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Old 05-22-2017, 12:14 AM   #26
vancelot69
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Re: valve covers, engine rebuild, other stuff

So I cleaned up one of those OE valve covers about as good as I could using 2 cans of carb cleaner since I don't have a parts cleaner tub (Maybe I should get one of those from Harbor Freight! But as of now I would have used it once haha). I got it pretty dang clean, but I know I didn't get it spotless, and I'm a little afraid of some of that 25 year old gunk dropping into the engine. So, I was thinking about buying a set of valve covers that are already baffled. I saw on another thread that someone got Edelbrock #4449 valve covers, and looking on Summit Racing, it says they are baffled and the pics look baffled, but in the thread, the poster said there was no oil filler cap hole in them. So, anyone have any experience with any aftermarket valve covers, that are baffled, with or without the filler cap hole, that you would recommend?

Or: jaros44sr - do you have pics of the valve covers you have? Are they clean? How much do they weigh, or how much would shipping be to 76148?

I also replaced the oil filler cap with a breather on the passenger's side.
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Old 05-29-2017, 02:42 PM   #27
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Re: valve covers, engine rebuild, other stuff

I just ordered these Spectre valve covers. Anyone have any experience with them?
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Old 06-16-2017, 04:17 PM   #28
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Re: valve covers, engine rebuild, other stuff

It takes a lot of finesse and patience to do an engine. Without the experience of having done it before the risks get higher. I think the suggestions are to give you a high probability of success.

If you really want to do it, the small-block Chevy is pretty forgiving. There is a good book by David Vizard (https://www.amazon.com/How-Rebuild-Y.../dp/1557880298). I'm using that book on mine. But I've already done several valve jobs and a complete Ford FE 390 V-8.

Summit has a set of cheap micrometers that are not quite machinist grade, but still can tell you if the engine has been machined oversize on the cylinder bores or undersize on the crank journals.

I'm rebuilding mine because the previous rebuilder used standard rod bearings on a 0.010 undersize crank. It made quite a noise. ;-)

And as a fallback position (if something is seriously wrong with the engine, or goes bad during the rebuild) a crate engine would be a safety net.

Good luck!


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Originally Posted by vancelot69 View Post
Well, I don't know anything about vacuum other than if the hoses aren't connected properly it won't run right. However, I have rebuilt a few engines in the past and just made sure the vacuum lines were connected like they were before I took the engine out, although the last time I did that was over 20 years ago.

Is it because I don't know if valve covers will fit from year to year? Or because I don't know about the crankcase pressure? Yeah, I had no idea that would cause oil to blow out the seals.

Seems to me like $83 for a re-ring kit, or even $400 for one of the more expensive ones, is a heck of a lot cheaper than $6000 for a crate engine...
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Old 06-16-2017, 04:25 PM   #29
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Re: valve covers, engine rebuild, other stuff

Looking at your pictures again, there is a lot of oil on the lower driver's side around the filter. Are you sure the filter gasket is good and not loose or squashed in a bad position? Is it possible that you have an oil pressure line or sending unit for the gauge that is loose or failing?
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Old 06-18-2017, 12:11 PM   #30
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Re: valve covers, engine rebuild, other stuff

I'm not sure. A few weeks ago, I put on a new power steering gear because a friend of a friend who is a mechanic told me that that is what was blowing petroleum all over the exhaust and making it smoke. After I got it on, I wiped down 3 spots on the bottom side of the engine - the oil pan drain plug, the oil filter, and the timing cover. Then I took it out for a short drive, about 5 miles, and only got it up to about 45-50, but by the time I got back home, I saw smoke that looked like it was coming from under the front passenger side fender, so I jumped out to see if I could see where it was coming from but it had already stopped by then. I climbed under it and the three spots I wiped down were still dry, but I saw some other wet spots. At this time, I didn't wipe them down.

Fast forward to yesterday. Yesterday morning I got out and wiped down the other couple of spots - the sides of the bell housing (the flat spot where the dust cover mounts to), the input shaft to the transmission / throwout bearing, and the output shaft on the engine / rear main seal, then went to the local off-road park. Got it up to 55+, but most likely no faster than 65, off roaded for a bit, then drove home. In the course of that time, I did have to add a quart of oil, but all of the spots I wiped down were still dry, maybe a slight hint of dampness on the input and output shafts and timing cover. During the drive home, going up one particular hill, it felt like it had no power, and the lifters were chattering like crazy, and my wife said she saw black smoke coming from the exhaust. So, the thought crossed my mind if those Spectre valve covers I got don't have correct baffling, or if I didn't set up the PCV correctly and it's still consuming oil, or if perhaps whoever rebuilt the engine before didn't set the ring gaps opposite each other, or if the improper PCV setup before messed up the rings or valves?

