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Continuation of my 1938 Special thread


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Read your manual on this before running anything else through there. I would think the rocker arm assembly can come off in one piece and if so, THEN you could try running kerosene through the rocker arm assembly. But don't do it while on the motor.

Also be careful if you decide to take the entire rocker arm assembly apart. Lay this outon a bench so that all the parts go back in the order they came off from. Watch for orientation of springs, washers and the rocker assemblies.

Good Luck

JD

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looking at it myself, i think it can come off in one piece too. i just have to undo all of the bolts on the brackets holding it to the head, and of course the oil lines, and i can't see anything else that would bar it from lifting right off, and pulling the pushrods right up out of their holes.

the only thing i just thought of was valves that are currently pressed open. im thinking the valve springs have a lot of force. whe i go to put the shaft back on, can i just set it down and tighten the bolts down on the brackets up in the air (im guessing theyre long enough for the threads to catch without the bracket being right on the head?) and it will press them back down?

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Hello all. I am new here but have had my 1938 series 40-41 Buick since 1978 and belong to the BCA and the 1937/38 Buick club. Here is a link to my car:

http://demandred.dyndns.org/540i/gallery/Buick

Regarding the valve train lubrication discussion, I completely took mine apart and rebuilt it from two different rocker arm assemblies. Oil is delivered to the rocker arm shaft which is hollow through a small, short oil line that connects from a shaft support to the head at the front of the head. This picks up metered oil from an external line from the lower oil gallery. There is a screen in the vertical head inlet to filter this oil. From the shaft oil is metered to the rocker bearings and through the rockers to the pushrod pivots and to a small hole in the rocker above each valve stem.

It is important to note that too much oil flow will flood the valve stems and overwhelm the seals which were not that great to begin with. This will produce oil burning when the engine is de-accelerating with high vacuum and RPM. The aftermarket added plumbing in the photo was probably intended to provide valve stem lubrication because the hollow rocker shaft was clogged.

I would get those lines out of there, take the rocker assembly apart and thoroughly clean it out. My shaft was completely clogged and I spent a number of hours soaking and reaming the crud out.

The assembly lifts right off and using time and determination can be completely disassembled. Lay out all the parts carefully in the order that they were taken apart and put them back in exactly the same order. The ends of the shaft are capped with internal brass plugs similar to "freeze" core plugs used in the engine block but smaller. I punched these out to gain access to the inside of the shaft and found replacements at the local auto parts store. With the shaft out the pushrods and lifters can also be cleaned up. Just keep the rods and lifters in the proper order.

Note the threaded adjusters on the rockers also have drilled passages that need to be cleaned out. I fabricated a new filter screen from stainless screen mesh which I formed into a cylinder, soldered and then soldered it to an eyelet for support. Still working great after 20 years. I clean it out every oil change.

I re-built my engine except for the camshaft and I re-used the main bearings with some shims removed, and my oil pressure is like yours and drops to 25-30 at 60MPH after the engine gets good and hot. I now am running Mobil 1 synth. oil, 15W-50 and the pressure is about 5 lbs higher.

Lastly, I re-built the whole braking system and used DOT 5 silicone fluid. I have not touched the system for 5 years and the fluid looks as clear as new. I have only had to top it up once. I have just done the same thing to my 1965 Mustang brake system and it is working great.

Good luck,

Steve D

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Yep. yesterday afternoon i unbolted the assembly and it came out just fine. it was of course pushed up a little by the valve springs, but no mishaps occured.

today i placed it on a drip-pan, and removed the T-fitting and the metered fitting that it was screwed into, and screwed in a brass fitting w/hose barb i found in my dad's collection of air fittings, nozzles, valves, etc, that already happened to have thread tape on it, as youll see in the attached picture. so hand tight was just fine. i then hooked up a 2 foot silicone hose to it, and the other end to a funnel, and poured motor oil, and later tried Marvel Mystery Oil, into the funnel, let the tubing fill, then push the tubing onto the nozzle of the spray attachment for our air compressor (spray fitting meaning you can just blow air onto the ground and blow dust away, etc) and pushed it through with rather light pressure flow(valve on compressor put at 40 psi). if the arms are rotated so they are almost parallel to the ground, but the tip moved down just a little, maybe 1/2 inch just to be sure. at this point, this will force the oil/air to come out the tiny holes that come out right behind the threads for the push rod adjustment screw (side of adjustment screw nearest rocker shaft itself for those who dont know these engines as well). i didnt know myself, its RIGHT next to it, and maybe 1/32nd of an inch diameter, very small. youll see in the attached picture that the next point is pointing almost straight downward, at a very steep angle. this only allows it to come out between the arm and shaft, aka through the rocker bearings. much less flow through here, good for cutting it off and trying to force it out the holes at the adjustment screws. last position i used during this test was with the tips up almost an inch above parallel, so that it can flow easily out of the holes on top of the arms.

