Why to stay away from American Autowire…

April 3rd, 2017

First off, this is in my opinion.  Being that I do a fair amount of electrical work, I pursued an account with American Autowire out of New Jersey way over a year ago.  I never received any type of catalog EVER even though I requested one FIVE TIMES.  That should have tipped me off.  They were well aware of the fact that we only deal in big Pontiacs.  I dealt with a person named Josh in Customer Service and Ray in their Tech. Dept.  So far, so good….

My first (and only) order was for something out of the normal scope of wiring for a 64 Pontiac Catalina. Lets side-step here a moment.  Having a 1961 Impala 2 door sedan, I needed to replace the front harnesses (both headlight and engine harnesses) and wellingtonclassics! had and still lists (as eBay 252444607179) a slick set of harnesses for 61 to 64 Impalas that not only has the front light harness but a cool (but simple) harness that allows you to lose either your generator or early alternator and go to a later model (70 on-up) GM built-regulator alternator AND a high energy ignition (HEI)  You can do away with the troublesome voltage regulators we mostly get now from China AND you get away from troublesome points AND it is built into a factory looking harness right from the get go.  OK, so I ordered  one of these sets from a friend of mine.

A bit of my history here.  I owned my own automotive electrical shop Las Vegas, NV from 1979 until I left Las Vegas in 1985. I had employees and rebuilt starters, alternators, sold 1,000’s of batteries and did tons of electrical work on everything from cars to Wayne Newton’s helicopter.

Since I am VERY FAMILIAR with both 61-64 Chevrolets and 61-64 Pontiacs and KNOW that outside of the firewall plugs (and a small variation whee the voltage regulators are mounted), these harnesses are the same damn harness. After a couple of calls to American Autowire, they agreed and made a “new style” harness for my Catalina incorporating both new features.  As with ALL 61-66 Pontiac front harnesses, they need your firewall plugs.  They un-clip your old wiring from the plugs and use new clips.  Chevy plugs are being made.  Anyway, I got my new harness and am about to install.  I had my good friend Doug Pauschert in Hernando Beach, FL call Josh and try to order a harness just like mine.  He refused saying they would not make the same harness as they thought it might burn his car down.  My harness did NOT have the HEI wire in the main harness they built.  It came with a separate 12 gauge wire to go from the pink wire terminal on the back of my ignition switch straight to my HEI.  For those of you of there, HEI systems require 12 volts AND a 12 gauge wire.  Your factory wiring is a ni-chrome wire that drops to 9 volts to run with a points system(like an old ballast resistor). You cannot run a HEI system off factory wiring to the coil.

I called American Autowire and spoke to Josh and then Ray in their Tech Department. Neither were able to explain to my satisfaction, their grounds or not making the new new harness for Doug.  Also, about the time, work was started on my former 65 2+2 convertible with Comfortron Air Conditioning for the new owner.  The car was going to need every piece of wiring new.  I requested pricing, lead times and whether or not they needed any of the weird plugs to do the job.  I gave them all the information needed.  I waited and called FIVE TIMES, and to this day, a year later, still have heard nothing.  I decided to call Lectric Limited in Bedford Park, IL (866-624-1850) to inquire about the 65 2+2 wiring.  Within 7 minutes, I had all the specs, costs and delivery times in hand.

I called American Autowire and spoke to Josh’s supervisor Dan.  I told him about how Josh had failed all the way around.  He promised me he would look into this and true to form, I have never heard from anybody ever again.  However I did hear from a person who still deals with them last week and I have been BLACK-BALLED from ever dealing with American Autowire. I was already done even when I was dealing with them!  It should be noted that Ames Performance deals with Lectric for all the wiring they sell.  I strongly suggest you consider all the above when you are considering choosing a supplier for your wiring.  Again, this is in my opinion.  Les Kasten 4/3/2017

Address Change

August 21st, 2016

The new address for PontiacParadise.com will be 14050 Pilot Knob Rd, Suite 140, Apple Valley, MN 55124. All other information will remain the same. Thanks! LK 8-21-2016

Looking for Door Panels, Steering Wheels or Dash Pads?

