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Old 07-04-2005, 07:32 AM
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Olds 350 help, 2 dead cylinders & cam lift Q?

I got a 442 for my wife for $500 after her Ford Tempo was totalled by a truck. No more tin can cars for her...

The seller insisted the 350 motor/tranny combo was rebuilt. The TH350 is good, it chirps the posi wheels good. After putting on a good Holley 600cfm carb and draining the water from the crankcase (hood louvers rusted the aircleaner) I fired it up. About a jillion header leaks so new headers and exhaust to the back of the car. Cylinder #1 and #7 actually glowed their header tubes (I assume from the fresh air so close).

With new exhaust the motor runs awful, initial timing is set right. I even rebuilt the HEI distrib with Pertronix parts and used Taylor 8mm wires. Car needed this anyway. Vacuum guage shows 14 twitching wildly (burnt/pitted exhaust valves?) Motor did sit for 5 years taking in water from carb thru hood (desperate here).

Block is #2 from 1968-1970. Heads are 79cc #8's from 75 smog era (442, should say Cutlass, since it's 1975 model). Compression test shows #1,3,5,7 all make 125psi (8.0 CR inline with model specs and 79cc chamber I guess). #4 is 135psi and #6 is 145psi. Odd, carbon build up?

#2 and #8 are 0psi. Removing this valve cover shows just a twitching intake rocker on #8 with sloppy pushrod (it read 110psi initially, but every try after is just 0). Oil control on #8 is messed, it's leaky bad, but I assume this isn't fatal. #2 intake rocker doesn't move at all, I didn't notice any slop in the pushrod. Intake manifold is still on, I know it might help if it were off but I can't do it quite yet where the car is (it still moves, barely).

1) I'm assuming cyl#8 is a collapsed lifter, because I saw it make 110psi once (so cam lobe can't be that bad right?), and I see no obvious damage to the head or springs (they are awfully clean too, no deposits; it does look like less than 10K on the motor). Even the slugs (thru the spark plug holes) look pretty clean to me.

2) As for cyl#2 I figure another collapsed lifter but then why no play in the pushrod? can a collaped lifter stick "up" in the bore to eliminate the play and still not touch the cam? No rocker movement, no pushrod play as well...

3) Perhaps the cam wasn't broken in right and #2 intake lobe is worn or rounded completely (#2).

This car is a factory no A/C, a 3.43 posi and factory hurst shifter from another car (orig. column shift), and now still retains new headers/exhaust/h-pipe. Seems someone raced it. But how with smog heads and low static cylinder compression (or is this bleed of from a cam?). The harmonic balancer even shows no wear at it's rubber ring. Obviously the block was changed, as it dates only to 1970 at latest, car is 75.

Can I get away with just changing the 16 lifters for $65 if the cam isn't damaged? Will they reseat on the lobes in otherwords? I've heard mixed reports on this. The converse, new cam on old lifters everyone agrees is bad.

Or do I need to buy a cam/lifter kit for $158 (cheapest) from Edlebrock or Lunati. I'm unable to find the max lift for stock #8 head springs (assuming stock, I don't wish to change them). Edlebrock has .448/.472. Lunati has a .451/.451 (was never crazy on single pattern). Only want the motor to hit all 8 cylinders, 6 isn't so good

I figure once #2 and #8 breathe gas again this motor should run well enough if the distrib and timing chain are in correctly, a no money fix I can do. But I kinda need the 8 cylinders first to keep the motor running.

Thanks in advance for any ideas!

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Old 07-04-2005, 07:59 AM
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The only way you're going to resolve the cam/lifter questions is to pull the intake and check. Off hand, I'd say it was lifters, but you should check the cam lobes with a dial indicator.
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Old 07-04-2005, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by MI2600
The only way you're going to resolve the cam/lifter questions is to pull the intake and check. Off hand, I'd say it was lifters, but you should check the cam lobes with a dial indicator.
I agree. But unfortunately for me, I need to try to make this motor work real fast. That's a logistics problem on my end for sure; so I figure if I must buy insurance I would. i.e. a cam/lifter kit to bring back the dead cylinders (hopefully). Can "maybe" get standard lifters locally in a couple days. A cam would be next week from internet...Local speed shops carry Ford & Chevy.

In otherwords, I would like to have the parts arrive ASAP, to be put in ASAP. Being this way, I guess I have to buy a cam kit. But will the stock #8 springs (they look large) take the .471 or .451 lift (I'd like to retain the springs if possible). I've changed the springs with heads off my SBC and it was hard enough. I don't consider .451/.451 very high but I simply can't find the Olds coil bind #'s for a #8 350 head... or the stock cam #'s, assuming that's what's in the motor (all clues point to stock spec cam, but not 100% obviously).