results:

no problems with the holes on top of the rocker arms.

shaft bearings are pretty much fine, with a couple at the rear of the engine end not spitting oil/air.

the holes adjacent to the adjustment screws are the problem. it looks like the same pushrod-arm joints that i observed having little oil are indeed the ones that nothing will come out of. maybe 2 or 3 wouldnt at first but then opened up, dripping this white-slightly yellow fluid before fully opening up and allowing oil out and then a free flow of air once the oil is depleted.

what i think ill do, is remove the adjustment screws and balls from each arm, because the tiny holes seem to also be "in" the threaded holes, like some of the hole is blocked by the screw. so maybe that will give me more room to stick something in there maybe and scrape stuff out. i tugged on the bracket at the end with the rocker arm taken off you'll see in the next picture, but it wouldnt move. what should i do? id rather just get an (or both) end caps off anyway. i can see they look like freeze plugs, but how to i take them out? even doing that would make cleaning much easier.

lastly, in the picture there is a strange screw, rusted in the second bracket from the front. i took it out, and i could see the oil inside, this must be the inside of the rocker shaft, i could stick a small screwdriver in and it went in pretty far. the split wahser under it is very loose when the screw is tightened down. it doesnt go all the way down. any ideas as to what this is or why is there? just curious.

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Not that it matters much, but what I am having trouble picturing is how oil gets into the rocker arm to begin with. In prior posts it seems there is a tube running from the oil passage in the head to the end of the rocker shaft? But then you report that there are soft plugs on both ends of the rocker shaft?

Is this pipe attached to the end of the Rocker shaft? Or does it just lay in there? And where was the supply for that top over oiler tube attached?? Is it that there is a free flow of oil at the rocker shaft without any serious pressure?

JD

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the oil input into the shaft is at the spot i have temporarily attached that clear hose. from there the hole goes all the way down through the wall of the rocker shaft, which is hollow, i believe roughly 1/4-5/16" inner diameter. the rocker shaft has holes along it, each spot being at the center of a particular rocker arm. each arm has two holes along the round part that slips onto the shaft. the holes are spaced maybe 1/2 or 3/4" or so apart on the circumference. the positions of the arm i was talking about must have been when one of those holes lined up with the rocker shaft one, and the third one being when neither lines up, forcing all (or at least the majority) of the oil out the side, lubricating the the contact area between the arm and the shaft. it goes through all of these positions as it opens and closes the valve, thus, fully lubricating all of the assembly.

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I saw the question of "How do you know what tools numbered like J-1135 look like?" When I was working on my 1939 Roadmaster years back, I had this same problem. The answer turns out to be simple in nature, but tough in practice. What you first need to know is that all these funny special tools were designed by Buick but made for the dealers by a company named "Hinckley-Meyers". HM printed a catalogue every year that showed the Buick dealers what they needed WITH PICTURES of each one. Since I was fairly handy, I would measure the appropriate Buick part, look at the catalogue, and MAKE what I needed. That's the easy part. The tough one is finding a Hinckley-Meyers catalogue. By luck, I was able to find a 1939 catalogue in NOS condition and paid $35 for it in 1980. I found a rougher, but still very readable one for 1937 that has some earlier tools in it in 2002 and paid $40 for it. The Buick shop manuals for the 1938 self shifter has those 5 special tools illustrated, as do most other Buick shop manuals of the time. In summation, thinking carefully AND documentation are your best weapons! You can find out what J-XX?!X looked like, but it ain't easy!! Regards, Dave Corbin

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I saw the question of "How do you know what tools numbered like J-1135 look like?" When I was working on my 1939 Roadmaster years back, I had this same problem. The answer turns out to be simple in nature, but tough in practice. What you first need to know is that all these funny special tools were designed by Buick but made for the dealers by a company named "Hinckly-Meyers". HM printed a catalogue every year that showed the Buick dealers what they needed WITH PICTURES of each one. Since I was fairly handy, I would measure the appropriate Buick part, look at the catalogue, and MAKE what I needed. That's the easy part. The tough one is finding a Hinckly-Meyers catalogue. By luck, I was able to find a 1939 catalogue in NOS condition and paid $35 for it in 1980. I found a rougher, but still very readable one for 1937 that has some earlier tools in it in 2002 and paid $40 for it. The Buick shop manuals for the 1938 self shifter has those 5 special tools illustrated, as do most other Buick shop manuals of the time. In summation, thinking carefully AND documentation are your best weapons! You can find out what J-XX?!X looked like, but it ain't easy!! Regards, Dave Corbin

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Oil is fed from the short tube from the head casting to the first rocker shaft mount in the front. This mount aligns with a feed hole in the rocker shaft and feeds oil to the hollow center of the tube. The screw in the other mount is just a captive alignment screw meant to keep the shaft from rotating in the mounts, although in 70 year old parts thay are verily frozen together by heat and crud anyway.

