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Projects 56 Pontiac Build Thread

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Falcon H, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. Falcon H
    Joined: Mar 11, 2015
    Posts: 142

    Falcon H
    Member
    from Waco Texas

    Thanks! I'll check it out.
     
  2. Falcon H
    Joined: Mar 11, 2015
    Posts: 142

    Falcon H
    Member
    from Waco Texas

    I was able to get the car to turn over yesterday. I'm really happy that my starter rebuild turned out okay. It's a psychological win, at least (the car makes some car-noises now :cool:).

    The downside is that the ignition is not working. The coil is brand new, so I don't think that's the problem. A tester reveals that the coil is getting power, but the plug wires never get any. I pulled the distributer cap and found a disgusting mess inside. The points look like the need to be put out of their misery. I ordered some points, a rotor, etc., so hopefully I can actually start the car soon.

    .....Fingers crossed for my carburetor rebuild (it's pretty sketchy :eek:)
     
  3. steinauge
    Joined: Feb 28, 2014
    Posts: 1,507

    steinauge
    Member
    from 1960

    If you have the distributor apart be sure to clean and lube the centrifugal advance mechanism.If the inside of the distributor looks as bad as you say I am sure it needs it.Great car!
     
  4. Falcon H
    Joined: Mar 11, 2015
    Posts: 142

    Falcon H
    Member
    from Waco Texas

    Wow, I haven't updated this thread in a while.... I struggled with that Engine for a couple of weeks, and made a new thread about it. I've found that I'll need a rebuild for sure. Here's a link to my post with pictures of the 287's guts (WARNING some may find these images disturbing): My Engine is Cursed.....I need to consult a Wizard.
     
  5. Falcon H
    Joined: Mar 11, 2015
    Posts: 142

    Falcon H
    Member
    from Waco Texas

    I've been neglecting this thread lately, so I have a backlog of updates! Muh bell housing.jpg
    ^Here's my new 57 GMC bell housing! I got a flywheel too!
    New engine.jpg
    ^The 389 from the junkyard is cleaning up nicely. I was planning on a full rebuild, but I got lucky found the cylinders within a few thousandths of the original bore with almost no ring ridge. A ring job and a freshen up should serve me well. I'm going to use my 316 heads and 287 cam, valves, oilpan, and intake to hack together an engine. The heads are being skimmed by a machine shop right now. I'll pull out the water distribution dinguses in the heads and cap the inlets with freezeplugs to convert them from reverse flow. When I bought the engine it was stuck in one cylinder. The bore looks fine (an engine builder I trust looked at it) , but the piston looks like it was hit by a meteorite. If anyone has a stock 389 piston laying around, I'd love to take it off your hands :D .
    trash garbo.jpg
    ^Here's this junk when I found it.
    muh muncie.jpg
    ^I also found A MUNCIE M20 FOR $250.00!!!!!!!! The gears look mint and it came with a Hurst shifter! My build just got elevated a few notches!
     
    wvenfield likes this.
  6. Falcon H
    Joined: Mar 11, 2015
    Posts: 142

    Falcon H
    Member
    from Waco Texas

    I thought I'd better update this, so you know I'm still alive :D.

    It's been a waiting-game the past month or so. When I cleaned the pistons for the 389, I started seeing things that I really didn't like. There was pitting in the aluminum going all the way down to the ring lands and cracks in some of the aluminum pistons :eek:. I decided that buying std. bore pistons would be a waste of time and money, so I broke down and I'm having the block overbored.

    My block has been at the machine shop for about two months and I don't think they've started on anything yet, so that's why I've disappeared lately. I keep telling myself that once I get it back, I'll start really thrashing on it with the parts I've accumulated and get the car on the road soon. I'm starting to get delusional now :D.
     
  7. Falcon H
    Joined: Mar 11, 2015
    Posts: 142

    Falcon H
    Member
    from Waco Texas

    THE ENGINE IS BACK AND FINALLY IN!!!
    ENGINE IN 32.JPG
    The machine shop ended up taking about 8 months to get everything finished, but I got it back around early July. The rest of the delays were caused my me not ordering everything in time (I always seem to do that!).

    Here's a shot of the whole shooting match before it went in the car:
    ENGINE OUT.JPG
    The original manifolds were more JB weld than iron, so I got some tube headers from JEGS ( I think they were for a first gen Firebird). I naively hoped they would just bolt right up, but the driver's side looks like it's going to need some bashing.

    The real nightmare is going to be the clutch pedal assembly! Since the GMC bellhousing is different, I can't replicate the factory one and because the Pontiac is less roomey than the inside of a truck, I don't think I can use the GMC design either. The challenge is that there is very little room under there not taken up by the brake pedal. I think the clutch may have to pivot a few inches forward of it.
     
    wvenfield and 55Deso like this.
  8. Falcon H
    Joined: Mar 11, 2015
    Posts: 142

    Falcon H
    Member
    from Waco Texas

    The past few days haven't felt very productive, but a lot of the little things that prevent it from running are getting done.

    The biggest current nightmare is the rocker arm nuts. I have a complete set from the '55 engine, but I used the '55 heads thinking that they were the same.....it turns out that the stud is a different diameter (5/16"). I can't find anything claiming to be a '55 Pontiac rocker nut, so I ordered some MR-1823s. Fingers crossed!

    I also fooled around with the brakes a bit. My priorities are really out of whack since the car is nowhere near needing them! A few years ago I tried to rebuild the wheel cylinders myself, but I must have dome something wrong, because they seized BAD. I finally broke down and bought some rebuilt ones like I should have in the first place and replaced the rusty steel line with some copper stuff.

