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Oil coming out of small hole in block


drovak

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PXL_20231008_195250948.jpg.af2b65ced77f2130c5b5422edce0726b.jpgI've got an apparent issue with my '31 Series 80. Oil is coming out of a small hole behind where the oil filter ought to be. It also looks like at one point, it even caught fire and charred the paint. What's going on here? I noticed other holes in the block along the same line running towards the radiator, but they don't show any signs of oil leakage. 

 

I also noticed oil coming out of this hole was sparkly brass colored. The oil from the dipstick does not show the sparkles. I have not yet drained any oil from the pan yet. 

 

Any thoughts?

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Looking at the lubrication cutaway in the Specifications and Adjustments manual, I suspect the holes were from cross-drilling the lubrication channels for the camshaft, and I would expect them to have been plugged with something. Maybe the plug has failed?

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     That looks like the paint was cooked from the intense heat from a torch.    The heat must have been applied before the tappet cover gasket was installed.  Is this car/engine new to you?  Has the paint always been scorched or did that just happen?

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Those are the cam lock holes, I had a similar question a while ago - some info in this thread - 

 

Kyle,

Not to alarm, but its likely your cam is in need of immediate attention.

I wouldn't run your engine based on the pic.

I would either remove the valve cover and look down at the cam bearing area for burns and metal flecks (easy), or remove the pushrod cover and inspect (medium work), or (more work) drop the pan and take a look up at the cam bearing area.

 

I am sorry I don't have better news, but it looks like a cooked cam bearing....maybe plan for the worst and hope for the best.

A burned cam bearing is not something to play with, its a must-repair situation.

 

Can you please post a pic of your engine number?

 

Early 31 engines had bronze bearings which failed prematurely, bronze was changed part-way through production, some bronze may have survived and may still be driven today, its a gamble on the number of revolutions on the bronze before fail.

Dolza fought with Bower to change back to conventional bearings for the cam, Dolza won, but it was too late, some 31s were on the road by the time the change away from bronze occurred on production cars...

A 32 or 33 engine would ensure no bronze, but it still doesn't mean the bearings won't fail or burn due to a variety of reasons, but its not as common to burn cam bearings in the later 8s when properly maintained.

 

Sorry,

Mario

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PXL_20231009_013924131.jpg.7a507dc92b289695154f3919f8553a8d.jpg

 

PXL_20231009_013837920.jpg.833f60a3f4fbc77d8b2f8d942cdcfa2e.jpg

 

Not easy to take photos of, but watching the bearing while someone turns over the engine using the starting crank, it's obvious to see that the bearing has seized to the camshaft. Double drats. 

 

I assume based on the looks of the front of the engine that extracting the camshaft from the engine in place is likely not an option. It seems the timing cover also serves as a motor mount? 

 

Are '32 Series 80/90 camshafts identical to '31 Series 80/90 camshafts?

Edited by drovak (see edit history)
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the master parts manual shows the same bearings for 31 and 32.  Cams have different numbers.  I think the cam profile is different  between the 2 years.  The cam can be pulled without removing the engine. However changing the cam bearings in the car will be a challenge.  You will want to get a good flush on the block to remove any metal particles in the bottom end.

 

Bob Engle

 

 

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Would running a '32 cam in a '31 be detrimental? It seems like '32 parts are (currently) more available than '31.

 

Some have suggested to me swapping the entire engine with a good '32. 

 

I guess I need to figure out what kind of chore it will be to extract the cam. Radiator comes off, but what about the timing cover? It looks like it's bolted to the frame, acting as one of the front motor mounts. What is the preferred strategy to remove the cover in situ?

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Block up under the oil pan.  You may need to replace the fiber timing gear.  Mark your timing to get the cam  back in sync with the crankshaft.  Remove pushrods and lifters.  I believe a 32 cam will work fine with cam bearings fitted to the cam.  

.

How would you know that you have  good 32 engine?  I would prefer a rebuild knowing the condition of all components to a supposedly good used engine.

Bob Engle

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Thanks, Bob. Do you have any photos of the disassembly process, by chance? 

 

I trust the oil pan can take some of the engine weight, or is there a preferred spot to block it?

 

I'm inclined to rebuild this one. I'll certainly feel better, and will have learned much in the process. 

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1st pic is of the cam gear metal hub, 2nd pic is of my engine with the hub removed.

The cap screws hold the cam retainer on the block.

After removing the radiator, fan, cooling pipes, water pump, distributor, generator, etc., remove the push rods, cam rollers and retainers, remove the cam gear and you will be at the point in pic #2.

Then drop the pan, remove the oil pump and oil piping, then you will be ready to try to remove the cam out the front of the block.

 

Pic #3 shows the oil pump and brass tubing to each crank journal.

Be extremely careful with the brass tubing and solder joints - they crack easily and will likely need a pressure test upon reassembly to ensure against leaks and prove steady 30-35psi oil pressure.

 

As you get into things, post pics, there are additional instructions and gotchas, and sometimes its best for us to look at a pic than explain all of the what-ifs.

