Old guy44

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About Old guy44

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    Learning to Fly

Forever Pontiac

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    Pontiac catalina
  1. I am working on a new to me 63 Catalina convertible. The engine is scattered all over the garage floor right now, the ravages of unleaded fuel, and while it is out I will be rebuilding the front end. The car only has 43,000 miles on it so I am assuming that pretty much everything on it is factory. I can tell you that the control arm bushings are, those 54 year old bushings are looking pretty tired. It has been many moons since I did any of this stuff and things have changed dramatically since I actually did this for a living. Right now my question is shock absorbers. I did drive the car for about 15 miles when it came in and it is typical of the era. floats along like a boat on the water. Stiffer shock absorbers are definitely in order but what is the best thing going these days.?
  2. Two Lane, Up jumped the devil. Apparently no one makes an intake manifold for the '63, everything starts at '65 or do you know of anything? If not I will be going with the two barrel as it apparently is my only option. I can only hope that the carb it is repairable because it was running so fat it was almost running raw fuel out the exhaust. Also I spoke to comp cams and they don't grind anything specifically for economy.
  3. I appreciate the input on the intake manifold, I was debating single plane vs. dual plane. On chevy mileage builds we had really good luck with the edelbrock streetmaster which was a single plane but had really small runners. I personally prefer the AFB style carburetor because I can change the step up rods by loosening the small plates on the top and removing the rods and pistons. I was doing this professionally when the Quadrajunk was in its prime. Don't know how many cars I saw with under hood fire damage from a leaking Q jet. the biggest problem we had on them was the brass cup style plugs in the float bowl leaking, or falling out. It may have been a So Cal problem with the considerable summer temperatures. They may have solved the problem by now but it was epidemic when I was working on them on a regular basis. Agreeably with the tiny primaries you need more throttle opening to get anything done and therefore spent less time running on the idle circuit as you do with a bigger primary in heavy LA traffic. The biggest offender of this phenomenon is the end bowl holley. Have spent many hours restricting the huge idle passages in the primary metering block on them to get the light throttle mixture leaned out. But I digress. Oh by the way my cylinder head guy is Larry Ofria at Valley Head service. I e mailed Comp cams and did not get a response, but I have seen more than one e mail get lost in cyberspace. When I have the time I will call and spend the time waiting on hold to have a conversation with one of their tech people. Someone out there must grind a short camshaft for the 389. Right now I am trying to put in an A/C and replace all the rotten 54 year old front end bushings while the engine is out so right now I have 389 scattered all over the garage. About ignition, I was looking on line and there are several of the coil in cap HEI's out there for reasonable prices. Seems like a little wider plug gap and hotter spark couldn't hurt. The front end is on jack stands , I need to jack the rear end up long enough to read the tag.
  4. Two Lane, Forgot to mention it but VERY IMPRESSIVE credentials! I was cruising around ebay and there are several old edelbrock torquers on there. It appears that they have the heat passage under the carburetor unlike all of the newer remakes. Further looking, as I am sure that you are aware, there is a 500 cfm version of the edelbrock performer. Might work on the 389? Also as I recall on the 307 economy small block we cleaned up the intake ports around the valve pockets to eliminate all the sharp edges and lightly polished the whole port to retard the formation of droplets. do you think that it would be worth the effort on the Pontiac?
