Vintage Oldsmobiles Curved Dash, Limited Touring, Models 40, 53, 66; Series 60, 70, 90

1953 98 fixes

Old July 31st, 2015, 04:59 AM
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1953 98 fixes

I have taken the old girl on a shakedown cruise for about 100 miles or so.

Things I have discovered so far:

1 - There is play in the steering wheel ... I mean a LOT of play. About 1/4 turn before anything bites. I know these old boats had wheel play, but this seems like too much play to me. Can anyone relate their experiences with this and just how much play should there be? The tires are Coker radials on more modern rims.

2 - At about 45 miles an hour or so, the front end starts to shake. Because of the wheel play and the shaking, I have not taken the car over 50 MPH yet. I don't feel safe going over that speed with it. I stopped at a buddy's shop and he jacked the front up. After wiggling wheels etc ... he stated that there is slop in the kingpins. The car needs kingpins and bushings. After a little reading ... it seems that if the kingpins need changing ... there is no use trying to troubleshoot anything else in the front end before this is done. Would you guys agree to this statement?

3 - The engine starts easy ... hot or cold. However, when it is cold, there is a slight lumpiness in the idle. When warm, it seems a little worse. It got to the point that the engine would almost die when stopped in traffic while in gear. I gave it a little more on the idle mixture screw. This seemed to help a bit, but it did not fix things. I was thinking that it might be old gas. I drove around till the tank was about 1/8th, then filled her up with premium (no ethanol). No change. I am going to consult a local carb guru on this one. Anyone have opinions or experiences with these old Rochesters?

Thanks for the help!



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Old July 31st, 2015, 07:36 AM
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1/4 turn is a lot. I think those old boxes can be tightened similar to the later GM boxes. Consult 53 Olds chassis service manual to be sure. Worst to worst, get the box rebuilt. Lares Corporation has a good reputation in old car world and their folks own several old cars and trucks between them.


The steering column shaft has to come out with the gearbox, so may not be a totally easy job.


The front end slop may be contributing to it too, so even though it is probably an unanticipated expense, have those kingpins rebushed and repaired- especially if you have someone who can do them.
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Old July 31st, 2015, 07:51 AM
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The steering though different than a modern car shouldn't be that loose and if your tires aren't balanced correctly that can add to the shimmy of a worn front end .Your steering box may have to much slack in it also so you might want to check that out.

On the question of your carb check the vacuum advance on your distributor (because of the age of your car it could be dried out and split) and see if it will hold a vacuum. Detach the vacuum line and suck and hold to see if it will hold, if it flows freely the diaphragm has gone away and you will need a rebuild.....Just my humble opinions.....Tedd

Last edited by Tedd Thompson; July 31st, 2015 at 07:56 AM.
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Old July 31st, 2015, 07:25 PM
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I am probably going to start with changing the kingpins. Is there somewhere you can still get OEM quality Kingpin and bushing sets? I am assuming that the Kanter stuff is Chinese at the prices they sell it. I will go the Asian route if I have no other choice, but I would rather get something that is known to be of good quality.
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Old July 31st, 2015, 08:05 PM
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As far as to how it is running, I would start with a good tune up. That could include a set of plug wire and a carb rebuild. Fusick has the carb kits and they will handle todays gas with ethanol in it. I would put a Pertronix ignition in instead of points and condenser but that is just my preference. I think Kanter and Fusick both have the front end kits. Good looking car.
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Old August 4th, 2015, 03:31 PM
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Found a good tune-up/carb guy locally. He says to run it like it is (with a little adjustment he made) because it's really not that bad, and when the summer season is over, he will take it in for a good testing (compression spark etc ... ), and a carb rebuild before storing it for the winter. He thought he detected a slight miss while listening to the exhaust.

