A Cure For Squeaking PulleysI have a '66 Tri-Power four-speed GTO that is restored to stock. It has power steering and I have a problem with the fan belts: they squeal all the time. I have tightened, loosened and replaced the belts. I have also tried belt dressing, but nothing works. Do you have any suggestions?Frank SheffieldTallahassee, FL

Jim Taylor responds:The V-belt drive system, as it is known, is the most practical and efficient way to turn the low drag accessories on automobile engines. The later model flat serpentine belt system has also proved to be excellent. It is by the friction of the V sides of the belt riding on the V shape of the pulley groove that causes the drive (rotation). The drive pulley on the crankshaft is how all of the accessory pulleys are driven. There is no sound more annoying or embarrassing than a shrieking belt.

Check these things out. If you have an A/C compressor going bad or a water pump or power steering unit with too much resistance, the belt will slip, causing the squeal. There are specific limits for rotation resistance of the accessories. Rotating resistance is measured in inch-lbs, requiring an inch-lb torque meter to measure it. If you don't have an inch-lb torque meter, you can simply make a judgment by hand, rotating each unit's pulley (with the belt removed). None should be hard to turn.

We see a lot of cars where pulleys have been changed and special-length belts are used. Guys are buying belts by size rather than application.

Some of the cars we see with belts that won't shut up have too narrow of a belt riding way down in the pulley groove. It is actually riding on the flat bottom of the belt, so the V walls of the belt are not fully contacting the V walls of the pulley. There is not enough friction to eliminate slip in this situation, so they squeal.

Belt dressing is for old, dry belts that should really be changed. In the old days, we held a bar of soap against a running belt. It stops all noise, but it's dangerous and there's soap flakes everywhere-don't do it.

The last suggestion is what I feel your problem probably is. Your 42-year-old pulleys have become what most people call glazed, or very smooth. The actual technical term for the polishing of brake rotors and V belt pulleys is burnishing. The V grooves in your pulleys have, over time, been so highly polished by the belts, especially slipping belts, that too little friction is generated to hold the belt against the resistance of the accessory being driven. The answer is to "scarify" (rough up) the V walls of the pulleys. Here in the shop, we remove all belts, then use an 80-grit tapered spiral roll on a die grinder to do the job. It works 100 percent of the time. If you don't have a die grinder, remove the pulleys and use 100-grit sandpaper or a rat-tail file used to sharpen chainsaw blades. We've used or advised people to use these methods and none eat belts. Instead, they provide the friction you need to stop squealing and let you run belt tension as instructed by the service manual. Thanks for the question.

Building A 400 Into A 455I love your magazine and all the great cars. My '66 LeMans currently has a mild 326. I have learned a lot and have started to put together the parts to upgrade the engine. A standard bore 400 block and a set of No. 13 heads that were done by Kauffman (240 cfm street porting) have been collected so far. I was just going to build a healthy 406, but I keep reading that a 400 stroker is about the same price. Cast cranks are available and cheap with a 4.21 stroke. Can a 400 be overbored 0.030 and be used with a standard 455 piston with stock length rods? The numbers seem to work, but I have not seen that combo in any build up. Thanks for your time.Bill MaloshSacramento, CA

Jeff Kauffman responds:It's great to hear that you're getting some good information from the magazine. I know it's a lot of work to get all of this together. As for your question, the stroker assemblies are a very good way to increase the cubic inches of your engine. Yes, the price is very comparable to building a standard 400 rotating assembly. The standard bore 455 pistons will work in a 0.030 over 400 block with a 4.21 stroker crank with the standard Pontiac rod journal and stock length (6.625-inch) rods. I'm not sure if any of these builds have been done in this magazine, but I can tell you that in our shop, we've done a few with very good results.

Shakin' Shaker I saw a recent photo of a '70 11/42 Lucerne Blue Trans Am that had a Victor intake. My '71 455 H.O. Trans Am has the same intake. I can put a hood on it, but I can't get the scoop to work since the carb sticks up through the opening in the hood. I would like to know how Steve Coombes made his work, so I can shut the hood on this long-time problem.Woody WoodallSpringville, AL

Rocky Rotella responds:Having known Steve Coombes for several years, I know he has assembled a number of combinations since his '7011/42 Trans Am was featured in the Feb. '02 issue of HPP, so I contacted him to discuss your question.

Steve tells me that back when the feature photos were taken, he was indeed running a Victor intake manifold, but he didn't then, and at no time now, have a functional Shaker. Instead, he grafted a stock Shaker to a fiberglass hood and carefully replicated the Shaker-to-hood relation. He then used a drop-base air cleaner assembly and small diameter filter to produce an open-element combination that just fits within the tight confines of the '70-'76 Shaker, further lending to the stock-type appearance when closed. While he has tried various intake manifolds, he continues to use the same hood and similar air cleaner assembly today.

