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Old 01-19-2006, 08:09 PM
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Help me figure out where my Oil is going :(

Hey all, my dad and I just recently built a sbc 350 and it's eating oil.

So ok here's the story.

The motor was built brand new, all new parts were used, all the clearances were double checked and were perfect, everything is sealed up real nice. The block was bored .030 over, the crank, flywheel, harmonic balancer and pulley were all balanced.

The problem is I only get about 250-300 miles on a 1 quart of oil, I'm running S.A.E. 30 weight in the motor. The motor has 2,176 miles on it as of this moment. I'll start off a checklist of the things we've (my dad and I) have thought of:

1. The valve covers have baffles in them to control the oil (or whatever it is that baffles do).

2. The breather cap is not plugged or grimy, nor is it leaking at all.

3. There is no visible oil leaks on the top or upper sides of the motor nor the driveway where it is parked every night.

4. It is still fairly chilly out but other than the "steamy" smoke that comes out in the morning, there is no blue smoke (or any smoke) that comes out the tailpipes. If there is any, it's white, and in very small amounts. Plus both of the pipes smoke even amounts, i.e., when they smoke, both of them are doing the same amount, not just one or the other etc.


The other thing that's new on this motor is the Trans Dapt. Oil Filter Relocation kit. We've placed the oil filter under the car on the drivers side, with hoses running to this screw in mount where the oil filter would be.

Go here, click on 'Oil Filtration Products', then 'Oil Filtration Kit Charts'. We've got the single filter oil relocation kit.

So, the bottom line is, it's using oil and we're not sure why. The engine has 'moly' rings in it which I've been told should have been seated by the time the cam was broke in. I've also been told that the cylinder bores have to be bored/honed a certain way for those types of rings.

We are going to be putting the car up on a rack perhaps in the next few weeks to take a good look underneath it to see if we can spot any leaks. But for the meantime, we'd like to try and figure this out. Which is why I'm here seeking your guy's wisdom and knowledge. What do you think it could be?

Thank you for your time -

Malibu73

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Old 01-19-2006, 08:33 PM
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Have you had somebody follow you down the road while you run the engine up to fairly high (4000+) RPM. If it's "burning" oil, and it sounds like it might be, you may not see it at low RPM. Just a thought.

Dale
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Old 01-19-2006, 08:37 PM
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i would check the plugs.
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Old 01-19-2006, 08:51 PM
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There are 3 possibilities:

1. As the result of a very rare quantum physics effect known as 'tunnelling' your oil is ceasing to exist inside in your engine, but in keeping with the law of conservation of mass, an equal amount of mass is simultaneously appearing on the chest of a very confused, already androgynous 14 year old boy in southern Idaho.

2. It's burning

3. It is leaking out.

Seriously, anyway, it has to be either burning, or leaking out. If it is leaking out, it must be doing so in farily small amounts, and probably only when the car is running (as you would probably notice oil spots otherwise).

So, you need to figure out which is happening. You said you checked the top end, check the bottom. You didn't say what kind of car it was, if it was auto or stick, but in either case, I would remove the inspection plate on the front of the trans and check for oil along the bottom edge of the bellhousing, as if the oil is leaking out the rear main, the inside of the bellhousing is one place it may end up. Also, check between the inspection cover and the oil pan.

Most likely, however, it's burning it. It is often surprising how much oil a car can burn without putting out a significant amount of smoke. I would recommend a compression check, which is silly easy to do, and can tell you if you need to look at the rings as the problem.

There could be a couple reasons this could cause a leak. Your rings may not have seated, which could be from a bad hone job. It may be that the wrong size rings were put it...at a shop they may be working on several engines at once, and it if the motor on the bench next to yours wasn't bored out, or was only bored out 20 over, and someone could have grabbed the wrong parts. It may be only one cylinder that is the problem. It could, perphaps, be the piston, although I would think if the wrong size piston were put it, the rings wouldn't stay on it...

Other possibilities would be leaking valve seals, this can happen on a brand new motor as well.

Chris
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Old 01-19-2006, 08:52 PM
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Have you checked the PCV valve?

Have you looked around the rear of it to see if you locate any oil spotting {that's when you have a leak and the air blows it back and Some will wrap around and stick to the sheet metal}{and the under carriage}

Checked the plugs for oil foul?

OK this is a weird on might not be on yours..
on the pass side down by the timing cover there are 2 bolt holes that seem to do nothing ,old cars would use these for motor mounts one is for the fuel pump rod lock!! using 3/8"x 3/4" NCT bolts put one in each hole Its hard to see behind the fuel pump but one of those on certain blocks are a direct hole to the crank case and almost impossible to see the oil FLYING out of there at a alarming rate
{yes personal experience on that one }

that is all i can think of unless the guy at the service station is short dipping your dipstick!!


