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Pontiac of the Month

dues70's 1970 Pontiac Bonneville

2020 July
of the Month

Old guy44

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Everything posted by Old guy44

  1. Thanks for the replies guys. Frosty, The information on the OD trans is nice but my question is when did Pontiac change the quadrant from the PNDLR to the now standard PRNDL. I know Cad did it between 64 and 65. I remember the 64 Caddy's had the turbo 400 with the PNDLR. to the best of my knowledge the only make and year that had the early quadrant pattern in a turbo 400. My suspicion would be that Pontiac did it around the same time but back then all the GM divisions were pretty independent of one another so don't know for sure. I would be surprised if the Hydramatic division made different patterns for different divisions but don't remember when they started using the 400 in Pontiacs. wdl. Does the locar switch have a backup light contact? I still want to keep it on the column if possible but that failing it would be nice to have a backup plan.
  2. Two lane, Last post I read of yours, as memory serves, you had backed the race car into the wall on the first? race of the season. Did the season improve?
  3. I am not aware of the 6L80 having an internal neutral switch. I used A Howell wiring loom for the installation and there was no neutral switch wiring just a starter wire sticking out. As for a matrix board, the original shift pattern having park and neutral right next to each other the switch has an elongated contact to allow start in either park or neutral. Now it has changed so park and reverse are next to each other so it will start in either. There is no way to correct that externally and modifying the switch would be out of the question. But thanks for the thoughts.
  4. Something that has not been mentioned is the change in heads/ intake manifold. Earlier Pontiac engines had 6 bolts on each side of the intake manifold later ones had 5. I spent a long time looking for a 6 bolt 4 BBL manifold for my '63 and eventually gave up and used a Holley Sniper. Never did get it running right and when it launched a rod bearing I gave up and put in an LT and 6 speed auto out of a 15 silverado but that is another story. Point being is that if it is a Pontiac engine 6 bolt intake manifold a head change might be necessary to get a 4 BBl manifold. Don't know if there were block changes that would affect a head change someone that knows more about Pontiac engines than I do would need to address that. Also I went to High School with someone that drove a GMC pickup with a nail head Buick in it backed up with the early 4 speed cast iron hydro from the factory. So maybe another engine possibility?
  5. Put an L83 and 6L80 trans in my '63 Catalina convertible. Could not be happier with the results but found another gremlin I never thought about, the neutral safety switch. The original trans was the Roto- Hydro which had the old shift pattern, PNDLR. The 6L83 has the standard PRNDM. Problem is that with the existing switch it will start in reverse which under the right (or wrong) circumstances could be ugly. Has anyone addressed this problem and if so how? What year did Pontiac change the shift pattern from old to new, possibly a newer switch would fit.
  6. The 55 started out with a 327 and 4 speed setting on the shop floor. I acquired the complete front suspension off of a 66 or 67 corvette whichever was the first year for disc brake in a horse trade involving a lot of stuff. It was complete with rotors calipers, even had the brake hoses. So here is this pile of parts with no home. A good friend of mine gave a pretty nice 55 210 post to his little brother but Joe wanted a hardtop. I heard about it and called him up to see what he needed for the 210. I used to be pretty good with a dumore grinder so I ported a set of heads in exchange for the 210 which had been pretty well pirated. Fortunately he left the interior alone. So I am looking at the Corvette suspension wondering how do I adapt it to the 55. Seems that the 55 inner cross shafts fit in the corvette lower arms, they use the same bushings and are spaced the same. That bolted the lower arms to the 55 but the ball joint stud was one inch farther out and two inches farther forward than the location of the original. By machining out a tapered shim for the stud I used the 55 upper arm but with the upper mount in the stock location the front end would not align. So I ground off all the welds on the upper mounts and with the car on the hoist all the suspension parts bolted together and the hoist holding the car at the correct ride height I put an alignment gauge on the front wheels and moved the upper mounts around to where the wheels would align. clamped it down and welded it on. as a consequence the front wheels were farther forward in the wheel wells and looking at it you knew that something was wrong but just could not figure out what. There is more to the dual master cylinder than the failure of half the system there is also the residual check valve. The Corvette calipers were a 4 piston calper with spring loaded pistons. With the residual check valve in the master cylinder it ate up the first set of brake pads in an oil change. So by now I have figured out that somehow I need to eliminate the residual check valve and without a proportioning valve the rear end can get a little squirrelly under certain hard braking. The 55 rear wheel cylinder casting came in about a half dozen bore sizes so I just got the smallest they made, think it was 3/4 inch, used eis expander series springs and cups to hopefully keep the rear cylinders