If I do get the chance to examine the camshaft, and it specs fine with the dial, can I just get the 16 lifters than to save $ or is the verdict still out on this? I've heard it's fine and also it's not recommended.

Thanks!

Last edited by 360Camaro; 07-04-2005 at 05:22 PM.
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Old 07-04-2005, 03:28 PM
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Well according to some specs on the web... the "weakest" Olds 350 cam (a peanut I guess) had these specs.

400084 36 250/264 .400/.400 350 (Also #562299)

P/N, 36 is overlap, 250/264 is dur but at 0 degrees so that's bogus. But lift of just .400", and most were single pattern. The marine and hi-perf went to .440 and .472" lift respectively, single pattern too.

If I took the Lunati bumpstick at .451/.451" how can I find if it will bind my #8 stock 350 Olds head springs?? Cam companies like to sell their springs (not cheap for Olds, or easy to put in) too. Not always needed though... unless lift is up there or you need strong pressure, fast springs. I just need the motor to work.

1.6 rockers on .400" SBC, let's say, cam would make .427", doubt that would cause a problem. Olds rockers are 1.6 factory. Any guesses as to whether or not .451" lift would bind springs that work on a .400" cam?? I've heard Olds springs are the same as Ford's 302 springs. Sounds odd to me.

Then again Olds valvetrain is non-adjustable. Perhaps all the more reason to get a lifter/cam kit rather than just lifters (lifter height should be common right)? Seems Edelbrock's kit it more streetable but has the .472" lift, less duration. Lunati is more street/strip with .451" lift but uses more duration. Both companies valvesprings are of different dimensions.

I just want to fix this motor for the wife. Lifters only would be nice. If I have to throw a cam in, good lord, it'll probably make more torque & eat more gas than my built 360 SBC... and want a 2500 stall too.

Thanks

Last edited by 360Camaro; 07-04-2005 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 07-04-2005, 06:19 PM
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I guess general consensus for Olds motor is don't go over .500" lift with stock springs. One or two cam steps hottter than stock, i.e. 204/214 @.050, .448/.472 lift would be fine. So I guess it's the Edelbrock kit for $158 since I can't tell why my #2 intake rocker doesn't move. $67 for 16 stock lifters vs $158 for Edelbrock kit.

$91 delta and I get a cam perhaps a day later. I guess it would be foolish not to go this route... nobody comments much on new lifters with old cam lobes. Extra work & money, but should produce more ponies as a reward.

Unless there is another reason why #2 rocker won't move I can't see why this wouldn't produce a running engine...
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Old 07-04-2005, 06:34 PM
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Unfortunately, I'm Chevy too. But, I find it hard to believe that the springs couldn't handle .450. I also wonder what the Olds cam lobes look like if they only lift .400 with 1.6 rockers.

The only way is to pull that intake and take a look. Think positive...think lifters.
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Old 07-05-2005, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MI2600
Unfortunately, I'm Chevy too. But, I find it hard to believe that the springs couldn't handle .450. I also wonder what the Olds cam lobes look like if they only lift .400 with 1.6 rockers.

The only way is to pull that intake and take a look. Think positive...think lifters.
Well I pulled the intake... brand new lifters. What a shame. I find a brand new rebuilt engine just like the seller said. However, I feel it was over revved.

#2 and #8 intake pushrods were bent almost 90 degrees. So I took "known good" lifters from cylinder 4 and put em in #2 (keeping track) and put two good rods. I thought I would then re-check the compression to get a non 0psi #. But halfway thru the crank the pushrod again bent.

Just a guess on my part, but it seems maybe some jarhead floated the valves, and the #2,#8 intakes kissed the pistons and bent so they can no longer move in the head? How else would the purshrods keep bending?

Now I have a fresh rebuilt Olds 350 rocket (with high lift I might add, the springs/cam are not stock) and it seems one cylinder head is toast. With no machine shops here, I'd need a replacement head, $137. But it wouldn't match the other side probably even if I ordered 2 (this happens here often). Can a backyard mechanic put in just two valves?? Motor just has to work... it's quite strong on 6 cylinders after adjusting timing... Or am I up the creek?

Another possibility... the motor does seem to have a bad backfire thru intake. Could the timing chain be off enough (even one tooth) so that the valves hit the pistons thus causing the 2 bent pushrods?? Shouldn't there be more bent? I did run and rev the motor like this (at idle) but never over 2000-3000 because I knew it had a problem.

