Monthly Archives: July 2019

Pontiac renovations, part 21.

July has been a busy month; an early hurricane saw me climbing on the garage roof in the middle of the storm to nail down loose corrugated iron panels.

More work with orbital sander

I continued to work on the firewall of the car, removing old bubbled paint and rust.

Frame rail

I also started to clean up the X brace of the chassis, before putting the engine back in rendered access impossible. Rust converter solution, black paint, underseal then a coat of black on top to cover up the brown of the underseal.

I put some paint on the firewall to protect it, which was a marked improvement. My neighbor had offered to weld the horns to the brackets, so one afternoon this was completed.

Welded brackets

A quick coat of gloss black enamel…

Gloss black

Then a test fit to the firewall. They don’t look out of place a great deal, being a little too modern.

Horns fitted in place, with relay.

Then, with that diversion over, it was back to scraping dirt and rust.

Mostly old dirt.

This was scrubbed and painted up to try protect the metal again. It’s all in remarkably good condition for its age.

Undersealed and painted black.

With the lower sections cleaned and painted, I started on completing the firewall. It was scraped down and painted.

First paint coat.

I then masked off along the body pressing lines and coated the lower sections in rubberized underseal.


The factory had applied a similar coating to the underbody, but had left it unpainted (plus they didn’t mask, they just sprayed the stuff on from a distance at high velocity) which looked a bit ugly. Similarly I decided that I was not going to leave it like that, as I didn’t like the blue/brown contrast.

Underseal painted blue.

I painted over the top of the underseal. Looks quite acceptable now.

Inner fender apron

The driver’s side inner fender apron was looking a little worse for wear. Originally the battery was mounted hard up against the sheet metal, and years of leaking acid had taken its’ toll.

Paint removed from sheet metal.

I sanded the sheet metal down. The wrinkles look like accident damage but are in fact factory produced. The metal is a complex shape and did not shrink cleanly when it was stamped. As an internal panel this was evidently deemed acceptable.

Channeling my inner Bob Ross.

I applied rust converter solution to the panel, which dried quickly in the heat.

Semi-gloss black (still wet)

The entire panel then received a couple coats of black paint. A significant improvement.

A little bit of a hallmark day; I started to put things back onto the car. The brake pedal was reattached and the kick plate fixed into place.

Grease gun in action

I bought a decent grease gun, as the car has many greasing points that need regular attention. I started with the brake pedal hinge.

Steering box, being cleaned

I then cleaned all the old grease from the steering box with gasoline and a paintbrush.


It was then refilled with John Deere Corn Head grease, which looks like green ketchup. That was squeezed into all the bearings.


I then reassembled it all, adjusted as much slack out as I could and rejoiced at brakes AND steering. The steering box is worn and really needs the gears and plain bushings replacing but it’ll do for now.

Dimmer switch.

I then cleaned up the contacts and body of the headlight switch, and refitted it to the floor. Finally, the carpet went back down in the cabin which is a nice change.

Vent duct, rust.

I cleaned up the driver’s side fresh air vent duct, as it’s on view in the engine compartment.

Clean vent.

Who doesn’t like gloss black enamel? It gives a nice finish. That’s tidy enough to refit now.

Draining gearbox oil.

I turned my attention back to the mechanical parts. I drained the gearbox of oil, which looked a really very good color- it’s not done many miles since someone was in here last.

Removing torus bolts

The fluid coupling torus housing is in two pieces. One half forms the engine flywheel plate, and is held together with 30 bolts around the periphery of the assembly.

Gearbox, split.

I was able to put a bolt in the top of the casing and use my engine crane to separate and move the gearbox away from the engine. It is too heavy to lift manually, and as such cannot be put on my workbench. I didn’t want to work with it on the floor so built a workbench to put it on.


I lifted the side pan off to inspect a little. While fairly clean inside, all the mechanisms are under significant spring tension and I didn’t fancy undoing things before knowing the disassembly procedure. Service manual is in the mail.

Control valve and reverse gear mechanism

As such, I went looking for other things that needed to be done while I wait for the manual to arrive.

Fiberboard insulation, broken

The headlight connector blocks were in very bad shape. The insulators are made from fiberboard and hadn’t stood the test of time well.

Brown plastic

I took some brown plastic, drilled holes in it and cut it to length.


Filed the notches along the length that prevent the connectors rotating.

Then cleaned up and attached the metal connectors. Headlights, sidelights and turn signals connect to this block. Ground goes direct to the bodywork.

Attached to the car

Pleased with that result, I made a second one for the other side. Unfortunately half of the connectors are missing, so that’ll be other connectors in their place.

Passenger side connector block

This is beginning to pave the way forward to rewiring the car. Any progress is good progress.

Pontiac renovations, part 20.

Windshield defroster heater

I continued dismantling the engine compartment, from the firewall was removed the windshield defroster heater. It was disconnected when I got the car, and had shown signs of leaking.

Heater box in pieces

I spoke to a guy who rebuilds the heater valves. This one is a thermostatic Ranco valve, and it leaks around the spindle seal. The thermostatic portion of the valve was checked and is fully operational.

Heater matrix

I flushed the heater matrix out. Not much dirt came out of it, surprisingly. It is free flowing both ways and doesn’t appear to leak.