  5. Two Lane and Frosty, Thanks for the responses this old Chevy guy needs to learn to speak Pontiac. I will give Comp cams a call and see what they can do. Will it help to use your name? With regards to the cam I am not looking for mid range I am looking for something that runs between 1000 and 4000. the last economy build I did was in a '65 nova. we used a 307? truck block, it had a 3 7/8 bore and 3 1/4 stroke. The logic was that the slightly smaller bore meant that the flame did not have to travel as far across the cylinder and the slightly longer stroke gave it a little longer to burn. We used early 283 heads with the 1 3/4 intakes and 1.5 exhausts to keep port velocity up at lower RPM's. We used an Edelbrock streetmaster manifold, a single plane similar to the torquer but with smaller runners. Topped it off with an A series AFB with primaries somewhere around one inch We used the 283 ram horn exhaust manifolds to maintain some exhaust back pressure and keep the cylinders from purging too completely Racer ground us a camshaft that fit right into our path of logic. The engine ran surprisingly strong up to about 4500 rpm and then virtually shut off. It ran out of carburetor, manifold, cylinder heads and camshaft all at the same time. However it was built for mileage and it excelled beyond our expectations. 20 in town, 29 on the highway and 19 towing a boat. Hopefully I can find a combination that works on the Pontiac, I don't expect to match those results but hopefully I can get it into the mid to high teens in town. I am still picking brains to see what might work on the Pontiac but I haven't found anyone yet that has done a mileage build on a 389. I spoke at length to Edelbrock about the throttle body injection and they felt it would help highway mileage but not so sure about city, it is a relatively new offering and there is not a lot of information about how it works on the 389, and no information on what I am trying to accomplish. A lot of money for an experiment. I am leaning toward keeping the 12.25 compression ratio and working around it, premium fuel is only about 20c a gallon more. If I can get Comp cams to grind something that will trap as much cylinder pressure as possible at low to mid range rpm's it would give me a good starting point. I may just put the two barrel back on for now, if it is repairable. The only time I drove it the exhaust would burn your eyes and when I opened up the hood it reeked of gas fumes, running really fat. Any opinion about how the 389 likes a single plane manifold? What about an HEI or MSD? A hotter spark never hurt anything. With regards to the trans I will keep the slim jim. It only has a converter for stage one and stage two (first gear) and then it is direct drive stage three (second gear) and stage 4 (third gear). so cruising at any speed is a direct drive, just like a lock up converter.
  6. I would rather be driving the Pontiac and having the cleaning lady do the housekeeping.
  7. Pontiac definitely operated under a different mind set than Chevrolet division. When Chevy's of that era had a 10.25 compression ratio in an engine it had at least one 4 barrel on it and generally two a a rump and thump camshaft, and definitely dual exhaust. I have the original owners manual for the car and under fuel requirements it lists all the engines and in the list there it is, "two barrel premium fuel engine", two barrel single exhaust and 10.25 compression ratio. That one really caught me off guard. I saw a two barrel and had visions of a compression ratio somewhere around 7 or 8. That does explain why as bad as the engine is it had a lot better throttle response than I ever expected. I have the engine on a stand in the garage. I don't have it disassembled yet but turning it over I looked at the camshaft and about a quarter of the lobes look like they are down to about half of the original lift, and one almost round. There is the idle limp. I don't remember ever seeing a camshaft that worn at any mileage and sure not at 43,000. Any suggestions on a cam grinder, the last engine I built I used a Racer Brown camshaft, yes it was that long ago. His shop was about 10 miles from my dads shop and while he was the benchmark of a grumpy old curmudgeon he would grind me anything I wanted and it always did everything he said it would do. Do you know if anyone still bends up all the pipes to put a dual exhaust on it or will I be taking it to the local muffler shop and have them bend everything up. I did a quick google search on Pontiac exhaust and came up dry. While the engine is out and the car is on jack stands I will also be putting in new bushings on the front control arms. Those 54 year old bushings are looking pretty tired, new ball joints probably would not be a bad idea either since I will probably be driving it forever.
  8. Frosty, Thanks for the information. The brakes are on a back burner right now, I am posterior deep in the engine right now. Finally got it out and on the engine stand This was a whole lot easier when my dad still had a fully equipped auto repair shop, I am too da... old to be crawling around under anything on jack stands anymore.