from sucking air without the check valve and keeping the rear brakes adjusted tight it worked. I drove the car for a couple of years and at the time I had 4 or 5 cars sitting around. Came home one evening from work intending to go somewhere and there was not a car in sight. Only thing I had to drive was my work truck which I had the only set of keys for. My ex wifes worthless relatives were driving ever one of my cars. The next week in a fit of rage I sold them all. The 55 went to a friend that had a 63 409 horse 409 hardtop in the back yard. The one with the dual AFB's and the huge cast iron headers. The impala had encountered an elevated railroad crossing at about 105 and when it finally came back in contact with mother earth the results were not happy. The front tires had about 15 to 20 degrees of negative camber and the middle of the frame was about 5 inches closer to the ground than it started. At the time Mike was going to college and drove the 55 with the 327 and T10 4 speed until the next summer. Apparently he spent the entire school year wondering about the 409 in the 55. Come summer it was pretty much established in his mind that it would happen. Being tired of the third pedal commuting to and from school he did some horse trading and came up with a B&M turbo 400. Here is where it gets interesting. I do not know if you ever saw a 409 in a try year chev but to install one you had to set it high because it would not fit down between the upper control arms, HOWEVER because the upper mounts on mine were moved out with the disc brake install there was just enough room to sit it in with about a quarter inch of clearance on either side. I don't know who built the 409 but whoever it was knew what they were doing. This thing was fast and you could not keep the rear end on the ground. Mike did not want traction bars on the bottom that showed so we built bars over the housing that were not visible. It was an interesting system, when you stood on it the whole car would raise straight up and level driving the rear wheels down hard. I would like to say that it was engineered to do that but it just happened. We put 4-11 gears in the rear and the first time Mike stood on it in front of the shop it hooked up so tight that it sheared off all 10 ring gear bolts. we had to replace them with grade 8 bolts. There used to be a shop out here called Herbert and Meek. Hot Rod magazine often did car shoots there and Mike was looking for something so he stopped by Herbert and Meek to see if they might have whatever it was. HRM just happened to be doing a shoot so mike parked and just stood out by the car waiting for them to get done. He saw the photographer do a double take of his car and knew why so he just stood there trying to be nonchalant when the photographer wandered out for a closer look. The car had the early rallye wheels on it so you could see the disc brakes through the holes in the wheels and when he got close enough to see the disc brakes he looked under the car saw the three inch head pipes with that he straightened up and said OK kid what is the story with this car. Obviously the hood went up and the photographers first remark was I have seen a lot of 409's in a lot of Chevys but this is the first one I have ever seen that looked like it belonged there. I took that as quite a compliment from a guy that had probably seen more hot rods than most of the population ever would. They had a lengthy conversation about the car, who built it how it came about etc. I wondered for a while if it might make it into the magazine but it never did. I reacquired the car but a divorce required much liquidation and it was my understanding that the new owner wrapped it around a phone pole. A sad end. So that is the saga of one of the two cars I have owned that I wish I still had. The other was my first ride, a 56 Corvette. What is it that they say, you never forget your first love.
  7. Frosty, Thanks for the link, I have been sick for almost two months now. Every time I think I am getting better someone else brings another new disease into the house that spreads like wildfire. Point being that I have had a lot of time on my hands and actually found it just before you sent it. I plan to call the manufacturer to chat about it as mine is not the average Pontiac. The ability to adjust ride height without dropping out the springs and trimming them is definitely desirable. When I used to screw with this on a fairly regular basis I had a friend in the spring business who would look in the books and find a spring with the same od but a different rate and I would need to temporarily install and check the ride height, take them out and trim slightly, do it again not taking off too much because you can't put it back on. I might add that I had my dad's fully equipped repair shop and attached machine shop at my disposal to do it. At this point in my life the price is worth the adjust-ability. I am 76 next June, do not have a hoist at my disposal and am getting too damn old to be crawling around under a car. I like Last Indian's viewpoint on the disc brakes. When I actually did this for a living 25 years ago I had the luxury of seeing most of the cars that were on the road and being able to take dimensions and make notes that I could use to mix and match parts successfully. Things like OK this rotor has the correct bolt circle and setback but do the bearings fit my spindle. I always found a lot of satisfaction in taking a pile of scrap metal and turning it into something useful. Sitting here thinking, maybe I just need to take detailed measurements off of the Catalina and plan to spend a day at the local pick a part. whadoyathink?
