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Me and My 1956 Buick Super 4 Door Sedan


usnavystgc
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Looking at the videos it seems to be struggling like the brakes are dragging.  You should be able to move it easily with your knee when parked on a smooth level surface in neutral.

Check the timing again.  Retarded timing acts like this too.  Post your timing procedure.

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30 minutes ago, old-tank said:

Looking at the videos it seems to be struggling like the brakes are dragging.  You should be able to move it easily with your knee when parked on a smooth level surface in neutral.

Check the timing again.  Retarded timing acts like this too.  Post your timing procedure.

The brakes are def not dragging, I can easily push the car when on a level surface.  I will check the timing.

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10 hours ago, KAD36 said:

Dumb question, unit is properly filled and dipstick cap hasn’t slipped out of position on the dipstick right?
 

Yes, the trans is properly filled and the dipstick cap hasn't slipped.  

 

It looks like pressure tests on the trans is my next step but, I need a break from living under the car.  I'm going to drop the oil pan, clean out the sludge, check the timing and go from there.  Is it ok to drive using "L" to take off?

 

Regarding actuating the linkage from a light throttle, it seems to have plenty of power if the car is moving above 20 mph or so.  It only seems to have a problem during takeoff in "D".  As I said earlier, that gives me the same sensation as driving a manual that's in too high of a gear.  That (to me) says that the linkage is not switching the pitch on the stator vanes.  Is that correct?

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On 11/30/2021 at 11:22 AM, usnavystgc said:

When you say the hose to the power booster, which booster are you speaking of and where is that hose located?  The only booster I'm familiar with at this point is the brake booster.

Yes, I meant the power brake booster:

20211201_122851.jpg

 

However, there are two more short pieces at the vacuum tank

 

20211201_122911.jpg

 

I also went back to watch the video of your drive. I'd say that you need some additional miles on that car before you can call that a trans with a problem.  It should be noted that from a dead start the stator is activated by putting the gas pedal to the floor.  This is much different than a more modern car.  And indeed, you have to be concerned with two things when you put your foot to the floor off the line.  #1 would be the terrible  gas mileage from constantly opening all 4 barrels from a dead stop.  #2 would be the fine splines in the driveshaft that could be stripped by the torque of the trans against the dead weight of the vehicle.  We have a one year only drive shaft, which was the first for fine splines, and they can be stripped with no possibility of repair.  

 

I would think you may find a few hundred miles of driving this '56 will accustom you to it's characteristics, one of which is a slow take off in Drive.  I would also say to check and double check the trans fluid after a 5 or 10 mile ride.  In the video it does sound like it is struggling which is how mine sounds when I am more than 2 quarts low.  I also heard a whine when you were backing out of the garage in the first video. Not sure what causes that but again it seems like the trans was low on fluid.  Reverse is a potent gear on mine. 

 

One more thing.  If your exhaust is touching the frame in any location, you will have engine noise and vibration transferring to the cabin.  That engine noise and vibration will make it seem like the car is working harder than it is.  Honestly, till my last exhaust job where the shop was asked to make sure none of it  touched the frame, my car was always exceptionally loud inside.  It made a big difference in the perception of drivability.  

 

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@JohnD1956, Ok, so replacing the hoses on the power brake booster improved how your tranny responded?  Or was drivability improved in some other way?

 

I hear what you're saying about taking off in drive full throttle.  I am def aware of the spline issue and the one year only propeller shaft.  I don't want to do anything to jeopardize that.  Will taking off in low put less stress on it?  I know I need to drill that hole and put that zerk fitting on the propeller shaft as you detailed earlier and that's def on my list of things to do and a high priority.  This is def one of my biggest fears.

 

I also realize the gas mileage is terrible on this car, it goes with the territory.  

 

Regarding the trans fluid, it is def not low, I have kept a close eye on it and I've only had to add about a pint since I've had it.  I will say that the trans was virtually dry when I got the car but, I added trans fluid way before I ever even turned the car over with the starter.  The trans fluid is a nice clear red color on the dipstick with no evidence of contamination.  

 

So, based on everything you all have told me, here's my plan forward.  

 

1)  drop the oil pan and clean it out and switch to a higher viscosity grade oil

2)  drop the trans pan and look for evidence of thrust washers and other bad things

3)  drill the prop shaft and install the zerk fitting and grease the spline

4)  drive it as much as I can to see if the trans comes around

 

After doing all of this, I will let you all know what I find out.  Isn't this fun?  LOL

 

PS:  The car is def much stronger in reverse than it was in that video.  In that video, the car did not move when placed in reverse and foot off the brake.  Now it lurches backward and pulls strong against the brakes.  I attribute that to letting her get her legs stretched out, the proper carb adjustments I've made and the great advice all of you have given me.  One day, she will be all lined out and driving properly.  Little by little!!!!!