The carburetor is manual choke, and there is no choke handle in the cab, so it's basically not choked, so I have been thinking about either getting a carb with electronic choke or something, or swapping to an EFI kit, or doing an LS swap, but all of those except the carb are too expensive (for me) right now.

My friend's mechanic friend said that the lifter chatter could most likely be attributed to being out of time. This engine still has the old points and condenser style ignition, and I have been thinking about replacing it with electronic ignition. I have seen a few threads on these boards where people suggest to use the electronic distributors from newer Chevy small blocks, but I haven't found any reviews on this site on after market electronic distributors, like MSD or Accel. I'm not concerned about it looking original, I just want it to be reliable as a daily driver and part time off roading / road tripping / camping / overlanding / blah blah etc. etc.

Maybe the combination of the carb/EFI and ignition would be worth it to save a few bucks more and do the LS swap...

edit: added more to the second paragraph.
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Old 06-19-2017, 01:05 PM   #31
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Re: valve covers, engine rebuild, other stuff

The "lifter chatter" under load you hear is most likely pinging caused by too much advance in your timing. The black smoke is unburned fuel (white = water, blue = oil, black = gas). You are running very rich. Sounds like you have some tuning of the distributor and carb to do.

If you have any sort of oil baffles in the new valve covers, they should be adequate to keep the PCV valve from sucking in oil. So apparently this is not the cause of your massive oil consumption. Have you performed a compression test on all the cylinders? It sounds like you may be pressurizing your crankcase with cylinder blow-by. This will cause all the crankcase seals to leak under this added pressure. A compression test on the cylinders will tell you if you are having sealing issues in the cylinders possibly attributed to bad rings or valves.
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Old 06-19-2017, 01:57 PM   #32
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Re: valve covers, engine rebuild, other stuff

Thanks cleszkie!
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Old 07-17-2017, 01:12 AM   #33
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Re: valve covers, engine rebuild, other stuff

oh, forgot to answer: no, I haven't done a compression test. After reading that reply, I've been meaning to, but I keep not making time / doing other things. My dad has a small one, that is just press on and hold, like this one. Should I spring for a screw in type? One article I read said to disconnect the fuel line so it's not pumping gas into the cylinders (I assume before the fuel pump). In another thread, someone mentioned doing a leak down test. Would that be something y'all would suggest I do as well?

Thanks again!
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Old 07-17-2017, 01:49 AM   #34
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Re: valve covers, engine rebuild, other stuff

Another item I forgot to mention - while off roading, and on the drive home, it kind of over heated. That is, the temp gauge doesn't work, but when I stopped for a moment, coolant was spewing from somewhere, I assume from the tube at the filler neck, but I don't know for sure - the radiator could have a hole somewhere, or one or both of the hoses could have holes (I can see a rusty waterfall from the inlet), or a co-worker suggested that it looks like the water pump is about to go out because he said the pulley is wobbly. Do I need an overflow tank? Also, it doesn't have a fan shroud - should I get one? And do I need a 4-row radiator? Or will the one that's in it be ok (see pics)?
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Old 07-23-2017, 08:24 PM   #35
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Re: valve covers, engine rebuild, other stuff

ok, I finally got around to pulling the plugs and doing a compression check. The plugs looks awful. In the page in the Haynes manual that has the spark plug pics, it looks like the one that says "too hot" (see pics), which doesn't surprise me, what with everything coupled together - I believe it's not timed right, plus I don't know how to set points; I don't know how to tune a carburetor, so it could be running lean or rich, adding to it; someone at work suggested that my water pump is about to go out, which I have no reason not to believe; someone else said I need a 4-row radiator (I think mine is 2-row, and I think there's a leak from the inlet - see pics above). Probably wouldn't hurt to get new hoses too. I checked the gap on 4 of the spark plugs I took out. 2 were over .040 (1 & 7), one was almost right at .040 (8) and one was about .035 (2).

As far as the compression check, I tried to use that old press in type, but I couldn't hold it tight enough, so I bought one that has screw in adapters, and here's how that broke down (anything not a 0 or 5 is estimating because it was between the lines on the gauge):
1 - 130 - 130
3 - 120 - 120
5 - 125 - 125
7 - 118 - 124 - 126

2 - 133 - 133
4 - 110 - 115 - 125 - 125
6 - 110 - 115 - 122 - 123
8 - 130 - 130

I think the low reading on 7 is because I didn't spin it long enough to let it build up to where the needle stopped moving.