 

Olson's Gaskets might become one of your new best friends in this process...

 

20211005_170403.jpg

20211005_185448.jpg

20211010_170811.jpg

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Thanks, Mario. 

 

What access is gained by removing the water pump and generator? Can they not remain in place?

 

One of the first things I bought for the car several years ago was a complete gasket set from Olson's, so I should be all set there. 

 

Where is the best place to get new cam bearings from?

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Kyle,

The water pump, gen, and dist can remain in place while replacing the cam, but I found removing these items allowed me to focus on setting the timing of the cam-main gears without distraction and frustration.

The few bolts to remove the pump-gen assemblies were well worth the effort for me when ensuring proper cam-crank timing...it was easy to install everything ancillary after the fiber cam gear was installed.

I could have set the fiber cam gear with the gen gear AND main crank gear in place, but I decided it wasn't worth the struggle, so I removed the gen and water pump to ensure I could focus on getting the cam-crank timing per factory specs first, then installed the generator and accoutrement.

And...its likely that your distributor will need to be removed and retimed regardless of how elegant the cam removal and replacement process goes.

 

Cam bearings - I have no idea, got me wondering now, I should call my local vintage engine shop to learn, hopefully someone with experience like @Robert Engle chimes in with bearing info and pics, I want to learn more like you!

 

Gaskets - you are a smart guy when pursuing Olson's, we get what we pay for...

 

Be sure to post pics when you get the timing cover off, it might be important for historical spec info of the fiber gear, and it might be important to help you with next steps such as removing the fiber cam gear without harming it.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Slowly making progress taking the timing cover off.

 

PXL_20231024_025400895.jpg.d7003503af11da9e3311f5951b30a8f2.jpg

 

PXL_20231024_030157989.jpg.161b5ba3df94c3de56800b9a2ccbe067.jpg

 

Drained the oil and coolant, removed the hood and radiator, and before calling it a night, removed the nut and crankshaft pulley. I will remove the oil pan tonight, hopefully. 

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Check thoes external oil lines, if you have a fracture or solder failure it could cause oil starvation.......been there, done that. Also, sometimes it need to be HOT to see a crack or leak..........Ed

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I got a better view of the toasty bearing from underneath the car. 

 

PXL_20231026_021747869.jpg.1a1d4612c0eb2c3de2504e0e9cbeb95f.jpg

 

I also got the timing cover off and noticed the camshaft seems to have protruded enough for the bolt on the end of the shaft to rub against the timing cover. Anyone seen that before?

 

PXL_20231026_023152090.jpg.0fd278a05bca0bbdaf47ca593b492871.jpg

 

PXL_20231026_023106427.jpg.2ed52186f0c7649bffc66ae6bea748bb.jpg

 

Fiber gear looks to still be in good shape. Not sure if it's original or not. I really don't see much wear on the teeth, even after the abuse it would've received from a seized bearing. 

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I was able pull to pull the camshaft out, gear and all, by removing the two bolts holding the front cap bearing in place. 

 

PXL_20231026_035032828.jpg.00f24ef0315fd925e3398ea6e80abc64.jpg

 

I also noticed the gear for the generator and such is hand loose. Not sure what to make of that. I loosened it more for exaggeration for the photo.

 

PXL_20231026_032926997.jpg.27430ccd1700a0049798387fbbf91f2c.jpg

 

Started chiseling at the bearing but it hasn't broken loose yet...

 

PXL_20231026_035435207.jpg.895aa454e5bda4dd7807380104bd4b3b.jpg

 

On first glance, the block looks okay, but I guess I'll see how a new bearing fits. Still not sure where I'm going to have to source new Babbitt bearings; I'm certainly not going back to bronze.

 

More adventures to come!

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I'm not sure how the dimensions match up with a 32 50 series.  If the OD of the bearings are the same, I may be able to provide you with used bearing shells that only need fresh babbit.  

 

Let me know what you find and I'll dig through my pile of parts and see if I can help.

 

Bob Engle

 

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Nicely done Kyle!

Dauntless progress...

 

Cam gear does look good, and its probably a good thing you caught the loose generator gear bolt too.

 

When reassembling, keep in mind to align these red circle timing marks.

You might need to realign the distributor after the cam is reinstalled unless you already marked the distributor and prepped for reinstallation timing settings.

 

Some casting and bearing dims that might help, maybe Bob can measure his bearings vs these 80-90 series dims, note bearing pins to help prevent future spinning - 

 

image.png.56a58b5490929ab979c45f07777cbb1a.png

 

image.png.0525097c1f9e25072d361c9b8770f4c1.png

image.png.52d189c4cbc40b1d5f45f314ab67466c.png

 

31-80 cam timing marks.jpg

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27 minutes ago, DonMicheletti said:

My '31 60 series had poured babbit, steel back bearings.

I repoured the babbit myself and then had them align reamed after installation in the block.

I'd be surprised if the'32's were not the same originally.

