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New Project: 54 Pontiac Chieftain, "Viola"

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Skankin' Rat Fink, Jul 6, 2010.

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

    Falcon H
    from Waco Texas

    Awesome! Viola has a genuineness that's really cool.
    Skankin' Rat Fink likes this.
  2. These are the minor improvements I did in winter - spring 2017.
    - Repainted canister oil filter. I removed my spin-on oil filter conversion because it was leaking. I installed the old canister with a new filter, new gasket, and that leaks too. Bah!! Maybe new copper washers will help?
    - Borrowed a UV light and did a dye test to try to account for all my oil leaks. For some reason, my drain plug leaks only when the engine is running. First I will try a new washer on the plug ... after that I may consider installing a drain cock that I don't need to unthread every time.
    - Tracked down and installed a stock fan shroud from a 6-cylinder car. The shroud is long enough that the fan reaches it with a medium sized spacer. I pulled the electric fan out and it cools better than ever.
    - Repainted and reinstalled the oil bath air filter. Really helped the appearance under the hood -- and it's amazing how well the oil bath quiets intake noise.

    canister filter.jpg uv test.jpg 6cyl shroud 2.jpg 6cyl shroud.jpg oil bath filter.jpg
    chop job likes this.
  3. philo426
    Joined: Sep 20, 2007
    Posts: 2,035


    Stratostreak V8 cool is that?And you have no problem driving it in the snow.How cracked is the amber indian hood ornament?
    Skankin' Rat Fink likes this.
  4. It's crazed all over, but it held together. Not missing big chunks like some others. I think it lends a little character.

    This picture is from after a 400-mile trip, when the Chief got a bug in his eye.

    RaginPin3Appl3 and chop job like this.
  5. philo426
    Joined: Sep 20, 2007
    Posts: 2,035


    Yes some are better some worse.Finding a pristine Amber Indian could be difficult.
  6. A couple of 2017 photos. Soon I'll update you on this winter's work -- exciting progress is being made.

    Last edited: Feb 19, 2021
    chop job likes this.
  7. action1.jpg
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2021
    chop job and pontiac like this.
  8. So, I was unhappy with the feel of the Ansen shifter. Very sloppy shifting motion, especially when finding 1st gear. The shifter had a short stick and a long throw so I was reaching under the dash, nearly to the floor, to hit reverse and 2nd. It worked in a pinch to get me driving in 2016, but it wasn't something I wanted to live with long-term.

    I got my hands on a 1938 Buick transmission case, plus a full 1956 Pontiac gear set. Floor shift is king, and nothing is more direct and more responsive than a top-shift transmission case. The stock '56-'57 Pontiac HD 3spd shares its essential design with the Buick, all the way back to 1937. So this 38 case readily accepts the late Pontiac gears, and the case just has to be modified to accept the Pontiac tail housing. I wrote a full tech thread on the transmission build: 1938 Buick transmission + 1956 Pontiac gears, tail housing

    2018-01-28 12.17.26.jpg

    The case turned out to have a visible crack at the rear left, starting at the top. I dropped it off with Motorheadz in Patchogue to have it magna fluxed and nickel welded. Magna flux revealed an additional small crack in the bottom. They patched up both of them nicely.

    2018-01-28 11.48.08.jpg
    2018-01-28 11.49.11.jpg
    2018-01-28 11.50.16.jpg
    2018-02-05 11.35.42.jpg
    2018-02-05 11.21.53.jpg
    2018-02-05 11.23.03.jpg

    Old transmission had to come out to begin work. All I needed to re-use from my existing '57 transmission is the tail housing casting, the speedometer drive gear, and the speedo gear spacer.

    2018-01-21 14.41.48.jpg
    2018-01-21 14.41.54.jpg
    2018-01-27 11.15.00.jpg
    Sixhundred sixteen likes this.
  9. The Buick case was bolted up to determine where to cut the floor. I need a hole big enough to drop the case cover/shifter on from the top. The floor needs to be reshaped some -- I am not taking advantage of the factory bumpout for the bellhousing, since the rear of the engine moved forward in the motor swap. I am planning to have a nice removable trans cover fabricated by a professional when this is done.

    2018-01-28 15.39.18.jpg
    2018-01-28 16.00.51.jpg

    Then I slapped the shifter assembly on top to get a ballpark estimate of where the shifter stick will end up. When you push it all the way forward, it just touches the dash, so it will need a slight bend.

    2018-01-28 16.05.45.jpg
    2018-01-28 16.02.55.jpg

    In between here is where the hardcore transmission work happened.

    2018-02-11 16.50.16.jpg
    Scroll up a bit and check the tech thread to see how I put together this beauty.

    Today I installed the transmission. I dropped on the cover/shifter assembly again, to confirm that with all the gears, shift rails, detent springs and all, the shifter stick still hits the dash. It does. So I popped it back out, heat it, and bent it down 1". Just about perfect now. Just the position of the shifter is a million times better -- and the action of it is awesome. Super easy, no long reach, and a nice positive detent action.

    2018-02-17 12.02.29.jpg
    2018-02-17 12.11.28.jpg
    2018-02-17 12.10.45.jpg
    2018-02-17 12.08.49.jpg

    Then a little paint on the cover/shifter assembly. Tomorrow is final assembly, fill with gear oil, and test drive.

    2018-02-17 16.37.07.jpg
    Sixhundred sixteen likes this.
  10. What. A. Difference.

    Finally, the shifting motion in this car is natural. It feels right. This car has never been more fun to drive. Weather forecast for this week looks nice and dry -- the car came with me to work today, and I'll be ripping around with it every day until it goes into the shop to get the floor done up.

    IMG_20180218_152051.jpg IMG_20180218_152015.jpg IMG_20180219_082500.jpg
    Sixhundred sixteen likes this.
  11. Dropped Viola off yesterday to get this floor mess taken care of. :D She's in good hands at Throttle Jockey Originals.

    IMG_20180221_160603.jpg IMG_20180221_165454.jpg
  12. chop job
    Joined: Feb 16, 2013
    Posts: 587

    chop job
    from Wisconsin

    Love this car.
    Skankin' Rat Fink likes this.
  13. The new floor came out amazing. So much better than I could have done. I requested a removable panel for future work -- so the trans top cover and shifter can be removed from inside the car. TJ definitely delivered.

    IMG_20180227_144125.jpg IMG_20180227_145935.jpg IMG_20180227_145842.jpg IMG_20180227_150044.jpg
  14. coupe33
    Joined: Nov 23, 2004
    Posts: 613


    looks good and tight.
  15. philo426
    Joined: Sep 20, 2007
    Posts: 2,035


    Great idea on having them make it with a removable access plate.Never know when servicing the shifter may be necessary!
    Skankin' Rat Fink likes this.
  16. jsshayes
    Joined: Aug 23, 2014
    Posts: 13

    from California

    Really like the thread. Love the dash on these Pontiacs.
    Skankin' Rat Fink likes this.

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