I drilled a small hole in the end caps and used a dent puller screwed into this hole to pull the caps out. I used a rifle bore brass brush with plenty of solvent to clean out the hollow core. The mounts are very hard to remove. I soaked it in penetrating oil and then, working slowly, twisted and rocked it back and forth, gradually working it the the end of the shaft. Perhaps heat would help as the mounts are aluminum and the shaft is steel.

I would recommend removing the adjusters and thoroughly cleaning the passages. Pipe cleaners and a fine wire should do the trick. When re-assembling I used engine assembly lube to provide lubrication until the shaft filled up with oil. Lastly make sure the short tube is not clogged or better yet fabricate a new one. I made a new tube and also a new external tube from the head to the block oil gallery.

Steve D

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alright, thanks for the info. i think ill manage. it really doesnt seem that collossal a task to me now, looking at this thing it really doesnt seem to complicated as long as i keep the components in order as i remove them. i have this big 5 gal bucket of "petroleum solvent" i think is what it is, that is about half full, dad used the stuff to clean parts, etc, and for his parts washer in our basement. so im fine in that area. im not sure i have a dent puller, but i just looked it up in google, and the type that looks like it fits through a small hole is cheap, so maybe ill buy one. im sure there are other ways too, ill see what i think of (that doesnt inflict damage to the rocker shaft smirk.gif)

---EDIT---

well i decided to work on the thing this afternoon! first i stood it upright in a big metal drain-pan for coolant that probably holds a few gallons! i had cut out a scotch-brite pad in a circle shape a little bigger than the hollow core. i then used a metal rod to push it through. couple of nice big ol' chunks of SLUDGE came out the other end. made me feel terrible that that junk was in the valvetrain area at all!. so then i sprayed a lot of this solvent spray we have down the core, until it began to come out rather clear and not totally black, lol. there are still tiny bits of stuff on the wall, but ill take care of that. i then decided i was gonna at least try and get those caps off and pull some brackets and arms! i drilled a hole through the cap, then used a bigger sheetmetal screw, through some oversized nuts and washers stacked up, and threaded it into the hole, with a big fat screwdriver. so the screw wont move because the nut is against the end of the hollow core, so it yanks the cap out. didnt require a ton of force, either. this was obviosuly before i cleaned out the inside.

after cleaning the core, i clamped it to the workbench, like in the picture (not too tight, for the record i am being conscious of that, and with the pair of vise-grips i grabbed the brackets with. not too tight, and in the right spot so they didnt affect the flange part at all.) and used that hair-dryer looking thing to heat each bracket as i did it. dont dry your hair with that thing, itll catch on fire. thing puts out like 750 degrees F i believe it says on the side shocked.gif so then, with some PB sprayed on the shaft, i pulled on the bracket with my right hand and gently moved the vise-grips up and down with the other. three brackets came off with a decent amount of force, which lessened greatly once they became unstuck.

as i mentioned i have that parts washer. should i maybe use that for the arms and brackets?

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Glad your staying with your project. Nice to have people from all over the world helping you out isn't it. As for the dissasembly of your rocker assembly you have recieved some excellent information. I am a book mechanic myself and I've noticed all areas covered but one. You were advised to lay the parts of the rocker assembly out carefully as to know how to reassemble them. I had the engine from a 56 chevy 235 6cyl rebuilt. I dissasembled and cleaned the rocker assembly myself. I wasn't sure and the motor manual didn't say which way the extra (drain) holes in the rocker rod itself went. Well I decided they needed to be in the up position. Well it took 2 years to figure out the problem, they should have been down instead. The car smoked and used oil because the valve guides were being flooded with oil. After moving the (drain) holes to their downward position everything was fine. Just wanted you to be aware of this as not to make the same mistake as I did. I'm 51 years old, And am probably one of the youngest ORIGINAL car guys at Missouri car shows. Everything is chopped up and rodded out. I once had thoughts of V-8ing my 37 Buick Roadmaster but my heart just wouldn't let me do it. I'm currently on the waiting list of a reputable mechanic to have the original straight 8 rebuilt. Some day after the dust settles from all of the chopping and street rodding we will be the ones with the valuable automobiles because, and I hate to say it, there will be a lot less originals than rods. . Keep chipping away like you have been, a little each day, and before you know it you'll be cruzin in YOUR ORIGINAL BUICK.

