Parts to have in stock for '57 -

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

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Old January 12th, 2018, 01:06 PM   #1
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Parts to have in stock for '57

Hello All,

I just bought my first Olds. A '57 Super 88 Sedan. I'm in Germany where most parts for this car are not readily available. I'd like to keep a small stock of parts which are likely to need replacing at some point. I don't want to be "grounded" for some silly belt or a set of points while I wait for parts to be shipped from the States.

What do you all recommend I should order for that purpose? I am thinking two sets of tune up parts (filters, spark plugs, points, ignition rotor and cap etc, belts etc). Do you guys recommend an electronic ignition conversion?

What other items are likely to fail on this vehicle? Water pump? Thermostat?

I already noticed play in the steering idler arm. I also noticed some darker (wet?) area on the undercoating on the tank but no visible leaks nor fuel smell. So maybe I need a new tank but maybe not. On first quick inspection It looked to me like the front suspension ball joints have no rubber boots. I guess that is not how it's supposed to be...? I see that USA parts supply have complete rebuild kits for the front suspension and steering. Are those good?

I have read that the 371 is known for flat camshafts but judging by the punch this engine has I don't think I have that problem. Also the jetaway tranny seems to work beautifully. I understand that model transmission has not always been trouble free. Any specific parts I should have in stock for it?

Anything else I should be aware of and keep an eye on?

I look forward to hearing from many of you.

Greetings from Germany

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Old January 12th, 2018, 05:32 PM   #2
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Typical tune up parts, good blue streak points or convert to petronix, radiator hoses, water pump, belts and carb kit. Something that gets overlooked are the battery cables, they can corrode from inside and look fine outside, maybe a starter too. Welcome to classic olds.
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Old January 12th, 2018, 06:16 PM   #3
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As these are hobby cars and not basic transportation, I would not worry about keeping a fully stocked auto parts warehouse at home. Most parts can be had pretty quick even by mail. Replace what is necessary when needed. I always keep the old tune up parts that are replaced as spares for an emergency. Same with belts and hoses.
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Old January 13th, 2018, 03:05 AM   #4
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Shop Manual, Chassis and Body Parts Books for reference numbers. Paperbacks, not CD's
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Old January 13th, 2018, 07:57 AM   #5
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I think part of it depends on what you are going to do with your car. If you plan on taking some road trips then you may want to carry a few more parts like fuel pump and points and condenser. Eric has a good idea in saving your old points, belts and hoses which will get you home in an emergency. If your car is running good and the transmission is working good I would just take care of them and enjoy the car. Be sure and use a motor oil that has zinc in it or add ZDDP to your oil when you change it, Valvoline Racing Oil is one that has zink in it. As Frank mentioned, get a factory shop manual. You want one of the originals with a few greasy thump prints on it. They are usually on ebay. Check the prices before you buy one. It seems they are usually $35-$40 but sometimes you can find a bargain. I had one for my 54 but bought and extra not long ago for $10 because it was a bargain. Good luck and enjoy your car.
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Old January 13th, 2018, 09:49 AM   #6
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I agree with most of the above. I generally keep a fuel pump, starter and generator on the shelf also a extra oil filter and a points set. It's probably somewhat different for you as shipping time would be much longer but most of consumables are still around if you know where to look. It's knowing where to look that is the trick.... Tedd
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Old January 13th, 2018, 10:42 AM   #7
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Al lot of great input thanks. I would not have thought of the battery wires. Fuel pump is a good one, too. Yeah, shipping to Germany takes a bit longer and it involves customs and import taxes. I'm in the States twice a year so will be bringing back some smaller items each time I go. Will probably go electronic on the ignition. Have had good luck with Pertronix on my 1969 VW Bay Window Camper.

Will carry a few of the suggested parts in the trunk and keep a few more at home but of course one never knows what breaks next and I have now intention of creating a fully stocked warehouse. Having said that, I think I might just buy some items now because I don't know if everything that is available today will still be available a few years down the road.

Thanks for the tip regarding the oil.

I already have a copy of the shop manual. Will try to find a parts catalogue, too.

Any recommendations on parts sources apart from USA Parts Supply, RockAuto an Fusick?

Do the front suspension ball joints normally have rubber boots on them? Mine don't seem to but they are full of grease.


Last edited by Aviator; January 13th, 2018 at 11:01 AM.
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Old January 16th, 2018, 02:54 PM   #8
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I use a couple of Napa stores that are in my area for convenience and to get quick pick up items, other wise It is Ebay for carburetor parts and oddball stuff and the places you mentioned above.

No boots on my front end ether.... Tedd
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Old January 17th, 2018, 03:58 PM   #9
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Thank you Tedd. Very useful info regarding the ball joints. Stefan
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