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10 hours ago, usnavystgc said:

 As I said earlier, that gives me the same sensation as driving a manual that's in too high of a gear.  That (to me) says that the linkage is not switching the pitch on the stator vanes.  Is that correct?

Ok to start out in Low. 
 

Somewhere I read a test procedure in a Buick or Motors publication about holding the car with the brakes in D, briefly pushing down the throttle until the switch pitch engages then look for a TBD rpm increase but I be darned if I can find it - will post if found, or maybe someone else has seen it?

 

The rpm jump is more deterministic then the seat of the pants sensation IMHO.

Edited by KAD36 (see edit history)
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On 12/1/2021 at 2:43 PM, usnavystgc said:

After doing all of this, I will let you all know what I find out.  Isn't this fun?  LOL

I still can’t find that paragraph and now it’s bugging me but maybe if you took it to a straight stretch of downhill highway and can run the 1/4 mile in under 12.20 you can rest assured the switch pitch works…..that’s what Old Tank would do to get the cobwebs out.😁

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Found it.  55 product service bulletin. Page 41.  I’d think 56 would be similar, and as discussed the control valve linkage adjustments, material in oil pan and pressures are really the next places to look next IMO.

 

 

 

 

 

5E299B1A-B3D7-4DF8-AE71-E26E7DA901EE.jpeg

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Well that looks yummy…..reminders of Mudbone making tea in his Model T.

 

1957 Motors manual selected excerpts on 55 vs 56 hydraulic controls.  Just for context not meant to be root cause/corrective action.  Enjoy

 

 

 

 

BE6DA48C-91FE-42D4-9EDC-F910F7B1093D.jpeg

73E96301-8412-497E-AEF4-EC851AE5D01B.jpeg

Edited by KAD36 (see edit history)
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Last one…hydraulic control differences.  I like Motors for summarizing year to year changes or comparison to other models, but the shop manual + service bulletins is the best source of documentation truth.  Have fun

 

986DC657-AC3E-4D35-A178-F1EA7441DD17.jpeg.c2ed50d227af7c429069455cdc457d11.jpeg

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18 hours ago, usnavystgc said:

Exhaust is brand new but I'll check to see if plugged.

Just put a potato in your tail pipe, then remove it.  The chances of having more than one potato in your exhaust system is practically zero!  :wacko:

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On 12/2/2021 at 7:33 PM, KAD36 said:

Well that looks yummy…..reminders of Mudbone making tea in his Model T.

 

1957 Motors manual selected excerpts on 55 vs 56 hydraulic controls.  Just for context not meant to be root cause/corrective action.  Enjoy

 

 

 

 

BE6DA48C-91FE-42D4-9EDC-F910F7B1093D.jpeg

73E96301-8412-497E-AEF4-EC851AE5D01B.jpeg

Thanks for posting these pages of the Motor's Manual Ken. The Buick engineers were really on a roll from 47-57.  Lots of changes.  If I understand it right the torque converter went from two Stators with fixed vanes till 1952. Then to a single stator with fixed vanes till '54. Then to a single stator with variable pitch in '55 to two stators in '56 and 57, at least one of which has variable pitch?  

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On 12/2/2021 at 6:33 PM, KAD36 said:

Well that looks yummy…..reminders of Mudbone making tea in his Model T.

 

1957 Motors manual selected excerpts on 55 vs 56 hydraulic controls.  Just for context not meant to be root cause/corrective action.  Enjoy

 

 

 

 

BE6DA48C-91FE-42D4-9EDC-F910F7B1093D.jpeg

73E96301-8412-497E-AEF4-EC851AE5D01B.jpeg

Making Tea with a T.  That was a fun day......

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14 hours ago, JohnD1956 said:

Thanks for posting these pages of the Motor's Manual Ken. The Buick engineers were really on a roll from 47-57.  Lots of changes.  If I understand it right the torque converter went from two Stators with fixed vanes till 1952. Then to a single stator with fixed vanes till '54. Then to a single stator with variable pitch in '55 to two stators in '56 and 57, at least one of which has variable pitch?  

It would appear so….  My buddy in college had a 56 special.  It definitely got away from the 55 off the line in D, but once rolling with enough runway the 55 would reel him in (as verified by demonstration testing, not by analysis 🤓.). If he had a 4bbl maybe not. Since we’d trade driving duties on breaks, the 56 needed noticeably less pedal to get moving.  I personally preferred the responsiveness to a light pedal compared to the 55

 

Isnt it interesting that they explain the difference between a fluid coupling and variable pitch torque converter for the techs, the “unnecessary” auxiliary gearbox, and they make sure the person road testing it is familiar with the feel of a Dynaflow before passing judgement?
 