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last pic: brackets sorting system! hehe, just lining em up on the workbench. itll do just fine though. grin.gif

calwood1kid: thanks for the kind words! you're absolutely right. if there are younger people not interested in the rice-rockets, they like hot-rods and muscle cars. SPEED SPEED SPEED! i like a lot of power too, but these cars are plenty powerful enough for cruising. and cruising along at the speed limit is, uh, actually legal, so you can do it MUCH more often and easily then burning the tires and peeling out and accelerating to 100 mph and flying along there for a bit. and its less taxing on your car AND you! you can just relax. besides, hop up the cars meant to be fast! dont make speed demons out of cars meant to be cruisers. BTW, thanks for the tip with the shaft oil output holes. ill be sure to note where they belong. though there is a hole that, as DaveCorbin mentioned, lines up with the hole on that second bracket that has the big rusty screw in it. so that screw goes into the hole in the shaft, so i guess im actually taken care of with regards to that, but still a great tip! good choice with your '37. these are not much-seen as it is, by the time the rodders have eaten all of the ones we dont own ours will be a real rarity! and you know what? you have a <span style="font-weight: bold">roadmaster</span>. now im not saying im unhappy with the fact that i have "the common man's car" essentially in the old car hobby, but it is just that. i would be much more annoyed to see a roadmaster chopped n' channeled than a special. there are so much less of them, its a big car, and its one step down from the high-caste Limited series. not quite as disgusting, but almost like hot-rodding a marmon or duesy or something. if one of those ever got rodded EVERYONE in the hobby would know about it and thered be one hell of a backlash.

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This might be a little ahead of the process in asking this question, but I am ahead of of this repair scenerio (started at the same time as this thread) because I decided to work on what I thought might be an oil supply problem to my '41 (106K miles) rocker shaft, rather than a gummed up works problem. Cleaned the oil supply line from the oil galley, the horizontal and vertical fittings (man, the hole in the vertical fitting is small) and the cavity in the head between them, and the U-shaped tube to the hole in the rocker shaft. Also spent about five days spraying Liquid Wrench into every hole in the rocker shaft (stuffed rags everywhere under the rocker shaft to catch the drippings, need to change oil) and using a piece of 18 guage utility wire, probed the push rod oiler holes in the rockers. By the way, I couldn't figure out the advantage of the recommendation to take the ball stud out on each rocker to access the oil passage. I took the adjusting nut off the first rocker on the front of the shaft, backed the ball stud all the way up, and couldn't get the pushrod out and obviously couldn't get the ball stud out. So, I put the adjusting nut back on, adjusted the clearance, and went ahead with the probing with everything in place as normal.

This morning I started her up and I had oil everywhere. Before I started, I only had oil to the rear seven push rods and nothing to the holes on the top of the rockers. I now remember why I hated to adjust the valves on the first 283 Chevys. The spinning push rods were throwing oil down the side of the engine. Adjusting the valves will be very messy now.

Now, the question is, what might be the majority opinion on positioning of the rocker cover gasket for proper sealing. Put RTV sealant on the head and then place the gasket on the head followed by the rocker cover without RTV? Put RTV on the rocker cover and then place the gasket on the rocker cover followed by putting both on the head without RTV on the head? Or putting RTV on both sides of the gasket before assembling the cover to the head? The first two might allow for removal of the rocker cover to adjust the valves and not to waste a gasket, but the latter would provide the best seal especially when the only pressure on the cover to provide the seal is two nuts on the top of the cover.

Seems that there might be a place on fleabay for someone who would manufacture and sell the oil strainer for the rocker shaft as described by Steve bigD. I haven't noted anyplace where one might be purchased or something that might be a substitute.

Unless the shop manuals cover the subject, now might be a good time for someone with the knowledge to describe, when the rocker shaft has been removed, all rockers have been removed, and all ball studs have been removed from the rockers, how you put everything back together enough to get the engine running before fine tuning the valve clearance.

