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.

Undersealed.

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.

Grease.

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

Steering.

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.

Workbench.

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.

Notches

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.

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