the length of the tubes. 

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This past memorial day weekend I was able to install instrument cluster, mount the circular gauges and re-connect everything. The fittings for old copper oil line feeding the oil pressure gauge had seen better days so I replaced the line and fittings. It's kind of a mess of wiring underneath the dash but to Pontiacs credit the wire looms in these cars used a lot of plugs so it's not too bad.  I was able to replace the incorrect fuel pump with the proper pump for this car. The other little project was replacing the neutral safety switch. The switch is in and the arm is connected but I'll wait to make the electrical connects and adjust it until after the engine running.

 

To think that this whole started needing a fuel pump and the tri-power to a 4bbl carb conversion was going straight forward and a few days has actually taken over a month and more; but that's old cars!  Good news is that I think I finally got a pretty good grip my '57 Pontiac. This thing should drive much better after I'm done!

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A new project was uncovered on my '57. I believe the reverse lights on  the Chieftains were an option. I have in the recent past replaced the reverse light lenses and noticed that the light bulbs were there. So with that finding and I thought that the car did indeed have reverse lights.  However when I replaced the neutral safety switch noticed the wiring for the reverse lights were missing! So I removed the right rear reverse lens and found the bulb would push into the socket but wouldn't turn nor pop back to normal operating position. Then I tried the parking/brake light bulb found and that to be completely frozen. So I buttoned it back up and it goes on the list of "to-do's".  So just when I thought I had uncovered 99 percent of the issues that 1 percent got me!

 

I have come realize that on this car take nothing at face value. If something this looks in good order I must dig further inspect it. Instead of the phase the Reagan said "trust but verify" on this car it's "don't trust but verify".

 

Old cars, expect the unexpected!!

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

A friend was able to help bending the fuel tube. He had done the tube in my 40 Pontiac and once again he proved he's a master at it. It may not be factory correct but I know it is done right! At the same time we noticed the part of the fuel line going from the left fender well  leading into the engine compartment was routed through the suspension and the last 6 inches going to the fuel pump was done in rubber hose which was dried and brittle. He re-routed the line so it will not interfere with the suspension and replaced the hose. All the inverted flare fittings associated with the fuel were replaced (no pipe tape)!

 

Then I was able to get the radiator and fan assembled.

 

 

PXL_20220620_004322530.jpg

PXL_20220620_004704612.jpg

Edited by deac (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

I was also able to pull off the left & right side body colored painted headlight pieces to see if the proper gaskets are in the headlight assembly which the are none! But I was able to install the rubber gasket between the body pieces. I looked at pictures online and there's a lot of 57's that don't have these gaskets and few do. Then I went to my parts and found there is a part number for that gasket. I think 2 painted body parts bolted together will chip eventually. 

 

 

PXL_20220620_004217714.jpg

PXL_20220620_004225939.jpg

Edited by deac (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/7/2022 at 12:35 AM, deac said:

 

I have come realize that on this car take nothing at face value. If something this looks in good order I must dig further inspect it. Instead of the phase the Reagan said "trust but verify" on this car it's "don't trust but verify".

 

Old cars, expect the unexpected!!

Funny about that. Unless a car is an unmolested survivor, then the POs have got a lot to answer for.  Don’t expect anything to be correct, then you are never disappointed. You are right, just keep digging and correct it as you go. At least you know it will be right. Great posts and excellent pictures on a very pretty car. I started my car hobby with a ‘35 Silver Streak then a ‘40 Silver Arrow, so have an affinity with the Big Chief.

Rodney 😀😀😀😀😀😀

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Posted (edited)

Well I pressure tested the coolant system for leaks and found and fixed two. Then I replaced the battery cables and connected those cables to the battery and cranked the old girl; blamo, it started! I found the headlights, taillights and 3 of the 4 gauges work. The most common gauge to fail is the fuel gauge and that's the one the doesn't work.  On my 40 Torpedo I had the same problem and I sent out the sending unit to John Wolfe and it came back perfectly restored so I think will use those guys again. The timing notches on the crank pulley are not marked so timing the engine is not exact so I am going to have to re-establish TDC on order to time it correctly.  After that I have to do a transmission service and replace an O-ring on the dipstick tube and then I think I will be able to road test it. Still more projects to do on this car.

Edited by deac (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, deac said:

Well I pressure tested the coolant system for leaks and found and fixed two. Then I replaced the battery cables and connected those cables to the battery and cranked the old girl; blamo, it started! I found the headlights, taillights and 3 of the 4 gauges work. The most common gauge to fail is the fuel gauge and that's the one the doesn't work.  On my 40 Torpedo I had the same problem and I sent out the sending unit to John Wolfe and it came back perfectly restored so I think will use those guys again. The timing notches on the crank pulley are not marked so timing the engine is not exact so I am going to have to re-establish TDC on order to time it correctly.  After that I have to do a transmission service and replace an O-ring on the dipstick tube and the I think then I will be able to road test test it. Still more projects to do on this car.