Thanks

Last edited by 360Camaro; 07-05-2005 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 07-06-2005, 08:56 AM
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I guess not many people work on Olds for hotrodding... I can see why, parts are tough to get, and pricey. It's a good motor though. Nice bore/stroke ratio.

I'll pull the front cover and look at the timing chain today. If it's wrong, I'll fix and hope the valves aren't bent. The starter had no trouble bending a pushrod in less than 1/2 a crank, they seem quite week, maybe good news for the valves I guess.

Can't find 8.25" pushrods for nothing... bent 3 now... Olds typically uses longer ones. But performance cams use the smaller ones. Just can't find em online anywhere.

If the chain is right, I guess I can assume the passenger head has two frozen/bent intake valves and must be replaced. Great now I'll have mismatched heads. I don't care if the gaskets don't leak. Just want to fire all 8 cyls and have my wife drive a safer car.

Thanks
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Old 07-06-2005, 07:32 PM
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Finally some good news!

NAPA is getting a local speed shop to match a physically broken lifter (some top side chewed off by pushrod) and 3 bent chromemoly pushrods. That will take care of the broken bits. They are definately not stock pieces.

I tore off the front of the motor and the timing chain/sprockets are brand new, correct dimples, & looks like it belongs on a big rig. The teeth are huge.

I removed the head with the stuck intake valves. I find that someone even ported the intakes and added molten metal to close the "Olds gap" in the center two exhaust ports that normally results in 20hp loss.

I observed no piston (flattops) or valve damage at all. Except #2 and #8 pistons have never been fired. I began tapping the #2 intake valve with a metal hammer. Isn't this a Ford tool? Couldn't resist. Seriously I like all cars that have muscle and even work for that matter. This "freed" the valve and it now springs as the others do. 7 working cylinders!

Tried to tap #8 intake valve but that sucker is frozen somehow, like rusted or heated shut to it's seat. I guess tomorrow I will try a butane torch and the hammer again to try to free it as well unless someone has another idea?

There's no way I'm replacing this head now. If I have to install a new valve myself I will. Even my 1 valve no-angle valve job would be better than 8 junky valves on the rebuilt heads available local here.

Seems this 442 '70 Olds 350 rocket has the goodies to give my 12sec Camaro a run for it's money. I just need it to reliably get the wife to work. Gotta love American muscle.
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Old 07-06-2005, 08:44 PM
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It sounds like the valves seized in the guides. I had that happen. I broke a pushrod and bent a valve.

Your backfires are from the intake valve being open when it fired.

Coax that last valve out so you don't crack the head. A little heat might help. Best yet would be to take the head to a machinist.

Sometimes the best tool to use is....the PHONE BOOK. LOL.
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Old 07-06-2005, 09:47 PM
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He's right, sounds like they may have seized. I can tell you this, I just had a set of olds heads redone at the machine shop about 2 or 3 weeks ago. Well, i got them home and went puting them together and the intake valves wouldn't go in and the exhuast valves were tight. I took the heads to a different machine shop and he checked them for me and said they did them just like a chevy. While both olds and chevy use a 11/32 stem, the olds is larger. Iwould slide a chevy valve in just fine but not an olds. The second machinest said there is different reamers for the olds guides. He fixed them for me for minimal charge.

Personally, I would take the heads to the machine shop and have em checked out. I know this isn't what you wanted to hear but anytime you have to heat up a valve or hit it with a hammer, its way to tight. You gotta double check all machine work, especially on a non-chevy engine. It seems they all can do a chevy but few can do an olds or pontiac, etc correctly. If you find one that can you'd better make them your new machine shop.
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Old 07-06-2005, 09:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MI2600
It sounds like the valves seized in the guides. I had that happen. I broke a pushrod and bent a valve.

Your backfires are from the intake valve being open when it fired.

Coax that last valve out so you don't crack the head. A little heat might help. Best yet would be to take the head to a machinist.

Sometimes the best tool to use is....the PHONE BOOK. LOL.
Did you bend the valve trying to free it from being seized in the guide?

I can see how the intakes would cause the backfires. Though they seem closed. Then again, when I "freed" the #2 intake with the hammer the spring popped up a little so it must have been struck down somewhat with valve open.

Will definately try to coax the valve without breaking anything (if I haven't already). The original engine builder made a pretty stout small block, but the seller let it sit 5+ years, plus water entered thru the hood/carb.

