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prelube a rebuilt/dormant V8 engine

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  • Engine: prelube a rebuilt/dormant V8 engine

    I know we have discussed this topic several times. However, as I get closer to having everything in place to attempt to fire up a 289 that was rebuilt, years ago, and never run, I find myself anxious, and concerned that I do the necessary steps. If I had the experience of some of our members, who actually earn a living as a mechanic, I would probably rip this engine apart, inspect, measure, and then reassemble it. But, I know, not being a pro, I am perfectly capable of doing more harm, than good if I tear it down, find everything is good, and then mess it up putting it back together.

    The long time SDC member who rebuilt the engine, died before he could install it in his truck. Another long time member, a professional mechanic, told me he knew the man who did the work, and he knew him as a very conscientious, and competent mechanic. He said he had examined this engine, and it looked good. It changed hands at least once, but except for accumulated shop dust, is all intact. The crank will turn with the normal resistance of a newly "tight" rebuild. A light, shined inside the spark plug openings, reveals very clean pistons, with no staining or carbon from ignition since the rebuild.

    The last complete overhaul of a Studebaker V8 I did myself, was the 259 in my '60 Lark. It's hard for me to believe, that was 32 years ago! So, today, while looking for something I had misplaced, I stumbled upon the old stripped distributor I used to spin the oil pump to prelube that engine. When I say it is "stripped," that means no points, rotor cap, and the drive gear was removed. However, the distributor cam, top (rotor) shaft, and centrifugal advance mechanism is still there. This is where my memory fails me. I thought I used a drill to turn the distributor shaft. But, I don't have a drill with a chuck large enough to attach to the shaft. I don't think I have ever had one with the capacity for that. It is possible, I borrowed one from work, but I honestly can't recall. That really bugs me. So, once again, I found myself sitting in a chair, staring at the blasted contraption, trying to come up with a "workaround" solution. So, what I came up with is a piece of automotive heater hose. I cut about a 2 inch piece of the hose. It is a smaller inside diameter than the distributor shaft. But, with effort, it will stretch over for a very tight fit. Then, I used a 1/4 socket adapter in my cordless drill chuck, and a socket pushed into the other end of the piece of heater hose. Effectively, a "FLEX-COUPLER."

    It spins the distributor shaft great! However, I have yet to stick it in the engine and try it on the oil pump. I will report on how that works later. But... I have a question for you experienced mechanics!!!

    How much priming should I do? Is there any RPM restrictions for priming with a drill? I plan to install an oil pressure gauge. Since the motor has sat for years, I have thought about installing some low viscosity oil, recirculating it, and then change the oil and filter before attempting to fire the engine. I might not follow every suggestion, but would appreciate any input.
    John Clary
    Greer, SC

    SDC member since 1975

  • #2
    I would suggest you remove the valve covers, and prime it until you see oil appear around the rockers. By the time it gets there, it should have also reached all the other points served by the oiling system. You really can't over-prime. Also use a squirt oil-can to put a few good slugs of oil in each cylinder, and crank it with the plugs out until the gauge shows oil pressure. Then button it up and fire it.
    Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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    • #3
      Turn the oil pump counterclockwise.
      Turn the engine over by hand, in order to coat all surfaces with oil ?
      South Lompoc Studebaker

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      • #4
        Removing the point cam will expose the small diameter shaft inside. valve covers off or on spin dist till pressure builds on guage.rest repeat several times.Luck Doofus

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        • #5
          Originally posted by doofus View Post
          Removing the point cam will expose the small diameter shaft inside. valve covers off or on spin dist till pressure builds on guage.rest repeat several times.Luck Doofus
          I had thought about that. I have worked with distributors for years, (removing, replacing, installing points, vacuum advance, etc.), but I have never completely dismantled one. I know, on this one, thirty some years ago, I apparently removed the lower shaft to remove the drive gear. However, at that time, I did not go further.In order to remove the distributor cam, do I need to separate the lower shaft again, and slide the upper shaft out the top of the distributor body? I might be "overthinking" and doing more than should be required for this, but knowing how I often have to leave this project sitting for days, I want to set up a "static" oil circulation for extended time, and change the circulated oil before running the engine. (I would like to tinker with it this morning, but have to take my wife for another spine injection this morning. Then check on mom at the nursing home. Important things first.)

