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Post Info TOPIC: 1964 Parisienne Safari


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RE: 1964 Parisienne Safari


4SPEED427 wrote:

The worst ones I've seen have been in dollar stores! If you've never seen those, take a look sometime. About 1\2 the thickness of sheetmetal on a late model economy car. I would never trust one of those for fuel or oil. 


 Those dollar store clamps are made out of pop cans I swear.  Arts-and-crafts grade only.



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My 64 Safari build



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I'm not quite ready to buy new rims and tires, but since the current set is totally dry-rotted and leaking, I needed to find something cheap to put on the snowflake rims for now.

I found a used set of 215/70R15s in really good shape. They were off 2004 Montana, so they have "Pontiac history".

I will miss the whitewalls a little.

Wagon60.jpg


Up next is a wheel alignment. In the past I've had pretty good results using the string method, so I'll get things inside the ballpark for now.

Wagon61.jpg


Lots of conflicting information out there about alignment specs. I've read several posts about the camber adjustment to use anywhere between 0° and 0.6°, and if you have radial tires, add 1°.

I went with 1/16" toe-in and 0.9° camber.

I feel this might be a hot topic, but what do you folks recommend for specs?


Wagon62.jpg

Wagon63.jpg



-- Edited by ZigZag on Wednesday 1st of March 2023 08:01:49 PM

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My 64 Safari build



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Looking back at my last post, I'll likely dial back that camber angle after I found some new information about alignments.

Anyway, I've been chasing down electrical issues lately, so nothing real exciting to report. As expected, everything needs work. Most of the lights don't work, the turn signal switch only blinks left when you hold the arm in a certain position, the top headlights only come on when the high beam switch is toggled, and the wipers don't work. However, the blower motor works, which is a bonus because that looks like a real pain to replace. I'm sure I'll find more issues as I dig in.

First up: the signal lights. The steering wheel has a bit of a wobble at the shifter collar joint, so I'll see what's up with that while I'm in there.

The electrical connectors are a bit melted, and some of the wires are stripped. I have a couple guesses on what happened here.

Wagon64.jpg

Wagon65.jpg



I pulled the switch apart to check the connections, and sure enough, they were bent and gummed up. Tested continuity, and not much was making a connection.

Wagon66.jpg



I pulled the copper contacts, cleaned them up and spent some quality time reshaping them so they have the right tension to close the circuit when bent, but don't deform after a stress test of "angry signaling".

Cleaned off the grime and gave all the touch points some lithium grease. Re-greased the center bearing, and it's ready to go back in.

Wagon67.jpg



As for the wobble in the steering wheel, it appears there is a washer/spacer missing between the turn signal housing and the column shifter. I modified a large washer to fit, which took away some of the wobble. It's not perfect, but it'll do for now.

I'm also missing the little orange gear indicator arrow, so I'll fab up something later and use some leftover orange paint from the engine.

Wagon68.jpg




Everything is back together and the turn signals are working great. I even got the horn working! 

After chasing down some bad grounds and dead bulbs, all the dash lights are working again.

Now for the headlight issues. The dash switch and floor dimmer switch checked out, so maybe some corrosion in the bulkhead connector was the culprit. Spent some quality time cleaning up the gunk and corrosion, but it didn't fix the issue. 


Wagon78.jpg




The problem turned out to be pretty simple. I guess the low beam bulbs were burnt out, and the previous owner moved the high beam bulbs to the top sockets and switched the plugs around. I bought a couple new low beam bulbs, swapped everything back and all headlights work like they should again.

Wagon79.jpg





Next up, the wipers. I hear a tiny click when I turn on the switch, but nothing else. The switch and wiring test good, so it looks like the motor is dead.

I pulled the motor and took the case apart. As expected, the nearly 60 year old grease has turned to gum and everything was seized up. 


Wagon69.jpg




After swabbing it all out, a good cleaning and liberal amounts of white lithium grease was applied, it came back to life. Both speeds and the park mechanism works great.

Wagon70.jpg




The motor's firewall gasket had disintegrated, so instead of spending $40 on a replacement, I fashioned a new one out of some leftover craps of rubber flooring.

Wagon71.jpg

Wagon72.jpg




Finished the cleanup and paint. Picked up a Dorman washer fluid pump rebuilt kit, but no matter what I tried I couldn't get it to pump reliably. Perhaps the rubber diaphragm inside is cracked. I'll just find a 12V pump instead.

Wagon73.jpg




The motor is reinstalled and the wipers are working great.