  9. Frosty, A/C is more than worth it, I have already been informed that no A/C and we will be taking her car unless the sun and the top are both down. She won't get in my SL because it is too hard to crawl out of so I am selling it. In reality It is getting hard for me to crawl up and out of it too, i find myself driving my truck more and more. The Pontiac is the replacement for the SL. That being said I have already found out that the factory A/C in the 63 and I believe the 62 is in the firewall behind the RH inner fender panel Which would require cutting a large hole in the firewall and welding in the appropriate section of an A/C firewall which would require taking too much stuff out to keep from burning it. I have checked into the Hurricane and Vintage Air units and I believe that I can fit either under the dash if I cut the glove box liner way down. The other option would be to find something with an evaporator in the outer housing that can be adapted. I think that I can free up Thursday or Friday to poke around Pick a Part and see if there is something that looks promising. The engine is coming out because the heads need to be upgraded for unleaded fuel and I will put in new rings and bearings and re-gasket the entire engine at the same time because it does leak. With the engine and RH inner fender panel out it will give me lots of room to putz around to see if something can be adapted. If not there is always the aftermarket route. I have not found '63 dash outlets, I found a set of '64's which could be adapted but they are so pitted that I do not believe that they are salvageable and the 64 apparently did not have a center outlet. For the time being one of the aftermarket suppliers has an under dash set that will suffice until I find a good set of 63's Re: the brakes. It seems that I read somewhere in this or another forum about the 8 lug disc brake adapter but if it is out there it is a closely guarded secret. So far I have only found one supplier that even has 4 wheel disc conversion, which leaves the problem of what wheels. I thought about the rally wheels but I do not remember seeing them on anything that has the bigger bolt pattern. The only thing I ever remember seeing them on were vehicles with the Chevy bolt pattern. A chromed reversed wheel with narrow white walls would look era correct but is there anyone that still does them? For the time being I am replacing all the wheel cylinders and the master cylinder and will drive carefully until I decide on what wheels. I just can't see aftermarket alloys on it.
  10. Just came in from the garage. Couldn't stand it had to pull the heads. The numbers on the block are 15H and 509395. I would have bet money that it needed a rebore and would have lost the bet. The front cylinders have .003 wear the rest are barely measurable. With effort I can hook a fingernail in the ridge at one point about 2:00 right bank and 10:00 left bank on the front cylinders, the rest have virtually no ridge. Interestingly enough as little wear as the cylinders have there is excessive camshaft wear. I knew that Chevy's of that era had soft camshafts but I never ran into it in a Pontiac. I don't see any obvious valve problems they are all the same color and the color is correct, but the wear I see on the cam I wonder if I have an almost flat lobe causing the low cylinder cranking and the limp at idle. I didn't crank the engine around to check all the lobes but since I am changing it anyway it doesn't matter. I will keep the cylinder head information in mind but Larry over at valley head service is not your average machine shop and he has been doing this longer than I have. Don't know what era you grew up in but the first engine I ever overhauled was a flat head ford. the first overhead V8 I worked on I could not believe all the stuff I had to remove to get to the cylinder heads. Ahhhh nostalgia. The carb is a 2GC Rochester 7023060, I will forward all the other numbers when I crawl under it some time in the not too distant future. The saga continues.
  11. First, Where is that number stamped on the block, I.E. front of block below right cylinder head or near transmission flange left side or ??? I have been a small block chevy man my entire life and know nothing about the small details of a Pontiac. Second, It is already cranking with at least one weak hole, growing up in the business your ears hear a lot. Depending on what I see when the heads come off it will be getting a rebore as I WILL be putting tens of thousands of miles on it. I am planning to make it my daily driver and at my age it will likely be my last personal car. That is the reason that I am asking how high I can go with the compression and still use regular fuel. putting a lot of compression into it to improve engine efficiency and then having to run premium fuel is just counter productive. As the heads do need to come off and get the unleaded upgrade at the very least it will be getting rings bearings and a camshaft but my bet is that it will need a rebore. The primary cause of engine wear on the early ones was in the first 10 or so minutes of operation when the engine was cold and the choke was on dumping a ridiculously rich mixture into the cylinders washing all that precious oil off of the cylinder walls. Considering that the car spent its entire life in Indiana (cold weather) and the fact that it has averaged less than 1000 miles a year it must have spent a lot of time in the cold engine scenario. My bet is that the cylinders have an excessive amount of taper in them and a rebore will be a necessity. The amount of blow by that the engine has right now does nothing but strengthen that belief. So as I will probably be buying pistons I might as well get the optimum compression ratio whatever that may be. The couple of times that I built a small block chevy for economy we found that 9 was about as far as you could go and still run regular fuel BUT that was with LEADED regular. The unleaded factors in a variable that I have no experience with. Finally the fuel injection. Yes, it is possible to get good economy with a carburetor. The last economy build I did was in a 66 Nova. Won't go into the particulars but the induction was an A series AFB on top of an Edelbrock streetmaster manifold. Neither of which is available anymore. That engine delivered 20 in town 29 on the highway and 19 towing a boat. But it took a lot of tweaking with metering rods and springs which on the AFB could be done by removing a couple of small plates on the top of the carb and did not require any disassembly and recurving the distributor a couple of times which did require removing the distributor and putting it on the distributor machine. Whereas with a fuel injection it can all be done with programming. In addition there is no way possible to get the same kind of control with a carburetor that you can get with an electronic fuel injection. Further the reliability and lack of maintenance with and FI and electronic ignition and spark control means a lot to an old f... that just does not get all that excited about an open hood anymore. So we get back to the original question, how much compression can I put into that Indian and still run regular fuel?