I think the low readings on 4 & 6 are because I didn't get the connector screwed in tight because after the two low readings, I tried to tighten is some more and did it the next two times and got readings more in line with the rest of the cylinders. It is odd though, that I mis-tightened both 4 & 6, since they share a sliver of head gasket...

pics below spark plug order: 8-6-4-2 - 1-3-5-7
close up pics are 2 at a time starting from the left on the zoomed out pic.
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Old 07-23-2017, 08:29 PM   #36
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Re: valve covers, engine rebuild, other stuff

I also grabbed an OEM HEI distributor out of a 75 or 79 GMC with a 350 from my dad's place over the weekend. It looks like it needs a tune up, so I was going to, at the very least, get a cap, rotor, coil, plugs, wires, and a water pump, but I'm thinking maybe I should just pony up for the complete distributor so I can be sure the distributor's guts are good to go as well.
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Old 07-23-2017, 09:28 PM   #37
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Re: valve covers, engine rebuild, other stuff

You really need to get a fan shroud and a overflow bottle on it so it stands a chance of stay cool especially in this heat.
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Old 07-24-2017, 02:26 AM   #38
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Re: valve covers, engine rebuild, other stuff

Those are definitely on the list!
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Old 09-03-2017, 06:02 PM   #39
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Re: valve covers, engine rebuild, other stuff

Update: This is a LONG post, and I'm not sure what my goal is here - to ask for help or share updated information... Maybe a little bit of both.

I've been stockpiling parts.
  • Water pump (a co-worker said it looked like my water pump was about to go out because the pulley was wobbling).
  • Fan Shroud
  • Lower radiator hose (I bought upper and lower from LMC, but the upper one doesn't look right at all. Mine is about 2+ feet long with 5 bends, and the one from LMC is about 1 foot with 1 90* bend
  • Radiator cap
  • Thermostat
  • New HEI distributor for a 1980 GMC Jimmy
  • New spark plug wires
  • Re-ring kit from Summit that includes rings, main bearings, rod bearings, seals & gaskets
  • Spark plugs

First, I got the distributor, wires, spark plugs, and water pump. When I drained the radiator, it was disgusting - worse than any other radiator I have ever drained. Ever. When I took the top radiator hose off, the inlet had a flat spot on the top that I assumed wasn't making a good seal (it was rusty) and thought it would be a good idea to get a new radiator. When I was taking the radiator off, I looked inside and I'm pretty sure I counted 3 rows of tubes. I know 3 rows isn't 4 rows, but it's better than 2 rows, and I should be ok getting a new 3-row radiator, right? I mean, I don't necessarily need a 4-row radiator, do I? Due to the nastiness of the coolant, I wanted to thoroughly flush the water jacket in the block and heads but I've never done that, and I was thinking about getting a new heater core since they're only $35, to make sure the coolant path is completely clean. As for the water jacket, do I need to take it to a shop to have it cleaned out, or is there anything I can do? I was also thinking about swapping to Evans waterless coolant, so anything I can do to clean it out and get rid of ALL the water.

Next, I took the distributor out. At this point, the engine looked pretty naked, and I thought to myself, as long as I have it this far, why not just yank it and do the seals and gaskets, so I ordered the re-ring kit. Since it comes with bearings and rings, I thought what the heck, why not. That way I can make sure everything in the engine is solid.

While taking more stuff loose to be able to pull it, I went to take the oil pressure sending tube out, and when I moved it, oil seeped around it. I recall my friend's mechanic friend said it oil was leaking from there when he did his checks a few months ago. Last week I was talking to him about this again, and he said that if I'm not going to get the heads decked and make sure the cylinders are round, there's no sense in doing rings or bearings - but I can still do seals and gaskets. To be honest, any engine I've ever taken apart in the past, I have never had machine work done to any part of it, I just ran a hone in the cylinder to break the glaze and put on new rings and bearings - unless we were concerned about a warped head, but then we just used a junkyard head. Never went to a machine shop. Anyway, he said I could just to seals and gaskets without pulling the engine, and he didn't think the rear main seal was leaking, at least not bad enough to be concerned with, and he thought that the oil back there was mainly because of the oil pressure sending tube leak that was causing the seal to look like it was leaking. He suggested to replace the sending tube, and the timing cover gasket and seal, and maybe the timing chain as long as I was in there if it looked worn, and see if I still have oil consumption after that.

He also suggested for me to clean out my radiator using some coolant flush chemical and try to straighten up the inlet tube. This morning I went out to try to straighten the flat spot, and I noticed that it is split, and when I tried to straighten it, it just split more and started to elongate the other side (bottom). So I switched back to the new radiator bandwagon. But, as I asked above, can I stick with a 3-row, or should I go for a 4-row? Honestly, I will probably go with whatever I can find that's less expensive (read: in my current budget). LMC has 3-row for $260, 4-row for $290, both of which are not in my range right now, AutoZone & O'Reilly have a radiator for $192 (not sure how many rows), and I see some 3-row aluminum on Amazon for $151, but I've heard those won't fit the stock radiator mounts.