Wagon74.jpg




Fun fact: if you're missing your washer fluid reservoir, a Costso Kirkland cashew container fits perfectly in the holster.

Wagon75.jpg




Actually, I opted to use a washer fluid reservoir and pump from a 74 Nova, mainly because I also can't find an inexpensive factory-style replacement reservoir.

Wagon76.jpg




After fiddling with the position of the jets, all wiper functions have been restored. Gave the windshield a good cleaning and installed new stainless trimmed wipers.

Wagon77.jpg




I switched to addressing a couple of fluid leaks, mainly because the trans suddenly barfed fluid everywhere. I guess if you don't run your PowerGlide for a couple weeks, it has the potential to "burp" out fluid. Apparently, the torque converter will eventually leak fluid past the seal and overfill the trans. I replaced the rear yolk seal and dipstick tube o-ring because they needed it anyway.

While I was under there, I figured I'd get the park brake working. I stripped all the hardware out, freshened everything up, adjusted and tested. The brakes are now 100% done.

Wagon80.jpg




The last leak to deal with underneath was the pinion seal. When I popped out the old seal, the gear oil that leaked out was surprisingly clean. This could mean a couple of things, but I'll take it as a good sign.

Wagon81.jpg




I did the usual markings to note the pinion bearing preload, so everything is back together and oiled up, so it should be all good.

Wagon82.jpg




Maybe now my garage floor will finally be spared of fluid leaks. Ha! smile  

Next up: the reverse lights. This should be a simple task, right?... Of course not!

It opened a can of worms, which brought out a few challenges. I'll post more about this adventure as soon as I make more progress... 



-- Edited by ZigZag on Thursday 23rd of March 2023 06:22:51 PM

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My 64 Safari build



A Poncho Legend!

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"so nothing real exciting to report. "

Wow, are you kidding? Excellent progress and great detail on what you've done. That will be excellent resource material, especially with all your pictures. Thanks for your updates. 



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1966 Strato Chief 2 door, 427 4 speed, 45,000 original miles 

1966 Grande Parisienne, 396 1 of 23 factory air cars (now converted to a "factory" 4 speed)



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Let us know when you get some real work done

Youre doing a great job of figuring all these things out. The powerglide is is noted for being a leaker when old and unused for a long time. Ive cured all of mine by adding a clutch pedal.

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63 Parisienne sport coupe (The Big GTO), black, maroon interior, 409 4 speed; former owner of a 59 El Camino, 63 Corvette SWC, 62 Chev Bel Air SC.
1963- Pontiac top selling car in Canada

Mahone Bay, NS Still not old enough to need an automatic



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DonSSDD wrote:

 The powerglide is is noted for being a leaker when old and unused for a long time. Ive cured all of mine by adding a clutch pedal.


 Best solution ever!



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1966 Strato Chief 2 door, 427 4 speed, 45,000 original miles 

1966 Grande Parisienne, 396 1 of 23 factory air cars (now converted to a "factory" 4 speed)



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You are certainly moving the project along. Nice car the 64 wagon. 



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Thanks everyone!

DonSSDD wrote:

Let us know when you get some real work done

Youre doing a great job of figuring all these things out. The powerglide is is noted for being a leaker when old and unused for a long time. Ive cured all of mine by adding a clutch pedal.


Sounds like a great idea.  Let me know if if have any spares kicking around. biggrin



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Easy job, had a spare pedal but sold it. 63 and 64 are the same, pretty sure available aftermarket too.

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63 Parisienne sport coupe (The Big GTO), black, maroon interior, 409 4 speed; former owner of a 59 El Camino, 63 Corvette SWC, 62 Chev Bel Air SC.
1963- Pontiac top selling car in Canada

Mahone Bay, NS Still not old enough to need an automatic



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DonSSDD wrote:

Easy job, had a spare pedal but sold it. 63 and 64 are the same, pretty sure available aftermarket too.


 http://www.bruneauperformance.ca/my1963parisiennesafari409.html



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63 Parisienne sport coupe (The Big GTO), black, maroon interior, 409 4 speed; former owner of a 59 El Camino, 63 Corvette SWC, 62 Chev Bel Air SC.
1963- Pontiac top selling car in Canada

Mahone Bay, NS Still not old enough to need an automatic



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Next is the reverse lights. I guess they were an option back in 1964, because the rear bumper just has delete plates. I found a set on eBay in good condition, but they needed lens gaskets and socket pin contacts. A little fab work did the trick. I also got some bright LED bulbs to try out.