Didn’t mean to hijack - back to that clean sludge free oil pan….

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On 12/2/2021 at 5:25 PM, KAD36 said:

Found it.  55 product service bulletin. Page 41.  I’d think 56 would be similar, and as discussed the control valve linkage adjustments, material in oil pan and pressures are really the next places to look next IMO.

Ok, I just had a chance to read this and the biggest question in my mind is, what kind of strain will this put on my one year only fine spline propeller shaft?  Is it safe to do on a 56?  

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On 12/1/2021 at 10:59 AM, old-tank said:

 

Check the timing again.  Retarded timing acts like this too.  Post your timing procedure.

Maybe I missed it but how did timing look?  5-7 deg is about norm

 

Good news on the chunk-less trans pan. Press on!

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5 hours ago, KAD36 said:

Retarded timing acts like this too.  Post your timing procedure.

Double check the shop manual, but I'd expect that the hose to the vacuum advance needs to be disconnected and plugged.  Idle speed is also important, as if it's too fast the centrifugal advance will skew the timing measurement.

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@EmTee in this era the hose to the vacuum advance is a thin copper tube screwed in at the carb and the VA unit. It isn't disconnected for timing but you reduce the idle to 350 rpm to ensure it is out of service. The engine will sound like its about to die but it can run at that level for this purpose.  

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8 minutes ago, JohnD1956 said:

in this era the hose to the vacuum advance is a thin copper tube screwed in at the carb and the VA unit.

OK, that's what I wasn't sure about.  It sounds like the '56 procedure is essentially the same as the one for my '38.  In that case, the manual calls for checking the timing at 400 RPM.  The vacuum must be sourced from above the throttle plate, so just make sure idle speed is as low as possible...

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I have not had a chance to check timing and as you're aware, with the oil and trans pan out, I won't be doing it soon.  I will put it on the list of things to do but, I am confident the timing is correct.  I'm saying this for two reasons, one, I never messed with the distributor other than new points, rotor and cap and, the engine runs so smooth, I couldn't imagine it could run that smooth and be off on timing.  I do however defer to experience and I will check it and let you all know.  

 

As of right now, the oil pan is still in the electrolysis tank (where its been since Friday evening).  It was covered in rust and the process was still very active this morning.  I'm probably going to take it out tonight and see if its ready for wire brushing and paint.  The tranny pan is pretty clean because it was covered with sludge.  I got all the sludge cleaned off.  I'm gonna try to get the oil pan, the oil filter canister and the tranny pan primed and painted tonight and hopefully install all of them tomorrow evening.  If all works out, I'm going for a drive to check the oil pressure while at operating temp.

 

After that, I'm going to drill the torque tube and prop shaft for its zerk fitting as recommended by the service bulletin @JohnD1956 posted.  If I don't do this now, I'll probably never do it so, I'm gonna make it a priority.  So the timing check may be 2 to 3 weeks away.  

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4 hours ago, usnavystgc said:

 I will put it on the list of things to do but, I am confident the timing is correct.  I'm saying this for two reasons, one, I never messed with the distributor other than new points, rotor and cap and, the engine runs so smooth, I couldn't imagine it could run that smooth and be off on timing.  

Roger that 👍

 

4 hours ago, usnavystgc said:

As of right now, the oil pan is still in the electrolysis tank (where its been since Friday evening).  It was covered in rust and the process was still very active this morning.  

BTW might I ask how’s that tank work and how did you make it?  Looks neat.

 

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Ken,

First off, I neglected to tell you thanks for posting all the info about the dynaflow.  Very helpful.

 

Regarding how the tank works, it uses DC electricity to transfer rust from one metal plate to another.  The electrolysis process takes rust from one metal plate (your rusty part in this case) and transfers the rust to another metal plate (which can be any scrap iron you have laying around).

Here is a good explanation of how it works https://www.qsl.net/2e0waw/rust.htm

 

And here is a good video of how to set it up and the process in action.  This is virtually how I set mine up minus the welding.  The great thing about it is, the tank does all the work and you produce no toxic chemicals to dispose of.  The bad thing is, it takes a while to work if you have heavy rust.  I've tried baking soda and washing soda and washing soda works the best by far.