  8. Last Indian, I like the way you think. I come from the era of mixing and matching what you could find in the junk yard. I can't state for sure but I could be the first person to ever have put disc brakes on the front of a try year chevy. Long story but one I would be willing to share if you are interested. Yes the Catalina has air, no it is not factory but the composite total of the parts used in the install does not add up to more than 150 lbs. With regards to weight I have no exact figures but logic states that the L83 being all aluminum weighs less than the original cast iron 389. The 6L80 however probably weighs over twice what the original Roto-Hydro does. The combination of the 389 and trans and the l83 and trans are probably comparable but the center of the weight mass has probably moved rearward by a foot or more. All this needs to be factored in and hopefully Detroit spring can help. As I stated I am aware that the spring rate(s) need to be increased, but who can I contact about air shocks? I did install a rear sway bar but only recently found a 1" front sway bar which will go on with everything else. I am not accustomed to finding aftermarket parts for the Catalina. They are not one of the more common 60's era cars and during the 60's it seems that Pontiac did almost everything different. Sometimes the simplest things like front suspension bushings. to rebuild the front suspension I had to remake available parts. I did this professionally when the car was new and in those days we referred to Pontiac as being the only foreign car made in America While I am very aware of parts interchangeability between Cad, Olds Buick and Pontiac I am also aware that in many instances Pontiac chose not to take part. As stated earlier the front control arm bushings. I am quite comfortable with scouring pic a part for necessary hardware If I have some idea of what might work, or can be made to work. The '63 does have power brakes but I probably will get a different booster and master cylinder, preferably a dual chamber which would be considerably smaller diameter than the single that is presently cluttering up the firewall. By the way it is actually possible to operate a disc/drum system on a single master cylinder, My 55 Chev had corvette discs front and the original drums rear working with the original 55 master cylinder. My experience trumps your theory, but I digress. I do have 15" chrome smoothies with Caddie whites on the car, I was looking for an appearance that would approximate a 60's Van Nuys Blvd cruiser. My basic motivation is that I would much rather scour the junk yards and put together parts than to drop a grand on a kit. There is a lot more self satisfaction in doing it yourself.
  9. I just finished putting an L83 with a DOD delete and comp cam and the 6L80E trans in my '63 Catalina convertible. Went from 11-12 MPG on premium to 17-18 on regular. Driveability is another world from the 389 and rotohydro. Six months to get it installed, a lot of difference working in your driveway as opposed to a completely equipped shop. We now come to the issue of the brake system inadequacy. Have to be real careful in LA traffic. There are aftermarket disc systems out there just need to find out which is the best. My present question is the boat in the water ride typical of any full size american car of the era. There are companies out there that will make custom coil springs stiffer than stock but the question is how stiff. and is there somewhere that I can find out if there are much stiffer shocks out there that will fit the factory brackets? If not who can I talk to that can recommend an outboard shock that will go from the lower control arm to the frame, having been in structural steel in a former lifetime I can fabricate whatever brackets I need. Similar question for the rear . There must be something available because if you go to an air suspension there is no way to install the front shock in the stock location. To clarify I am not looking to set this up for track racing, just want a little more control on the street. When this thing was new there were a lot less cars on the road and the lanes were wider. I speak from personal experience. This is my first ( and last) build in over 25 years so I am completely out of the current loop. This one will have to see me out as I do not have another build left in me so I want it right.
  10. Interesting, OPG was my first call and they said that they had nothing for the '63 Catalina. The #14 and 1/4 20 sound like license plate. The #8/10 might work if it will snap into a 5/16 hole, the screws on my bezels are #6 but I can use bigger ones. I will need to call them and see what the dimensions are on those nuts. Thanks.