Could you tell if those were original? My understanding was that '31s used bronze from the factory, and either late '31 or '32 they swapped to Babbitt.

 

30 minutes ago, DonMicheletti said:

I dont think you can get the cam out without removing the roller followers first.

Correct. I did indeed remove all of the lifters as well.

 

PXL_20231026_031859032.jpg.f3dd2a1509d4fbd701b16ce466a72c47.jpg

 

4 minutes ago, 32buick67 said:

When reassembling, keep in mind to align these red circle timing marks.

Thanks, Mario! I did spin it over to align the marks and will need to retime the distributor when it goes back together.

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I forgot to include this spec info Kyle - note the 3/64" pin spacing from the bearing ID.

From what I can find, it looks like the change from bronze bearings to babbitt occurred mid-production after the dwg rev on 15jan1931.

I wish I could find the Buick Service Bulletin regarding retrofitting babbitt into engines originally shipped with bronze.

Early Buick TSBs are extremely rare and hard to find.  I have found some, but none found on the bronze-babbitt cam bearing topic.

 

The Buick 8 of 1931 design was in production a really long time, Buick certainly knocked this one out of the park.

 

image.png.ceadda9f1dcca57d4bf14390f0c23328.png

 

Not sure if this bushing alignment note is relevant to your work, but it might not hurt to take a peak while you have the cam out.

 

image.png.266549e73f91b2167f1e69c3fb824729.png

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5 minutes ago, drovak said:

Thanks, Mario! Do you have uncropped drawings available as well? Just curious to see the specs on the rest of the cam bearings beyond the three depicted in the first set. Very awesome stuff!

I'll send you an email...some files are pretty large, hopefully they get thru....

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My friend removed the bearing through much difficulty. If I can't find a good camshaft, I will have to get this one sufficiently ground down. I'm still not keen on doing that due to the heat that those lobes saw. It seems the rear oil channel of the shaft was caked up with junk and may have led to oil starvation. I'm also thinking someone replaced at least some of the bearings before as some do not appear to be the nominal width as specified in the drawings.

 

PXL_20231028_001030176.jpg.94e3de221dcbdd4fab66e461e2f0e308.jpg

 

PXL_20231028_001059936.jpg.5883bd39a14c9fc5bafb0da1d24c0c04.jpg

 

PXL_20231028_001049055.jpg.f096376b2af6b39f1106350329bac009.jpg

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Note the center rear bearing was too wide for the lifters, so someone had to grind it away. The two front bearings were narrower, and I assume possibly original.

 

PXL_20231028_023133741.jpg.703dc565e0696759dd3527fe94e760b5.jpg

 

The block appears fine and seems to measure nominally correct, so I'm hoping I can find the correct bearings and finish putting it back together without too much hassle. 

 

PXL_20231028_023145811.jpg.6395613b3c9dcdb8e3a94b27e3255353.jpg

 

My friend thinks I can reuse the existing bronze bearings. I'm not comfortable with that for several reasons: they are known to fail, they've been beat upon trying to get the failed bearing off the shaft, and if I'm replacing one, I might as well replace them all while I'm in there. 

 

However, I may keep the rear bearing in place, as extracting it without dropping the engine would be very challenging, and it didn't see any percussive force. 

 

If anyone has advice on obtaining or making bearings, I'm all ears. 

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On the cam shaft, I would consider  turning the surface down on the damaged journal and heat shrinking a replacement and grinding it to spec.  There are no lateral forces to move it.   I would rebabbit all the bearing shells.  You certainly don't want to tackle this job again.

 

Bob

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  • 2 weeks later...

I went up to PA to look at getting a '32 engine to use for parts for my '31. 

 

PXL_20231104_141504767.jpg.97e74cbfbf7f187ff5d790b562f2ae70.jpg

 

PXL_20231104_192003441.jpg.46bbad6fe7fa362b2bef905ad8ee6485.jpg

 

I found an 8-87 (at least, that's what the detached firewall states), but it makes sense given the side-mount spares. Trailered it back home with no issues. 

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My friend took it upon himself to free up the engine, which he did. PXL_20231107_003313698.jpg.2ad127f2b8f6cb1ba5789309ef236457.jpg

 

After removing the lifters, we could better see that the camshaft does indeed look usable. 

 

PXL_20231107_010450578.jpg.21dc1aff821e226e6e2c353684ad3302.jpg

 

We then drained the oil. And by oil, I mean water. 

 

PXL_20231107_011905761.jpg.08d4cfd7a77daa35178e7a2dd83bad51.jpg

 

However, the years of sludge protected the critical parts well enough, it would seem. 

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The oil pan was very gross, as was the pump. Most of the crank was above the waterline, so it looked quite good. 

 

PXL_20231107_021913008.jpg.e7182428589b011c92bf935524cfdc97.jpg

 

PXL_20231107_020730560.jpg.395ea81d7568fb070ffcd9977f7ba7b9.jpg

 

We got the timing cover off and were able to start extracting the camshaft, but only after removing the oil pump. 

PXL_20231107_021414312.jpg

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