Wagon83.jpg

 



The lights didn't come with mounting brackets, so I made a couple that should work. I got the driver's side in, but it looks like I'll have to remove the bumper to get the passenger side light in because there's no room to get in behind with the spare tire well extending out.

Wagon84.jpg

 



I had to rebuild the neutral safety switch to get switched power to the reverse lights, but they're working now - well, the driver's side is anyway. The LEDs are nice and bright, but I'm having second thoughts about using them.

Wagon85.jpg

 



Taking off the bumper was a challenge. The trailer hitch is made from angle iron and bolted to the bumper in the center. It's blocking access to a couple of bolts, so it'll have to come off first.

Wagon86.jpg

 



Upon closer inspection, it's welded to the bumper brackets AND the frame in 2 spots. Great.

Wagon87.jpg

 



After 2 grinding discs, a couple blooded knuckles and goose egg from a flying wrench, the bumper is finally off.

Wagon88.jpg

 



This revealed the problem why the tailgate was loose and clunky - both hinges bolts were sheared off. So, the reverse lights will have to wait.

Wagon89.jpg

 



The pins are seized in there good. Even "Mr. Bernz" couldn't get them out, so I'll have to remove the tailgate and remove the hinges off the body to work on them on the bench or drill them out.

Wagon90.jpg

Wagon91.jpg

Wagon91b.jpg

 



Have you ever blown compressed air in a spot on a car, and endless amounts of dirt comes out? There must be 5 pounds of dirt on the floor after hitting these hinges, and I'm sure there's still more in there.

Wagon92.jpg

 



Sometimes you don't need a bigger hammer - you just need something more solid behind it. The pins are out after some brute force.

Wagon93.jpg

 



The pin and bushing appear to be special for the wagon, so I'll see if I can find a regular door pin and bushing kit that can me modified to work.

Wagon94.jpg

 



I found a Dorman hinge repair kit from Canadian Tire that I was able to modify and shorten to fit. The pins are held in by the torsion spring from the other side, so this setup should do the trick until/if I find the proper hinge pins.

Wagon95.jpg

 



The tailgate is reinstalled, and it opens and closes like a champ. The door latches were adjusted and it closes nicely.

Wagon96.jpg

 



Since I'm distracted with tailgate issues, I might was well pull out the window regulator out and assess the damage. The window will not roll up or down when you crank it, and the glass could be manually lifted up or down with little resistance. I know there are teeth stripped, so I'll see how bad it is.

Wagon97.jpg

Wagon98.jpg

 



At a first glance, it looked like the teeth on the arms were all worn down, but after taking a wire brush to knock off the grime buildup, the teeth are in pretty good shape and there's only one bad spot.

Wagon99.jpg

 



To get at the crank gear, I ground out 3 rivet bolts to remove the plate. I thought the crank gear made contact with the teeth on both arms, but it turns out it only drives one side and the arms mesh together.

Wagon100.jpg

 



At a quick glance, it was obvious what the problem was. The crank gear has all it's teeth worn down in the center.

Wagon101.jpg

 



I figured the regulator was toast and unrepairable, so I posted a message in the Parts Wanted section. Mark and Dave responded saying that welding the teeth and filing them down is an option that has proven to work.

Since I have nothing to lose at this point, I figured I'd give it a shot.

The gear is mounted to a plate, which popped out after the arms are cleared. I cleaned it up good to prepare for the welds.

Wagon102.jpg

 



I applied tacks in the center of each tooth to build them up.

Wagon103.jpg

 



I used a Dremel and a couple of burr and filing bits to re-shape the teeth. Pretty sure I don't need watchmaker's precision here, so close should be good enough.

Wagon104.jpg

 



Same was done for the teeth on the arm. I used a grinder to file down the sides, and the Dremel for the finish work. Before and after:

Wagon105.jpg

 



Looks like they mesh up nicely. I bolted it back together and cranked it through a few cycles. It looks like it'll work!

Wagon106.jpg

 



Gave everything a good slathering of lithium grease. The bolt rivets were replaced with bolts and nuts to make it easier to service.

Wagon107.jpg

 



The regulator was reinstalled, and it works great! There's a bit of a shudder when it lowers, but it raises smoothly and the glass snugs up tight.

 



I'm not exactly sure how to adjust the torsion springs to get them to relax a little, but I might pull one of the 4 springs so the gate will lay flat when it's down. Otherwise, I don't mind a little bounce and the one-finger closing.

