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  • Engine: Oil explosion

    I drove from Ventura county (LA area) to Clovis today over the grapevine. Car ran fine and had 45-60 lbs oil pressure. The engine (standard 289) was rebuilt less than a year ago and now has about 3000 miles on the rebuilt engine. I ran the car 65-70 mph with no problem, no overheating or oil pressure issues. The 64 Cruiser has a 700R4 in it that is rebuilt as well. I have been driving the car as my daily driver since the rebuild and have not had this problem, even with driving all types of speeds, including what I drove today.

    I checked into the hotel, and when we went to go to supper 45 minutes later I noticed a large oil spot under the car. Checked the oil and I had about 1quart showing on the dip stick. There is no oil around the valve covers or the bottom of the heads, but there is oil on top of the pass side exhaust, and on the tie rods and on the pass side frame. The oil filter has two small oil runs down the side. I checked the oil pressure relief valve and no oil or residue there, just on the spin on oil filter side.I added a quart of oil so I could run to flaps and buy some more. By the time I got to flaps the oil pressure was on the next to last mark on the guage from 0. I added two quarts and pressure came back up to normal.

    I am worried as I am 280 miles from home and don’t want to ruin the engine. Luckily I am at the zone meet tomorrow so will get advice, but thought I should ask here as well. I am thinking I may have to have the car trailered home.

    Thoughts, advise?. What else should I look for.

    Thanks in advance.

    Mark
    Last edited by Bullet; 10-20-2017, 09:09 PM.

  • #2
    Rear main seal? I had one fail in a 232, but it was an original with many years on it. I used like 3 quarts in 150 miles....

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    • #3
      Wipe the filter and bracket clean and get under and see where it is coming from. I had the same thing happen with my 259 oil leaking down the filter removed the filter cleaned the rubber gasket reinstalled and no difference still leaked. I then checked the two bolts holding the filter bracket to the block and one was loose this is also just a recent rebuild. I assembled the engine myself and was sure the bracket bolts were tight, but one wasn't. It takes a long extension with a 9/16 socket to reach the bolts. Also check the filter does not have a hole in it. Good luck.

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      • #4
        It is not inconceivable that the bonded rubber ring on top of the filter failed but I suspect that the filter adapter has come loose.

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        • #5
          Mark, your chapter members are here (in Clovis) to help you. Call me in the morning (818-606-0267).
          Howard - Los Angeles chapter SDC
          '53 Commander Starliner (Finally running and driving, but still in process)
          '56 Golden Hawk (3 speed/overdrive, Power steering - Running, but not yet driving)
          '62 GT Hawk (4 speed, A/C, Power steering - running and DRIVING!)

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          • #6
            Thanks Howard, I will see you guys at the meet Hotel, hopeing for good luck.

            Mark

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            • #7
              if oil filter lines....you might be able to clamp some hoses to connect the steel lines (or are they all rubber ?) and limp home with moderate speeds. I would carry 2-3 gallons of oil, or call AAA

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              • #8
                I agree check the filter and adapter. I've had the same thing happen on modern cars, after a couple thousand every day miles with no trouble; a several hundred mile freeway run and a blown filter gasket left me stranded in Barstow overnight.

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                • #9
                  Think logically. Fill it and look as it runs. I'm betting oil filter area. A stone could damage the filter, the old rubber gasket could still be on the adapter and now this filter is leaking. Just don't let it get low again!

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                  • #10
                    The good news, as bad as it is leaking, it should be easy to locate the leak. I'd be very careful, and not let the oil level get below two quarts though. It may be as simple as a rocker cover gasket, or the flexible oil line adapter that goes to the pressure gauge. Let it cool, wipe everything dry, refill with oil, have someone hold the RPM at 2000 while you look for the leak.

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                    • #11
                      Another thought: I had a strange leak like that with my GT when at higher RPM. On my dipstick tube there was a mounting bracket that was spot welded to the tube. The bracket cracked away from the tube at one of those spot welds leaving a very small hole. At about 2000 rpm it would squirt oil out onto the head near the rocker cover seam and onto the exhaust manifold. I couldn't find it until I watched that area while holding the RPM up. (If I removed the dipstick at 2000 RPM it would spray oil too). That tiny hole sure could spit out a lot of oil though. I fixed the tube by replacing it with a stainless steel one I made that used a bracket with no welds, and by improving the PCV system to lower crankcase pressure at speed.

                      The oil gauge tube is a good place to check too. Mine broke, not in the rubber hose but a couple inches up the metal tube from it.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks for all the thoughts and ideas! They are very much appreciated. At the zone meet today, I talked to a local chapter member who took a look under the car as I had it ideling at the show. He saw oil squirting out of the oil pan. He said it looked like the clamps/ bolts on the tie rods had turned and were dragging across the bottom of the oil pan and had created a hole that kept getting bigger with each turn. I was just lucky that the hole got big enough in the motel parking lot and not on the freeway somewhere.

                        The local chapter member and I are going to put it up on his lift tomorrow afternoon to get to the bottom of this, so to speak. I will report back on final cause. I had not felt or heard any scraping so, this was a real surprise. I will give you all an update tomorrow night after we investigate.

                        Mark

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                        • #13
                          Good find tho, no more mystery!

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                          • #14
                            A common occurrence when an Alignment Shop moves the clamps to set the Toe, and carelessly positions them incorrectly.
                            StudeRich
                            Second Generation Stude Driver,
                            Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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                            • #15
                              Well we fixed the problem this afternoon. a huge thank you goes out to Craig from the San Joaquin chapter for his help and welding expertise. The problem in fact was a hole in the oil pan. The hole was 5 inch wide by 1/8” tall. Craig was able to weld the hole in place and it now holds as it is supposed it.

                              The crulprit was the clamp on the passenger side tie rod. The clamp was lose and would spin on the shaft. The last person to align the car had not correctly insured that the clamp was secure. Driving down the road the clamp would giggle and turn and then as I turned the wheel, it might happen to gouge the oil pan. The clamp is securely fastened in the correct spo and way so as not to contact the oil pan. I do need to go get an alignment, but will insure that the clamp is put on correctly and tight!

                              Thank you for all of your help and suggestions.

                              Mark

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