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Early 8 Cylinder valvetrain oiling- how much oil should be splashing around?


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I have a 1931 Model 60 that sat for 25 years.  Recently got it running again.  Dropped pan, cleaned all the sludge I could get to.  Installed new modern style spin on oil filter, refilled with clean new oil.   Is showing 30-35 PSI oil pressure on the gauge at any engine RPM above a low idle.  Valvetrain seems very “dry” to me.  Virtually no oil is splashing on the underside of valve cover.  Rocker shaft etc. has no fresh oil on it.  There is a hole in the center of each rocker arm- should oil be pumping out of each one? None is.  There is quite a bit of oil flowing out of one hole at the very front of the valvetrain and dribbling down. (I’m pointing to it in one of the pics)  That is basically it for any noticeable oil being splashed around while running.   Is this normal or do I have an oil distribution issue here?  If so, any ideas as to the cause?  Thanks!

 

Link to video of it running:

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They don't spray much at idle. Try a higher RPM like maybe 1500 or 2000 and see if it shoots out.

 

It doesn't take much to lubricate the rockers, the earlier cars with exposed valve trains said one drop of oil every 100 miles was good enough. Maybe with the valve cover on and higher RPM the oil will mist the air under the cover, and a little and will get on the rockers, they just have to get wet.

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Buick spec's and adjustments manual says the oil filter s system should send 1 quart per hour at 25mph.  That doesn't sound  like a lot but if you are getting that much oil to the rockers it should be pretty evident.  If in doubt start tracing your oil supply backwards from the oil filter discharge connection at the side of the cylinder block.  Loosen it while the engine is running and see what you get. If you have good oil there and little flow at the rocker arms you probably have blockage oil passage in the block to the head, the head and or rocker shaft. and stands.  If you have little or no flow at the head fitting what do you get at the other end of that brass line at the filter?  Still nothing check the filter in fitting.  If still nothing how about at the branch fitting at the side of the crankcase that has a small line going to the oil pressure gauge and another that connects to the line that feeds the filter.  Still nothing, remove the branch fitting and inspect it for blockage.  You won't want to run the engine with the fitting removed or you will pump a lot of oil onto the floor unless the supply from the pump is blocked.  Whatever you do DO NOT replace the branch fitting with a standard brake line tee or other arrangement.  That branch fitting should have the Buick logo cast into it and it is a calibrated orifice to allow 1qt/hr@25mph and it prevents loss of oil pressure to the mains and rods.    One other observation, you said you converted to a spin-on filter.  Most spin-on filters have a one way check valve arrangement built in so when you shut the engine off the oil doesn't all drain back to the oil pan resulting in a dry start every time.  This makes the filter a one-way device and the intake is the series of holes around the outside and the filter discharge port is the center port.  If you plumb it backwards you would only get the amount of flow that would leak past the check valve that the oil pressure is holding shut.  Make sure you have it plumbed correctly.   The other item at risk with no oil flow is the front ball bearing on the generator.  That line next to the oil hole you have your finger pointing to drips overflow oil from the rocker shaft into a passage leading to the generator bearing.  The rear one has an oil cup that needs occasional attention.

 

Let us know what you find...

 

Dave 

 

This is the calibrated fitting and it is still screwed into the cylinder block adapter fitting.  Note the Buick logo.

 

OF 002 (2).JPG

 

Here are the places to check for oil delivery in order.  This is my 31 8-66S which came to me with the most amazing Rube Goldberg oil filter setup

complete with a plumber's nightmare of lines and unauthorized fittings where the Buick oil metering fitting was supposed to go.  I tore it all off, made my

own oil lines and installed a spin-on filter system disguised as an original cannister filter from Bob's.   

OF 013_LI.jpg

 

The oil filter arrangement

 

OF 003.jpg

 

and unauthorized fitting(s) extraordinaire that came with my car....

 

OF 004.jpg

Edited by Str8-8-Dave
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Think about it laterally. You cannot have too much oil at the rockers.

What i would check is the rocker shaft and supply lines.

Mine (1924 - 55) was choked with gunge.

You claim that cleaned sludge out of the sump, therefore some of that sludge is likely to have made it to the supply lines and settled in the rocker shaft.

It's no big deal to remove the rocker shaft now and the supply lines and clean them.

It will be well worth the effort (and piece of mind)

 

David

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I’m no straight 8 expert but I do recall reading about some very small oil line screens in or near the head that often plug and are often missed by people. They are about as tall as a thimble but 1/4 the diameter and fine mesh screen. 

 

Who has something on those?

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1 hour ago, Brian_Heil said:

I’m no straight 8 expert but I do recall reading about some very small oil line screens in or near the head that often plug and are often missed by people. They are about as tall as a thimble but 1/4 the diameter and fine mesh screen. 

