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'59 Pontiac 389 engine w/early Super Duty heads found

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by marks73turbota, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. marks73turbota
    Joined: Jun 27, 2009
    Posts: 210

    marks73turbota
    Member

    I found a '59 389 motor for sale on Craigslist nearby and it was advertised as having 1961 Super Duty heads. Not quite believing it, I ignored it for a couple of days until my curiosity got the better of me, and I called. He told me it was a '59 engine and he believed it was the 540306 '61 Super Duty heads on it. I went to see it last Saturday and it did have the 540306 heads. I was stunned. I usually never fall into that kind of luck. The block casting was a '59 as well. So I asked if he would take $250 instead of the advertised $350 and he accepted. It came in a '58 Pontiac that he bought to restore and did not want the wrong type/date engine since he had a 370 already to use. I picked it up this last Monday and started the teardown. My good friend Keith Collier (mechanickeith) went along for the ride and stayed most of the day helping me tear it down and take pictures. Thanks to Keith I got a lot of great pics.
    OK. The seller said it was built in the ealy '60's and was raced in this '58 Pontiac with a three speed. So all these thoughts of Super Duty rods, Forged pistons, Super Duty forged crank, four bolt mains etc etc were all flying through my head. The heads proved out to be the 540306 '61 Super Duty. In good as cast condition. We opened the bottom up end and there were the four bolt mains. Now I'm really getting stoked. We start with the first piston and rod assembly removal, Pete McCarthy's book in hand for ID purposes, and the first con rod is a match for the '58-'63 Super Duty good rods. It had a cast piston but that is OK. A quick look at the crank and it is evident that it is a cast unit. I'm still stoked though. Super Duty heads, super duty rods, four bolt strong '59 block, and all is good.
    Then we break for lunch. After lunch Keith happened to pick up and inspect one of the other rod/piston assemblies and we discover that it is a different rod from the first one we removed. Further inspection finds that there was only one good Super Duty rod in the motor. All the rest were likely the original forged Pontiac rods that we call rubber rods, because they were not heat treated enough to make them very strong and they were well known for breakage. Further inspection finds damage to the crank counterweights where they must have ground down damage from a likely rod failure. Then Keith points at the bottom of number 7 cylinder and says one word. "Sleeved". At some point they must have broken number seven rubber rod, sleeved the number seven bore because of the damage, and ground the damage away on the crank also, and used one Super Duty rod to replace the broken one. The bores were .020 over too. But overall I'm very happy with my find. I can still use the block and I will be selling the heads to recoup my costs. And I still have "ONE" Super Duty Rod to brag about, LOL.

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    Thanks for looking in on my find. Mark L
     
  2. partsdawg
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 3,260

    partsdawg
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Minnesota

    Great find.May not be the 'perfect' find but still a good buildable piece.
     
  3. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    Member
    from florida

    Yep, you didn't go wrong at all. It has a lot of usable parts, plus a stick bellhousing. Good score.

    Don
     
  4. MrGasser
    Joined: Oct 24, 2001
    Posts: 1,855

    MrGasser
    Member
    from DETROIT

    ...and Cal Custom (?) valve covers?
     

  5. marks73turbota
    Joined: Jun 27, 2009
    Posts: 210

    marks73turbota
    Member

    Right now I'm building a '60 389 block to 406 size (.090 over) for my current car and added splayed 4 bolt caps to it. This '59 block already has the 4 bolt mains. Plus it is only .020 over. If I go out to the same .090 over like I did on my '60 block, maybe I can remove the sleeve. As long as the damage to that cylinder does not exceed the .090 over bore??? I'll know sometime in the future once I get it in and inspected. Mark L
     
  6. swe64
    Joined: Nov 22, 2010
    Posts: 415

    swe64
    Member

    nice engine is the timing cover changed for fitting the sd heads 59 had diffrent flow.
    on our car what front axel is it now and what bolt pattern?
    ken
    sweden
     

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  7. bryan6902
    Joined: May 5, 2008
    Posts: 1,137

    bryan6902
    Member

    Nice find! I 've been looking, not too hard, for a 59 or 60 389 to build for my 57.
     