I'll need to find a lock cylinder for the crank, some weather stripping and maybe make a proper door card, but that's for another day.

Before I put the bumper back on, I cleaned up the wiring since it was all loose and dangling. I removed the wiring that was spliced in for the trailer lights, fixed the stripped wires, re-wrapped everything and taped it to the body anchor points.

Wagon108.jpg

 



The bumper is back on, with the reverse lights installed and functional.

Wagon109.jpg

 



The license plate light is the last one to address in the rear. I modified one from a 74 Nova, and I made some brackets out of some galvanized straps.

Wagon110.jpg

Wagon111.jpg

 



I could easily spend another month fixing and straightening bits on the rear end, but I'll try to steer my focus to a few other important things that need attention.

There's good weather in the forecast, which means all the snow that's blocking me in will be gone soon, and it'll finally be time for a test drive.

Stay tuned to see where the squirrels take me in my next update...



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Great update! Fantastic what you did to get the rear window regulator working again.

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ZigZag wrote:

I'm not quite ready to buy new rims and tires, but since the current set is totally dry-rotted and leaking, I needed to find something cheap to put on the snowflake rims for now.

I found a used set of 215/70R15s in really good shape. They were off 2004 Montana, so they have "Pontiac history".

I will miss the whitewalls a little.

Wagon60.jpg


Up next is a wheel alignment. In the past I've had pretty good results using the string method, so I'll get things inside the ballpark for now.

Wagon61.jpg


Lots of conflicting information out there about alignment specs. I've read several posts about the camber adjustment to use anywhere between 0° and 0.6°, and if you have radial tires, add 1°.

I went with 1/16" toe-in and 0.9° camber.

I feel this might be a hot topic, but what do you folks recommend for specs?


Wagon62.jpg

Wagon63.jpg



-- Edited by ZigZag on Wednesday 1st of March 2023 08:01:49 PM


 Sorry for chiming in so late - I have been going nuts on my '86 Caprice project. We had lots of fun trying to get the specs right on our 64 Parisienne safari and in the end we copied the alignments specs from and 86 Caprice Estate wagon and it drives like a dream ever since.

Great work by the way! Nice to see another one saved



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Just my two cents. .9 degrees is a little bit high for radial tires as I believe that you will find that you will have outside tire edge wear. I would recommend .25 to.50 max. with radial tires. No more than 1/16th to 1/8th total overall toe in and as much caster as you can get for directional road stability with up to 1/2 degree more on the right side for road crown. Retired auto tech. with 40 plus years of Alignment experience at G.M. Dealerships. Cheers Don.

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Urban_suburban wrote:

 Sorry for chiming in so late - I have been going nuts on my '86 Caprice project. We had lots of fun trying to get the specs right on our 64 Parisienne safari and in the end we copied the alignments specs from and 86 Caprice Estate wagon and it drives like a dream ever since.

Great work by the way! Nice to see another one saved


 
Thanks! Good luck on your Caprice project. Send a link if you're posting updates somewhere, I love to see the progress.

 

68 Beau Second Time wrote:

Just my two cents. .9 degrees is a little bit high for radial tires as I believe that you will find that you will have outside tire edge wear. I would recommend .25 to.50 max. with radial tires. No more than 1/16th to 1/8th total overall toe in and as much caster as you can get for directional road stability with up to 1/2 degree more on the right side for road crown. Retired auto tech. with 40 plus years of Alignment experience at G.M. Dealerships. Cheers Don.



Excellent! Thanks for the advice and specs Don. I had dialed it back to 0.5°, but I might go back further and also compensate for the road crown as you suggested.



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Winter is finally starting to break around here, so I've got a couple more things to do before it hits the road.

To keep things legal, the purple tint has to be removed from the front windows. I'll eventually replace the rest of it with something less purple and dark, but it'll stay on for now to provide some privacy.

Peeling it off is easy, but removing the glue on the glass was a mess. Ah, and sounds and smells brings back memories...





It's time to stop procrastinating about doing the heater core and get it done. I've done a few in my days, and it's always been a full day's work or more to pull out the dash to get at it.

Not the case here! 5 nuts removed from the engine bay side, and the box pops out from under the dash. I didn't even have to remove the cables or wiring.

The old core was supported by some chunks of ceiling tile and fiberglass insulation, so probably not the factory original. Good thing the new one I have will be a perfect fit.