 

 

  

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Well, I have bad news, after installing the tranny pan, oil pan and oil filter, I fired it up and let it warm up in the garage.  The oil pressure was good and for the first time ever the needle went past the "N" mark on the gage however, as the engine heated, the pressure slowly dropped but it was still in the green at operating temp.  As long as I let the car idle in the garage, no problems with temp or oil pressure so, I took it for a ride.  While driving, the car  experienced what I would call "thermal runaway".  For the first part of the drive, the car temp was fine and oil pressure was "satisfactory" but, as I kept driving it, the temp kept slowly rising and the oil pressure dropped accordingly.  The hotter it got, the more the oil pressure dropped which caused it to get even hotter.  I took the fastest route back to the house and when I got her home, the temp gage was just above N and the oil pressure was unacceptably low.  I turned it off and opened the hood.  It was not steaming hot but, I could feel the anti-freeze in the hoses bubbling slightly.  That would signal a temp of at least 212 (likely higher since its a pressurized system).  I realize that oil thins as it heats up and a decrease in pressure would be the result.  

 

My question is, is it the low oil pressure causing it to overheat or is it the lack of cooling causing the low oil pressure?  I don't know how to determine that.  In searching online about losing oil pressure when an engine gets hot, everyone says, its the internal engine bearings going out.  The only difference I see in those scenarios and mine are, their engines don't seem to be overheating.  Mine is definitely overheating and I need to do something.  What are you're thoughts?  I really don't want to pull the engine if I can avoid it.  Is there any way I can test the cooling system for adequate cooling?  

 

Here's what I know.  The radiator is full of good clean 50/50 anti freeze.  The thermostat is opening and there is good flow in the radiator once the thermostat opens (so the water pump and thermostat are working).  I do have a fan shroud and the fan pulls a lot of air thru the radiator.  There are no coolant leaks.  

Edited by usnavystgc (see edit history)
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59 minutes ago, usnavystgc said:

I took the fastest route back to the house and when I got her home, the temp gage was just above N and the oil pressure was unacceptably low.

Temp above the N is still good if you have a 180* thermostat.  Just where was it when it was unacceptably low?  Did you have any lifters ticking when  you got back home?

 

 

 

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Might want to get an oil pressure gauge with numbers, Bosch has a cheap one, and use it to one time “calibrate” the non numeric oil pressure gauge. The moths came out of my wallet to get one for when the engine was rebuilt.   Lots of folks also use a harbor freight IR temp gun to quasi calibrate the temp gauge pointed at the sender on the head - quasi because the IR temp gauges aren’t always consistently accurate but do provide a decent relative indication IMHO.  Think mudbone runs the factory temp gauge in addition to a numerical gauge on his driver.

 

The “relationship” of the coolant temp and oil pressure sounds reasonable and but maybe give us a little more on what unacceptable pressure meant and how far on the gauge it dropped from starting point.  What viscosity oil, and straight weight or multi visc.  FWIW mine doesn’t drop noticeably until about 10+ miles of 70 mph that’s with straight 30 (currently) - starts at the very top of high end of the ‘range band” on the gauge and settles between N and H at highway speed. 10 psi/1000 rpm is typical shade tree rule of thumb.  Think the manual says 35 typ.

 

Steady state coolant temp more affected by water flow, airflow, outside temp, ignition timing retarded - not in any particular order.  Could also be sediment in the radiator tank (start w hose flush unless done), sediment in engine block cooling passages.  Visible flow is good first reasonableness indication.  The 56 temp gauges behave and are interpreted different than 55 so JDs observations more applicable.

 

Oil pressure sounds very different from prior behavior?  You don’t think the pickup tube or screen slipped off from running vibration or maybe didn’t fully seal to the pump body…or wasn’t that disturbed….

 

Just some thoughts…glad you have it out and about

 

Edited by KAD36 (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, JohnD1956 said:

Temp above the N is still good if you have a 180* thermostat.  Just where was it when it was unacceptably low?  Did you have any lifters ticking when  you got back home?

 

 

 

Just barely above the L, probably about 4 or 5 psi.  I get that temp above the N is ok if the gage was accurate but for me the telltale sign is the coolant bubbling in the lines.  That's not normal right?

 

Here's all the info.  I realize getting an oil pressure and temp gage with numbers would give me more accurate data but, with what we know, is it really necessary.  Here's why I say that.  The coolant is bubbling after driving.  In all my experience with cars, that's not normal and indicates an overheating condition.  

