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Tech: Pontiac Engines

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by axle, Nov 22, 2007.

  1. axle
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 3,892

    axle
    Member
    from Drag City

    Hey guys, A while back Ryan asked if i'd get on here and maybe do a tech on something i have knowledge on. I don't consider myself an authority on this but i do come from a long Pontiac background ,have done lots of research,was President of a local chapter of the Pontiac Oakland Club International (POCI) ,and have had the pleasure to rub shoulders with legends like Jim Wangers, Jess Tyree,the Anderson Bros. , Pete McCarthy,and Arnie "The Farmer" Beswick.

    A little background,
    In 1966 My Uncle bought a brand new GTO,In 1967 (When i was 1 year old) my parents went to the dealership and traded in a 59 Bonny rag top for a New GTO. It was equipped with a 400 HO,Th 400,3.55 posi. The second year my oldest uncle went to that same dealership and bought a new 68 GTO equipped with hideaway lights,400 HO,4 speed,3.90 posi rear. So, by January 68 all three brothers were running around northern Virginia in Muscle Pontiacs. I grew up hearing about the stories of them street racing all over the place.
    My dad shutting down a 440 Plymouth GTX,then getting shut down by a 67 Vette 427. My oldest uncle getting a huge ticket while racing a Studebaker Avanti on the Pennsylvania Parkway, my other uncle racing his GTO against a Ford GT Torino next to a Virginia military base, only to have the MP's block the road ,have my uncle arrested,his car towed,and his license taken away for 2 months.
    These are just some of the many stories i grew up listening to, and the reason my dad and i got in to Pontiacs in the early 1980's. By 1984 i had a 66 GTO , dad had a 67 GTO,my mom had a 64 GTO,my then girlfriend had a 64 GTO. My every day driver 66 GTO had a warmed over 11:1 400 with Tri power,Ram Air III heads,Ram Air IV cam, TH 400 with a 3200 stall,12 bolt rear with 4.11 posi. It was full interior/full bodied 3400 LB car and at Riverside Raceway would hit 12.80's at 115 MPH. Later on i got in to Tri 5 Pontiacs,Chevies,& Fords,then after that came pre war Fords.

    The following are a few things from memory , some follow up research,and some things i've learned from Jess Tyree & the Anderson Bros. Rocky , feel free to chime in here and add whatever you'd like. Hope some of you enjoy this.

    The overhead valve engines were produced from 1955-1979 until Pontiac went "corporate".

    1955 - 287 c.i. 2bbl, 4bbl.
    1956 - 316 c.i. 2bbl,4bbl, & dual quad.
    1957 - 347 c.i. 2bbl,4bbl,Tri Power, and Fuel Injection.
    1958 - 370 c.i. 2bbl,4bbl,Tri Power, and Fuel Injection.
    1959 - 389 c.i. 2bbl,4bbl,Tri Power.
    1960 - 389 c.i. 2bbl,4bbl,Tri Power.
    1961 - 195 , 389 & 421 c.i. 2bbl,4bbl,Tri Power,and Dual Quad.
    1962 - 195 , 389 & 421 c.i. 2bbl,4bbl,Tri Power,and dual quad.
    1963 - 195, 326,389, & 421 c.i. , 2bbl,4bbl,Tri Power,& dual quad.
    1964 - 326,389,& 421 c.i., 2bbl,4bbl,Tri Power.
    1965 - 326,389,& 421 c.i. , 2bbl,4bbl,& Tri Power.
    1966 - OHC 6,326,389, & 421 c.i.,2bbl,4bbl, & Tri Power.
    1967 - OHC 6,326,389, & 428 c.i., 2bbl,4bbl,.
    1968 - OHC 6,350,389, & 428 c.i. , 2bbl,4bbl, .
    1969 - 350,400,& 428 c.i. , 2bbl,4bbl.
    1970 - 350,400,& 455 c.i. , 2bbl,4bbl.
    1971 - 350,400,& 455 c.i. , 2bbl,4bbl.
    1972 - 350,400,& 455 c.i. , 2bbl,4bbl.
    1973 - 350,400,& 455 c.i. , 2bbl,4bbl.
    1974 - 350,400,& 455 c.i. , 2bbl,4bbl.

    1975-1979 engines like the 350,400,& 455 c.i. , 2bbl,4bbl. were produced but were very restricted due to smog emmisions. Low compression,small valve,low combustion chamber,small cfm carburetors,etc were the norm.

    * Most horsepower ratings that you read in books were extremely underated for insurance purposes, especially in the 1960's & early 70's.

    *all 1958-1962 V8 engines have forged rods.

