BADASS of New England

An automobile club for the enthusiast who enjoys the last of the big GM cars. The rear wheel drive B and D bodys. Chevrolet Impala SS, Caprice, 9C1, Buick Roadmaster, Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser, Cadillac Fleetwood
 
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 Might need an engine for the 74...

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Matt Trakker



Posts : 5075
Join date : 2009-07-30
Age : 35
Location : Reading, MA

PostSubject: Might need an engine for the 74...   Sat Oct 02, 2010 9:28 pm

Tonight my Impala's engine started knocking out of nowhere when I was pulling out of K-Mart. This car's engine has always had sort of a tick that sounded like lower-end noise. When I got on the gas, it all of a sudden started to knock pretty badly, but the engine still ran with the same smoothness as before. Pulled over and got out, it was definitely louder on the pass. side of the car...but didn't sound like an exhaust leak or anything. I pretended to investigate for a moment while scratching my head, then got back in the car, drove away, and the noise stopped. However I did notice it shift funny when I got on Route 1. The tranny in this car always shuddered on the 1-2 shift, so I think the fluid at least needs to be change...probably irrelevant...I'm rambling...lol

Now, the valve seals on this car are toast I am sure. I've heard of valve seals floating through the engine then clogging up the screen on the oil pump...so I dunno if this is what happened here or what. I've never heard of it happening on an SBC.
It started knocking when the car jerked a little while accelerating, then went away after I had stopped the car, so maybe something jostled around and got stuck, then fell out?
But to be on the safe side I'm expecting the worst. Ever since I bought the car, I told myself I wouldn't care if the engine went because the rest of it was so nice, and this is probably the easiest engine to swap, and the easiest car to swap the easiest engine in. There's no A/C, no emissions, no computer, nothing.

I guess what I'm wondering is if anyone has any off the top of their head ideas without hearing the noise could be?

As far as my options, I don't know if I should consider a used LT1 swap and try to hook up all the wiring, maybe do an LS swap (but I doubt I can do that, I'm sure it would fit since the engine bay in this car is deep and huge lengthwise) if I should get the tranny redone while the engine is out if that becomes necessary, etc...I think the best thing would just bring it to a machine shop and maybe have the engine built into a 383 stroker and leave it all old school with a carb. There is a place near me called Malden Machine I've been meaning to look into that does a lot of that stuff.

I plan on just driving it until I can't anymore regardless. The engine on this car seeps out of basically every seal, I don't like the Pertronix ignition, it's the dirtiest part of the car, it's not very powerful, and so on. I'm just pissed off now because I was looking forward to taking this thing to the roundup, how can I trust the stupid car now!?!? That and I just got all new valve seals, plugs, sanded down my bumper fillers for paint, etc. in the process of getting it ready for the event.

At least I have the 93...
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laidlow91



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PostSubject: Re: Might need an engine for the 74...   Sat Oct 02, 2010 9:34 pm

could be a cracked flexplate.
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Matt Trakker



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PostSubject: Re: Might need an engine for the 74...   Sat Oct 02, 2010 9:35 pm

Huh, never thought of that.

When it started making the knock noise, I was pulling away in a straight line, not flooring it or anything but definitely giving it some gas. It sped up normally for about 2-3 seconds, then started knocking halfway through the acceleration. Would it make the noise in drive and park like that?


Last edited by Matt Trakker on Sat Oct 02, 2010 9:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
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laidlow91



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PostSubject: Re: Might need an engine for the 74...   Sat Oct 02, 2010 9:39 pm

yeah not sure how/why they crack.
had one crack in the old fullsize p/u i had.

any loss of power when the noise started?
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Matt Trakker



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PostSubject: Re: Might need an engine for the 74...   Sat Oct 02, 2010 9:41 pm

It's hard to say. It did seem like when the car shuddered getting on the highway that there was a period where it lost power, then it came right back. This was all over one or two seconds. But the car is as old as dirt and it's always done funny little things like that.

