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Early Pontiac 389 - I have questions

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by scootermcrad, Dec 1, 2011.

  1. stuart in mn
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
    Posts: 1,972

    stuart in mn

    For your purposes I wouldn't worry much about making any major modifications. Just go with a stock rebuild, and maybe add a four barrel carb and manifold. The 068 cam is worth considering as well, Melling makes them these days and you can get them from Pontiac specialists, here's one source:

    For a serious performance engine, aftermarket rods are a good idea, but for a mainly stock engine the stock rods will be just fine. Talk to your machine shop about whether or not hardened seats are needed; if they're in decent shape now I wouldn't worry about them much.

    The Hydramatic is a good transmission. They're a four speed, and they lock up in top gear, so with the stock rear end ratio that was typically used behind them (in 1960, 3.08 or 2.87 ratios) they'll just loaf going down the highway at speed. There isn't that much benefit to going to all the expense to install a modern overdrive. They do shift kind of 'lazy' so you're not going to chirp the tires going through the gears, but that's okay for daily use.
  2. scootermcrad
    Joined: Sep 20, 2005
    Posts: 12,375


    Forgot to look back at this after the weekend! Thanks guys!

    Rocky, that is some fantastic info. Never even thought about the installed height thing. Good tip!

    Great info!! And thanks for the Melling Cam link!! Just what I needed!!
  3. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    from florida

    Scooter, you've got a winner there. Pontiac V8's were among the best US engines ever built IMO. Tough, powerful, and dependable. I've had a bunch of them in GTO's and Bonnevilles over the years and loved every one. One was a 63 Bonneville convertible that I installed a 421 cam and 64 GTO tripower setup on........the car surprised a lot of 327 Chevies in it's day. :D

    I agree that for what you are planning a stock rebuild it all you need. It will have very good performance and HD parts are really not needed to make them live unless you are racing it on a regular basis. My machinist tells me hardened seats are really not needed unless you plan on putting a whole bunch of miles on a car, as in daily driver, so we don't even go that step on our motors.

    Pontiac did get a little goofy on changing parts interchangeability from year to year. As I recall, 59-60 was the same, 61-64 was another grouping, and 65-up was different yet. Not exactly sure of those groups as it has been 40 years since I played with Ponchos. I did learn you can't put a 60 flywheel on a 63 as they shake loose....learned that one the hard way. :eek:

    Looks like a nice project that will make you a great cruiser.

  4. Mr Haney
    Joined: Jul 17, 2008
    Posts: 1,001

    Mr Haney

    The rubber rods [ factory forged] were used in 389's up until 1962. And as chieftan stated they are weaker than the later "cast" rods have them heat treated and "prepped"

    That is my trick....but then I am a poverty type hotrodder "cheapskate"
  5. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,175

    from Kansas

    Thought you might have a 59 389, as I saw the fitting on the front of the right cylinder head. Guess Pontiac used that for the heater.
    The 59 389's had the reverse cooling system, and used fittings similar to get to the water pump, but the hoses are much bigger.

    The hydramatic you have is the dual coupling type, and frankly is not the best responsive transmission. Now if you have availability of the 55 dual range hydramatic with both bell housings, then the story changes. Much better transmission.

    Heard that Bendstens makes adapters, but not the best of quality. Wilcap seems to be OK. I am in the process of adapting a 55 Pontiac Hydramatic to the common BOP pattern for use with a Buick V6. You may be able to do the reverse of what I am doing and install a BOP compatible overdrive unit such as TH2004R, which has both Chevy and BOP bell patterns.
  6. dimitri89
    Joined: Jul 20, 2014
    Posts: 33


    Sorry to forum jack, but i cant seem to figure out what to do with the pipe that comes from the back top of the block and leads down next to the oil filter. I have the pipe...but nothing to plug it into...I believe it is supposed to go to a cleaner...which I dont seem to have, where is it supposed to go after that? I dont see anywhere for it to go. Please help!!

    Thank you!
  7. hotrodwalt
    Joined: Jul 16, 2001
    Posts: 365


    do you still have this set up ? for sale ?
  8. hotrodwalt
    Joined: Jul 16, 2001
    Posts: 365


    i need the trans
  9. scootermcrad
    Joined: Sep 20, 2005
    Posts: 12,375


    This is a super old thread. No, I don't have this anymore, actually. It, along with the '53 Pontiac it was living in, now belong to a good friend of mine in Austin, TX.
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  10. treb11
    Joined: Jan 21, 2006
    Posts: 3,686


    Try old wolf on here.

    Sent from my SM-G965U using The H.A.M.B. mobile app

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