I planned on gentle butane heating of the intake valve (with an assistant) while I gently tap the valve top. Hopefully it comes loose. I've been to every machinest in my area within 15-20 miles. The stories I could tell. Plus when I tried to buy heads for my 350 Chevy I couldn't, from anyone. One place tried to pass me junkyard 305 heads. I said the CR would go thru the roof & motor wouldn't breathe; he said to turn the distributor to avoid the pings; I left...

I am my own machine shop unfortunately. I have a welder, some air tools, and the will, and about 15+ years drag racing/engine assembly. Times are changing. When I need tires, I only bring my rims. Why? I caught the nation's leading tire seller beating on my front suspension on my 25th Anniv Camaro; I had to rebuild the damage. Real bad in my area...

Last edited by 360Camaro; 07-06-2005 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 07-06-2005, 09:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firechicken383
He's right, sounds like they may have seized.

Personally, I would take the heads to the machine shop and have em checked out. I know this isn't what you wanted to hear but anytime you have to heat up a valve or hit it with a hammer, its way to tight. You gotta double check all machine work, especially on a non-chevy engine. It seems they all can do a chevy but few can do an olds or pontiac, etc correctly. If you find one that can you'd better make them your new machine shop.
I agree. Someone might have botched these heads. But if that is true, in my area, heads are only completely redone (no minimal charge here), and that's about 250+ per head. I have a spare Chevy V8 in my garage for a rainy day. For $120 for Monte Carlo headers and $40 for a TransAdapt Olds TH350 adapter I could make the 442 Chevy powered & be done with it.

Couldn't the valves have seized from sitting 5+ years with the water in the motor & oil? It is 2 intakes that seized, and they would get the rain water from the hood louvers and open carb...

If I free the other valve, it'll be a trial by fire for this engine. I'm buying a head gasket and putting it all back. If she bends the pushrods again, I guess I'll know they used the Chevy reamer... at which point the car will get a Chevy engine and I'll store the Olds 350 for a really really rainy day.

$500 is too high for me plus experience has unfortunately taught me not to trust shops (Dr.'s, Laywers, etc, ), though I'm sure there's plenty of good shops; I just never stumble on them & have grown tired of trying.

Last edited by 360Camaro; 07-06-2005 at 10:13 PM.
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Old 07-06-2005, 10:12 PM
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$500 is too high for me plus experience has unfortunately taught me not to trust shops (Dr.'s, Laywers, etc, ), though I'm sure there's plenty of good shops; I just never stumble on them & have grown tired of trying.
Believe me, if anyone know' show ya feel on this , its me. We got about 15 machine shops within an hour of me and I have to take heads to one shop for seats being cut and guides, them to another to have 1/2 " head bolts holes drilled, then another to fix the guides, and yet another to have the intake milled. The problem is very few of these shops are performance oriented and the machine shop that did my head stold me that I was the only olds work they had done in over a year. Know I see why they didn't get the guides right.


Quote:
Couldn't the valves have seized from sitting 5+ years with the water in the motor & oil?
Well, heres what I would do, I'd take the heads off and tear them down myself, clean them up an dclean up the valves and see how they go in. If they push in with 1 finger and fall out when you turn the head right side up, they are probably fine. But if they are so tight you have to force them in and they remained in the head when turned upright, they are too tight. If you got a bent valve or two, you may also have a bad guide or two now.

Where are you located? I have a few sets of olds heads that I aren't using if your's turned out ruined. I was gonna toss some of em.
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Old 07-06-2005, 10:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firechicken383
Well, heres what I would do, I'd take the heads off and tear them down myself, clean them up an dclean up the valves and see how they go in. If they push in with 1 finger and fall out when you turn the head right side up, they are probably fine. But if they are so tight you have to force them in and they remained in the head when turned upright, they are too tight. If you got a bent valve or two, you may also have a bad guide or two now.

Where are you located? I have a few sets of olds heads that I aren't using if your's turned out ruined. I was gonna toss some of em.
Good idea. I had thought of it partially. The head is really clean as is, amazingly, but I will take apart especially the suspect valves, if not all 8, and see how they move in the guides. No sense in wasting my time, labor, and bad back.

I'm in Boca, Florida, I see you're in Arkansas. That's a nice offer from you. I'd make the drive but my Dad burned up my S10 Blazer's tranny towing my wife's totalled car (he rode the brakes hard all the way, I could barely move my Blazer). I have a replacement tranny waiting to go in, but the 4-4-2 is in the one car garage, and the bottom end blew on my 360ci Chevy (not been a great year really).

Will let you guys know tomorrow what happens with head disassembly. Thank you again for that generous offer.
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