I actually just ran some seafoam through the engine in anticipation of the new plugs I was gonna do, and I'm letting it set before I go get gas (neighbors won't see the huge cloud in the dark) for it. We'll see what happens. The noise literally came and went, so I dunno what to think.
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bammax



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PostSubject: Re: Might need an engine for the 74...   Sat Oct 02, 2010 10:37 pm

Could have been a misfiring plug. I'd check the usual plugs/wires/cap/rotor to make sure they all work right. Then pull the valve covers and make sure there's nothing out of place. Could be alot of different things. May even be a broken motor mount that shifted when the engine started pulling under load.
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PostSubject: Re: Might need an engine for the 74...   Sat Oct 02, 2010 10:45 pm

I would have the oil pressure checked, and maybe take it an engine shop and have them diagnose it. But Anthony is right, a cracked flex plate makes a very similar sound to a spun bearing. It can squeel and squeek, and knock. I also had a cracked flex plate on my old 91 RMW.
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toomanytoyz
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PostSubject: Re: Might need an engine for the 74...   Sat Oct 02, 2010 10:49 pm

Normally if something internal, like a bearing or a rod, goes... it stays gone. The noise doesn't go away. Wink

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bammax



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PostSubject: Re: Might need an engine for the 74...   Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:09 pm

toomanytoyz wrote:
Normally if something internal, like a bearing or a rod, goes... it stays gone. The noise doesn't go away. Wink

I was thinking the same thing. Once something big breaks it tends to stay broken. That's why I figured something like a bad wire that cutout for a minute or a bad motor mount that'll only make noise under certain conditions.
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PostSubject: Re: Might need an engine for the 74...   Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:35 pm

Matt Trakker wrote:
The tranny in this car always shuddered on the 1-2 shift, so I think the fluid at least needs to be change...probably irrelevant...I'm rambling...lol

Bingo. I think Anthony hit it on the head talking about the possible cracked flexplate, after reading the above statement. I had what I thought was T/C shudder in my 351 powered pinto. Turned out to be a crack on the flex plate by the crank bolts. It grew to one of the bigger holes.


Last edited by IMPALADAKID on Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Matt Trakker



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PostSubject: Re: Might need an engine for the 74...   Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:37 pm

Well, I don't feel as worried now, just went for an hour or so ride in it, and it was it's usual self. It runs "nice", but pings under light load going up slight inclines and stuff, it's been doing that since I've owned it and that's on 93 octane. I've tried to time the engine with my gun and it never really would go away, so I'm think it might be carbon from the bad valve seals and whatever else, like what Tim was assuming in his thread before.

Brad, when I start this car after it's been setting, even only a few hours, it runs like crap because of the oil getting in the combustion chambers. That's my assumption anyway. It feels like at least one cylinder is "dead", I have to drive it around like that with blue smoke coming out behind me to blow all the crap out of it, then take it up Route 1 and it clears up after about a minute or so and runs smooth. Laughing So I guess if a knock can be like a "ping" on steroids from a misfire, that could have been the case. I'll keep my eye on it and drive it more often to see what happens, I've barely used this car all year!
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Matt Trakker



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PostSubject: Re: Might need an engine for the 74...   Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:39 pm

IMPALADAKID wrote:
The tranny in this car always shuddered on the 1-2 shift, so I think the fluid at least needs to be change...probably irrelevant...I'm rambling...lol

Bingo. I think Anthony hit it on the head talking about the possible cracked flexplate, after reading the above statement. I had what I thought was T/C shudder in my 351 powered pinto. Turned out to be a crack on the flex plate by the crank bolts. It grew to one of the bigger holes.

It actually only does that shuddering when it's cold...my other 74 did that too, but had other tranny problems as well...like no 3rd gear eventually. Laughing

The whole car doesn't shake or anything, it's more a slight slip for a second before the shift completes. Still something to think about though...

Another thing...last time I put gas in this car, I used 89 instead of 93 because I wasn't filling it up...after I put 93 in and filled it up tonight, it did run a lot better...I bet that contributed to the problem if the knock was a misfire...


Last edited by Matt Trakker on Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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bfurches



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PostSubject: Re: Might need an engine for the 74...   Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:40 pm

I would say Brad is right on.

If you are fouling out that plug, I am sure thats what you were hearing. And its going to be more more noticeable with the temperature drop (the motor requires more fuel to compensate for the density of the air and a hotter spark to ignite the mixture and etc)....