Early last week I was excited about what I was doing, which was a big step for me and this truck because for several weeks after I bought it, I had a seriously bad case of buyer's remorse. But after talking to my friend's mechanic friend, I feel like there's a huge weight on my back and the excitement is gone and it's back to being a drag. Like I said, after this morning, I'm back on the new radiator bandwagon, but not sure which one I want to get. The AutoZone one is immediate (don't have to wait for shipping), and I think it will fit, but not sure if it's 2- or 3-row, but I can check it when I go there, while the one on Amazon doesn't look right, even though it says 3-row, and the title says "ALL ALUMINUM 3 ROW CORE RADIATOR FOR 1965-1975 Chevy GMC C/K Series Pickup Truck Blazer", the top says it doesn't fit my 72 Jimmy, but there is another link on that page from Alloyworks that says it does fit for the same price. Past the radiator, still not sure how to clean the water jacket in the block and heads. As for the rings and bearings, I have shifted to just doing the seals, gaskets, and oil pressure sending tube, and maybe the timing chain. Still doing the distributor. I would also like to do a carb with electronic choke, but that's $300 at AutoZone, and my budget right now doesn't include both a radiator and carb. Wondering if I should just save $1000 and get an EFI kit. I was about to say, but if I go from $300 to $1000, maybe I should just go further and get an LS, but looking on Summit's site for EFI long blocks, those *are* upwards of $6000.

Pictures to follow after I get them off my phone (phone and laptop aren't playing nice right now for some reason.)

Anyway, thanks for being a sounding board.
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Old 09-03-2017, 07:20 PM   #40
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Re: valve covers, engine rebuild, other stuff

1. The upper radiator that is (was) on my Jimmy. Notice that it is pretty long, probably 2+ feet, and has 5 bends (I'll give you that the first two off the radiator could be considered 1)
2. The new hoses. The big one looks like a match for the lower hose, but the small one is the one they sent me for the upper hose. I don't think it's going to work.
3. The radiator inlet - the flat spot and the split. I don't know if it was already split or of I did that trying to push the flat spot back out, but either way, this combined with the flat spotting of the fins in pic 4 have put me back on the "new radiator" bandwagon.
5. Some awesome sediment in the water jacket. One reason I want to thoroughly flush the system.
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Old 09-03-2017, 07:29 PM   #41
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Re: valve covers, engine rebuild, other stuff

Did I mention that when I took the distributor out, when I tilted it to get it to clear the firewall, oil dripped out of it. I don't think that's supposed to happen, is it? The distributor is supposed to be sealed, right? That is, oil shouldn't seep into it. So, would you think that, and the oil pressure gauge tube leaking, is probably what was causing most of my oil loss?

Also, are you supposed to store the fan vertical, like it is positioned when installed? I didn't, and this morning I noticed some goop had drained out the back, down the mount, and onto the bed of my truck. I'm guessing that's the viscous fluid that makes it grab when it gets warm to pull more air through, and I'm guessing it's not supposed to leak out. So, I'm guessing I probably need a new fan, or at least a new clutch. Would these be correct guesses?

I've also read on these boards that these plastic hubs are bad news, and I noticed that mine is leaking, at least on the passenger side. Would it be a good idea to replace them?
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Old 09-04-2017, 05:55 PM   #42
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Re: valve covers, engine rebuild, other stuff

Checking other threads about radiator hoses, I saw this thread with several NAPA part numbers. One or two looked like it would have been right, or at least close enough, for my upper radiator hose. Well, I just went to NAPA, took my hose with me, and we looked up those part numbers and none of them were a match. On the way home, I stopped at Advance and they had it! Part# E70935. It looks like it might be slightly shorter, maybe an inch, but it looks close enough.
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Old 09-10-2017, 12:23 PM   #43
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Re: valve covers, engine rebuild, other stuff

Last week I ordered and received the oil pressure gauge tube kit from LockDoc, then yesterday I stabbed my new HEI distributor swap and installed the oil pressure gauge tube kit! I grabbed the spark plug wires and was going to put those on so I could get it started, but remembered the starter is off, plus it was getting late, so I called it a night.

I was surprised at how easy the distributor went in because when I got a new distributor for my 2000 Jimmy, I had to turn the oil pump gear to match the distributor/rotor, but I didn't have to do that on this one. In fact, it went in so smoothly, it makes me wonder if the distributor even meshed with the oil pump correctly. Is there any way to tell before I start it with 0 oil pressure and ruin it?

1. New distributor, and new oil pressure tubing brass to the right.
2. The old oil pressure tube was aluminum or something that was hard to bend, and had that rubber hose around it, so I just slipped it over the new brass one. It also had a junction... I guess someone before me replaced the coil part, but didn't run it all the way into the gauge?
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