April 19th, 2016

Are you looking for door panels for your car?  2 or 4 door, wagon or convertible?  Chances of finding 50 year old decent panels are slim to none.  Same for clear steering wheels and dash pads.  Here is where you need to go to obtain these items:

-Door Panels:  Ames and OPG have a very limited selection of PUI panels for generic models only.  In generic colors only.  They are OK.  But what if you have a 2 door sedan or a wagon or maybe a color that wasn’t the norm?  The solution is SMS in Canby, OR (505-263-3535).  They specialize in new Pontiac door panels done in the correct heat seamed material with or without the correct Mylar.  They can also provide any fabric or material you may need including Ventura and GP emblems into the vinyl.  Is it cheap?  No.  Are they quick to get it done?  No.  They can make your door panels by just having the curved metal pieces from the tops of your old panels. You do not have to send them your entire panels. They do not have the metal trim that may be on your panels.  That you have to provide and possibly re-install. One issue……DO NOT allow them to install the door panel nails on your panels.  Tell them to leave the nails out and leave the sides and bottom of the new panels un-glued.  Let your interior person install as they DO NOT have any idea where they belong.  Current cost for all four panels runs around $850. They are busy and SLOW.

-Steering Wheels:  If you are looking for a good 50 year old clear steering wheel, good luck!  Who isn’t?  You have two options…..go to a wood wheel or send yours off and have it redone.  There are two companies that offer this service:  Quality Restorations (858-271-7374)  and D & D Automobilla in North Carolina (704-748-3447) ask for Bob.  Plan on at least $1,350 and 90 days.

-Dash Pads:  The ago old problem….my dash pad is cracked, now what?  There is only one company that has stood the test of time.  Just Dashes, Inc. (800-247-3274) in California.  Catalina non air dashes are cheaper than Bonneville/Grand Prix and air conditioned dash pads.  They will need your core AND the both A-Pillar moldings from your car.  They can do any color and they stand behind their work.  Plan on a minimum of $650 thru $900 at this time.

Please tell these companies you were directed to them by PontiacParadise.com  LK  4-19-2016

Les Kasten elected to POCI Board of Directors

April 19th, 2016

Les Kasten was recently elected to the Pontiac-Oakland Club’s Board of Directors, Midwest Division.  The term is 3 years.  Les says “I am proud to accept this position and hope I can really help the members of the Pontiac community.”  This was the second time Les was nominated.  LK 4-19-2016

Purchasing, Shipping and Return Policies…

January 29th, 2016

After doing this for years, it has now become time to state purchasing, shipping and return policies.  If you purchase something new or reproduction and it’s wrong (never happens), we will refund your money once the product is returned.  There must be a viable reason for returning the product. Everything we reproduce is an exact fit and we inspect EVERY part before it leaves here.  We do not pay return postage however we also do not charge a restocking fee.  If PontiacParadise.com did not reproduce or make the part, such as trunk floors, quarter panels, floor pans, there is no warranty.  You will need to take up any issues with the manufacture.  We will be more than happy to get you in touch with whoever that may be, however that is the end of our responsibility.

Used parts:  We are not WalMart.  The used parts we sell are carefully checked and described. However, these parts are 50 years old.  We cannot see thru metal.  There is no warranty on used parts whatsoever.  There are also NO REFUNDS.  Unless stated, we are not responsible for postage, shipping or loading of your parts.  We will assist if you are having something picked up within reason.  This includes frames.  We will assist in helping you find a shipper, but that’s it.  A recent frame sale resulted in a lot of extra work and expense as the person was told the frame did not come with wheels or tires.  Now, he apparently HAS to have it on wheels and tires.  Thus the reason for stating policy.