Get some valve seals in that thing.

Better yet....get an ls motor in that thing Smile
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Matt Trakker



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PostSubject: Re: Might need an engine for the 74...   Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:45 pm

bfurches wrote:
I would say Brad is right on.

If you are fouling out that plug, I am sure thats what you were hearing. And its going to be more more noticeable with the temperature drop (the motor requires more fuel to compensate for the density of the air and a hotter spark to ignite the mixture and etc)....

Get some valve seals in that thing.

Better yet....get an ls motor in that thing Smile

I should add that the side of the engine I heard it on was the passenger side. That bank of cylinders produces the most blue smoke, the smoke mostly comes out the pass. side exhaust pipe, and the car is true duals all the way back with no crossover pipe or anything.

I should put an LS motor in there someday, I think it'd be even more of a ridiculous conversation starter...like I said I see no reason why one wouldn't just drop in, even with the truck intake on there...it seems like this motor sits low. Very Happy
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bammax



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PostSubject: Re: Might need an engine for the 74...   Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:54 pm

My old Blazer used to blow the smoke from bad valve seals. Still passed inspections though. The trick is letting it warm up fully, and maintaining a good oil level. I just figure the oil in the combustion chambers and exhaust will help prevent rust Laughing
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Matt Trakker



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PostSubject: Re: Might need an engine for the 74...   Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:56 pm

My 88 TBI 350 powered Suburban did that too. The funny thing was it always ran like a top, and probably does to this day. The engine had over 200K and ran like new. That's why I was surprised at how bad the 74 was running with leaking valve seals. Thing is, the Suburban just did the puff when I started it and then it was fine, the problem went away in seconds. Didn't use much oil either.
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Matt Trakker



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PostSubject: Re: Might need an engine for the 74...   Tue Oct 05, 2010 4:59 pm

Update-

Got all the valve seals in today, did umbrella seals and o-rings. New plugs and valve cover gaskets too.

Bad news- the car has a bad lobe on the cam and one valve isn't opening all the way (I think it's an intake valve). This would probably explain the stumble when it's running, maybe the ping, etc. The guy I know who did the work for me adjusted all the valves and adjusted that one a little tighter to compensate for it as much as he could.

I've been told by two or three people over the years after having a '74 Chevy that GM had a 1974 model small-block engine recall, where an owner could bring a car in, and have the engine rebuilt free of charge. The recall was concerning soft camshafts and other engine internals. They even painted up the engine before the install. My green '74 apparently had this done before I got it, probably ages ago. One guy told me they did it on his Malibu back in like 1994 for him. I'm wondering if there's a way I could find out about this and get it done...LOL. Probably not since there's a "new GM" now.

Good news is the car runs the balls compared to before, hell of a lot smoother, and doesn't smoke. You can hardly tell it technically has half a dead cylinder in there. It does want to stall a little if the car is sitting at idle in drive for too long, but if you keep it running with a little gas it's fine. It's always done that, and it might be something not related to the valvetrain, I'm not sure.

So I'm just going to drive it this way indefinitely. Maybe down the road I'll try to do a different cam and lifters in there, but then you might as well do the timing chain, and then what if this 40 year old engine lost a head gasket or something? It already seeps oil out of the oil pan and I think the timing cover. Probably would be better off with a crate motor, or getting the original done up at a machine shop then putting it back in. I dunno. geek

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mean ss



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PostSubject: Re: Might need an engine for the 74...   Tue Oct 05, 2010 5:11 pm

most oil's made today do not have enough phosphorus & zinc in them for the old motors not using roller lifters
http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=138386
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Matt Trakker



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PostSubject: Re: Might need an engine for the 74...   Wed Oct 06, 2010 12:24 am

Damn- that was a good read. I know that even my 93 Blazer has a flat tappet cam in it (all truck TBIs were old style cams, non-roller, although some of the blocks came with provisions to swap in a roller cam), so I'm wondering now if any irreversible damage has been done already...the truck isn't exactly ballsy on the highway.

I've been using the Super Tech Wal-Mart 10w30 since it's rebottled Mobil...maybe I should run something else. Either way, the damage is done... Sad
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