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Old 01-19-2006, 09:36 PM
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Doc here,

Get a dye kit, and a IR lamp from Ace (cheaper than the lamp in a full kit..)... Put the dye in run it under the IR lamp in a dark garage, (Clean oil on a clean block is hard to spot)to see where the oil is going if it is leaking..

About the only other thing I can think of is,

Check for greasy Fingernails on the Boyz in De Hood....

Or Make a list of Co~workers Who are prone to practical jokes, like switching your shirts from small to large every other day...

Doc
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Old 01-19-2006, 10:00 PM
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If the engine was leaking a quart in 250 miles, the bottom side of the car would be soaked and you'd see drips everywhere. (that would be 10+ quarts since you installed given your current milage.)

What kind of valve covers are on it? Stock or aftermarket? Aftermarket covers usually have crappy baffles and the pcv can suck a lot of oil if its being splashed right on to the bottom of the valve.

Second is rings like the others have mentioned. Could be valve guides too. Check the plugs for any that are gooed up or have heavy deposits.

Mark
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Old 01-19-2006, 10:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale J. Patterson
Have you had somebody follow you down the road while you run the engine up to fairly high (4000+) RPM. If it's "burning" oil, and it sounds like it might be, you may not see it at low RPM. Just a thought.

Dale

this is very true. my buddys 4x4 dodge had some sort of intake leak under the plenum and he was putting oil in every other day, but his truck didn't smoke or leak that we could tell. but when he opened it up you could see the blue smoke come out

i was going to ask if you put the oil plug in under the rear main cap, but that would just give you a low reading on your oil gauge due to an internal leak, i don't think it would cause the low reading on the dipstick though

go outside with your pops and have him behind the car/truck and rev it up and see if anthing happens. if not try what keller and Doc suggested

good luck, J
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Old 01-19-2006, 10:54 PM
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Without insulting your intelligence, how did you space the ring gaps, and are the rings installed the right side up? What is the ring gap? When you assembled the motor, what did you use to prelube the pistons/rings? Pull the oil filler cap off and see if the hole in the valve cover blows out alot of vapors. I wouldn't think that a properly built V-8 motor with 2000 miles should have alot of blowby, no matter what kind of rings you have. If you are unsure of how much is OK go pull the filler cap off of a motor that doesn't use oil and compare. Do a leakdown test and see if you can hear air hissing in the crankcase. What kind of seals are on the intake valves? PC is better than umbrella for those. Did you try a different PCV valve? If all of that is ok then I would be looking at the valve cover baffle as sugessted before. Make sure it is more than just a flat plate. The oil needs to be deflected away from the PCV valve with a plate that has the edges folded up. Failing all of that, I would call that kid in idaho and tell him to STOP stealing your oil. Hope this helps, Mikey
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Old 01-19-2006, 11:16 PM
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A quart in 250 miles, you should definatly see spots if it is leaking that much. If it is a mechanical fuel pump it could be sucking oil into the gas at the pump. At that rate i is hard to believe you would not be seeing smoke. Does the car havea cat, if so it will reduce the smoke to some extent. As mentioned above, pull teh plugs to see if they look fouled. I doubt if it is a single cylinder problem as you didnt mention that it was skipping. A quart in 250 into 1 cylinder would surely wipe the plug out. I would also check you PCV system to make sure it is working.
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Old 01-20-2006, 01:26 AM
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Ok wow, thanks guys, I didn't expect such a turnout. I'll try to answer these questions as intelligently as I can.

The car: 1973 Chevelle malibu 4 door 4150lbs 700R4 tranny 2.73 rear.

Aftermarket valve covers.

40-45PSI oil pressure at idle, 55-60+ while driving on the highway.

My dad installed the rings upside down the last time he built this motor which was its first rebuild from stock form. This second rebuild we were very careful at making sure we did the rings the right way (we had the directions right there with us the whole time).

Our machinist gave us a range of which the ring gaps should fall into to be "OK". They all fell into this small range just fine. It was something like 0.013-0.015 (I forgot the exact numbers).

I've been behind this car while my dad was driving it a few times when the motor was revved fairly high, whether or not it was over 4000RPM's I'm not sure of because our exhaust is loud, but the times I was behind it there was no smoke whatsoever coming out of the pipes.

The exhaust is a custom bent 2.5" with headers and 1 'balance tube' through dual magnaflow mufflers and chrome tips. No cats, straight from the headers through the mufflers out the back.

