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Popcorn Popping Sound Coming from Passenger Side of the Engine

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  • #16
    Excellent idea karterfred88 has with the Sea Foam.

    Sea Foam is one product that has worked wonders for me years ago on an Olds Cutlass I bought with a sticking hydraulic tappet. The engine sounded exactly like it has a bad rod bearing, so I pulled the pan and all the rod bearings, They looked good, but I put in new ones as long as they were out. Then I pulled the valve covers and found several plastic rocker keepers were broken, and I replaced those. I finally drove to the auto parts store 5 miles away and put a can of Sea Foam in the oil. By the time I drove home the engine was quiet as a new one.

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    • #17
      One other possibility is an intake manifold leak caused by a rotted-out gasket. With the engine idling, listen where the intake sits on the head. Sometimes, it's possible to hear the leak. Squirt some WD40 or other solvent (can even use propane) around the area. If the idle changes, replace the manifold gaskets.

      jack vines
      PackardV8

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      • #18
        ADDITIONAL INFO:

        Thank you for all the advice, I definitely think we are on the right track with the exhaust leak. I am definitely worried about the stuck valves and rocker arm trouble, but I don't know if that is what I am hearing... I do not feel the sound I am hearing is metal on metal clanging... its not rhythmic either, more like little pops of combustion or detonation.

        Also I was running the engine, I did notice there was quite a bit of air coming from below the engine (more on the passenger side than driver's side), but thought it may have just been the fan blowing air around. I also end up smelling like exhaust fumes when I'm tinkering around the engine. There is also a whistling sound coming from underneath, but couldn't pin point where it was coming from. I googled "what an exhaust leak sounds like" and found sounds very similar to what I was experiencing during acceleration.

        Also noticed that the spark plugs on the passenger side have soot maybe from carbon deposits (they were replaced back in June 2016).

        I also sprayed carb cleaner around where gaskets would be to find vacuum leaks a few weeks back and replaced a hardened PCV hose and the engine seemed to smooth out at first. It was only last week that I noticed the popcorn sounds at idle. Would an exhaust leak be a cause of this sound as well?

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        • #19
          Yes, and exhaust leak would sound like that. My 59 Lark has sounded like that before. What you are hearing is first of all, the leak. then a secondary noise that creates the "popping, is there is oxygen allowed into the system at that point (due to the exhaust velocity going past the opening, creating a low-pressure pocket and sucking in oxygen) and the heat or flame from the exhaust has enough oxygen and ignition source to create a secondary explosion, resulting in the "popping" noise.

          This is partly why new cars have oxygen sensors, to monitor and adjust fuel input.

          It is most likely the gaskets above or below the heat riser, or could be the shaft of the heat riser. I have removed the heat riser on my car completely and have installed a block in its place.

          I have actually had to double-nut my exhaust studs with the brass nuts because for some reason, my car does not like keeping the exhaust nuts tight. I follow the torque specs and all that. The only time they held long term was when I used steel nuts, cranks the bejesus out of them, then dealt with broken off studs when it came time to remove the exhaust. I have even double-gasketed each connection with some success.

          I am going to go out on a limb here and say that I would bet 95% that your problem is an exhaust leak.
          Dis-Use on a Car is Worse Than Mis-Use...
          1959 Studebaker Lark VIII 2DHTP

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          • #20
            My guess is an exhaust/manifold gasket failing or plug wire shorting, (arcing), to ground...

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            • #21
              Check the heat riser valve, on the passenger side exhaust manifold. Also, check very carefully for cracks on the fan blade, near the rivets.
              Bez Auto Alchemy
              573-318-8948
              http://bezautoalchemy.com


              "Don't believe every internet quote" Abe Lincoln

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              • #22
                Steel "Pinch Nuts" will stay tight and clean up rusted studs.BTDT , Luck Doofus

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by doofus View Post
                  Steel "Pinch Nuts" will stay tight and clean up rusted studs.BTDT , Luck Doofus
                  Yes, but they don't like coming back off unless they remove the stud with them or break off the stud.

