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Old 08-27-2006, 08:04 PM
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350 VERY rough idle after bad oil gauge

So here's the story. I'm 16 and bought an old 74 nova ss that was previously drag raced. Bought it without a motor in and dropped in a freshly rebuilt 350 from a 74 chevy pickup(motor has been broken in).

This afternoon I went to install a cheap oil pressure gauge from princess auto. After I connected up the new oil line and plug I jumped in the car and started her up. I quickly shut it off and hopped out just to make sure everything was okay because I noticed the gauge wasn't working and no oil was coming down the line to the gauge!!!

When I jumped out I heard the sound of pouring oil. So I looked under the car and started grabbing rags to throw under. The cheap oil pressure line to the gauge had blow out and the brass fitting was still sitting in the oil line of the motor.

I pulled 2 spark plug wires off(marking on so I knew where it went) and i also pulled off the vaccum brake line. I then pulled out the brass fitting for the oil line to the gauge and put the old idiot light sender in. I put the wires back and the vaccuum line and checked the oil and added the remainder of the 4.4 litre jug(which I had added most of in before when I drained the oil to put in the gauge). I started up the motor and it ran like complete crap. It loaped while running and was a little harder to get running. It was almost idling chunky.

I don't know a lot about cars and I aint trying to I just really like my car and would hate to know that I just killed it by letting it run for a few seconds with oil gushing out. A few hours later after I just let everything sit(figured I would call my mechanic on monday) I remembered the wrench slipped off the oil idiot light thing when I was tightning it back on. I think I may have hit the distributor when this happened as its very hard to get to my oil light hole area.

Would this cause my car to run like crap? I'm trying to get into vehicles and want to start getting stuff done on my car but I don't want to wreck it. Thats why I figured I'll just leave it alone and ask someone who knows.

What do you guys think?

Here's my car:
http://www.webdummy.net/nova/

Thanks in advance for any help
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Old 08-27-2006, 08:13 PM
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Doc Here,

Most likely you reversed the two plug wires when you put them back on..

The Fire order is 1,8,4,3,6,5,7,2..Clockwise Rotation..Triple check..hand over hand them to be sure it's right..#1 Plug tower is traditionally between 5 and 7 O'Clock on the distributer..



Looking at the engine:
Driver's side:
1
3
5
7

Passenger Side:
2
4
6
8

Cylinder arrangement.

Nothing in the oil sender circuit is going to cause the Engine to run bad (until all the oil is gone..)..

If all the Wiring is correct, I suggest the two wires that got oil soaked, be replaced, they are probably Cross firing..

BE SURE the booster line is NOT leaking Vacuum.

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Last edited by docvette; 08-27-2006 at 08:19 PM. Reason: I Before E..Except after a 12 pack....
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Old 08-27-2006, 08:17 PM
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I really doubt you hurt anything running it a few seconds low on oil. You may want to check to see it your distributer is loose. If it is loose then you may have accidentally turned it while you were working and changed the timing. You need to make sure your plug wires are in good shape and are routed as neat as possible to prevent leakage. Thats all I can think of right now
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Old 08-27-2006, 08:23 PM
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Also......If you dropped your wrench on your distributer like you said that you might have........that could have put a hairline crack in your distributer cap and that is causing it to crossfire.
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Old 08-27-2006, 08:40 PM
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If you don't have a timing light, find someone who does and reset the timing...you may have rotated the distributor clockwise while you were working on the sending unit. If you wish, you can rotate it slightly counterclockwise to increase the initial advance. See if that helps the idle and the response of the engine to throttle...then go find somebody who can help you set the timing (with the vacuum line from the carb detached from the distributor and plugged). Small block Chevys normally like 10-12 degrees of initial lead and 36 degrees total mechanical. The vacuum advance on a stock distributor will normally give you 15 more degrees at the highest vacuum level your engine maintains.

Good luck

Paul
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Old 08-27-2006, 08:42 PM
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To be honest now that you pointed out the oil, wet plugs and crossfiring thing I think that might be it. With the oil line out but the brass fitting still in place the oil would shoot about straight up into the power line of the distributor. I noticed I had to wipe everything off because when I wedged my hand against the block and the firewall with a shorty wrench I had an oil soaked hand.

I wouldn't be amazed if my electrical was crossfiring from being soaked. Its been a few hours since this all happened. How long should I wait before I dare try starting the motor? Should I even try starting it or should I just send it to the mechanic again?

I'll try and take a few close ups of the engine and check the wiring.

*Edit* I'm a dummy when it comes to anything about distributors and timing. I'm not sure how to check if a dist is tight.

Just checked the plugs and they are in the right location.

Last edited by topdogger; 08-27-2006 at 08:48 PM.
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Old 08-27-2006, 08:58 PM
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Just try to rotate the distributer. Put your hand on it and try to twist it. Not to hard but just see if its is loose enough to be turned by accident. That is how you would adjust your timing.
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Old 08-27-2006, 09:02 PM
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Also while you engine is cool you can clean it with some mild degreaser and a fine spray of water. You don't want to drowned it and you don't want water in your carb. , alternator, etc.
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Old 08-27-2006, 09:03 PM
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ya that is still solidly in place. It wouldn't move.

Keep in mind I'm a gearhead newby :p

The last successful mechanical thing I did was make a lawn mower go 30 mph... I'm a smart kid thats just trying to get my feet wet.


I reached back where the wires are and they are covered in grease. Where should I look for a problem there? I realized its a problem of its own but wheres a normal problematic area? I noticed the wires that power the distributor are directly above where the brass fittings where. I'm thinking that was a bad thing to get hit with a bunch of oil...
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Old 08-28-2006, 12:31 AM
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Did your oil pressure line break because you used the nylon tubing that (probably) came with the gauge? If so, get some copper tubing from your local parts store and use that. It's cheap, has less chance of rupturing and looks better to boot.
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Old 08-28-2006, 07:39 AM
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no it didn't break. The instructions said put some teflon tape on it and I did. I noticed it still came out fairly easy so I through some liquid gasket stuff on it and let it sit for 15 minutes. The line flew out of the brass fitting when I started it up.
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Old 08-28-2006, 10:07 AM
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Check the wires at the top of the dist. One may have come loose.

On those plastic lines, don't overtighten them. You need to tighten till it quits leaking. Not when the resistance goes way up. Like a bolt will get suddenly tight. To tight and the copper fittings wil deform. Copper lines are better in this regard. Also remember that the plastic lines cam melt. Keep em far from anything hot or moving. Sometimes it's best to stretch em out for a few days so they don't coil up as bad when you running the lines..
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Old 08-28-2006, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weirdbeard
Also while you engine is cool you can clean it with some mild degreaser and a fine spray of water. You don't want to drowned it and you don't want water in your carb. , alternator, etc.
So would that mean driving in the rain with no hood is really bad for my alternator? It's off topic i'm sorry but a serious question.
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Old 08-28-2006, 05:38 PM
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I worked as a auto detailer when I was a teenager and we sprayed everything down with a pressure washer and never had a problem. I have heard of people have problems with electronics after cleaning so I try to stay on the safe side when I am cleaning my engine compartment.
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Old 08-28-2006, 07:15 PM
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You may be able to flush the surface oil off with brake cleaner from a spray can. You may also have oil in the contacts for your distributor which can be cleaned up with some spray contact cleaner. Both of these sprays will wash the oil down and evaporate. If you get water in your connections on your distributor you can flush it out with WD40. WD40 was designed to displace water in ignition systems originally,WD=water displacement. Hope this helps.
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