It's fairly well-known that WFO Performance Works in Spring, Texas, and Blocker's Performance in Vilonia, Arkansas (www.blockersperformance.com), have been producing drop-base air cleaner assemblies for Second-Gen Trans Ams for quite some time. Steve also mentioned during our conversation that Butler Performance (www.jbp-pontiac.com) in Leoma, Tennessee, has recently begun marketing WFO's kit, and advertises that it fits later Second-Gen T/As with stock Performer RPM intake manifolds or Victors that have 0.650-inches milled from the carburetor flange.

I suspect that if you plan to run a Victor manifold on your '71 Trans Am and wish to retain Shaker functionality, you'll be forced to significantly mill its carburetor flange, and purchase and/or modify a drop-base kit like those offered by the aforementioned manufacturers. Another alternative may be to combine said kits with a Performer RPM manifold, which will give complete Shaker functionality without grossly affecting full-throttle performance when compared to the milled Victor.

Goat Wiring WoesI have a '70 GTO convertible with a 400 and have rewired the engine compartment using a new engine harness for a '70 GTO with Ram Air and air conditioning. However, the old harness was a mess so I couldn't use it as a guide, the faded diagram wasn't any help, and all my back issues couldn't answer these two questions:

1. The alternator: Coming out of the harness, which runs along the driver's side of the valve covers, is a grey plug with a blue wire and a black-and-white-striped wire that plugs into the alternator. There is also a green wire, which goes to the temp unit and a black-and-red-striped wire that goes to the alternator. Does this black-and-red-striped wire go to the BATT side of the alternator, or the other post?

2. The starter: I have a fat red wire and the positive battery cable on the same large BATT post on the starter. I also have a purple wire. Does this purple wire go to the R or S post on the starter?

This is all I lack before attempting to finally start it. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you!William CarsonLoxley, AL

Quint Stires responds:It was very smart to change out the wiring harness. Just as can be the case with the engine, paint and interior, the wiring is not exempt from butchering.

You are correct that the lone black-and-red-striped wire goes to the only post on the back of the alternator, which has a red base and is for charging the system. The other post is nothing more than a suppressor for radio noise.

The fat red wire and the purple wire for the Ram Air car are longer than the non-Ram Air car because they are now routed along the valve cover over the front of the engine, down past the power steering pump and under the exhaust manifold next to the motor mount. The non-Ram Air car runs these wires in a tube in-between the exhaust manifold and the engine. The "S" post is for Start and the "R" post is for a Resistor, if equipped, so connect the purple wire to the "S" terminal. The large red wire, along with the battery cable, connects directly to the starter post as you stated. Now you are ready to start the car.

Be cognizant of how you routed wires and ensure that they don't touch the exhaust manifold or the block in any way. If they do, the heat will melt away the plastic insulation on the wires and cause a direct short in the system. I have seen this firsthand out at Houston Raceway many years ago and it's not pretty.

Pure pontiac power for A g-bodyYou have a great magazine! I have been a Pontiac nut for as long as I can remember (I guess growing up in my dad's GTO helps) but I have a question. I want to build a mid-'80s Grand Prix with Pure Pontiac power (a 400 or 455). However, I also want to keep the A/C functional and use the functional shaker scoop from the aforementioned GTO. I have not been able to find any info on how involved this swap will be. Are parts available such as motor mounts, headers, and bracketry? I would appreciate any info you can give. Thanks and keep up the great work.Alex GryskevichBloomingdale, OH

Rocky Rotella responds:You can always expect some level of frustration when trying to assemble a non-stock combination, but dropping a traditional Pontiac engine into an '81-'87 Grand Prix should be a pretty simple task. The '78-'81 A- and G-body vehicles share many similarities, and since Pontiac and Buick offered the Pontiac-built 301ci in those model lines during that time, your best bet may be to search local salvage yards and locate a 301-powered donor to get ideas and parts from.

You'll definitely need the motor mounts from the donor vehicle, but the short-deck265 and 301ci engines utilize specific alternator and power steering pump brackets, so those will be of no use to you. Those same engines did, however, use an axial (A-6) air conditioning compressor, and if you plan to use that type in your project, you'll want all of the associated A/C brackets. All other accessory brackets, including those for an R-4 A/C compressor if you so desire, will otherwise have to come from a traditional Pontiac V-8.