Got an NOS kingpin/bushing set from ebay. I should get that in a week or two.
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Old August 4th, 2015, 06:11 PM
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Your rubber fuel line is old and cracked, may be sucking air. Change that and see if theres one between the tank and the steal line in the rear. Also looks like your carb base nuts could need to be tightened. Possibly a a vacume leak there.
Gorgeous car by the way!
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Old August 4th, 2015, 06:39 PM
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Thanks for the tips steverw ... I will check that out.
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Old August 9th, 2015, 12:52 PM
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The car has been getting worse every day. I think the fuel system was gummed up a bit ... and that gum and crud is loosening up is finding it's way into the fuel system.

The symptoms ... the idle has been getting rougher ... there is now a bog on initial acceleration from idle ... it seems like it is skipping at cruising speeds (50 MPH) ... the gas mileage has gone in the toilet. Burned half a tank in about 100 miles yesterday. When I floor it from a cruising speed ... it accelerates, but not by much because the pedal is almost floored to get that cruising speed (45 - 55 MPH).

I have been checking spark related items.. Tested every lead with a spark tester. All good at idling speed. Pulled plugs ... all dry with good tan/brown color. I was expecting to get a couple of wet plugs because of the engine skipping feeling. Changed rotor and distributor cap ... no change. Dressed points ... no change. Cleaned plugs ... no change.

Since it has been getting worse gradually, albeit at a quick pace, I am thinking that I should attack the fuel system first.

Questions:

1 - If this was your car, would you drain the tank and have it boiled out? I poured a can of seafoam into the gas tank on my second fill-up ... no change ... still keeps getting worse.
2 - Should I do anything to the fuel lines apart from changing rubber hose sections and filter?
3 - How complicated are these vintage Rochester four barrels? Would you attempt to clean it out yourself, or is it wise to let a pro handle it? I have only cleaned/done small snowmobile carbs. Never tried a car carburetor.

any and all help/advice is appreciated.
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Old August 10th, 2015, 10:09 AM
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Part of your problem (Bog on initial take off ) is probably your accelerator pump going away because alcohol in the gas has roted it away. Your carburetor wasn't built for that additive ether

What does your fuel filter (sediment bowl) look like? It's located at the bottom of the fuel pump and if it shows gunk there I would do a rebuild and yes you can do it yourself. The Carburetor is pretty straight forward (use the You Tube video on this model or follow the motor service manual The hard part was for me was getting the linkage pieces back like they were originally, take a lot of pictures or you will spend a some time switching parts around ...Tedd
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Old August 18th, 2015, 07:15 AM
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I have recieved my Kingpin sets so that will be one project. My main concern though is to get the car running well enough so that I can go cruising around before the summer is over.

The local carb guru confirms that the rubber on the accelerator pump is probably rotted out because of fuel, and that could be the cause of the bogging on acceleration.

Called Daytona Parts Co. and two carb kits are on the way. One for the rebuild and one for the parts shelf. I may attempt to redo the carb myself ... not decided yet. Anyways, it will be 6 to 10 days before I get the kit.

While waiting ... I think I will do a compression test ... replace vacuum hoses ... iffy fuel hoses etc ...

Last edited by GaWajn; August 18th, 2015 at 07:25 AM.
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Old August 18th, 2015, 06:45 PM
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In my opinion Seafoam will not clean your carb very well, it probably will clean the combustion chambers. Berrymans B12 WILL clean your fuel system, tank, lines, carb, and combustion chambers. I use the spray and the pour type. Spray it down the float bowl vent/vents. I mean hose it down, and straight down the throat. It may crank longer to start it but it will clean your carb. I have been using it at least 40 years because it works. I add a full can in the tank when the tank is half full, and run that through. Not to say the tank dosent need a more thorough cleaning, but its worth a try, and cheaper. When I first got my Vette years ago, it was running rough, even with a tune up. points, plugs, condenser and wires. It still bogged until i used Berrymans, that made a night and day difference. Been a believer ever since.