    * 1955-1960 shares one "staggered" intake bolt pattern.

    * 1961-1964 shares one "staggered" intake bolt pattern.

    * 1965 -1979 shares one "straight through" intake bolt pattern.

    *External dimensions are the same on all V8 engines.

    * Heads will interchange on all Pontiac blocks.

    * All 1955-1979 valve covers interchange - despite what you read elsewhere!

    * All distributors interchange - despite what you read elsewhere! (The exception being Ram Air V )

    * All manual transmissions from 1955-1959 were 3 speed.

    * 1960 was the first year that the 4 speed T-10 transmissions was placed in Pontiacs the factory.

    * 1955 & 1956 valve covers have stainless rivetted plates mounted on top that read " PONTIAC strato streak"

    * 1957 valve covers are the only year that have "P O N T I A C" embossed on them in typical 50's script lettering. 2bbl engines did not come equipped with them - only 4 bbl,Tri Power,and Fuel Injection engines.

    * Firing order on all Pontiac V8's is the same as SBC 18436572.

    * Automatic transmissions started out with Hydromatics then went to "jetaways" . Some cars have been found to have Buick Dynaflows. This was due to the "Plant fire" that occured in the mid 50's.

    * 1966 Tri Power were the only intakes to use the Larger 2GC carbs all the way across. 1965 and earlier used the larger 2GC carbs on the outside and smaller 2GC in the middle.

    * Most 1969 on up Pontiac engines have the cubic inches embossed on the driver side of the block....example 350 - 400 - 428 - 455

    *In 1967 GM banned multiple carburetion on all intermediate sized cars.
    (So, if someone is selling a 67 GTO and claims it has "factory Tri Power" its B.S.)

    * In 1964 GM pulled out of factory sponsored race cars. Any GM drag cars you saw from 1964 on up was independent.

    * SUPER DUTY PROGRAM* Late 1961 - 1963. The only cars used were Tempests , Catalina's, and a few Grand Prix's.

    Late 61 - Aluminum bumpers (front & rear) were offered.
    1962 - Aluminum bumpers,hood,fenders,inner fenders,deck lid,radiator support.
    1963 - First year of the "Swiss Cheese" frames. Aluminum bumpers,hood,fenders,inner fenders,deck lid,radiator support.


    *1957 - 1964 GP,Bonneville,Catalina,2+2,Star Cheif,etc used the "Big Car Rear ends" . like the Oldsmobiles, most 57 & 58 units have 28 spline, & 59-64 units were normally 31 spline.

    *Pontiac V8 engine numbers - Are located on the passenger side front of the block - just below where the head is mounted.

    * Date Codes. Found on Intakes,blocks, some heads,etc. normally have "flathead" screw driver marks at each end of them. The first letter is the month,the second and/or third set of numbers are for the day, and the last number is for the year. In other words, if you see something like F/10/4 It would translate to: June 10th, 1964 .

    * If you ever find a Pontiac part and it is missing one of the last part numbers it means that Mickey Thompson had permission from Pontiac to manufacture it and delete one of the last numbers.

    * HEADS TO KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR - AS THEY ARE PERFORMANCE HEADS*

    CAST # 540306 (1961-62 389 & 421 hi po & SD)
    CAST # 544127 (1962-63 389 & 421 hi po & SD)
    CAST # 9771980 (1963 389 & 421 hi po & SD)
    CAST # 9770716 ( 1964 389 & 421 hi po & SD)
    CAST # 75 & 76 (1965 389 & 421 hi po & SD)
    CAST # 092 & 093 (1966 389 & 421 hi po & SD)
    CAST # 670 (1967 400 & 428 Hi po heads)
    CAST # 16 , 62, 96 (1968 400 & 428 Hi po heads)
    CAST # 62, 48, 722 ( 1969 Hi po/Ram Air heads)
    CAST # 12,13,614,64,& 96 (1970 Hi po / Ram Air heads)
    CAST # 96,66,197, (1971 Hi po/Ram Air heads)
    CAST # 7K3,7M5,7F6, (1972 Hi po/HO heads)
    CAST # 4X,46,16 (1973-74 HI PO,HO,SD heads)

    Pontiac sources:
    CPR California Pontiac Restorations - Santa Ana, Ca.
    Edelbrock
    Offenhauser
    Brad at fabcraft - Southlake,TX
    Ames - Marlborough,Nh
    Empire motors - El Paso,Tx
    Kauffman Racing Equipment - Tennessee - For the serious Pontiac drag racer - 6-11 second cars!
    Pacific Performance Racing - San Pedro ,Ca - Great people to deal with !
    Franks Pontiac parts - Ramona,Ca. (760)-789-0669
    Butlers Performance- Leoma, Tn - Another respected Pontiac Performance shop!


