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 Catalina in France

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Ironsmith



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Join date : 2010-04-30

PostSubject: Catalina in France   Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:20 am

Hi there,
I'm an English blacksmith living in France, (don't ask) and my wife is born and bred upper west side New Yorker. Last year we shipped over her '59 Catalina four door hardtop. Now, we think this car is a beauty, pretty much all original apart from new shocks, water pump, battery and new roof paint, but I reckon it's the basic model, i.e. no power steering and no power brakes. This makes for interesting driving, especially on these Normandy roads and small towns and villages. Still, people used to drive with a bit of muscle back then I suppose. I have to admit my mechanical ability is a bit above very basic, but I wonder if anyone can help. The car has a few problems. The main one is you have to turn the engine over a few times before it starts, even when warm, but the real pain is when you pull away, it is very fluffy, (chronic flat spot?), sometimes dying until you ease off the gas. This can also happen going uphill unless you are going at a good rate of knots, in which case she flies up. If you put your hand to the back of the exhaust the left pipe is pumping out hot exhaust, but the right exhaust is cool and hasn't so much force. I took all the spark plug caps off the left bank and started her up and she runs on the right bank, so I don't understand what's going on. I'd really like to get this fixed, any ideas? By the way, there isn't anyone around here that has knowledge of V8's like in America. The other two things are also a pain. The fuel gauge doesn't work, it just rests way over on full and the other thing there's a flippin' leak on the corner of the rear window, just under the roof. Those things aside, we love her and hope to keep her running here in the land of the small car.
Thanks for any advice, Simon
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starchief_59
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Join date : 2008-05-22
Age : 32
Location : Canyon Lake, Texas

PostSubject: Re: Catalina in France   Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:03 am

Sounds like maybe an ignition or carburetor problem.

The exhaust part sounds like it could be a stuck heat riser flap in the manifold. It's pretty common\

The fuel gauge problem could be the actual gauge or the sending unit in the gas tank.

Welcome to the site!

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Robert Lewis      
                               
1959 Pontiac Star Chief 4 Door Hard Top
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59vista

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Posts : 303
Join date : 2008-05-23
Age : 45
Location : Denmark

PostSubject: Re: Catalina in France   Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:56 pm

About the exaust problem - as robert said : the heat riser.

On the right side ecaust manifold, just where it connects to the exaust pipe, there is a flap valve, with a thermostatic spring. When the engine is started it is supposed t be closed, forcing hot exaust through the heat riser (a pipe that connects the exaust on the left and right bank through the intake manifold, right under the carb.). As the engine heats up it is supposed to open. It is properbly stuck closed. If you can't make it operate properbly you may remove it all together, or just block it in open position, unless you drive the car in very cold conditions (<0 C).

The hesitation when accelerating : i had the same. In my case the problem turned out to be a cracked vacuum hose - from the manifold to the distributor vacuum pot. It may also be a defective vacuum pot. Try disconnecting the pipe when the engine is ideling, and check if the vacuum advance moves. Could also be a clogged fuel filter or somthing.
You could also try checking the acceleration pump in the carb. As the gas pedal is pressed you should see a spray af gas when looking into the carb. - if not there may be a problem with the acc. pump.

I also had the rear window leak. I traced it to be a cracked rubber seal - cracked from shrinking and age. I used rubber sealant, and that kind of fixed it.

About the fuel gage - you need to determine if you need a new sending unit, have a wire problem or if it is the gage. If you have a electric multi instrument i may be able to tell you how to find out what is wrong !.

Welcome abord !
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Ironsmith



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Join date : 2010-04-30

PostSubject: Re: Catalina in France   Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:35 pm

Thanks for the suggestions, I'll have a look at all these problems. My time difference to the US is of course 6 hours ahead EST, it's dark now and I'm taking the Cat to a car show tomorrow, so these will have to wait til Sunday. It's absolutely fantastic to have found this site as I have been fumbling around on my own here. My next thing is to put up some photos. I'll see if I can get some good shots tomorrow. Thanks again, Simon
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59vista

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Age : 45
Location : Denmark

PostSubject: Re: Catalina in France   Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:14 pm

Good luck with the show - remember i am on the same time zone as you Wink .
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thechief

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Join date : 2009-08-20
Location : Washington State, USA

PostSubject: Re: Catalina in France   Sun May 02, 2010 11:57 am

Hey welcome from the west coast of the U.S! Lets see some pics bud! Smile
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CATBIRD



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PostSubject: Re: Catalina in France   Thu May 06, 2010 12:13 am

Ironsmith.....get your exhaust manifold fixed first. The restricted exhaust may very well be the cause of your other driveability issues. The flapper inside the manifold is attached to a shaft that has a kidney shaped iron weight on one side and a thermostatic coil spring on the other side. After fifty years the shaft probably has rusted. Usually in the closed position! Actually it wasn't uncommon for them to rust in the first two to three years. The likelyhood of finding a manifold with a working one is zero. The best way to fix this is to remove the flapper. With mine, I chisled out the flapper and cut the weight and spring off the outside. Then I punched out the two remaining pieces of shaft and welded the small holes closed. You could also tap the holes and put in short bolts or plugs. This was easy to do with the manifold off the engine, but getting the manifold bolts off without breaking some can be tricky, as they've been on there for fifty years also. You might be able to disconnect your exhaust pipe from the manifold, move it out of the way, and cut the flapper out only. The remainder of the shaft might be rusted in the holes enough to not have an exhaust leak. Anyway, take care of this, and if you still have performance problems, we can go from there. Hope this helps......John
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