Cleaning 401 rockers/lifters - Dirty ?

Discussion in ''Da Nailhead' started by RJBT, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. RJBT

    RJBT Well-Known Member

    OK great.. I'll try the chocking the mount technique.

    This week I was off on family ski vacation and I brought my box of lifters to clean (couldn't leave home without some Buick part to clean:Brow:). I know this sounds like overkill but since I had them out and I was bored :Do No:... it took me a full week to disassemble them and clean them. note: I have them all tagged so they will go back in the same spot.
    It was real hard to get the apart ! They were all stuck solid and it took a lot of wacking (with nothing hard of course) them on a hard piece of wood to get the pistons out.
    Here are a few pics of one with weird score marks on the inner cylinder ?
    Cant understand where they come from ? But I tested the ball by sucking on it and it holds vacuum.

    So when i put them back I should soak them in oil ? or maybe take them apart and put them back together in a pot of oil to fill them ?
    They all slide nicely now so disassembly is a matter of seconds.


    Attached Files:

  2. 66electrafied

    66electrafied Just tossing in my nickel's worth

    Soak the lifters in oil upon reassembly but do not "pump them up". Buick recommends that the lifters be left in an un-primed state when first fired up. I think the reasoning for this is because it may cause undue stress on the rockershaft and rocker arms when being torqued down into place. I broke a rockershaft once by torquing it down with primed lifters inserted; the shaft didn't land properly and one of the aluminum pedestals cracked. Shortly afterwards a bolt failed and the whole works came apart.

    When the lifters have been returned to their bores use either graphite grease or cam lube on outside surfaces that contact the camshaft so that the cam isn't running dry upon start-up. On an older engine this might be considered overkill but you don't want to destroy what's left because of bad lubrication.
  3. RJBT

    RJBT Well-Known Member

    Oil pan removal

    YEAH !!!!! I thought it would be hell to get the oil pan off.... and it came off without raising the engine... Just slipped out !!!! I'm so happy.
    On the other hand its real dirty and got tons of slime in the bottom of the pan.
    At least I can repair/weld the oil change bolt now :)
    here are a few pictures... I took off the oil pump because it looked so cruddy. Might as well clean it (will definitely ask the board about it when I get to that).
    The bottom of the engine looks very yellowish... I assume it is years of oil varnished over everything .... While I am here. Should I check anything else ?

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  4. 64 wildcat conv

    64 wildcat conv Silver Level contributor

    Congrats on getting the oil pan off. If it were me, I'd take the pan and have it hot tanked, repair the drain plug threads, and then give it a fresh coat of paint on the outside. Concerning the oil pump, I would replace it with a new Melling oil pump. It would be cheap insurance and you can always reuse it if you ever overhaul the engine.
  5. telriv

    telriv Well-Known Member

    Another problem NOW noticed. The close-up of the oil pump screen there is a piece of timing gear nylon tooth. NOW means that, if nothing else, you need to remove the timing cover to at least replace the cam gear with another nylon tooth gear. Almost willing to bet that you will find more "Teeth" in the bottom of the pan when you clean it out.
    Another caution is about the Melling oil pumps. You need to check for binding & that the pump sits flush on the block. Machining wasn't properly finished & even though the pump looks mounted properly & DOESN'T bind it could suck air from the corner that sticks up not flush with the block. If the cover of the oil pump is OK you can just replace the gears & do some clean-up.
    All that yellowing & varnish will clean itself up with constant oil changes.
  6. RJBT

    RJBT Well-Known Member

    I looked at Melling pumps and they only mention pumps for 1962 - 1966 Nailheads... Why ? What is different with 59-61 models ?
    Is there a melling pump for 1960 401 's ?
    Here is a pic of the oil pump seal. Does it look bad or good ?

    Doc .. thanks for noticing that piece... I did not see any other big pieces in the bottom of the oil sump. I will go right now to the basement where I brought them back...
    Darn I really did not want to get into changing the sprocket. I am not sure I have the skills or the tooling.
    Is it easy or difficult as I anticipate ?

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  7. Babeola

    Babeola Well-Known Member

    This should be no harder then anything else you have already done. You may need a tool to take off the balancer. The procedure is here starting on page 2-26. The entire 1960 Chassis Service Manual is also here. I would leave the water pump bolts alone and only remove those that are needed to take off the timing cover. If you took out the radiator and grill, you might be able to change the cam while you have the timing cover off? See, we told you to tear it down all at once!