    Well, there ya go guys. This took me 2 hours to write up. If i've helped at least one person become more knowledgeable with Pontiac engines,or helped someone with a Pontiac source then my time writing this up has been well spent. I could of went a lot more thorough but what i wrote is the main stuff to help out.

    Enjoy and happy holidays !
    Axle


    R.I.P. Mickey Thompson !
     
  2. John Denich
    Joined: Nov 20, 2005
    Posts: 2,718

    John Denich

    Thanks for taking the time, I learned a whole bunch from this, thanks.


    John
     
    Deuces likes this.
  3. duffman
    Joined: Feb 10, 2005
    Posts: 256

    duffman
    Member

    Also important to note if you are new to pontiac engines is that though they share the same firing order as chevy, the distributor rotates opposite (counter-clockwise) of the more common chevy.
    great over view Axle
     
    Hombre, Deuces and XXL__ like this.
  4. RetroJoe
    Joined: Sep 7, 2003
    Posts: 194

    RetroJoe
    Member


  5. Ruiner
    Joined: May 17, 2004
    Posts: 4,145

    Ruiner
    Member

    So does that mean my Hi-po '74 4X heads will directly swap onto my '59 389 using the '74 style intake? I love this thread, it needs to be combined with my pontiac rearend tech thread
     
    Balljoint and Deuces like this.
  6. HighSpeed LowDrag
    Joined: Mar 2, 2005
    Posts: 968

    HighSpeed LowDrag
    Member
    from Houston

    Do you remember what dealer they all bought from? Just wondering as we are about the same age and I was also raised in NoVa?
     
    Deuces likes this.
  7. Gambino_Kustoms
    Joined: Oct 14, 2005
    Posts: 6,561

    Gambino_Kustoms
    Alliance Vendor

    thanxs
    seeing were a malti pontiac family
     
  8. monsterflake
    Joined: May 13, 2003
    Posts: 3,763

    monsterflake
    Member

    if you swap heads, don't you need to use the corresponding front cover, too?
     
  9. ponchoman
    Joined: Jun 21, 2005
    Posts: 432

    ponchoman
    Member

    Thanks Axle, some interesting tidbits! I've got a '60 389 torn down in my shop, that is awaiting the $$ for a rebuild, and then is going into my '55, hopefully by spring. I'm pondering a Turbo 400 behind it, but just rebuilt the Hydro a year ago, to the tune of over 2 Grand, so not sure yet about which slush box it will have.
     
  10. Ruiner
    Joined: May 17, 2004
    Posts: 4,145

    Ruiner
    Member

    That brings up a good point, what transmissions readily swap onto the hydramatic pattern blocks? i still have my hydramatic bellhousing if that helps to swap...
     
  11. I too have played with Pontiacs for a long time, but I'm by no means an expert, so here's some more info and feel free to correct any errors -


    Front covers will interchange between all Pontiac blocks, but 1959-back use reverse flow cooling. They also have some different arrangements of water passages, I tore apart a '56 that had short hoses out each head into the front cover.


    Now it gets sticky as far as mounts:

    1955-1958 use a chin mount under the front of the engine, that attaches to the front cover. They have a couple extra holes that were continued at least through '59. The trans had side mounts in the bellhousing area. To use the front mount you need a 59-older block and an iron front cover.

    On 59-up cars, if you want to save some weight and save some bucks on the water pump, any later cover bolts on.

    1959-1960 and 1969 Gran Prix use a mount with a bolt that goes down through an ear in the frame. I believe 61-up use the conventional mount with bolt parallell to the crank.

    Some blocks startng in 1970 have the mount bosses moved back on the block for use in Firebirds. By '73 some blocks are cast with all the bosses and may be drilled for both. The actual mount is interchangable.

    When it comes to transmission bolt patterns, you have:

    1955-1960 you can swap any transmission to any motor

    1961-1964 are similar to the 60-back pattern, but with a few small changes.

    1965-up use a conventional BOP pattern. Starting in late '64 some blocks are drilled for the newer starter, but before that, you need the iron bellhousing adapter used with Dual-Coupling and Roto-Hydramatic transmissions to put a starter on, or make an adapter of some sort.

    The dual-coupling Hydro (aka the Jetaway) can be used from any GM car with the correct bellhousing ring.


    The exhuast bolt pattern is the same on all D-port heads '57 to the end.