Spark Plugs: We've pulled two sets of plugs on this motor so far on two of the 250+ miles road trips we've taken with it in an attempt to get the rings to seat a while ago. When we pulled the plugs we noticed that they were more fouled with gas than Oil (due to our genorous jetting in the carb) but all looked similar, there was no 'one' plug that was extra dirty but they all had some oil deposits on them but they weren't drenched in it as with a motor that has a real bad oil problem.

I just talked to my father on the phone and told him about the compression test, he said what he wants to do at this point is a 'leak down' test because that would tell us exactly where the oil would be coming from.

Also, the car is running real good right now, so my dad doesn't suspect bad valve guides, the motor is real crisp and responsive.

Light engine specs:

675CFM Edelbrock Qjet
Edelbrock Perf. intake
Comp Magnum 270H
GM #993 heads
2.02/1.60 valves
HV Mellings Oil Pump


The motor does run real good though, I've ragged on it since it's been broken in, it's been up to 5000RPM's multiple times so it's not like I'm low on performance here. It starts right up, doesn't diesel, has never been over 190F in it's hottest moment.

We used Comp Cams cam lube on the cam, and we dunked each piston in the same S.A.E. 30W oil that's in the car right now.

We still have some testing to do such as the leak down test, pulling the breather cap off to check for vapors and oil saturation down in the hole, getting her up on a hoist and checking under her for oil and such.
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Old 01-20-2006, 09:19 AM
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You say this is the second time this motor has been rebuilt. Did you hone the cylinders before you put the new rings in? A I believe if the motor was run at all with the first set of rings, the new rings won't seat properly unless you hone the cylinder with the proper grit hone for your type of rings. Just a thought. And you didn't say whether you spaced the ring gaps evenly around the piston. The instructions that come with rings don't always show that part of the ring installation. Doing a proper leakdown test will tell alot.
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Old 01-20-2006, 10:34 AM
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where's the oil

Malibu I know you've had a lot of reply's and I think Jesse01 might have your answer. If you had your heads or block milled and put a stock intake on, the bottom of the gasket may not be sealing up. I had the same problem with a race motor i built it would suck in oil as i decelerated into the turn and win i nailed the throttle it would smoke like a train until i was coming out of the turn . It also didn't idle very well, I thought I had a carb or ign. problem but it ran great on the track so I didn't worry much about it. Until I let a friend drive it and I saw how bad it smoked. Also if your'e jets are rich the gas may be washing the oil off the cyl. walls and not letting your rings seal.Good luck finding your trouble
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Old 01-20-2006, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
You say this is the second time this motor has been rebuilt. Did you hone the cylinders before you put the new rings in? A I believe if the motor was run at all with the first set of rings, the new rings won't seat properly unless you hone the cylinder with the proper grit hone for your type of rings. Just a thought. And you didn't say whether you spaced the ring gaps evenly around the piston. The instructions that come with rings don't always show that part of the ring installation. Doing a proper leakdown test will tell alot.
Yeah, the cylinders were honed, we also staggered the rings when we put them on. That's another possibility though that our machinist didn't hone the walls properly for our ring type. My dad and I still have to go talk to him, but my dad's known the machinist for 40+ years and he's known me ever since I was a baby so, it's nothing dishonest or anything like that. We still need to talk to him though.

Quote:
Malibu I know you've had a lot of reply's and I think Jesse01 might have your answer. If you had your heads or block milled and put a stock intake on, the bottom of the gasket may not be sealing up. I had the same problem with a race motor i built it would suck in oil as i decelerated into the turn and win i nailed the throttle it would smoke like a train until i was coming out of the turn . It also didn't idle very well, I thought I had a carb or ign. problem but it ran great on the track so I didn't worry much about it. Until I let a friend drive it and I saw how bad it smoked. Also if your'e jets are rich the gas may be washing the oil off the cyl. walls and not letting your rings seal.Good luck finding your trouble
The block has not been milled, the heads have had $1200 of work done to them in the past so they could be milled, I'm not sure. The intake is the same one we used on the first rebuild.

Also, we left the jets alone until we had over 500 miles on the car because we were hoping the lean condition would help the rings to seat quicker. It's only now that it's running just right. We've had bigger jets in it and it was running real rich but we've taken those out and have 73's in the primary side right now, but those will be switched out in a few weeks to in effort to get better gas mileage.
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Old 01-20-2006, 01:28 PM
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Dude my gm 350 crate motor is doing the same thing and the plugs have a tanish white color to them and the car doesnt leak oil at all and i still have figured mine out. Alost could my motor or his be dry sumping? And how long does it take the oil to drip back to the pan? Min completely drains after a drive cheack the stick and bone dry but oil preasure says its good and there is a stock oil pump in my car.
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