  11. The ones that hold the trim bezels. They snap into a 5/16 X 3/8 rectangular hole.
  12. Just finished putting an L83 and 6l80 in my '63 Catalina. 6 months of steady work to get the thing in right. Pulled all the front end sheet metal off so nothing was in the way for the install. Put all the front end sheet metal back on and when I went to screw the headlight bezels on I found that the plastic buttons were breaking up. Not surprising considering their age. I found clips and fasteners on line and it appears that they have everything imaginable in that line. Called them up because a lot of their stuff does not contain dimensions with the picture. Whoever answered the phone stated that he needed a factory part number, he couldn't give me sizing information. Soooo can anyone give me a source of supply or a factory part number.
  13. Haven't been around for a while, I have been waiting for my ecm and loom. I do not know if I can mention the name of the crooks but they are in Ovid Michigan. I sent them my ecm and $1100.00 mid March and am still waiting They will not answer a phone call or e mail. I now find myself needing another ecm and stand alone loom. Is there someone out there that is REPUTABLE that I can contact. I am attempting to install an L83 and six speed auto into my '63 Catalina convertible, it was supposed to be ready for summer but..................... Also is there an opinion on the variable displacement? This swap is primarily for fuel economy which is why I went for the direct Injection, if the specs don't lie it should be reasonably economical in stock trim. Should I get rid of all the variable displacement hardware while the engine is on the shop floor, eliminating a possible source of breakage, or keep it and the software that controls it? As stated I am looking for economy. The Indian runs great as it sits it just wants premium fuel at 12 MPG. Don't know about the rest of the country but premium in So. Cal is 4.25 to 4.50+. Before anyone asks I have gone to an HEI distributor, rebuilt and rejetted the original carb and have tried two different throttle body injections, a modified 90's vintage GM and a Holley sniper. It does run the best on the sniper but mileage is the same. I swear that you could put this thing on a flat bed and carry it across town and it would be sucking fuel on the trip. So I am back to the L83. I do not believe that the install will take more than a week if I can get the ecm and wiring so I know I can get it running. I would be grateful for any advice you can offer.
  14. I have an HEI on my '63 Catalina but at the same time I put on a later 100 amp alternator because I also installed an A/C and the stock 35 amp would not carry everything. The new alternator has an internal regulator and has worked flawlessly. The questions I would ask are: Where did you tie in your positive to the new distributor? Did it have points in the distributor, if so the coil was fed through a resistant circuit to keep the coil voltage under 9 volts. If you are tied in downstream of the resistor or resistant wire it could conceivably cause a problem. go back and tie into the ignition circuit at the ignition switch, make sure you are in the Ign wire and not the assessory circuit. If you are already wired in that way then I can think of three possibilities to solve the problem. One would be to install an alternator with the internal regulator, they are not that expensive on ebay. you connect all the factory wires and connect the external regulator wires together and toss the old regulator. second would be to try a diode or a relay in the feed wire to the distributor to isolate the distributor from the ign circuit. I can not figure out any reason why it should cause problems with the regulator but since you apparently did not do any other changes it pretty much has to be something in the HEI causing the problem. third the 70's and possibly 80's vintage Mopars used an external electronic regulator. they will work with a delco alternator. I used to use them on boats when the engine vibration would drive the point type regulator crazy. It has been so long since I have done that I can not tell you which of the two wires is the positive and which goes to the alternator but you can probably find that information on the internet somewhere. good luck
  15. OK back in town and I have put a few miles on it since replacing the pulley. I am still trying to work the gremlins out of the A/C but that is fodder for another forum. With regards to the engine temp the aftermarket temp gauge I temporarily installed under the dash seems to hold steady around 190 in 95+ degree ambient temp with the A/C on high constantly. It will climb up to 200 in stop and go freeway traffic where you are sucking in all the hot air created by the other 12 million cars on the Los Angeles freeway system but speeding up the fan seems to have corrected the overheat. This is one of the cars that does not have a temp gauge but has the hot and cold idiot lights, as memory serves the hot light comes on at 245 degrees so 200 is entirely acceptable. I do not remember if I mentioned it but to install the pulley I needed to do a little grinding on the water pump which i accomplished with a 4" hand grinder without removing the pump and the bolt holes need to be slotted a little bigger. The AMC pump has about a 1/4 inch smaller bolt circle. I hope that this information may help someone else with a similar problem as it represents a lot of hours finding the pulley. P.S. the A/C problem was a loose fitting on the inlet of the condenser. Forgot to tighten it!