    The 301 was made 1977-1981 and shares a lot of parts with the other engines. I consider them parts motors, as they're thinwall castings with a shorter deck. But they are a good source for oil pans, front covers, HEI distributors, and oil filter adapters.


    A note on oil filters - 1959 and back use a cannister. I found that a '59 upgrades easily using the filter mount from a 301. I'm not sure how far back this goes, but I have a couple '56 blocks on the porch and a loose adapter here I can doublecheck with.

    The adapter itself looks identical to the one used on Chevrolet. I have long suspected that a low-buck remote filter is possible using the whole works from a Chevy S10 with a 4.3L engine.


    When rebuilding a 389, if you sonic check the block and there's no core shift, you can save a few bucks boring it .055 and using stock 400 pistons. The rest of the parts are the same - bearings, etc.


    1959-1960 engines have oddball pushrods and you need to do your homework if you change the cam to anything non-stock to maintain the rocker arm geometry. Most of them use push-in rocker studs, and a good upgrade is to go to a screw-in type.
     
  12. There is one possible easy trans interchange. It may be possible to use the early TH400 intended for Buick nailhead applications, with the adapter bellhousing intended to put the dual-coupling hydramatic behind it. But I'd want to be able to test fit that bell to the trans before I dropped the money to buy one - I am not certain the patterns are the same.

    The bolt pattern is actually pretty close to what became the BOP type, you can probably put a TH350/400/200R4 on there, but there will be no place to mount the starter.


    Manual trans bells come in as many flavors -

    1955-1957 - only takes a small, weak 3-speed trans

    1958-1960 - scarce, will take a T-10 or any other late 4-speed

    1961-1964 - takes any trans, different pattern than 1960-back

    1965-up - any BOP bell works.

    There is a flywheel change around '61 also, 55-60 need a 55-60 flywheel.
     
  13. axle
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 3,892

    axle
    Member
    from Drag City



    Hi, I just asked my parents and they said it was called Bill Page Pontiac in Fairfax.
     
  14. axle
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 3,892

    axle
    Member
    from Drag City



    Thats correct. I was just talking about heads being interchangeable to any Pontiac block.
     
  15. axle
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 3,892

    axle
    Member
    from Drag City

    One more thing. Check out www.pontiacheaven.org

    This site belongs to my friend Steve Barcack from Phoenix Arizona.
    Steve runs a 6 second Blown Injected 1959 389 engine in a front engine digger.
     
    Balljoint likes this.
  16. Ruiner
    Joined: May 17, 2004
    Posts: 4,145

    Ruiner
    Member

    Ok, so let me get this straight, I can swap the heads, intake and front cover from my 400 onto my '59 389, watching out for pushrod style and cooling direction? but that still leaves the trans mount problem to overcome...
     
  17. axle
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 3,892

    axle
    Member
    from Drag City

    Yes,thats correct.

    Rustynewyorker. Thanks for adding your info however not everything interchanges from 55-60. I know 58-60 bellhousings & flywheels are different from the rest. earlier Hydro transmissions have seperate bellhousing where the later Jetaway's transmissions were one piece. You could make most 55-60 tranny's work but some do need adapters.
     
  18. 55chieftain
    Joined: May 29, 2007
    Posts: 2,188

    55chieftain
    Member

    Just a few minor corrections

    58-59 axles are 29 spline.

    A 64 trans like the Dual Coupling hydro is the only year hydro that will bolt up to a newer block. Just need the matching flywheel for the torus. Were not talking the slim jim here, which would work also, just not really worth it.
     
  19. HEATHEN
    Joined: Nov 22, 2005
    Posts: 7,591

    HEATHEN
    Member
    from SIDNEY, NY

    Concerning the late heads/early block swap; the '67 and newer valves won't line up with the '66 and older valve reliefs in the pistons. You may get away with this with a stock camshaft, but any sort of aftermarket high lift cam will cause dangerous valve/piston interference.
     
  20. DE SOTO
    Joined: Jan 20, 2006
    Posts: 3,857

    DE SOTO
    Member


    NOT ENTIRELY TRUE !

    '55~'57 HEAD WILL NOT FIT ON LATER BLOCKS & VICE VERSA.

    THE BORE SIZE ON EARLY BLOCKS IS TO SMALL & THERE ARE WATER PORTS THE DONT LINE UP AND WILL SPILL WATER INTO THE OIL PAN.