 

Who has something on those?

 

 That is correct on the '37 and later for sure.   The supply is at the front passenger corner of the head as opposed to the rear corner if I am seeing his picture correctly.        The advice to remove the rocker arm assembly and clean is spot on.

 

  Ben

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I do not claim to be an expert. I did rebuild my 1932 344 90 series just this past year.

I do know my oil passages are clean and clear. I do know I have 35 pounds of oil pressure at idle. I had the same concern. If you ever adjusted small block Chevy engines with the valve covers off I would not expect to see that oiling on these old Buicks. Mainly because of solid lifters vs hydraulic. If you have oil flow out the hole your finger is pointing that tells me the shafts it indexed properly. Therefore the rockers should be getting lubed at the shafts contact area. The shafts is most likely near full of oil or it could never exit that hole at the end drain mentioned as the timing gears oiler. My concern would be the passages in the rockers. If you do not feel confident in removing the shafts and cleaning the rockers , rotating the engine by hand to specific positions should allow you to blow compressed air back through each rocker hole. If you decide to remove and clean the rockers keep in mind the spacing springs have different numbers of coils. 

I will try and get to starting my engine without the valve cover for comparison. I'll see if I can video it and post it to our school website.

Tony

Edited by CTCV
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Ben is right on '37's and up.

I took the screen out of my '40 where the bypass filtered oil enters the head up front.

Seems to be a standard fix for the "newer" engines.

 

Tony has a great idea for your '31 but instead of blowing air thru the little holes in the rockers, I would use "Brakekleen" spray.

It will dissolve that old crud.

Just make sure each rocker is lined up with the hole in the shaft with a paper clip, or you will blow it all over the place, and it is real hard on any painted surface.

OR you could pull the rocker shaft assy as a unit and do it AWAY from the car.

 

Mike in Colorado

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Thank you all.   Is the front “weep hole” I am pointing to where the oil is designed to come out to lubricate the timing gears or is it the tube going down in front of this that is supposed to deliver it to the timing gears?  Can I simply unbolt the rocker arm, clean and blow it out, blow out the input and output tubes on each end, and bolt it back on or will subsequent adjustment be needed after installation?  Tony , you refer to some springs with different numbers of coils. Do you mean the ones around the rocker shaft?  If so I guess I would just need to keep them all in proper sequence.  I can disconnect the oil filter line into the right rear side of the block (which feeds the tube that runs up to the rear of the rocker shaft) and then blow through or run a wire through that line both ways.  Then could blow or insert wire down the ”output” line that runs down into the front of the engine correct?  Would that ensure the full system is clear? Any other oil lines or passages to check?

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While we are sort of on the subject, the stream of oil from this weep hole I’m pointing at runs down on the insert (I’ll call it a cup) that is pressed into the side of the  engine around each spark plug. (that each spark plug goes through to enter the threads)  Some of this oil seems to be leaking through somewhere and puddling in the bottom OUTSIDE of this insert (under the hex head of the spark plug).   I am getting a tiny bit of oil in two of the other spark plug cups but quite a bit in the front one.  Is this a known issue?  What  is the remedy?  What is the purpose of these cups around the spark plugs and can they be removed?

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33 minutes ago, cjmarzoli said:

While we are sort of on the subject, the stream of oil from this weep hole I’m pointing at runs down on the insert (I’ll call it a cup) that is pressed into the side of the  engine around each spark plug. (that each spark plug goes through to enter the threads)  Some of this oil seems to be leaking through somewhere and puddling in the bottom OUTSIDE of this insert (under the hex head of the spark plug).   I am getting a tiny bit of oil in two of the other spark plug cups but quite a bit in the front one.  Is this a known issue?  What  is the remedy?  What is the purpose of these cups around the spark plugs and can they be removed?

I have no information on the spark plug cups. My guess is they are pressed in. Here is an image from the back. Mine do not leak.

20180402_172013-1.jpg

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The front oil tube lubricates the timing gears and generator front shaft bushings.

 

The tubes can be removed. They usually leak because of damage from large spark plug sockets or rust from water splashed into them from running without the cover on the plug wires.  The removal process requires you to make a special tool.  It's too complicated to describe simply.  Send me a pm and I'll send my phone number and  Ican talk you through the process.  

I don't know of any reproduction cups.  You would need to make repairs to the existing ones.

 

Bob Engle

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The rocker shaft on my 1924 motor was at least half full of gooey semi hardened old oil that did not wash out during solvent cleaning.   The inlet end of the shaft has an end cap, so I shoved a 1/2" or so wooden dowel down the open end of the shaft, and the gunk extruded out of the inlet hole as a long "worm".  Repeat this until no more gunk comes out of the hole.

