Getting Your Pontiac Roadworthy
Based upon the results of last year’s survey answers, plus comments made during conversations with ETC members, we have come to a simple conclusion; many ETC members don’t have enough confidence in their cars to drive them more than a few miles from home, if at all. When we explore this issue with them, we are not hearing that their car is sitting in the garage waiting for an engine rebuild or other major operation. Primarily we hear that folks have issues with one system or another that leaves their car unreliable or even un-drivable to some extent. When you consider that our membership is spread all across the country, and any opportunity to participate in an Early Times event will require some amount of travel, having a reliable car is a necessity if you are ever to join in the fun!
Consider that next year’s Flathead Reunion is going to be held in the Green Mountains of Vermont. This will be a challenging trip for our core group of Flathead Reunion attendees coming from the mid-West, who obviously do not have any mountains in their part of the country! Andi and I have made this trip on more than one occasion in our ’53 Chieftain. We travel carefully and have not experienced any mechanical troubles. We will be leading the caravan from Ohio; and our group will have to deal with mountain driving to and from the event. Once there, traveling any distance from the host hotel entails mountain grades, plus the Friday road trip will keep to secondary roads as usual, which are still challenging but driven at lower speeds. We do not want to discourage anyone from making this trip, but the mountain grades will require that all of your mechanical systems be in good operating condition if you expect to avoid trouble.
Bearing this in mind, we are beginning a series of In the Garage articles with this issue that will highlight the essential mechanical systems of your car. Our intent is to guide you in getting your vehicle into road worthy condition and also build your confidence in driving it further and further from home. The ultimate goal is for you to actually enjoy (drive) you’re Pontiac more than you have in the past.
These articles will feature an overview of various systems or components; brakes, ignition, wheel bearings & seals, cooling system, etc. We do not plan to get model year specific, but rather to cover the basic information. We will be using 3 primary sources for the information we will present; owner’s guides, service manuals, and Pontiac training booklets. Hopefully, you already have the owner’s guide for your Pontiac, and possibly the factory shop manual, original or reprinted, specific to your vehicle. Pontiac training booklets can often be found on e-Bay or from any number of literature dealers. These booklets provide a wealth of easy to understand information, applicable to a wide range of model years; and we highly recommend you obtain the appropriate one for any system of your car that has been a consistent source of concern.
The owner’s manual for your Pontiac is a great source of basic information regarding maintenance requirements and how to recognize when it is time to have the brakes or the clutch adjusted. If you have not read your owner’s manual from cover to cover recently, you may be surprised to find how much valuable, common sense information it contains!
The General Lubrication section of the factory shop manual covers every system of your Pontiac with regard to lubrication and general maintenance. Use of the shop manual in conjunction with the fold-out lubrication chart for your car will cover 99% of what we believe to be necessary to get your car roadworthy.
We will also try to list resources for the parts and products you may need, whenever possible. The only thing we can not provide is the desire to have a vintage Pontiac you can drive where and when you choose; but if you have that desire, we are committed to helping you in every way possible to get your car ready.
We firmly believe that in most cases, the car sitting in your garage is not THAT far from being roadworthy. The path to discovering this, and what we hope to lead you through, is an evaluation of your Pontiac’s present condition and how to approach the system or systems that are keeping your car in the garage or tethered close to home. Our goal is to see you at a Flathead Reunion or other event in the NEAR future; we want you to get your Pontiac out of the garage and on the road. None of us are getting younger or healthier. Time’s a wasting...
Arnold & Pete