Last edited by steverw; August 18th, 2015 at 06:46 PM. Reason: coz
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Old August 18th, 2015, 07:14 PM
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X2 on the Berrymans. It is good stuff and I have used it for years. Every couple years my tractor doesn't want to start in the spring. I take the air cleaner off and spray the inside of the carb real good with Berrymans and she is good to go.
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Old August 18th, 2015, 08:05 PM
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I will see if I can get the B12 here in Canada. Thanks for the tip!
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Old August 18th, 2015, 08:38 PM
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Berrymans has one cleaner in a spray can which is the one we are talking about. They also have one that is a fuel additive. Hope you find it.
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Old August 19th, 2015, 10:52 AM
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Looks like Berryman's is not available in Canada. I will have to stock up the next time I go to Maine.

I talked to a friend of mine who has been involved in old cars for quite some time. He told me to start with the easy stuff first. His recommendation was to change the fuel filter and cracked hoses first (like someone already posted on this thread), then test the fuel pressure to make certain I have a good working fuel pump (pressure), then do the carb. From easiest to hardest (least expensive to most expensive). Sounds like words of wisdom to me.

Also ... I watched a video of someone rebuilding a Rochester 4GC last night. I think I could maybe do it myself ... but since I want to get the car running ASAP, I think I will have a pro do it for me this time.

Thanks to all of you who are following this thread and sharing your knowledge. I appreciate it!
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Old August 20th, 2015, 08:22 AM
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This picture shows the crud that came out of the fuel filter on the input side. No crud was visible on the output side. While this is not as ideal situation, in a perfect world ... the tank should be cleaned, it is most probably not the cause of my current condition.



Changed the fuel filter and rubber hoses ... no change in the running condition ... next check ... fuel pump pressure ...

Last edited by GaWajn; August 20th, 2015 at 09:25 AM.
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Old August 20th, 2015, 09:27 AM
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Hooked up the fuel pressure gauge and read 4.5 PSI at idle. It is a cheapo gauge (harbour freight quality) so the reading could really be a little higher or a little lower ... but it has steady pressure at idle, which is a good thing I guess. Looks like the fuel pump is pumping at least enough that it can be ruled out as the source of my problem at the moment.

While trying to rev the engine ... the pressure did not seem to want to drop ... so that is good I guess ...

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Old August 20th, 2015, 09:30 AM
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I am not certain that I am tapping into the correct vacuum line. I used the line that goes from the fuel pump to the carb. I plugged the line coming from the fuel pump and put the gauge in the line going to the carb.



You can see the new hoses and filter ...

I tweaked the idle mixture screws to get a peak reading of about 21 to 22 IN/Hg, which if I understand correctly ... is where I want to be.

Last edited by GaWajn; August 20th, 2015 at 11:36 AM.
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Old August 20th, 2015, 09:32 AM
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Trying to rev the engine. You can see and hear what my problem is. After ruling out the filter and pump ... the carb is next?

I am learning as I go ... so keep chiming in here and continue to give me pointers. I appreciate the help!

The 1 IN/Hg rapid oscillation on the gauge means what? I can't seem to find a definitive answer on the net?

Last edited by GaWajn; August 20th, 2015 at 11:56 AM.
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Old August 20th, 2015, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by GaWajn View Post
I tweaked the idle mixture screws to get a peak reading of about 21 to 22 IN/Hg, which if I understand correctly ... is where I want to be.
Don't try to attain any certain reading, you set mixture with engine hot at final idle speed after setting static timing, in drive (with a helper behind wheel holding brake), and set to observe maximum vacuum reading, resetting idle speed if RPM rises during this work. Vacuum gauge and tachometer for this task.


Originally Posted by GaWajn View Post

Trying to rev the engine. You can see and hear what my problem is. After ruling out the filter and pump ... the carb is next?

I am learning as I go ... so keep chiming in here and continue to give me pointers. I appreciate the help!

The 1 IN/Hg rapid oscillation on the gauge means what? I can't seem to find a definitive answer on the net?
Assuming no vacuum leaks whatsoever, you have a bad accelerator pump or stuck AP check ball which is often frozen or rusted in the bottom of it's seat, or rarely plugged AP nozzle or blocked passage. I wouldn't worry about that level of vac gauge needle movement with engine at idle in neutral. I would check that last with all else done after a long fast drive. Lead additive in the fuel might be a good idea.