The oil feed line to the head was also plugged in the section between the oil pump and the calibrated fitting.   I discovered this when blowing air thru all of the oil passages inside the motor. It took around 40 PSI to blow the gunk out of that tube.

Kevin

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Does anyone know- when removing the rocker shaft, must the nuts on top of all the pushrods be removed from the pushrods and the pushrods be left in the block, or can the rocker shaft and pushrods be lifted off as a unit then each rocker arm and pushrod be slid off the end of the shaft as a unit once it it off the engine?   Tony references the shaft being "indexed" correctly.  How is this achieved upon re installation in the engine?  thanks.

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To remove the rocker shaft assembly , removal of the pushrods are not necessary. Leave them in place. It appears that you will have to remove the rear oil supply tube . There shows to be a stud that secures each rocker shaft stand to the cylinder head. The nuts will have to be removed from each stud. I would not loosen rocker arm adjusters at this time. The oiling tube at the front of the rocker assembly should either lift out of the head or swing away, allowing lifting and removal of the rocker shaft assembly. If you intend to disassemble  the shaft assembly, be sure to photograph prior to this. I would also lay each individual component in order for reassembly.

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I think I should mention the rockers ride on the same babbitt material as the crank and rod bearings. Sliding the stanchions off is fairly easy as a small flat screwdriver can wedge open the clamping effect on the shaft. However the rocker babbitt can be cracked and damaged when sliding them down the shaft. You cannot do too much cleaning and oiling while performing this operation. Also my understanding is hot tanking and some solutions will damage babbitt material.

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A very likely source of oil in the spark plug chamber is oil getting past the cap screws holding the rocker shaft on the pushrod side.

The oil will seep past the threads.

The solution to this is to remove the cap screws one at a time, clean the threads of both the hole and screws thoroughly and put silisone sealant on the threads when you re-install them.

 

Ihis is a very common problem with all straight 8's

O

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Update:  I removed the rocker shaft, completely disassembled it and cleaned everything.   Rockers were very tight on the shaft.  Some of them would barely pivot by hand, the remainder were quite reluctant to pivot.  Must have been consuming a lot of HP just to move those rocker arms.  Did not find any extreme sludge or blocked holes but a small bit of goo.  Blew air both ways thru rear feed line (input entering right side of block by filter) and front line (going down to timing gear- one way blow on this one).  Everything seemed clear.   Soaked in gas and blew out holes on rocker arms.  Submerged naked rocker shaft in trough of gasoline for an hour and shook and blew out.  Some black chunks came out.  Re assembled.   Started car up and drove.  Not much change.   25 PSI oil pressure at idle,  30 PSI at anything above idle. (On factory dash gauge)  Is this within the normal range?    Oil filter is plumbed correctly.  Did not remove “T” fitting out of block to oil filter and gauge, nervous about damaging it or the oil pressure gauge line.  Pretty much everything else has been checked other than the main feed lines off the pump in the sump.  Am I correct in assuming that if the “T” fitting was severely blocked the oil pressure gauge would not be getting a reading?   A concern is that I do have a light “knocking” noise in the front end of the engine while running.  It is not audible immediately at startup but starts after about 1 minute of running.  I used a  stethoscope and was not able to determine its source but it does not seem to be inside the block and others have listened to it and felt it was not a main bearing or internal knock.   It does not sound like valvetrain noise to me.   Any ideas as to what this could be and if low oil pressure is still a concern? Thank you.

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Congratulations on your rocker assembly success.

The only things I think can make a knock sound (not a tick sound) and is not a main, rod or upper valve assembly could be.....1. A thicker crud on one spot of the timing gears. 2. Excessive play in the fuel pump rod. 3. Crank counter weight striking the main oil manifold tubes in the pan. 

I believe you can remove the side tins exposing the lifter carriers and still run the engine. Might help locate the noise.

That's the best I can think.

Tony

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I forgot to mention in my last post that after a test drive AFTER cleaning the rocker arm there was a little more oil splashed on the underside of the valve cover and the valvetrain, but not much.   The oil cooler has been addressed. After i first go the car running, i noticed antifreeze in the crank case oil.  I took the cooler apart and determined there was a leak in the core and the coolant was getting into the oil.  I did not see any evidence that oil was getting into the coolant however.   I searched online and found nothing on repairing the core or replacing it.   I sandblasted the inside of the chamber, eliminated the core, removed the bottom oil input plate off the core and used it as a mount and fabricated a new U shaped pipe out of copper for the oil to run through.  So the intercooler is still functioning but instead of the core it just has a pipe inside the box.  No leaks and no signs of mixing since the repair.  I was getting the same oil pressure readings before and after the cooler repair.

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