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A greenhands 1954 Pathfinder thread


I figure this might be a good place to show off and ask for help. I got into this crazy deal after thinking I could build a "ratrod" - you know; make a drawing, find the parts for free or cheap, and put it together with a crescent wrench and some tack welds. 
I joined some local groups and went to some shows/swaps before I found a local rodder who put my head on straight. "Buy something running and make it better". 
So I bought the 1954 Pathfinder. Flat 6, powerglide, 3" blocked drop, rattlecan black paint, and nearly no rust.

The powerglide had a cracked servo cover and was pissing fluid, so it did not move, but the flat 6 purred. Bought it last summer with a parts car.
I trailered it to the shop (detailing NOT mechanic) I work at - had a spot in the back.

Found a servo cover through Northwest Parts for cheap. Put it on and...nothing.

Rolling wheels but no power. Busy shop and less time inside. Then winter. Then the shop moved and the car had to find a new home. Thats when I almost sold her. I live in an apartment and could not find a garage for rent for less than $300! Found a free garage, found some manuals, found some experienced guys, and here we are.

The car has a 53 powerglide (sans pan). The torque converter and trans are full. No damage, no missing parts. No serious leaks.
I have determined that the piston rod connecting to the forward band adjustment is not connected, or has fallen into the pan (due to my servo cover replacement). Now I need to A) open the servo and fish out the rod and position it properly, or B) yank the trans and take it apart.

I am refurbishing the vacuum drive for the wipers, cleaning and coating the gas tank, and trying to remove the radio for inspection and repair.

I have been to chavytalk for powerglide advoce, and spend most of my forum time on Vintagerods, but I will keep this board posted.

Any Calgarians are welcome to email me and come over for a beer.



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1954 Pathfinder - 239 Flathead 6 & powerglide.



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Cool car. If I were you I'd post your trans issues on Jalopy Journal. When I bought my 54 Chevy the manual trans was destroyed. Several members on Jalopy Journal offered me transmissions for next to nothing. I ended up buying a good one from a fellow in Michigan for $25! It worked great! Maybe someone on here as a PG kicking around they could donate to the cause.

Todd


-- Edited by 69Laurentian at 06:01, 2009-03-05

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Welcome aboard who put you head on strait Rod. I use to be on there quite a lot but this forum is better suited for me.

-- Edited by 57poncho at 07:56, 2009-03-05

-- Edited by 57poncho at 21:31, 2009-03-05

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1957 Pathfinder deluxe 4 door wagon
1961 Pontiac Parisienne bubble top Traded for a Harley sorry guys.

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2009 Pontiac Montana SV6

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I think I still have the PG from my car and if you want it, it's yours...(may cost you a coffee).wink  It was working fine at the time it was removed but had some leaks.  Has a low stall torque also and has been sitting for about 1-1/2 years.  I will find out if it is still at a friend's shop in Calgary.    I may have a new modulator valve for it as well...somewhere.

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I think if another PG is not available ( maybe from member), you should look at the oil pressure before disassembly anything. It will be useful to have those reading.

Fitz.

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Thanks for the interest, and the offer 1965CS - I will might take you up on it - how about a box of beer?
The 'head straightener', was none other than the tireless moderator, Rod (my name is Cody FYI).
I am waiting for the garage to get closer to zero before I do much more, but pressure will be #1.
I will check out Jalopy Journal too - if for nothing else then the help.

I love the cold, but I am very anxious for a warmer garage!
Cheers,
Cody



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1954 Pathfinder - 239 Flathead 6 & powerglide.



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I checked and it is still there, just let me know when you want it. smile



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Do you know what year it is? Does it have a pan? PNDLR?
Thanks. I have one last potential fix. But I might take you up on it just t have the spare - how do you like your coffee?
-C


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Update:
Got her up on jackstands and started on short things like wipers, lamps, brakes, and scraping the old crud off of ...everything. Got a lot done working an hour or two at a time before my feet were frozen stiff.

Found a heater (WOW!!!), and pulled the servo cover. I was hoping the problem would be obvious. I had talked to a local PG mechanic who suggested that the servo piston was not replaced properly - that it had missed the band adjuster and is now not engaging the forward gears. It sounded right, but I forgot that the pistons did not move when I first pulled the old servo cover to replace it. So my solution it was not. I pulled some sludge out of the pressure ports and might have found a loose item inside (between the servos), although it could be a valve.

Servo will go back on, fluid back in, and pressure will be taken again. I cannot get access to the left hand side pressure ports - and to drill the pan would put a hole where my heel would go for the go-fast pedal.

If there is no drastic change/miracle its back to squear one for diagnosis and I think pulling it will be the only way to get a decent idea of how this thing works. So, I will be taking 1965CS up on his offer for a spare and switching them up.

This is where having an 350/350 setup would be easy-peasy. Finding info on PGs and guys who are willing to talk about them to a greenhand like me is like finding an Edmunds Poncho inline six 2x2 intake...not easy or cheap.
But how satisfying would it be to do it the easy way? hahah. Leave that to the civics and mustangs.