Sounds pretty good and very typical otherwise - Check that static timing, you don't want it laboring on cold or especially hot start up. I know they run a lot better with the timing at 14 lead, just make sure it does not grunt at all when hot. Hot start on early Oldsmobile has always been touchy being hard on components, I'm glad you have 12V, much worse on 6V.
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Old August 21st, 2015, 05:51 AM
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Pull the carb for a good cleaning. It's not that hard. I had a '53 98 when I was 16, and had to learn then to fix it myself way back then. Just take photos of how the linkage looks before you remove it. And take notes or photos as you disassemble it.
If you have that much rust in the filter, you will have rust in the carb as well. It's the nature of modern ethanol fuels. They suck moisture out of the air, both in your tank and in the fuel storage tanks along the delivery route, and in the ground at the filling stations.
I watched your video. Your engine is definitely starved for fuel.
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Old August 21st, 2015, 06:18 AM
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Thanks for the input you guys.

I started it up last night and tried something I read somewhere. Added a few drops of oil onto the shaft of the accelerator pump while pulling back the rubber boot. This is supposed to help make a seal for the pump to work again, albeit temporarily.

It did not change anything. Let it sit for a few minutes while I was doing something else. Started it up again just to tinker around ... Lo and Behold! It was running great ... I could rev it just fine with no stumblings whatsoever!

I took a chance and took it out for a spin around the block. Worked beautifully! Since I was getting a bit low on gas, I decided to head out to the gas station, which is about five miles out, for some fuel. I wanted to go to the local Shell station because the Shell gas has no Ethanol in Canada. Put in $30 worth of premium gas.

Started it up to come home and .... she was having the same starving problems as before! I didn't think I was going to make it home ... but I just barely did.

My thinking is that either the oil make a temporary seal, or I passed some crud through the carb ... but it clogged up again. Most likely the pump lost it's sealing abilities again.

Anyways ... just waiting on the carb kits to arrive now.

I have a smallish shop. 16 by 24. I use it to tinker around all winter. It is insulated and heated. I am thinking that instead of storing my car somewhere else this winter ... I just might make some room in my shop for this year. It would make things cramped for sure ... but it would also permit me to do a lot of small repairs over the cold season. Just thinking out loud here ...
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Old August 21st, 2015, 06:52 AM
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It sounds like you have identified the problem or at least one of them. When they get this age they are just like we are. The will continue to have problems and not necessarily only one at a time. Glad you are making progress. I wish our Shell gas was ethanol free. That stuff is the enemy of old cars.
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Old August 22nd, 2015, 04:20 AM
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While waiting on the carb kits ... I am going to reinforce the entry ramp of my shop. It was only designed for snowmobiles, not 4000 pound cars.

I am also thinking that maybe I should try to tackle the kinpin/bushings replacement job myself. Anyone have any tips to share on that kind of job?
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Old August 22nd, 2015, 06:06 AM
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There is a purpose built driver/reamer you use to drive out old and install new bushings, then ream the bushings to select pin fit once installed. I imagine the job could get done improvising different tools, maybe try to find the correct tool locally. Your new bushings might or might not correctly fit the pins now, but it's tough not to bugger the bushings a little bit driving them in. I can snap a pic of mine as example if it might help to have a look.
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Old August 22nd, 2015, 08:55 AM
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Thanks coldwar. That would be helpful.
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Old August 23rd, 2015, 01:46 PM
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Tool 5211 .863 stamped on tool.

King%20Pin%20Reamer.jpg
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Old August 23rd, 2015, 03:17 PM
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Thanks for the info and photo of the driver/reamer. I have posted in the classified on a couple of sites to see if I can't buy one. There are none on ebay at the moment.

I was thinking about replacing the rubber hose section that goes from the hard line along the frame to the input of the fuel pump. I was thinking that I would put another inline fuel filter in that section ... just to keep crap out of the pump, at least until I get a chance to clean/flush/seal the tank. That should have no negative effect now should it?
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Old August 24th, 2015, 11:49 AM
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I beefed up the ramp that goes into my little shop. It was originally made for old snowmobiles. Now I can get the 2 ton behemoth into the shop.