    Cheryl :)
  8. RJBT

    RJBT Well-Known Member

    Darn its the old... take one thing apart then another then another ....
    But I dont have the tool to take off the balancer (and i'm in France :Do No:).
    Can I do it with pliers and imaginative thinking ?

    Here is a picture of the oil seal surface on the pump.
    I went to look for that tooth and could not find it... and there is nothing in the pan... I only pored the oil in a bottle in my garage. I did not see any chunks but i'll filter it to check. May there is only one tooth missing... maybe it was crud. I'll do more search tomorrow.

    I'll be taking the radiator off ... so after that i'm stuck with no tool... What does it look like ?

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  9. Babeola

    Babeola Well-Known Member

    Looking at it again, that could be a piece of cork gasket too. Try to find it so that you know if you need to take the cover off for sure.

    Cheryl :)
  10. REM

    REM Active Member

    The balancer should come right off. Should not require a puller but the bolt is very tight. Reqires 200ft/lb torque when reinstalling.
  11. Babeola

    Babeola Well-Known Member

    Some fall off, some need a little tap with a rubber hammer on either side and some are rusted/friction welded fast. The stuck ones need a three hole puller. Here in the US, you can rent one or use one from an auto parts store for free.

    Cheryl :)
  12. doc

    doc Well-Known Member

    Well, actually it was Tom that spotted the piece of foreign material on the oil screen,,,, but,,,,,I would have told you the same thing....:laugh: the bottom side doesnt look as cruddy and the top side.... check those shavings to see if they are plastic or not....and if they are ,,, you just as well pull the timing cover off and replace the chain and gears.... definitly clean the oil pump screen assembly or replace the pump and the pick up screen....
  13. RJBT

    RJBT Well-Known Member

    On second thought I think that piece was/may be cork gasket (investigation continues)...
    I have a problem... I cannot identify a replacement oil pump for 1960 !!!! What am I doing wrong ? Mellings says 62-66, CARS has a 1961 + .....
    Can anyone help me with a little insight.... I find pumps for every year except 1960 !!!!
  14. doc

    doc Well-Known Member

    All of the basic blocks for 401/425s are the same.... the year is not critical.... what is critical is the style of oil pan and the oil pick up screen..... they must be the same as what you have....check it close but any pump from 1959 thru 1966 should work.... the pan and the pick up screen is what has to match what you have now......
  15. RJBT

    RJBT Well-Known Member

    Can I save my pick up screen and put it on a new pump ?
    The Mellings M-20G pump (for nailhead) does not seem to have the same coupling (pump to block)... are they compatible ? See pic (Mellings vs mine)
    Does the Mellings come with a pick up screen (not mentioned anywhere).

    Does the pick up screen have to touch the bottom of the pan ?
    I noticed that the bottom of my crankshaft was clean as if it rubbed the bottom of the oil pan. Is that normal ?

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  16. RJBT

    RJBT Well-Known Member

    I wrote to Mellings and got this answer:

    I need a new oil pump for my 1960 Buick Electra 401 Nailhead... You mention you have one for 62 to 66 but odnt mention 1960.
    Do you have a pump that fits a 1960 Buick Nailhead 401 ?

    Sorry, no 62-66 only.
    Technical Services Manager
    ASE Master Automotive Technician

    --> Did he just refer to the catalog and gave me a quick answer not knowing that the pump fits 60 models ?
  17. doc

    doc Well-Known Member

    Hmmmm, what you have does look different,,,, let me check further, I have several old engines around here.... I still think we can come up with something that will work.....
  18. Babeola

    Babeola Well-Known Member

    59-61 have a different pump. Here is a rebuilt 59-61 pump. 57-58 can also use that pump, but will lose the vacuum pump (for wipers).

    Cheryl :)
  19. RJBT

    RJBT Well-Known Member

    245$ ... :ball: I am sure its worth it but its a little steep for my wallet right now.
    I was hoping for a 100$ Mellings solution ..... will have to try to save my current pump. ... darn
  20. doc

    doc Well-Known Member

    I think I have one around here that was removed from a engine that was allowed to freeze and bust.... right after it was rebuilt.....let me check around....

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