  8. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,757

    tommy
    Member Emeritus

    I'm sure you know that they take special 1.65 to 1 rocker arms and a different intake from the 389. I pieced together a 421 SD in 1967. I was stoked until all the special SD parts were needed to make it work. It kept bending push rods until I figured it out. Crane had just come out with roller rockers for the SD. They were only 10 bucks more than the stamped steel factory rockers. The Crane rockers came in on Thursday and I left for California on Friday. What seemed so simple became a PITA quickly. It made cross country just fine getting 10 MPG
     
  9. Whats the price on the sf head's? Ive kept my eye on a 61 ventura that these would be perfect for......717 557 7690

    Sent from my DROID device using the TJJ mobile app
     
  10. Interesting...I bought a stuck '59, 389 enginewith it's 3 speed stick from a buddy out of his 59 ambulance. Can't wait to take delivery to see if it's got some good stuff inside..factory 4 barrel engine, I assume a 303 HP job.
    The $250 you spent is a good price for just the manual tranny stuff that came on your engine. Hard to find these days.
     
  11. marks73turbota
    Joined: Jun 27, 2009
    Posts: 210

    marks73turbota
    Member

    Swe64, I installed a '57 Chevy pick up front beam axle/springs with a Speedway front disc brake conversion. It aso has the 4 3/4 chevy pattern. The engine was running the '60 front cover to convert it to regular cooling, getting away from the reverse cooling of the '59 block.

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    Tommy, the rockers are the old style 1.65 rockers with the push rod hole cutting into the base of the rocker. They had the longer poly lock with a locking nut on the studs.

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    Loc8tor. I'm not sure what I'm going to sell them for. I have to get more ideas of what they are worth. If you want to PM me we can talk further.

    Mark L
     
  12. swe64
    Joined: Nov 22, 2010
    Posts: 415

    swe64
    Member

    ok i am looking for a axle with 5x5 bolt pattern so i can use 8-lugs on my next roadster build all pontiac.
    studs on your heads is secured with a pin is it lower than oil supply for rockers?
     
  13. marks73turbota
    Joined: Jun 27, 2009
    Posts: 210

    marks73turbota
    Member

    Swe64. Putting pins in the rocker stud is something that was done to many heads back in those days. I'm sure that was one of the regular things that they did, only drill deep enough to lock in the stud and not protude into the oil supply. The pic does not show it well but looking at theads, the pins appear to be drilled straight in and on center of the stud. So they must have taken care not to block the oil passage. The lins also have a "nail" head type expansion, much like a finishing nail. That may also set the depth that the pin could go in too. I would talk to Speedway. They may be able to make the disc brake set with a 5X5 pattern.
    Mark L
     
  14. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,757

    tommy
    Member Emeritus

    I just realized that the Pontiac that I built the SD engine for was a 63 Catalina like yours.
     
  15. 40FordGuy
    Joined: Mar 24, 2008
    Posts: 2,907

    40FordGuy
    Member

    Poncho heads.... Be sure to have the intake manifold that goes with the ones you're using.... I tried using a 61 tri power intake on 58 heads,....No go, had to get the 61 heads to make it all work.

    4TTRUK
     
  16. marks73turbota
    Joined: Jun 27, 2009
    Posts: 210

    marks73turbota
    Member

    The engine came with a '58 four barrel intake, and it looks like they ran it that way. The 540306 '61 SD heads are really a bastard head. Very specific intakes. I think some of the early aftermarket intakes may have been made with dual water crossover holes where you put a freeze plug in the one you don't need. But it's been so long since I've seen one that I'm not sure if that is true. Mark L
     
  17. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,757

    tommy
    Member Emeritus

    I had to buy an aftermarket intake. My 63 389 intake would not cover the ports on a genuine SD head. I could order one at the speed shop back then. It could be a big problem today.
     
