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Safely cleaning out Q-State


Rusty Heaps

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I purchased a ‘53 Buick Special with a straight eight. The car is a basket case, but the engine runs. Upon pulling the rocker cover I found what looked like a waxy oily substance covering everything. Unfortunately some of the muck flaked off and fell in the holes for the pushrods. I’ve been trying to clean up the top of the head including using Q-Tips down the holes. I bought rocker cover, side cover, oil pan gaskets for the engine. It also looks like I will pull the rocker assembly out and clean while replacing a bent or broken pushrod. What else can I do to clean this nasty substance out of my engine without risking clogging up anything?

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The waxy substance is the residue from oil that contained paraffins, as some brands did.  I would not be too concerned. It should melt when the NEW oil you use gets hot. Clean it the best you can, change the oil, drive a few hundred miles and change again.

   Second thought. Probably best if you drop the oil pan and clean it out. The oil pickup screen is probably partially plugged with this "wax".

 

  Ben

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Bens advise is good.

One thing that CAN cause a bent to broken pushrod is someone disassembling the rocker shaft and not assembling it correctly. The rockers are offset and if placed wrong the pushrod will wear against the hole through the head and either bend or break.

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I am planning to drop the oil pan to remove whatever may be there and on the pump. And yes I agree with the assessment about incorrect assembly of the rockers. I would certainly keep all rockers with the pushrods and reassemble all in the same place from where they came. With the exception of the bent or broken rod.

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On 3/27/2022 at 9:11 AM, DonMicheletti said:

One thing that CAN cause a bent to broken pushrod is someone disassembling the rocker shaft and not assembling it correctly.

The number one situation in my experience that has caused bent push rods is stuck valves. 

As an old parked engine are you sure that your valves are free?  

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I had a couple of valves freeze up after starting my '56 Caddy. It had been sitting for a couple of years. Ran for several minutes than a horrible clattering started! A couple of bent push rods and broken rocker arms. I pulled and dissembled the heads cleaning off the valve stems which were encrusted with hardened gunk. It would be  a good precaution to pull the plugs and turn the motor over by hand and check that it is free. 

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The engine has run. A previous owner had started it prior to my purchase. I have started it only with gas poured in the carburetor . When I removed the rocker cover I discovered that one pushrod was not in contact with the rocker arm. When I attempt to spin the rod between my fingers it will change in height. Leading me to believe that it may be broken, possibly at a 45 degree angle, which would cause the difference in height. 

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