  16. OK finally got the pulley from CVF racing. It is an AMCL2WP. Fits some model(s) of AMC and Jeep. It is almost a perfect backset and belt spacing. I just had to whack out a .060 spacer from some heavy gauge sheet metal in the garage and do a small amount of grinding on the water pump ribs but it seems to be working fine. The pulley is just over 6 inches in diameter and along with everything else done the engine temp has not seen the high side of 190. I was going to give it the ultimate test today going downtown in the gruesome LA traffic as the temps around here are back in triple digits but with every gremlin I have chased in the A/C system the one thing I have not had is a leak. Along with all the other things done I replaced the A/C condenser to hopefully bring the nozzle temp down. I drove it yesterday and noticed that while with the additional air movement the engine was doing great the A/C nozzle was climbing back up to 60 degrees. I parked it in the garage and when I got the time I went out to put the gauges on it to see what was going on. I screwed the gauges on and it was registering 10 pounds pressure. I looked around and there is oil residue around the outlet hose on the condenser. I disconnected the hose and the o ring looks fine so did I get a bad condenser? I pissed off the A/C gods about 8 months ago and they are not letting up. I am getting ready to leave town Wed. AM so will not have time to check it until I get back. The A/C problem is for another forum but with regards to the engine temp the smaller pulley seems to be the last piece of the puzzle.
  17. If yours has an AC compressor it probably means that it was a factory air, unless it was an aftermarket. But an original 4 core radiator likely confirms that it was a factory air which means it had a heavy duty cooling system. Mine was not and everything has been upgraded to handle the addition of AC. This car was one of Pontiac's built under the influence cars. 10.25 compression with a two barrel carb and single exhaust. As I said built under the influence. If I had it to do over again I would have changed the pistons when I freshened up the engine and dropped the CR but it was low mileage and only had .004 taper on the front cylinders and .002 on the rest. Sooooo i just put in rings and bearings, I did replace the cam as a third of the lobes were well on the way to flat. Valley Head Service put in hard seats to make the heads unleaded friendly in short the engine is fresh and should be running as efficiently as possible. I am convinced that the problem is that the water pump pulley is a FULL TWO INCHES BIGGER THAN THE CRANK PULLEY! My experience is that the 4 row aluminum radiators are great for cooling but are somewhat resistant to air flow. The engine is turning about 12-1400 rpm on the city streets, no tach but I have been listening to engines for over 60 years, and I am convinced that the fan is just not turning fast enough to provide adequate air flow. At idle with a 7 blade solid hub flex fan this thing will not move enough air to blow the hat off of your head. At 650 rpm idle the fan is probably only turning around 400 rpm. I spent time on the phone with CVF racing and we came up with a fan pulley that is slightly smaller than the crank pulley with almost the correct offset, the groove spacing is about 1/8 different than the stock pulley which means that the front belt groove is about .070 too far forward and the rear groove is about .070 too far back. I have seen cars come from the factory with more misalignment than that. It is for some model of AMC. When it comes I will put it on and will follow up with the results. Assuming that it works as planned I will list the pulley number.
  18. Fan shroud, yes. I just spent a week redoing all of the radiator mounts and fan shroud. I have a 4 row aluminum radiator and a 7 blade solid hub (no clutch) fan blade. the problem is that I have a 6" crank pulley and a 7 3/4 inch pump pulley on a car that is geared so high that it is barely off idle on city streets. When the temp hit triple digits it started overheating as soon as the car quit moving, upward of 350 degrees. by putting it into neutral and bringing up the engine speed it would start cooling off, so to me that says lets speed up the fan. Less than two miles at freeway speed, 60 plus, will bring the temp down from 350 to 180 with the AC on so the problem is not cooling system capacity but air and possibly coolant flow. So considering how underdriven the water pump is in my mind it is the easiest starting point and the most logical. I had a conversation with CFV racing and they have a great selection of pulleys I just need to find something with the correct dimentions and offset. I will post the results for anyone that might have the problem in the future.