  18. tjs44
    Joined: Apr 9, 2010
    Posts: 31

    tjs44
    Member

    306 heads oiled through the rockers,also 1.65 ratio.Tom
     
  19. marks73turbota
    Joined: Jun 27, 2009
    Posts: 210

    marks73turbota
    Member

    The rockers that came with the heads are stamped 1.65's with the push rod hole cutting into the base of the rocker. It also has the poly locks but using a second nut instead of the plug to lock them against the top of the stud.

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    In this pic you can also see the oil hole in the second stud.

    Mark L
     
  20. marks73turbota
    Joined: Jun 27, 2009
    Posts: 210

    marks73turbota
    Member

    In this pic you can see the amount of silicone that they used and how it rolled out into the ports. There were no gaskets on the intakes at all.

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    I wonder if it really did seal.

    Mark L
     
  21. bryan6902
    Joined: May 5, 2008
    Posts: 1,137

    bryan6902
    Member

    Silicone is yucky.... Great for some stuff, intakes not really.
     
  22. marks73turbota
    Joined: Jun 27, 2009
    Posts: 210

    marks73turbota
    Member

    After tearing the 389 all down I decided to partially reassemble it to use in my car for a BOP car show this Saturday. My motor is not done yet (close) so I decided to put the SD heads back on the '59 389 block to see if anyone (Pontiac guys) will realize that these are real Super Duty heads. Just curious to see if anyone will notice. I cleaned up the head area that displays the part number 540306 and lightly brushed the tops of the cast numbers with some white paint to help them stand out. This is the engine in the car.

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    You can just make out the numbers on the middle side of the head.
    I also mocked up the bellhousing adaptor made out of an AllPontiac mid motor plate, attached the block plate to it, mounted the Lakewood bell housing, and installed the Dearborn top loader 3 speed before putting it all into the car.

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    Now I can determine right where I need to place the shifter and once it all comes out again I can build my shift mount and cut the hole in the tunnel.

    Mark L
     
  23. tjs44
    Joined: Apr 9, 2010
    Posts: 31

    tjs44
    Member

    Mark,post a pic of the rockers,they might be 69-70 rockers which were WAY dif from the factory 61-63 ones.Tom
     
  24. RC Kid
    Joined: Jul 5, 2012
    Posts: 97

    RC Kid
    Member
    from Alabama

    Great find! And the one super duty rod will make a nice display on the wall.
     
  25. 270ci
    Joined: May 17, 2010
    Posts: 426

    270ci
    Member

    Marks73turbota, just curious where you got your timing cover? Tom
     
  26. marks73turbota
    Joined: Jun 27, 2009
    Posts: 210

    marks73turbota
    Member

    270 it is a Moon fornt cover. I local Ponitac friend had it and sold it to me. It came with a cam cover with no mounting provision for the pump so I called Moon and ordered a cover with the proper bolt pattern that bolts the Hilborn pump on.

    Mark L
     
  27. marks73turbota
    Joined: Jun 27, 2009
    Posts: 210

    marks73turbota
    Member

    Steve, I spent the day getting the rearend all in and the front end back on (seat back inside too) for a show tomorrow. It was nice getting it on the trailer with real steering. Last couple of times I had to kick the front tires to steer it. Kinda embarresing at the car show.
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    Just some shots of the car.
    Mark L
     
  28. swe64
    Joined: Nov 22, 2010
    Posts: 415

    swe64
    Member

    hello mark nice car
    looking at pictures on your trans and looked at numbers at tail shaft is it c4fr7a040a?is there any other nr on trans?i found one in junkjard here and was marked ford galaxie 1964.is yours fully synkronised?do you have pictures on input shaft?
    ken sweden
     

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  29. PontiacRoss
    Joined: Jun 7, 2008
    Posts: 51

    PontiacRoss
    Member

    WoW, if anybody has a pair of those heads they can sell me, I'm looking, Ross
     
  30. OregonPontiac
    Joined: Jul 11, 2012
    Posts: 6

    OregonPontiac
    Member

    there are a set of those same heads on ebay right now for two grand.
     

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