Wagon112.jpg




Nope. The width is correct, the the length is 2" short. I bought it 12 years ago, so returning it is not an option. At least the outlets are in the right position, so it should still work if I find something to fill and support the one end.

Wagon113.jpg




I had some 1" styrofoam board kicking around, so I cut 2 pieces to fit, and it holds the core in good and snug.

Before it went back in, I gave the box a good cleaning, and all the air dam joints and cables were lubricated so the climate controls operate smoothly again.

Wagon114.jpg




It's all buttoned up again with new hoses and clamps. Easiest heater core job ever.

Wagon115.jpg



Next up is to install a lock in the tailgate crank. I've had a couple of break-ins in the past (some a$$#@ crawled across a good windshield I had stored in the back and broke it) so I'd like to make it at least a little challenging for the thieves.

I found a NOS lock cylinder on eBay (which I paid WAY too much for) but it's a non-standard GM cylinder that has a leg on the bottom that disengages a pin (or pawl) that causes the crank to spin freely when it's locked.

Wagon116.jpg

Wagon117.jpg

Wagon118.jpg




Success! The tailgate finally locks up like it should.





Speaking of stolen stuff and a broken windshield, my original rear view mirror was stolen, so I'll glue on a standard one for now until I find another - and maybe a new windshield too.

Wagon119.jpg

 



Oh, and I just noticed that the tray that I collected all the trans fluid in got squished when I lowered the lift. I'm always very careful with my lift, so here's some public shaming as punishment.

Wagon120.jpg




Time to go shovel some snow and clear a path. Maybe my next post will be about me cruising around, completely trouble-free.

Ha!



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My 64 Safari build



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Excellent updates! You do such a great job documenting all this. I know I'm safe saying I'm not the only one who looks forward to your updates. Very educational and the best part is, you don't just go out and buy everything new and bolt it on, you make something work and it's fine.

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1966 Strato Chief 2 door, 427 4 speed, 45,000 original miles 

1966 Grande Parisienne, 396 1 of 23 factory air cars (now converted to a "factory" 4 speed)



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Hey Brian your wagon progress is looking fantastic. Nice work.

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Thanks guys.

Well, wouldn't you know it, as soon as the snow melted, a thousand projects reappeared and soaked up any spare time I had to post updates.

This is another long update, so I'll add lots of pictures so you can just quickly scroll through it. smile

Rewind back to mid-April. After clearing away some snow, the wagon rolls out of the garage and takes a short drive around the neighborhood on it's own power in 27 years.

The goal was to get it on the road before my birthday, which happened to be the day of the first drive. Happy birthday indeed!





Everything creaks and rattles, it smells bad, the transmission doesn't sound very happy and is stuck in 1st gear. The brakes need adjusting, and a dozen other observations were add to the to-do list. Everything I dreamed of.

Wagon121.jpg




Back in the garage, the transmission has a few leaks, the power steering control valve leaks a little, but otherwise things looks good.

Dropped the pan on the transmission. The sludge was fairly metallic, which apparently is somewhat normal thing for older Powerglides. However I also found a couple of small metal chunks, which is a bit concerning.

Wagon122.jpg







Since it's fate is unknown, I'll slap it back together and hope for the best. Pulled and cleaned the filter and pressure regulator, sealed everything back up, and topped off the ATF with some of this magic Lucas additive.

Wagon123.jpg




After a little more driving, 2nd gear came back around, and it began to sound a whole lot better. The leaks appear to be gone too! I'm not holding my breath thinking everything is fixed, but it's working good for now.

The next important task: Wash it!

Wagon124.jpg

Wagon125.jpg

Wagon126.jpg

Wagon127.jpg

 


The next problem: The carb.

It appears the float bowl will leak out after a few days of sitting. When you turn it over, it takes several seconds to fill it back up again, but it starts spewing gas out of the top vents. A couple of light taps on the bowl with a hammer, and the float valve reseats and it stops the leaks and works fine again.

This was maddening. Adjusted the float 3 times, re-cleaned and checked everything. Installed a new power valve. The problem kept coming back.

Wagon128.jpg


 


The solution: The fuel pump was putting out too much pressure. The Rochester 2G carbs only like maybe 1 or 2 lbs of pressure, and the new mechanical pump was putting out 7 or more. I begrudgingly bought a cheap fuel pressure regulator to dial it back, and it appears to be working.

Wagon129.jpg

 



If I end up keeping it, I'll hide it somewhere. The correct fix involves a return line back to the gas tank, which is another project altogether.

