GARY F

My L-37 straight 8

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I bought this car not running. The crank turns over easy and the dist. rotor turns. I look down in plug hole and none of the valves move.. I guess next is to pull the front cover off that covers the timing chain to see whats going on.  Any other guesses??

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Could the valves be stuck open?

 

I can't seem to find a good pic of an Olds 8, but if memory serves, the distributor is driven by the camshaft, and about halfway back, like Pontiac and a few other makes. If that's true, the cam has to be turning.

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I have moved this to the Technical Forum where I think you might find more advice. 

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2 hours ago, Larry Schramm said:

Do you have the valve cover off?  If so, do any of the rocker arms move?

Flathead engine.. no rocker arms. Rotor turning, cam turning as Bloo stated, I agree most likely some valves stuck open or flat cam lobes. Have you ran a compression check on each cylinder?

Edited by pont35cpe (see edit history)

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Sounds like valves stuck, a common problem on flathead engines. You need to remove the head, squirt some oil on the valve stems and tap the valve with a hammer. Just a light tap in the exact center of the valve will do no harm, do not hit the edge or you could bend the valve. The valve should pop down by the strength of the valve spring. Turn the engine over, if the valve sticks again do it again. A little oil and some movement and they should all work like new.  While you are in there you can inspect the cylinders for rust or scoring, see how worn the pistons are, check the ridge at the top of the cylinders. And inspect the valves and seats for wear or burning. If things don't look too bad you can put it back together with the old gasket and torque to factory specs.

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4 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

Sounds like valves stuck, a common problem on flathead engines. You need to remove the head, squirt some oil on the valve stems and tap the valve with a hammer. Just a light tap in the exact center of the valve will do no harm, do not hit the edge or you could bend the valve. The valve should pop down by the strength of the valve spring. Turn the engine over, if the valve sticks again do it again. A little oil and some movement and they should all work like new.  While you are in there you can inspect the cylinders for rust or scoring, see how worn the pistons are, check the ridge at the top of the cylinders. And inspect the valves and seats for wear or burning. If things don't look too bad you can put it back together with the old gasket and torque to factory specs.

You will need to remove the side covers on the engine so that you can see with each valve that you are on the base circle of the cam before you do any hitting with a hammer to move the valve down otherwise you will bend a valve that may be on the cam's ramp or it's apex.

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First I want to thank you all for your replies.  Last night while watching tv I said to myself  dummy if the dist. turns that means the cam is turning.  What i tried first was the back plug and  screwed in my compression tester, turned over the motor  and got zero. Then i pulled a plug out of the center where I could see better  and turned over the motor and saw no valve movement.  So I posted the question before I gave it more thought.  I say you guys are right about valves stuck. Like you all said pull the head and go from there. I think this motor has not run since 1974 according to the inspection sticker.. There was a lot of automatic transmission fluid in the intake manifold. I was thinking the previous owner put it there to run down in the cylinders some how.   The carb was off also when I got the car.. There is no trace of the trans fluid in the oil.  I will be pulling the pan to clean.  Does any one know any tricks to pulling a stuck head after all the bolts are out besides a puddy knife.. I did read once about putting 3 or 4  bolts in plug holes with a with hole in a  straight piece of steel and hooking my motor hoist pulling up slightly and leaving it a day or days til it pops.  Thanks again guys.

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6 hours ago, pont35cpe said:

Flathead engine.. no rocker arms. Rotor turning, cam turning as Bloo stated, I agree most likely some valves stuck open or flat cam lobes. Have you ran a compression check on each cylinder?

 

Sorry, Not that familiar with Pontiac engines.

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Fill the block up to the head joint with hottest water you can, sit for a while, drain, try again. Got the head off an Alfa once doing this. Check all cylinders for compression - if you find one, put , say a 1/2 pint of light oil in , install the plug, and turn it over - compression might start lifting the head. Make sure you do have all the bolts out!

jp 26 Rover 9

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You can avoid taking off the head if you take the valve covers off the side of the engine. Then you will be able to see the stuck valves and pry them down as necessary. The head may be easier if not stuck. If it has bolts, take out the bolts tap the head sideways with a hammer and it should  come loose, if not a scraper or pry bar may be necessary. Be careful not to chew up the head gasket if you want to reuse it.