                  Did I mention I hate doing exhaust?
                  Dis-Use on a Car is Worse Than Mis-Use...
                  1959 Studebaker Lark VIII 2DHTP

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                  • #24
                    UPDATE:

                    poured some SeaFoam down the throat of the carb today (little by little)... car stuttered each time for a split second and noticed some white smoke coming from the passenger side exhaust manifold (still not sure exactly from where) and also out the tailpipe. Consistent with everyone's responses so far, looks like I may have an exhaust leak on my hands.

                    Any helpful tips on how to get this done (dos and don'ts) would be very much appreciated. I'll start with the exhaust manifold gaskets...

                    The local AutoZone offers a Felpro brand gasket specific for the 55 Commander, although the store employee had this puzzled look and asked "they are individual"? The gasket set doesn't look like the one piece sets for the Ford and Chevy engines. I wanted to make sure this is the right one.

                    http://www.autozone.com/emission-con...?checkfit=true

                    Thanks for the input!

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                    • #25
                      The Stude's are 3 pieces -front middle-rear designed so you can clean the manifold and head surface, put the bolts back in loosely, slide them in place without balancing the heavy manifold and farting with the gasket position while installing bolts. Or, maybe they knew the were prone to letting go, and made them easy to replace. The website ones are correct. Only tip I can give you is to use lots of penetrating/rust busting oil on everything that you need to remove, let it soak in, repeat, let it soak in, repeat as many times as you can before starting. Once you do break them loose, use some more and even turn them back towards tight several times. The threads on these bolts and nuts really oxidize badly due to the heat they endure. Take your time-don't force them or they might snap-bad scenario to remove broken bolts or studs in the car, Lots and lots of penetrating oil-over and over- a little turn at a time-back and forth-patience.

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                      • #26
                        I have never in my life broken an exhaust manifold bolt on a Studebaker V-8, and I can't begin to guess how many I've done. Many, many of them.
                        One helpful hint when it comes to applying penetrating oil to the threads - note that 4 of the 6 exhaust manifold bolt holes are intersected by head bolt holes. Remove the head bolt and you can spray directly on the manifold bolt threads.

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                        • #27
                          If the bolts holding the manifold are origonal, they are stainless steel. i have found the star washer rusted away and the bolt still came out ok. if not stainless you can get identical bolts at any decent hardware store, just ask for stainless or hunt for them your self.Studebakercenteroforegon has a good suggestion on those bolts that go into a head bolt hole. if your manifold studs are OK replace the nuts with brass ones.Luck Doofus

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                          • #28
                            UPDATE:

                            Finally found where the exhaust leak was coming from... The gasket between the manifold and exhaust pipe was completely blown out and needs to replaced... I figure since I'm at it, might as well replace all manifold gaskets. After spraying the manifold bolts with PB Blaster, I was able to remove all manifold bolts except for one (one of the bolts under the bracket that holds the generator is difficult to access with a socket and breaker bar, so trying to find a solution)

                            Another thing I noticed when I was tinkering around in there are a pair of hoses coming from the water heater running down past the wheel well and under the car. One of those hoses has been rubbing up against the heat riser and is brittle and cracked in that area

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                            • #29
                              Try a thin 6 point socket and stubby extension on that troublesome bolt or a 6 point deep well and replace all the heater hoses. Nice job, Luck Doofus

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                              • #30
                                UPDATE:

                                Was able to jimmy rig a cheater pipe over my ratchet to get the final manifold bolt out, but unfortunately this last bolt broke with about 1/4 inch of thread left on the bolt. The rest of the threaded part is is left in the block... sooooo bummed about that, I took my time too and used lots of PB Blaster.

                                Got the manifold off and removed the blown out gasket between manifold and exhaust pipe. I found that the there were no gaskets on the middle and rear sections of the manifold to block. strange.

                                Anyway.. is there any way to get the broken bold out of the block without removing the engine? There is more room to work with now that the manifold is off.

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