Author Topic: No Oil Pressure on My Flathead  (Read 855 times)

Offline Jamurray

  • Posts: 159
  • Name: J Murray
No Oil Pressure on My Flathead
« on: November 11, 2021, 04:20:12 PM »
I recently removed the original 322 cubic inch V8 from my 1940 5067. It was shot, but I didn’t want to destroy it. It makes the LaSalle a numbers matching original.

I installed a rebuilt ‘41. I didn’t rebuild it, I don’t know who did, but I have no reason to believe it was anything but what it was represented when I bought it. It runs, but I had a hard time getting the ignition timing correct. When it first ran, my oil pressure went all the way to the right side of the gauge. It’s a rebuilt engine with a new or rebuilt oil pump so I wasn’t overly concerned.

In the course of getting the ignition timing where it should be I removed the distributor several times until I got it where I thought it should be.

When the engine runs now, the oil pressure gauge says zero. The engine runs at a fast idle for about five minutes and….stops. This has happened twice. I can only conclude the gauge is right, and without lubrication, the engine comes to a stop. I have not heard any noises that would put me into cardiac arrest, so I doubt serious damage has been done…..yet.

Is there anything I could have done in removing and re-installing the distributor that could cause the oil pump to stop working?


Offline Fred Pennington 25635

  • Fred Pennington
  • Posts: 334
Re: No Oil Pressure on My Flathead
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2021, 05:22:10 PM »
When you removed the distributor  did you remove only the distributor or did you remove the tower as well?
Fred Pennington, CLC 25635
1940, LaSalle 5019
1940 LaSalle 5019 parts car
1968 Ford Bronco
1973 Mustang Convertible
2012 Shelby GT500

Offline Jamurray

  • Posts: 159
  • Name: J Murray
Re: No Oil Pressure on My Flathead
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2021, 05:36:04 PM »
I never actually removed the entire distributor. I just pulled it up enough to use the rotor to turn the shaft by one tooth. It seated just fine…. I thought. The manual is vague when comes to showing and explaining what turns what.

Offline Jamurray

  • Posts: 159
  • Name: J Murray
Re: No Oil Pressure on My Flathead
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2021, 05:40:25 PM »
What I’m thinking of doing is connect an aftermarket gauge to the engine’s oil pressure tap, pull the plugs, turn the engine with the starter and see  if I show a reading on the aftermarket gauge. I’d be a happier camper if I knew for certain that I have oil pressure.

Offline wheikkila

  • Posts: 365
  • Name: Wayne Heikkila
Re: No Oil Pressure on My Flathead
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2021, 09:03:29 PM »
When you pulled the whole shaft, the the pump and tower shaft needed to be lined up again. On a 322 or 346 you can't change the timing by just pulling up the distributor. You can only rotate it 180. Check to see if the tower is setting all the way on the block. There should not be any gap at all.    I hate to say it but 5 minutes is a long time to run a engine with out oil pressure. I would not start it again till you check this out.
        Thanks Wayne

Offline harry s

  • Harry Scott 4195
  • Posts: 1866
Re: No Oil Pressure on My Flathead
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2021, 08:39:53 AM »
Ditto what Wayne said.      Harry
Harry Scott 4195
1941 6733
1948 6267X
2011 DTS Platinum

Offline Brad Ipsen CLC #737

  • Posts: 1250
  • CLC Number: 737
  • Name: Brad Ipsen
Re: No Oil Pressure on My Flathead
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2021, 09:21:37 PM »
Flathead distributor can only be put in one way and not 180 out.  The drive is offset.  Real handy since you can remove it and work the points on the bench and not change the timing.  The instructions for setting this up initially are on page 33 and 34 of the shop manual but it is rather confusing.  Much better instructions are in the tank manual.  Good to have as much reading material as possible when working on these old engines. 
Brad Ipsen
1940 Cadillac 60S
1938 Cadillac 9039
1940 Cadillac 6267
1940 LaSalle 5227
1949 Cadillac 6237X
1940 Cadillac 60S Limo

Offline wheikkila

  • Posts: 365
  • Name: Wayne Heikkila
Re: No Oil Pressure on My Flathead
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2021, 07:45:44 AM »
That is good to know. I never tried to install it at the 180 position.  I just marked which direction the rotor was pointing. You are correct, when you want to change points it is quick and easy.
                          Thanks Wayne

Offline Jamurray

  • Posts: 159
  • Name: J Murray
Re: No Oil Pressure on My Flathead
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2021, 09:28:29 AM »
I have no oil pressure. I installed a temporary after-market gauge, cranked the engine with the plugs removed, and the needle never moved. I didn’t expect it to move much, but it didn’t move at all.

Why do I now not have oil pressure, when the only thing I did was pull the distributor up enough to move the rotor one tooth to get ten degrees  BTC to line it up with number 1 plug wire contact?

Whoever rebuilt it probably installed a new or rebuilt oil pump so I doubt it failed this soon.

Your ideas are welcome.