  19. The problem I am trying to fix is an overheat at slow speed. I presently have an approximately 6 inch crank pulley and a 7 3/4 inch water pump pulley. That is a pretty drastic underdrive. With the addition of A/C the problem surfaced, and before you ask I upgraded to a 4 row aluminum radiator and a 7 blade flex fan no clutch. I do not know for sure but it is entirely possible and considering the manufacturing time probable that the pump and fan speed was increased for air conditioned cars. In 100 degree weather it poses a problem. When the engine speed is increased from idle to about 1200 the engine temp starts to drop and a couple of miles at 60+ mph will drop the engine temp from 230 to 180 with A/C on. A 6" pulley would only put the water pump at crank speed which would not put it in any danger of cavitation. Obviously the cooling system is entirely capable of handling the heat load so the logical starting point is to change the underdrive on the water pump. If I am not mistaken it is the same 8 bolt water pump used on later engines that do not have the underdrive, and in some cases probably a slight overdrive. The problem is that while there are pulley kits for Pontiacs out there they are all for post '65 engines and so far I have not found anyone that can tell me if the offset on the water pump pulley would be the same. I have e mailed several people without response. Therefore I am reaching out to the community to see if anyone has traveled this path already. Interestingly enough Franks Pontiac parts does not know, i sent them the measurements of the pulley I need and they do not have anything in their stack that is the right size. I tried walking the entire yard at Pic a part only to find out that even the "old" stuff on their lot has serpentine belts. I do not think that I saw more than a dozen cars with v belts on them and nothing with a pulley even close to what I need. The search continues.
  20. Without a lengthy dissertation of why, I need to speed up the fan on my '63 Catalina. The present pulley is 7 3/4 inches two groove. The offset on the pulley is 1 3/4 from the water pump flange to the center of the first groove and 2 1/4 to the center of the second groove. Has anyone done any legwork on this? I have checked with several aftermarket suppliers and no one I have talked with has an answer. Any help wold be greatly appreciated.
  21. Check with OPG. They supply the clips for my '63 Catalina but are presently back ordered.
  22. JUSTA6, Went to OPG typed in rocker molding clips and THERE THEY ARE. Thanks so much
  23. I am finally getting around to the body work, found a lot more rust than I anticipated covered by some of the worst body work I have ever seen. Try a thin piece of galvanized sheet metal pop riveted on over a 6 inch hole in the bottom of the front fender covered by about a quarter inch of bondo. I have found a source for most of the plastic trim clips, some are for other GM products which I have successfully modified to work. The ones I am having trouble with are the metal clips for the rocker moldings. The clips on the right side are in pretty bad shape and the ones on the left side are gone completely. The genius that did the gruesome body work just put a long hanger at the top molding line that the molding hooks on to and screwed the ends down to put pressure on the hanger to keep it from popping off. I have been periodically doing google searches for molding clips and I have found most, either from aftermarket manufacturers primarily AMK or on ebay. Thus far I have not been able to locate the rocker clips. If anyone knows of a source I would appreciate a heads up.
  24. Post script to anyone that may be looking for the final answer. That answer is to buy a Robbins top. It goes on and fits right. The staple lines are in the right place and when installed according to instruction it works right.
  25. Is there anyone out there that has a 61 to 64 convertible? I just purchased a top from the convertible top guys, NOT SOMEONE i WOULD RECOMMEND. The rear window curtain is cut a couple of inches shorter than the one that came off and they are telling me that if I attach it at the silver line it will work. now if you have 15 inches from point a to point b and 13 inches of material it will not stretch no matter how you attach it to the rear trim stick. Also the listing for the second top bow is not in the right place and they are telling me that some of those tops did not have any connection to the second top bow. I have had several convertibles of both domestic and foreign manufacture and have never had one that did not have some kind of attachment at the second top bow. Without that attachment there is no way to keep the top from ballooning at highway speeds. I need to know if there is anyone out there that has seen an early 60's vintage Pontiac without an attachment to the second top bow.
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