John

'41 mod 46

BCA #41635

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well thanks for trying to abate my workload, unclefogey, but i didnt catch your post in time. i went straight to work when i got home from school today, and about 10 minutes ago i finished re-assembling the rocker assembly. i cleaned everything out in the parts washer, and boy does that solvent work good! everything is assembled in correct order, and with assembly oil on every contact surface. now all i need are the caps....ill go to advance/napa/something and see if i can get em tomorrow. but providing i can get the caps, she oughta be running again tomorrow or friday! cool.gif just in time for the nice weather. im gonna have to do some driving around (no, in the cougar, sorry if i suddenly made anyone think the buick was registered yet) to see who's bringing their oldies out. itll be in the 50's friday and saturday, so i know theyll be out. cool.gif

itll be a real landmark day, because at that point, the car will be 100% ready to drive. just add insurance and registration.

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John, What is the material of the valve cover gasket? Neoprene or cork?

If cork, I would not put anything on either surface of the gasket. If neoprene there is a gasket adhesive which could be used to attach the gasket to the valve cover, but then leave the bottom side uncoated.

Here's one thing I do which may be overkill. I use form-a-gasket part 2B and put a drip on the threads of the valve cover screws. I do this because this is supposed to be non hardening formula and it is thick, which helps hold the bolts tight without locktight. Like I said it may be overkill but I can't count how many loose valve cover gasket bolts I've encountered from the factory, and this seems to keep things tight without locking things up.

Just a small tiny drip is sufficient. You don't want to fill the hole and then force the bolt in. this stuff can be sloppy.

JD

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JD, it is cork, or what passes as cork these days. Appears to be a composition of tiny ground up pieces of cork and tiny ground up pieces of rubber. It is definitely not neoprene. I believe I will be forced to use a sealant because the gasket is bowed in on the long sides and there is no way to keep it in place without sticking it to something.

Zonda, keep asking questions, I check here regularly to see what my next project should be. Your confidence in taking on these projects is well beyond mine. After pulling the rockers from the shaft and the ball studs from the rockers and then reassembling, I can only imagine the resulting clearances between rockers and the valves are all over the place. Probably a good idea to turn over the engine without plugs to get some tentative clearances when both valves are closed on a particular cylinder and then repeat on others. Speaking of turning over, it was on one of the posts to this thread by Glassesguy that I learned one of the most important tricks of a working alone mechanic and that is how to engage the starter from the engine compartment. Let us know where you find the plug for the end of the shaft. That little unknown caused me to take the action I did rather than pulling the the shaft.

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One of the first repairs I made when I got my car was to replace the valve cover gasket, as I had a good sized leak going near the firewall. The new gasket was that composite cork material. First, I tried installing it with only a few dabs of high-tack here and there on the head to hold in place with nothing on the cover side of the gasket. When I installed the valve cover, and snugged down the nuts (tight, but not too tight), the gasket slipped off the mating surface of the head and into the cover. But of course I didn't notice this, and when I started her up, I had a bigger oil leak than what I started with. Not wanting to do the repair a third time, I went the overkill route and slathered the gasket with form-a-gasket sealer on both sides. That stopped the leak, but if I ever want to take that cover off again, it's gonna be a [@!#!$].

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unclefogey: maybe i should have done it more than i did, but i didnt pull out most of the ball studs and the nuts holding them in place. that was why, i didnt want to have to adjust the valves again. the tiny hole on the underside of the arm i described, i was able to stick a needle in there and move it around and then put th hole in the path of the jet of solvent in the parts washer and then see the stuff gushing out of the hole on the cirumference of the large hole that goes on the shaft. then i knew it was cleaned out.

Update for today: went out and got the caps! (this is mainly for JohnD1956 he'll know what im talking about) Napa didnt have them so they sent me to Dave Hunt's, Mr. D i think you mentioned him to me once? they had the caps, didnt even charge me for them! it is a small part i guess but still that was nice of him. i thanked him for it. nice shop he has there.

so tomorrow ill put it all back in the car, fire 'er up, and (hopefully) the oil flow will be much more. im thinking maybe i should remove and clean out the line going from the crankcase to the head, that might be clogged. who knows?

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I would clean the horizontal fitting, the vertical fitting and the cavity in the head between them. I think that is where my problem existed. As I previously said, the hole in the vertical fitting is really small. Use a line wrench if you are going to try to take the fittings out. I didn't at first, and the result was an egg shaped fitting frown.gif. I kind of figured that NAPA wasn't going to be the source of the end caps. Your source must have been a machine shop.

I put a bead of blue RTV all the way around the lip of the cover, put the gasket on, let it sit for awhile, and then put the cover on the head. Seemed to have a good seal under idle. Only a long trip in the summer will tell if I was successful.