Broke out the vacuum gauge and dialed in air/fuel mixture a little better. It runs pretty good now.

Wagon130.jpg

 



The next issues are when the engine is warmed up. The oil pressure drops to nearly zero, and the battery stops charging. I might just need thicker oil, so I'll tackle the alternator first.

A refurbished alternator is $250 or... an internal voltage regulator is $6. Disassembled, cleaned, new regulator, repacked the bearings and back in it goes.

Wagon131.jpg

 



I now get a solid 14.5V at all engine temperatures.

Wagon132.jpg

 



However, in order to get it to charge, I had to rev the engine past 2000 RPM before it would jump to 14.5V. Apparently this was because the "exciter" wasn't being triggered, and increasing the RPMs would generate enough of a magnetic field to trigger it.

Solution: a dummy light.

Triggering the exciter only requires a tiny 12V load, so I wired it to an unused light on the dash. The oil light will be perfect. Now, if the engine is not running or stalls, I get a bright red indicator light. With all the noise and rattles it makes while driving, this will be very handy.

Wagon133.jpg

 



Speaking of lights, I could really use a hazard button with flashers.

My new fuel sending unit works, but apparently 1/8 of a tank actually means bone dry. Luckily a good Samaritan towed me a block to a gas station, but lots of other drivers completely lost their mind. I guess having your hood up isn't a good enough indication that you're broken down.

I wired up an old flasher to a relay, and found a toggle switch that lights up. I built a small bracket for the switch, and also the manual choke knob and AUX switch for the (soon to be) stereo.

Wagon134.jpg

 



I'll need a couple of diodes to get all the park lights flashing, but for now it flashes the brake lights.





Meanwhile, the leak on the power steering control valve was getting worse, so installing a new seal kit did the trick.

Wagon135.jpg



Just when I thought I had the leaks figured out, it started spewing oil past the oil filter seal when starting the engine cold.

Apparently a defective pressure regulator in the oil pump might cause this, which might explain the low oil pressure when it's hot. So I bought a new oil pump dropped the oil pan.

I found a random large nut in the sludge. Very bizarre. It doesn't appear to belong anywhere, so maybe the last guy who was in here accidentally dropped it in?

Wagon136.jpg




New pump installed. Trying out one of those fancy Fel-Pro one-piece gaskets with the stay-put sticks.

Wagon137.jpg

 



Fresh oil change, new filter, even cleaned and painted the oil pan. Should be all good.

Nope. It had oil pressure for 5 seconds, and it barfs oil past the filter seal again. Aaargh!   

All these oil spills are not as bad of a mess as the power steering fluid episode, but it's a close 2nd.

More research. And drinking.

OK, it appears there's a high pressure bypass on the oil filter adapter that might be the problem. Taking a closer look at some pictures... is that a hairline crack?

Wagon138.jpg

 



Yup, it's cracked. The bolts holding it down were barely hand-tight too.

Wagon139.jpg

 



Ran back to the wrecker and yanked one off a small block. Installed it with Loctite on the bolts for good measure.

Problem solved! No leaks, and almost 70 PSI cold and around 45 when hot.

Wagon140.jpg


(The temp gauge has the wrong sender, so it's about 15% out)


The engine is now running the smoothest and quietest it ever has. Go figure.




I'm a bit tired of rolling around in leaking fluids, so I'll switch over to addressing some problems with the doors.

All of the windows don't roll down nicely (or at all), the driver's door latch sticks, the rear driver's door won't open at all, and neither of the front 1/4 vent glass will crank or stay shut.

Wagon141.jpg

 



Luckily the majority of the issues were solved by cleaning, lubricating and tightening bolts. Also, I must have shoveled out 10 lbs of sound-deadening chunks that fell off the inside of the door panels.

The vent glass regulators were a bit tricky. One had a chunk missing out of the worm gear, and back support plate for both of them had popped off, so the cranks would "unscrew" from the door as they turned.

Wagon142.jpg

 



I did a half-assed aluminum weld repair job on the worm gear, re-greased, reassembled, and they work pretty good again (the driver's still has some issues).

I think I'm finally ready to fix the right tail light housing and extension. This is the only truly destroyed and unfixable body part on the car. The bumper is also bent out and down, so it'll need to bent back so the chrome housing frame fits inside.

Wagon143.jpg

 



I spent a few years tracking down these items, but I found a near-mint tail light housing and a NOS fender extension piece.