The only company that I can immediately recall that produces tube headers for your application is Indian Adventures (www.chiefmanyhorses.com). You didn't indicate the intended power output range planned for your engine, but if it's somewhat moderate, you might find that cast-iron Ram Air manifolds are entirely adequate, and should fit that chassis with relative ease. In addition to the engine swap, you'll need to install a transmission with a BOP-bolt pattern. A Turbo-350 will fit without modification, and if properly rebuilt, should withstand anything a moderately built 400 or 455 can throw at it.

Installing a functional Shaker scoop in your particular application will likely take a great deal of ingenuity. The carburetor's relation to the hood will determine how possible it is, and I'm certain that you'll have to fabricate some type of air cleaner base for the Shaker to rest on. It's definitely not impossible, but I think you'll find this portion of the swap most difficult.

Stop Oil Pan Leaks For GoodI want to start off by saying how much I love the magazine. It has a great variety of content, much of which I have used to my benefit. I have a question about oil pan gaskets that no one can seem to give me a definite answer to. I have an '80 T/A with a rebuilt 400 and mid 300s horsepower at the wheels.

My problem is that I cannot find a way to make my pan gasket stop leaking at the rear of the engine. The engine has been pulled out once already since rebuilding it and I have failed twice at getting a good seal. I have been using the 3-hole pan gasket type, and followed the directions exactly. From what I can see, it seems the rubber seal rings that go around the two rear bolts always squeeze out, even with minimal silicone and minimal torque on the bolts. Is the 5-hole gasket any better? I have been using conventional 10W-40 oil. Will better oil help? Any information you can give me would be greatly appreciated since this is becoming an annoyance and giving a very nicely restored car a very bad look. Please help.Joel BabineauVia internet

Jim Taylor responds:The 3- and 5-hole rubber pan seals from Pontiac were not good designs. When we did replace those types of gaskets back when the cars were relatively new, there were a few tricks we employed to get them to work. The 3-hole was a real pain. It seemed that no matter what adhesive you used, it would displace at torque.

One day, I heated up the pan with a propane torch then installed the rubber seal, basically vulcanizing it to the pan. I also used Permatex Ultra Black Gasket Maker (PN 82180). Even if you did "follow the directions exactly," it's still hit or miss because it's a bad design.

In the shop here, we can have no leaks, so we use the Canton stock replacement oil pan (PN 15-389) and convert the second design rear main cap like you have (no square groove) using the square cork seal. Since there is no square groove in your main cap, you must permanently affix the cork gasket to the smooth radius of your main cap.

Place the pan side gaskets on the block; hold them in place with 4-bolts on each side. The cut-outs at each end will show you where the cork is to be positioned on the main cap. Use two pieces of masking tape to hold the cork in place, set the pan on and see if the cork is in the middle of the pan lip. This is a good time to see if the cork needs to be trimmed with an Exacto knife for thickness to match the radius of the oil pan. The ends always need to be trimmed. If you don't, as the pan is torqued down, the ends can displace under the pan and hold it up from seating.

After you're sure of the gasket fit, roll up the square cork very tightly and let it sit for a few hours. Clean the rear main cap gasket area 100 percent, using lacquer thinner as a final cleaner. Your cork, now uncoiled, will have a nice generous radius to it. Coat the downside with vinyl top glue (trim adhesive). Also brush some on the main cap at the location you determine it to be placed. It will need to be pushed down for about 10 minutes. Once the glue is cured, use either black or clear silicone adhesive to place a bead in front of and behind the cork. You can make it wide, but not as high as the cork. This must sit for 24 hours.

Before installing the pan, run a generous bead of silicone over the square cork. Torque the pan down evenly and use the reinforcing plates at the rear corners of the pan. This should do it.

ADVERTISER INDEX
A M Soff Seal 95
Ames Performance 45
Autoinstruments 17
Automotive Racing Prods 39
Be Cool 93
Butler Performance 97
Classic Industries 15
Competition Cams 11
Doug Herbert Performance Parts 27
Hawks Third Gen Parts 53
Highland Daytona Racing 39
IMI Performance Products 69
In Line Tube 97
Legendary Auto Interiors 31
Len Williams Auto Machine 53
March Performance 53
Mickey Thompson Tires 95
Mobil1 20, 21
National Parts Depot 8, 9, 37
Nitemare Performance 97
Original Parts Group 29
Pacific Performance Racing 45
Perf Suspension Technology C4
Performance Years 53
Phoenix Graphix 69
QA1 Motorsports 7
Ram Air Restoration C3
Restomotive Laboratories 31
Stainless Steel Brakes 43
TCI Automotive 45
Victory Wax 13
William Gannon 43
Year One C2

The advertiser Index is published as a courtesy to our readers. High Performance Pontiac bears no responsibility for its accuracy.

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