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Back in The Saddle Again...

Greetings and salutations from a hardcore classic car guy. I really look forward to getting good ideas from you guys and hopefully make the right decisions. As of today, I'm back in the classic car realm again. I recently inherited the 1966 Pontiac Catalina convertible that belonged to my grandpa and my mom. My mom passed away this past year and I finally found a way to get her to my home. Man, what a horrible experience to try to facilitate during the winter months. Luckily, Montana is having an extremely mild winter with practically zero snow.

Unfortunately, I'm finding out what intentional neglect will do to a car, even though it's from a great area for classic cars to retire to. Hopefully, I can find a good source for parts, be it OEM/NOS or good reproduction. I'd love to find a decent steering wheel refurbisher to fix the wheel, so any ideas would be great. It's going to take a bit of time to see what's really going on with her, but I'm looking forward to this distraction. Since it sat for years in my dad's driveway covered, I knew it wasn't going to be a turn-key situation or be in perfect shape. From my first impressions, I'm going to have to do serious triage. I'm thinking, start off with draining all fluids from motor, cooling system, transmission, differential and putting in new lubrication and filters. The next step, would be to do a major tune-up with replacement of all appropriate parts. My colleagues have said that I need to remove the plugs and squirt a syringe of transmission fluid into each cylinder to lube the cylinder walls and the piston rings then let sit for a few days before I even try to turn her over manually. My experience has also been to see if it can be manually turned with a breaker bar to see if seized. Doing a full flush with a new thermostat and hoses would also seem to be a good idea, but that usually needs the car to be able to start and run. Then, I'd flush the brake fluid and replace with correct fluid. I'm not sure if I should do a complete brake rebuild and replace all brake hoses, pads and wheel cylinders. Lastly, maybe drain the fuel tank of anything that may still be lurking and let it dry out to remove any possible condensation.

Who knows, maybe I should just stop, make a list and move from there....I don't know. i hope I make the right decisions and don't screw it up, the car means the world to me. If there are suggestion to be made, I appreciate all information. Thanks for the read and I hope I can make some contributions to this forum along with gleening good intel for my project.
 

melsg5

Staff member
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sounds like you are on the right track concerning what to do before attempting to start it, all fluids changed, oil in the cylinders, turn by hand. There are a number of places that do steering wheel restoration, havent tried any of them personally. Check the condition of the brake system components before replacing things and remember the brake hoses can collapse internally with no signs on the outside. Good luck with your project and welcome to the forum.
 
Absolutely! I've yet to find a Catalina specific site with a lot of sources, this site is very complete so I think it's a good fit. I soooo hope to get more insights into various processes for keeping these babies purtty. I know everyone loves the GTO, Firebird and the newer family members... I just have a more personal bond with these family land yachts. Sure hope I find great sources and companies to help. Thanks to you guys for always suggesting good vendors. I'm already into OPGI for a few coins.
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melsg5

Staff member
SUSTAINING MEMBER
19,308
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48
check with your browser software, you may have some sort of block set up, I have never had an issue using Chrome.
 
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