Strange oil pump prime observation

Discussion in 'General Automotive Questions' started by cbolt, Aug 6, 2019.

  1. cbolt

    cbolt In Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    After completing a head, cam, lifters, pushrods, and timing chain replacement I attempted to prime my oil pump with a strange results. Since the oil fill is on the drivers side I left the passenger side valve cover off so I could watch when oil began to flow from the pushrods while using a priming tool. After approximately 5 minutes of priming I was unable to see any oil flowing from the pushrods on the passenger side head. Just out of curiosity I removed the drivers side valve cover and had plenty of oil on the rocker arms and in the head area, so I spun the priming tool again and observed normal results as oil flowed from all 8 pushrods and over their respective rocker arms.

    Having performed oil pump priming many times in the past this was the first time I have ever seen oil reach one head and not the other. Has anyone else seen this happen when completing a rebuild? Should I consider the engine properly primed and ready to run? What, if anything, would cause oil to reach only one side of the valve train and not the other?

    I know some of you are engine builders extraordinaire, and would love to either find out this is okay, or what steps I need to take prior to engine start. It doesn't seem normal to me, but I cannot figure out what would prevent oil from reaching the passenger side pushrods, and only the passenger side pushrods.

    The valves were adjusted prior to installation of the intake so I know all the pushrods are properly seated in their respective lifters. Also, every component is brand new, pushrods, lifters, heads, rocker arms, etc. No oil is seeping from anywhere on the engine during the priming process.

    I have seen the most unusual engine issues this year in two consecutive engine builds. Global warming? Trump's fault? Russian interference? My newfound senility?
     
  2. pmrphil

    pmrphil In Overdrive GOLD MEMBER

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    It's very common with Chevys. You're sure you are working on a Ford? :p Sorry, I had to. :oops:
    What engine? And, NO, it's not primed until you have oil at all the rockers.
     
  3. cbolt

    cbolt In Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    Oh, it's a Chevy. That is why I posted it under general automotive questions and not Ranchero Tech questions. 350 to be specific.

    It's very common you say? So can I assume my next step is to continue priming the engine until I have oil at all the rockers?

    I would have posted this same question on the Chevy forum I belong to, but those guys tend to give terrible advice.
     
  4. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    There was something about the Chevy smallblock V8 oiling, I can't remember...I think it was bearings. If you don't do the crank main bearings and you have one at the outside of the clearance spec, as the oil pressurizes manually, it goes out that journal, rather than pushing oil across the engine to the bank 2 valve train. Try spinning the crank by hand a couple times while running the drill, to see if changing the crank position helps.
     
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  5. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    It's been 17 years since I installed a smallblock engine that was freshly rebuilt or freshened up. The ones I did at my last job didn't need priming, as they were used but not freshened up.
     
  6. cbolt

    cbolt In Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    Location:
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    I'll give it a shot. I have to fasten the RH valve cover first or I am going to make a mess. Something about the edelbrock valve cover gaskets... they are so much thicker than any other brand making my bolts too short. Heading to the hardware store after the rain stops.

    I was hoping not to have to turn the engine over until I put the distributor in. I have a flywheel turning tool just for doing that, but it requires climbing back under the car. I hoped I was all done under there. :(
     
  7. 1965 Ranchero 66G

    1965 Ranchero 66G In Maximum Overdrive Unubtanium Member

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    Pull the coil wire and just bump it around a little bit, you can set your dizzy in and mark where the rotor stops so you don't have to bring it around to # 1.
     
  8. cbolt

    cbolt In Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    Good idea!
     
  9. pmrphil

    pmrphil In Overdrive GOLD MEMBER

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    It has nothing to do with spinning the engine. Don't do it. A Chevy HAS to have a dummy distributor in place (or a Chevy specific priming tool) to send oil to the other side. The distributor interrupts the oil galley on that side, so without "something" in the dist. hole, the oil just dumps back into the pan. An old distributor with the gear removed works, sometimes you need to remove the advance weights to grab the shaft with a drill.
     
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  10. 1965 Ranchero 66G

    1965 Ranchero 66G In Maximum Overdrive Unubtanium Member

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    Never said to spin the motor, just to bump it to a different position.
     
  11. cbolt

    cbolt In Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    I use a priming tool specifically designed for a Chevy that has worked in the past on this same engine. I believe Lilse (sp?) produces the tool.
     
  12. pmrphil

    pmrphil In Overdrive GOLD MEMBER

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    Then just keep on priming - I've had a couple that seemed to take forever to finally fully prime. The Lisle tool does a close enough job to closing off the leak path. If you use just a screwdriver, it will allow you to verify that oil is indeed coming out of the galley at the distributor intersect.
     
  13. pmrphil

    pmrphil In Overdrive GOLD MEMBER

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    Didn't think you had, I was just making sure. ;)
     
  14. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    Dammit, THAT'S what it was about Chevrolet engines! I knew that oil never reached the bank 2 gallery because oil would be leaked back to the pan, but it's been so damned long, I had forgotten. And when I sold my professional toolbox and tools, I had a Chevy priming tool in it, but as I said, it had been a looong time since I used it.
     

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