Wagon144.jpg

 



I had to remove the rear bumper again to bend and hammer the corner back into a somewhat-acceptable shape, but the taillight fits safely inside the bumper curves again.

I also bolted on the lower rocker chrome trim again, so all the brightwork is installed and the body is now 100% complete again!

Wagon145.jpg

 


The paint is far from good, and will need a good cut and polish to somewhat bring it back. The paint on the hood is too far gone from oxidization, so that'll be a respray.

But for now, I whipped up some "shine juice" and gave everything a wipe-down to polish it up a bit.

Wagon146.jpg

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I'll probably shave a little off the springs to lower it, but there's a dozen more things on the to-do list to knock off first.

More to come. Thanks for reading. 

 

 



-- Edited by ZigZag on Thursday 8th of June 2023 05:00:22 PM

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My 64 Safari build



Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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Nice pics and writeup, brings back a lot of memories. The vent window regulators on my 59 and 63 vette needed the same fix, in my case the backing late fell off. Tapped and screwed the plate back on after cleaning out the old grease and adding new.

Great car and great story, I love wagons.

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63 Parisienne sport coupe (The Big GTO), black, maroon interior, 409 4 speed; former owner of a 59 El Camino, 63 Corvette SWC, 62 Chev Bel Air SC.
1963- Pontiac top selling car in Canada

Mahone Bay, NS Still not old enough to need an automatic



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Excellent update, keep them coming!

I am quite sure that nut you're holding in the picture is a rocker arm nut. Someone must have been working on them and dropped it in.

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1966 Strato Chief 2 door, 427 4 speed, 45,000 original miles 

1966 Grande Parisienne, 396 1 of 23 factory air cars (now converted to a "factory" 4 speed)



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Just wanted to say that this journey you have taken us through with a) such detail b) great photographs c) inspirational progress despite challenges d) a fantastic and engaging writing style is wonderful to read and experience.

The Wagon is looking and sounding very cool indeed - you should be very pleased with yourself.

Thanks for sharing.



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Matthew, Toronto, Ontario

1964 Pontiac Strato Chief



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Happy new year!

The last half of 2023 went by like a whirlwind, so I'll rewind to back in June where I left off...

I was still struggling with inconsistent temp and oil readings, I broke down and bought a new Equus trio gauge set. Nothing fancy, but it's accurate.

Wagon153.jpg


Wagon154.jpg

 



I was debating about installing the old fan shroud because it was beat up and rusty. After a little hammering, grinding and paint, it cleaned up decent enough to go back in.

Wagon150.jpg


Wagon151.jpg

 



To keep things looking stock, the tacky fuel regulator was relocated to hide it a little better. Maybe I'll paint it black later if I don't find a real solution.

Wagon152.jpg

 



Now that the mechanical bits and leaks are under control (for now), I figured it's time to pretty-up a few things.

The front door cards and arm rests were in pretty bad shape, covered in grease, mold and the pads were trashed.

Wagon155.jpg

 



For the pads, I found some marine vinyl on sale at the local fabric store. The foam is from my kayak car rooftop strap kit (that I've never used) which had the perfect rigid but soft feel.

Wagon156.jpg

 



Surprisingly, the door card vinyl and chrome cleaned up decently, and the carpet strip was repaired and glued back on. It's not perfect, but a vast improvement from before.

Wagon157.jpg

 



Since I'm dabbling in upholstery, I might as well take a look at the seats to see if I can repair some of the pulled stitches. New covers are CRAZY expensive, so maybe a stich or two will hold things together until I decide what direction the interior is going.

The front seat has major issues, so I'll start in the rear. The seat back is in good shape, but greasy and moldy. The seat has a couple of split seams and collapsed springs, so I'll pull the vinyl off the frame and see how bad things are.

Wagon158.jpg

 



I clipped all the hog rings and pulled the vinyl off. About half the stiches are repairable, but the rest have torn through the vinyl, so the repairs will be obvious. Using a cheap leather sewing kit I got from Amazon, I made an amature attempt stitch the seams back together.

Wagon159.jpg

 



There were a couple bent and broken springs, so I fixed those before installing the cover with some new hog rings.

Wagon160.jpg

 



The stitching is noticeable, but it's holding together. After spending some quality time scrubbing with degreaser and leather treatment cream, the vinyl came back a little and looks half-decent (if you quickly glance at it through the window).