-- Edited by Roughshod Rod on Sunday 5th of April 2009 02:46:54 AM

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I know what you are going through. I had some questions about the 4 speed Hydramatic that was in my 1960 Catalina. You really have to talk loud to the guys who worked on them as they have a hard time hearing you through their caskets! biggrin


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Don't give up, your pressure reading will put you on the best way to find your trouble.

In those PG, there is 2 pump. The front one work in reverse and neutral. The rear one work for the the front mouvement.

How can you know if the rear pump work if you don't take pressure test? Don't give up again...

Check my thread I will dissamble mine for a overall, it will help you.

have a nice day

Fitz.

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No giving up in these hands. Just another wrench-shaped dent in my toolbox.
Thanks for the words - beers on me.

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1954 Pathfinder - 239 Flathead 6 & powerglide.



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So.
I got the PG from 1965CS; a 60's alum. PG. Drove home with crossed fingers, hoping the bells would match.

Nope.

Oh, well. I like having spare parts - I have so few (give me time).

I put everything back together (pressure ports, band adjuster, servo cover, and lines), and filled her up again.
The pressure ports had a couple inches of sludge blocking them - probably why my initial pressure readings were zip.
Battery was dead, so tomorrow I will take pressure and mess some more with the band adjuster.

Spent the rest of the night eating chicken and drinking beer, listening to AM1060 and polishing every piece of chrome I could find. Put the wiper-servo back on and tried to take the dash clock and radio apart - but could not get them out from the dash.

If tomorrows work does not give me anything - the trans comes out and goes to a shop for testing and a fix.

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1954 Pathfinder - 239 Flathead 6 & powerglide.



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Have fun with the clock and radio ;) been there done that.. sometimes bringing it to the guys who work on them every day is a good invesment. There are some things best left to those who know best. Its knowing best when its time to do that to keep your sanity and stay within the range of tools and time that is available to you. I know money is allways in the back of the mind but sometimes to move forward you need to but some of that into your build. And let others take part in the build and gain good connections as to who to come back to or fall back on when things go wrong. Enjoy Its all part of the proccess. Looks like your on a big learning curve right now. In good time you will have one of the nicest 54's out there, keep at it.

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Hey Cody,

for the clock, you have to remove allen screw (2 i think, they are around the clock bezel, from under, you can't not see it without look under) and turn 3 or 5 degree your clock (left or right, I don't remember) to unlock her from the bezel, and pull.

Fitz.

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Cody,

you are hard to follow on 2 forum for your transmission problem...smile

 

Fitz.



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Thanks Fitz.
What is the other forum I have a thread you read?
I post my questions on a lot of different sites - I am only now reducing the number. Its hard to find one with all the best answers - although this one is nearly the best. Certainly the least amount of BS and chat.
Maybe I will make this one my permanent 'home'.
Thanks for the help. More to come tomorrow - I am now off to the garage again.
-C

-- Edited by Roughshod Rod on Sunday 12th of April 2009 03:18:34 PM

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1954 Pathfinder - 239 Flathead 6 & powerglide.



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it is Ct.

I leave you a response. On CT forum, there is too much opinion. And for me you have  the pressure test made before guessing anything.

But you know, made what you want, and how you want, it is your car. 

did you watch my trhead about my transmission here?

With time, I found we are less here, but we talk about Canadian Pontiac, special car for special people...biggrinbiggrinbiggrin

On CT I'm Chevyac. I put picture too on my "53 frame off project" about the transmission.

happy easter

Fitz. 

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Pressure testing today hopefully.
Happy Easter. I will check up on your threads - they are awesome!

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SO anything new to report?


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ya... what your pressure reading?????

Fitz.



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The pressure tests gave me nothing reliable. That was almost a month ago (exams and moving since then). I am pulling the trans and taking it to a shop to be repaired. I am trading the bumper insert from my parts car to a mechanic who can fix it.
Summer sees me working 6-7 days a week, and we are painting/fixing the new place, so it might take me a couple weeks to get the trans out.

While I was "studying for exams" in the chilly garage I was able to fix the vacuum servo and control for the wipers, replace the wiper blades for $2 (instead of $50), clean the gas tank, start on the brakes/radio/clock, and clean up the trunk.

Been trying to find replacement powerglides, but they are either race-built, broken, expensive, or all three.

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Found a '52 CIPG for sale, "might run". Guy wanted $500, declared it was not worth less than $400. Not sure where that info comes from. But I told him where to go.
Found a rebuilt '54 CIPG ("runs for sure" AND has a pan and better design). Guy asked $90. I gave him that plus beer and he gave me a $30 vintage manual too. He even offered to help me load the 300Lb beast!

Now to get to the garage...

To those with PG/flathead experience: How hard is the switch? I have ALL the manuals, and I will pay attention while removing the current one. I that good enough? I have never pulled/switched a trans. So long as everything is noted and replaced properly, will it go smoothly?

Cheers,
C

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1954 Pathfinder - 239 Flathead 6 & powerglide.



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You shouldn't have too much trouble. Just make sure all lines up and don't force things on.

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An update soon.
What is the torque specs for the spark plugs?
Getting close...

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1954 Pathfinder - 239 Flathead 6 & powerglide.

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