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the vertical fitting was fine, same with the T, but i cleaned them anyway. ill clean the cavity in the head, too, if i find anything there. i just got home from school, got to leave early, had 4th period free. its a class that doesnt always meet. today happens to be one of those days. cool.gif so im going out to work on it right now!

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and i have some very good news and some bad news.

THE GOOD:

there is a whole bunch of oil going down ALL of the pushrods now, so i cleaned it out good. cool.gif the result? when i rev it up now, whether i do it quick and hard or feather the gas, that extra sporadic but very present tapping noise is gone. and i mean gone. i think it was coming from the ball studs joints that werent lubed very well. however, now a bit more noise is coming from the rocker tips and valve stems, because of...

THE BAD:

the supply of oil coming from the holes on top of each rocker arm is still too darn small! nowhere near enough to run down the arm and reach the stem. its kina neat because the exhaust pipe pretty much doesnt smoke AT ALL now. but the oil is supposed to make a nice cushion between the tip and stem or it'll wear down a lot, right? and more importantly, a little is necessary to lubricate the stem and guide. so before long those will wear out too right?

my next check is gonna be the supply line going from the crankcase to the head. i have a good feeling im gonna be disappointed and theres going to be nothing in there, but i'll check anyway.

if there is indeed nothing, could i maybe consider reinstalling that "aftermarket" line system? maybe put it on and see if the oil flow on the pushrods is still adequate? the consistent dripping throughout all of the holes i had created with those zip-ties was plenty for the stems, maybe too much even in some spots, possibly the valve seals (or "oil deflectors", as i think someone has mentioned here) were overwhelmed by the oil flow, i think i read somewhere only a tiny bit of oil is needed constantly to keep the guides and stems oiled okay. so extra is going to get sucked in by the engine's vacuum and cause the oil smoke out the tailpipe. i could even cover up some of the other holes on the other end of the line i can find that are gushing oil, with zip-ties, and so all of them will only be dripping that little bit and the rest diverted to the pushrods and contact area between the rockers and the shaft.

that's my idea. please critique it, i could have the wrong idea....?

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Looking back Steve Big D said you should not have too much oil at the top of the valve stem, lest it would get sucked into the cylinders. Here's somthing to consider: The valve guide seals are meant to keep the oil off the valve stems while they slide up and down in the valve guides. The seals look like little umbrellas with a hole in the middle for the valve stem and the umbrella goes over the top of the valve guide. The valve stems riding in the valve guides were probably lubricated by a coating of lead from the 1938 style gasoline that was just exploded in the cylinders. So lack of a full flow of oil at the valve stems seems correct, the normal condition for the engine. Remember , you only need a film of oil for protection, not a bath.

Anyway, think back to the size of the three holes in the Rocker Arm. Was there a difference in the diameter for the passage going to the ball stud vs the one going to the valve stem? If so, this also tells me to expect less oil at the valve stem.

That extra noise at the valve stems may be normal. Remember that to properly set the valve lash, you had to put a feeler guage inbetween the top of the valve stem and the part of the rocker arm that meets the top of the valve stem. This gap creates room for a slap as the rocker contacts the top of the valve stem. As long as you have some oil comming from each rocker and dripping on the top of the valve stem, you probably have sufficient oil for protection.

Here is one thing that may be a problem.

Going back to the Rocker Arm Shaft, if I understand what's been said here correctly, there should be three holes in the shaft at each point where a rocker arm attaches. Each hole feeds a different passage in the rocker arm, one delivering oil to the ball stud, one for oil to the valve stem and one to the bearings inside the area where the rocker arm rides on the rocker shaft. Are these three holes all the same diameter? If not you may want to investigate if you have the rocker arm shaft installed correctly so the proper amount of supply is present at each of the passages in the rocker arms.

I would not re-install that separate oiler for the tops of the valve stems. I do not think it is needed.

JD

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see, you said "as long as you have <span style="font-style: italic">some</span> oil coming from each rocker...", and i really dont have ANY. it just comes out the hole, flows on the arm for maybe a half inch, and drops off the sides.

i perfectly understand why the gap causes the noise. i just would think that as the tip comes down it may rub the top of the stem a little and this would cause wear? or not? or is it a small enough amount of wear that i dont have to worry? i dont mind the noise, really, because with the cover on and the hood closed it gets deadened quite a bit, and it is more a whirring because it is all of the tips, and its not a hard knock, just a tap as would be expected. im simply looking out for the engine's sake.