Wagon161.jpg


Wagon162.jpg

 



Not the same story for the front bench. The driver's side is beyond repair, so I strapped in a padded seat cover. The passenger side is a greasy, moldy mess, but aside from one split seam in the center of the bench, the vinyl is in pretty good shape. A couple hours of scrubbing and applying leather cream, and it's presentable enough that the wife might actually sit on it. Ha! Who am I kidding.

Wagon163.jpg

 

Wagon164.jpg

 

Wagon165.jpg

 



BONUS! When I pulled out the rear seat, I found the stock chrome rear view mirror! I buffed out some of the rusty pitting and it looks good.

Wagon166.jpg

 



Since I had the chrome polish out and the Power Ball on the drill, I figured I'd try a little polish on the bumper and fender trim. The photo doesn't do it justice, but man, even though the bumper is dented, it polished up quite nicely.

Wagon167.jpg

 



That sparked a 3-day chrome and brightwork polishing session. No photos of that, but it quickly transitioned into a week-long paint polishing session. The paint was dull and felt like 100-grit sandpaper. There isn't a 4-square inch section anywhere on the body that doesn't have a dent, scratch or pitting, so I had zero expectations. But once I buffed down a layer of that good-old 60's lacquer paint, the shine started coming back.

Wagon168.jpg

 



I tried a few polishing compounds, but Maguire's Ultimate seemed produced the best results. Working in small sections, it took forever with all the acres of body panels.

Wagon169.jpg

 



Pro Tip: Pay extra-close attention when polishing around those sharp trim pieces. They will totally destroy a polishing pad in the blink of an eye.

Wagon170.jpg

 



5 polishing pads, 3 bottles of compound, 2 tins of chrome polish and a giant pile of microfiber towels later...

Wagon171.jpg

 



Before the big reveal, I gotta do something about that dreadful purple tint. Pulling it off was easy, but scrubbing off all the old dried glue to prepare for the new tint took hours.

Wagon172.jpg

 



The interior had to be scrubbed down to eliminate most of the dust particles from floating around and getting underneath the new tint. As you can see, there's lots of work left to do in here...

Wagon173.jpg

 



Bought some premium carbon window tint with a 35% VLT. I think I was in high school the last time I tinted car windows, but after my 2nd window it all came back like riding a bicycle.

Wagon174.jpg

 



In direct daylight, there's plenty of privacy.

Wagon175.jpg

 



From inside, you can barely tell there's any tint. Same with driving at night - the visibility is amazing.

Wagon176.jpg

 



Alright, let's step back and check it out...

If you get up close, you can still see all the ugliness. However... "If you squint, it's mint!"

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Wagon179.jpg




What's next? Car show!

It's been a busy summer, and I've missed pretty much every car show this year, however I still have time to get into one of the biggest car shows happening on labor day at Access Communications. My wife and I decided to go as a husband/wife team, with her entering the Cobra and me with the wagon.

Wagon180.jpg

 



Driving to the show, catching a glimpse in the mirror of the Cobra following, my obligatory red fuzzy dice, my vintage Sony pull-out cassette deck, and an awesome working analog clock thanks to Poncho member Darryl (AKA Pontiacanada). Thanks again Darryl!



Wagon181.jpg

 



It's a gloomy day with rain in the forecast. The wagon and I will be fine, but my wife and the convertible are another story.

Lots of smiles, comments, head-scratching and older folks reminiscing of family trips in their wagons.


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The rain picked up mid-afternoon, so we packed it in. A success nonetheless.

As fall settled in, I decided to to put the wagon in storage for the winter to make room for other pressing projects.

Some weird electrical issues have developed, so I'm sure you'll read all about it in my next update to this saga.

Wagon185.jpg

 



As always, thanks for reading and any comments.

Happy 2024!

 



-- Edited by ZigZag on Saturday 6th of January 2024 08:51:13 PM



-- Edited by ZigZag on Saturday 6th of January 2024 09:05:38 PM

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My 64 Safari build



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Great update! The wagon is coming along nicely!

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Todd
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Canadian Poncho World Headquarters - Prince Edward Island

 



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Brian, I can't describe how impressive your results are. You are absolutely showcasing what the old car hobby is all about. Never mind the perfect restorations which are also amazing, this is amazing as well. Not everyone has the time/money/resources to build perfect cars. I would certainly think your thread will inspire lots of Pontiac owners with less than perfect cars. 

Two words----- FEATURE CAR!



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1966 Strato Chief 2 door, 427 4 speed, 45,000 original miles 

1966 Grande Parisienne, 396 1 of 23 factory air cars (now converted to a "factory" 4 speed)

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