 

On 5/18/2022 at 5:57 AM, Gary W said:

Here's my step-by-step from my '37 Buick.  maybe it'll help you with the steps involved:

 

 

Deac

There are some simple tests you can make while still in the car about checking if the sender unit or dash gauge is faulty. They are documented extremely well on the above Buick Prewar site for a ‘37 Buick (Gary and his Restoration has begun). There are other posts on the same subject on that site that are worth looking at as how to calibrate the gauge to be accurate.

 

Simply removing the wire on the tank sender should see the gauge read and grounding it will see it move either to FULL or EMPTY, proving that the dash gauge is good. Other tests can be made once the sender is removed.

 

Often faulty sender units can be cured by simply adding an extra ground wire to the unit.

 

Well worth having a look before you spend the money

Just my two bobs worth

Rodney 😀😀😀😀😀😀😀

Edited by rodneybeauchamp
Spellcheck 🤔🤔🤔🤔 (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

I have to re-wire the car and have already ordered a wire loom/kit from Rhode Island Wiring.  At that point I will troubleshoot the fuel gauge but I am appreciative of your troubleshooting method. I hope it's just a ground but this car has been a challenge but I will ultimately persevere!!!

 

 

Edited by deac (see edit history)
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  • 3 weeks later...
On 7/4/2022 at 11:28 AM, deac said:

The most common gauge to fail is the fuel gauge and that's the one the doesn't work. 

When I first got my car the gas gauge read full. OP said I'm getting a full tank. The fuel tank needed repairs so I pulled the sending unit.....couldn't move the darn thing! Picked up a new one from CPR complete with the sock on the end. 

 

IMG_6625.JPG

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On 3/28/2022 at 8:56 AM, deac said:

Here's are the manifold and valve cover

PXL_20220326_145319302.jpg

I'm using the same intake manifold with a rebuilt rochester 4gc carburetor to upgrade my 59 389 two barrel high compression engine, going into my 1953 Pontiac Chieftain Custom Catalina

 

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I was pretty sure my brakes were okay and I wouldn't have mess with them. Well I would say I didn't look at one thing and that thing leaped out and grabbed me. I was under the car and noticed that the master cylinder looked like it was eight days older than dirt. That made me look harder so I pulled the boot back and sure enough there was brake fluid in there. I found a master cylinder at a decent price at Ames Performance. They don't have a lot of stuff for 57's as they're more into the 60's and 70's Pontiacs but I did order the brake master. I also replaced the old vacuum wiper motor with an electric unit. I routed the wire through the firewall and neatly under the dash. I won't connect the power wire until I rewire the car. The taillight bulbs were hard to remove from their sockets in the right and left taillight assemblies so out the assemblies came. I was able dislodge the light bulb, clean out the sockets, replace the bulbs and mount the assemblies back to the car and now the lights do work including the license plate lights!

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Posted (edited)
On 7/4/2022 at 3:26 PM, rodneybeauchamp said:

Deac

There are some simple tests you can make while still in the car about checking if the sender unit or dash gauge is faulty. They are documented extremely well on the above Buick Prewar site for a ‘37 Buick (Gary and his Restoration has begun). There are other posts on the same subject on that site that are worth looking at as how to calibrate the gauge to be accurate.

 

Simply removing the wire on the tank sender should see the gauge read and grounding it will see it move either to FULL or EMPTY, proving that the dash gauge is good. Other tests can be made once the sender is removed.

 

Often faulty sender units can be cured by simply adding an extra ground wire to the unit.

 

Well worth having a look before you spend the money

Just my two bobs worth

Thanks to you guys for the help. I only get a day or maybe 2 on the weekend to work on the car. Moreover I drive 45 miles one way to work on it. Yes, its a long day but I love old cars; it's my passion! My priority is the the trans reseal and the brake master cylinder right now. If I get a chance to troubleshoot the gauge before the priorities I will definitely spend time on the fuel gauge.

Edited by deac (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

I did drain the transmission and drop the pan. There was no metal contamination and the screen looked good. I also replaced the O ring on the dipstick tube. Haven't refilled the transmission yet. According to the manual the other seals should not replaced unless you are rebuilding the trans. I do believe the leak was from the dipstick O ring. The output shaft seal was dry and so was the rear shaft housing seal. Fingers crossed!!

 

I changed the master cylinder an proceeded to bleed the brake lines. The first line I went bleed (right rear) wouldn't spit out a drop of fluid. Tried the left rear line and that one bled as did the front 2 lines. I am going to replace the rubber lines in the front and the one near the differential. Also going to replace the steel line that runs alongside the differential connects to the rear cylinders. Then I will pull the front and rear drums off for a complete brake inspection. More work to be done....

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

I the was able pull all of the wheels and brake drums off the car and to my surprise it all looked relatively good. The front shoes still had plenty of life left in them. The rear brake shoes need to be replaced. I am replacing all of the brake hardware; springs, nails etc. The drums are all mismatched and most likely came from a wrecking yard. Definitely better that some other old cars I have owned. 

master cylder.jpg

rear hard brake line 2.jpg

PXL_20220906_013129033.jpg

PXL_20220906_013451763.jpg

PXL_20220906_013608268.jpg

Edited by deac (see edit history)
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