the diameters of those holes i believe were about the same, and im like 90% sure of that. as someone mentioned (you know i kind of wish this forum displayed all of the previous posts on the reply page not just the last one. im used to other forums i frequent which do show all of them), the shaft should go in a certain way, with the holes on top, bottom, etc where they should be. this has a "pilot screw" as my shop manual says, that "big rusty screw" i described earlier, which goes through a hole in the shaft made for the screw, to ensure its installed in the right position.

im not sure if i mentioned it (or not clearly enough) before, but the amount of oil coming out of the hole on top of the rockers was <span style="font-style: italic">never</span> much, really as much as now, i doubt it was ever more. it always seemed peculiar to me, id watch them and say "why the heck are those there, they dont <span style="font-style: italic">do</span> anything, unless the oil is intended to fall between the arms and the brackets to lubricate the surfaces"

you mentioned the leaded fuel. would the STP Lead Substitute i've been adding all this time be doing that too? that would certainly give me some peace of mind, knowing the guides and stems are lubricated at least somewhat.

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Does your manual explain if there is to be oil on top of the valve stem? It would seem there should be some up there. If the oil comes out the hole for only a half inch then drops off, that does not sound right. However I probably should not even comment on this since I do not have a straight eight and I have no hard evidence as to what is correct in the engine.

Have you contacted Dave Mc Connell of our chapter? His number is on the roster page of the last newsletter. Dave used to be a Buick Dealer mechanic and he has a 49 Special with a straight 8. He may be able to provide clear guidance on this issue. I'd like to hear what he says about this. If he doesn't know, you might also try Al Krumm. Al also was a mechanic for a Buick dealer. Although both of them were mechanics much later than this generation of cars, I'm sure the principals are going to be universal over the years.

JD

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oh i think i know exactly who Dave McConnell is! i think he sat at the end of the table i was at in the meeting in Crossgates Mall. i remember him saying he had a 49 special. i think ill call him.

i had talked before about the manual showing all of the oil passages in the engine with orange lines, indicating where oil flowed. in the diagram of the rocker assembly, from end-view, you can see the orang line come out on top of the rocker through that hole, and then the line goes down the arm to the stem, so im pretty sure it should be there. ill still make the call anyway, just to be sure.

thats pretty neat that we have a couple buick mechanics in our chapter!

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I reviewed my 56 manual last night. The rocker assembly is pretty much the same design as yours. The manual says " low pressure" oil is supplied to the rocker arm/valve stem area by a passage drilled in the rocker arm. So obviously there should be oil at this area.

If you have none, I think you have to take another whack at cleaning those passages. Considering the description of oil flow at the pushrod side, it sounds like there is sufficient flow of oil to the rocker shaft. So it seems only clogged passages would inhibit the flow at the valve side of the shaft.

JD

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i guess im really failing at explaining this, lol.

the oil IS coming out of the hole, and id like to note that these holes were the cleanest. upon first inspecting each part these passages were not blocked at all. its just that as far as i can see when the engine is sitting there idling, it doesnt look to me anyway like any of it actually reaches the rocker tip. the oil flows in that direction but falls off the side well before it reaches the end.

however today i pulled the cover and touched the tips, and they were oily. not much, but as i usually do, i used the hand control to run the car at a high idle most of the time when i ran it yesterday, to keep it from gumming up...and i revved it a few times, and i think at the higher rpms it probably generated enough pressure to get a little oil to the tips. i just expected to see a flow down the arm as it sat there idling. but again, as we established, a large flow is going to flood the stems and cause all kinds of smoking.

so i think all is indeed well. the noise that comes from the rocker assembly is still very nice. i think what im now hearing is just the tips hitting the stems. it remains that no more do i hear that intermittent tapping when i rev it. and to me thats pretty amazing, because it always used to do that. now you just hear the whirring get faster. so i hereby declare this thing ready to go, now we just have to get it on the road!!! cool.gif

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The oil ports in my rockers were operating in a similar manner after the cleaning of the lines and holes in the rockers without disassembly. Reving the engine without the cover on threw oil everywhere without an appreciable change in flow from the top of the rockers. Figured that this was not a major problem since the engine got to 106K with oil to only the last seven push rods and nothing to the top for god knows how long. Buttoned her up, out of sight, out of mind.

Now if I can only find the source of the oil leak coming down the back of the engine going down past the starter. Rocker cover gasket seems ok, and I have changed the galley cover gasket. From the way it looked, it was the first time in 64 years. Ordered another gasket, and this time there will be very liberal use of RTV on both sides of the gasket.

Had the opportunity Friday wash and drive it to top off the tank with non oxygenated premium fuel. Tonight, 8 to 10 inches of snow predicted. Spring is NOT here frown.gif.

