Leaks! - 11/06/2005

Before I can take the car home, some more pressing matters needed to be taken care of. For one, the transmission filter had not been changed on our watch. It would be important in case junk had gotten in there during it's 5 year hibernation. Also a coolant leak had failed to disappear between the intake and water pump. Then there is that power steering leak...

Power steering fluid leaks like crazy from the top of this box. Apparently the seal on the top is worn out or broken. Rather than spend $197 on a new one from Ames, I'd rather see if we can't fix it easily first. Of course that cripples the car, so we will have to wait to tackle it for a while.

The transmission cover. The rust matches the rest of the transmission and all of the factory clips are in place, so we assumed this thing has never been out of the car.

Transmission pan is dropped. Looks pretty clean in there.

The transmission filter. This is an early TH400 filter. They don't sell this part readily at most auto parts stores (only Autozone had a filter, and it wasn't this kind, so Steve gets a bonus filter for his GTO).

Another view. The Sealed Power logo (SP) was stamped on this, no other part numbers anywhere. Upon blowing it out with compressed air, some slight goop and water came out. Then it came clean with no other issues. Steve had a bonus Mr. Gasket transmission pan with drain plug on a '67 Switch Pitch from a Buick, so we swapped covers. I wanted the drain plug and he wanted the correct cover for his transmission. Speaking of switch pitches...

It has two prongs on the kickdown switch.

Two sets of wiring inside.

Contrast the single wire on the standard TH400. Apparently what makes the switch pitch special is it has two stall speeds on the converter, activated by the switch. Only Buick used these from the factory, but they apparently are desirable to the race crowd.

Yeah. The typical Pontiac coolant leak spot. Messed up the nice paint job. This requires pulling the intake! It's fun! Two people working definitely makes it not suck too bad.

This is a critically important part. There are two intake gaskets for Pontiacs 1965-1979. The top is good for 1965-1971 and the bottom is good for 1972-1979. Pontiac changed the head and intake ports, and if the wrong gasket is used and not matched up, you will get an exhaust leak!

Intake removed. Steve was impressed with how little sealer was used and how cleanly the old gaskets came off.

Intake off. Steve was VERY impressed with how cleaned up and nice the intake was. BUT the previous shop had NOT changed out the old o-ring between the water pump housing and intake. It was so dry rotted and cracked it was amazing it was even still holding together (probably a vintage 1972 piece). The previous shop probably didn't even know it was there (most non-Pontiac familiar people miss this and wonder why the thing leaks). We replaced it.

The intake is all bolted back together and tested. Of course on the initial fire up, it ran like complete crap. Steve was afraid we had an exhaust leak at the intake and we would have to re-do the entire process. He then checked out my carb settings from when I rebuilt it 5 years ago. He laughed at the junk that had accumulated since the thing had sat with in the garage with the clothes dryer expelling crap into the room. Lots of sludge in the base. He also cleaned out the idle air passages (which were more than slightly clogged). He then reset the float and idle screw settings which I had leaned way the hell out since the motor was belching black soot going down the road back in 2000. He also tightened several bolts which he said ALWAYS has to be done with two dissimilar metals (cast iron vs aluminum). Then the car ran BEAUTIFULLY. It was awesome. No more massive vacuum leaks. One slight gas leak, but Steve fixed it in no time (yet I fought it for 2 years and just shrugged it off since I was stupid). One drop of gas every 15 seconds can kill your fuel economy! The car runs great and starts just touching the key, like a good car should. No more pumping and fighting it.

Yay. Victory is mine. Note the original factory bracket for the throttle linkage has been located for $7 and works perfectly.

Steve went on a road trip... he found a place with a '69 Bonneville that had power discs with brand new rotors on it. The car has apparently sat for 10 years with zero interest, so Steve says he is going to go back there and get the entire setup. Power assisted disc brakes will be a DEFINITE improvement to this car. I've also got shoulder belts on order so we can get more safety features added! It's almost time to start worrying about childish needs like a working radio\tape player and air conditioning! Once we figure out why the steering box is leaking like it's going out of style...

One other note. The crappy mirrors put on this car? I can order new ones from Ames for $48 each (includes all mounting hardware). Not a bad deal. The current ones were installed with... you guessed it... DRYWALL SCREWS. Yay for the creativity of morons! I removed the one with the stripped screw before it becomes a more serious issues. It flops around going down the road, so no reason to keep it on.

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Last updated November 6th, 2005