    OLD MAN I KNOW WITH A '59 389 IN A MODEL A PANEL JUST TRIED TO PUT '57 347 HEADS ON.... THEY DONT INTERCHANGE
     
  21. HEATHEN
    Joined: Nov 22, 2005
    Posts: 7,591

    HEATHEN
    Member
    from SIDNEY, NY

    Also, on the subject of bell housing patterns, a '61-'64 bell housing will work on a later block, as it is actually the same B-O-P pattern as the later housings, but you can't use a later aluminum bell on a '61-'64 block because you will end up with no way to mount the starter.
     
  22. axle
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 3,892

    axle
    Member
    from Drag City

    Yes Rick, To get very technical that is true. I am just generally speaking what will bolt on with each other. Yes, certain things do indeed take modifications, but will still bolt on.

    Someone PM'd me about using 62 heads on a 57 block and 57 front timing cover/water pump. In addition to the above info, you would obviously have to remove the freeze plugs in order to run the water outlets.
     
  23. axle
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 3,892

    axle
    Member
    from Drag City

    Thats true but there is an adapter plate made to fix that problem.
     
  24. DE SOTO
    Joined: Jan 20, 2006
    Posts: 3,857

    DE SOTO
    Member

    * 1955-1960 shares one "staggered" intake bolt pattern.
    * 1961-1964 shares one "staggered" intake bolt pattern.

    ** Bolt pattern is the same, Front water crossover ports are Different:D


    * Heads will interchange on all Pontiac blocks.

    ** '55~'57 will NOT interchange due to bore size & water ports:eek:


    * All 1955-1979 valve covers interchange - despite what you read elsewhere!

    ** They will interchange.. BUT the '55~'60 are rounded at the ends and will leak if not sealed right.. THEY ARE DIFFERENT !! :D
    and some of the short cover wont fit over the rockers on bigger CID engines



    * Firing order on all Pontiac V8's is the same as SBC 18436572.

    ** But the dizzy spins counter clockwise so its wired backwards :D
     
  25. DE SOTO
    Joined: Jan 20, 2006
    Posts: 3,857

    DE SOTO
    Member


    '62 Heads will not go on the '57 block, Again you will run into water port problems... i also belive that the freez plug you speak of are in a different location & the rocker angles are different on the '61 & later heads
     
  26. stuart in mn
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
    Posts: 2,047

    stuart in mn
    Member

    The super Hydramatic was a good transmission, although it's big and heavy and these days it's hard to find rebuild kits or people who know how to work on them.

    The gear ratios are
    3.97 first
    2.55 second
    1.55 third
    1.00 fourth
    and they are direct coupled in second through fourth. Big Pontiacs back then had rear gears in the 2.56 to 2.87 range, which worked real well with the transmission - they accelerated real hard off the line (it's essentially the same overall ratio as a TH400 with 4.11 rear gears), but cruised along at highway speeds real nice.

    There are adapter plates to use a 1965 or later transmission on earlier engines, available from Wilcap or from Bendtsen's Transmissions in Minnesota. They aren't very cheap, though.

    By the way, I'm a long time lurker who finally signed up....I recognize Axle from the Performance Years Pontiac board, and tonight I saw this thread and figured I could contribute a little.
     
  27. John Milner
    Joined: Jun 3, 2006
    Posts: 155

    John Milner
    Member
    from Oklahoma

    For a 400 or 428 #16, 62, 670, 12, 13, 216, 97, 997, 061, are all the best D port heads to use because they will give you a 10:1 compression ratio with the stock type flat top pistons and they all have 2.11 and 1.77 valves...614 and 722 are both round port heads, which have round exhaust ports, they are the best flowing pontiac head out there.

    For a 455, #6x-4, 64, 96, 7k3's all will get you around 10:1. 197, 7f6, 16 are all round ports, but you only get around 8.5:1 compression.

    A good running high compression 400 pontiac is hard to beat.
     
  28. stuart in mn
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
    Posts: 2,047

    stuart in mn
    Member

    If you want to go with a manual transmission, the early bellhousings should work with later transmissions, or else Brad Duerst at Fabcraft Metalworks in Texas is reproducing the old Ansen two piece aluminum bellhousings to fit the earlier cars.

    There's not much available nowadays for performance intake manifolds to fit earlier cars except on the used market. The factory four barrel manifold was actually pretty good, though.

    Bare early tripower manifolds are fairly easy to find for a reasonable price, but by the time you find the right carbs, linkage, fuel lines, etc. they will get pretty expensive.
     
  29. RetroJoe
    Joined: Sep 7, 2003
    Posts: 194

    RetroJoe
    Member

    If any of you Pontiac guys are interested, I have a 67' 400/400 and a 71' 455 block with two set of 4X heads for sale. Email me for details. I just sold my 66' Lemans and no longer need the extra stuff.
     
    Darren J. Shank likes this.

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