I'm confident the oil pick up tube or screen did not fall off.  I did have to clean it but, it was solidly attached.  I think even if that fell off, it would still pump oil pretty good.  Regarding it being different from before, its really not.  If anything its better but just not good enough.  I think I'm just getting better at reading what its doing.  You can drive the car for a good 5 or 6 miles before there are any issues but, once they start, it snowballs.  If I'm cruising at about 40 or 45, no problem (I haven't tried 70 yet LOL).  At 45 you have good air flow thru the radiator, coolant temp remains below N (not bubbling) and oil pressure is between L and N but in the green.  Its when you have to stop or slow way down that the condition starts.  Then the takeoff strain on the engine and lack of flow across the radiator starts the snowball.  If you get it back to cruising speed, the temp goes down and the oil pressure goes back up. to barely in the green (I'm guessing about 15PSI.  

 

Regarding the oil pressure, I say unacceptably low, I'm talking 3-6 psi at best.  It dropped from above "N" to just barely above "L" and It is in the red on the gage.  it does not knock or ping and there are no valve noises or lifters ticking, everything seems to be getting lubrication.  If it were knocking or showing signs of a no lube condition, I would stop it where it is and not drive it but, it's not to that point.  Its not ticking or making any strange noises that would make me believe there's no or low lube condition.  Oil seems to be getting pumped but, it just can't maintain a pressure.  Which in my view points to internal bearings.  

 

I'm running 10W30 full synthetic.  I was going to switch to 15W40 but, when I saw the sludge in the oil pan and on the pick up screen, I thought for sure that was the problem and with the colder weather approaching, I thought it best to stay with a lower weight oil.  

Edited by usnavystgc (see edit history)
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One other thing to mention, While idling in the garage, the temp settles at just below "N" on gage and never really waivers.  Oil pressure will drop from just above "N" to just above the red between "L" and "N".

 

I guess what I'm trying to say is, if I have a cool or normal temp engine, oil pressure appears acceptable.  If the engine begins to overheat, oil pressure drops to what I think is an unacceptable level (I'm guessing 3-6 psi).  Do you all think the oil pressure problem is causing the overheating or is the overheating problem causing the oil pressure problem?

 

Should I try switching to a 160 deg thermostat?

Edited by usnavystgc (see edit history)
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I don't think it is overheating. I would ask to run the heater when it gets to operating temp. You should be able to.put your hand in front of an outlet without feeling like it is getting burnt. But if you do feel like you are getting burnt then yes, you have an over heating situation. 

 

I would stay with 180 stat. The book says 160 for summer. My experience is that I have not had a fouled spark plug since upping to 180. And from what I have read the higher engine temp results in a cleaner burn. 

 

I think you should put a manual oil pressure gauge on it temporarilly to be sure of what you do have for pressures under various driving conditions. If you have 15 lbs while driving @30 mph then I think you are good to go for a season or 10. At that pressure it would seem you are at half life on the bearing clearances. Idle pressures above 5 lbs should be sufficient.  And the temp oil pressure gauge may indicate a potential clog in the vehicles stock oil pressure gauge-oil line. A slim possibility but one none the less. 

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2 hours ago, usnavystgc said:

The coolant is bubbling after driving.

Is that with the engine off or on?  If with the engine off then that is normal for cars after shutdown: bubbling, gurgling, spitting out the overflow if radiator is too full.  I use Castrol 20w-50 year round in south central Texas in all my cars.  I drive on the coldest days and on hot days idling in traffic the oil gauge drops to below normal range with no low pressure associated knocks.  Like you I don't have numbers.

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1 hour ago, old-tank said:

Is that with the engine off or on?  If with the engine off then that is normal for cars after shutdown: bubbling, gurgling, spitting out the overflow if radiator is too full. 

Yes, that is after I shutdown the engine.  Ok, so you guys think its safe to drive like it is?  The difference between my situation and all of yours is, my oil pressure gage goes to the red at idle.  None of yours do.  Although, there are no associated knocks or valve train noise, its just not something I'm used to (but then again, I've never owned a 50's car before either).  I'm gonna drive it some more and maybe push it longer to see if it is truly a thermal runaway.  Maybe I've been over cautious.  I just don't want to burn this old engine up.  

 

I do take in everything you guys say so, let me see what I can do about getting an oil pressure gage and some other way to verify temp.

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3 hours ago, usnavystgc said:

One other thing to mention, While idling in the garage, the temp settles at just below "N" on gage and never really waivers.  Oil pressure will drop from just above "N" to just above the red between "L" and "N".

^—- That sounds typical.  Couple more data points for you: My worn engine oil pressure got right to bottom of safe range on a 55 gauge hot in D at idle, no knocks, ran for years and was anywhere from N to above N at highway speed.

 

x2 on 180 stat and gurgling after shutdown.  Maybe like old tank said that was mistaken for boiling.  Could also still be working out air bubbles maybe?  
 

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