As you can see ... it's a little cramped, but I have access to all my tools and can go around the entire car.







My shop is insulated/heated so I will be able to tinker with it all winter!
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Old August 27th, 2015, 05:42 PM
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Got the carb kit in the mail today ... took the carb off the car ... and delivered both to the local carb guru for him to work his magic. I hope to get the car running again asap ...
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Old August 29th, 2015, 08:01 AM
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I got the rebuilt carb back. Installed it onto the engine. I didn't even have to prime it ... it started in about 15 to 20 seconds of cranking. The fast idle kicked in right away, and it warmed up and idled well.

I took it out for a 10 minute drive around the area. The carb works excellent! No bogginess whatsoever.

However ... the transmission is shifting to the higher gears too early I believe. Which is causing some spark knock as the engine luggs about at low revs. I am going to take it in to have the timing checked, and maybe have it backed off a bit. I am thinking that the tranny will have to be gone over, but that is a project for another time. I just do not want to cause any damage to the engine for the time interval untill the transmission gets looked at.

I have the timing specs in the shop manual ... but I was wondering, is there a better method or better spec that I should have this engine timed at? I am asking because the people in the shop I will be bringing it to, will probably not be used to working on these old cars.

I do not have a timing light or tach at this time.

I also got new spark plugs R45S, but have not put them in yet. Should I install them before having the engine timed?

Coldwar has given comments about timing the engine, but I am not 100% sure that I understand the method ??? I have never done this before so consider me pretty much a nub!
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Old August 29th, 2015, 08:52 AM
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Understand the old hydramatic shifts pretty quickly, especially from 1st to 2nd. They go about 20 feet before the first shift. You can't control the first shift but you can manually shift the others. Finding somebody that know about these old hydramatics can be a problem. It has been over 50 years since they made them. I have found a guy in Fort Worth that I will probably take mine to this winter. To pull, rebuild and reinstall it will be about $1800 - $2000. Mine is leaking and shifts pretty funky so I usually shift it manually. If I am lucky I might get by with some seals and having the bands adusted. I am prepared for a rebuild since these guys won't be around forever.
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Old August 30th, 2015, 05:55 PM
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Thanks for the tranny info redoldsman. Having never driven a hydramatic, I don't really know how it should shift so your comments are very pertinent.

Took the old girl out for a cruise of about 150 miles today. The car worked reasonably well. I developed a ticking sound which I think is an exhaust manifold leak. The starter is kinda draggie ... sometimes slow ... sometimes fast ... gonna have to look into that also ...

I am getting no leads on someone with experience doing the kingpins ... and no luck yet on a line reamer. I might have to do this job myself without the correct tools.
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Old August 30th, 2015, 08:09 PM
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The tranny sounds normal. It will shift 1-2-3 before you are going 15 mph. Just use the "Super" range, if you want to slow the 4th gear shift. That's the way they designed it to work. It's right in the owner's manual. It actually works pretty well for the weight of these cars. You can also drop into the Super range to smooth out the downshifting as well.
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Old August 31st, 2015, 04:31 AM
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Thanks for the info twintracks. Sounds like I should get a hold of an owner's manual.
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Old August 31st, 2015, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by GaWajn View Post
Thanks for the info twintracks. Sounds like I should get a hold of an owner's manual.
With out a doubt the best investment you can make on your car....Tedd
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Old September 8th, 2015, 05:29 AM
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I have a question.

I have the specs in my shop manual for the front end alignment of the car. These specs were valid with bias ply tires of the day. Does using radials change the spec in any way, or the method of aligning the front?
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Old September 8th, 2015, 07:47 AM
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I switched back and forth many times between bias tires and radials for a while depending whether or not I was showing the car or using it on long trips and the only difference was the radials rode much better were smoother and did not follow every grove in the pavement.No adjustment was ever needed between the two.

Unless you plan on points type judging car shows I would recommend the radials over the bias ply every time... Just my experience...Tedd
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Old September 8th, 2015, 10:40 AM
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Thanks for the info Tedd.
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