We have had very little returns over the years, mainly parts others have made and we’ve sold.  We want to keep it this way.  We do hope you understand.  LK  1/29/2016

Carter AFB Carb Mounting Gasket on the way!

November 29th, 2015

200If you’re like me, you are no longer able to find just a standard Carter AFB carb mounting gasket that is NOT a 1/4″ spacer.  Nobody has bothered to make just a plain old mounting gasket.  Well, we did.  Made from a superior material, this gasket is .098″ thick and in not effected by heat or bad gas.  Far better than the originals.  Available now.  Cost is $10.95 plus $6.80 USPS in the lower 48.  World-wide at cost.

1963 & 1964 Aluminum Dash Inserts are here!

November 29th, 2015

We are doing 63 and 64 Dash Aluminum Inserts for your wood grained dash.  These were used on 63 and 64 Grand Prixs, Bonnevilles and 64 2+2’s  They were not used on regular Catalinas or Star Chiefs.  These are the four bases that the wood grain attaches to.  If you ever tried to remove the old wood grain from your original pieces, you know what a hard time it is to do.  Usually, they end up bent and useless.  These are brand new CNC’d out of the same thickness of aluminum as originals.  Your choice of either column shift (with indicator hole) or floor shift (no indicator hole).  Cost is $49.95 per set.  Postage is $8.95 USPS.

Choose either floor or column shift when ordering.

Choose either floor or column shift when ordering.

Parts For Sale: April 1, 2016 Frames and more!

October 1st, 2015

We have just received a load of nice frames from the West Coast.  They are all boxed frames and are all pretty much rollers:  Here is the list:

-1 each 1965-66 Bonneville Convertible/Coupe boxed rolling frame: $1000

-1 each 1965-66 Catalina/2+2/Grand Prix Convertible/Coupe/Sedan boxed bare frame:  $800

-1 each 1966 Catalina/2+2/Grand Prix/Coupe/Sedan open rolling frame: $900

These never last long.  Price includes loading onto your truck or trailer, however best to bring help to load.  These are stored stacked and we need notice to get your purchase un-stacked.  Remember, boxed frames are stronger that “U” channel frames.  These will fit your car with no modifications.  We have no idea of the rear end gearing on rolling frames.  Some have drums, some don’t. All have spindles. No wheels or tires.  Bring your own. All 62 to 68 Grand Prixs, 61 to 68 convertibles and most 64 to 67 2+2’s came with boxed frames.  They were used under regular cars when the Heavy Duty option was checked on the build sheet or when the factory ran out of regular frames during production.  Remember also that these are not rust pitted and that the a-arms and rear end trailing arms will be smooth and very pretty when rebuilt.  As with all used frames, there will be some areas that might need a “tweaking” with the old 18″ Cresent Wrench to straighten up stupid stuff.  All take body mounts available new thru Ames or OPG (18 per car).  Call today to reserve your frame.  We also have two complete 61-64 rear ends and one really nice 61-64 bare rear end housing.  We also have a nice full 66 Catalina front clip with core support and hood and grilles for $1,200 and a pair of 66 front fenders off a Grand Prix with fire damage and have been rust repaired at the bottoms.  Fixable.  $350 for the pair.  Have 66 hardtop doors for all models and an assortment of deck lids for 62 to 66.  Lots of wheel wells too!

