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Kestrel

'51 Buick noisy lifter problem, maybe ?

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After sitting for approx 5 months with all fluids drained, and now with everything back together, I finally went to start the engine. New manifold gaskets, replacing water pump, engine detailing, & general refreshing is all I did. She ran quiet last November with no apparent issues. However, immediately after starting today, it gave off a very loud tapping from the top end somewhere. Sounds bloody awful.

 

I did not run it very long, maybe a minute altogether. The noise stayed the same. I cleaned out a suspect oil filter line going into the head that feeds the rockers because there was no oil coming out of the rocker arms. I don't want to damage anything so I I didn't re-try yet, but the dash oil gauge needle jumps to the high end of the dial so I assume the basic oil pressure is okay. 

 

Do these hydraulic lifters take a while to fill ? Maybe I didn't run the engine long enough ? I performed a lot of disassembly, cleaned dirty filters, etc., but the rockers, valves, etc I left alone. Any ideas appreciated !!!  I'm currently afraid to turn the key. 😞

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On later V8's it is common to have lifter noise, after an extended period of inoperation, till the engine runs a few minutes.  If you still have the valve cover off, you can put some oil over the top of the rocker arms and valves plus dribble some down each pushrod towards the lifters, then re start and let it run for a minute and a half at least, and possibly longer if in that time frame the noise sounds like it is going away. 

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Also note, if you changed the oil filter but did not refill the canister before replacing it on it's mount, then the first supply of oil must refill the canister before any oil can get to the rockers.  And I have not looked at a manual, but does your engine get oil to the lifters through the pushrods like the 49?  Or is it supplied from the main galley like the following v8's? 

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All straight eights oil the same.  I believe I would unhook the line from the filter to the head at the head and check flow. If OK, reconnect and unhook at outlet of head going to rocker stand. As old-tank sayes, report back.

  It can take awhile, especially if the lifters were disassembled and cleaned.

 

  Ben

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Thanks John. Yes, I filled the oil filter canister when I added the 6 + qts. of crankcase oil. All oil supplied to the rockers, push rods goes through that big filter canister first. The lifters are then supplied with oil through  the " rocker arm shaft, rocker arm, ball stud, push rod ends, and push rod seat in lifter" so states the manual.

 

The push rod serves as a "reservoir" to maintain oil above the lifter. This is all new to me, but the manual appears to make it pretty clear.

 

Now I'm thinking there just wasn't enough oil to trickle down to the lifters for some yet undetermined reason.  I'll check the supply lines AND squirt oil some 10w-30 down around the push rods and rockers. I'd like to know just how much oil is supposed to shoot out of those rocker holes. Gentle weep or decent stream ?

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Remember, the straight-8 has a metered fitting at the cylinder head.  Therefore, the rocker shaft is not under full engine oil pressure, so it's more than a trickle, but not much.  If one lifter bled down over the winter, it could take several minutes to fill up.

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Several minutes ? I feel better now.  I'll first make sure I have a trickle of oil.

 

When I removed the push rod cover for painting, I recall degreasing and cleaning up the inside and around the rods. Never thought to squirt some oil back in. That step might have helped to "jump start" the lifters ?  I replaced the cover with  the internals clean.... but dry. 😟

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GREAT NEWS ! After about 15 minutes or so, she started pumping oil to the rockers and the push rods started dancing,  spinning, awash in new oil.  First my mechanic friend put a pressure gauge on the oil filter inlet and got 60 lbs , then we went ahead and let her run.

 

After several minutes, the engine quieted down slowly but steadily, eventually reaching a low pleasant hum, like the proverbial Swiss watch. Also no exhaust leaks, no oil or coolant leaks.... at least of this writing. I think I'm good to go. Now on to the brakes. They've seen better days. 

 

Thanks all for the support and advice !!  I'm a happy owner once again. 😄

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Kestrel said:

GREAT NEWS ! After about 15 minutes or so, she started pumping oil to the rockers and the push rods started dancing,  spinning, awash in new oil.  First my mechanic friend put a pressure gauge on the oil filter inlet and got 60 lbs , then we went ahead and let her run.

 

After several minutes, the engine quieted down slowly but steadily, eventually reaching a low pleasant hum, like the proverbial Swiss watch. Also no exhaust leaks, no oil or coolant leaks.... at least of this writing. I think I'm good to go. Now on to the brakes. They've seen better days. 

 

Thanks all for the support and advice !!  I'm a happy owner once again. 😄

 

 

 

 

 

Once again, rejoicing could be heard throughout the garage!  Glad it is sorted and running well.   

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