Offline wheikkila

  • Posts: 365
  • Name: Wayne Heikkila
Re: No Oil Pressure on My Flathead
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2021, 10:58:53 AM »
Because when you lifted up the distributor tube to move it one tooth it is no longer driving the oil pump. You need to pull the shaft out look down inside and you will see the shaft for the oil pump. You can manually prime the oil pump with the shaft removed. I would highly recommend this being you have run it with no oil pressure. You can use a long screw driver and turn it clockwise. It doesn't have to be fast. But mark were your rotor is pointing before you remove it. When you go  to install the shaft back. Look at the direction of the distributor shaft then use the screw driver to line up the oil pump shaft. The distributor shaft must sit down on the block. I will bet right now it is sitting up from the block. Please keep asking questions if you need to.
                 Thanks Wayne     

Offline wheikkila

  • Posts: 365
  • Name: Wayne Heikkila
Re: No Oil Pressure on My Flathead
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2021, 11:30:07 AM »
I never asked do you have a manual for you engine? This would be helpful to understand what your problem is.
     Thanks Wayne

Offline Jamurray

  • Posts: 159
  • Name: J Murray
Re: No Oil Pressure on My Flathead
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2021, 02:44:59 PM »
I have a manual that is probably an aftermarket copy of an original that covers Cadillacs and LaSalles for 1939-1941. I will check the pump rod tomorrow. Darkness has arrived here.

Offline Brad Ipsen CLC #737

  • Posts: 1250
  • CLC Number: 737
  • Name: Brad Ipsen
Re: No Oil Pressure on My Flathead
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2021, 08:21:10 PM »
Not sure what you are going to find here.  If you were not lined up with the slot in the oil pump you should not have been able to seat the distributor tower down to the block. 

Earlier you stated you had high oil pressure on startup.  This may be cause for concern also.  The spring for the relief valve in the typical kits sold is typical too strong if you measure it to the spec given in the shop manual.  (Recommend getting the actual Cadillac shop manual for 1940) Also the original relief valve piston is a special leaded alloy so it doesn't get stuck which I doubt the reproduction ones have.  Unless you find something really simple at the tower assembly you should have a look at the pump directly by dropping the pan.
Brad Ipsen
1940 Cadillac 60S
1938 Cadillac 9039
1940 Cadillac 6267
1940 LaSalle 5227
1949 Cadillac 6237X
1940 Cadillac 60S Limo

Offline TMoore - NTCLC

  • Posts: 447
Re: No Oil Pressure on My Flathead
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2021, 03:16:18 PM »
I agree with Brad - I had to drop my pan 2 or three times to get the oil pump sorted out after a full rebuild.  The first oil-pump had a by-pass spring that was far too stiff and would not ever provide relief.  I then ordered another rebuild kit from a reliable supplier, (they did not sell the spring separately) only to discover that they has switched suppliers, and once again, the spring was too stiff.  I finally but the 70 year old spring from my original pump in, and it has been just about perfect.

Once you have the pan off, it will become very obvious how this all works.

Offline wheikkila

  • Posts: 365
  • Name: Wayne Heikkila
Re: No Oil Pressure on My Flathead
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2021, 04:19:43 PM »
I would still check the distributor shaft. With the engine in the car. it would be easy not to see the shaft not being down all the way. He moved the distributor and it needs to be lined back up with the shaft. It will not do it on it's own.
           Thanks Wayne

Offline Jamurray

  • Posts: 159
  • Name: J Murray
Re: No Oil Pressure on My Flathead
« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2021, 05:37:57 PM »
I am 100% certain the notch at the end of the distributor shaft was seated in the notch at the top of the oil pump. Still, why did it work once, but why did it stop working after I moved the distributor a tooth?

I have a piece of 3/8” steel rod, and I’m going to cut the end to look like the end of the distributor shaft. Can I turn it clockwise with an electric drill to mimic the operation of  the oil  pump under normal operation?

Your thoughts?

Offline wheikkila

  • Posts: 365
  • Name: Wayne Heikkila
Re: No Oil Pressure on My Flathead
« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2021, 05:18:03 AM »
Yes, you can buy tools like that. I have made all my own tools for priming a pump before I start an engine. When you prime your flathead. If the pump is working the oil is going to come out the feed hole that feeds the distributor shaft. You will need to put a rag it there to stop the oil from making a mess. Good Luck
                        Thanks Wayne   

Offline LaSalle5019

  • Posts: 293
  • Name: Scott Mrdeza
Re: No Oil Pressure on My Flathead
« Reply #17 on: November 18, 2021, 07:14:07 PM »
Yes, you can buy tools like that. I have made all my own tools for priming a pump before I start an engine. When you prime your flathead. If the pump is working the oil is going to come out the feed hole that feeds the distributor shaft. You will need to put a rag it there to stop the oil from making a mess. Good Luck
                        Thanks Wayne
I was able to reach my finger down in the distributor shaft hole and hold it over the oil feed hole while driving my pump with a primer rod I made. Just don’t spin the drill too fast to start. Easy to hold back 20 psi but not 50 psi.

The original pump gears are a helix and most all of the aftermarket ones are straight cut. I got my replacement pump with helix gears all set up from Headquarters Machine with their bronze idler gear replacement kit (which is a polymer gear)
« Last Edit: November 18, 2021, 07:51:51 PM by LaSalle5019 »

Offline wheikkila

  • Posts: 365
  • Name: Wayne Heikkila
Re: No Oil Pressure on My Flathead
« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2021, 09:08:37 PM »
So, with a hand prime you are getting 20 PSI. That tells me that the problem is either the idler gear or shaft gear or the distributor shaft was not inside   the pump.
                       Thanks Wayne

Offline LaSalle5019

  • Posts: 293
  • Name: Scott Mrdeza
Re: No Oil Pressure on My Flathead
« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2021, 05:25:17 PM »
So, with a hand prime you are getting 20 PSI. That tells me that the problem is either the idler gear or shaft gear or the distributor shaft was not inside   the pump.
                       Thanks Wayne

Wayne,
I don’t think Mr Murray gave an answer for his results yet. That last post was from me explaining the oil feed hole.
Scott

 

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