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1951 Pontiac Chieftain - Troubleshooting gearbox

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3 hours ago, PhilA said:


Bloody hell...small world!

I think that's probably the thing about the web which has surprised me the most, the way it makes the world so much smaller.  I think stumbling across someone on four separate forums on four totally, utterly divergent subjects was my record.  Only noticed about three years in when I clicked that they used the same avatar and actually the same name, just long-hand, short-hand and one included a random number on the end for reasons unknown.

...Says me whose original YouTube username back in the dark ages was Ladanut275.  I to this day have no idea why I stuck 275 on the end as the username was available without it!  What puzzles me even more is why I didn't just use this name.  Zel took over as my online persona pretty much exclusively towards the end of 2003, so by 2005 when YouTube came along why I felt the need to cobble together some random handle I've no idea.  Without access to a time machine that shall forever remain one of life's mysteries.

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Tonight, I decided to strike one thing off the to do list.

The rear right glass now winds down but with the lower stop missing the mechanism would fall out the end of the upper runner and the window would jam in the fully down position. I didn't have enough metal to make a closing panel with a stop, so I decided to improvise.


Started with a piece of flat steel bar. Marked and cut it to size, with a 9/16" hole in.



You can see my line of thought here against the upper runner.



Slots in and pops over the mounting point, braced with strength.



Filed down a little and using a longer bolt that went further through, a washer and nut do up onto the other side and lock it in place.

Now the window winds all the way down but doesn't get stuck at the bottom.

Gonna put that door back together tomorrow, that leaves the driver's door to finish.



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Tonight, I pulled the driver's side door glass. For what it's worth, glued the chunk that recently fell out back in.


I found a very rusty sash channel in the bottom of the rear right door. It still had the rubber in so I cleaned that up and replaced the wire insulation and fitted the sash channel, which gripped nicely.


This is a replacement glass. Little wonder it got caught, look how straight* it was cut.


I cut a length of metal and applied marine pu sealant to the back.


Got that clamped in place to set overnight.



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Fitted the window back in, the modified runner works well enough for now; got the handles and door card back on and secure. The bottom of the door card is bad but eh. The door closes with a nice clunk now, no rattles.


Some firsts today too. First time all the doors function correctly and all work as they are meant to (99%).

Also, I have locked all the doors with the key and have secured the car for the first time since I've owned it. 

Not too bad




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Vacuumed the car out tonight, adjusted the dome light cover so it clips on properly and cleaned the glass.


It's actually getting towards being presentable.

Just needs the grille fixing on securely, a couple of rubber fuel lines replacing that I don't trust, the exhaust and intake gaskets replacing, rear manifold stud, the heat riser gasket replacing, new fan belt, alternator bracket fitting with nylocs, battery relocating, coolant change, oil change and brakes redoing.

Then it's good enough to put on the highway.


Hatches are battened down for now, tomorrow gonna be windy.


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38 minutes ago, paulplom said:

Is there an equivalent mot required for it?

Yup. It's gotta be tested.

In this state, any vehicle to be used on the highway must be inspected for safety annually (or biannually with a more rigorous test). Exemptions to that are things like farm machinery, ATV's and exempt antique vehicles.

I cannot register this as antique- there are stipulations and criteria it does not meet, so it's tested and treated as any other road vehicle when it comes to that.



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Storm has gone to the east of us, a bit like one of those movie scenes where the person flinches, then opens one eye and sees whatever was going to hit them didn't.

However, the storm is currently smashing into the town that holds Cruisin' The Coast, great.


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Okay, so: The List.

Rebuild brakes
Replace rubber fuel lines (*)
Replace intake and exhaust manifold gaskets
Replace heat riser gasket
Windshield defog tube (*)
Refit glove box (defog tube first)
Rewire battery to trunk (*)
Manifold stud (*)
Crank breather tube (*)
Air filter needs oil
Coolant change
Fill screen wash
Oil change
Rear axle oil (*)
Grease everything again (*)

That's everything between now and putting it on the road. There's more, but that's the prep list.


(*) - Item that I don't have in stock

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21 minutes ago, Mr Pastry said:

Phil, what is the attitude of the general public and garages in the US to "old cars" - for want of a better term?

It's certainly a bit different to the UK. A new vehicle here doesn't depreciate like the ski-slope drop in the UK; it's a lot more level. My 13 year old truck sold, at a dealership in P/X for $7500; a running, driving vehicle represents an expensive investment in a lot of cases.

Sunset on a lof of vehicles here is approaching 18-20 years old, that's where the "beaters" exist, the autoshite. Generally by then the cars have been driven into the ground- there's a lot of "got problems, don't run, haul it away for cheap" adverts going on for cars that vintage. Past 25 years old, a car is considered antique and the value begins to creep up.

Garages will take on most cars here without too much prejudice though the cost of repairs often outweighs the value of the vehicle after about 15 years. Between then and 30 years is the low malaise point for a lot of cars, after that people start being willing to fork out money to get a "classic" going again, and it goes up from there.

My Pontiac, as an old heap, gets a lot of positive reaction from anyone who sees it. There's not a lot of snobbery over older cars, in general people are happy to see something older than them being driven about and are genuinely interested by it, or have the standard "grandpa/father/uncle/friend had one of these but it was an Oldsmobile" attitude.

I am tempted to bring this one to the GM dealer in town and let them puzzle over servicing it...



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18 minutes ago, PhilA said:

am tempted to bring this one to the GM dealer in town and let them puzzle over servicing it...


Do it, I bet they will scratch their heads then ring some retired employee to come and sort it. Unlike the UK, where the scratching the heads involves working out how many thousands they can screw you for because they cannot plug it into a computer that tells them what to do.

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10 minutes ago, busmansholiday said:

Do it, I bet they will scratch their heads then ring some retired employee to come and sort it. Unlike the UK, where the scratching the heads involves working out how many thousands they can screw you for because they cannot plug it into a computer that tells them what to do.

I just want to see if they would put down oil change $, new filter $, air cleaner element $ and a whole bunch of things it doesn't have...

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Familiar sight again today. Pulled the wheel and brake drum off the passenger side front.



Removed the old flexi, fixed the mounting bracket, got the new cylinder in. Old one was leaking. 



Got everything back together, checked clearances. All good. Going to move on to the other side tomorrow if time allows.



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I ran new hard line from the master cylinder to the front left, front to rear and rear to left.


Bent pipes to shape and flared them.


Cleaned up the rear tee, it was a wad of gunge.


Rear shoes looked fairly new but were falling apart.


Stripped it all down. The bias adjuster at the top there took an eight foot breaker bar and my foot to shift. Beaten with hammers it finally came out.


Cleaned and greased up. That hadn't been adjusted in.. forever.

Forgot to take a photo with it all back together, but it's now in.



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I've taken today and Thursday off work, mostly because I need a bit of a break and partly because the weather's fairly cool right now and taking advantage of that in the garage is well recieved.

The ground is beginning to dry out a little (not going to last, more rain due for the weekend), there's a slight break in the clouds right now which suggests today will turn warm but I want to try finish the brakes and move on to a few servicing items if I can.



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