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Discussion Starter #1
I was driving my 81 RS with a sb 400 to work and it started making a sorta knocking, clunking sound internally and before i got there it shut off and wouldnt start, so i got it towed home and opened it up to take a look. some friends said it might be no oil so i put oil in and it held 3 quarts so it was obviously low but it didnt seize up cause it would turn over. i took off the valve covers to check and see if anything was broken and everything seems intact minus a few slightly loose rockers. does anyone have any idea what might be wrong? I know its coming from the passenger side but not whether its top or bottom

Thanks
 

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Adding 3 qts means the level was too low. Thre quarts to the FULL mark means 3 qts leaked/burned out, one qt in the filter, the last qt distributed about the engine.

The clunking you heard, if a heavy sound as a sledge hammer hitting an anvil, would probably mean a rod is knocking due to lack of oil; if a light sound as in a tack hammer hitting the same anvil, empty hydraulic lifters, lots of valve adjustment, no oil inside the lifter. Some lifters may be permanently stuck.

To get the engine restarted, pull all the spark plugs, hold the throttle open, disable the ignition, and crank the engine over to allow the oil pump to pump up to the rocker arms, all of them. Once there is a good stream coming out, recharge the battery, install the plugs, enable the ignition, and attempt to start. You might need to spray alittle starting fluid into the intake to assist, alittle spray for about a second, no longer.

If a heavy knock is coming from the crankcase (oil pan), then you might consider a rod knocking. Time for a rebuild or exchange for a good used engine.
 

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Running an engine 3 quarts low on oil is never a good thing!.....Your engine will tell you how she feels by knocking and ticking and eventually seizing up altogether!.....Just look at it this way, how do you think your body would feel if it was 3 quarts low on blood?.....You would probably be so dizzy and weak that you'll die pretty quickly if you don't receive a fresh supply of blood.....Only, with an engine, the damage is already done and will never recover without a complete rebuilding!.....Sorry for your lose man!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It would probly have helped if i had a working oil pressure gauge which i apparently dont (thanks to the guy i bought it from who said all gauges work). I took off the manifold and valve covers and the front rods on both sides of the motor have no bearings at the bottom and are loose to the point where i can take them completely out, and the rocker just spins. Also some of the other bearings are half way out to. What does that mean? I realize its bad and alot of work is about to need doing so just start listing.

thanks
 

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You won't be able to see the rod bearings looking under the manifold. Are you talking about lifters and pushrods? There are no bearings there...just lifters and they will come out. They go up and down as the camshaft turns. Hopefully I'm not pointing out the obvious but it sounds like there may be some confusing going on here.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
uh, well it looks like bearings in the hole where the rods go down into the motor. And is it suppoed to come all the way out of the motor completely cause all the others are tight because they are hitting the rocker but these two rockers are loose and the rods just come out.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
ok i just did some research and i think this is what i meant to say...The front two pushrods are loose because the first two lifters are all the way down farther than they should be im assuming because i they arent supposed to let the pushrod fall out of the heads which these are. why is the lifter going down so far and not holding up the rods?
 

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ok i just did some research and i think this is what i meant to say...The front two pushrods are loose because the first two lifters are all the way down farther than they should be im assuming because i they arent supposed to let the pushrod fall out of the heads which these are. why is the lifter going down so far and not holding up the rods?
Without oil pressure..the hydraulic lifter will bleed off and increase lash.The lifter itself is following the cam lobe..but the internal components are collapsing within..increasing clearances...hence you loose pushrods.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
scratch that...i found the lifters...they are down in with the camshaft. how they got there idk, but that means the cam was hitting them, and now i know for a fact i need new lifters and possibly a new cam...anything else that could have gone wrong from all this? please let me know what you think. Im not the most knowledgable 17 year old when it comes to motors..that was my first tear down of one so all this is brand new to me. Thanks for all your help and suggestions
 

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scratch that...i found the lifters...they are down in with the camshaft. how they got there idk, but that means the cam was hitting them


I don't know if you're aware but the lifters are supposed to be down there as they ride on the camshaft lobes.....You may have lucked out and just collapsed a few lifters due to low oil level.....Is the engine smoking oil?.....Do you hear a constant knock or thud coming from the lower end of the engine?....If so, time to tear down, if not, just try replacing the lifters.:yes:
 

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We're gettin there...yes the lifter rides on the cam so that's normal. You can pull the lifter out of the bore and look at the face of it. It should be shiny and smooth and probably will have a little wear pattern on it where it rides on the cam lobe. The cam lobe down in the hole also should be shiny and smooth. If the lifter is dished out or scored up it's no good. Hopefully the cam is fine.

Don't mix up the lifters - keep them in their respective bores.

Hang in there.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
i know the lifter is supposed to be down when the lobe is down...but it fell all the way through and was down with the cam shaft getting ground up..so i pulled all the lifters and pushrods and tomorrow im gunna pull the cam to see whats the deal with it, hopefully its not broken. thanks again for the help guys, im gettin there :yes:
 

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i know the lifter is supposed to be down when the lobe is down...but it fell all the way through and was down with the cam shaft getting ground up.

You mean ground up like ground beef! hehehe .....No, but seriously, it appears you have wiped out (worn) lobes on the camshaft!:yes:
 

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You mean ground up like ground beef! hehehe .....No, but seriously, it appears you have wiped out (worn) lobes on the camshaft!:yes:
If this happened, a full rebuild is necessary! The metal flowing around probably has ruined your bearings. If the lifter fell down and broke, the cam could have possibly pushed it back up under the lifter bore crooked and damaged the block.
 

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Wow, the lifter was down getting chewed up by the camshaft?!?! I agree.... time to pull the motor. Make sure to have the block checked like mentioned before.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
definately broke the cam into pieces and the cam bearing are ruined...considering just getting a new motor.anybody got a used 350 they wouldnt mind parting with?
 

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WOW never heard of that happening.got kinda funny there for a minute.but yes i would say find another motor.that one sounds like its toast:D
 

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Im not the most knowledgable 17 year old when it comes to motors..that was my first tear down of one so all this is brand new to me.
!st thing u have to do is get your head in the right frame of mind
We where all 17 once, many of us where no brought up in a workshop, we did things like *** U ME it had oil, belived what we where told, that things worked and didnt, and next thing we here in the same position as you WAY out of our depth..or so we thought at the time.
But u are now on the 1st steps to a life time of cars and hobby..and maybe even career.
!st thing to do is Panic..
Count to 10 very slowly and panic in an orderly manner...
Next thing is get a book on small block chevs From memory my 1st book was called "how to rebuild your Small block Chev" basically a blue soft cover with a sb on an engine stand...now read..
Much will go above your head...But as u get to understand bits and peices you will think " hey I remeber reading something about that" and go find it in the book and actually understand what the hell it means now...

You have 2 choices, start just as most of us here did...then encourage the generation that follows u
Or give up..
Its up to u, but the guys here will support u all the way
There is a young guy in England, AlanBartlett his father died and left him an old vinage car in need of ground up restoration and he is broke..
http://www.jowett.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=4
Check out a few of his older threads...this young guy has what it takes.
 
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