  12. Read through your entire thread and these things can drive you crazy. A couple of thoughts: 1, Don't dismiss timing. If it is late it will cause any engine to heat. Are you sure that the timing mark is actually TDC? It would not be the first one I have seen that was off. If It has been verified to be accurate then is the distributor advancing the way it should. Check it with a timing light that has an advance gauge and see if it is advancing properly. 2, you stated that you have it running rich on purpose. This can cause problems especially at idle. A friend of a friend put an aftermarket injection on his hi-per Chevy. it would overheat terribly at idle until they put a laptop on it and dialed in the fuel. It dropped 20 degrees at idle with the proper fuel ratio. I see that you are using an end bowl Holley. Unless they have done something in the last 10 years to correct the problem they are notorious for running fat at low throttle openings. Until the throttle is open far enough to be drawing fuel off of the main jets it is drawing off of the idle circuit and they were always WAAAAAY to big for any kind of reasonable fuel control. It has been far too many years for me to reach into my memory to explain how to re-jet the idle circuit on one of those but anyone that is competent at Holley work should know about it. Think of it this way, any fuel that is not being turned into horsepower is being turned into heat. Just a few more things to think about. Hope another point of view helps, Best of luck.
  13. So my "new" '63 catalina convertible is now in my driveway, 43,000 original miles! As one would expect for a car of that vintage which has spent a good share of its life sucking unleaded fuel the engine needs some serious help. It is presently the two barrel 389 single exhaust. While I have built numerous Chevy's and the occasional Ford I have never built a Pontiac. I overhauled a ton of them as I was doing it professionally up until 1977. As this car will be a daily driver the engine will be built for economy not performance. Does anyone out there know what compression ratio I can run and still use regular fuel? Also I am considering using an edelbrock throttle body injection, my thought is that it has much better fuel control than a carburetor. Has anyone tried one and how does it work? I am open to any suggestions as I am in unfamiliar territory here. I was going to find a 700R4 and put it behind the 389 but the "slim jim" still shifts great so the R4 can wait. I had forgotten how well those actually shifted new until the wrong person overhauled it the first time and over-torqued all the bolts tweaking the case.
  14. https://classiccarbrokeringservices.shutterfly.com/6456 There are a ton of pictures of the car on this link. It won't be here until Friday so I don't have any of my own.
  15. Good Morning, Brand new to the forum. I have a '63 Catalina convertible on a transport, will be here this coming Friday. This is one of those rare survivors, 42,000 original miles been garaged its entire life. The story of the older couple that only drove it to church on Sunday, this is the car! It came from Indiana so apparently A/C was not an issue however I live in So. Cal so A/C is not an option. I was assuming that I could take out the existing heater and replace it with an A/C inner and outer unit and then work with aftermarket compressor, condensor, etc. but apparently this is not the case with a '63. From what research I have done I need to cut out a section of the firewall and replace it with a firewall from an A/C car. THERE WILL BE NO CUTTING AND WELDING ON THIS CAR! So I need to explore other options. Has anyone been through this? Obviously I do not want an under dash unit but would rather install the factory dash outlets when, or if I can find them. I can probably fit a vintage air or hurricane unit up behind the dash but do not have the car so do not know for sure if there is room. As my wife will not get into the car when the sun is up until the dash outlets are spitting snow this is an important issue. I am open to all suggestions. I did a forum search and did not find anything, so if it is there I apologize for revisiting the issue. On another issue I will be attempting to retain as much of the original period look as possible. Was there ever a rallye style wheel for the Pontiac? I will be doing a 4 wheel disc brake conversion, driving in L.A. traffic I need to be able to stop this tank, so the 8 lug option is out unless someone knows something I don't.
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