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1951 Pontiac Chieftain


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Nope, not an IMA.

This is belt drive. The alternator is thrown in the bin and a big motor is bolted on in place, with a big fat belt.


There's a 48V battery pack behind the rear seat and it dumps the juice in when you need more get up and go.

It's how they got the towing weight to 12,760 lbs (5783 kg/ 6.3 ton).

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9 hours ago, hairnet said:

if only gas was 5 bucks a gallon here


Ive driven Range Rover classics that do single figures and I’m sure I had my 24v senator on single figures. 

7 hours ago, PhilA said:

It's the 5.7 V8 with the semi hybrid electric motor for additional torque. "eTorque". 

Cruising at 70 it'll do UK 25-27 mpg.

Ecoboost is a V6, same size as in the car beside it...

As above, I’ve had worse! 

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8 minutes ago, sutty2006 said:

Ive driven Range Rover classics that do single figures and I’m sure I had my 24v senator on single figures. 

As above, I’ve had worse! 

I once achieved 8 mpg driving the 8 miles to the M58 at Ormskirk in a V6 omega hire car.  Achieved 22 mpg in the week I had it. Someone else paying the fuel. 

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In slightly more positive news, a box arrived today.


Contents: One analog computer, from a Cadillac.

It's filthy, covered in gunky old type A fluid. It smells like dead whales.


Got it partway stripped down. Everything's jammed up solid. I just hope the old oil hasn't been holding water in place.

Tonight, I bought a can of Berryman Chem-Dip. Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be pleasant so I'll take that outside and put the smaller pieces in and let them soak.


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Fitted the valve block.

It has fixed two of the three problems.

One, it no longer crunches into reverse when hot.

Two, it doesn't shudder in top gear, I think two gears were partially engaging at once.

The 1-2 shift doesn't, but now if I press hard on the gas pedal it'll change up, meaning the compensator pressure is helping make the servo move. I think the front band servo is physically getting stuck. I think I can drop that out without having to remove the transmission.



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The radio hadn't been playing very well, so I wrangled it out from behind the dash. It's been sat there since 2020; eight months sitting up seems to have not done it any favors.


Turns out to have been the fader switch, which got a good clean. While I was at it, I decided to redo the alignment.


For you radio buffs, minus the 1.000MHz frequency tuned in, that's an odd IF by today's standards (260kHz).


Tweaked it up a touch better. Reception was good before, it's improved now, particularly during the day.


Then, on to tiny clockwork. 


The clock had been losing time, so I pulled the escapement apart and cleaned it, and re-oiled it.


It then got balanced on the oscilloscope so the clockwise and anticlockwise electric contacts are even.

Hopefully that'll keep time.



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The time was five minutes fast today.


Dialed it back a half turn on the adjustment. I forget what a full turn is supposed to do (minutes/day, the book does say) so we'll see where it's at tonight.


Also added an 8.2kOhm resistance to an ice blue LED to dim it down a touch. Fitted it to the vacuum gauge and now all the lights look about the same brightness.



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  • 4 weeks later...

@PhilA - you seem to be able to handle everything on that car, I enjoy your posts. I also have a theory that you're so good at car stuff that you're hopelessly useless at everything else in life, walking round in rags, being spoonfed beans asking what your own name is because you forgot. ;)

Keep up the good work. 

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1 hour ago, motorpunk said:

@PhilA - you seem to be able to handle everything on that car, I enjoy your posts. I also have a theory that you're so good at car stuff that you're hopelessly useless at everything else in life, walking round in rags, being spoonfed beans asking what your own name is because you forgot. ;)

Keep up the good work. 

unfortunately the bastid seems good at other shit as well🤣

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  • 3 weeks later...

Took the bloody thing apart twice in as many days.


First time to clean out the governor, which did admittedly help smooth things out a touch.


Next up involved this diagram because looking at the witness left behind on the gearbox case of the valve block, I was unsure it wasn't leaking between passages;


Red area highlights where it appears to not be seating well, leaving a potential leak path between the two holes, which are governor pressure and compensator.


So, I made a gasket.


Sadly, I know by heart the tools I need to pull the valve block off by heart now.


Gasket was applied and it does make an improvement so that's a bonus. However it still does the same thing so really the only thing left is where the oil remains static and gets hot inside the valve block, becoming less useful and leaking out when pressure is applied.

I think instead of the SAE 10 weight Dexron oil I'm going to use TO-4 hydraulic oil (as used in Allison transmissions and various heavy duty applications) in SAE 30 flavor and see how it fares.

It might just get 30W engine oil as a test first because it's a heck of a lot cheaper...

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