          Developing a rig to directly chuck to the shaft should allow for a more durable and safe operation. I could simply make a long shaft with a tang to engage the oil pump and drive it with a handheld drill. However, using a distributor body and shaft will be a sure way to get accurate alignment using the distributor's lubricated bushings to keep everything operating smoothly, in line, and no open hole for dirt and debris to get blown into the engine.

          Thanks for the suggestions (so far). I have already removed & replaced the valve covers to rotate and inspect valve action, clearances, etc. Once I begin to pump oil, I will do that again, and by hand, index the engine through several rotations.
          John Clary
          Greer, SC

          SDC member since 1975

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          • #6
            Check for stuck valves. As noted a little squirt of oil (I use ATF ) is a good idea. The rear main seal is rubber and may be deteriorated from sitting. Priming the pump is also a good idea- doesn't take much. Fire it up! Enjoy!

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            • #7
              I'm not sure which distributor you have. Some have a clip that must be removed to release the cam.
              Attached Files
              "In the heart of Arkansas."
              Searcy, Arkansas
              1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
              1952 2R pickup

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              • #8
                I just fired a rebuilt 259, I firstly removed the small 1/4" pipe plugs at each end of the heads, one goes to the oil pressure gage. I opened those plugs and with a squeeze bottle put in about 16 ounces of oil in each hole. I then reattached the oil pressure line and left the front plug out and just cranked the engine with no ignition until the oil squirted out the plug hole, it didn't take long. I new then the system was fully primed.

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                • #9
                  I cut about a 2 inch piece of the hose. It is a smaller inside diameter than the distributor shaft. But, with effort, it will stretch over for a very tight fit. Then, I used a 1/4 socket adapter in my cordless drill chuck, and a socket pushed into the other end of the piece of heater hose. Effectively, a "FLEX-COUPLER."
                  Cold oil has quite a resistance to being pushed through a still/tight engine. I'd doubt your flex-coupler is up to the task.

                  There exist simple pre-lube systems; just an oil-filled cannister with a hose to be connected to the engine oiling system and then the cannister is pressurized.

                  jack vines
                  PackardV8

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                  • #10
                    And on other makes I have welded a 1/4" bolt upside down for the drill to attach. And as Gord stated, physically check each and every valve for free movement and proper rocker oiling.
                    Good luck.
                    Bill

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 52-fan View Post
                      I'm not sure which distributor you have. Some have a clip that must be removed to release the cam.
                      Thanks, it is a delco and when looking down in the shaft there seems to be a smooth head brass retainer of some type. Is the "clip" under that? Will a small screwdriver blade release it? I just returned form taking Donnie to her medical appointment. I will make a better effort to make it work after lunch. Thanks for the info. I've looked at this diagram, but the detail is still "sketchy" at best. I'll attack the thing soon!
                      John Clary
                      Greer, SC

                      SDC member since 1975

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                      • #12
                        Again...verify that you turn the crank thru all 360 degrees (4, 90 degree stops and pressurize) to verify all passages are filled and all bearings have oil.

                        Mike

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                        • #13
                          The picture I used is for an Autolite. I am not sure what kind of fastener a Delco uses. I can't get to my chassis book right now. (granddaughter is asleep in that room)
                          "In the heart of Arkansas."
                          Searcy, Arkansas
                          1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
                          1952 2R pickup

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                          • #14
                            Success! Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_0640.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	141.6 KB
ID:	1716649Like a lot of things I do...easier than I thought.
                            John Clary
                            Greer, SC

                            SDC member since 1975

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                            • #15
                              There are many things that are easier to do then they are to explain how to do.
                              RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

                              17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
                              10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
                              10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
                              4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
                              5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
                              56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
                              60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

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