Orbital sander

I buzzed the rust and paint off the heater box with my orbital sander.

Outer clamshell

I applied rust treatment and painted the shell semi-gloss black.

Removing rust

All the screws were very rusty. They looked as though they were originally plated with chrome, but that was long gone. I sanded them down smooth in my drill.

Shiny screws

The screws were then pushed into the side of a cardboard box.

Then the screws were painted gloss black enamel.

Reassembled heater box

The heater box was then greased (spring loaded parts) and reassembled. Once the valve is rebuilt, it’ll go back onto the heater frame and be connected via hose to the rest of the system.

Horn, drilled

Someone kindly sent a pair of (mid sixties) Delco horns for the car. While they aren’t visibly the same, the tone they produce is the same. The brackets were too short and at the song angle so I drilled out the spot welds to remove the brackets.


I bought a length of bar stock of the same size as the original brackets.

Measure and mark

I measured up, marked out, drilled and filed two brackets to shape.

Horn brackets

A few holes drilled for welds and the brackets are offered up to give a visual representation.

Horns with brackets

Having filed surfaces down I decided to clean up and paint the horns. They were rubbed down with a wire brush and painted up in gloss black enamel, as per original spec.

Nice finish

I do like gloss black enamel. It produces such a wonderful result straight out of the can.

Paint scraper

Being as I was working in the firewall area, I decided to start removing old rust and paint, in order to be able to apply new.

Bare metal

I ran out of time after this photograph was taken. There’s a lot of nooks and crannies to sand, with some areas that I cannot fit the sander in. A finger sander/powerfile would be the tool of choice here.


The original written code for Starmist Blue was written on the shell. I had sanded over it but it’s etched into the metal. It’ll not be visible after paint, but it’ll be there.

Glove box badge

The glove box badge was originally all silver. However, over the years the silver has fallen off. Previous keeper had painted red over the back, which looked horrible as a lot of the silver was still present.

Brass brush

I attempted to mechanically remove the paint from the back of the badge. It did remove quite a lot but still, not enough.

Partially clean

The net result was poor. I spoke to a few people and they suggested oven cleaner. Apparently it doesn’t attack the plastic but removes the paint.


They were not wrong! All the paint came off nicely.


I dripped cream colored paint into the lettering with a piece of small gauge wire.

Lettering done

With the lettering looking tidy, I took my pillarbox red paint and converted the back side of the plastic.


Overall, very pleased with the results.

Restored badge

It looks good now. Not perfect but a lot better than it was.


Finally reattached that to the car. It needs to look nice, it can be seen from outside and the passenger has it right in front of them all the time.

Pontiac renovations, part 19.

Car, pushed outside.

I pressure washed the car and the engine compartment down, working to remove more dirt from the chassis.

Cleaner engine compartment

With that washed down, the car was parked back into the garage and left to dry.

I ended up having to buy a couple of tools. An inch-and-a-quarter socket to remove the nut from the bottom of the Pitman arm and a puller to remove the arm itself.


That allowed me to remove the rather sizeable nut holding the Pitman arm on.

Securing nut and washer

Which then allowed me to pull the Pitman arm off the cross shaft.

Pitman arm splines

With the arm removed, the cross-shaft could then be removed and checked for condition.


The ball race was a little slack but otherwise good, the plain bearings that carry the shaft are worn, and in need of replacement but for now I’m going to repack the box and come back to the problem.

Steering box lid
Steering box

I took the ball race apart to clean it up in gasoline. There’s a mix of the wrong type of grades of grease in the steering box and a lot of it had congealed badly.

Soaking in gasoline

Reassembled, tightened up a little then peened the nut. Most of the slack in the ball race is now gone.

Clean cross-shaft

Then to stop it from deteriorating, I gave the steering box lid a coat of paint.

Painted black
John Deere “corn head” grease

I bought a tube of corn head grease, a polyurea blend grease that will sag down once it’s been pushed out of the way, ideal for this application. It’s also designed to only become fluid where it’s worked. Around seals it stays very solid and doesn’t leak out so badly.

Chassis leg and brake master cylinder

I then started cleaning up the chassis leg on the driver’s side. The brakes needed looking at because pressing down on the pedal would sometimes cause it to jam, and it would always make a bad noise.

Bent fillet

The fillet plate had been installed incorrectly, was bent and fouling the brake pedal.

Rust treatment

I hammered it flat again, rubbed the rust down and applied rust converter.

Fillet painted and in place

I painted the panel up, and fixed it in place correctly.

Sounds deadening material

The original sound deadening was added back to the fillet.

All set in place

The clutch pedal blanking plate was fitted, after having been found sitting in a crook of the chassis, which looked like it had been there years. Then the top sections were added. Looking better and the pedal moved smoothly past it.

Brake pedal

Then, I took it all apart again to remove the brake pedal. The clevis pin was missing it’s R clip, and wouldn’t come out to be serviced. I ended up having to hammer it out. Repainted everything up after that.

Painted pedal

The grease point was a large glob of dirt, and upon removal, showed that it had not been greased in a long time.

Grease nipple with old grease

That was all cleaned, the operation of the nipple was checked, and everything reassembled.

R clip

I bought a new R clip for the clevis.


Finally, I finished cleaning the area and started to add some paint to the chassis.