-one pair of 1964 NOS Front Fenders:  $2000

-one pair of 64 NOS Catalina Grills:  $1500

-one 1964 Catalina or Star Chief NOS tail panel (chrome with “PONTIAC’): $2000

4-19-2016 LK

61 to 66 to 66 Turn Signal/Brake Light Problems

September 29th, 2015
61-66 Turn Signal Switch

61-66 Turn Signal Switch

Note hook tangs on side

Note hook tangs on side

I get at least two phone calls a week concerning massive problems with 61 to 66 turn signals and/or brake light problems.  It’s like your system went nuts!  And you know what?  It did!  OK, lets solve your problem…..first off, you need to crawl under your dash and find your turn signal switch.  No, it’s not under your steering wheel.  Your turn signal lever just moves a cable that runs down your column to the switch.  It is located about 5/8ths of the way down your column on the top of the tube.  The switch closest to the dash is your neutral safety starter switch and your back up light switch (same switch IF your car is a column shift).  If your car is a floor shift, the only other switch is your turn signal switch.  It has a pyramid shaped plug with a number of wires.  Carefully unplug it.  Now, using a 5/16ths nut driver or ratchet/socket, remove the two sheet metal bolts holding the switch to the tube.  Then, slide the switch up towards the dash off the looped wire (look on the back to see).  It should not be loose in your hand.  Cruise on over to your work bench and notice that there are four fold-up tabs, two on each side of the switch.  CAREFULLY fold these tabs back to separate the switch into two pieces.  NOW you will see your problem….when these switches were assembled, Pontiac used white lithium grease to provide lubrication for the contacts to slide when you moved the turn signal lever.  After 50+ years, these once pliable grease has turned into hard crap, forcing the contacts to go all kinds of wrong places.  Thus your system going nuts!  Get some good electrical contact cleaner and completely clean the inside area of both pieces.  While it’s air drying, trot over to O’Reilly Auto Parts and pick up a small package of di-electric grease (usually up front on the parts counter).  It’s clear and used for electrical connections.  I use it on my snow plow plugs.  Now, take a small pick with a 90 degree bend and carefully pull up on the spring loaded contacts.  You MUST be careful not to pull them too far.  Maybe a 16th of an inch.  Once all are done, now take and wipe a thin film of grease over the contacts, both sides.  DO NOT glob a lot of grease in here.  Carefully re-assemble the switch the same way it came apart.  Fold the four tabs up as these are only good for a couple of times being bent.  Slide the post on the back of the switch back and forth to make sure nothing is binding up.  Re-install the switch on the column making sure the post goes thru the loop on the cable coming out of the column (centered).  Be careful not to over-tighten the two 5/16ths bolts.  Now, plug the harness back in and try your signals and brake lights.  You should be in business.  I have never seen one of these switches fail in service except for the reason above.  Pretty durable.  The same switch was also used on 61 to 66 full size Chevys.  LK  9-29-2015

Minnesota Car Guys Beware!

September 29th, 2015

It should be stated that the following is in my opinion:  Stay away from C & E Auto Upholstery in Savage, MN.  I had my 1964 Blue Catalina 2 door sedan interior install at C & E.  Have never been happy with a number of items…headliner, door panels and other issues.  I provided a decent 64 front seat for the car however the owner, Tom, demanded the seat be sand blasted, power coated and completely redone.  Imagine my surprise when I recently removed the seat after 10 years, to 4 speed my car and found that the wire that runs from one side of the seat to the other to release the seat tracks, was NEVER installed on my seat.  I had to manually release the passengers side of my seat to access the bolts.  I called C & E and asked to speak to Tom (who is always busy on the phone).  I left a message and as usual, no return call.  This wasn’t something that broke or wore out.  This was a complete failure to finish my seat in the first place.  I am still cleaning headliner glue from my interior 10 years now.  My door panels fit like crap (came from SMS in Canby, OR, another flake outfit), my carpet is glued down in some areas where it shouldn’t be and not in areas where it should be.  One more item….I provided a new car set of tar paper to replace the original tar paper in the car.  They did not remove the original tar paper, they just glued the new stuff right over the old stuff.  And let me tell you, they glued the shit out of everything.  WAY TOO MUCH SPRAY GLUE.  It took me 2+ hours just to get my carpet pulled up enough to install my shifter porch.  The more I dig into my interior, the madder I get.  There are a lot of upholstery shops in the Twin Cities.  This is one to stay away from.  Don’t like the workmanship, nor do I like the attitude of the owner.   Once again, this is in my opinion, which I am entitled to under the First Amendment.  Thanks!  LK  9-29-2015