Head studs can be more difficult. You may want to take a couple of old spark plugs and knock out the porcelain. Then put in eye bolts so you can screw them into the plug holes and lift the head with your engine lift. Or put a steel plate on top of the studs, a hydraulic jack, a piece of angle iron attached to the eye bolts, and use the hydraulic jack to lift the head. Once it is broken loose you should be able to lift it straight up with wooden wedges and pry bar until it is free. A straight eight head can be very heavy you will probably need the engine hoist to lift it in any case.

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Could also be lifters missing, etc. 

 

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Stuff a piece of rope down a spark plug hole and turn the engine.

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I have freed a stuck exhaust valve in my Dodge 8 with the head on, using a wedge I pushed into the valve spring and a piece of steel taped to the top of it. Turn the engine over and the little piece of steel pushes on the edge of the opening. The wedge is pushed down and there is enough spring to close the valve as you turn the engine over. I have a crank handle, you may not. My next move is to start the motor, push the wedge in and put some thin oil ("upper cylinder lubricant") down the carb.. I am predicting a mess!

 

The trouble with this method is that if you don't clean off the problem deposits, it will stick again after a relatively short layup. Mine did.

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Again, thanks for all the tips. I will be pulling the head. It is on with bolts, not studs. I can't wait to get back to the garage, because I am fighting back and leg pain. A week ago I had two cortisone shots in my back. I will keep you updated when I get back at the car.  If you are wondering it is a 37 Oldsmobile , 4dr.  touring sedan, straight eight.

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Leaning into the engine to work on it isn't fun with a sore back! Hope things improve for you. An engine crane will be helpful here.

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Problem #1,  I have worked on more cars than 99% of the people on the planet and I have no idea what a L-37 is,  and I have no idea what year it is. A  more accurate description would be very helpful.  I only work on prewar cars.  Could you post a complete description please ? 

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L-37 is an eight cylinder 1937 Oldsmobile, if it were a 6 cylinder it would be an F-37.  Beyond these basics I agree with edinmass's question.

Nice olds engine picture, especially the proper sized battery cable.

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He did in with the heading at the top of his pics, 1937 Olds 4 door touring sedan with a straight 8 engine.  

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35 minutes ago, Tinindian said:

TerryB you are more observant than I.

I used to be responsible for writing technical how-to instructions, must still be in my blood!

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On 2/21/2019 at 2:02 PM, GARY F said:

Again, thanks for all the tips. I will be pulling the head. It is on with bolts, not studs. I can't wait to get back to the garage, because I am fighting back and leg pain. A week ago I had two cortisone shots in my back. I will keep you updated when I get back at the car.  If you are wondering it is a 37 Oldsmobile , 4dr.  touring sedan, straight eight.

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your project sure brings back memories when i was 19, i bought, drove, and enjoyed a 1937 Olds F-37 6 cylinder opera coupe around santa monica in 1975.

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I will be 80 in April. I hope I will live long enough to finish it. I already restored two 63 Pontiacs, a Bonne. and Grand Prix.

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20 hours ago, GARY F said:

I will be 80 in April. I hope I will live long enough to finish it. I already restored two 63 Pontiacs, a Bonne. and Grand Prix.

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Just out of curiosity I wonder if you would tell me/us which car ( The Bonneville or grand Prix ) do you like better? I know the Grand Prix is slightly lighter and is 7 inches shorter and has a shorter wheel base. The two cars have a different automatic ( a 4 range three speed HydraMatic vs. a 4 speed HydraMatic.) and wondering also if you would comment on that too, especially the drivability between the two. 

Both beautiful , by the way. I'm partial to those late 50's and early Pontiac's. I've got 62 and 63 Cat's.

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Edited by Pfeil (see edit history)

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