    The pedal seems to have good pressure, although my bleeding was less than perfect. I tried doing it myself, which meant I had to pump up some pressure and then scamper to the bleeder screw as quickly as I could.

    My biggest priority right now is the transmission mounts. The Pontiac manual bell housing is real easy to make make mounts for: you just have to make a flat adapter and you can use the automatic ones. Unfortunately, the GMC bellhousing that I have mounts differently. The face that the mounts bolt to is parallel to the frame, unlike the Pontiac one which is perpendicular. I'm butchering together some mounts and using bits of an old tire as the rubber. I'll post some pictures when they're farther along.
     
    wvenfield likes this.
  9. Falcon H
    Joined: Mar 11, 2015
    Posts: 142

    Falcon H
    Member
    from Waco Texas

    The mounts are done now!
    le thing.JPG
    They are a bit booger welded but they seem functional.
     
  10. choptop40
    Joined: Dec 23, 2009
    Posts: 3,699

    choptop40
    Member

    Nice build , enjoying your progress..always dug those injuns...
     
    Falcon H likes this.
  11. brut4s
    Joined: Sep 19, 2011
    Posts: 56

    brut4s
    Member

  12. Falcon H
    Joined: Mar 11, 2015
    Posts: 142

    Falcon H
    Member
    from Waco Texas

    Progress has been embarrassingly slow due to life being pretty busy right now, but I finally took the heads to a machine shop and they put in some screw-in rocker studs. A few weeks ago, I slapped the heads back on, so now I'm back where I was when the rocker stud debacle happened.

    Before I can start it, I still need to get the headers sorted out. I bought some Firebird headers that are pretty close to fitting. The passenger's side is almost perfect, but the driver's side needs a lot of modification to clear the steering box.
     
    Bishop Schulz likes this.
  13. Couple things: 1955 Pontiacs oiled the rockers through the pushrods and through the hollow factory rocker studs. Keep a close eye to make sure you're getting enough oil up through the pushrods to lube your rockers. The big boys on the Pontiac forums say you need the factory hollow studs but I've been running a 57 engine with later heads [only pushrod oiling] and have had no problems.......watch it. It may take up to 10-15 minutes of turning the oil pump with a drill before you get oil to the rockers. I really suggest you do that before firing the motor.
    The other thing is the brake lines you've used. You said they are copper. If they are the auto parts store "nicop" brake lines, great, they are up to the task but if you really did use just copper for brake lines, take 'em off and replace them with steel or nicop lines. The copper isn't strong enough to withstand braking pressures and will fail.
    Glad to see you
    re back at it..
    P.S....if you don't have an old Pontiac distributor to make an oil primer, I can send you mine to use. I only ask you send it back to me when you're finished using it..
     
    loudbang and Unique Rustorations like this.
  14. wvenfield
    Joined: Nov 23, 2006
    Posts: 5,158

    wvenfield
    Member

    You can buy bends fairly cheap.
     
  15. Falcon H
    Joined: Mar 11, 2015
    Posts: 142

    Falcon H
    Member
    from Waco Texas

    At first, I tried drilling oil passages in a set of screw in studs, but I am so inept at machining that I kept breaking bits due to chatter. Eventually, I gave up and had the machine shop install a regular set. Hopefully it won't be any worse than a SBC's oiling, but I'm definitely going to keep a close eye on it.

    Thank you very much for offering to lend me an oil primer! I have several old distributors that I might be able to use.

    I've got some from Speedway. I might also reuse some bends that I cut out.
     
    loudbang and wvenfield like this.
  16. Bishop Schulz
    Joined: Apr 9, 2019
    Posts: 177

    Bishop Schulz
    Member

    I have a 55 Star Chief that i'm going to swap a 389 into at some point. Wanted to ask you about the transmission fitment, isnt this the issue where the flywheel needs to be ground due to flange weights on the crank of the 389?
     
  17. No, this is where you need to grind the edge of your 389 crank flange to fit the Hydramatic fluid coupling tight against the crank. The engine 1/2 of the fluid coupling has a dish to it that will not clear the outside edge of the crank flange, causing a leak and a wobble that can take out the front pump of the trans. If you take the front 1/2 of the coupling and just sit it up against the 389 crank flange you'll see it won't go all the way on. Grind the edge of the crank flange until the coupling fits flat against the crank...easy peasy. I can't remember if there's a gasket between the crank and the coupling but I think there is. Now, bolt up the 30 coupling bolts and go!
     
    Bishop Schulz likes this.
  18. Snowman454007
    Joined: Apr 28, 2016
    Posts: 89

    Snowman454007
    Member
    from Austin, TX

    I was lucky during my build and picked up a set of 1958 Pontiac Exhaust manifolds that were in great shape. I then were able to directly bolt them on to my 6x heads and use the 1956 Pontiac exhaust

    Sent from my SM-N950U using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  19. Falcon H
    Joined: Mar 11, 2015
    Posts: 142

    Falcon H
    Member
    from Waco Texas

    Wow, 6x heads! That's going to be amazing!

    My exhaust was rusted down to nothing, so I'm going to have to start from scratch on that. I might make some temporary header mufflers to get on the road sooner.
     
  20. Bishop Schulz
    Joined: Apr 9, 2019
    Posts: 177

    Bishop Schulz
    Member

    Awesome note thanks! Once i get to that point I will be ready for some grinding.
     

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