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well at least your winter is INTERESTING with snow. i personally love snow. my friend has a camp on schroon lake 1.5 hrs north of here and has me up from time to time. this year, hes been angry too because until recently the lake wasnt completely frozen and there was almost no snow on the ground. the last couple of winters have been like this and im wondering why. it gets very boring when theres no snow and its just cloudy and cold and windy all the time.

i was thus very happy friday and saturday. WOW was it warm. had the garage opened up all day as i worked. it was warmer outside than in the garage for once.

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  • 2 weeks later...

yup, within the next week or so my mom's gonna call our insurance company and work it all out. i cant believe im finally gonna drive this thing. whew!

i was playing around with it a little today because for a long time ive been unhappy with how the exhaust sounds generally. now i know this isnt a sports car, etc but the first time i ever started it (if you recall the video) it reminded me exactly of all the muscle cars id ever seen at shows. with the piping all the way back its been rather muffled and jumbled together into more of a plain tone. today i disconnected the clamp that is about 3 feet of pipe's worth away from the manifold (each section of flex pipe is 18" long). wow. the change was like day and night. i just about got back that sound i had almost a year ago.

i thought about it though, and remembered that this was about how much old rusty pipe was on when i first started it! this was because the muffler had broken right off at that point. also, that pipe was hanging very loosely at the manifold. dont know why, the bolts were just very loose so ill bet some was coming out right at the manifold too. im thinking just having a pipe all the way back muffles it a little. though im wondering if the "ribs" that exist inside the pipe due to it being flex pipe has anything to do with the sound? if i went and got a pipe bent up at a shop, would i get closer to what i'm looking for? if not i could just cut it at, again about 3 feet worth from the manifold and have a small amount of flex pipe there, disconnect it when i want it to sound like the brute it is. cool.giflaugh.gif i would also put on a muffler and have it be clamped to the inlet and outlets, not welded or something, so i could pop in a straight pipe there again, when i want it to sound mean, and when i want it to hush (which i think will happen, like if i want to actually talk to my passenger(s) )

so what's everyone's thoughts? something most guys who own one of these wouldnt think much about, but i do. if it can sound cool, i want it to.

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If I understand correctly, you've got flex pipe all the way back. Flex pipe has a huge amount of resistance/ restriction . It is not good for flow, a smooth pipe will flow much better. I suspect that all the wrinkles in the pipe change the sound considerably.

Skip the cut-out, when you can afford it get a proper exhaust made for it.

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yup all the way back laugh.gif.

sounds like a plan, 1938McLaughlin

im told that a full pipe wouldnt be very expensive. my uncle has reffered me to a friend of his that works at a local Midas, he said to go there. my cousin figured it would probably cost somewhere a little north of $100, more with a muffler. that would be fine really. obviously id rather not, but it would look much more professional, and thats the way it should be. and of course the sound.

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A big chunk of your exhaust tone will be in the muffler. I have had midas mufflers that muffle so much you cannot hear anything and the car sounds like a vacuum cleaner when you put some pressure on it. My 56 has a set of GM stock mufflers crafted to fit the application. They are not right for the application, but I love the sound. The GS has Turbo mufflers which are also loud, and I would think too loud for your car.

It's too bad you can get a set of dual exhaust on there.

JD

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dual exhaust would be cool, but also its not original. sometimes i think it looks silly when i see '38s with that on them. it stands out very well because i know its not supposed to be there.

would a shop like midas have a muffler for this car? its a large, particularly long one that im guessing isnt used anymore. its not anywhere near the proportions of a modern one. do they fabricate mufflers? if so is that what they would likely do? i dont really care if its the same as the original, as long as it isnt more restrictive than the original. actually id like it better if it was a little less. im taking Old-Tank's advice, im gonna get a cheap cut-out device, but even when its through the muffler and more reserved i dont want it <span style="font-style: italic">too</span> reserved. if give it a fair amount of gas taking off, bystanders ought to at least hear the burble, so there is no doubt that theres an 8 cylinder under the hood cool.gif

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Dear Zondac:

I've also got a 38 Special, a model 48 2 door sedan and a self-shifter. When I bought it in 2000, the exhaust system was a mess. It had a John Deere tractor muffler with an added on extension piece and the sound was "YUCK!" I bought a complete system from Burton Waldron in Michigan and would highly recommend him. He makes original length mufflers (about 40 inches long) and correct pipes for our cars. Do yourself a long term favor and spend a little more upfront. Also, the funny looking hanger at the rear is important to both positioning and rattling noises. Regards, Dave Corbin

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